The Golden Sands of Irukhtir
Life in Blanos
Joya is a junior adventurer from Dalagaera (one of the provinces of Glanacia), currently not signed on with a guild. She was with a guild until a set of her cohorts – veterans to tomb-raiding – failed to return from the desert for an unknown reason. Without their experience, their leadership, and their gear, the remnants of the guild divided up what little wealth they had and went their separate ways.
Join us as we follow Joya through a typical day in Blanos.
Time in Blanos is tracked around the city by a great clock set into the tower behind the Panarch’s palace. The hills behind the tower act as an amphitheater for the giant bell in the tower, causing it to resonate all throughout the city.
First bell (6am) - Joya wakes up early. She needs to. It is summer, and if she doesn’t get her day started, it will be blazing hot before she gets anywhere. She rinses with some water left over from the wash water she fetched last night and dresses in light clothing.
As she sets out from the flophouse she’s renting from, The Auruk are already singing out their morning rituals. She doesn’t know what it means, but it grates on her nerves, with their crazy yodeling.
Joya stops to purchase a meat pie from a vendor with a rolling cart. She has to haggle with him over which of her coins is the most valuable and eventually pays him in Thondrian silver. But she needs to keep moving, the sun is already starting to creep down the face of the buildings.
Second bell (8am) - Just after second bell, Joya has made her way across the city to the smith that made her armor. She’s not satisfied with his work, and she’s brought some pieces back to demand changes. They argue, and she ends up storming out.
Frustrated, she almost turns back to the flophouse, but on a hunch, she goes to the rival smith across the street. After a short negotiation, he agrees to fix the pieces if she’ll spread the word that his smithy was responsible for fixing the shoddy workmanship.
They end up conversing over the conditions in the city, the cost of food and supplies, and the regulations covering smithing work. Joya almost panics when she realizes how late it has gotten, thanks the smith, and runs out.
Third bell (10am) - Joya is huffing and puffing as she runs up the steps to the temple of the Praxean Church in the Dyers District. She slips in the door and hopes that the priests will not chastise her for arriving late. Other than the yellow stone it is constructed of, the temple is built in the grandiose, tall fashion common to the Praxean faith.
She spends an hour in the service. Prayers are said for fallen family and fallen friends, forgiveness is offered for insults and offenses, and the head priest tells a story of an angel that came to Äresta in disguise and bestowed blessings on those who were kind to him.
Joya stops to speak with a cleric of Adaura before she leaves. She needs advice now that her adventuring career seems to have fallen apart. He listens to her talk about the dissolution of her guild. He suggests that she take the day to just enjoy herself, forget her troubles, and let this one day take her where it will.
High bell (noon) - With the sun beating down, Joya tries to take heed of the cleric’s words. She counts her coin and decides to go into the perfume district for a bath and to lounge in a cool underground tavern. The sound of Auruk singing is almost drowned by the hubbub of the city.
She first goes to the Scented Lady Salon. The proprietress doesn’t speak Southard, so a halfling employee who does offers her a selection of treatments and options. Joya indulges herself, spending two whole gold marks on a scented bath and scrub by a talented Auruk masseuse. A blind man from Borsetta plays a bittern in another chamber, lending an even more relaxing ambiance to the experience.
Afterward Joya rushes, still damp from the bath and with her loose clothes clinging to her slender frame, to her favorite tavern. She’s dry again before she arrives. The Bull’s Brass Ring looks like a small drink stand with a cloth roof, but savvy Blanosians know that there is a ladder behind the stand that leads two stories down into the earth.
Joya ensconces herself in her favorite alcove. She’s always enjoyed this place. Though dimly lit and slightly smelly, it is by far the coolest place she’s found in the staggering power of the mid-day heat. The Bull’s Brass Ring is owned and operated by a rotund Duhorov called Pok, and he caters mostly, but not exclusively, to other dwarves.
Fourth bell (2pm) - From down here, Joya can’t hear the sound of fourth bell being rung. What she does hear fifteen minutes later is the sounds of a party of duhorov and quista adventurers descending the ladder. Their leader announces to the bar that they’ve just returned from a very successful raid in the desert, and he buys a round of drinks for everyone.
The adventurers settle in at a table that some other patrons clear for them. They take some cool drinks and food and recount the lively tale. It seems they faced a horde of the restless dead bearing the swords and shields of the long-lost Irukhtiri people. Having adventured a little herself, Joya suspects that the story has been greatly exaggerated.
After the party stops buying drinks for everyone, Joya begins to grow restless. A dark-skinned man, perhaps from Thutondy or Breddesa, is sitting in the corner, sipping off of a dwarven beer. He gets up an approaches her.
He introduces himself as Hordan, an adventurer, and says he believes she is one too because she looks itchy to be out working. Though suspicious of the man, Joya listens politely. He says he’s heard of her and of the dissolution of her guild, and that unlike the boasting fools at the table, she looks like she might have some talent and some brains. He invites her to stop by his guild’s house later that evening when the heat breaks, then leaves.
Fifth bell (4pm) - Joya is elated. By killing the day on selfish pursuits, she managed to get a lead on new work! She silently thanks the cleric of Adaura as she ascends the ladder back into the afternoon heat. The sun blazes down, and immediately Joya is sweating.
But she’s also determined. She needs to make a good impression if she want to get an invite into the Prosperous Sands guild. She ducks into an alley to get out of the direct sunlight and think about how she’s going to show them how useful she can be.
Joya almost doesn’t notice the footpads until it is too late. A garrot wire almost slips around her neck, but she twists and ducks, driving her elbow into the mans ribs. A second man tries to stab her with a knife and she steps into him while sweeping her arm-
and his knife-out to the side. Her forehead connects with his nose, and blood fans out of it as he staggers back.
The ambush failed, the footpads square off with her more evenly. As the first man tries to lunge in and grab her, she spins out of his way, simultaneously drawing the short sword she keeps on her belt at all times. The second man takes one look at it and her poised stance, and turns to run. Looking behind her, the other is already gone too, melted into the crowds in the street.
Sixth bell (6pm) - Too busy to be overly angry at the attack, Joya hurries back toward the smith she dropped her armor pieces off with. She has to fight heavy crowds at this time of afternoon. The smells of supper being cooked at dozens of inns and taverns melds with the stink of the city and the salty smell of the harbor.
When she arrives at the smithy, she’s surprised to find that he’s already fixed her armor pieces. Trying them on, she finds that they are far more maneuverable and fit her excellently without digging into her flesh at all. She thanks the smith and pays him handsomely for altering the pieces. She’s found that establishing a good relationship with the people who supply you pays its dividends when you need more gear.
Joya stops at a market stall selling fried flathead fish. She eats slowly, trying not to rush through it and hurt her belly. Wiping her mouth, she figures that she has just enough time to fetch a fresh pail of washwater and take it to the flophouse. There she gathers the rest of her adventuring gear and weapons and sets back out onto the streets, with the sun setting over the building tops.
Falling bell (8pm) - Finally, Joya stands in front of the doors to the Prosperous Sands guildhouse. They are prestigious, with a reputation for supplying and training their members well. She knocks on the door, and when it opens, her excitement is rivaled only by her anxiety…