Sunday, 8 April 2012

024 - Sneak


 “Frida, did you get lost?”

The familiar voice startled her. She should have expected him to be here, attracted by the power and influence of Ironhaven. He offered her his seat, waving her towards the deep red leather chair. She remembered him as a younger, exciting, adventurous man, a charming cad dressed in his lavishly brocaded shirts. This older version had lost none of the sparkle, his broad smile increased on seeing her recognize him. She felt affection for him, tempered with caution after their last meeting.

“Silvarno ! “ She said, surprising herself at the high girlish pitch the words left her mouth. She hugged him, kissing his cheek.

“Was it you who vouched for me?” She asked, observing his reaction.

“Not just you, we cleared your friends as well.” His reply dropped her to the soft seat cushion. Her friends were safe. She would find them in the city tomorrow. She knew any debt with Silvarno was best paid quickly, before the interest doubled.

“Thank you, I..” Her voiced choked her. The experience in the prison had unsettled her, she longed for human company and friendship. Just when she needed it, Silvano had appeared. She knew his connections ran higher than just being a Master Wiretap, he maintained the secrets of Ironhaven and all the regions the lashlines ran, from the feral sea to the great boarder. She kissed his cheek again, without him she may well be hanging on the garrison scaffold along with her strange companions.

Silvarno had been a suave upper echelon fixer when she had first met him. Even then he had plans, or more precisely as he had once explained; a destiny. She had joked about it being written in the stars. She recalled how seriously he had looked at her before replying that it was. They never spoke about it again. Now he rides in to rescue her, maybe their destiny is shared.

“And Gravity is stabled here, at the lodge, along with your friend’s horses.” He barely controlled a snigger at her mounts ridiculous name. He may have a destiny written in the stars, but Frida knew he thought she just had her head in the clouds.

The evening went quickly, in comfortable surroundings, talking to an old friend with a little drink inside her. It struck her as so different from the previous day, it felt years away. She tried to bring up questions about why her companions were captured and who ordered the interrogation. Silvano politely bounced the questions away, suggesting he knew but it was enough that she was out and safe.

“You’re friends are in trouble, but I granted them a release.” He said.

“ You?” Frida questioned his authority. He bit his bottom lip, looked down, his foot crushed something on the carpet. He whispered quickly.

“They are going to be used to flush out the various strands of our enemies, both external and domestic. An errant priest, an outlander and a wild girl, it was an opportunity not to be missed. This city is riddled with spies and secrets; there is something wrong with the outlying territories. You must have noticed the lack of communication from the East. Lashlines are down or compromised, we are at war with an unknown enemy.”
 
Frida recalled the lashline eavesdroppers outside of Fairfield and the words of the Domorrah. She described what she had seen and knew to Silvano, he nodded.

Between them there was silence. Each waited for the other to speak, Frida sipped the warm whiskey. Silvano looked up and smiled, then burst into a rendition of an old song. A song that predated the cataclysm, that had given hope to many people, if a song can survive, so can we.

Silvarno had already left when Frida woke the next morning. She remembered the room from years before, the window faced the early morning sun. She stood on the carved wooden balcony, the city of Ironhaven spread before her. Somewhere in the mass of buildings were her friends and they were in trouble. They needed to know what Silvano had explained to her. In telling her, he had put himself in jeopardy. However that was soon forgotten last night. She had once laughed at his destiny written in the stars, but she believed it now, he was making it happen.

Frida dressed smartly, wrapping her guild scarf round her neck. It revealed her wiretap status; it also granted her a certain amount of freedom. Citizens would acknowledge her today, unlike the untouchable snot faced tear stained wretch she had been yesterday.

She walked down the staircase humming the song they sang the night before. She headed towards the market; she could find it by smell alone. There she purchased a few odds and ends, including a pencil.
On a pamphlet handed out by a league activist she began to draw her own map of the city. The activist shouts his demands, for a fairer world, for supporting eachother, for a return to old values. Behind him two Ironguards appear. Seeing this, Frida folds the pamphlet away into her pocket and disappears into the crowd.

She began to hunt down her friends, using vantage points that overlooked the city.

She observed Cassidy enter a bar, which according to Silvano, was frequently used by Ironhaven agents to exchange information on the outlands. She wondered if she should hold back till Cassidy has finished. She trusted Cassidy.

During that day Frida briefly followed a man who looks like Jacob, losing him in the maze of alleys near the citadel. Silvano had been correct, she should be more cautious, her friends appeared less trustworthy than she thought. Then she realized she was the one spying on them, sneaking around because of the little seeds of doubt planted in her mind by Silvano.

That afternoon her doubts were confirmed, when she had finished her search without finding Nelya. She was seated on one of the long benches near a busy riverside inn, when she spotted the distinctive banded armour with it’s emblem of gears crushing a human.  There, in plain sight, chatting amiably with the Grinder mercenary, stood a man who resembled Garth, their fifth horseman.

She had to tell Cassidy and the others, she had to find them again.

There was something Silvarno had said that morning that she found disturbing. A comment made by her friend just before they parted. She replayed it in her mind, weighing up the consequences.

"You didn't like them did you?" Silvarno asked, “Best not to get too attached. Shepard's who treat their flock as equals find taking them to market very difficult."





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