Tuesday, October 25, 2016

City of Curses: Night of Fire 6 (Past)

A #Crux story.  Twenty years ago, events rocked the City of Curses.  Maralda had to find out what was happening that Night of Fire, but things got complicated.  It started here, continued in Part 2Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

The western edge of Crux ended in a massive cliff.  The Docks below it had long since taken over the cliff wall.  Cranes, ladders, stairs and all sorts of mechanical works looked busy even during night.

But that night, during the Night of Fire, the bright light and smoke changed it in Maralda's eyes.  She, Wish and the talking dead ferret looked down at what Maralda thought had to be some semblance of hell.

Gears, smoke, and metal glittered.  They looked infernal.  Like some sort of demonic machine, even though Maralda knew that the smoke and fog only hid the infrastructure of the docks below.

"The Unseen Sound,"  Maralda told herself.  The water wasn't the same.

She'd seen this view a hundred times.  The oceans far below the cliffs of the Docks and the Skullmount.  But it was wrong.  The Unseen Sound wasn't all ocean and forgotten reefs.

"Fire?"  Maralda asked.

"It's been burning in the night."  Wish gestured.  "Ever since it came back."

"The other shoreline?  That fire appeared when another shoreline appeared?!"  Maralda couldn't believe her eyes.  "What?"

"Yeah, yeah,"  Kaze Skysword, the deceased feyborn ferret interjected, "We know."

A new shoreline.  Smoke covered it.  A fire burned, illuminated a new building.  It towered over the Skullmount and even the Tinkerer's Clocktower.  Maralda learned growing up that the City of Curses sat at the crossroads of two continents.  She wondered if it now sat between three, not just two.

Thunder cracked.  Purple fire exploded in the sky.  Maralda started scribbling notes down.

"What are you doing?"  Wish asked.

"Getting this down.  You said someone had to document this.  I am."  Maralda looked around.  "I need to go over there."

"What?"  Kaza looked at Wish.  "You took my corpse to a madwoman?"

Wish shrugged.

The two of them made their way down the cliff to the docks.  The chaos around them didn't impede traffic to the docks.  Maralda used a quick bit of psychomancy to gain a dingy.  Wish and the dead ferret joined her.  Maralda didn't stop questioning Kaze for details.

"You said the Prince was dead, who killed him?"

"I didn't see that part.  There were two Aetherblooded there, an old delver friend of mine and android industrialist."  Kaze shrugged.  "And they were standing over a corpse.  They said belonged to the Prince, another Aetherblooded."

Maralda nodded.  But she remained skeptical on that count.  The Prince, an Aetherblooded and immortal. That had been one of a collection of conspiracy theories that had been gossip in Crux for centuries.  The Prince had been the unseen control over the City Watch and the myriad of Crux's old civic Guilds.  It had been a criminal empire, really.  But it had lasted longer than known history had recorded.

The history Maralda had read anyway.

Confirming that theory on the hearsay of a corpse wouldn't be easy.  Maralda needed a living witness.  People who might've known who that corpse was.

"I need to talk to this Delver friend of yours."  Maralda said.  "I need to know what happened.  Something.  This... is history.  I have to know what she knows."

"Okay.  But before I died, that fire hadn't started."  Kaze pointed out.  "It's purple and that means those two other Aetherblooded are busy being scary.  And Aetherblooded.  You don't run toward that."

"You are."

"I don't have a choice."  Kaze looked up at Wish.  "Can I back now?"

"No."  Wish retorted.  "Not until Shraxes will is done."


"Right."  Maralda cast another spell.  She conjured wind, enough in the water behind them to push them forward.  She thought about using the oars, but preferred her way.

It was much faster.  At least, until an island appeared out of nowhere.  It almost landed on her, dropped from the sky as if by some gigantic hand.

Then things grew more complicated.