The Parliament of Hours

Session I

Intro, "The Valetti Heir, Part 1"

1st of the 3rd week of The Rainy Season, A624.

Night has fallen over the city of Montmarais. As has often been the case over the past few weeks, there are dull, muted clouds of indiscernable stormy hues hanging above the city’s districts, completely obscuring the sky from view. The rain stopped about an hour ago, and the residual mist casts a quivering pall over the city; the streets visible from the windows of the Rook and its associated buildings are all illuminated by hazy spheres of light cast by the lampposts.

On nights that threaten rain such as these, L’Édifice du Roc tends to be more full – but certainly not “busy”. The lateness of the hour assures that most of the guild’s members, the Venturent, are asleep either in the rooms in the hotel-like building just off of the Rook itself, or else in their homes elsewhere in Gardien. Nonetheless, there are still some members of the guild awake at the present time. A small troupe sit around a table in the drawing room, exchanging stories being spread around the city; one man sits in the smoking room, hunched over a large stack of papers and books; others sit around a table in one of the spare meeting rooms, discussing missions for the guild; yet others seem to be passing the time in the guild’s library.

One man, in particular, is standing in front of the Commission Board – a huge noticeboard taking up part of one of the walls in the main part of the building, dotted here and there with quests, requests for help, missions, engagements, and so on. The man seems to be pinning two pieces of paper to the board – and, accordingly, it seems as though a number of the guild’s wakeful members have stepped up to the board as well, to seize the opportunity to check the quests before the rest of the guild, just in case someone snags them before they do. This handful of members includes Erika Valetti, Garret Baxter and Uzochi Balewa.

The man who has just pinned the notices up onto the Commission Board turns as he notices the three approach, and gives what was probably intended to be a smile of smug satisfaction, but given the fact that he was also holding a cigarette in his mouth, it looked a lot more like an expression of dire agony.

The man, as it turned out, was Mulholland, one of the seven members of the Hautconseil (the ruling body of the guild), posting two new requests to the board—one requesting for an escort to The Fens east of the city, and one involving Erika Valetti herself; Mulholland detailed that the Hautconseil had finally agreed to fund an expedition to The Valetti Estate, north of Montmarais, after months of having been deadlocked or refusing to provide assistance, which Mulholland put down to the Hautconseil having a new replacement member. Erika quickly took up the request, and both Garret and Uzochi agreed to assist the expedition. Mulholland pointed out that they should perhaps be informed of the nature of the Estate. The group took the discussion into the smoking room, and Mulholland followed.

Erika explained that, as a child, she remembered seeing and hearing things in the house – indistinct, possibly due to time or to being unable to categorise them. One night, she was awoken by one of the housemaids, and hurriedly ushered out of the estate. That night was the last time she saw any of her family; she was taken to her grandfather’s townhouse in the city of Montmarais, and has lived there ever since. Erika now suspects that the house was tied to some kind of old magic, and wants to find out what happened to her family, and what went on in the estate. The group set off once Mulholland gives them a Writ of Transit, allowing them passage of a vessel from the Croisse Shipyard, as well as a number of ritual scrolls to assist with the exploration, and the opportunity to get more gear for the trip.

Erika, Garret and Uzochi set off, leaving L’Édifice du Roc to get to the Croisse Shipyard. Erika leads the way, since she knows the streets of Gardien the best, and soon, the group find themselves outside the shipyard. However, the group hear shouting and fighting in a square just off from the shipyard. Erika goes to investigate, discovering that the fighting is a battle between a gang they know—three members of The Red Row Artifice from Soindres who were intruding on their turf, and another group of two that they’ve never seen before. Erika surmises that while they don’t know who the other group is, they might be a minor gang belonging to Gardien. However, in attempting to get a closer look at the skirmish, Erika accidentally exposed herself to a strong light source, and one of the members of the Red Row Artifice spotted her. Uzochi stepped up to the fore, however, by following up behind Erika and intimidating the Red Row Artificer who spotted Erika. Garret similarly joined in with the fray by using his psi ability to pull one of the Red Row Artificers towards the group and away from the two unidentified men. Shortly afterwards, the other two Red Row Artificers ran away, leaving behind the third, whom one of the unidentified men beat to the ground and knocked unconscious.

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Diligence

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