Broken Lands

Prelude

The Taxman Cometh

New Carlston, one of the few old world cities not buried under sand, was left abandoned until a little less than thirty years ago. Its resettling has been almost entirely due to the force of will and personality of one Morgan Blain.

Torkk had been here for some time. Long enough to establish himself as something of a numbers savant. He’d always reported directly to Mr. Blaine but had never felt as if he were a part of his inner circle. For the better part of a decade Torkk had been his tax assessor and had focused on working the towns of the southern desert. A tough lot who take pride in their freedom, his success had been mixed. In the early years, when he focused on the nearer towns, he had many wins. The further south he moved though, the tougher it became.

Corsica. It’s something of a phenomena as far as southern towns go. There’s a Marshal there, Marshal Raith, who’s managed to build up something of a militia which has helped grow the town over the years. They’ve never agreed to pay any taxes despite Torkk’s best efforts and the Marshal’s reasoning has always seemed sound. They’re just too far. There’s no way New Carlston could actually provide help if they ever needed. And transporting resources that distance to help with infrastructure… not likely. Despite the refusals Torkk had always been treated as a welcome guest.

As important as Corsica is to Torkk’s job, it stood out in his mind for an entirely different reason. Two men, one woman, and a small folk. They all have it. They all share the strange mark that covers a good part of Torkk’s torso and arm. He couldn’t help but chuckle as he thought about the time when the Halfing, Leo, showed him his.

“Hey I got one of those too! Look!” as he turned around, bent over, and promptly dropped his trousers.

Torkk had gotten to know them all, to varying degrees. Athen, Erik, Layla, and Leo. As he thought it over he realized that he might even consider some of them friends. Huh…

Torkk sat in his bosses office and just knew that he was about to tell him to go to Corsica. Which would be weird since he was usually left to his own devices in deciding where the job will take him. Mr. Blaine handed him a glass of whiskey that he’d just poured. It was a real glass. An actual, delicate, glass. As Torkk took it he had a brief imagining of the journey to Corsica he knew was coming. A shadowy pall spreads across the image.

The image lasted only an instant. Morgan Blaine was talking and it’s hard to not pay attention to this man. Morgan Blain is a big man with a bigger beard in a three piece suit and bowler hat. He talks big, is all smiles, and has an uncanny ability to deliver a threat while being perfectly polite and friendly. He is a man of power and all around him know it.

What Torkk knew already was confirmed. He was to go to Corsica and convince them to pay taxes.

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Gryphyx

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