CageRattlers
"The hand that rattles the Cage is the hand that rules the world..."
-- Cager proverb

FLINT-CRACKS-SLATE
Copyright 1999 by Jon Winter, art by Karl Mikalsen

( Planar / male galeb duhr / HD 10 / N )

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As any planewalker who really knows Sigil will testify, the impossible burg's made up of countless styles of buildings from any prime or plane a body'd care to imagine. True, nobody really knows how they all get there, and sometimes buildings do seem to come and go of their own accord. But so long as it ain't their own kip, most cutters don't really care.

Now for as long as anyone cares to remember, there's always been a stone circle amidst the hubbub of the Great Bazaar. Ask a historian how it got there and she'd most likely shrug and chalk it up to a mystery of the planes. Similar sorts of structures can be found on many primes and in the Celtic realm of Tir Na Og. So finding another in the Cage oughtn't be too much of a surprise.

Ask the Bazaar's merchants, and they'll tell you a different tale. They call the circle the "Ring of Fiends" and local lore tells the tale of a gang of vrocks on leave from the Blood War. The fiends appeared en masse in the Great Bazaar and immediately started causing havoc, smashing stalls and injuring the merchants. They cut a great swath of destruction though the market, until they came to the stall of a dao. With walls of stone and grasping rock hands from the ground the genie stopped the vrocks in their tracks, demanding in his gravelly voice that the fiends return to the hells where they belonged (Inner Planars never were that clued up about the Great Ring).

Furious at the dao stopping their fun, the tanar'ri retaliated by linking hands and performing their ancient dance of ruin to teach the sod a lesson. No sooner had they begun than the genie waved his hands at them, spat on the ground, and the whole bunch of vrocks were turned to solid stone blocks! They have remained as standing stones ever since, though Sigil's acrid climate has take its toll on their surfaces.

Flint-Cracks-Slate 

SEE ALSO:

Cage Rattlers:--
Magnum Opus, Calva Terra, Thar-yoll.
Uncaged: Faces of Sigil:--
Harys Hatchis (p.44), Tarholt (p.100).
Cross their Palms with Silver:--
Axarax the Augur can be found on the old Mimir.

Well, that was the version until recently, at least. The chant goes that a Fated ivory merchant named Grimbar Thim had a fancy mansion in the Market Ward. One day it simply vanished, servants, staff and all. Some cutters say the Elephant Lord, angry at Thim's exploitation of the elephants on the Beastlands, had a troop of them knock the mansion down and cart it off through portals while Thim was out of town on business. Others blame the dabus, who have a tendency to misplace building while they're cleaning them.

Whatever the reason, Grimbar Thim was homeless, and any builder will tell you that buying bricks and mortar in Sigil's an expensive proposition. Rather than buy stone, Thim decided to build a new house using "those old stones" at the bottom of his street, the Ring of Fiends. Despite dire warnings from seers in the Bazaar (Axarax the Augur amongst them), he paid Thar-yoll, an ettin hireling to shift the stones so he could use them for building.

Now some blame Thar-yoll for being an Xaositect, but really the fault was all Thim's. No sooner had the ettin heaved the first stone out of the ground than it sprang to life! The ettin dropped it in surprise, it bounced once, and Grimbar Thim was crushed flat as a moingo! The crowd who'd gathered to watch the spectacle winced, and then went back to their usual business. Except for the rock and the ettin, that was.

It turned out that the rock was in fact Flint-cracks-slate, an ancient galeb duhr who had been sleeping in the Cage for many centuries. As the stone beast slowly started to wake up properly, Thar-yolt bombarded him (only duhr can tell males from females, but this one's a chap) with questions, none of which made much sense. The ivory merchant was rapidly forgotten, and the pair became firm friends, though the fast-talking ettin and slow-thinking galeb duhr never really have managed to understand one another properly.

Of course, the traders' legend has had to be revised, and the current thought is now that Flint-cracks-slate is in fact one of a hibernating family of duhr. The chant goes that he's been seen nuzzling up against the other stones, but none of them have yet woken (if they ever will). It's hard to tell a living rock from a dead one at the best of times, so that's about as far as the theory's been taken.

Flint-cracks-slate (that's the best approximation to the noise that his actual name sounds like, which of course can't be pronounced by anyone who ain't stone-headed) has a number of other companions now, though he still lairs in the stone circle (defending his 'family' perhaps?). Tarholt the dwarf has been seen there talking with the duhr, when he's in the Cage. Maybe it's a religious dwarven thing, but Tarholt often touches Flint-cracks-slate with both palms and a look of intense concentration flashes across his face. Or perhaps he's leaning close to hear what advice the galeb duhr has to share on the strange gems the dwarf brings back from the Dwarven Mountain.

The earth genasi Calva Terra is also a favourite companion of the duhr. It seems the genasi's slow temperament matches the duhr's own, and they can often be seen talking philosophy in a strange, gravelly tongue.

'Course, a duhr's got to eat, and Flint-cracks-slate is no exception. His preferred diet is granite, and in Sigil that ain't as easy to come by as on the Plane of Earth. To earn enough jink to buy two rocks to bang together, Flint-cracks-slate sells his stonecrafting expertise to merchants. He can tell if a stone is strong or fractured, if a rough gem will cut well to reveal a beautiful jewel, and can spot a real gold necklace from a fraud just by its scent. While he takes some time to deliver his opinion ("Why rush? Your rock ain't exactly going anywhere..."), Harys Hatchis has called him the "gem cutter's cutter" (in one of his less imaginative advertising campaigns).

More recently, Flint-cracks-slate has been receiving food parcels of imported Gehennan pumice and Carcerian granite from Magnum Opus, the medusa historian and museum keeper. It seems she's trying to curry favour with the galeb duhr, figuring he must've been around in Sigil a sodding long time ago. Presumably, he'd have a lot of darks to share if she asked the right questions... 


Cage Rattlers
Consult the Mimir Again