Part 29: Chapter Eight - pt.1
It was next morning, and Klara just woke up in Whirlpool, in Eva Yahns abandoned bed. Eva herself hadnt come home yet. Considering that she wasnt with Inquisitor either, it was safe to say that the woman was gone for good.
Klaras diary had produced a new note as usual:
I dreamt of her again...
... and though her face was covered by her hands, I suddenly understood, that blood was covering her lips, her eyelids, and her dry palms.
She muttered through her fingers: «No, its not the mob that searches for me now, not the mindless ardent people I loved so much but two demons, two fearsome, ruthless, armed assassins! They abhor me even more than they do each other, they want my death...
...they will catch me, sell me, give silver and blood for any news about me and they will tear me apart when they find me. These demons are: Artemy, the offspring of the Heat of Land and Daniel, son of the cold Heavenly Flame...
...From my window I saw each of them defeat a butcher in the burning Circle of Suok, and now they are fighting each other but nobody will win...»
Klara decided to leave early.
This way she hoped to avoid an awkward meeting with Bachelor Dankovsky.
Inquisitor Lilich seemed like a morning person. Impostress decided to go see her right away. Inquisitor had more assignments for her to test her, supposedly although Klara was pretty sure that whatever she would have to do would be for Aglaeas benefit first and foremost.
You came. Good girl. Todays mission will be dangerous, honey. Much more dangerous than the previous one.
What will you charge me with today?
You have hypnotized people before, and rather successfully. It is indicative of your... exceptionality. Today you shall test your power against a real monster. You shall meet Oyun, the Elder of the Abattoir.
He isnt human?
He is equal parts human and beast. As far as I can tell from the words of our esteemed boos Olgimsky, his father was an offspring of an ox and a Steppe woman. This means hes a chimera... a vivid embodiment of this town. Elder could be put on this towns coat of arms, should such thing exist.
You must learn whether he is guilty. And try to find out how dangerous he is.
Not what for but whom for... For someone who will have to deal with him often. All in all, I need a psychological portrait of this... thing. Gain his favour and learn what you can.
Arent you afraid Ill lie to you?
I am not. Your lies would tell me much more than your truth about what I want to know, and even about you. But let me tell you a little secret about you the first of the keys to your mystery. You can not lie.
Does it mean that Im a Mistress?
You might be a Mistress, but theres only one boss around here right now and thats I.
How shall I get inside the Abattoir?
The passages open and close themselves, like some sort of paranormal sphinctres. There may be an orifice, but you will be not able to go through it a psychic barrier will prevent you and even me from entering.
What can be done about it?
Find a girl whos called Mother Superior in the Apiary. Think of something that will make her let you pass. I expect you to have no difficulty with a little child. Just dont try your sorcery against her. You know how it is with those Steppe inhabitants... And with a girl descending from a clan like this... Not a good idea.
By the way, did you see? I told you Id cleansed the Kidneys!
Could be, could be... Do you think that if you hadnt done it, the neighbourhood would still be contaminated?
And how did you do that?
Ive driven... someone... out of there.
But how can I verify your claims? Its easy to take credit for something that just happens on its own. I used to know a man who managed to convince an entire village that if it hadnt been for his titanic effort, the sun would have stopped rising in the east. He was considered a saint as well...
You are going to have to trust me. Is it not your job to rid the town of the plague? If the Authorities find out that you hesitated when you had a chance to reduce the damage...
Clever girl... I have to give you that. Well then... keep doing your job. Heres the promised reward. And for your own sake, be sure to honour our deal.
Deal? What deal?
But she took money and some drugs regardless. So she wasnt even working for Aglaeas benefit, but for «someone else»... Klara had a good idea as to who Inquisitors new friend was.
She was handed two letters on her way out.
I hereby inform you that the rivalry between Artemy Burakh and Bachelor Dankovsky has gone too far. I have a reason to believe that today they sent a challenge to one another. This is fraught with bad consequences. I am worried by the possibility of bloodshed. The Bachelor knows no mercy. He is now gathering his forces somewhere in Spine.
The Haruspex is currently working in the Curriers district. In one of the «double» houses, according to my informant. Warn him about the danger tell him to leave the place immediately! You will be compensated adequately.
The boarded-up quarters are dangerous, with marauders running out of control. But Im sure there will be none of them in the house where he is working. Especially now that he is accompanied by reliable escorts from the Order. They can deal with marauders, but may not handle the Bachelors force. Make haste!
If Klara still had doubts as to who Aglaeas new ally was, they disappeared after she read that one.
I know that you are becoming the Mistress of the Land. Its good that we know each other. There are many things you and I shall have to agree upon if we are to rise above this town. Now, to put a basis for our compromises in the future, I am asking you for a favour, as one Mistress to another.
My chosen one, the Bachelor, is pursued by the person whom you and I equally abhor. It is Haruspex Burakh, who is expecting to become a votary and the new Elder in the nearest future. Burakh is running about town followed by a suite of butchers and bloodthirsty worms. They could learn about the Bachelors location any minute. The companions I have given him may appear insufficient to repel an attack.
I ask you find and warn Daniel. He is working in one of the rich houses that are facing the park, in the northern part.
I shall make it worth your while.
So... It seemed that both Daniel and Artemy had managed to enlist support of influential people. She wondered whether there would be anyone to defend and warn her if someone suddenly decided to take HER down.
But she would let them do their dance for the time being. First, she needed to request admittance into Abattoir. Even without Inquisitors orders, it would be exciting to finally see the place the Order was built around.