Short Story: Meetings in the Citadel

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Short Story: Meetings in the Citadel

Post by Dungeon Master on Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:08 pm

Short Story: Meetings in the Citadel
From the journals of Gweron the Longwalker, Sigil Gazeteer

In the plane of Occipitus, the most prominent settlement is Canton, the town of songs, magic, and obscure knowledge. The town started as little more than a few buildings serving as quarters for the old bard andloreseeker, DarionMeroch, and the powerful archmageRafneferethStarym, but has grown over a couple of years to become a proper settlement. At the centre of the town, the mysterious Citadel of the Planewalker Five is perched on an seemingly impossibly straight mountain, shrouded by strange clouds, keeping the Citadel well out of sight and reach of uninvited guests.

The rest of the plane sports an unusual mix of Abyssal and Celestial energy, but is otherwise not terribly exciting to behold; the energy in the area in and around the town feels more balanced and it is clear that this may expand further into the plane as time progresses. In the absence of the natural cycles of night and day as it is known on the Material Plane, the inhabitants in the area of Canton and the Citadel are able to keep track of time due to an phenomenon known as the Sign of Occipitus, a huge glowing rune high in the shrouded ceiling of the plane. The rune is unknown to me, but is composed of ten stages of different colouring. During the waking hours of the Occipitusian day, the part of the rune for the appropriate day glows brightly around the edges and bathes the plane in a slightly red glow. At night time, the rune glows only dimly, the faint light mimicking that of a moon on the Material Plane. However, this substitute sun and moon can only be maintained because of a strange magical ritual called the Song Cycle. Each tenday, in the manner of counting of the Calendar of Harptos known from the Faerunian sub-continent in Abeir-Toril, the Song Cycle must renew the Sign of Occipitus. The ritual of the song currently involves a representative of the Planewalker Five rising out from the Citadel, floating on thin air and singing the beautiful and somewhat eerie incantation that replenishes the Sign for another tenday. As a peculiar trait,

Although many of the inhabitants of Canton are in some way related to the Planewalker Five and their business, the frequent trade runs to Sigil and other planar junctions by the Planewalker lords and their minions have also attracted new settlers, tradespeople, adventurers and, of course, the occasional footpad. However, it is said that those who come to the town with the intention to break the peace are rarely seen again.

Apart from the significant holdings attributed to the Planewalker Five, the town boasts a number of independent establishments worthy of note. Take The Red Jester, for example, which is an excellent place to find interesting ales and listen to war stories from the local town guards (these are know as the Keepers of the Song); it can be a raucous place at time, but innkeeper Rogar Oakheart is not afraid to expel troublesome patrons, by forceful application of his cudgel if necessary, when things get out of hand.

If one is more inclined towards the realms of the arcane and the esoteric, the Emporium Curiosum comes highly recommended by magisters and librarians alike. The proprietor, Wayleaf Dewmantle, a reputable Gnomish inventor, has a knack of finding arcane items, old tomes or exotic components that even the powerful Planewalkers may not have found on their travels before. The local mage guild is not always fond ofDewmantle's presence, however, as the eccentric Gnome has shown them up on a number of occasions.

The real pearl for the discerning visitor to Canton, however, is the Lore Exchange. This establishment is not well known and does advertise its presence to the average visitor. However, for those who seek knowledge, it inevitably surfaces in conversation when the right things are said and the speaker looks like he will be able to pay for what he wants to know. Put simply, it is place where information and secrets can be traded in a manner of exchange. One thing that you learn as a traveller in all things related to knowledge, is that rare pieces of information will transcend material value. So instead of looking for gold or precious gems before letting go of a particularly interesting piece of lore from, say, a forgotten society of archmages, the seller can in turn demand information of a similar calibre. Do not expect to just walk in from the street and start learning highly valuable secrets, however. Interested parties are vetted and a new seeker of knowledge will have to prove that they are not amateur scholars over a series of interactions. Discretion is a prime virtue of the Lore Exchange, and little is known about the sponsors behind their work. It would not be surprising if the Planwalker Five do have some vested interest in this nexus of the rare and the unheard.

I have made a mental note to make sure to frequent Canton in the not too distant future, even just to see if I can gain any more interesting knowledge out of the Exchange...
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