Resplendant Wood 23 – Late Afternoon
Blessed sleep at last. After Broken Walls relieved me from my watch we spoke a little about the fate of his captives and I left to cat nap in a shabby little inn that was snug enough once I had wedged the door shut as has been my habit for some time now. Even if the door had a lock I wouldn’t have trusted it. Locks only keep out the honest or the lazy. Wedges are not fool proof but people rarely expect them and they are more difficult to remove without creating enough noise to wake me. I didn’t sleep long but it was enough to refresh me somewhat before I headed back to Rathouse.
I was glad to see that Broken Walls had not killed his prisoners in my absence or done anything particularly uncanny to the structure yet. Stepping past a pile of mold ridden apples that had been inexplicably dumped on the doorstep I greeted Broken Walls who was understandably confused to see me given that I had changed my form to a young woman in her mid twenties whom I called Pearl. It appeared that one of the captives named Oob had earned Broken Wall’s trust somehow and was now in his employ. One other captive was missing but there were no messy signs of an execution. The rest who remained were still under scrutiny.
This Oob fellow, when asked, pointed out to us one Rat-eater and I quickly dispatched him but that left us four more possible Rats. I asked the remainder about their plans as to what they will do once they left and one of them had the gall to lie to my face so I marked his with my knife. Broken Walls objected to this treatment of his prisioner which I was legitimately glad to hear. I feel the need to test Broken Walls.
I suppose it is more than that. Broken Walls has angered me. Something he said regarding those remaining being my responsibillity since I unhelpfully left them alive. As if killing them wholesale leaves no mark on his conscience. There were undeserving amoungst our victims and because he didn’t have to kill them in cold blood he gets the benefit of feeling nothing. I feel he has treated me like one of his ever growing array if lackies and I do not care for it. Those left behind were obviously up to some mischief and I supposed that if I couldn’t impress on them that fleeing the city was a good move perhaps by putting on a show I could convince them that the chance of meeting us again would be too risky to return to Silgur’s employ. The smash and grab sort of tactic we employed here, while efficient, seems to have the drawback of causing a lot of collateral damage. My way is more time consuming and admittedly more personally dangerous but through infiltration I have more opportunites to mitigate the damage to those few honest souls stuck in a bad situation. Maybe, with some co-ersion, Broken Walls might be more willing to see the benefit of my way of handling things though I somehow doubt it. For a man of over a hundred years in age he does not seem to exibit much patience.
I did my best to convince the remaining hostages that their best option was to steer clear and unceremoniously tossed them out. If they choose to return to Rathouse I will meet them again and next time I will know who my enemies are. It doesn’t matter if they squeal about what happened here to their comrades. RatHouse will come for us one day regardless. We have issued them a challenge of a sort. Next time they will be much harder to crack.
Knowing that my companion wanted to get to the matter of sorting out his much awaited new business and I, not wanting to be caught in the crossfire, excused myself and went on a ramble. I decided to see how the denizens of the inner city live and to make myself a little honest coin to replenish my personal funds. I passed Mauk’s gate at last and handed some coins to the toll people there. The renowned cudgel of Mauk is indeed as impressively sized as people had claimed.
The inner city itself seems a decent place. Oddly there seems to be no law enforcement of any sort but order of a sort is kept regardless. I believe the bloodlines here have an disproportional number of non-human lineages as well, even more so than Grand Forks. Never have I seen so many part-bloods in one place. I purchased a kit of proper makeup to disguise my companions should the need arise in the future so I needn’t rely on more rudimentary means at the “Winter Meet’s Wind” Theater. The shopkeeper was kindly and told me of an opportunity to audition in the future. I will keep this in mind. I have been wanting to brush up on my acting skills lately since I believe that they will be tested to their limits soon. I purchased a few pints of strawberries and ate half of them by a fountain that was not clogged with sludge and trash. A treat for myself to make up for the unpleasantness of the night before. I settled beneath a tree on a throughfare and setting out the empty basket for coins began to play the radius and let my mind clear like a still lake on a windless day.
I am not sure why but the company of these other Anathema have stirred up a storm of emotion within me. Since my escape I have done everything I can to distance myself from feeling too accutely any emotion about anything. I was… Happy is the wrong term… content? Now these discordant feelings and thoughts bubble to the surface and I cannot stop them. I hunger for something more than what I had but I do not know what I am seeking. Whatever it is I must dedicate myself to becoming more than what I am now. I must hone my focus and maintain my composure.
A number of young women approached me as I played and they requested that I play at a party they were going to attend. It maybe wasn’t what I had in mind for the rest of my day but parties can be a goldmine for intel since people tend to let their guards down once they have had a few drinks. That and I need to start acclimatizing to the local way of doing things. I agreed and they whisked me away to dress me in more appropriate clothes for a party. It was pleasant to wear something completely unattuned to my power for a change though I had to use a few tricks to get it to fit properly.
The party was just one on a street lined with houses full of people employed in parties of their own. My stomach tightened at the familliar sounds of laughter, the sickly sweet smell of opium and perfumes, the shuffling steps of dancers and moans of lovers in corners. I must continually remind myself not to automatically judge these as evil people. I take comfort in that should I so wish I could tear through the entire room of these nocturnal butterflies like a chill winter wind. Simply not doing so is an act of defiance. I feel the gravity of the past here but rather than crumple beneath it I choose to find resolve in it. It is important to remember the injustices of old and remind myself they weren’t for naught. If it means I will never fully heal so be it. I choose to embrace this pain and rage and pass it to those who truly deserve it.
There was a ceremonial locking of the door at the start of the party which made me ill at ease. I hadn’t counted on the prohibition of being out of the streets at dusk being a problem on this side of the wall. I asked around between my stints of playing and learned that there are masked beings who roam the street leaving no trace of those they corner. It infuriates me that the night belongs to these ghostly gangs almost as much as I resent another night without proper sleep. I made proper note of the local styles and slang amoungst this group that I might accurately reproduce it later and listened for anything that might otherwise pique my interest though largely in vain. This night has not been a total waste but I am less than pleased that there is no safe place for me to sleep until dawn.
Resplendent Wood 24 – The Reclaimed Rathouse
I slipped out from the party at dawn and returned to the former Rathouse and was not surprised to find a fair number of alterations to the original structure. It now has a second floor and the trappings for what I suppose will be Aster’s clinic. When I entered, Aster, who I haven’t seen in a few days, didn’t recognize my new form and Broken Walls requested that if I keep changing my appearance I should come up with some sort of “tell” or password. We settled on three taps for the foot for now though it seems a little too obvious and easy to replicate to anyone watching. I will need to give the matter some thought. There are so many tactics to consider when working with others that I haven’t had to consider until now.
Aster took me aside and asked me if I would be willing to accompany her to a private meeting with Kadu, the God of feasts and slaves. Instantly I felt gooseflesh ripple along my arms. I don’t like the sound of this Kadu god. He sounds too much like… No. I will not let Aster walk into this place without me. I am glad she asked me to come along, it saves me the nessessity of finding less honest ways to accompany her.
I am weary and need to rest. The upper story has no walls or doors that I might lock against an intruder. I dislike that there are new strangers and furthermore untrustworthy ones that have been added to the panopoly surrounding Broken Walls but this morning I cannot bring myself to find a better solution to my vulnerabillity. I must sleep.
Resplendent Wood 27 – Reclaimed Rathouse
It has been a calm couple of days. Broken Walls has built me a room so that I can sleep securely. Aster has begun setting up her clinic and has thankfully decided to not go visit Kadu since we would not be permitted to bring us along. Using my new multipurpose alias of “Pearl” I have auditioned at the Winter Meets Wind Theater and have secured an income as one of their performers. It will pay better than busking and will help me keep my skills sharp. It also provides me with an alias with a moderate amount of notoriety which can be useful. I have been practicing new skills at night preparing myself for the challenges I anticipate. Particularly I have been practicing my weapon throwing using a set of flechettes I picked up a few months ago. Aster has been teaching me her native Seatongue and I have been making my way home stealthily along the rooftops to improve my stamina and learn better ways of going unseen.
I have taken to accompanying Aster when she goes out into the city to buy her herbs and such. Chaoxi seems glad for the change. I think Aster’s splashy nature makes her nervous that we will be noticed. I am worried too. I still don’t know what to make of Aster Full of Light. Her name suits her. I see no shadows within her like I do myself and Broken Walls. It is that lack which acts as a barrier. I can get no closer to her and must content myself with distance. She herself seems distant and troubled. Her time minding the weak and sickly have caused her distress. I cannot assist her. I am unskilled at dealing so personally with people. When it is all a charade and sham it comes easy enough but when it comes to honest dealings….
I feel restless. We have been at relative rest these last few days and while it has been good to pause and breathe before considering our next move I begin to grow bored.
Resplendent Wood 30 – An Inn
Today I decided to stretch my legs and clean out the lower city of those who thought to take the place of Kai. None of the fights I picked were really worth mentioning. The lower city is rife with all manners of criminal but I am rather selective when picking a target – I suppose with the exception of when one stumbles accross me unwittingly. A few days ago I encountered a beggar who killed another man about as well off to steal his food right in front of me. Were there some kind of local authority I might have dumped him on their doorstep. Instead I subdued him and strung him up by the arms on one of the shacks nearby for his neighbours to judge him as they saw fit. I took no satisfaction from it. Men whose meager existance has rendered them to the sort of simple beasts who by instinct kill others for moldy food are pitiable. Who is a Monster like I to render final judgement on the actions of a beast?
I was just leaving after finishing off the scum who had set themselves up to profit from the gleanings of children when I got the vague sense I was being watched. Acting as normal as I could I headed through Mauk’s gate and did my best to spot my persuer to no avail. I set up for the rest of the day pretending to be a child beggar and eventually went back to Fish District where I rented a cheap room. I still felt the eyes of my invisible watcher even from within the locked room.
It is possible I am growing more paranoid. Possible, but not likely. I trust my instinct. I was being observed. I know not what uncanny sorcery is at work or who my watcher is but afterwards I dreamed of the men I had killed that day going through an seemingly endless sequence of different ways I might have ended their lives. All in all the dream was rather dull but I ponder if it is connected somehow or if this is some sort of message. In the morning the feeling of observation had passed and I returned to the reclaimed Rathouse.
I get the sense that whoever spies on me has learned enough about me to satisfy them for now. Regrettable, but perhaps they have yet to draw the conculsion that I am connected to Broken Walls and Aster.
Descending Wood 1 -Rathouse
We had visitors today. The Docks District Chapter of Rathouse came knocking at our door and spoke to Broken Walls. There was a fair amount of posturing done on both sides but the general gyst is that they intend to make our lives difficult. How unfortunate for them. Sadly because Aster was present it lead to some questions about how we came by Rathouse. Broken Walls confessed that we had “kicked them out” which is not a complete lie if you discount the members of the organization whose ashes we are still sweeping from the corners whenever we clean the place. This troubled Aster who was angry at us for our misconduct. Perhaps given time she will see that we are going to need to resort to some violence to achieve our means or she will leave when she sees how detestable we really are.
At the very least she seems to harbour ill will towards Guumari. She has requested that I do my best to find him and I don’t think she intends to let him off with a scolding. Broken Walls wants me to scout for the location of Rathouse in the city which is likewise a priority. I have never hunted Gods before and my heart quickens at the thought of facing off against the unknown. I am apprehensive but I feel the razor bite of anticipation. The challenge is irresistable, our quarry deserving. Our rest is over. Time to get to work.