If there is anything that can match the stink of the Hive, you do not wish to know of it.
First, there is the stench that is in the air. Thanks to a fine mixture of Godsmen factory fumes, the rotten flesh of various sorts of Dustmen, and the aroma of human excrement that stain the streets, the Hive is an eye watering experience. It is a fine analogy on the very dangers of the Hive itself. It is full of gangs, no thanks to those damned Chaosmen berks that rule the streets.
You look up from the fruit you were peeling at, and you stare at the rest of Sigil. It is one giant ring, just like the rest of the Multiverse. Just a whole bunch of Rings that circle round and round each other. Sigil just happens to hovers over some place instead of going around something.
Your eyes draw themselves back to the ground. The common crowds go past each other, bumping shoulders with the rest. Dirt – at least that is what you hope it is – has caked their skin, layers of it falling off with nearly every step. Their eyes are drawn out and small, as if they have lost their very souls. All of their faces are long, full of gloom and mood. They would knife you for just the laces on your shoes.
You don’t walk the Hive anymore… or at least not until today. It is far too dangerous here. You count some Mercykillers, but not even they may be enough if you find yourself in a darkened alleyway.
Why the Nine Hells you would even come here in the first place was beyond you. Were you going barmy? Your friend asked you to wait up for him here, said he’d got some good news for you. Should of have listened to your brain box and just stayed in the Lady’s Ward. You were safe there at least!
It’s not worth it. You get up and take the nearest street that would take you back to your home. Better off there then here.
You zig-zag through the streets passing under the gates and pass by the glares of the Githzerai and the Githyanki. You knew the way, but not the time. It just merged together. Ten minutes, twenty, it was all the same.
Fate would have you away from Home longer than that, however. Your eyes caught an odd site, two massive buildings, just as square as one of them cubes on Acheron. Not as tall to be certain, but your eyes were certainly saying otherwise. In between the two buildings was a much smaller one. Like comparing an ant to a big ole’ shoe. It was all round, made out of mud or something softer than the concrete the bigger buildings were.
Over the door hung a sing: “Tavern of Forgotten Dreams”. Well, now you had to go in. With a title like that, no one could refuse.
The smell of smoke and cooked meats and spiced mushrooms – is that the wondrous Uk’virm series of mushrooms from the Outlands that you smell? – overwhelms you.
The tavern itself is a great deal larger on the inside than it is on the outside. The tavern is made up of two floors, with the first floor overlooking the bottom as if it was an arena. Both floors were full of tables, and barmaids going from patron to patron fetching them drinks.
You place your gaze on one of the broads. She had a long time ago fiercely burning hair, but life in Sigil had dampened it. Her appearance was hampered only slightly due to this. She was a stunning thing.
“Ah, a new face. Well, take a seat and we’ll get to you when we can cutter. Things are a bit crowded today, so we’ll be a tad slow.”
The idea of a good drink sounded quite appeasing to you. You found an empty table right near the edge of the first floor, and you peered down to the floor below you. In the center of the ring of tables was a deva, a beautiful individual. His wings were white as snow – granted, you never saw snow (it never snowed in Sigil) but you saw them in the stones at the Halls of Sensation, so that was close enough!), and he was absolutely beautiful. Nothing was as wondrous as he.
And his voice was like a great song. Every syllable was carefully chosen, and your ears reacted to each of them in the same manner: with wondrous applause.
He stood in front of the crowd on a stage. His hand was a small harp. His fingers reached the strings, and they plucked them. His voice rose up, and he went into song:
“Attention lively ones! I am here to sing onto you a tale of magic, of wonder mystery as well as sacrifice. I am here to tell you of a People who went onto the path of giving up Freedom for Security. I, Himelain, am here to tell you a tale of the Mages!”
“Oh, and which Mage are these eh? Are they the ones from my bosom, mayhaps?”
“Or perhaps those from the Infernal Planes themselves, ya?”
A man taps you on your shoulder. You turn to him, and feel that wind is constantly circling around him. His skin is a dark blue, and his hair is silvery. He is indeed an Wind Genasi, part human, part wind element. “Of which tale does the deva speak?” You shrug in response.
“Of the Mages, I speak of those from earth! The ones who confronted the Creatures of Light and Darkness themselves!”
“Bah! A blemish on you! These be no more than fairy tales! No real stories! No truth!”
You look to your left, and you see a man in leather armor. He keeps a hood over his large head, and he has an unkempt beard.
“Sir, understand –“
The deva paused. He allowed the man’s anger to pass over him before he spoke. “What is your name?”
“I’d be Humril!”
“Ha! Would this be the same Humril who saved a merchant caravan he was hired to protect from a band of Barghest!”
“Aye! Aye twice! Three times!”
“But only after being thrown into battle by his half-orc comrade when he tried to run away, so scared for his own life and uncaring of the vows he made with his own voice?’
Humril kept silent and crept back into his seat.
“Honored spinner of tales, you may continue.”
The deva nodded. “And for that I am grateful. Now, the tale begins in the city of Boston, which laid on the eastern coasts of the democracy known as America…”