Adventure in the North 3 Tour of Hilrock - RPLOG
Anton Aldermann, the stately old reindeer is standing in the street just outside the lodgings chosen by the LongTech Company, waiting for those who want to tour the city to join him. It is cold here in the streets of the city, and the reindeer has supplemented his priestly robes with a heavy cloak, though he leaves his head uncovered. The street itself is underground, along with most of the city, though it seems to be lit by natural daylight shining down from the high, cavernous ceiling and beings of all descriptions bustle about, laden with warm furs and the tools of their various trades.
A small flick of Flora's tails, and the feline joins Anton, dressed in a thick robe that is meant to keep her warm, a smile on her face. "The other beings should be here soon, yes.
Meanwhile, Trace, clad in a warm mantle, guides Sveta into the street as well, nuzzling against her beak. "Told you a robe was a good idea, hon. Roots or no, 'tis colder than you expected, isn't it?"
As dapper as ever, Cassidy wanders down the street. Her usual longcoat has been replaced with a fur-trimmed black leather long coat, open just enough at the top to show off the white dress shirt and the bowtie. A deep purple scarf was wrapped around her neck and trailing behind her while her ears were perked up and stuffed into her tophat. "Hope I did not keep you waiting," she says, before flashing a smile towards Natska. "It'll be nice to see if they point out any sights we might have missed!"
Accompanying the fennec, Natska is wearing a black leather jacket over her blue blouse and black slacks, her gloved hands in the pockets of her jacket. She grins back and nods, then inclines her head towards Flora. "Thank you again for the opportunity, Flora. This is an exciting trip. And thank you for showing us around, mister Altermann."
Sveta allows herself to be guided out alongside Trace - dressed in thinner clothing, perhaps, but her feathers are certainly fluffier than they usually are. "Oh, I'll wrap up," she says. "Just for you. And yes, thank you for showing us around, Mr. Aldermann. You'd think things would be warmer underground, though."
Anton smiles serenely at the gathering group. "Aldermann, Miss Natska," he corrects gently, "Best to be careful about saying names correctly here. The people of Thera'Dor are all very proud of their family names!" The reindeer looks over the small group. "If we are all here?" he asks, then continues, "Let us begin with the little market, shall we?" He leads the little group along the street. "It IS warmer underground, Svetlana Kuznetsova," Anton says, "Above us, we are coming into the true winter here. It truly becomes so cold above that the trees freeze and shatter! Though it is not that cold yet." After a short walk, the reindeer stops and points out a gallery of shops along a pair of intersecting streets. "This is the artisan's quarter," he says, "The Little Market, where the finest goods of Hilrock are bought and sold." And it is true, all of the shops look quite fine, though none of them seem to advertise more than their names on little plates on their doors. Some do not even have goods displayed in their windows, how odd!
A browraise, a flick of Flora's ears. "The shops do not... Display their wares? How... Odd. Is this customary here? Would Flora have to take that into account if LongTech Industries opens up a shop here?" the she-cat asks after a moment of contemplation, her ears flicking lightly.
Trace, meanwhile, clicks his beaks lightly and chuckles. "You're still wearing thicker clothing already, dear. But I appreciate it," he chirps lightly, smiling gently.
Cassidy rubs her chin as she nods. "It certainly has been a lovely city thus far! Though I am also curious as to Flora's statement. It's something I noticed, myself! I am not used to seeing the wares being advertised openly!"
Natska bows her head to the reindeer. "My deepest apologies, mister Aldermann. My father told me that his grandparents came from here, back in the past, but I myself have not been... keen on the family name." Her ears flick and she looks at the shops, giving Cassidy a nod. "Mmm. We will have to come back some time and browse them at length."
Sveta fluffs and cranes her neck up to give Trace a quick, modest peck on the cheek. "If you say so. If you say so." She clears her throat a little. "Flora, Papa told me something about this. I'd have liked it to be some quaint cultural reason, but it's not. This is the best of marketplaces - if you don't already know the prices or what's being sold, then there's no point heading in. The names of the establishments - some of which have existed for generations - are all the advertisement that is needed."
Anton bobs his antlered head. "This is not a place for casual shopping," he says, "These are some of Thera'Dor's finest craftsmen and artisans. They require no advertisement." The reindeer points to a nearby door. "For example," he says, "This shop belongs to Ivar Gorodetsky, maker of fine crystal." The indicated shop has heavy drapes in its windows, hiding the inside from view. "When a customer goes to Ivar, they say only what pieces they need," Anton continues, "Eight glasses, four bowls, one great punch bowl. Then, Ivar makes it. There is no reason to give him instructions, because what he will make is finer than even your greatest dreams! And his prices are crueler than even your worst nightmares." The reindeer folds his hands in his robe. "Perhaps we shall continue to the great market, now," he says, "It is better for shopping, I think."
Flora nods and flicks her ears. "Flora understands. It makes... Sense, yes. Flora will also have to contemplate certain things, but that's for later, yes," she mumbles, before flicking her quartet of tails behind her.
Trace nods along with Sveta's explaination as well, an arm wrapped around Sveta's shoulder, kneading lightly as he nudges her beak again.
"Lead the way, sir Anton."
Cassidy nods slowly and follows along, yawning a little. "Yes, the larger market was better for shopping, I think! I'll have to come by here later, though, perhaps... When I'm more acquainted with what each one does." She reaches out to try to take Natska's arm in her own as she shuffles on. "Certainly an interesting place. I love it!"
Natska is perfectly happy to continue arm in arm with Cassidy; she sways against the fenenc for a moment, letting her hip bump into Cassidy's with a small giggle. She reaches over with her free hand to pat Cassidy's arm, then turns her attention back to teh guided tour.
Sveta nods, sighs, and leans in to grab ahold of the crook of Trace's arm. "Let's go, then. Looking will be just fine, I think..."
The little group procedes along the carefully laid out roads as the sun shines down from overhead. "Some of you might wonder if we are truly underground," Anton says warmly, in the tone of tour guides everywhere, "And we truly are. Hilrock is a settlement of the first comers to Promise, and our great city is partially constructed from the great star sailing ship that they arrived on." He waves a hand at the distant cavern ceiling. "The great dome of Hilrock is fully transparent from within," he says, "And it produces just enough heat to keep off the ice and the snow. It is truly a wonder!"
After another short walk, the activity in the streets increases greatly, beings large and small going about their business. "This is the Great Market of Hilrock," Anton says, "Here is where most commerce and trading happens." The scene is really much like the market back home. Stalls and tents jostle for space in wide streets lined with shops of all kinds. Shopkeepers hawk wares ranging from Shralestan spices to Maneback skulls! There is a niche market, if ever there was one.
"Here is the heart of Thera'Dor," Anton says proudly, "The place where all the peoples of this vast nation of nations meet and mingle." He points to a small plaza as they walk along. "And they do not trade only goods," he says, "That is a Speaker's Square, where anyone may go to share ideas and discuss philosophy." He points to another area with a high gate. "That is a school of martial arts," he says, "This one belongs to the Schlaufuchs clan. Each clan has their own school of martial arts. It is a source of great national pride."
A soft smile, a flick of Flora's tails, and Flora nods along, looking at the various shops, before flicking her ears. "Sir Anton... Do you perchance have an idea of the price of a building in this section of town?" the she-cat asks after another moment of contemplation.
Trace simply smiles and nudges against Sveta, looking over the various stalls and tents curiously, trying to see if there are any nice gifts available for purchase.
Cassidy hums softly as she looks around the market, giggling softly and leaning against Natska in return, her swaying tail occasionally batting against her. "I have a question of my own, actually. How far are the Dacha lands from here? I have heard that when it comes to animals, there are none better! And I seek to find someone that has managed to breed Manebacks."
Natska whistles, awestruck and impressed at the explanation of the dome overhead. "I had figured some sort of magic was at work, but -Creator- magic, and on that scale? It is incredible." She takes note of the wonders of the Great Market, trying to not be overwhelmed, and then perks her ears at Cassidy. "Yes. Tell us more of Thera'Dor, too, please."
Sveta deigns to follow Trace about, even as Anton continues explaining the city's history, but it's clear that she'd rather not be spending any more money that is strictly necessary. Just walking about seems to be good enough for the goshawk - as rich as the city's history is and as wonderous its construction, it doesn't seem to overawe her that much. Or maybe it's just her.
Anton smiles at the Highlady. "Constructing a new building within the city is very difficult," he says, "It is far more likely that you will be able to purchase an existing storefront. But they can be quite costly and are jealously guarded. I will put you in contact with some friends who might be able to help you better than I."
There is no shortage of interesting items in the outdoor section of the marketplace. Trinkets and baubles abound, along with all manner of foodstuffs. There is even a stall run by some sort of saurian selling talismans from Caldera!
Anton turns his attention to Cassidy. "There are Dacha tribes all over Thera'Dor," he says, folding his hands in his sleeves, "Most that range near Hilrock raise herbivorous herds for meat and that are suitable for wagon teams. Though I have heard that some clans near Snowhame tame hunting animals." The reindeer finds himself a bench to sit on and waves to the group. "Feel free to explore the market," he says, "I will be here when you are ready to move on, there is still much to see!"
"That is what Flora meant... We don't need a new building... Any building in an acceptable location will work, yes," the cat notes, idly looking over the marketplace, wandering between the stalls and flicking her ears.
Trace is similarly wandering the stalls, looking over the various trinkets, and occasionally gesturing at one or the other, waiting for Sveta's opinion on them.
Cassidy rubs her chin in thought before nodding. "Thank you! Snowhame, huh?" She flashes a smile to Natska. "We might be walking away with a lovely puppy after all! A lovely puppy that'll grow up to be a gnashing ball of teeth and fur, from the sounds of it! And it'd be nice to have a good hunting companion! ... Come to think of it, I've not been hunting in a while."
Natska laughs at that and gives Cassidy's arm another pat, then starts to head through the market, examining stalls and browsing wares. "Mm. I had to hunt from time to time, although most of my work was done with snares and traps, catching the smaller game."
Sveta shakes her head and tugs gently on Trace's arm. "It's all right, I'd rather not have any. We didn't come all the way here for shiny trinkets that can be gotten back at home. Why don't we save the money and see if something else comes along later on?"
Flora and Anton, though, are met with a curious look. "I know this may be slightly premature, but when should one expect the planned outings to the more rural areas?"
One stall, manned by an oversized Chow Dog advertises a plethora of brightly colored scarves. "Over here friend!" he calls to Trace, "Your lady looks cold! Buy her one of my pretty scarves!" Other hawkers call out from all over, some selling food others with jewelry or clothing. It looks like you could find just about anything out here. And that is only the outdoor shops. The shops in the buildings along the streets look bright and well cared for. Probably worth visiting later.
Anton eases himself from his seat and resumes his role as tour guide when Sveta asks her question. "The areas surrounding Hilrock are not especially hospitable, but I believe that we plan to visit the city of Snowhame and perhaps some of the Dacha clans shortly after the Highlady makes her case to the Council." The reindeer's ears flap as steam curls from his nostrils in the cold air. "Speaking of which," perhaps you would like to see the council chambers next?"
A small smile, a nod, and a flick from Flora's tails as she looks out over the area, before nodding along.
"We have enough money, hon... We can buy something fancy every now and then, even if it's Kitsch," the kite mumbles, though he doesn't appear to particularly like the scarves. "Now then, hon... Do pick something, anything. I insist," Trace mumbles. "We've got enough for later as well, so don't worry."
Cassidy bobs her head. "Yes, I usually just hunt by myself! But... I've been so busy with other things lately, I haven't made time to do that! Perhaps we should go hunting sometime, hm?" She asks with a little smile as she looks back towards their guide. "Yes, perhaps we should!"
Natska giggles, leaning against Cassidy; she gives her a hug, then continues wandering the stalls with her beloved for a little. "So many interesting things! We will have to come back and look more later; shall we see the next stop on our tour?
For a moment, Sveta looks like she's going to protest, but eventually bows her head. "All right." Striding up to the aforementioned stall, she takes her time sifting through the assortment for something suitable, her gloved fingers working this way and that until they close upon a pair of woolen scarves, one black and the other a deep vermillion. "How much for both?"
The big Chow grins at Sveta. "For the lovely lady?" he asks, "Only twenty crowns for these fine scarves! Made by my own wife! They are most beautiful, no?" The dog holds out an open palm for payment.
Anton calls out after Trace and Sveta, "Come along, we can return later!" The stately Reindeer waits for the two avians to rejoin the group, then leads on. "The city is carefully laid out," he says as he leads the way down the wide street, "We are on one of the four greater spokes in the great wheel. There are also eight lesser spokes that lead from the center of the city to its outer limit. Our lodging is on the third of seven great circles while the council chambers are in the city center." The reindeer bobs his great, antlered head in the direction the group is walking. "You can see the Council Hall from here," he says. Away, up the street is a great, round plaza, a monumental structure taking up its center. There are, of course, no gardens here in the middle of this strange city, but there is a great fountain in the area before the great building. "This is one of the four fountains of Hilrock," Anton chimes in as they draw near, "Some rather ingenious water magic keeps them flowing in even the coldest days of winter." He then leads the party up a short flight of steps that lead to an immense set of doors. "These are the great gates of the council, only opened on special occasions," he says, waving a hand and the huge wooden doors and the ornate carvings of beings that adorn it, "Today, we will use the little doors there." He points out a smaller side entrance, guarded by two white foxes.
"TWENTY CROWN? You are asking for two months salaries?" Trace cries out with an indignant tone, shaking his head and turning around. "I am perfectly willing to buy something, but not with being tricked out of my money on the street," the kite notes, dragging Sveta along. "We will find another shop with more reasonable prices later."
Flora is meanwhile, silently noddign along with Anton's explaination, swaying her tails and flicking her ears lightly as she watches the great doors. "The doors... Are they opened by being-power? Is there a creator mechanism? Something else?"
Cassidy frowns a little at Trace's outburst, ears twitching under her hat. She huffs softly and nods an apology to the shopbeing before tightening her grip on Natska to resume following after their guide. "We shall! We'll have to visit the market later, certainly! I do love my shopping."
Natska leans over and gives Cassidy a small rub with her nose, grinning, and then follows along down the street to the council chambers. She remains quietly impressed as she takes in the grand domed city, happily exploring with Cassidy and the others.
Sveta raises an eyebrow at the price, but it seems like Trace's outburst is enough for the two of them. Replacing the goods, she allows herself to be dragged along to get a good view of the council chambers - although, admittedly, the urge to say "I told you so" is overwhelming.
Anton shakes his head at Flora's question. "This, I do not know," he says, "Only that they are opened only two or three times a year." He turns to lead the group away. "The council chambers are not open today," he says, "But the council will begin their session tomorrow, and the Highlady will have her chance to make her proposal to the council." The reindeer walks away at a sedate pace toward the LongTech accommodations. Looks like there is too much of this city to take in at one go! And the Council should be exciting!
"IF Sir Anton knows anyone that does, Flora would be more than glad to meet them, yes... But for now, it is time to explore the city a bit longer, yes? And of course, Sir Brutus will have to be there tomorrow. For now... Exploration, yes?"
Trace appears to see that as an invitation, dragging poor Sveta off into the city, doubtlessly going to see about getting Sveta a nice scarf at an affordable price...
Cassidy hums softly and tilts her head to regard Natska. "What shall we do, now, then? Shall we go exploring ourselves? Retire to our room for a little rest?" She asks, tail swaying behind her all the while.
Natska thinks about that, then grins happily. "If you are hungry we can get lunch, but I want to explore more! There are so many things to see, we'll never get it all done from our rooms." She begins to pull gently on Cassidy's arm, then giggles. "Where to start?"