This is the twenty-second Acqua Alta main post. Players' posts in either thread are due by 11 pm, Tuesday, June 16th. The next main post will appear by 11 pm, Thursday, June 18th.
Rather than be offended or taken aback by Zephyr's threat to the acolyte, the hegumen seems pleased, "I'll make sure Mas understands that," he says, smiling, "I can also assure you that when Mas next wields the weapon, it will be for nothing other than defense." Looking around, he nods, satisfied, "This agreement is concluded."
Piast motions for Zephyr to approach. "You may set the Heart's Echo here," indicating the tabletop, "and take the pouch and the coffer as yours to distribute as you will." He then stands up and straightens his robes.
"I'm grateful that you're so eager to help," he goes on, addressing Akaysha primarily, "but I don't wish to presume upon your good nature. Let me hold myself to telling you two very brief stories, and then letting you act in whatever manner you deem necessary.
"The first tale goes like this: there is a gambling house in the southwest corner of the city. It's run by agents of the Matchless Gang, and has been used as a lure to force our clientes into debt, and then make them come under the protection of the Gang. The house is open at all hours of the day and night. On this very night, in the last hour of darkness when it may be empty or nearly so, the Hieromonk and a few selected companions intend to deal with the proprietors about the state of certain accounts held there.
"Here is the second tale: in the midst of the 'New Field' that everyone other than the Cult and the Bureaucracy refer to more truly as The Ruins, there's a flophouse inhabited solely by enforcers from the Matchless Gang. They divide their waking hours between bullying our few remaining clientes, and telling all who would listen that the responsibility for The Ruins lies entirely upon the shoulders of our church." Piast closes his eyes and shakes his head wearily, "We deserve our share of the blame, however necessary it was, but we acted in concert with the Constellation Bureau and the Cult. For the Matchless Gang-infested ministerial offices to salvage their reputation at our expense is almost more than I can bear," he shrugs heavily, "but this tale, as yet, has no promised conclusion."
Moving around the table, Piast begins to walk back into the main hall, "We are holding a feast tonight, and you're welcome to join it. Of course, I understand if you have already eaten your fill at The Little Ortalan, and wish to depart. There will be no offense if you refuse our hospitality."