Part 6: Chapter Two - Part 2Chapter Two Part 2
The Inheritance of a Servitor
Bachelor has expressed interest in the family's recipes. I shouldn't disappoint him. Even if I scarcely remember how to prepare the mixtures, the hands will show the right way. I only need a distiller, and, of course, some tvyr.
It was time to visit Vlad Jr.'s place to see what sort of hideout the Olgimsky family had prepared for him.
Vlad Jr's place stood in the shadow of the station everything about the place was inconspicuous and felt like a hideout more than a living space. Was Vlad Jr. meeting him here in order to protect himself from Artemiy's reputation, or was he hiding from something himself?
Master Burakh! We've prepared a hideout for you.
That's some good timing on your part...
Whatever you may think, please don't take this gesture as us denying you a place in our house. We will always be happy to have you as a lodger. Both me and my sister have spent a while convincing our father that the Clot should be your one true fortress. Our enemies, however, are powerful. Your best form of protection from them is concealment.
What is the nature of this hideout, exactly?
It is a secret laboratory of your father. Inconspicuous place, but, at least, it's well-hidden from the prying eyes. I don't exactly know what sort of...hmm... activity you're planning to pursue in there, but, if Katherine's prophecy, the contents of which have already become the town's public domain, will come true, even to the slightest degree, then you will require a well-hidden safehouse.
That is exactly the sort of place I need, yes.
Also, Bachelor Dankovsky spoke with me. He seems to be pretty heavily invested in your affairs, nowadays... Regardless, he hinted that you might require an apparatus for preparing herbal mixtures which was used previously by your father. There is one to be found in the safehouse.
That is exactly the same apparatus that was used by my father? Are you sure?
Yes. You, perhaps, recall the miraculous properties that the herb by the name of Tvyr has, don't you? Do you feel the rich smell in the air? That's Tvyr. The herb is entirely rare in on itself, and, with the right touch, you can make some incredible things in that apparatus... Well, you'll figure it all out, I'm sure.
If this is my father's laboratory, then, surely, some people know about this place, right?
I won't hazard a guess, as to whether Isidore brought any of his pupils or, even, strangers there or not, but, knowing his personality, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If I had to guess, though, I'd say no I, myself, have only found out about due to a sheer coincidence. It's very well-hidden.
Very well, show me where it is.
The hideout was located in the southern part of the Factories. Artemiy walked through there yesterday the place was fairly empty and the only noise in the area came from the factory itself. It wasn't a pleasant spot, and that, perhaps, meant that not too many people would be there. Good.
Artemiy got slightly turned around, having ventured out into the steppe to gather some Tvyr, but, having not found any, he soon returned on track towards the hideout.
This looked like the correct building. Artemiy stepped inside.
Track 3- Burakh's Hideout
Vlad Jr. was already waiting for him inside.
The place is at your disposal. Settle in.
Are you sure that this is the place where my father worked?
Yes. I was only here once, myself. There was nothing here back then, except for the table with all those devices. I can see, that Isidore has spent a lot of time here... Maybe, even some nights.
If it was actually him...
It can't be anybody else.
I hope so. What is that bulky structure, there in the corner?
Actually, that is the distiller that we've talked about. It seems, that, originally, the intended use of this device was different, but your Father has adapted it for something else... That's where the herb turns into an extract.
It doesn't quite look like a laboratory instrument, to me...
He said, and I quote, that Tvyr isn't capricious. A strange statement, in my opinion I'd say otherwise, myself. I think you'll figure it out how to mix the juices with ether, how to extract the oil, how take care of this beastly construction. You'll find it all in his diaries.
Indeed, I'll probably figure it out.
Artemiy looked around there was a rather strange device on the table that he couldn't, quite, make heads or tails of.
What is that device on the table?
I'm not sure, but, I think, that Isidore used it to work with organic materials with the tissues of animals, for one. He extract the required reagents from them using it, I believe.
How does one use it?
I don't know for sure. Rubin said that an organ, containing the cultures of a microbe, is placed in one slot, while one of the Tvyr mixtures is poured into the other. As a result, you get something that he endearingly called a bouillon. There were other devices here a microscope among them, for one...
Where are they now?
Perhaps, they were taken by his pupils. I've no clue, myself.
Great, now I feel like a rich heir.
There wasn't much to be done about the missing instruments. Artemiy looked around the place and found a couple of blades of Tvyr luckily, just enough to make his first extract.
The process was not at all difficult, nor time-consuming. Soon enough, he had a working extract.
This was all he needed time to head back to the Bachelor to show him Artemiy's work.
To get to the Stone Yards, Artemiy cut through the steppe to meet one of the worms in the swamp and beef up his stock of Tvyr and, perhaps, trade with one of the Worms. Something told Artemiy that he will make a lot of extracts in the coming days. On the way, when the clock struck 3 PM, Artemiy found a new letter in his possessions.
I was told that you are one of the only odonkhe that were left alive after the day-before-yesterday's slaughter. Come to the den on the embankment. We'll have a chat.
Enigmatic, unhelpful and thoroughly unrevealing - what an entirely unusual style for the town's inhabitants.
Artemiy would visit the den, out of simple interest and because he still had some time to kill, but not right now.
This was the path, by which Artemiy came into the town. He wasn't tempted to leave, not quite yet, but the town starting to bear down on him.
This was unusual Ospina told Artemiy that there were three Worms out in the Steppe in total, one per tent. One of the worms looked relaxed, but the other one was positively brimming with worry. Artemiy approached him.
Ah... Here comes the Servitor, here comes the knower of lines. Do a favour for me, if you would, and I won't be left in debt.
What do you need done?
I am a gatherer and an oinon. My wisdom is known, I know the combinations of herbs. My daughter is a Bride and knows how to summon the herb from the Earth. She does it well look at the Summer we had! I sold my daughter for a good price, sold her to this Gatherer here.
Having spent quite a bit of time outside of the Steppe, Artemiy wasn't used to the customs of the bride price. He didn't look too kindly upon the custom, either.
What sort of price did you put on your daughter?
He is a hero. He killed the apostates, killed the traitors. Returned to Earth those, who sold my secrets to the outsiders. You see? My daughter didn't return to his house as a wife. She doesn't want to bring him wealth, summon the herb for him.
So? What do you want from me?
There are three young Gatherers left around here. She is with one of them. One is to the right from here, near the Vein. The other one is to the left near the Throat. If you find her, convince her to submit I'll be grateful. Will tell you a secret of the herb. If you want, I'll tell you two of them.
What, so she won't listen to you, but she'll listen to me?
You are a Servitor. You know the lines. Tell her, that the line of her fate runs here. Then, she'll listen.
Well... Maybe, I will talk to her...
The Bride of the Gatherers
I recall, that these Tvyr sisters take care of the herbs and, perhaps, help bring a good harvest. They are frequently sold and loaned out that is considered normal around here. They bring in the profit to their odonkhe. The Swamp Worm asks me to return his Bride to him it isn't a personal matter, but, purely, a matter of business.
Artemiy would check the tent of the Worm that lives near the graveyard first, but not before giving Dankovsky a sample of the Tvyr mixture.
Artemiy, not without a hint of vanity, was keenly interested in showing the Bachelor that his bloodline's healing ways work. Still, knowing the scientific basis behind their healing properties wouldn't hurt at all.
I've managed to create a sample of one of the mixtures. Take a look. What can we do with this?
Dankovsky's tired eyes lit up and he took the sample to the microscope, not without excited anticipation.
Dankovsky didn't take too long examining the sample. A bad sign, perhaps?
Just as I thought... A natural reagent. Tomorrow, I'll try to obtain a specimen of the microbe from some dead tissue. When I find it, I'll treat it with this mixture. It's not unlikely that we can use this to cleanse the blood of the infection. If that works, then we should be able to cure even the ones who are gravely ill.
I'll get to making more of these, then.
If only we had a distiller and something to cleanse the dead tissues, then we could try creating various reagents... Sooner or later, we'd find the cure.
Well, that isn't as hard as it looks. Consider that I have all those things already.
For the first time in two days, Artemiy saw Dankovsky brighten up. Not too much, mind you, but just enough.
Do you, now? Well, then get to experimenting, then, Burakh. Research the recipes, create the extracts, treat infected organs with them. You should create something not unlike an antibiotic. Bring the results to me, we'll see what effect they have. Come to me when you have the first result. I, on my part, will look for the dead tissue.
So, these antibiotics will be a sort of a prototype of the panacea? Very well... If I get any good mixes, I'll bring them to you for testing.
The Inheritance of a Servitor
So, I have finally came into my father's inheritance. As expected, in it I have found an obligation and the key to fulfilling that obligation. Recipes of the Tvyr mixtures. It seems, that I will have to scour the notes in my inheritance many times over, in the coming days...
While the initial the initial mixtures that Artemiy created were effective in on themselves, he would need help if he were to create the Panacea. Since Bachelor was in charge of looking for the tissue, Artemiy decided to give him a nudge in the right direction.
If you're looking for the dead infected tissue, I can give you a lead. Go to my Father's House. It's located in the Curriers.
Oh? Why there?
I was there before. It's infected.
I'm sorry to hear that... Still, if what you're saying is true, then you have helped me immensely!
I'm glad to be of help, oinon. You're doing good work.
Two minds are better the one, and it looks like these two minds were entirely capable of stopping the infection even before it has started its dire work.
Until Dankovsky obtained the samples of dead tissues that he was looking for, there'd be no new breakthroughs on that front, which meant that Artemiy was free to attend to the less-serious matters. First, he decided to humour this enigmatic A. St. figure.
The Den, according to the map, was located near the Saburov house, which meant that the route took Artemiy through, largely, the same scenery as earlier in the day.
The front door to the house was barred and only the basement door was open. Artemiy opened the door and stepped inside.
Track 4 Andrey's Pub
Not quite as seedy as the warehouses, but fairly seedy, all the same. Artemiy sought out the seeming owners of the establishment a task, that wasn't particularly hard to accomplish.
Ah... I see a formidable fighter before me...
What, are you a soldier or an inquisitor, or something?
No, I'm an architect. At the same time, I'm one of the most dangerous people in this town.
Well now... Here I thought that I the most dangerous fellow in this town was myself.
Want to dispute my supremacy, do you ? Let's start the competition, then.
I can say, without any divination, that you will outdrink me. No need for a competition.
Ha! You're a joker, too. No, these sort of disputes don't get sorted out by vodka. Instead, let's see who can kill the most people in a short period of time. In, let's say, ten days?
Now, in that category, I will outpace you. No need for divination there, either.
I'll bet my ring finger against your eye. Deal?
I'll think about it...
Artemiy couldn't take the man seriously the fellow looked like an absolute bookworm. He also described himself as an architect, too a profession that doesn't lend to ferocity. Was it all an elaborate act, and, if so, why?
Well, actually forget about it. Me and my brother we're leaving this damned place behind us. All the property will be given away, damn it all to hell! Hell, I can give it all to you right now the moment is fitting, after all. Have you noticed how all the prices have skyrocketed? A ripe time for profiteering if there ever was... If you have the starting capital, you can be a millionaire by the evening.
If the plan is so foolproof, you could execute yourself, you know...
Oh, I don't need it. I am a rolling stone. I only have to grab my brother, and the Devil can sort out the rest. We'll be alright, that's for sure.
So the property... Are you really going to give it away?
Well, I have money. A lot of money. Four thousand, to be precise. I only want a trifle for the. I need some brown Tvyr. Ten bushels of it, nothing less. Straight, clean ones. No rot, no colour. If you can, get me the named ones, but that isn't necessary. The Brown one will come straight to you, anyway. You're a menkhu, after all. Deal?
If you're so rich, why can't you buy it from someone else?
Well, I had a bit of a tiff with the Worms recently. All my plotting got uncovered and... well, in the end, they started butchering each other for selling the tribal secrets. Now, they don't trust me.
At first, the fellow amused him. Now, Artemiy really wanted to take him up on his bet and start with him.
Why should I care, exactly?
What, you didn't get me? With my capital, you can buy a lot of goods and sell them for three times the price... in one of the stores. One of my contacts tipped me off.
Like I'm going to tell you that easily... Don't worry, my source is a reliable one. Besides, Victor won't let me down. Everything is straightened out with Kains... not that they would care about speculative trading right now.
The man, rather unceremoniously, shoved a shot glass of liquid in Artemiy's hand. It looked smokey, unclear something not unlike absinthe, but with a brown texture. It smelled vaguely like the mixture that was the result of distillation of the Tvyr herbs. Was this the reason why the man wanted the secrets of the Tvyr so desperately?
Do you agree? Come on, raise your glass! Well?
Artemiy's dislike for the man was intense, but, times being what they are, he could really use the money.
So, you want ten bushels of brown Tvyr? Very well. I'll come back later, in the evening.
Artemiy downed the glass. The drink tasted like a mixture of bitter spice and ash. It was, without question, not Artemiy's cup of tea. Still, it could be useful for the creation of the Panacea. Artemiy raised the bottle and looked at the clearly bootlegged labeling.
Interesting, very interesting. Artemiy put the now empty bottle in his pocket. Before leaving, Artemiy spoke with the quieter man, who seemed to be the belligerent fellow's brother.
Me and my brother, we don't see each other too often in the last couple of weeks... We live right next to each other, too it seems, I can outstretch my hand, and there he is, right next to me... I think, he's right it's time to leave...
The two of you are you from the capital?
Yeah... You know, when they invited us here about ten years ago, it was nobody in the capital knew about tvyrin. I came here for tvyrin, you know. Gather as much as you can for us, herbalist!
Why don't the two of you gather it yourselves?
You're joking, right? The herb won't surrender itself to us. That's a fact, proven many times over. It hides from strangers. Myself, I thought that was a myth, at first, but, nope... Well, why am I explaining it to you, anyway?
Well, you're right, there.
Talking with the Architect's brother had a soothing effect on Artemiy. He was sure that, together, the two of them have a balancing effect on each other. Knowing that, he didn't feel as bad working for the Architect, as he previously did.
The Brown Tvyr
The Architect from the den wants to receive ten bushels of brown tvyr.
Succinct, and to the point. Artemiy headed to the Worm, whom he has visited yesterday, to trade for the tvyr that he would give to the Architect.
It seems, that the Worm wasn't alone.
I know your smell. You smell like the autumn soil, and like the smell of the burning leaves.
And you smell like milk. I've come to speak with you, Bride.
My father sent you! I know, he is the one who sent you. Don't separate me from my beloved tell him that you haven't found me. I'll enrich you with many herbs for his, lots of different ones. I can summon them, you know.
Do you know how to make the mixtures, though?
No... Father knows, but he doesn't know much, and only the simplest of mixtures. He won't reveal them to you, anyway. Don't wait on him to share his knowledge.
Serving The Order didn't mean going along mindlessly with its ways... Perhaps, in challenging the path of the Order, he would serve them better, than upholding them. Artemiy has seen much slaughter done by the members of the Order in the name of jealously protecting the gifts the Earth has bestowed upon them. It was time to start breaking the tradition, and Artemiy was about to dislodge the first brick.
Very well, you can stay.
She grinned at him and left. While Artemiy was working out the arrangements of the trade with the Worm, she came back with a lot of valuable, rare herbs.
The Bride of the Gatherers
They say, that the Odonkhe take part in the maelstrom of blood and juices between the Earth and its children. They don't belong to themselves, just like their brides. However, the Earth is wiser than the people, and the Brides hear Its will better than the odongs. If she left, that means that the Earth wills it.
With the herbs in tow, Artemiy headed back to the den.
The day was coming to a close - it was going to get dark soon.
Artemiy descended the stairs once more, and entered.
It seems, that someone was expecting him.
Ah, it seems that you are not from here, man of the Order. I haven't seen you in these parts before...
I think you have. Perhaps, you don't remember me?
No matter. I see that you're going to the architects. Are you the fellow, whom they asked to gather herbs for the road?
Indeed, I am.
Are you an odong? How did you escape the carnage? All of you, it seems, have been killed off three days ago, and the rest were sealed in the Apiary.
I'm not an odong, I'm a menkhu.
Shhh! Be quiet... Listen to me, olghoi! Architects are preparing to leave our city. I want them to stay. Tell Andrey, that you've managed to uncover the secrets recipes of the deceased Isidore... Right now, everyone is hunting after those secrets they say, that Saburov has confiscated his inheritance.
You know, that they can see us whispering, right?
The woman was too consumed, by what she clearly believed to be a masterful scheme, to pay attention to Artemiy's comment.
If Andrey demands proof, then I'll give you one of the recipes. It costs a fortune, but I'm ready to make that sacrifice for this scheme. And, of course, any profit that you stood to make, I will compensate. I come from a rich family you ought to know. Well, do you agree?
The recipe was a bit more important to Artemiy than money, for it could mean being one step closer to the Panacea. With this in mind, Artemiy decided to play along with the woman's flamboyant scheming.
Very well, I'll try.
Plain as the nose on one's face
Is it possible that they won't leave this town just because of a herb? Unlikely, but I can try...
Well, Steppe fellow, shall we flex our proverbial muscles?
Why are you so sure of yourself, Architect?
Why? Because I have the will to kill in me. It is easy for me to deprive a living being of its life. Living beings can feel that, and the fear paralyzes them, allowing me to make the first strike.
It isn't enough to have the will one has to know how to do it, too.
If one has the will, then it won't take them too long to find the fork in their hand. Besides, I know where to stab with it. That's a skill I have an artistic one, you might say...
Really now? You won't kill a bull with a fork.
Well, that depends on the bull. I might not kill him, but I will make him serve me, that's for true.
You don't seem to know a whole lot about bulls...
I'm telling you all this, Steppe-fellow, so that you know what you can expect of me. Some day, this might be useful to you.
We'll see. By the way, builder - I have some news for you, regarding the recipes.
I'm not a builder, I'm an architect. Old recipes or new recipes?
New recipes. I found some in the father's inheritance.
And? You mean to tell me that you'll be making new batches of tvyrin?
Very likely, yes.
Well, now one can stay a bit more for news like these. For now, let's see what you manage to make.
Oh, I'll manage something. Will you like it? Now, that is an entirely different matter.
The Brown Tvyr
The offer of the Noblewoman was more attractive. Perhaps, that means that I will talk with these two more in the future?
Plain as the nose on one's face
Well, it seems that Andrey is staying. Still, this entire affair is as plain as the nose on one's face...
It was time to grace the noblewoman with pleasure of a scheme well executed, however silly and transparent it may have actually been.
The Architects are staying.
You are wise, olghoi. Here is the money that was promised to you, and the recipe that Isidore Burakh prepared for Simon. That was before he left for the Steppe. Why are you looking at me like that? Do you even know who Isidore Burakh was? This recipe is worth five years of your life, olghoi!
Artemiy did not have any desire to explain who he was, or just why did he look as angry as he did, when he took the payment, the recipe and left this godforsaken den behind him. At least, the Tvyr he procured could be put to better use in the mixtures.
Plain as the nose on one's face
Why did she need an intermediary, anyway? Perhaps, the entire trick rested on the fact that it was me, a menkhu, one of the Order?
This was an episode full of vanity, powerless anger and stupidity. It was also an episode that Artemiy couldn't wait to put behind him. With the toils of the day done, it was time to head to the safehouse.
With the dusk of the day, the rain started, once more.
Safe and warm inside, Artemy suddenly felt the fatigue inflicted upon by this day's work. Before the would continue his experiments with the Tvyr mixtures, he would rest. He has earned it.