As a city guard, Ari was used to waking up in jail. No one really cared if they took a nap on duty. This time he was on the other side of the bars. He knew the drill, it was morning, and the feet approaching him sounded like Donall and Tiernay bringing the morning meal. As he turned to greet his fellow guards, his eyes opened wide when he saw that they were not alone, and were not bringing breakfast. He wasn’t hungry, but it was an unexpected break in a ritual.
“Get up against the wall, prisoner”
Ari protested, “c’mon guys, what happened?”
A dark voice commanded, “silence him!”
Ari was put in manacles and brought in front of the inquisitor.
“I don’t know what you are talking about, I had some drinks last night and woke up in here”
The inquisitor stared him down and spoke some words, invoking arcane power that rushed over Ari, leaving him feeling weak and defenseless. He felt like he had just told him everything he knew.
Ari was taken across town, into a tower with a deep dungeon. He was transferred from city guard to private guards who ran a tower that Ari had never seen before. A bag was put over his head and he was led down a dark hallway, surrounded by beasts that terrified his sturdy constitution. He was placed inside a cell with a madman. The madman ranted for hours about the unfairness of the city, how he had only a small debt to pay, and there was no cause for him to be placed in this cell.
The light above glowed in a way that reminded Ari of the moon, which reminded him of his home. He recalled his father and mother, and how proud they were when he was accepted by the City Guard.
Somehow this memory shifted to a new master, something deep and primal inside of himself. The madman’s cries stopped sounding annoying and began to excite him deep within the core of his being. The tone of his voice sounded weak, like the sound a prey makes when it is cornered, without any where to run. He could smell the scent of fear in a register that he had never felt before.
Ari turned to say “hey man, take it easy, you are going to stress yourself out”
Instead he slashed with claws he had never seen before and bit through his flesh, tasting the sweetness of blood that felt like home…
Stepping through the gates of Obsidian Bay for the first time is a 3′ rock gnome dressed up like a clown, leading a mule pulling a food cart. Happy music fills the air as his toys unwind.
The city was happy to extend a license to a new food cart vendor, as long as the vendor agreed to pay their fees. The economic engine of the city runs on greasy palms. Roland MacDaniels left a coin as a paperweight that the bureaucrat quickly slid into his desk drawer. They negotiated a place for the new merchant to do business and just like that, the deal was done.
“We’ll be out to check on you, if you see any unlicensed vendors, let us know and we can take care of them for you”
Roland was out of meat, and he needed some secret sauce. Musically leading his cart through the strange quarter, he knew he could solve both problems this evening. He followed a panhandler who was looking for a quiet place to sip on his brandy. Around the corner, he offered him some coin. “This city isn’t fair”, the old man said, “I’ll be sure to buy food with this, thank you kind stranger”
Roland invited him to his cart so he could give him a small gift, something sure to put a smile on his face. Trusting this small clown, the old man stepped in close, and the clown grappled toward his throat. He missed, and the old man turned to run away. With one swing of his handaxe, Roland took him down to his size and then ripped out his vocal cords.
Once he had him wrapped up tight in his cart, Roland cast spare the dying on him to keep his meat fresh. Roland knows the basics of preserving meat, but a simple cantrip keeps him from having to use chemicals that change the taste of his burgers. He fills up with pride for his wise, cunning ideas.
A change of clothes and a quiet coin exchange gets him beyond the guards to the city harbor. The ocean and some herbs provides everything he needs for his secret sauce.
Tomorrow, the city will be a happier place to be with the addition of this new food vendor. They’ll be loving it!