1st day, Month of Spores, 914: The Bazaar of Crazy Vas
You stand in the Bazaar of the City State of Throxia, that beacon of civilization and enlightenment in the black dunes of Thool, a glittering gem beneath its shattered Dome. Above the Bazaar's central square loom the high stained towers, brittle twisting spires, and jutting ivied balconies of the City State, and still further above, the smoky translucence of the Dome's remnants. Beyond the baroque precincts of the City State's enclave lie the Badlands, the blasted, hollow, and dusty ruins of the once-vast metropolis, now dry bones picked over by nomads, vagabonds, beasts, and worms.
Your disreputable quartet has gathered and confederated in pursuit of a rare and lewd prospect, for word has come down that Gallagorgon the Man-Bull, ancient and mighty progeny of the Immortal Omnithrox, desires that there be brought unto him an intact Pnomak, a ghoul-maid of beauteous aspect and unspeakable thirsts. Those who bring the Man-Bull his prize will be granted an incredible boon -- a full day and night, dawn to next dawn, of unthinkable debauchery within his Pleasure Ziggurat.
It is said that Pnomaks, as well as other unwholesome things, haunt the Crypt of Llatai, though it goes without saying that such details are the sole concern of the boon-seeker. The Man-Bull cares not.
Most folk would blanch at the merest thought of such an endeavor, and indeed those few of your friends and family privy to your plans have made peace with your impending demise and bid you good-bye with varying degrees of lachrymosity. But you are not most folk, of course, and your ambition far outstrips your current lowly estate.
The Bazaar is relatively crowded today, though even the heart of bright Throxia is moribund in the shadow of its ancient glories, and many buildings lie empty and shadowed. A panoply of men and other beings bustle about the shops and vendors, or around the great Aquaflux, a shimmering ever-full fountain of glistening clean water replenished by forgotten elemental sorcery.
You see robed and slate-skinned Gray Men, drab and silent, leaning on their short-hafted tridents; perfumed courtesans measuring the heat of their come-hither stares by the size of their mark's purse; clacking Phasmids skittering about the stone square to slurp up the offal and detritus of the day's commerce; a tiny Mipt on the steps of the Temple of Mung, meeping and hooting from its nest within a discarded skull; the fearsome tenebrous Dhrauc, Dragon of the Bazaar, glaring balefully down from the repose of the terraced tower upon which he coils and roosts.
The wonders of the Bazaar are known to you, though your first-hand experience has, by dint of your relative poverty, been heretofore limited. However, you have each gathered, by hook or crook, no small amount of hard-earned or ill-gotten loot with which to provision your perilous expedition. Here is the famed Armory of Tzur Fazaketh -- and over there, the Emporium of Polbah the Arch-Idolater. Will you rest your head at the Hostelry of Slurd Omgoth, and sup at the bountiful yet reasonably priced Cafeteria of Dhogai? Or will you curl up in the dank recesses of some forsaken empty hovel and chew the humble spongy fare proffered by the ubiquitous Smut Peddlers?
Your savings are still comparatively meager when stacked against the outrageous prices demanded by such luxurious establishments as Zhadrmu the Clonemonger, the Gender Re-assignment Pods, and the Brain Bank -- or, for that matter, the very Pleasure Ziggurat to which you seek entry. But you have no doubt that you are even now embarking on the path to stupendous riches such as even the usurers of the Vaults of Visscre cannot count; or, if you entertain any doubts whatsoever, they are so niggling as to bear no mention.
In any event, it is best to be quick about your tasks, for you are not getting any younger, and who knows when others, thus far timid and cowardly, may grow hungry and desperate enough to attempt to cheat you of your rightful prize?
The Crashed Engine
9 hours ago