Part 110: InterludeInterlude:
The Tavern of Broken Dreams (Music)
Your gaze darts across the tavern, catching the squirms and uncomfortable shifts of limbs and bodies. Few things are taboo in the Sigil, much less the Hive, but speaking any tale of the Lady (if such must be spoken) was only ever acceptable in alleyside whispers or murmured conversations in the corner of dank taverns.
Now that Jeanette Dovelle Four-Winds had proclaimed it proudly from the stage, a number of Hivers draw semicircles over their hearts. You do so yourself... it had been a habit for far too long to change now.
Mikon chews his lip. For once the callow young Harmonium guard is silent, and it is left to G'mir to vent his horror.
"Are you mad, girl?!" he snarls, "Are ye tryin' ta call 'Er Serenity's gaze on us?!"
"Well iffin' ye prefer to shout her name from the heights of the heavens to the depths of the sea, I'd wager yeh've just taken the heat offa me, lad!" Jeanette laughs.
The sullen dwarf immediately turns green.
"ThE subLIme MaDnesS of bEAt poeTry shaTters uPoN the NiMbic GLImmeRs and SigH thEir LasT!"
"She is right, gentlemen," Epetrius proclaims, "A predictable orderliness underlies the Lady's behavior, though to a novice it may seem erratic," he begins ticking off the facts on one slim-fingered hand, "One: She seeks to preserve the lawful state of affairs within Sigil by deterrence via punishment. Two: She slays those that would treat her as a goddess through prayer (hypothesized as a natural logical extension of her prohibition of deities, She must ensure that She herself does not become a deity for the sake of consistency). Three: those that violate either rule listed previously are slain by Her shadow. Given that She possesses the apparent knowledge, motivation, and power to condemn those that violate Her wishes, the fact that Her presence is not seen here is sound evidence that Jeanette's telling is not in violation of said wishes."
"Aye? Well let's see you get up on that stage and repeat that part of the telling!"
The color drains from the tip of Epetrius's nose, but he hides his queasiness with a thinning of his lips, "I have no need to do such and I certainly wouldn't waste the audience's time even if they wished. The night's grown long already. I have a meeting with the Third Instructor of the Tikilaikian Academy in the morn. We should continue."
"Yes, as I have spoken through the words of the Guvner I should continue my tale, but carefully. The Lady represents my fear of the unknown. I will believe in Her so long as She is useful, but the moment I expand my consciousness I must forget Her presence," a Signer proclaims proudly.
"Imagine the focus She must have!" a Sensate cries out in jubilation, "To have access to all of the multiverse and the ability to taste all the colors of the planes, to feel the aromas of infinite realities, to gaze upon the flavors of all the wines of existence! No wonder She is so calm, so serene! She basks in countless wonders and is in touch with truths beyond comprehension!"
Oh no, not this again. Once any idiot broaches the topic a hundred tongues will wag, all to no avail or progress.
"Please! Her enemies are the Powers themselves. Can't you see that Her power was found by casting off the false shackles of religion, and embracing the true Dark behind it all?"
"No! The Lady is the ultimate force of law. She slays the unrighteous, cuts away those who would offer false prayers to Justice, for Justice cannot be prayed to... Justice must be executed. She knows that mercy isn't even for the weak... it is for no one at all."
You just calmly dab a crust of bread on your plate, stirring it around to sop up the congealing sauce left over. Every time a serving woman offers to take it you wave her off to fetch more bread. You'll be nibbling for another few hours, at least. Leave the fools to their useless pontification... you've got a plate of red wine sauce in front of you to battle.
"She is the ultimate test... that final conquest that must be taken before a God can transcend this existence!"
"She is composed of six giant squirrels in a robe and headress using a Ring of Levitation and Illusions!"
"She is that which is!"
"meMOry'S bArbS SERvE tO aCTuaLIze tHe frACTaL oCEan!"
"As fun as this is, lads!" Jeanette shouts above the din, "Let us focus on the tale at hand, or do ye all not want to know how The Nameless One escapes?"
"He escapes?" the Mercykiller that had spoken earlier murmurs in shock. She reddens and scowls in anger, "NO one can escape the clutch of Justice!"
"Aye! Else t'would be a dull tale if he didn't, wouldn't it?"