The World Asunder

Karigen pulled out the bottle of water and offered it to her.

"Nothing much really, been laying low after me and Ansa had a brawl with Zayn. What did she do to you?" He asked as he gritted his teeth at the thought of her, how she could turn Citri into a pawn like that. She was supposed to be part of the guard and yet she manipulated others, it was disgraceful!

"Anyway, I uhh...I've been meaning to apologize for what happened at the park. I...should've done something to stop you before things got out of were on television fighting the Masked Knight and..." He trailed off, both of them could've been severely hurt or even killed. It was probably worse then what it looked like to him and the fact her head was bleeding was something of concern.

"I just sort of got carried away and wanted to give Zayn a bit of a beating in all honestly but that doesn't matter, need any help you home?" He said as he took a quick look over his shoulder to check that there was no trouble brewing in the streets, fights were a common occurrence back in Lokasen especially when it involved a damp little alleyway like the one he had been trying to walk through but he had experience when it came to avoiding trouble. In fact, he couldn't remember where he was now that he'd been knocked back into reality but he didn't want to admit it.
“This is carrier 2543 of Erigan, requesting landing at Ward’s End platform.” Leo shouted into the comm.

“Carrier 2543, what is your mission in coming to Miriel? Your elite people don’t commonly grace us with the honor of your company” came the voice through the comm.

Gale was surprised to hear such esteem from a mirieli commoner. They weren’t often so polite or friendly to those from Erigan. Perhaps this meeting will go better than expected. Gale was not so well-acquainted with the phenomenon that is sarcasm.

“Yeah, yeah spare me. Well, we have a diplomat directly from the Frozen Court who has come with important tidings for the ears of the council. It is imperative that she reach them as soon as possible,” Leo replied.

After a long pause, the voice replied. “Very well, platform 3 is clear. Ready for landing.”

As they touched ground, Weidr started packing up his things. Gale noticed him carrying a large bag that he didn’t usually bring around. She assumed that was the non-lethal weapons that he had requested from the Court. Once they were stopped, she said her goodbyes to Leo and they were on their way.

The airfield was fairly typical by the day’s standards, but the surrounding looked as though they had been left totally untouched by civilization. A man with three llamas approached them from the edge of the runway. “Name’s Mickel. We got word from the Frozen Court that you’d need transportation up the mountain to Birdstone. This your first time makin the trek?“

“It is,” replied Gale. “Are we taking the llamas up there? It’s important that we make good time.”

“These’ll take ya as far as the base, but you’ll have to take the Locks to get to the city. Your friend there might wanna put one of his bags on your llama. They’re llamas, not pack mules, heh.”

“Very well. Let’s move out.”
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“Damn kid.” Lambert raised his arms above his head and heard a small crack in his bones before relaxing. He had to get that Mask now. He felt like he was grave robbing but he didn’t want a revolution potentially stepping on the corpses of his own family. He turned around and walked to the camp.

Lifting the door flap, he was greeted by the scent of blood. He looked down in front of him to see a body underneath some cloth. There was no praise for guessing that it was Kai’s, after he was ventilated in front of all his revolutionaries.

Harkaras was standing with a drink in his right hand. Probably toasting the life of his short lived hero as far as Lambert could guess. Lambert, while he felt like having a drink of his own didn’t have the time to. He had to save the people of Avalon. He place a hand on the man’s shoulder and turned him so that he faced Lambert, “The mask, where is it?”

The thryth’s shirt stretched out as he lazily slid away from Sitz, he eyed the corner of the camp, where a small cheap looking box laid. There small amounts of blood decorating it which trailed off and lead to Kai’s body. Lambert let the man go and walked over to the package.

He kneed down and scooped it up and opened the lid. Stained in blood was the mask that Fishwash held when he had passed.
Samna straightened out her coat and looked out from the edge of Birdstone. She'd always thought the city looked as though the person building it hadn't anticipated the cliff that ran from east to west across; the wood buildings and cobbled streets ended as abruptly as the river that ran out and over the ledge. The Birdstone Falls flowed into a series of pipes and troughs, filling the locks that lifted the water elevator from the base of the mountain to the plateau the city was built on.

"It's almost noon," said Samna. "They should be here by now."

"Ten past noon, in fact," replied Henton Arly, glancing at a brass pocketwatch. "It was a warm winter, the locks aren't running as efficiently as they might be."

"Still don't see why we've got to wait out here in this damn wind," Brernon Birdma interjected, pulling a long wool scarf tighter around himself.

"We ought to be here when they arrive," said Samna. "I know some of the council is less than enthusiastic about this meeting, but it's best we make a good impression. We don't want this going south again. The Eriginians think little enough of us as it is."

"Hence the choice of my city for the meeting, I presume," Arly put it. "Not that Riverhold isn't quaintly impressive in its own way, of course. Still, I'd ask you to remember Miss Fishwash, we aren't receiving this envoy as allies and we certainly aren't receiving them as friends. That goes for Erigan as much as for whoever's running Avalon come summer."

"I'm not trying to make friends, Arly, I'm trying to see what it is they have to tell us before we decide not to cooperate."

"Of course, yes, of course. Still, the world's becoming ever more a dangerous place. One can't be sure whether to trust even one's allies."

"My thought exactly."

"Is that them?" said Birdma, pointing to a slowly rising heavy oak box rising on a water-filled shaft.

"Ought to be," said Arly, glancing again at his watch. "Mr. Birdma, Miss Fishwash, let's make that good impression then, shall we?"

Henton Arly stode off toward the capsule coming in to its port as the gates swung open. Birdma held Samna back as she moved to follow.

"You're doing alright Sam?"

"Of course I am. What?"

"Look I know your brother got involved with whatever was going on in Avalon before he died. You're a smart woman Samna. Never quite the life of the party your brother was but smarter. We both know that. Don't let the call he made affect the one you're gonna make, okay?"

"I can assure you Councilman, I've never emulated my brother in life I'm not going to start because he went and got himself shot."

Birdma took a moment to come up with what to say to that, but in the time he considered it Samna was already making her way to receive the Eriginian envoy.
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Gale’s heart pounded as elevator slowed to a halt. She would have said before that nothing could prepare her for the way up, but in reality, she was much more nervous for this meeting than ascending the cliff face. As the gates swung open, she saw the councilmen waiting to greet her. The one on the left had a particularly stern expression. These did not look like the calm and friendly folk that the innkeeper had led her to believe that Miriel was filled with. The one on the right didn’t seem to be paying attention, however. He was staring off at some snowy mountain in the distance.

“Blessings of the spirits upon you and your kin!” shouted Gale. She forced herself forward, attempting to walk with good posture. Instead, she stumbled briefly and almost fell on her face, but caught herself on the gate and tried to do a twist to make it look intentional. Weidr walked a few paces behind her as they approached.
“And to you,” said Councilman Arly, extending a hand to the approaching woman. “We are honored to receive one of the Court’s, eh… representatives. Dr. Elvek, isn’t it? I’m Councilman Arly, of Birdstone. This is Councilman Birdma of Miristad and Councilwoman Fishwash of the Temple of the Unrisen.”

“Welcome to Birdstone, Doctor,” said Samna. “As one of Erigan’s leading experts on the splinter phenomenon I trust your insights into recent events will be valuable. The other Council members are waiting for us at Councilman Arly’s estate.”

“Right this way, please.”
“Madam.” One of her faceless mooks stepped behind her, “I have spoken with the barkeep and from his information found out that Ms Fishwash can be found at a place called ‘The Temple of the Unrisen’.”

“Is that all?” Hilda took a sip of tea, “What of Avalon?”

“It appears that shortly we hear that radio signal, the young Mr Fishwash had passed on.”

“And are tensions rising?”

“Not sure.” The man hesitated before speaking.

She placed her tea down and looked at the knight, an average looking man, completely, forgettable and easily thrown away from memory. He coughed “It seems that before this incident that there had been no signs of conflict between the two nations. Some of the people in this harbor at the very least seem to have very little idea of what to make of this series of events.”

“How many men do we need to effectively pilot our vessel?”

“About twenty” he muttered before answering again more confidently “twenty-five madam.”

“And how many do we have on hand after that incident on the way here?”

“Roughly double that number madam.”

“Okay well,” she stood up, her cup emptied. “Be a dear, stay here and see if you can guide the peoples of this port’s opinion on this matter to one of slight aggression.”

“Madam, with all due respect, I am not an expert in espionage.”

“It is not very difficult captain.” Was he a captain? She wasn’t quite sure and frankly she did not care. “A whisper there, a statement here, that’s all there is to it; a simple enough task for you.”

She started to walk out the tavern where she hoped that the repairs in her ship were done with as she had more men to place in this country if she wanted to stop this incident from going to waste. She stopped and faced the man once more, “If you can’t even manage that, then see to it there that word gets out that a small town was razed by forces from Avalon. You had sworn to serve no matter what task is given to you, is that not correct?”

The man grew pale but slowly nodded.

Metz slowly walked out the door.
The Arly estate was an old-fashioned wooden home in the Mirieli style, with the only exception being the reception room. The Councilman had had a windfall a few years ago with his shipping business based in Birdstone when a Vongoli competitor on the same line lost three ships in a freak storm north of Miriel, and with part of the money he'd refurbished the antechamber with an enormous panoramic window overlooking the mountain range. Still, it wasn't ideally furnished for such a meeting as this and it was clear that the chairs and couches cluttering the arch-ceilinged room had been dragged in from the rest of the house. An exceptional nineteen council members had showed up for the emergency meeting, intended to discuss the matter of the Avalonian rebellion, the developing splinter threat, and receive the special emissary from Erigan.

A young serving-girl was making the rounds with a pot of tea when Arly opened the door to the antechamber and made his way toward a high-backed armchair by the fireplace that he'd placed a hat in before leaving. The window's hadn't turned out to be particularly efficient from an insulation perspective, and the room was drafty even with the hearth blazing. Arly threw another log onto the fire as he was followed in by Birdma, Samna, and the two Eriginians.

"Esteemed members of the Council, I present you Dr. Gale Elfek of Erigan, and associate."

Arly pulled Weidr aside.

"I'm terrible sorry sir, but Illa here will take your bag and your affects if you'd like to join us. I won't pretend to know how things are done at the Frozen Court but traditionally I'm afraid we don't arm ourselves to the teeth for our Council meetings."

Arly's voice was a bit louder for this last bit, and he smiled askance to the other Council members, provoking a few low laughs.
Weidr's not gonna like that. Gale decided to ignore Arly's aggressive comment. Today could easily be lost to bickering, and it was most important that it not be.

"Councillors of Miriel," Gale began. Looking around this none-too-impressive council chamber, she noted that there were a number of empty seats. Miriel's council wasn't known for its organization, nor its efficiency. "I am an expert in the field of splinter biology. Today I come with news from Erigan. In light of the recent splinter incursion in Avalon, two things have come to our attention. The first is that the splinters are not what they seem and are not typical in any way previously seen. The second is that we need access to your library in the Temple of the Unrisen."

Let's see what happens.
Karigen sat in a lone chair at an isolated corner of the APF headquarters, Citri had turned down his offer to walk her home which left him lost and alone for the most part. He spend a good amount of time trying to find his way back, thoughts of returning home were already coming back to him but he wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do.
He pulled a small purse out of his pocket with a flower pattern embedded in it, he examined it for a good few seconds before throwing it off the desk and covering his face in shame. He couldn't keep his hands to himself, he just kept stealing things that belonged to other people. After a couple minutes of mentally wailing in guilt he got up from the chair and headed outside.

"Hey! Where you off to?" A young male guard asked him as he walked outside. "You do know all APF members are being called in for a meeting right?"

Karigen looked at the young door guard and looked away.

"Just need some time to myself." He said before walking off. The guard staring at the Kapshen with a puzzled look on his face. Karigen proceeded to simply wander around the local area, he didn't care where he went. His mind was still swimming with questions and they all rounded down to the same thought of simply giving up and heading back home to Lokasen through any means necessary. The thought of his small cramped home was a comforting one, after messing up his offer with that weirdo on the offset island he couldn't stand the thought of heading back to face him. That entire island seemed off to him anyway. He pulled out his phone and scrolled through his small contacts list and stopped on a contact he simply had named as "Friend". He called the number and patiently waited for an answer. She wasn't going to be happy when he told her what had happened.
"You need--" Councilman Arly blustered.

"All due respect, Doctor," Brernon Birdma cut in, "but I don't think I'd even be allowed access to that Library. They've got some of the only--"

"He wouldn't," Samna Fishwash cut in. "And it wouldn't be my decision, either. The Council does not deliberate on internal matters of the Temples. And even if it did, it would take more credentials than being an 'expert in the field of splinter biology' to get in. Frankly the odds of the Temple of the Unrisen granting library access to a foreigner aren't worth staking your hopes on."

Samna adjusted her sleeves anxiously. This wasn't going well, and it didn't seem like she was helping.

"If you could be more specific about what information you need, we'd like to help you. Any information you could get from the Library you can get from the monks at the Temple of the Unrisen."
"Y-yes, of course," replied Gale, shaking a bit. The room began to feel a bit warmer, and started to wonder why Ilmarinen had sent her. It's ok, they'll help me, I just need to tell them a bit about what I found. I came prepared for this.

"You see, it's because the splinters come from the surface, or at least look like they do. I've got photos that prove it," she continued, taking them out of her pack, "and the Temple of the Unrisen seems like a good place to find out about things on the surface. Here are the photos. Look at the seithr signatures if you don't believe me."