Part 75: InterludeInterlude:
The Tavern of Broken Dreams (Music)
The night wears on with the heavy clink of coins adding a metallic chime to the slow strumming of Oudilin's lyre. While the hungry crowd had thinned somewhat by the fading day, the seats were still packed and many were left to enjoy their supper standing like ancient Stoics.
For many it is a choice between fish soup and lamb stew, with a thick piece of bread and a wedge of cheese. The light clack of porcealin on the wooden countertop heralds the arrival of your own dish: a dozen snails, baked with cheese and herbs. A light snack for the evening.
Your fingers curl around one shell and the two-tined fork pierces the belly of the critter as the voices begin to rise.
"Aha!" a garishly-clad woman proclaims, swelling with pride "I knew it! There were records of the Nameless One as a Sensate!"
"What are yeh talking about?!" G'mir snaps, rattling the table as he squirms in his bonds, "The man knew what he wanted, knew what to do, and 'e did it! 'E was a Cipher he was, mark me true!"
Scii-Tavakis is the third to speak, and her voice is smooth as a serpent sliding through the sands, "Oh please. I would wager a full measure of water that he was a Doomguard. The ruin and destruction his presence has rained across the Planes would match the efforts of armies."
A white-haired old man in dingy clerical robes scoffs, "Bah, everyone knows he was Athar... if not he was one at heart. The man's power has bent the Planes and challenged the gods. What more proof do you need?"
One of the Signers scoffs at the first speaker, "A Signer! Is this some test of my convictions? Archived in my memories of the Hall of Speakers there is clear evidence of the Nameless One's presence."
"No, a Taker!" another growls, "Haven't any of you heard the tales of his ability to seize what he wanted from the weak? His prowess is legendary!"
"Xaos iS as Xaos dOes dID he rUMble nImiC StaRs! foUR leAVes fALlinG tHe cAScaDes dO TEll sHIveRing liEs."
"Shut up, all of you!" Factor Epetrius snaps, "My word this is worse than the half-baked squabbles of Namers in the City Court. I would think that faction representatives would exercise an iota of restraint on claiming him as a mascot until real evidence was presented."
"Well wot was 'e then?"
Epetrius' lips thin with impatience and slowly, very slowly, he knuckles those smoked-glass spectacles back onto the bridge of his nose. You sip your ale, hiding a chuckle with your mug as you bring the speared mollusk to your lips. The flesh is tender, the butter rich with garlic and herbs.
Epetrius heaves a sigh. "In truth, none of this squabbling is explicitly incorrect. Tales of the Nameless One scattered like sawdust and there's no doubt that whispers of him have blown into many a faction's doors.
"True, there is one faction that this particular incarnation of the Nameless One had joined, but first he had to deal with the task ahead of him. And oh what a pleasant task it was..."