Welcome back to The Temporal Void reread, part the fourth! This week we’ll be reading Chapter Four and Inigo’s Eleventh Dream. The eleventh dream is a loooong chapter. So without further ado…
Marius is paying a visit to the Cleric Conservator, Ethan, as we re-join events in the Commonwealth. They discuss Justine’s entrance into the Void, and the fact that they don’t know who shared the dream of her once she was inside. Ethan is rather pleased that the Second Dreamer can communicate with the Skylords to allow humans entry into the Void, and that he believes they have identified who the Second Dreamer is – finally. Marius fills Ethan in on the events with the Ocisen fleet, and warns him that they will arrive before the pilgrimage departs if the Navy can’t stop them. Marius also has a request for Ethan: to allow some observers to join the pilgrimage fleet. Ethan agrees, knowing how badly Marius wants it:
“Very badly indeed. The Void is a magnificent scientific enigma. My sponsors believe it should be solved.”
The Delivery Man is also in Makkathran2 following Marius, and Marius sees and joins him for a drink following his meeting.
“The game is changing,” Marius said.
“The game is the same; the stakes are rising,” the Delivery Man countered.
They talk about what has happened so far, and what the Accelerators plan with their fusion task. Marius now tells the Delivery Man as simple thing:
“Next time we meet it will not be sitting in a tavern over a friendly drink.”
And as Marius leaves the Delivery Man thinks only one thing:
“Oh, dear Ozzie,” he hissed. “I can't do this anymore.”
Corrie-Lyn and Inigo are still in the crawler, with Corrie-Lyn blaming herself for getting them killed, though Inigo reassures her that it isn’t. He does reveal that he has a starship, but it’s still a fair way off, and they won’t make it with the planet dying around them. She asks him why he left, and they talk further about this, and Corrie-Lyn asks about the fabled Last Dream:
“It's just me,” he said. “That's all. It was just my reaction. There's nothing to stop the Pilgrimage, nothing to prevent the faithful from achieving their perfect lives. It just affected me.”
He does, however, reveal that Edeard’s descendants used the gifts of the Void perfectly. But the crawler lurches with the throws of the planet and Corrie-Lyn is injured, Inigo using a med pack on her arm, and they decide that he should leave on foot, using his biononic enhancements to protect him while he goes to his starship.
“I don't want you to leave right away,” she said shakily. “Then I'll stay. We're not in any hurry. Not today.”
Kazimir calls Paula to let her know that he’s lost communication with the Lindau on Hanko, but he’s able to track it by its secondary transdimensional channel installed specifically for this reason. He lets her know that another ship, a River-class, is on the way, but doubts it will get to Hanko in time.
Ellezelin forces in Colwyn City are tracking Araminta, ready to pounce. As they do so – as subtle as kick in the balls, according to Tomansio – Oscar and his team keep watch. Only it isn’t Araminta, but the fifth lookalike that the recognition programs have given him the forces that morning. Turns out it’s Oscars team that are feeding the wrong people to the Ellezelin forces, much to Oscars dismay. But as Tomansio tells him:
“..you know she was a necessary casualty.”
They head to meet Cheriton, the member of the group on the inside of Living Dream. He tells them that they know someone is messing with the search, but aren’t suspicious of him. They mention the Third Dreamer, but note that nobody is looking for them:
“It was always assumed that Inigo was related to Edeard somehow, some distant family connection. As we don't know which colony ship wound up inside the Void, the link could never be proved. So Living Dream is assuming the same for Justine.”
Cheriton is supporting Mareble, the wife of Danal, the one arrested after Araminta used his apartment to contact the Skylord, hoping that it could provide a lead later down the line. Meanwhile, none of them have any clue where Araminta is, or where she is heading. Oscar tells them it’ll be Araminta’s family next on the list, but they’ll be going to Nik’s to see if there are any leads there.
Paula calls Oscar and he lets her know they’ve identified the Second Dreamer as Araminta, and that Living Dream also know. Paula asks:
“Can you get her first?”
“We'll do our best.”
She tells him of the hawking m-sink attack on Hanko, a planet Oscar was at during the Prime attack a thousand years earlier. She tells him that she believes it was done by the Cat:
“Oh, no. No, no, no. Not her. She's in suspension. You put her there, for fuck's sake. That was the one thing I made very sure of after they re-lifed me.”
She fills him in on the possibility that it’s a clone, and that the Knight’s Guardian may jump ship if their founder turns up, and tells him to take precautions:
“Precautions? Against the Cat, in an ultradrive ship, with a super-weapon? What kind of deranged moron let her have these things in the first place?”
Paula tells him that if he does need backup – if the Cat turns up – she will come to Viotia.
“Everything all right?” Tomansio asked.
“Blissfully wonderful. Come on, let's get over to Nik's.” While Viotia's still here.
Aaron is busy doing some rather high gee runs in and out of Hanko’s atmosphere, combing the ground for signs of Inigo.
The Delivery Man heads back home, finally, and is greeted by his wife and daughters, much to his pleasure. He tells his wife that he’s going to cut down on investigations – not that she actually knows what he really does – and limit them to more central worlds so he’s not away from them as much. But just after this the Conservative Faction contacts him to deliver a starship, to which he immediately says no. But he’s talked around while they get somebody new in to replace him. And off to Pulap he goes…
Araminta is lying awake trying to work through possibilities of what to do. She decides that one of her options might work, throwing off Living Dream as it’s completely unexpected. After breakfast with Tandra, Martyn, and the kids she uses makeup to give herself a somewhat superficial, but effective nonetheless. As she prepares to leave Araminta tells Tandra not to hold back if anyone comes asking, to tell them everything.
She heads for one of Laril’s old companies that she knew about, one that she saw in a file, but hasn’t mentioned to anyone. After getting into the office she contacts Laril:
Araminta took a deep breath. “Laril, it's me they're after.”
“I'm the Second Dreamer.”
“You know the Second Dreamer?”
“No. I am the Second Dreamer.”
“You can't be.”
Araminta scowled at the screen. This was Laril true enough, always the same and never giving her credit. “Why not?”
“For a start, you don't have gaiamotes.”
“Don't need them.” She explained about her previously unknown ancestry.
With Laril convinced and willing to help her, he offers her some simply advice – she can run and hide, or turn around and face them, using the power to do what she believes is right. The talk over various options and the events as a whole before he tells her of some old assets of his she can use in the meantime.
We join the Ocisen fleet again, with two Navy ships bring the flagship out of hyperspace to confront it. As they do so one of the weird spherical ships reveals itself, but then so do three more Navy ships. A second spherical ship sheds its stealth, only for two more Navy ships to do the same. A standoff, at least until the alien ships open fire. When the link to the ExoProtectorate Council is re-established the alien ships are no more, but one navy ship is lost, with another damaged too much. And the Navy discovers another fifty stealthed hyperdrives among the Ocisen fleet – a truly formidable force. Kazimir reveals that the Navy’s combined River- and Capital-class ships could probably take on the alien vessels, plus the 900 Ocisen ships, the cost would be severe. As they discuss this the Navy ships move in to scan the wreckage, and discover something they never thought they ever would:
“Yes,” Kazimir said, fighting both shock and a tinge of fear. “A motile. The Ocisen Empire has acquired Primes as its allies.”
As Corrie-Lyn and Inigo huddle together inside the crawler, she asks him about his dreaming, and why he stopped.
“We witnessed everything we needed to. I sustained hope in billions of people for centuries. That's enough.”
As the storm rages Corrie-Lyn asks Inigo to take her to Querencia one last time, to dream anew. But he can’t and tells her to pick any of Edeard’s dreams that he can offer. But she asks of the final dream, and he tells her that he can’t show her that, that if she trusts him she can’t ask that of him. She asks him why, but before he can answer the noise of the storm cuts off:
“Oh, shit.” Inigo was looking up toward the rear of the cabin.
“It's all right,” she said valiantly. “We're together.”
“Uh-uh.” He shook his head, straightening up. Corrie-Lyn wriggled into a precarious near-sitting position. “What?”
“The Lady must hate us; she's guided us to a genuine fate worse than death.”
And as half the crawler disintegrates around them realisation dawns:
“Well, well,” Aaron said cheerfully. “Fancy meeting you two here.”
Inigo’s Eleventh Dream
Edeard dreams of souls, and is awoken once again by them. He and Kristabel discuss these dreams, and his perception of souls. We learn of how souls that are fulfilled are taken by Skylords, but no visits have happened on Querencia for many years, with legend telling of the Lady herself asking the Skylords why their visits became less frequent:
..they told her it was because people were incomplete, their souls too immature to be taken to the Heart.
The Lady and Rah were the last to be taken by Skylords to the Heart, none have been seen since then.
As Kristabel leaves Edeard’s maisonette to head back to the Culverit family home – keeping up appearances, of course – he rises and goes for his morning jog. It’s become a routine for him, though many find it amusing. He’s also changed a fair few things around in his maisonette, creating a shower, and generally making it more comfortable.
He meets up again with Kristabel to go and meet some of the caravans that have returned to the city, particularly Barkus, the man who brought him to Makkathran all that time ago. They greet each other joyfully, Barkus telling him that they’d heard tales of the Waterwalker throughout the provinces, but never connected them to Edeard. And Barkus tells him that there’s someone mighty eager to see him…
“Edeard!” Salrana cried, and sprinted past Barkus to fling her arms around him and land an effusive kiss on his mouth. “Oh, my darling, it's been so long.”
Well this is awkward. Surely it can’t get any worse for Edeard…
“Take me to bed right now,” Salrana whispered in his ear with a hot breath. “I don't want to wait another minute.”
Yep, that would do it! Edeard is right in the middle between Kristabel and Salrana – he’d not mentioned anything to Kristabel about Salrana, and not contacted Salrana to tell her of his relationship with Kristabel. And with the situation about as awkward as it can get Edeard and Kristabel head home. But what has happened has made Edeard realise just what he feels for Kristabel, and he pulls her into a stable, raises a concealment, and proposes.
Kristabel knelt down beside him, grasping his hands in hers, and smiling. “I said yes, I'll marry you.”
They kiss in the mud, concealment dropping and children sharing the image via longtalk with their friends. Edeard knows he must now ask her father’s permission, but she drops a bombshell on him – it also has to go to the Upper Council for a vote! She tells him:
“You understand, don't you, that after he says yes, we have absolutely no say in anything. If you thought you'd encountered tradition in this city before, it's nothing compared to what's about to happen. The formalities of marriage for the direct heir of a District Master were scripted a thousand years ago, and it does not change, not even for Haxpen and the odd Mistress like me.”
“Er, okay,” he said apprehensively.
“Ah, you say that now …”
“As long as you and I are together at the end of it, the city can do its worst. I mean, how bad can it be?”
Edeard visit the Eggshaper Guild to see Finitan, and has a little talk with Eachal on the way up – he tells him that there are lots of expectations on him now. Finitan is delighted about the news of the engagement and tells Edeard he’ll be his nominee for the bill in the Upper Council. Finitan has asked Edeard there to talk with him and Topar, back finally from a trip to the provinces and Ashwell, returning with the fabled repeat-fire gun Edeard told them about during their first meeting. They discuss the bandits that attacked Edeard and the organisation behind them. Topar tells them that of the five who left Makkathran, only two returned. Topar also tells them that Witham has fallen:
“It fell not six months after Ashwell. Since then, the raids have increased. It's the same every time: They wipe out the entire village, no one is left alive, the buildings are torched. The senselessness of it all is shocking. They're not doing it for anything other than the pleasure of killing. There's no reason for it.”
Edeard wants to leave the city and take militia to wipe out the bandits, but Finitan tells him that they will be dealt with in time, there is more to do before that day comes. He also says he is frightened by the guns, and that anyone sent against them will be wiped out. Topar tells them that the repeat-fire gun is not complex, and could easily be created by the Weapons Guild, something that troubles them after the long-barrelled pistols used against Edeard that Owain said was an ancient design. They wonder if these repeat-fire guns could already be made, sitting in the Weapons Guild vaults. And they don’t know where these bandits are as they leave the villages they destroy to be taken by the wild. Finitan tells them:
“We need you here to complete your victory over the gangs. Once the city is consolidated, we can start to make more detailed alliances with the provinces. That's what Owain never understands: We can hardly command unity with the countryside if we're unable to instill universal law here at home. Yet that unity must come in the face of these incursions. That makes you vital to my campaign, Waterwalker.”
Before leaving Edeard asks Finitan if he can create a small genistar for him to use as a scout without drawing attention to himself, and also if the concealment technique has a weakness.
“As there is absolutely no such thing as concealment, then there could be no way to penetrate it.”
“Yes, sir,” Edeard said in disappointment.
“Certainly no such thing as this.”
Finitan's gifting rushed into Edeard's mind, a hugely complex methodology he could barely comprehend.
“I'll be sure I remember not to use it, then, sir.”
“We'll make a true Makkathran citizen out of you yet, my boy.”
Edeard gets kitted out with a fine new uniform, much to Macsen’s delight, and ribbing! The constables are busy getting a list together of those to be excluded, now standing at seventy-two, but Edeard would like an even one hundred. That night Buate is holding a meeting with many on the list due to attend – and Edeard plans to listen in with the new genistar that Finitan created for him. On the way there Edeard knows they are being followed by a concealed pursuer, but now he can see through the technique he disables him with a mini thunderbolt, a technique Kristabel taught him. They take him down into the city, and while he’s unconscious they talk about Edeard and his growing powers and popularity. They also talk about the Grand Families having enforcers and spies that do work directly for them, with Macsen filling them in on the details he knows about from his father’s side of the family. Edeard tells them that he’s got somewhere to put the man that he can’t escape from, and then they’re off to listen in on this meeting of Buate’s. The ge-mouse that Finitan created is sent up to the house while the squad listen in below. As Edeard shares the connection with the squad they see who is there, and recognise many of them. When asked why they are there, Buate tells the gathering:
“Because we're hurting,” Buate said. “For all we tell our men how everything is all right, that bastard Waterwalker is shutting us down one street at a time.”
He also knows that the constables are planning to arrest them all, and then hold them for the twenty-two days the law allows, letting the gangs fail without leadership. And Buate tells them that if Finitan wins exclusion is the outcome, so what they must do is riot and cause disruption to his plans.
“Buate doesn't have a plan,” Macsen said. “Not really. This is instinct kicking in. And it's a good instinct; I'll admit that. If we don't make the arrests, he'll still try to wreck the city and kill the constables when the Council passes the banishment edict. He's got nothing left. Mass confrontation is his last shot to stay in the city. It's the only way he can make the Upper Council back off.”
And Edeard prays for inspiration to deal with it all…
Edeard has created a small cube underneath Makkathran to hold the concealed pursuer, containing nothing but a bed, a wash pool, and a toilet. On the second day Edeard rises through the floor to talk to the man, not that it gets him much information. They talk about the way the city works, and what Edeard is doing to solve the problem of gangs.
“Really, Waterwalker, I expected better. But you are very young, aren't you? I remain to be convinced you have what it takes to see this to the bitter end. For it will be very bitter indeed.”
But Edeard gets no answers from him, and leaves with a parting remark:
“We will see whose ally time really is. I'll be back. Eventually.” He told the floor to let him through and sank away.
The financial court is going through the records of the House of Blue Petals with a fine toothcomb, Buate present and very unhappy with such scrutiny.
If only we could do this to each of the hundred. We'd have broken them by now. We wouldn't need banishment; they'd have fled screaming through the city gates long ago.
Edeard leaves to meet again with Owain. He starts with an apology about the long-barrelled pistols, telling him that his guild has kept them safe for over a thousand years. He tells Edeard they think they have identified the thief as a man named Argian is missing, but Edeard recognises him as the one he’s holding in the cell under the city. They then prepare to go to the Council meeting where the members will vote on Edeard and Kristabel’s engagement.
“You and Kristabel will make a fine couple. And don't repeat this, but it never hurts to shake things up a bit. If you ask me, the Grand Families are becoming somewhat jaded these days. Someone like you in their ranks is just what they need.”
Edeard visits Argian who is talking to himself in the cell, slowly losing grip on his mind due to his conditions. As Edeard reveals himself he says:
“Your clothes are getting a little creased,” Edeard said pleasantly. “I thought you might like some clean ones.”
He tells Argian he know who he is, and that Owain revealed the information. They discuss matter before Edeard tells him he can wait, and he needs to go to prepare for his engagement party and to calm Kristabel – turns out Bise didn’t sign the consent form. Oh dear! And as he leaves he shrinks the cell, much to Argian’s panic…
Edeard and Kristabel are at the opera house and talk about events of the day, that Bise wouldn’t sign the bill, and how the Grand Families work. Kristabel also talks of the responsibilities of being a District Master/Mistress, some of which come as a surprise to Edeard. They also talk of arresting the gang leadership, giving Makkathran a taste of what life would be like if Finitan became Mayor. Kristabel also tells him:
“Sometimes you have to do what's wrong in order to do what's right.”
But she tells him that if they riot it needs to be contained, and she suggests Sampalok.
“How in the Lady's name do I confine the riot to Sampalok?”
“If that's where the rioters are, that's where the riot will be. Push them in there, Edeard. Use their own tactics to defeat them.”
“That's wrong?” she asked archly. “Edeard, if you want to win, you have to play to win. You're the Waterwalker. There's no one else who's going to do this.”
“Yes,” he said meekly as the conductor appeared onstage. Applause began to ripple around the auditorium. “I know.”
Edeard is back with Argian, and finally getting answers to his questions. Argian tells him how the guns were obtained. And his questions lead him back to the Diroal family, the District Masters of Sampalok.
Edeard is moving barrels of oil into position in the House of Blue Petals, setting fire to them and delivering a warning to Buate:
“Now get out of my city, and take your people with you; if you ever try to start your riot, you will join your brother in the manner I mentioned during my previous visit. Final warning.”
Edeard takes Argian to Golden Park, releasing him, and telling him he is free to go:
“Go where, exactly? I am a wanted man. How long do you think I would last out there?”
“Nobody will know you in the provinces.”
He also tells Argian that he will listen to anything he has to tell him, anything that could help. Despite Argian’s disbelief, he says:
“It will take me a while to gather my things. If I see anything detrimental before I leave, I may tell you.”
Master Gachet from the Guild of Lawyers arrives at Jeavon’s Station to arrest Edeard for the fire in the House of Blue Petals. Left alone with the squad before going to meet him he gives Macsen his coat, and Macsen then uses the concealment technique to change his features to that of Edeard. With that, Edeard descends through the floor, while the squad go out to meet the lawyer. Gachet tells them of the warrant, and they escort Edeard/Macsen away. Word spreads quickly through the city that Edeard is being escorted by lawyers…
Meanwhile, Edeard is paying a visit to Edsing’s house, accompanied by a barrel of oil. He tells them to go, and then sets light to the oil as he descends into the floor once again.
Master Solarin is expertly showing errors in Master Cherix’s case, to many, many objections!
As the case continues Edeard is moving to different houses, repeating the warning he gave to Edsing, and leaving the same gift: burning oil.
Boyd arrives in the court, delivering news to the squad and Master Solarin:
“My lords, I beg your indulgence for a slight recess,” Master Solarin said. “It would appear there is some evidence forthcoming that will completely exonerate my client.”
Edeard returns to the court rooms, meeting the squad in a preparation room and taking back his jacket. He tells them:
“I visited seven of them in person,” Edeard said. “And I managed to longtalk warnings to another twelve.”
As they return to the court Master Solarin tells all of the arson attacks by the Waterwalker that have taken place while they were in court, telling them that someone is clearly trying to wreck Edeard’s reputation. The senior judge dismisses the warrant for Edeard’s arrest, telling him he is free to go. Despite the distances involved in seeing the seven, Dinlay can’t believe how he got to all of them:
Edeard withdrew his farsight and smiled at the four inquisitive faces looking at him. “I'm the Waterwalker,” he told them mysteriously. His cloak flowed dramatically around him.
Two days later and the arrests are ready to happen, all of Makkathran knowing what will take place this day. As they talk Edeard sweeps his farsight across the city, and recognises one focused on him:
“Salrana?” They hadn't spoken since that day in the caravan pens. His few attempts to longtalk her had been met by an icy mental shield.
Now her directed longtalk spoke to him alone in the gondola. “Edeard, people are afraid. Many families have come to the church this morning. What you are doing is scaring them.”
“I know. But once today is over, their fear will be gone.”
Walking through Sampalok there are many families out and about ready for events of the day. Argian contacts him, telling him that there are eight of his people in Sampalok, not concealed as yet. Edeard arrives at Buate’s residence:
“Waterwalker,” Buate said in a jaded voice. “Have you come to escort me to the financial court?”
“Nothing that pleasant. You are under arrest.”
“On what charge?”
“Suspicion of extortion. We intend to hold you while we gather corroborating evidence.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Very well.” He closed his eyes, and longtalked strongly. “This is it, my friends. Go forward!”
As Buate longtalks Edeard brings up more barrels of oil to the streets, and is told by Buate that he won’t make it ten yards. The mob surrounds them, throwing rocks at Edeard. He gathers all the oil into a ball hovering above the streets, lights it, and proceeds to escort Buate through the streets.
As this happens people fill the streets, but the constables are prepared and will not let anyone out of the district across the bridges. The other arrest teams are not faring as well, having trouble with the hostile crowds. Buate tells Edeard:
“Once ignited, a flame will burn until there is no more fuel,” Buate said. His hand waved at the mob following them. “They don't need ringleaders anymore. They're burning on their hatred for you.”
The other oil barrels are discovered, tipped over and set alight. As they are Edeard gets the city to absorb the oil through the streets, quickly removing the hazard. And they then leave Sampalok with Buate, handing him over. But the mob is out of control in Sampalok, crowds at every bridge, and Edeard doesn’t know what to do. The crowds are looting, and Edeard tells the Sergeant to stop them, the constables forming a line and pushing them back. Dinlay tells them he’s having trouble, and they return to the concourse where the rioters are causing havoc.
A hot rings out, hitting Kanseen, but luckily she is protected by the drosilk waistcoat. Edeard approaches the crowd, telling them to break it up and return to their homes. But two more shots are fired, at him this time, and he stops them in mid-air, Argian telling him that his people fired. Edeard gathers his mental strength and raises two plumes of water from mid-pool, sending the water to the streets, washing the rioters down and away.
“I told you,” Edeard announced impassively. “Go home.”
Walsfol contacts Edeard and tells him that although his area is subdued, the rest of Sampalok is far from it. Edeard tells him he will move from street to street with the same technique to subdue the rioters.
“You will do no such thing,” Walsfol said. “We're worried your actions are just inflaming the whole situation. You stand down, Waterwalker. I want you back in Jeavons by midday. I am ordering all constables to fall back behind the bridges.”
He tells Edeard that the council is in an emergency session, Owain wanting more direct action to help the citizens under threat.
A shot rings out and Boyd’s thoughts vanish. Kanseen screams. Edeard runs to them, finding Boyd dead, his killer, Mirayse, standing over him.
Mirayse giggled at the constables piling into the shop. “I got you,” she said in a peculiar singsong voice. “I got you. You killed my life. We're equal now.”
Before anyone can take revenge Edeard tells Urarl to take her out and she will stand trial. Edeard reaches out with his perception, seeing Boyd’s spirit waiting there. He says his goodbyes to them all, Edeard’s perception still on him.
“You must think I'm so weak to leave,” Boyd said as his specter lifted toward the sky, thinning out.
Edeard's perception followed it. “No,” he said. Then he heard:
“We have to stay; he is all we have.”
“What?” he asked.
The sensation of a smile emerged from Boyd's essence. “I understand.” And he was gone, ascending to the nebulae.
Bise makes an announcement from his mansion, promising refuge to families while men and women fight those oppressing them, Waterwalker in particular. As this happens Kanseen senses the militia is coming, a whole regiment. Clearly Owain’s doing in order to stop the riots, but Edeard knows they will be indiscriminate in their violence towards the rioters. Edeard asks Agrian to do what he can with his people, though he isn’t optimistic. Edeard and the remaining squad members head for High Moat to stop the militia from doing what they were sent to do.
Edeard longtalks Owain, begging him to call off the militia. But Owain tells him he has no choice, and the only reason Edeard is still in the city is so he can answer for his actions and face banishment as the result. He tells Edeard to leave Sampalok to the militia. As several constables approach them they link hands and sink through the street, using the tunnels to travel before rising into an alley. Finitan contacts him when he reappears, asking what he is doing.
“Listen to me, Edeard. Do not use force against the militia. You do not have universal approval among their officers. And Owain has given them a free hand to deal with the rioters.”
He tells him what has happened, and that Owain has effectively won. They are on their own.
Edeard approaches the militia to talk to the lieutenant, Eustace, in the hopes of talking sense. But this is to no avail, and Eustace warns Edeard not to get involved. As the militia take aim down the streets Edeard reaches for the water again, lifting a great mass and dropping it on the militia. Then, creating a twister in the air he sweeps it along through the militiamen. He makes his way through the streets shouting at everyone to go before they are killed by the militia, finally ending up before Bise’s mansion.
“You have no authority here, Waterwalker. The District Master has full dominion within his own walls. Leave this place.”
But Edeard simply tells him to wait while he deals with the militia. As Captain Larose approaches Edeard talks to him, telling him he won’t allow such bloodshed to occur when they attack the mansion. Edeard calls on the city for help, and gravity changes, lifting all the militia into the air.
“You should try and use your third hands to guide yourselves together,” Edeard advised. “If you link up, you'll probably be more stable that way.”
A gun fires and Larose cartwheels through the air, while many of his men are vomiting because of the weightlessness.
Edeard held up a finger in remonstration. “Don't go away. I'll be back in a little while; we can talk about you holstering your weapons then.” He turned to face the mansion. This time, nobody on the battlements took a potshot at him.
The entirety of Makkathran was very quiet.
Talking to Bise he tells him that it is the city that has ultimate authority, and that it now revokes that right from him. Half of his money will be given to the families as recompense for the losses they have suffered, and the remainder will go to the new District Master.
“I also add to that list of banishment all those who are named in the exclusion warrants. You will now leave Makkathran, and you will not return. Ever.”
“Not even you can force that upon us,” Bise replied.
“No,” Edeard agreed equitably. “I cannot. The city, however, can. And it will begin with the revocation of your mansion.”
After a few minutes of nothing happening, suddenly the gates gave a crack and the bolts are driven out of the walls, while the mansion itself appears to be melting from the top down. As the mansion dissolves and the people run out, constables make arrests. He then turns to them and says:
“If you are a Diroal or one of those I named, you will hand over your weapons to the constables,” he told them. “And you will walk from here to the North Gate. The constables will escort you and safeguard your passage. You may take with you whatever you can carry and no more. Everyone else is free to go.”
Edeard talks to Finitan asking for advice and guidance before joining the squad and escorting many out of the city.
Bise glared at him. “Where are we supposed to go?”
“There are fresh lands in the provinces. You can begin again if you wish.”
Edeard talks to Captain Ronark, asking for help as he needs to remain a constable. Ronark tells Edeard that might be easier than he thinks after Owain’s actions, and that there may be a position open to him: Captain of Jeavon’s Station. Still watching the people leave the city Buate passes him:
“I don't know what you are, Waterwalker,” Buate said, “but you'll never last.”
“You're probably right. But while I'm here, you're not. And that gives everyone a chance at a better life.”
Buate turned away and walked through the North Gate.
Edeard spots Marcol, a young boy with strong talent – and an attitude – leaving with his family. Edeard makes him an offer – join the constables and make a difference so his family can stay in the city, all to Macsen’s surprise.
Back in Sampalok, Kanseen and Macsen’s family appear, and following Boyd’s advice not to waste time, Edeard convinces them to marry then and there. After the short ceremony he tells them to walk to the centre of the open space:
“The new Master and Mistress of Sampalok,” Edeard announced. “And their new mansion.”
The surface began to ripple around Macsen and Kanseen.
Well, that was a monstrous few chapters! We’re getting to the home stretch, so join me here next time where we’ll read through Justine Year 3 and Chapter 5.
THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS, the first book in a new Commonwealth series, published on 9th October 2014, and you can read an extract here
NIGHT WITHOUT STARS, the gripping sequel to THE ABYSS BEYOND DREAMS, will be published on 22nd September 2016.
Whilst you're waiting, check out the cover reveal post!
You can also catch up on the whole Void Trilogy Reread: