Monday, October 29, 2012

Charlatans and Shenanigans

Packets of powder exchanged possession with small hands...

           Gorm hurried into the market as fast as his hobbled legs would carry him.  The thin line where his mouth should be was twisted into a lipless grin.  Nothing gave the deformed cyin more pleasure than making Master Vørst happy and Gorm was good at his job - and of course he had his own little secret.
That’s why he’d been chosen after all, for being the smartest.  As a cyin, he might be at the bottom of the rung of the societal ladder, but he was at the top of his own class.     
Gorm operated his rat’s nest network of information, in part, through the uncountable urchins that roamed the city streets and markets.  He paid them in pharmaceuticals, the candy-man of Snowdust.  In a different world, it might be immoral to start get them hooked so young but Gorm didn’t care. Kids were cruel, and even worse to him because of his malady.
            Only other cyin could begin to understand the life of a grotesque, plagued by ridicule, spat on and loathed – and for no other sin than being born distorted.  Sometimes Gorm wondered what it would be like to have perfect features, or power like Master Vørst – a trait he deeply admired.  Deep inside himself, a surge of disdain roiled like acidic bile in his chest.
            Perhaps if the urchins or citizens ever had to spend a year in his life, he would feel worse about dispensing Snowdust to the under-aged.  As it was, Gorm cared more for the rats than those nasty pockmarks of the back alleys.
            In fact, it was exactly because of the Snowdust that intelligence on the Outliers had been funneled to him.  Apparently, they were buying it now, and from the description of the girl that his urchin had passed on to him, she was one of the group that was in collusion with the newcomers.
            Packets of powder exchanged possession with small hands, and Gorm was promptly directed toward a darkly curtained stall, where a shrouded woman sat before a card-table in back.  She was ruddy huge, and how?! Maybe she ate urchins for dinner he thought.
Gorm decided that approaching with caution was prudent – he didn’t want to be mistaken for an urchin, though anyone who hardly saw his stunted gait would make such an error.  Who knew?  She was probably blind in one eye and crazier than a funhouse clown.
The woman that sat before him stared into his eyes as though they had already met...perhaps in another life, or dimension. Her pensive gaze penetrated the depths of his soul and she paused a moment before she addressed him in a meditative, yet intense manner.
Just as a word escaped her rouge-caked mouth, she threw her head back, grasping the table in a white-knuckled grip.  If Gorm had been able to jump ten feet high, he would have, shocked into staring at her.
“Ohhhhhh! Me mind – in the name of Dol, what would possess all-seeing Ursüla!” suddenly, her eyes rolled up into her head, gripping him in only a milky-white gaze. 
He was so taken aback, he barely managed to get the question out: “Uh, great Ursüla…I ah…seek a girl…”
The woman that sat before him stared into his
eyes as though they had already met...
Again the woman was wracked with convulsions, and Gorm was sure that at any moment she’d fall to the floor, frothing at the mouth.  “Ask the great oracle and ye shall find!”  Her head slumped forward, abruptly silent.
 Siobhan had rushed the Outliers out before Gorm had seen them, but Gwydd turned to Xan. "I can stay and protect her."
Kif pushed her along, choking on a bit of nervous laughter. "That Hag can protect herself! Let's move!"
When Gorm came in, Siobhan was ready for the best performance of her life. That intensity she held was one of sheer madness. "Gorm! I – all-seeing Ursüla have beheld a vision! Upon he who’s crown sits the full moon!” Rocking back and forth in her flimsy chair, the lady-seer’s eyes flew open and refocused on Gorm’s bald head.
“No…” She gave a moan as if she would die, clutching at her breast, then whispering dramatically. "No... this cannot be! How can one sooooo lowly rise to a place so high!”
Siobhan gasped suddenly, eyes rolling up into her head, gripping him in a cataract gaze, "Gorm of the Cyin. You will find what you seek!  You alone shall rise above…master of them all!" 
She was proud of herself for keeping the most serious face on that charlatan act that she had ever had.  With a crazed gleam in her eyes, Siobhan eventually redirected the deformation toward the Playground.  She chuckled to herself, pretty sure he’d find a girl there.


Xan gathered them and started to make their way out of the Market. They made sure to gather the supplies that they needed before heading back to the Greenhouse, as quickly as possible.
On the way back Gwydd stayed by Willow. The spell-weaver could not help the tears that fell and she spoke to her fellow Fae in the old tongue, so the Humans could not understand. "What have they done to themselves? Our elders thought that the hundreds of generations before them were bad, what would they say of them now? How are we to help them? We must head back, we cannot do this alone."
Gwydd hugged her companion and whispered softly. "What does a journey begin with? How many does it take to start a change? One step, Willow. One Person. Talk to Ry'llia, her wisdom will guide us."

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