Even as the town criers celebrate the beginning of a new age in Lutan, you duck for cover in the alley as the new town guard stomps past. It has been less than a week since the God-King won the throne, and though most of the subjects cheer this paladin-king, you are less fortunate. The town criers' words reopen your wounds. The God-King appeared as a peasant legend foretold, and overthrew the rightful government of Lutan even as he exiled its foreign invaders. Soon, he turned his accursed eyes to his native foes, and many of your friends are imprisoned, dead, exiled, or - like you - on the run from his newly reorganized guardsmen. The guards pass without noticing you. You have escaped the paladin-king's wrath once more. You wait a moment, then open the hidden door in the abandoned building at the end of the alley. Though it is risky to have so many of the new king's enemies gathering in one place, few of you have the resources to leave the cities safely on your own. Inside sit an unkempt bunch of criminals, deposed royalty, and invaders... all trapped within Lutan's cities. Though only barely tolerant of each other's company, they remain quiet as you enter and take your spot on the crowded floor. The others - like you - are hot, sweaty, tired, and bristling with weapons. After a few more enter the safehouse, a man in filthy silk finery stands up in the center of the room, rapping his walking staff on the support beam. Baron Richford was apparently one of the few foreign governers who escaped the God-King's slaughter. "My friends," he says over the din. "My friends, we have been dealt a grave injustice. This... upstart... this so-called 'God-King'... this rabble, has uprooted us all. He has sealed the cities from our passing, and soon none of us will be left. It galls me, surely as it does all of you, to be undone by such a man. Without rank, station, or even a name, he has ruined us all... and so we have fled. We cannot flee any longer. We must strike back at him now - Abbot Brewl will explain." Richford gestured to a small, elderly man whose eyes have been stitched shut. After several creaks of his bones, the cultist Brewl stands. "Those of you of humble stock may already know this story. Let the others hear. We've no time for any nonsense." "Back when Lutan was a free kingdom, one of the lesser powers of light took a particular shine to the place. Hairn was the patron of Lutan, and his servants guarded it from such as we." "In the long run, it didn't matter. Money and power prevailed, and all of Hairn's men were done in by our predecessors. Before the head of Hairn's church fell, he spoke of Hairn's champion. Eventually, he said, some man would strike a bargain with Hairn the same way some of us have struck bargains with other patrons. This man would take on a part of Hairn's power, and free Lutan first of outside forces, then it's own ills. Then this man would lead Lutan to a new glory, and the God-King's rule would last for centuries. My allies have confirmed this tale. This creature claiming to be God-King may well be the man himself. Grinny?" From the filth in the corner turns a small, misshapen thing - as if some small beast of a man finally shrugged off his pretension and admitted he was a rat. He smiles a wide, toothy grin, "Hyeh. We've seen him, yes. Some guards are still loyal to us still. The God-King's temple is guarded by our friends, it is. I know where the God-King sleeps. His belly is open to us now. Strike it soon, and we will be free." Richford touches Grinny the Rat on the shoulder, then looks at his hand and wipes it on his coat before speaking again. "We, as your leaders, have come to a decision. Thirty thousand gold pieces to the men responsible for killing, unseating, or otherwise neutralizing the God-King. Those of you who wish to take us up on this offer, speak to Grinny. His men will tell you what we ourselves know, and will aid you in entering the God-King's temple when you feel you are ready. We caution you to remember that though the God-King is just one man, his servants still wander the land where he is not, but if we allow him to remain, he will destroy us all." With that, most of the room departs immediately. Unhappy as they were, most of your kindred spirits would rather take chances with the king's guard than the man himself. A handful of others, some capable, most foolhardy, speak briefly to Grinny before one of his thieves escort them down the alleys. ------------------------------------------------- Odwari glanced down at the proceeding from a rafter, along with several others who preferred this height to the ground floor below. The dark red of his fur made him an easy sight, refusing to remain humanoid as soon as he no longer needed to. His multiple tails flicked and twitched as he thought about the proposition... even split among the successors - those that survived - it would be a lovely bit of money. He rose the skull of his deceased sister, whispering to it. He rose the 'teeth' to his ear, listening for his sisters response. With a nose, his ears perked, gazing and waiting for others to attach himself to - a few can get a lot more done than a single person.