Anchoring the Gate Town
Saving a City with Vice, Violence, and Simple Luck
I don’t know what got Vale all foamed up and narky, but I’m going to personally make sure every damn receptionist down at the Precinct knows not to let that prissy, mincing little elf cut the line again next time he’s got a complaint from his precious ( and crooked! ) little Guild of Celestial Traders and Services he wants our officers to solve. The iron pair of zills he has keepin’ mum on the portal he sent this crew through even after I flashed my badge and invoked the Quaestor – I think he likes the Vigiles when we’re lending a hand, but I can tell we don’t scare him much. So the trail runs cold on these berks Julia is all riled up about having me play familiar to so I hit the streets to get the word on a portal out to Excelsior. I shake the info out of Deneth, a paladin with a dirty halo checking out the ladies over at Zero’s Alehouse. I agree not to take in the jinkskirt he’s looking at buying for the night for a prior theft if he’s willing to get me near the city. A quick jaunt over to the temple of I-Don’t-Care-What and a wave of a holy symbol leaves me on the side of Mt. Ecstasy, which I wanted, but the bastard didn’t bother to mention I basically had to climb the whole piking mountain – Excelsior wasn’t even a dot on the horizon. Hope he catches something nasty off that Tiefling whose company he paid for. Anyway – I spend a day getting the Sigil worked out of my lungs trekking up this mountain and it doesn’t take long for me to stumble up and on their handiwork. There is a smell like a burnt drawf beard on the air and I make out the husk of an Azer and some lower planes petitioners who were lookin’ kind of tired in a dead sort of way. No way to know for certain that it was Harkin’s bloods that sent the petitioners back around for their second death but between the warhammer imprints and the blue-burn of eldritch energy I was able to make a pretty good guess. Didn’t bother putting a chalk outline around ’em, though – the day was wearing thin and I needed a drink and a bite to eat. Real shame about the Vigile bodies that accompanied this crew overlooking the trail up to the city – some of these kids had real potential. The pooches at the gate give me some trouble, but I’m used to that from my pre-law-and-order days. I try to look official and drop the right names of the right clerics who worship the right Ivories and eventually they let me in, but I feel their eyes on me the whole way down to Gillian’s. This town’s all wrong. Too quiet and soft somehow, like you’ll blink and it’ll vanish. There is a tension in the air nobody seems to want to acknowledge, and from how empty the streets are there wouldn’t be many around to yap about it anyway. The peery feeling drops away once I’m in the Jack of All Trades and I’m so happy to be in a place that don’t feel like it means to slip out from under me that I don’t even complain to Gillian that her ale’s watered down. She’s a good woman – beautiful Sylvan elf getting close to her end-of-wanderlust stage of life, but when she was younger she was one of the sharpest tongued touts in the City of Doors. We go way back, Gillian and I, so she’s happy to drop the dark on these bloods who flash the badge. She talks like the one, the Fox, barged in saying he works for the high-handed Harmonium wannabe who has been turning the town strange. Not the slickest move, but I guess he drank his way out of ending up on the wrong side of Gil’s letter opener so maybe he’s got more wisdom than cleverness. She’s past hope for herself and this little bowsing ken she’s poured all of her jink into and it’s a damn shame, but she’s not much one for despair – she even speaks with a lark about these cutters trying to save the town. They’re trying to introduce a little vice to anchor the place while trying to get at the man in charge – ambitious, but not quite along Vigiles guidelines. Maybe this is why Harkin didn’t train them in.