Act III: What do you Believe? Session V

May 11, 2007

Svanna’s … departure, three years ago, changed us all. In the intervening time we’d all grown and our beliefs had become something more concrete. Cy had joined the Harmonium; bootcamp was easy for her and she seemed to really enjoy the time spent with the Hardheads, serving her watches. Ludvik had joined the cyphers and me – I adopted the beliefs of a ring giver.

127 Yr of the Factor’s Rule 5th day in the Center rule, state of Delirium.

It was the year that the Fated elected a new factol . No one knew much of anything about him. Despite this radical change – Crossguard continues.

Early that morning Priestess Lini came into the temple to relieve Cy from her all-night vigil. Ismene sent a message – to meet with her and bring Ludvik. Eliath is missing.

In the raccoon household, Euge has his head in a book, as per usual. Da’s away at work and Ma’s making breakfast. I help. Dried bugs and crushed fruit. Ma misses Ellisium crickets.

At Hinrik’s forge, the forge is low and no one is up yet. The weather is OK and the sky is a dull greenish while a grey haze hangs close by, up from the lower ward. Cy asks Hinrik about Eliath and learns that he’s not been seen for several days. It’s possible Eliath might have been taken by the Hardheads for vagrancy, again.

As Hinrik goes to wake Ludvik, Cy blesses his forge.

Ludvik is slow to rise and spends time ruminating on his missing sister, Svanna. Thanks to Aiella the place is reasonable clean and stocked with food. Cy informs Ludvik that Ismene wants to speak to him. As Ludvik goes to get presentable, Cy goes to the well where a woman and Averlius are chewing the chant.

Averlius admits hes not seen Eliath for some days. Ludvik joins Cy and the Prioress meets them in the street. She asks Ludvik to perform the temple a service. Ismene brokered a deal for reading and writing materials as donations from the Incanterrium, with Averlius’s help. Factol Remader will allocate funds to scribe grammar books for the temple’s school.

Five days ago the items were to be picked up in the clerks ward. Elias agreed to help. Averlius waited for him at the Incanterium with the goods, but Eliath did not arrive. Ismene checked, he’s not be scragged by the Hardheads. Averlius couldn’t find the dark of Eliath’s location and the goods still have to be delivered. Ismine wants Cy and Ludvik to go get the goods and, hopefully, find out what happened to Eliath along the way.

They set a rendez-vous point with Averlius in the Hive (the gatehouse night market). Averlius agrees to ask Eki to meet us there. Cy drops by my place and tells me what’s going on. Ma packs me a lunch and Euge wants me to take a letter to the clerk’s ward (the Scriptorum). I agree, pack, and meet Cy at the well, where I refill my water skin.

Hinrik’s arguing with a stranger, a human about 30 years old. Hinrik claims the man was never his friend and is not interested in his business. The stranger addresses Ludvik which only heightens Hinrik’s anger. Hinrik insists he’s not selling to the likes of the “Redoubtable”. Hinrik says he’s an old ghost who should stay buried. Ludvik tries to learn more but Hinrik is stubborn and refuses to tell more.

Before leaving Ludvik turns Svanna’s mirror to the wall.

On our way out of Crossguard, we visit Wingar to ask if he’s seen Eliath. Wingar saw him last week, heading down alehouse row. We chat for a bit and Ludvik buys some fruit.

We head out onto Ash row and through Swordhold. I’m pretty much hidden beneath Cy’s cloak – it’s the best way I’ve found to travel and keep the ash out of my fur, mostly; and Cy doesn’t seem to mind (too much). We turn on to gray-stream path and our visibility is reduced down to 10-15′ feet as we approach the Great Foundry. We pass porters and food vendors set up to sell to the Foundry workers. Ludvik makes discrete inquiries. The pedlars know Eliath as someone who sells fixed up junk and does the occasional odd job.

Typically, we are told, he works more towards downward. So we keep heading towards the Hive. We pass a few “colorful characters” and try not to make eye contact. We travel onto white smith street. As we pass Gearhosue lane I spot two Modrons and I stare at them unabashedly. I know it’s rude but you hardly ever see Modrons in Crossguard.

We pass a smithy called the Siege Tower. Three’s a resounding sound of metal pounding. This is the home of a gargantuan constract called Coaxmetal. He specializes in making siege weapons. The sound carries for several blocks. Eventually the air clears and we see the Shattered temple. While most Cagers avoid the area, we go straight in. After all Eliath was clueless, so it seemed reasonable he’d visit this place. Besides, I’d never seen the Shattered temple up close.

We meet up with two guards at the edge of the ruins. They’re dressed in the blue-gray colors of the Athar. They also saw Eliath – about five days back or so. They thought he was heading towards the Gatehouse and Bedlam run. One of the guards bought a mended mug off Eliath. They gave us a pamphlet and told us about an upcoming talk, but I doubt Ludvik and Cy were interested. I have to admit I was curious…

We head out towards Sea-Fairer’s arch and cross the Ditch onto the street of Martyrs. Furling bridge is guarded by a brace of Hardheads watching over the Hive. Cy gets us through.

In Goat District I learn what poverty is. The beggars are thicker than the ash on uncovered water in Crossguard. We ignore as many as we can. Up on a set of stairs that lead nowhere we meet an old man who claims the Empire of Asir built Sigil. It was an Empire that spans worlds and now is gone. He mourns its passing but doesn’t understand what happened. We take him with us up runner’s row to the ….

There’s three-days worth of lineup by my guess. Priests wander by offering the basics of sustenance (water and bread, if they’re lucky) to those in line. We put the man in line and wander up the line’s length. We find entertainers and porters, food-sellers and all manner of people in line with the insane. It is a heart-breaking sight.

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