“Magistrate, can you hear me?” Kasita touched Thane’s shoulder. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
He groaned. “Jethan, is that you? It hurts. I’m just…” His eyes fell shut, but his breathing steadied.
“We need to get this man to a temple.”
“What about the last tower?”
“I can fly there on Charon, and — wait, Cordwynn is an ogre. Even a giant raven can’t carry her.”
Chapton perched on a wooden framework on top of a hundred-foot obelisk, and glared at an idiot. “Why are you trying to kill this ogre, anyway?”
“She’s been corrupting minds!” The woman stamped her boat-hook on the stone for emphasis. “Distracting the young from their work!” Stamp! “And she is unbelievably aggravating.” Stamp! She pointed the hook at a bound figure hanging from the scaffold.
The ogre twisted around in her bonds. “Do not waste your breath on words. If I ought to die, kill me.”
Chapton sighed. This had already been a long day.
The flooding had done a lot of damage in the Joy district. Soldiers and bartenders, humans and gillmen had all pitched in over the past month to make repairs. The improvement was remarkable.
Jethan scraped the last shovelful of sludge out of a basement, and looked up. The soldier next to them was staring at their blue skin. “Are you Jethan?”
“Magistrate Thane asked me to give you this.” He handed them a small ivory plaque.
A month has passed since the meteor strike, and life has returned to normal.
Vinnie, Wildflower & Igor
After they restored him to life, Vinnie and Wildflower got on well with the marching-band member, Igor. The three have become fast friends, and are often found relaxing at Igor’s house of an afternoon. Igor may be a little greyer-faced than before, and a little stranger, but his hospitality cannot be faulted.
This afternoon, though, their relaxation was interrupted.
“You have to come at once!” The giant’s “whisper” was far too loud. “It’s Meth’s experiment. It’s attacked him.”
Wildflower & Vinnie
Wildflower stood up from the trophy-goblet of ambrosia, still burning. Cordwynn met their eyes from the ring. “Do we keep wrestling?”
The referee raised her hands, unsure.
“No matter. I concede.” Cordwynn bowed to Wildflower. “I have faced you, now. You know my strength now, and I know yours. I shall be glad to test you again — another time.”
The referee lifted the kylix, and held it out to Vinnie. “This is somewhat irregular, but — I declare you tournament champion! Hail Wildflower!”
Still somewhat dazed, Wildflower carried the trophy into the city.
It was about then their shirt caught fire.
The silver glow faded, and the room was dark. Vinnie could barely make out the shape of the now-dry pool — and was that a metal ring around it? Silver? Gold? He leaned in closer.
It was lead. Worthless.
For hundred of years, the Pillars of Kathrakopolis have brought many blessings on the city, granting its citizens health, happiness, and plenty. But their ancient network is incomplete.
After decades of research, and years of construction, the Ancients’ work is about to be finished. On the Spring Equinox, when the final stone is placed in the central Great Pillar, the pillars will bless the city with a thousand years of prosperity.
The project is about to be completed. The city is about to celebrate. And four citizens’ lives are about to change.