Between Arc News
A Quick Recap
12 Days ago there was a fire in the Averton District of Valenci. Almost immediately thereafter, the King, in an unprecedentedly brazen act, arrested every single member of the Kalb Ducal family in the city. Witnesses agree that this includes the Duke. Fyodor Kalb, one of the Duke’s three sons, was publicly denounced as being a member of the Razers, a Noble organization dedicated, basically, to burning non-humans homes down around their ears. Nothing else has been heard of him. Almost all of those arrested were released within a few hours, but rumors persist of people that have been black-bagged, disappeared by the King during this time.
This action flies in the face of the long-standing political reality of Korpesh, that the Crown hangs on to power in a fragile balancing act by playing the Nobles off the Guilds. It also seemed to follow no rhyme or reason, and confirmed, to the public’s mind, that what they had suspected and feared about their young King since he took the throne is true: that he is not right in the head. It has also brought to the forefront the very real possibility of widespread and immediate civil war.
Subhuman rioting and demonstrations (ironically in support of the Kalbs) began after 2 tense days and continued sporadically (being put down with not insignificant loss of life by the City Watch) until 4 days ago, when, on Firstday, the King unexpectedly announced the resumption of the Jester Trials, a week-long festival and celebration with free food and entertainment for all. This has halted the violence, but it seems doomed to be only a stop-gap measure.
Additionally, odd occurrences and the rising power of doomsday cults continue to plague the beleaguered mind of the populace.
More specifics are below.
- Kalb Reaction:
All Kalbs have been given lodging in the Kalb complex in the Korpesh District, and have been strongly encouraged to either take the family up on the offer or make security arrangements. The complex has become a veritable fortress, and is on serious lockdown. Large numbers of Kalb guards have been brought in from outside the city, and the family has also contracted for a large number of bodyguards from Hoskin’s, the freelance security organization. This is very public, and is greatly contributing to the unease that is floating around the city (and country, for that matter). People are worried that this is prelude to another civil war, and there is much pessimism.
- Mann Reaction:
Duke Mann has displayed public support for their ‘dear friends’ the Kalbs, and has made an effort to appear in public with members of the Kalb family, when possible. Despite this apparent display of support the house has not made any firm political move in any direction, and has not made and significant shift in the disposition of their house soldiers.
- Other Nobles:
Most of the other Dukes and Duchesses have made vague, heavily qualified statements in support of the Kalbs. It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that they are very nervous about the King’s brazen actions, and aren’t quite sure what to make of it. There are faint murmurs of civil war, of moving to check the King via force, but the large majority seem to be in an uneasy stalemate of de facto peace. Still, the houses are all taking stock of their strength versus the perceived strength of the crown and weighing options. The notable exception is Lady Oleana Zeitgast, who has not made a statement about the troubles. She is (apparently) deep in day 14 of one of her (in)famous parties, and people are not even certain that she knows about the King’s actions…
- The Army:
The loyalty of the Army to the King has long been viewed as suspect, given that so many of the officer corps is made up of Nobles. So far the Army has not been mobilized, at least not in any wide-spread manner.
- Public Opinion:
In a word – Frightened.
People see Argon III’s actions as a likely prelude to civil war, regardless of what opinions they hold about whether it was right or wrong, justified or tyrannical. The majority of the population in Valenci (it is hard to get a caucus of the country bumpkins quickly) are against the King, seeing this action as an example of the fact Argon III is just as delusional and insane as his Uncle, Hator I, was. The SubHumans are especially up in arms and, in an example of politics making very strange bedfellows, there have been a number of demonstrations and riots, nominally in support of and solidarity with the Kalbs moving against the King. The SubHuman Mob seems to have forgotten (for the moment at least) that Fyodor was publicly denounced as a Razer and was blamed for trying to burn Averton. Many of the demonstrations have been harshly put down by the City Watch. The escalating cycle of violence seems to have stalled out with the King’s shrewd resumption of the long-stalled Jester celebrations 4 days ago, but it is a fragile peace.
If you thought the Nobles were playing it close to the vest, they have nothing on the Guilds. There is by no means a consensus, but smart money has a slight majority siding (perhaps surprisingly) with the Kalbs against the King, presumably out of fear of what a strong monarch could do to their profits. The Fuzoku Butsu have gone out of their way to declare their neutrality in the conflict, and cautioned both sides against any actions that would disrupt their business.
- Jester Competition:
At royal decree, the stalled Jester celebration/selection/festival has restarted 4 days ago. The week of festivities and performances (less than 1/2 way through at this point) seems to have alleviated the widespread public disaffection and halted the escalation of violence, but only a blind fool could ignore the hollowness and sense of fragility permeating the celebration. While most citizens are taking it as a temporary breath of fresh air to use to put aside their troubles for a time, there is a small but very vocal minority that have thrown themselves into the revelry with voracious intensity, as though if they party hard enough they can legitimately forget the troubles that loom, or perhaps even delay them indefinitely. They are typically found wandering the Otik or Government districts, and are known by the nickname the “Roving Party” due to their ability to celebrate regardless of their surroundings.
Early favorites for the position of Jester include:
Cormian, Yallow, Galeti, and Pheanius, sponsored by the Mayagami Society
Tae’asi (an elf, the sole non-human), Jaerod, and Hamm, sponsored by the Non-Aligned Perfomer’s Guild
Laemiorus and Hatto, sponsored by the Ssama Entertainment League
Paulus, and independent
Tae’asi and Paulus are considered severe longshots.
News About Town
- Rivu Aiasan has been spotted off Makti again. Vellucian sources have confirmed they have seen the massive, leviathan-like Godling as well, and credit it with sinking at least 7 ships.
- The various doomsday cults that have been drifting around Valenci for a while are reaching a fever pitch as their activity and membership continues to grow, the despair and unrest stirred up by all the troubles making brisk business for them. The Sighing Winter and The Sightless Wonder are making the most of the troubles, but you have also heard unsettling rumors that the remnants of the Cult of the Burning Star are stirring once again.
- There have been a number of reports of odd happenings of the past weeks. Stories of alleys rearranging themselves, of an entire block of people disappearing without a trace, of the Night Peddler being spotted, of an infectious dream spreading through the slums, of an untraceable plague, and an invisible wall in the Government District are being told in the dark corners of the city. While many are suspect in origin, there is no denying that the odd activity in the city continues (or continued, at least.)
- Roughly 2 days ago there was a strange event that you have been able to confirm from multiple sources. Everyone in the city, and for at least a few miles outside, heard a loud ‘pop’ echo from no particular place around them. What is most fascinating, however, is that this pop seems to have cause every spellcaster to become instantly fatigued, as though they had cast all their magic for the day. This feeling faded as they slept, meditated, or prayed for spells again, but left the magical elite of the city with obvious feelings of unease. Some of the affected magic users report hearing a faint female scream or the distant strands of music, but these reports are less reliable.
- Ivan and Fyodor:
Word on the Street: Not much. The King has never admitted he took them, and the Kalbs aren’t really publicizing their absence. Some are beginning to notice they haven’t shown back up when the other Kalbs were released, though
Privately: The King has refused to comment one way or the other on the heir’s disappearance, but investigation has shown the King’s Guard did take them into custody, with some violence involved. So far Duke Kalb has made no public announcements on the issue, and seems to be taking stock of his position
- Vasily and Parents:
Vasily and your parents have been released according to both public and private sources. They are no longer in the city, having been moved to a Kalb castle north of Valenci. Rumors on the street persist about Vasily being injured or harmed in some way, but nothing reliable from within the family confirms this.
While you have not seen him since your return, Harrik assures you that Ivraham is alive and seems unharmed, though tired. He has been spotted in breaking up and defusing a number of riots moments before the Watch arrived, saving many lives, assuming their involvement followed the pattern of other riots they put down.
No news. You have not had a chance to swing by the warehouse where Andrea is working on him yet.
He is dead, and his body is currently being held by Caillech’s temple while the Watch investigates his brutal and mysterious murder. The investigation has gone nowhere, as most of the Watch is busy putting down riots or policing the Jester celebration.
Nid is missing. No one has seen him since the King’s Guard raided Ivan and Fyodor’s mansion.
He is still a ‘guest’ at the Big House, though Harrik states he has been growing more agitated over the past few days. Not violent (he is still shy), just jumpy.
- Alexei and/or Anton:
You float out that you want to hear from them, but no word back yet. You do hear that Alexei is not holed up with the other Kalbs.