A Blessed Instrument
(Lady Chai has a very particular sense of beauty, and apparently that extends to how I should dress whilst painting...)
(But this obsession of hers works in our favor. The time I spend indulging these distractions is time you can use to continue your explorations.)
(For this excursion, I'd like you to delve into the layer below us, and sniff about the military headquarters. I'm sure the Understory has its own tale to tell...)
(Now is your chance to squeeze in another round of reconnaissance. Go─I will cover your absence should the Chais become suspicious.)
You...you're one of the bonded, aren't you? Like me?
Please, I need your help! My throat, it's... I can't sing anymore...
I've been making excuses, but it's just not getting any better. If my patron thinks I'm of no use to him, then... <sob>
I need you to sneak out to the Derelicts and describe my condition to Thoarich.
Here's a list of symptoms, and a hunk of meol to pay for his medicines... Please, I have no one else to turn to!
...You don't know the Derelicts? It's the mess of shacks and ships right outside Joyous Hall.
That's where the apothecary lives. Or at least, that's what I heard...
Hee hee! You need medicines? Tonics? Potions?
Hmmm, a cure for an ailing voice, is it...?
No, no medicine will cure this. Methinks your songbird has a lump in her throat. It must be cut out, excised, and even then the voice may never heal completely.
Hee hee, poor little songbird. Will they kick her from the nest, I wonder? Or simply silence her chirps?
Hoho, your face! You didn't know!? Of the many hopefuls who enter the city, very few are ever seen to leave. Even as corpses...
Oh, you might see one or two fortunate fools hurled from the balconies, but the rest...? Gone.
A town of nightmares, it is. Not for this ship's rat, oh no no. I am content to scurry around down here, and nibble on the crumbs which fall from the table.
This consultation is over! You have my verdict, and I have my meol! Good day!
All the old hands, they know, oh yes, they know. They just don't like to talk about it. Wouldn't want to upset the status quo, hee hee!
D-Did you get my medicine...?
<sob> ...So that's it? What am I to do if I can't sing...?
Ah, there you are, my sweet canary. Have you been crying again? Don't tell me your voice is still not on the mend...
Oh, generous sir, have mercy! I've done all I can, but even the apothecary said...
...So you've been suffering all this time?
I am sorry, my pet. I hadn't realized your affliction was this grave... But you needn't fret! I'll not reward your hours of trilling by casting you out into the street!
You are too kind, sir...
But what use am I if I cannot sing? I fear the day I become more burden to you than treasure...
Then I shall have a word with Lord Vauthry, and arrange for your ascension.
In that paradise where resides neither pain nor illness will your song ring out clearly once again.
...Or mayhap you think it a step too far?
No, I... You would do that for me!?
Of course. Why, I would almost wish to hasten my own ascension, knowing your blessed instrument was waiting there to greet me.
|Ascension...?||Sounds too good to be true...|
Ah, you must be a new arrival. Allow me to explain.
Ah, you must be a new arrival to harbor such doubts. Allow me to allay your suspicions...
As all know, the sin eaters exist to devour the sinful. But also do they serve to gather the souls of the innocent, and shepherd them unto celestial paradise.
It is through Lord Vauthry that we learned this truth. It is through Lord Vauthry's grace that the free people of Eulmore are destined to embrace salvation.
We are blessed to spend our days surrounded by love and merriment, until at last we are called to our final rapture. Even the bonded may find a place within that host, should their patrons deem them worthy.
Lord Vauthry truly is a great man, isn't he?
Now if you will excuse us, we must be on our way. May you find eternal salvation for the compassion you have shown my precious canary.
Oh, dearest, we really should have found you some new gloves.
Yes, my love, you're probably right...
'Tis good to see you back. You were taking so long I began to worry something had happened.
I've begun sketching an outline for the portrait, but...nay, the Chais appear otherwise occupied. Will you share what your investigations have gleaned thus far?
So...Lord Vauthry boasts some manner of influence over the sin eaters, does he? That would explain the reverence in which he is held by the citizenry.
And as for this “ascension” business, I cannot help but be put in mind of that apothecary and his ominous remarks. If so many folk have entered the city over the years, then where do they go...?