Morning prayers. Terek suggests that he stay behind when entering their house to avoid offending the Al-Malik. Gossip at breakfast: we’re going to be crushed by moon! Riots! String up nobles and priests before the world ends! There is trouble on the streets. People are panic buying as we head via carriage to brunch meeting. Terek waits outside while guards usher us in.
Decadence everywhere. Greeted by charming old man. Feet washed by servants and we proceed into
reception room. Aged version of Istakhr style. Server traditional Istakhr dishes. Amil commiserates over riots. Terraforming. Moon. Amil says contacts in Engineers say it’s serious problem. Possibly moon just put there as 2nd Republic decoration. Small earthquake occurs! Small talk.
Departing, Amil warns that earthquake has sparked new rioting. Mantis Guards out in force round noble district. Carriage back to inn, through thronged masses round Spaceport. Sound of flameguns, burning figure bursts from crowd and dies. Body being strung up and a group of Avestites put a sign on the body saying “Hertic”, saying he convinced a mob to assault the Temple.
The inn is guarded by tough looking thugs. Mantis Guard asks me to read proclamation that Count Sharm says the moon is not going to crash. I put some comments about sin in, for good measure. News well received, but mutters that if the Count denies it then it must be true. Sound of pain outside. Mantis Guard that brought the proclamation has been stabbed. I offer confession as he dies. Hippolyta grants last rites while I look around for suspects, but cannot see any. I go back inside and get a messenger to inform the Mantis Guard. We stand guard over the body, Baroness arrives and Hippolyta informs her. Wait.
Town crier appears, running down the street, knocking on doors and shouting “Terraforming Engineers have abandoned the planet! We’re all doomed!”. Baroness asks us to her room to discuss things. I don’t want to leave the body, so Baroness asks Ivo and I to carry body inside and I inform the innkeeper of the details. Baroness suggests we travel ‘incognito’ in badlands suit.
We head to Amalthean hostel, Baroness explains she wishes to find the Engineer that was there before, as the Count is seeking him. Encounter Avestite band. They now think the “cannibal demon” may be a twisted man instead. He is probably round the Amalthean temple somewhere. I promise to keep a look out for him, and say I will shout if he is found. Brief pause as Hippolyta tends to injured beggar. Hymns heard as we approach temple, in area around.
Arrive at temple and note sick and injured piled up. Baroness searches with Ivo for the Engineer. I help administer last rites as necessary and Hippolyta tends to wounded people. Larger earthquake. Baroness goes to see Engineer. I go to join, but Terek points out a dying man that needs rites. I reluctantly agree, and as the man is not yet dead also take his (babbling) confession before preparing to perform last rites. Then I step outside to see the Baroness returning, and heading over to Hippolyta. Baroness says Engineer wasn’t home and suggests trying Guild quarter.
We walk over to the Guild quarter. Streets full of broken down machinery and filthy scavengers. A Scraver offers guide services. Over to Engineer guildhouse. Smelly, smoky, sooty. Someone offers to sell us air filter masks. Baroness buys one for Hippolyta. Enter Guildhouse. Receptionist with think-machine. Ivo deals with paperwork. We are told we may meet Engineer Sheridan in 49 minutes. To wait, I read out selections from Fervitudes to reassure everyone.
Informed we have 5 minutes and may go to meeting. Arcane directions seemingly designed to confuse
people. We proceed to room, knock and enter. Met by woman who tells us we have 15 minutes to talk. Baroness says we’re looking for Endemar. Sheridan knows him, technobabble, his contract bought by Al-Malik noble through Muster retinue. Contract bought for smuggling forbidden tech (think-machine components). Says moon is going to crash in 2 weeks or days or 2-3 days. Leave office and building.
Return to inn. New proclamation from Count Sharm: situation under control and space travel now
restricted. Idle gossip/rumours. Assist Baroness in writing missive to Count Gilgar requesting meeting. Another to ask if Don Marchenko is well. Evening prayer with Baroness.