Part 11: Journal of The Nameless One: Part 8Journal of The Nameless One: Part 8
I left Quentin to himself and circled the memorial slowly, reading names here and there. There were too many to count, but hopefully something would trigger my memory.
"Chief, you just got out of a Mortuary and you're wandering around in a graveyard? Why don't we check out a bar or something? There's this place down several blocks that serves the best-"
"I think I remember this place," I interrupted, only half-listening to Morte's chatter.
"Why can't you reminisce at a brothel or a bar or someplace fun?"
I chuckled, "Maybe we'll try that later, Morte."
The Dustman standing in the corner had been staring at me for a good while. Despite the crooked smile was frozen on his face, his eyes were as dull as stones. His right arm was shorter than the left, and he kept it tucked to his side, as if cradling a small child.
I approached him, and his eyes slid over me. "Name." The way he spoke the word, it sounded like the tolling of a bell.
"I... I don't know."
"No name, no name, can't help you." The Dustman spoke in a curious sing-song voice. A morose moan or a hoary whisper would've better suited him. His crooked smile and tone somehow made his presence all the more eerie. "Need to give a name if you want to see where it's died."
"Given a name when you're born, give it back when you need it no more. Death-of-Names, Death-of-Names." His eyes swam across the monolith, then the walls of the area. "Buried many names here, Death-of-Names has. Tell me a name, I'll show its grave."
There was only one name I could think of, "Deionarra."
Death-of-Names' eyes rolled to the back of his head, then popped back. With a wild gleam, his eyes ran across the walls of the monument, scanning the names at inhuman speed. He then pointed at a section of the wall. "Buried."
I knelt down at the spot he was pointing at. Chiseled into the black stone, in tiny cramped writing, was the name, "Deionarra." It was almost lost beneath the sea of names around it.
I ran my fingers along the lettering reverently, quietly. No, it didn't bring back any memories.
Without any answers at the memorial, I left and continued wandering. Just outside, I spotted a woman, terror plain on her face. In her eyes, there was something hauntingly familiar, something that I knew was linked to myself.
I gave chase.
She slid through the crowd with practiced ease, dodging and ducking. A passing cart nearly crushed her as she darted away, and in the end I lost her around a corner. Did she recognize me? Perhaps. I wish I knew.
For the most part the denizens of the Hive brushed me aside or ignored me. There were few kind words traded in a dilapidated warren as this. This wasn't to say the citizens were unfriendly, most were simply plagued enough by their own troubles without having to worry about a scarred, nameless stranger and his smart-mouthed skull. A few mentioned the madwoman running about, a Clueless who had gotten lost, whatever that meant. I just knew that I had to find her.
Those less helpful threatened to gut me.
One old woman practically spat in my face as I tried to get my bearings.
She screeched about her lost husband, her son, and both daughters, raving madly before she shoved me aside and stomped off in a fine old temper. There was loss about her, I could smell it.
In every corner of the Hive there was pain. There was the tender sorrow of lost youth and loves. There was the harsh tang of hopelessness. There was the oppressive shadow of death. Death and decay saturated the air and the dust; it was planted with each brick and whispered with each breath.
What is that old saying, again? Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?
Swamped in the rough grime of the Hive, one man in colorful clean robes of blue and violet stood out like a lantern at midnight. He wandered about in a confused daze, frustration carving runnels in his face. I approached him, seeing perhaps a kindred spirit lost in this confusing city.
As I approached, he looked up hopefully and called out in a high voice: "Craddock... good sir?"
"What?" I felt like I was punched in the gut. Was this my name?
"Eh..." His hopeful expression died as he studied my face, and my own hope wilted with it. "A thousand apologies, good sir, if I have given offense." He gave a slight bow. "I am called Baen the Sender, third child of Dai'Baen the Sender. I am one of the many runners in the employ of the House of Senders."
I smiled nonetheless. It was terrifically refreshing to see someone carry himself so well and so politely here, "No apologies necessary, Baen. Are you looking for someone?"
"A thousand apologies for troubling you with such a trivial matter, but I seek Craddock, an overseer in the Hive..." Baen looked like he was in pain. "But alas, he eludes me." He looked at me hopefully again. "Could it be you have you heard of such a man?"
I shook my head, "I'm afraid not. I'm... a bit of a first-timer here myself."
Baen gave a deep sigh, perhaps one that was a bit melodramatic, "I am bound to deliver a message to him, and as yet, fortune has chosen not to favor me..."
I offered to help.
Baen face lit up like a lantern. "Oh, fortunate day for Baen and the House of Senders! Any assistance you could provide would be most welcome! If you can find this Craddock and pass along the message, I shall see to it you are paid for your troubles."
"All right, what's the message?"
Baen recited the message almost like a mantra: "The shipment must be in Curst by the third-day or there will be a penalty." Baen frowned. "I am told that Craddock will know of the 'shipment' to which the message pertains."
I repeated the message twice in my head before I was sure I had it down. Memories or no, the void that was left behind meant there was plenty of space to fill, "If I see Craddock, I will pass along the message. Is there anything you can tell me about him before I go that might help me find him?"
"He is said to be a giant of a man, stern of features. That he is an overseer in one of the Hive marketplaces. Alas, I know little else than that, good sir."
Baen bowed. "Thank you, sir. Should fortune favor you and you are able to bear the message to Craddock, be so kind as to return and tell me of it. I will see to it your efforts are rewarded."
A flicker of movement caught my eye. That woman, the one who first fled at the sight of me. I ran after, shouting a quick goodbye to Baen and feeling a bit guilty that I couldn't show him the same courtesy he had to me.
"Chief, wait up!"