Vyle Tymes – 15th of Psydros, 2015
We live in two cities. Though they share the same streets and the same names and the same buildings proud and tall. Cerulean street lights, crimson flags, the moonsilver steel of the Rail – all the same. The city of Vyle: serene and shining, as clean as fresh clockwork. Every citizen, no matter how mean, holds their head a little higher to count themselves a trueborn son or daughter of Vyle. We know our city, we love our city. But, of late, we all have begun to see a second city, a darker one, one that we do not recognize, one that we are not so proud to bear in our blood. One that we walk a little faster from to put lock and key between us and this second city, the hungry city that appears when the sun goes down.
The Constant Reader is familiar with the litany of crimes that have become common in the midnight streets of Vyle. The kidnapping of Haley Westermont this summer. The brutal pillaging of the Veritas Freight shipment. The invasion of homes for petty theft and larceny, the accosting of ladies after dark for nefarious purpose, the bodies found washed up in the harbor come dawn. Over these past many months the rate of crime has accelerated. The hungry city has streets made of teeth and there are few among us who have not felt the bite in our own families.
The question must be posed: why in the largest city on the continent, the home of the most potent military force ever devised by the will of mortal men, has this quiet harvest of its citizens gone unchecked? This question has been posed, again and again, by this reporter and by many other frightened and concerned Vylians. Poliarchos Winston Gage of Tagma Brass has responded only with the most terse and unfulfilling of statements. “Patrols will be doubled during nighttime hours.” “Tagma Brass investigates every criminal report and does not rest until the guilty party is brought to justice.” “We have some reports of isolated incidents near Flux St. and the more unsavory corners of the city, but the vast majority of Vyle is completely safe at all hours.”
Safe where he lives, perhaps this is what Poliarchos Gage means.
Though there are no sources willing to go on record to the following information, the lapse in journalistic diligence can perhaps be forgiven. Most sources who have reliable information are terrified for their lives and livelihood, and what is proper to print here can safely, and sadly, be considered common knowledge to most citizens of Vyle below the rank of demiarchos. This increase in criminal activity and the furor and intensity that has been visited upon the citizens of Vyle can be tracked to one organization: the Black Cross Gang. Their base of operations is unknown, their full number is unknown, even the origin of their crude symbol and moniker remains under a deep cloud. What is known is their cruelty, their fierce despite for the law, and their unending avarice. Recognize them by the black bandannas they wear, and the all too often sign of a black cross or ‘X’ daubed on their clothes with coal or tar.
If you encounter them in the daylight city of Vyle, avoid if at all possible. If you encounter them in the midnight streets, only your own skill and the gods’ love walk with you as Tagma Brass will not stir to defend its citizens.
Whispers have also reached this reporter’s ears of the purported head of this vicious cadre of thieves and murderers, a person known only as ‘White Crown’. No verifiable reports have been made of anyone seeing this person, it is not uncommon for criminal groups like this to create a fictional figurehead — a ‘boss’ figure that both lends to their mystique, and also allows for a ‘monster in the shadows’ to lean on as a negotiation or intimidation tactic.
This newspaper will continue to report as accurately and as fully as we can about these true events and fierce dangers that grow ever more present in our city. We live in two cities now, haunted by a Beast that we cannot see and we are not even given the privilege of calling by name. The fear that grips this reporter is: will there always be two cities? Or will we wake one morning to find the jaws of the midnight city has closed over our peaceful home forever, beyond all reclaiming?
E. Felspar is a staff writer for the Vyle Tymes. Communication may be sent to his box at the Vyle Tymes Offices with further reports and news of criminal activity.