I come to you very conflicted about the events of the past day, Diary. Writing to you usually helps me to sort out my feelings on things (since you are such a good listener :) ), but I am not sure that it will entirely help this time.
Today started a bit worryingly: Broken Walls and Saiten had not yet returned from their quest to seek out the nature of the ‘Improvement Project’. I know that they are both quite capable, but I am always concerned when my friends go away to do something potentially dangerous. Thankfully, I had other things to occupy my mind that morning, including a rather strange request from Piper.
Piper asked me to take a strange and dangerous looking silver dagger, which it seems was one of the ones Akkimu’s followers use, to Hatelis in order to ask him what he might know about the nature of the contract placed upon one who uses it. This was a good idea; since he is, after all, the god of such things. Piper then asked of me something which made me less distracted from worry: how did I feel about my outing with Hatelis the other day.
I have gone on at length with you about this, Diary, and I explained the gist of it to Piper: I am unsure of his feelings towards me, mine towards him, and feel quite out of place in his world.
Piper then gave me some very good advice on this point, Diary: perhaps this world, which I had such a hard time conceiving of needing more light actually does in fact need mine. It may be a place of excess, and glamour, but perhaps because of this, its light is a false one. I may need to invest time into teaching those in the richer districts that light does not come from jade and jewels, but from compassion and good-will.
To that end, I have decided that I will go to the Gala. I intend to find some there who can be convinced to help me with my next project for the slums, and orphanage for the children who are displaced there.
Before I went to speak with Hatelis, I wanted to find a more suitable gift for him than the one I had given last time, or at least one that was more personal. I had decided upon a music box, which would be something that he might enjoy, given his admiration for foreign music, and something that we would share an interest in….. which might perhaps make him think of me when he used it……
Anyway, I actually had quite a hard time finding something suitable. The only one that I could find that was not either too pompous or too soft was one that was broken, so I decided to take a chance on it being something suitable, and also on the chance of someone being able to fix it.
I returned back to the House to find that Broken Walls and Saiten had thankfully returned safely. It seems as though the project is a labour camp in a quarry where the participants are promised a ‘bag of silver’ in exchange for a year’s servitude to the place! This does not seem fair, and we shall have to address this soon, but, unfortunately, it would have to wait. There would be more pressing concerns for this day….
As expected of a man of his remarkable talents, Broken Walls seemed to see instantly what was wrong with the little music box. He seemed hesitant about it when I first told him of it, but I was confident that there was little he couldn’t fix, and was not in the wrong. With this wonderful feat completed, I set off to meet Hatelis, to both ask him his advice on starting my orphanage… and the less pleasant task of asking him about the silver knife.
Hatelis seemed quite pleased with the little box, though in remarking on the song itself he once again reminded me of the difference in our levels of experience. I cannot even imagine the things he must have been able to see and experience over the years; even if he has mostly stayed in the area of the city, it must have been amazing to see all of the things coming and going from it, its changes and triumphs… it does make me feel somewhat inexperienced in comparison, but I look forward perhaps one day to hearing about all of the wonderful things that he may have seen and done. And who knows, given the length of time that Broken Walls seems to have lived, perhaps I will get to do my fair share of experiencing as well.
He seemed a bit more cautious with regard to the proposal of asking members of the gala for help with the orphanage, but I think perhaps he just did not want to get my hopes up about my chances of finding many there to contribute. He did, however, offer to introduce me to those who might be willing, for which I am terribly grateful.
My last request, information about the dagger, however, was met with considerably less enthusiasm, as expected. What I did not expect was the level of fear he seemed to show for it. I am not sure entirely what this knife must mean, but he seemed barely comfortable with it out of the bag I carried it in, let alone seeing it slightly unwrapped.
Honestly, I half-expected him to simply say he could give me no information about it. Perhaps, looking back, it would have been better, safer, surely, if he had not. He told me before seeing it that there would be no hurt feelings about it, but now I feel more worried about hurt him than hurt feelings…. He gave me an envelope, and told me to open it only when none of his kind nor mine were going to see its contents. Then he said farewell.
I have never seen him so concerned. I feel… guilty. What if I have put him in danger by asking him these things? What if he is hurt because I abused the growing friendship between us? Why did he reveal anything to me at all? If he is threatened because of me….or worse…. Perhaps I should stop seeing him until we have resolved this…..
I came back to the House, where everyone had gathered. I told them what he had said to me about the dagger, and gave it back to Piper. The others agreed that I should read the letter first before we discussed anything further, so I went to my room.
I drew the shutters, and lit the fire to see by. I drew my light to me, and called upon any spirits that might be watching to reveal themselves, but none came forward. My hands shook a bit as I opened it, fearful of what it may reveal.
There are no graveyards in Champoor
What is Akkimu doing with the bodies? If Hatelis meant this as some dangerous clue to what was happening in the city, Akkimu must be doing something with those she has killed, must be eating them or using them in some dark ritual or… or….
I burned the note, fearing for what its reveal to those he wished it hid from might do to Hatelis.
When I revealed what it had said to the others, Piper revealed something more startling: the contact she had spoken of who knew of the dealings of Akkimu had been one of her agents, who was trying to tempt Piper to become the same! The dagger Piper had was used to take the souls of those it killed in order to give them to Akkimu (I think), which somehow just made the lack of graveyards in the city that much more chilling. What was happening to the bodies?
Piper told us he had a meeting scheduled with his contact, Lang, tonight, and that it was to be their last before a ‘decision’ was to be made. Broken Walls believed this to be a trap that Piper would not walk away from, even if he refused to become Akkimu’s servant. Lang was supposedly a quite able opponent, practicing a similar style of fighting to Piper, and in command of some spirits that were also in Akkimu’s employ. It was far from ideal, but we would have to use Piper as bait to allow us to find this Lang…. and put an end to her.
Death is sometimes necessary, Diary. When the pain is too great, when the suffering is unending… sometimes all we can do is end it. I am far more uneasy about this end than I am about those I have helped with before; if we had more time, more options, and if her master were not so terribly dangerous, then maybe… maybe we could have made a plan to save Lang. Perhaps it won’t come to it. But it probably will. I don’t imagine Lang, as the willing servant of a god of death and murder, would be willing to surrender and renounce her deity. Not as readily as would be necessary, anyway. If She were somehow able to alert Akkimu to our plans, we might be putting every one of us in danger, especially Piper, who was the one to deceive Lang in the first place. Not to mention, who knows what wrath may be exacted upon the city in the ensuing fight for our lives?
It still sits… uneasily on me, Diary. I have chosen not to protect one who I maybe, under different circumstances, could have saved, and it fills me with great sorrow.
But this will have to be dealt with later. For now we wait for our signal from Broken Walls that Piper is in position, so that we may save the city from Akkimu’s assassin.
…………..what do they do with the bodies?