Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold 2: Letters to Othebea

My Dearest Angela.

My love, my dearest Angela, I hope I haven't sliced my throat yet by the time you read this letter.  I don't know if Crux will drive me to suicide.  Or if it'll kill me with the its own dark temptations and sins.  I am reminded of how you warned me not to come to this place.

I remember holding you that night, in our room.  I remember the warm Othebean rain.  I remember the smell of Roses that night.  Those sweet roses.

I should've listened to you, Angela.  Instead I will make the most out of your letters.  Othebea seems a bit closer when I read them.  It drives Crux away for a time.

For the next three months I will remain in this godsforsaken city.  By the twins, I regret agreeing to the contract to lecture at Crux University.  But signing that contract has guaranteed us gold and wealth for the next little while.   At least the lectures provide a distraction from the tedium of this place.  It gives us our chance to stave off my Father's debts a little bit longer.  I have no choice in that matter.

The University itself lies atop Crux's most well-known landmark, the Skull of the Forgotten God.  The massive hollow rock is the center of the City.  It is also the center of a myriad of local superstitions and mumbo-jumbo.  Walking to and fro are the poor Ithic trying to chisel out coin from anyone who'll listen.  Each of them promises to know some secret path under the university.  Ugh.  Charlatans.  Everytime they try to ask a coin of me.  Everytime I walk by them.

Worse, I know my coin isn't enough for them.  They stink of despair, Angela.  The poor of Crux have no jobs.  If they lack magic, they aren't considered to be citizen either.  The Ithic are staunch believers in Capitalism.  They make the poor suffer, thinking a bit of an advance in this world will outweigh what is waiting for them in the next.

Worse is the smog.  This misbegotten city thinks of itself as progressive?  It stinks of constant oil and smog.  Its factories never stop churning.  Almost every inch of every building is smokestacks and factories.  Their brackish smog makes the sun look green at midday.

Oh, and the Androids.  You would think the Ithic would tire of their magical slaves, but no.  They find new and fascinating ways to use them instead of focusing on their work.  It boggles the mind at the sheer absurdity of it.  The Ithic own Androids as a sign of wealth, the more the better they think their station must be, the poor things are so common here.

We don't have them back home.  But Androids seem to be a cornerstone of society here in the Ithic States.  Crux's dirty streets are littered with Android work crews.  They work their factories.  They patrol their streets for any sign of Ainesian Revolution.

I've seen the occasional Android corpse picked up along all the other trash.  Their poorest human citizens lie in alleys, unable to get work- why pay when you can just buy another Android?  If it breaks down, they discard them like a piece of clothing.  The Ithic think this progress.  Ugh- the Twins forbade slavery long ago for good reason.

In other matters, a cabal of professors at the university tried to obtain my expertise for a absurd project of their own devising:  A delve into the catacombs and undercity of Crux.  An academic endeavour, they have invited me to go along with them.  In the stinking sewers and refuse of this city of factories, slaves and misbegotten curses they make up stories about.

The appeal of finding evidence of any knowledge known only to healers of bygone ages did entice me.  I was curious, but had refused on account of finding any exploration of the City of Curses distasteful.  But their leader, Maxmidan, he seems the most shady of characters, still approached me.

He works in the Necromancy department of the University, dealing in all sorts of post-mortem studies.  His work gets more gruesome- he seeks to find ways to release the old prohibitions against animating the dead.  His experiments on Androids seem to skirt the Old Agreements.  Animating dead Androids seems perfectly fine to the Mages.  Their sinful magic continues to flabbergast me.

Maxmidan approached me, in a friendly matter about it.  Perhaps he knew about me, Angela.  Enough to know how to best convince me to come along.

"Perhaps you might get enough gold to stop worrying your Wife hmm?  Perhaps finally afford to free your Father from his Ainesian Prison?"  Maxmidan smirked as he made that offer.  He knew far too much about me.

So now I prepare for a journey with Maxmidan and his Cabal into Crux's stinking bowels.  If this doesn't kill me, I suppose, I might find a chance to leave this damnable place once and for all.  If it does kill me- well, my love, you will at least have a letter to read.

Although I imagine you will berate me for being so verbose and melodramatic.  It won't go completely unexpected.

Your Loving Husband,
Doctor Lyam Kyringer of Othebea

PS- Please remind our Son of me.  Perhaps he might have better memories of his Father than I do of mine.  One can hope, my love.