The Flower in the Sepulcher

Chapter 5: City of Flowers, City of Factions

An excerpt from the autobiography of Abad Ibn Mousa Al-Arakis

And so, dear readers, I finally arrived in Tref, the city in which I was to make my destiny. In those days the city was a supposedly free and touted as anarchic jumble of boards over a fetid swamp, authority over which was contested just short of openly by factions ranging from the smugglers, to the merchants, to the self appointed law. Obviously, this situation could not hold. Scratched in the margin of the page: Leave this section in. If things change significantly it will look prescient, and if they stay too much the same it will seem ironic The factionalism became readily apparent before myself and my oldest friend could even enter the city, with a representative of the thieves and smugglers who rally under the name of ‘Jack’ warned us to avoid a raid by the rangers and water elves against the captain of our vessel at the behest of the merchants, only to deliver us to rescue another 2 brave souls tricked by the same offer as us from yet another law enforcement authority. At first, it was enough to make one’s head spin! Things were so much simpler in the Venom kingdoms, where the only thing one needed to know about the law were the identity, morality, and disposition of one’s Sultan. I resolved immediately to retain legal counsel, one piece of advice from my Father that I till recommend to any adventurer or other quasi-legitimate professional to this day.

Of course I eventually learned the laws of Tref well, as anyone in my profession must when setting up shop in a new city, and the bonds forged by the smuggler’s machinations proved useful immediately. Owain immediately struck me as an asset in the infernal bog that surrounded the city, and while he was ideological he appeared rather benign and harmless in his beliefs, and I doubted they extend to preventing the scholarly and business advancement of his comrades. Maman Bayou, on the other hand, was a bit of a mystery. Although, from the looks she gave me, I suspected I might be much of one to her as well. We all eventually became fast friends, of course, but there at the beginning I am sure each of us had their doubts.

Our very first contract as a free company was continuing in the employ of Jack, now truly our mutual friend, and I saw no issue in this. What better ally to have in a city where the primary employment seems to be either evading or enforcing rule than those most adept at making a profit the old fashioned way; dishonestly?



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