Chapter 10

Chapter 10

A Chapter by Johnzo
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Trede meets a new series of challenges now that he has arrived at the Cytech guild. And it appears Maej has been tailing Trede like a shadow.

"

“It’s been hours now, we should go back and find him.”  Trede sat back in his chair in a small dining room.  He was inside Cassidy’s house that was part of the Cytech guild compound. 

“I told you, he got away during the fight, I’m sure he’s fine.”  Cassidy said while dabbing her damp hair with a towel.  She had just gotten out of the shower and was wearing a clean tunic, but was without her belt and bandolier.  Trede’s nerves however had not yet calmed enough to relax in any such manner.  “Besides, master Gragus will be coming by shortly, he’ll want to talk to us.  The Cytechs take a great interest when their own people get into situations like this.  We even have have our own investigation division in security.”

“I don’t care about that.  I should be out looking for him.”  Trede was obviously upset, and was avoiding direct eye contact with Cassidy. 

“You really want to go back?  It’s after dark, who ever was after us is still out there.”  Cassidy said.  “I can’t risk it.”

“Maybe it’s not up to you.”  Trede started to stand up, but then slowed and grabbed his head which was still throbbing.  He paused and leaned back again in his chair. 

“Look…”  Cassidy sat down at a chair across the table opposite Trede.  “I know you’re worried.  But we all made it away in one piece.  I’m sure he’s out in the city, fulfilling his selahnic curiosity or something.  We’ll find him soon, but for now can’t we just stay here and be safe?” 

Trede looked up at the wall covered in a strange red crisscross pattern behind Cassidy.  There was a light fixture just over her shoulder that had been occasionally buzzing and flickering.  “Fine.  For now.”  Trede reluctantly implied that he would stay put for the time being. 

Suddenly a quick knock at the door broke the brief silence. 

“That must be Gragus!”  Said Cassidy with a smile.  Gragus was her mentor, direct superior and someone whom she greatly admired.  She was also very pleased to have returned from her assignment, as unpleasant as it had been, with good news for him.  She threw the wet towel back into the bathroom and ran to the front door.

“Master Gragus!”  She exclaimed.  Standing in the now open doorway stood a man in his late middle age with a thin build and of average height.  He had round spectacles and short brown hair generously highlighted with grays.  He was in an outfit of brown slacks and a dark beige vest over a collared shirt.  This was the sort of clothing Cassidy and found to be iconic of her mentor, and she was very happy to see nothing too much had changed while she was gone.

“Greetings my girl!  Glad to see you are well.  May I come in?”  Gragus said.

“Yes please.  Sorry for the mess, I’ve only been home a couple hours.”  Said Cassidy. 

“And from quite the trip from what I’ve heard, how are you fairing?”  He said.

“Very glad to be back.  But I’m fine.”  Cassidy was feeling much better now that she was home, but still a bit in shock from the days events. 

“Rest assured, the guild will be doing a full investigation.  You’ll be the first to know as soon as we’ve found anything.  The Cytech’s have a lot of clout with the local authorities, I’m sure we can bring a resolution to the matter.  It’s good to know you are safe again.  I questioned the assignment of your mission to so far in the outskirts, but-”  he paused a quick moment.  “Is he here?”  Gragus peered to one side holding onto the thin wire frame of his specs. 

“Yes, this way.”  Cassidy smiled and brought Gragus into her small dining room that was just down the hall. 

Trede was standing there, leaning over and looking out the window.  His gunstaff was set in the corner next to him. 

“Ah mister Trede, a great pleasure to make your acquaintance.  You’ve come quite a long way.”  Gragus walked across the room to shake Trede’s hand. 

Trede turned and took Gragus’ hand.  He felt like he should offer a smile, but his head still hurt and he could only muster a slight squint.  “Hello.”

“Have you been checked out at the medical house yet?”  Said Gragus. 

“No, I guess I really hadn’t had time yet.”  Said Trede. 

“Well my boy, no worries for now.  You know it’s been years since we first heard about your device, but it’s taken this long just to found out who exactly you were and where you were from!  You’re quite the elusive traveler it seems.”  Gragus smiled warmly. 

“Travel is part of the job.  I don’t really spend too much time in one place.”  Trede responded. 

“Indeed!  Well this will truly be a boon for us Cytech’s now that you’re here.  Say is that it there?”  Asked Gragus, nodding towards the corner where Trede’s gunstaff sat. 

“Yeah, there it is.”  Trede said. 

Gragus took a few steps over and picked up.  “Do you mind if I take a look?”  He said as he balanced it in both hands examining it carefully.  His excitement was obvious.  “Amazing, such a streamlined and compact design, yet from what I’ve heard the energy output is incredible.  May I ask how you’re able to create such high charge without any catastrophic heat buildup?”

Trede hesitated, “Well, I-”

Cassidy interrupted, “Master Gragus, Trede’s still pretty out of sorts, it’s been quite a day.” 

“Ah yes, well, how forward of me.”  Gragus said smiling again.  “Well, that’s just more secrets to save for the exhibition tomorrow.  I should step out for now anyway, I’m sure I’ll see you around the grounds later, if you’ll excuse me.”  Gragus pardoned himself and Cassidy walked him to the door.

Cassidy came back into the dining room, as she entered Trede seemed a little agitated. 

“What exhibition tomorrow?”  Trede asked.

“Oh, that.”  Their entrance into the guild compound had been so rushed, she hadn’t really had time to fully prep Trede for what to expect.  “It’s a tradition, a formality really.  Whenever new members are inducted they have a short exhibition, just to show what their inventions do, field some general questions about how it works.  You know, some basic stuff.” 

“And it’s tomorrow?  I’m going out to find Traz in the morning.  I’m not leaving him out there.”  Trede was adamant.

“I’m sure they can push it back a day.  They’re usually pretty understanding about people tying up personal business beforehand.  But look, Traz knows where we are, if he doesn’t show up tonight, we’ll go out tomorrow and find him.” 

Trede sat down again and covered his eyes with his right hand.  It looked to Cassidy like he was squinting again. 

“Your head’s still pretty bad huh?”  She asked. 

Trede didn’t respond. 

“I’ll take you to the medical house, then we can get some dinner.  We’ll work it out, don’t worry.” 

“Ok.”  Trede dropped his hand and looked out the window again. 

“Great, I’ll just finish getting changed and we can go.”  Cassidy had just barely rounded the corner when Trede spoke again.

“Hey Cassidy.  Thank you.” 

“Of course.”  She smiled, then continued walking back towards her bedroom.

 

 

Cassidy opened the door to one of the larger buildings in the compound and turned to Trede gesturing for him to go inside.  “And this is the main residence hall.  It’s where all new arrivals stay while they get situated to guild life.  I’ll show you to your room.”

The two continued inside down a long hallway filled with doorways every dozen steps.  Cassidy spoke again.  “How’s your head now, did the medicine help?” 

“Yeah, it’s feeling a lot better now.”  He replied.  After a couple hours of being introduced to one Cytech official after another in the dining hall, he was very drained, but at least his head at stopped pounding.  

“The medical house is always on top of the latest medical science advancements, especially for pain killers.  They helped me out of a bad migraine more than once.”  Cassidy laughed politely.  She then turned and opened a door seemingly at random, it opened up into a stairwell.  “Your room is on the 3rd floor, you should be able to get a good view of everything from there.”  The two continue up the stairs in silence. 

Truth be known, Trede felt a little trapped.  He only agreed to travel to Sedenza as an urgent means of escape, and quickly found himself under guard with a group of strangers.   Though he had somewhat begun to think of Cassidy as a friend, the idea of becoming a Cytech did not sit well with him.  Trede didn’t consider himself an inventor, he had never had a great interest in general science either.  His gunstaff was a product of more necessity than anything else.  He had assembled it out of some spare parts he found around the Smisom market place a few years before, he wasn’t even sure what some of the components were called, but it all just seemed to work once put together.  Back then, Trede was still new to his courier business, and had run into trouble on a few occasions even early on.  The reason for the gunstaff was merely protection.  After he first built it, he brought it out to the edge of town for a test fire.  Though it was relatively slow to charge, the force of the blast was so great it knocked Trede over flat backwards and the gunstaff flew nearly fifty behind him.  It worked so well that first time he never even opened it up again to check the components.  Trede thought back over the past few years since, the gunstaff had never really malfunctioned that he could remember.  It seemed like luck all that time, but now he could scarcely remember the inner workings of the staff itself. 

Trede knew he couldn’t stay, and certainly couldn’t attempt to fake his way through some ‘exhibition’ that everyone kept talking about.  But there were a few things keeping Trede from just running off.  For one, Traz was still missing.  Traz knew that they were heading towards the guild compound, if Trede didn’t stay put he might never catch up with him.  Of course there was the matter that whoever that woman was that Trede heard at the temple, and saw briefly through the smoke in that alley was still out there.  Trede had barely escaped alive, and never would have made it if not for his friends.  A safe night’s rest within a guarded wall seemed like the best thing for now. 

There was one thing as well that nearly overwhelmed all other thoughts.  What if…  there’s another nightmare tonight?  His one hope of coming to Sedenza, to finally be free from this curse, seemed like nothing but a lie.  Trede was certain he had been setup by Maej.  He had been given a package to be delivered right into the hands of someone who wanted him dead.  He remembered Maej had said to keep an open mind in his search for help and freedom from this curse.  Is the only freedom from it… really in death?  He thought.  Trede was not so desperate as to give up all hope with such finality yet. 

“Ok, this is your room.”  Cassidy smiled and opened door, then handed Trede the key.  “If you need anything, there’s an intercom in the middle hall of each floor.  It connects back to main security.  Someone will be posted there all night.  I’m sure they can help you out.”

“Ok.”  Trede said.  He looked into his room, it was basic but adequate.  There was a single bed, cherry stained wooden dresser, small bathroom through a small door on right side of the room.  There was a large picture window at the end of the room, though at this time of night, the only thing he could see from there was black. 

Cassidy could tell something heavy was weighing on Trede’s mind.  Now that he was here in her element, she didn’t mind being a little more forward.  “Something wrong?”

Trede felt like just saying ‘yes, lots of things.’  But there were too many secrets he could not risk revealing right now.  “They’re going to push back that exhibition right?  I’m going to look for Traz tomorrow in the morning.”  Trede asked.

“Yes, I’m going to confirm a postponement with Gragus first thing in the morning.  I’m sure everyone will understand.”  She replied.   

“Where is your cottage from here?”  Trede asked. 

“From here, we’d go downstairs and back out the door we came in, take a right, 6 buildings in, then take a left, fourth house on the left.”  Cassidy recited.  “Why?”

“Just wondering.”  He replied. 

“Anything else?”  She asked again.

“No.  No I should just get some sleep.”  He answered. 

“Well, there’s a basic toolset in the closet if you need to make any adjustments on your gunstaff.  I’ll come by in the morning around eight o’clock and get you for breakfast.”

“Ok, thanks.”  Trede said. 

Cassidy excused herself and walked down the hall.  Trede closed the door, locking it and prepared for bed.  Though the sun had been down for a few hours, it was still earlier than Trede normally settled in on most nights, but tonight he was exceedingly worn.  As Trede laid down the day’s events passed through his mind again, slowly fading as they went by.  The hope for an easy night’s rest was accented by one other single thought.  Take a right, six buildings in, take a left, fourth house on the left…  That should be far enough.”

 

 

 

The city was silent.  A few hours after midnight, even Cassidy’s favorite night locales had long been closed.  All the streets were empty, even the landing fields were quiet.  The next airwhale wouldn’t arrive until just after sunrise.  The city’s public lighting system was shut down and only the light of the moon and stars made the dark outlines of the buildings and shops visible.  The night’s crescent moon also revealed a dark shadow moving in the night.  A lone traveler was walking silently into the city on the northeast side. 

Maej stopped for a moment and looked up at the night sky, barely glowing over the broad city scape.  He always liked how the stars looked from underneath Sedenza, the patterns seemed to imply order in the infinite chaos of space.  He adjusted his black and red cloak and kicked some of the dirt of his boots.  He knew there wasn’t much time for stargazing, there was an appointment to keep. 

He stepped off the dry rocky plains as he entered the rough cobble stone streets of the residential district on the north east side.  Sedenza was an oasis of sorts, it was surrounded almost completely by a desolate plain.  The rounded stones were widely spaced at first, but the dry parched earth quickly gave way to to form a solid road.  Maej silently progressed through the city, a cool breeze was blowing but the city itself was not stirring. 

As he passed a particular city block he stopped suddenly and paused.  After a moment he took a left down another side street, as he did so speaking “How have things fared?”

A woman wearing a dark cloak entered the street from the hidden shadows.  The two approached other and met standing in the middle of that silent street, but the woman didn’t speak. 

“Have you met with difficulties?”  Asked Maej. 

“It has not gone according to our plan, but all is not lost.”  She finally replied, lowering her cloak revealing her long flowing dark brown curls.  “We have tracked him to the Cytech guild compound.  He’s been taken in and is under guard.  We haven’t yet found a way to reach him.  But then strategy was always more your strong suit then mine.” 

Maej smiled, but only slightly.  “I’ve been away too long.”  He said.

“Yes.  But at least this time there is an end in site.  Perhaps soon we put this sordid mess behind us.”  She said. 

“It has been some time we’ve been on this course.”  Maej replied.  “I’ve forgotten what it would be like to finally reach the end.” 

“Don’t lose your hope just yet.  There has been a lot of pain on this road, but our greatest chance lays just before us.” 

Maej looked down as the woman’s blue eye’s slightly glistened in the faint starlight.  “How can we be sure we’re not just ruining another poor soul.  Is it worth the risk?”  He looked to the sky as a flood of thought passed by, some things he wished could be stripped from time and memory. 

“And have you thought of the alternative?  We’ve known for long there would be sacrifices, but how can we not act?”  The woman’s tone grew louder and more resolute. 

“Then are you sure?”  Maej asked, his words were heavy and with great care.

“If there was any doubt in what burden he carries, let it be put to rest.  He has what we seek.”  She replied. 

“Then the course is clear.  There is no time to rest.”  He said. 

“Surely you can stay for a moment.  Even the sun ceases it’s burning during the dark of night.”  She dropped her hands from her chest which opened her dark cloak revealing a beautiful blue dress fringed with white.  She stepped close and rested her head on Maej’s shoulder. 

“You still wear that blue dress.”  He said, putting his arms around her.  His fingers intertwined with her brown curls as they met midway down her back. 

“You know why I love this dress.”  She replied.  “And it is something of a special occasion after all.” 

They stood silently for a moment as a cool breeze rushed down the otherwise empty street. 

“My dear Oudrine, how I have missed you.”  He said.

“As I have missed you.”  She said while closing her eyes. 

“But though no one sees it, the sun still burns all through the night.  It can have no rest.”  He said.

“And I will forever await your return.”  Said Oudrine. 

“This time, I should not be long.”  The two separated and Maej looked down a nearby westward street, leading towards the Cytech guild compound.  “Be prepared, I will bring Trede back to us at all cost.  The time for words is over.”



© 2010 Johnzo


Author's Note

Johnzo
Another single quick edit draft. This marks (probably) the halfway point for book one. Any comments about character development especially welcomed. Thanks!

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Cassidy seems a lot more understanding, I guess, now. it may just be me, but it almost seems like more then just friendship could come through. It may be in her nature to worry, or maybe...? The plot beyond Trede stopping the nightmares is really unclear to me, but this is just the halfway mark. One more note, Oudrine's aggressiveness changes in the presence of Maej. Which makes me wonder if her goal is to do something other then whatever she wants to do. I mean... he was more or less invited by maej, then she comes in swinging hired swords at him. As always, can't wait to read more.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




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[send message][befriend] Subscribe
<Closed>
Cassidy seems a lot more understanding, I guess, now. it may just be me, but it almost seems like more then just friendship could come through. It may be in her nature to worry, or maybe...? The plot beyond Trede stopping the nightmares is really unclear to me, but this is just the halfway mark. One more note, Oudrine's aggressiveness changes in the presence of Maej. Which makes me wonder if her goal is to do something other then whatever she wants to do. I mean... he was more or less invited by maej, then she comes in swinging hired swords at him. As always, can't wait to read more.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 30, 2010
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Author

Johnzo
Johnzo

Bridgton, ME



About
For more info on my little world, visit: www.echowake.com -Latest post: 2nd Draft Preview My favorite stories are usually ones that have a bigger world behind them, a story behind the story that.. more..

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Nightmare Nightmare

A Chapter by Johnzo