A New Home #steampunk

And now this week we come to the end of section two of our story The Black Medallion. Seems we have been at this a while now. Anyway, if you are new to the story you can follow the links below to catch up to where we are now (or follow the links to refresh your memory of what is going on.) They are provided in story order.

Section 1
The Black Medallion
Section 2
Through the Night Fog
The Narrowing Cage
Blame it on the Train
Just Desserts
A New Home
Section 3
Shaper Magic

A New Home

Deserted streets and no cabs, he traveled on foot, through an area he didn’t know. The chill night air cut deep through his jacket and shadows twisted and swirled through the deathly light of the aether lamps. The moon had hidden behind clouds and left only the lamplight, to guide him.

Without a thought he held the amulet, guided by a pull, a need to change direction. Tisdan held the address on the Monsignor’s card in his mind, though he didn’t know where to find it. Dull vibrations carried images to his mind, places he did not recognize until he came upon them as he drove himself forward. It spoke to him in a rudimentary manner, messages that had become easier for him to understand. Markers looked the same from block to block, little to help him discern where he was in relation to few parts of high-town he knew.

After a few blocks of what felt like forced wandering a cab passed him and then pulled up to the side of the street ahead of him. The passenger stepped out of the cab and beckoned for him. Though shadows obscured her features, he knew her. She had been alone in the cab.

“Where is your father?”

“I am sorry,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about this.” She stopped a short distance away. “I enjoyed our conversation and only wanted to continue.”

He cupped the amulet shrouding its light with his hand. “Why should I believe you?” he asked. “It seems convenient that the daughter of a man I briefly met is now interested in conversation.”

“We need to get off the streets,” she said. Wrinkles creased the bridge of her nose as she glanced past him, further down the street. She pulled the edge of her wrap tight to her chest. “Quickly.”

The hairs at the back of his neck turned prickly, but it wasn’t because of her. He felt something in the air that he hadn’t felt before. It was distant though coming up behind him. “Fine, I am tired of walking anyway.”

The cab’s door snapped shut with a soft click, and cut off the sounds of the night. Oppressive solitude filled the air around them. Tisdan cleared his throat to an echo he hadn’t expected in so tight a space. “What’s going on?” He said. His voice boomed in his ears.

“Home,” she said. The cab pulled away from the curb. “I don’t live with my father. I rarely even see him.” She sat back in her seat, though she inclined toward him.

“That doesn’t answer my question,” he said. “What part is it you play in all this? Why should you even care?”

“I saw what happened,” she said. “I was probably the only person to see the whole thing.”

He paused as the words traveled through his mind. Images of the fat man and the knife in the back of his neck haunted him. The skin of his arms prickled with the goose flesh of a chill. “I never meant for it to happen. I’m not a killer.”

“I saw it all. But there’s more to the story,” she said.

He was ready to bolt, but to where? There was no where left for him to run and she would find him anyway or her father would. He still didn’t know which of the two would be the worse situation. “What do you want from me?”

“The amulet comes to mind,” she said. “But I think it may be too late for that now. You don’t know what it is you have do you? It was just a day at the market for you?”

Trust in low-town wasn’t something that you could afford. Trust got you killed or worse. He lived alone and survived alone. Jak had been the closest thing to a friend, but that was more of a business arrangement. Jak was gone, he had nothing left.

“I’m a thief, always have been. You do what you need to do to survive.”

“I don’t care,” she said. “Your life before now means nothing to me. If the amulet hadn’t come into your possession, we wouldn’t be speaking.” She leaned back in the seat, cushioned by pillows. Her eyes did not leave his face.

Drawn to her eyes, he could drown in their depths. “At least I know where I stand,” he said. “What’s changed? You could just kill me and take it. It isn’t like you haven’t killed before.” It was a gamble; he wanted to trap her into a confession. He hoped she hadn’t killed Jak, but anything was possible.

“The amulet has bonded to you. Though I’m not sure why. I don’t think my father knows this yet.”

A new home

Flickr Creative Commons via Franck Michel
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The carriage turned down a dark street, ending in a cull de sac. There were only a few houses, the carriage stopped at the one at the end of the street. The house covered two lots, with space and yard separating the houses on either side of it. It wasn’t a mansion but, like many of the homes in high-town it was much larger, than you would find in other parts of the city. The buildings in low-town had been broken into many different units within the larger buildings. The homes in high-town were just as big but each one owned by only a single family or individual.

When the carriage stopped, he stepped out first then helped her get out as well. The door opened before she touched it, lights came on when they crossed the thresh hold. Power through the aether was at work, though she wore no visible gems. The house expected her and responded to her presence.

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