A compiled version of the intro run for the second character to join the campaign. It was done by chat, so the writing retains that format in many places.
The city is like so many others scattered throughout the scavenger lands; squalid, noisy and violently alive. It teems with activity as people go about their lives, leaving room for people to disappear into, where things can be lost amidst all the clamour.
In the back streets, where the buildings crowd so close together that the day sky is a mere crack of blue overhead, this is especially true. People are nameless and faceless here, no matter their crimes or stigmas. Lepers scrabble with orphan urchins for the least amount of coin and the poorest castoffs of their betters.
And even deeper into these alleys, a small inn can be found serving food to those with the coin to pay for it. Stale bread shares plate space with thin soup. Long tables are crowded close together, people bent over their dishes shoulder to shoulder and almost back to back in the cramped confines found under the low ceiling.
A young girl has her place amidst the hard cast men, their features worn by hard labours. Her hair is cut ragged and close, the dye in it starting to discolour and run. Counting out the coins she has left after her meal, they promise a few more mean meals before their remains are spent...
The darkness of the room hides her features, but a hood hangs about her shoulders, ready for when she has to leave again.
As you sit there, your empty plate and bowl whisked away, the guy besides you receives an elbow to the ribs and grunts as he shifts up enough for a slim woman to ease in between you and he. She gives a brief, warm smile down to you and looks around.
"Not much of a place, is this?" she whispers to you, just enough to be heard above the din. She wears a long red coat over a white vest, a satchel tucked at her feet after she joined you. High, buckled boots of black and bracers of the same style are both reinforced with steel, while under her coat a white vest is tucked into tight leather pants dyed deep red.
She warily looks up, and replies "I've certainly had better, but I have also had much worse. It's 4 walls and a door, and a pallet. By my account it's better than it was before."
The woman shugs one shoulder, confined within the tight setting. She gives a brief laugh, looking about her and then back to you. She leans close with a conspirational air about her, "Yet you deserve so much more. Tell me, could I tease you out of this little hell for a cup of warm coffee and a talk?" she enquires, then puts her hand over her heart, "But forgive me... for I have not even introduced myself. I am Last Ray, and I am very pleased to meet you." She brushes a lock of thick blonde hair back with her other hand, smile easygoing.
"Lo. And make it a sandwich and you have a deal. This swill isn't worth going in to the pig's slop." She rises, revealing a slight, lean frame frame, barely 4.5 ft tall, wrapped in well made, but well worne clothes. She looks expectantly at Last Ray: "So where are we going?"
There are a few surreptitious glances at you from the men about, and for the woman as well. Curiousity is all that follows, though, as Last Ray laughs and reaches down, grabbing her satchel and freeing herself of the tight confines. "Come, then." she says, walking ahead and beckoning over her shoulder. Like a playful cat, she remains a step ahead, casting merry smiles back at you as she leads you from alleys to broad, tree-lined streets, where well dressed people are trailed by servants and even the merchants' voices are subdued in the comfortable setting. Stepping up to a stall, she buys a pair of long rolls, filled with meat strips, fried onions and spices, proffering one to you before starting to walk away. Raising her head with her eyes closed, as though enjoying the sunlight, she lets the pair of you amble along the street without immediate conversation, the better to let you enjoy the meal.
As they leave, she flips the hood up, almost habitually. She accepts the meal hesitantly, and begins to eat the sandwich slowly, obviously holding back from devourign the whole thing. "So who are you, really? And why do you want to talk to me? I'm just a poor beggar off the streets, another cast off, a bit of rubbish to be tossed aside." She speaks in Low Realm, with an accent hinting of High.
Last Ray laughs at that, glancing at you. "You're no more any of those things than I am the Dragon of Earth." she counters, walking besides you. "I am a friend, one who has been searching for you and your brothers and sisters, my lady."
She stops dead in her tracks, "And I suppose She sent you? To find me? To kill me? Go back to her, I don't fear death, but if you think you can kill me, you are welcome to try. I have killed others sent for the same purpose." There is no gloating, only flat resignation in her voice. "And my brothers and sisters are notmy kin, t hey are scrabbling political backstabbers" she continues in that same flat matter of fact voice. "All I ask the chance to defend myself honorably. I don't want it to be said I went down with a knife in my back like a dog, as much asit would please them." with as much poison as such a small person could muster on that last word.
Her smile disappearing, the woman besides you shakes her head as she continues on a few steps then half turns to regard you. "They are no longer your family." she murmurs softly, gaze gentle. "You are Chosen of the Sun and though it may seem all the world is set against you, there are us who would see you safely returned. Creation needs you and a great wrong was done against you."
"So you weren't sent to kill me? Thats a change." She takes another bite, still trying to be polite and not gulp it down, "You mentioned others, have you found them? There is safety in numbers..." She still looks like she might bolt, but is now more curious than afraid.
"A safe place is better than this. There is no honor in this, hiding on the street. I am of my Grandmother's brood. I will go to her and listen. That was part of the deal right, I eat, I listen?" You actually get a slightly mischevious smile as she says this.
Last Ray returns the smile, relief clear but also delight at the counter play of wit. She nods, "Indeed. I am glad you are willing to listen." She glances at her own meal, untouched as yet, and offers it to you, "Would you hold this a moment, there is something I first must give you." She kneels, there in the street, to flip open her satchel and take from it a scroll case of silver and gold. Unscrewing one end, she draws one sheet from among several, offering it to you. Made of finest paper, the texture is smooth cream to the touch.
"Whats this?" (what is written on it?)
she is obviously curious, but the question slipped out before she could quash it.
With a smile, the woman shakes her head, "It is best for you to see, though perhaps later when you have privacy."
When viewed, the paper is set with a central motif matching that of your caste, wrought in finest gold that shimmers whenever you touch it. In High Realm on either side of it are details of you, on the left are your name and house, while on the right are a long list of titles which you have never heard before yet feel familiar.
"I am sorry to confess that I cannot accompany you, for I have many things left to do. There are others who I must try and reach and I am always racing against fate and the Wyld Hunt." Instead, she gives you a healthy helping of coin and directions to a tea house on the roads to Nexus.
"I will go, although, how did they find out who I was? I thought I had been careful, cutting my hair, dying it, slouching and averting my eyes. Where did I mess up?" She pockets the coin, tying the pouch to the inside of her tunic.
With a laugh, the woman who stands with you spreads her hands. "You did an excellent job, make no mistake. I missed you a week ago, to my embarrassment. I might well have walked straight past you without knowing." Shaking her head, she indicates the scroll you now hold. "That was taken from Yu Shan. It was wrought that hunters might find you... and now, well now it is missing." she says with a crooked, playful little smile.
"So...waaaiiitttt...you didn't..." she grins as comprehension spreads across her face. "That takes guts, to take something from there. So this tea house is safe. I guess the sooner I leave the better, I don't normally hang around a place too long."
With a little shrug of her shoulders, Last Ray can't help but return the grin. "Perhaps we shall be friends, one day. I hope to have that chance. For now, I hope you travel well and stay safe." She gives a brief bow from the waist, sharing farewells before going on her way.