The Bastard City was three days’ hard travel from the Scarlet Chorus camp, and out of the way enough that utilizing the mysterious fast-travel teleportation ability of the Spires would not hasten the journey. With all due haste we made our way to the tribunal hall where my master, Kyros’ Archon of law and judgment, had set up his court.
Cutting to the heart of the matter, he addressed me from his position on the balcony high above the court floor, demanding to know what progress I had been making in my investigations. Though we were both aware not nearly enough time had passed to form a concrete hypothesis, he also knew I was canny and would make the right decision.
With a glance toward the Disfavored soldiers collected to the left of the court, and the Scarlet Chorus to the right, I straightened my shoulders and addressed Tunon in a clear, unequivocal voice. I had enough evidence to implicate either Graven Ashe or the Voices of Nerat, but both the heavy weight of my own experience and the details of my investigation left no room for doubt in my mind.
“There is no question, great Archon – the Voices of Nerat is guilty of inciting chaos within our ranks.”
His eyes narrowed and he asked me to provide a single piece of evidence – just one – to back up my claim. I drew the Disfavored battle plans I had discovered among the Unbroken’s possessions, delivered by the Scarlet Chorus, and presented it to the court.
“Remember that material evidence is key in our courts, Fatebinder,” the Archon’s voice rumbled through the hall. “This and like evidence will prove very valuable when called to make a more formal report. You are dismissed.”
Saluting his wisdom, and knowing far better than to ask questions, I gathered my companions and departed the court, nodding respectfully to other Archons in attendance. We made our way to the Bastard City’s market district, restocking our travel supplies and spending coin on comfortable rooms for the evening; the travel here had left no time to rest or relax, and the trials of our recent combat still weighed on us. A hot bath, good meal, sound rest, and a quiet evening would do wonders for our bodies and spirits.
As I lazed in the too-hot waters of the private bath I wondered at Tunon’s purpose for calling me back to the Bastard City. He knew I wouldn’t have been able to compile a complete case on either Archon, and yet he ensured that I made a public declaration, backed up with evidence, of my early suspicions. Was that to serve as a warning for the Scarlet Chorus, or to bolster the flailing Disfavored? Was I a pawn in his political chess game?
Knowing that if I continued that line of thought I would never get the satisfactory rest I paid for, I instead poured myself another glass of wine and resigned myself to an evening of peace before returning to the road in the morning.