The Reaper Festival is over. It certainly feels like things have been reaped. This city of Stragosa reaps more than it sows. More have died this forum. Some tales of those hunting herbs in the forest to a bear spirit wielding a sword, and the personal troubles of the air mage Balthazar which claimed his wife and later himself. Some of the deceased were brought back on the Miracle, perhaps the most important of the reasons this city draws people into its maw, but not all. It never brings back all of the people that venture here and die. This city reaps more than it sows.
Even getting here had reaped the group I started out as part of in Capacione. Having just come from my adventures in Sha’ra, it seemed natural to return to my home country and investigate the court. The trade goods I brought back from the Shariqyn Empire were sold for the money for the proper clothes and proper introductions and my contacts and the spices they provided made me useful in hosting feasts. I gravitated into the entourage of Lady Gale of Rogalia. Lady gale’s entourage was was abit more intellectual than the others, or at least she was, and I was drawn into it. Then, she was called back to Rogalia by her father. She lost many of her entourage then. Locals who had no interest of investiture in following her to Rogalia. It made sense enough for me to venture along as I was as well acquainted with Rogalia as with my home, Capacionne. There, when it became evident that her next destination would be Stragosa, even the Rogalians left. Our party consisted of Just her, her governess, Ramsey, myself, and a few servants. Now, Ramsey and our servants have hopefully left us without saying goodbye. The other option is that they have disappeared like so many others in Stragosa, never to be seen again. This city reaps more than it sows.
Upon arrival to Stragosa, I was reunited with my old childhood friend, Jean-Duquesne. He and I had grown up together and followed similar paths even to the point of arriving here in this city. We had always been interested in the same things and even took up the same vocations. His family was poor enough that we met due to him stealing sausages so he could eat while mine was a merchant family well off enough to send their youngest son to the Rogalian university. Now I find him in Stragosa and he was the Master of our profession, a Master of a guild, and in possibly even better fortunes than myself. It was good to see him as such. It has been almost a year since I had said goodbye to him when an ill storm moved into the Stragosa valley. The valley filled with the snow and ice that I traveled through a week later to his house. I found the dogs near starved but still alive in the kennels. In his abode, I found his possessions still there, a table set with the food he spoke of cooking after we parted that was never eaten, a fireplace with nothing but cold ash, yet no Jean-Duquesne and no tracks through the snow coming or going or even signs the doors or windows had been opened. It has been a year, and there has been no sighting of him still. This city reaps more than it sows.
So far, both Alexandra’s fortunes and my own seem to have prospered. She is a District Magistrate and I am a Master of my trade and member of the city government. Things seem to be looking up for both of us. However, if Alexandra were to disappear from Stragosa one day, what would I do? Would I flee this wretched city, finally free of it anything that would hold me here. Would I search the Throne to find her and make sure she is still safe and not the victim of some Rogalian plot? Or would I stay till I or it disappears, trying to convince myself that she deserted me here without a word and that this city does not reap more than it sows?