Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

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Night on the Tower of Verstenweld

I invited Seeks-Feathers (Strenata) on the other feathery event that I had heard of in Vheshrame.

Ages ago -- in year 3,738 to be specific -- Duke Verstenweld imposed justice upon certain of his subjects. From what the guide said, it was real, honest-to-gods justice. The Rassimel tailor Turio Bhessarde had not left poisoned needles in three overcoats and killed three of his customers in a single day. It was a coincidence. One of the customers, Gratella Isquin, was poisoned by her aunt for excessive disobedience. (The guide did not say whether she was more obedient after she died, but I rather suspect her aunt found her a bit passive-aggressive.) The second, Nharm Ossmissypre, was poisoned, along with his footman (who had not bought an overcoat from Bhessarde), by a rival for the post of vice-comptroller of treasury; public finances were rather dramatic that year. The third, Nharm Osschario, wasn't even poisoned; he was killed by a Sleeth in an alley, probably because he had tried to rob the Sleeth. A confused broadsheet got some details from Nharm Ossmissypre's story mixed into Nharm Osschario's, and he wound up poisoned in the public opinion as well.

Nonetheless, an amateur detective put two and two and two together and came up with an overcoat, and collected a few dozen heavily-armed friends to forcibly collect Bhessarde the tailor and exert justice upon him. An Orren from the city guard, one Wetwave, knowing the truth about Isquin and Osschario, fancied himself the hero of justice, and defended Bhessarde, to the point of wounding several of the more amateur justice-makers rather badly.

The populace, upon hearing more, decided to ignore Bhessarde, but demanded that Wetwave be exiled for carving bits off of many of their relatives.

In Vheshrame at the time, the authority to do this rested in the Duke. (It's formally in the Legeriat now, which is to say, the Duke decides but is not technically responsible.) Duke Verstenweld refused to exile Wetwave, saying that he was obviously quite skillful, being able to ventilate so many armed and angry people without them being able to even touch him, and that the city needed that in their upcoming duel-war with Ulmarn.

Matters were generally violent in those days. The Scented Quarter, where the murders had happened and where many, many Cani lived at the time, took to public protests. They burned Duke Verstenweld's personal chapel, which was in the middle of the Scented Quarter, as an expression of disapproval of his policies.

Duke Verstenweld was an apt and effective progenitor of today's Duke. He denied several city blocks the right to rest their houses upon his land. [In Vheshrame, as many other places, the Duke owns the land that the city is build on. -bb] One tree-mage managed to levitate her house over the duke's lands, where it floated for thirty years until a storm blew it into the city wall and killed everyone in it. Everyone else in those blocks had to leave, which evidently caused much misery and further -- but less incendiary -- protests.

The duke, of course, rebuilt his chapel, including a new and rather splendid tower. By the time the tower was built, he was sufficiently displeased with the populace and the city as a whole that he commanded that the city not be seen from atop the tower. A competant illusionist -- I am pretty sure not my half-sibling -- arranged matters so that view from the upper balcony seems to be that of some berserk skyship, a flurry of huge wings flapping green and golden feathers beneath, chasing the Star-Serpent around amid stars and gods' heads.

Afterwards, Seeks-Feathers told me the rest of the story: Wetwave yelled and objected at the Duke's razing of the neighborhood, and was promptly exiled.

Which is a longwinded way of saying that we found the Tower of Verstenweld quite interesting, and let the curator explain the whole story to us, but we got into another spat about the need for nobility on the way home.

I do seem to be getting an education from dating Strenata, but it's not the one I wanted.

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