"Loncovitz!" "Loncovitz!" The hoarse, deep yelling was combined with panted breath as an overweight man stumbled, trying desperately to catch up with the small, fast paced hermit traveling south.
"You're Loncovitz, right?" Humphrey stopped next to Loncovitz, visibly startling him. Obviously, the small pale man had no idea of the yelling, totally absorbed with something else. He stopped and gazed at Humphrey with nothing more than slight curiosity.
"Yes, actually." He nodded and continued his fast pace, but continued to talk when he saw the large man was indeed following him. "But I've got to head south right now. I'm very busy, you see. Very busy, no time for talk." His pace had already left Humphrey at a disadvantage, but now Loncovitz had gained a considerable amount of space between them. Humphrey could still hear him muttering to himself, "No time, you see, no time." Humphrey was completely taken aback. Loncovitz was now long gone, and Humphrey turned around. He stared at the maples and oaks that accompanied the forests surrounding Dunple as he started his steady pace back to town.
"Something is wrong," Humphrey's thoughts stormed about the prophet's words, what they meant, and what could Loncovitz be doing leaving at a time like this. "He's headed away because he knows the marsh beings are coming. I gota get back, this is not good at all. He's leaving us to rot. I've got to get back to my bar." Humphrey disappeared over the hillside above the settlement of Dunple and broke into a slow run.
Loncovitz stood on the other end of the forest, on the last hill before the rolling plains of Lordl. He was stopped, laying against a nearby log overlooking the vastness of the Lower Imbarly Waterway. Great stretches of green water flowing desperately, so wide one cannot view the land mass on the other side, only a moon's boattrip away. It all empties into the Cities of the Bay. Lordl remains the last settlement before the bay, serving as a major traffic point for great numbers of different folk. Shacks littered the way from this hill to Lordl. Everything was regulated less here. People built shacks where they pleased and there were constant squabbles amongst the poor over who owned what, when in fact the Archlord residing in Garzlek's Tower owns the land. The petty know not of their place, and there is no telling them otherwise. The tower could just barely be seen by Loncovitz's eyes. He seemed to prepare himself a moment for the hub of free trade of the Eastern seas by closing his eyes and breathing deeply. Opening them again shortly after, he pushed himself upward from the ground, brushed himself off briskly and continued on his pace towards Lordl, for good or bad.
The poor would often sit in front of their houses or come out and watch passerbys. Not sure if they are sizing people up, or just cautious of travelers that pass through their territory. The shacks got more and more rudimentary and plentiful as Loncovitz got closer to the settlement of blood. It was referred to as that for a number of reasons. Many people just coincide Lordly with a lack of control, which is true, but only part of the truth. The place was founded on even more bloodthirsty atrocities than the ones committed now by the Lordl Watch, if that is believable. A mercenary named Garzlek was hired by the government of Wuntle, a free ruling region west of Dunple and north-west of Lordl, to decimate the local Huull population for reasons now unknown. Garzlek cared less for the details anyway. He and a two dozen poorly trained militia headed into the local village and ransacked it in ways unheard of to the peaceful Huulls and even the more civilized neighbors of Dunple. Garzlek not only murdered the majority of Huulls in the settlement, the ones that surrendered he forcefully starved or sold into Wuntle slavery, a profitable conquest. He had jaws ripped off of those Huulls that dared even uttered words, and was said to have watched the bodies until the last twitch of life escaped them, everytime. Garzlek knew retaliation was soon and barricaded the stubby Huull walls with wood from the forests, raising them to threefold the height of a man. Although loosely coordinated, the Huull Order leaders decided the village was a symbol of great oppression and a sign of even more oppression to come. They came to the conclusion that every expendable fighter and witch doctor was to retake the city at the cost of their lives, a very bold move for the Huulls. Wave after wave was sent into Garzlek's lap as he mutilated corpses and sprayed the blood of his enemies on the walls of the village. Stories tell of blood pools so vast they created a river that flowed into the Imbarly waterway, creating the color tint it now possesses. Now nobody knows what is fact or not, but what is known is Garzlek survived with a handful of others, standing atop bodies that piled higher than the barricades Garzlek himself had built. Garzlek then became first lord of Lordl, a sub-city of the Wuntle empire. The Huulls eventually gave up trying to occupy the region and fled, painting Garzlek as a great hero of man against the struggles of chaos. Garzlek may have passed, but the city remains a river of blood, and the sinister feelings you get from the mixed architecture will always remain sinister.
The key thing about the layout of Lordl is its askew-ness. A merging of the Huulls hatred of all things square and angular, and the sharp, stone Wuntle architecture that raises to great heights. Square watch posts around circular streets that go through great stone archways at an angle. A town that was never quite sure which direction it wanted to head in. Loncovitz noticed all this as he reached the gateway overhanging the town, steel spikes ready to punch down in any emergency, locking the outside out and the inside in. The north entrance was the least used, and Loncovitz was easily able to hobble into the stone settlement without waiting for great flocks of people. Passing through the gateway, the sun was blocked by Garzlek's tower, and soon chanting was heard along with screaming, yelling and all other sorts of human emotion spilling forth. The northernmost 'square' of Lordl is often referred to as Preacher's Lot. Named for the ridiculous amount of men, each with their own theistic, or non-theistic religion, collecting here to spread their messages sent straight from almighty forces only they can see or know. None of them were coherent, but people got their own conclusions from the words. Loncovitz often posted his ideas on paper, spreading them to people, but there was a distinct difference in the way they were contacted and heard. In fact, he was so focused in his mind and on finding Wen, Loncovitz was seen running into and pushing past men and women listening to the speeches. He barely caught word of a man selling a tonic, "Curing all ails! Remaining youthful vigor for the rest of the days." The man faded out along with the rest of the rabble of the Lot.
The tower came closer and he got closer to Wen's, his house residing very near the tower. The tower was supposedly the exact spot where Garzlek had stood when he had finished his massive slaughter, the height representing how high the bodies rose. All government business resides in the lower levels of the tower, at least what little government business they actually get done. The top levels were reserved for the high order in the town, even in a haven of scoundrels a few intellectuals exist. They were referred to as "The Harborers," a title placed by the town, whose attitude is they lack action towards any injustice. A very collective group of a handful of select members, only a score in number. They tend to deal almost exclusively with items the rich of Lordl come in contact with illegally. Items whose powers are locked away to all but the sharpest of minds. Wen does not directly belong to the Harbored, but this is how his living conditions came to be. A few good friends with a lot of strings to pull. Loncovitz stopped in front of Wen's house, sitting on a bench nearby to rest his feet, contemplating whether it was a good time or not to talk to Wen. He remembered why Wen had left Dunple in the first place. He had asked him why and his only response was short and direct. "The folk of Lordl ask no questions, and I can get my hands on anything I please." And then he shuffled outside and headed south on his way, never to return again.
Loncovitz now stood outside the large mahogany door, full of inscriptions and very delicate carvings. A large steel hoop hung to knock, wrapped with flowing designs. His heart raced and his feet throbbed on the marble ground, sore from the long trip. His skinny hand wrapped around the ring and worked it back and forth in a few vicious pounds. He only had to do it once before a raspy voice was heard inside the building.
"Yes, yes." The door was opened gradually, releasing a small creak as it did so. The man was hunched, beaten by time. His skull was devoid of hair, yet littered with liver spots.Only a few teeth remained in his brittle mouth as his tongued flicked out words Loncovitz was dreading. Wen's amber eyes burned into him, and Loncovitz was forced to look at his humble sandals.
"Yes, yes, I've been made known of your arrival, friend, it has been too long." The man paused and took a visibly painful breath. His white, braided beard swung back and forth in the light spring breeze and he motioned Loncovitz inside.
"You, boy, have a lot to hear." Wen spoke slower then ever, deeply involved with each word that came out of his mouth. "As I'm sure you are aware, or else you would not be here at my doorstep in this city you despise so." Loncovitz smiled at the old man's wit.
"It's not tha-"
"Ah, ah." Wen slammed the door behind Loncovitz, making him lose his thoughts, and focus of Wens. "Come here, boy." Loncovitz entered a vast library with books littering every square inch of available desk and shelf space, "Now I know I left that map somewhere."