Byron and Dr Ashwall and Jinko and I went down to talk with Martin about our “we don’t want it to get out that you’re doing Wizardry” angle. His people brought us to a receiving library and kept us waiting a good long time, just to prove that they could.
When he came in, he brought several guards, an assistant, and a servant. The servant was Anton, whom they’d clearly crippled so that he couldn’t fight. And he’s clearly had all of his memories torn out. Martin mentioned buying some of them back again, but Anton’s not… himself.
Byron did a brilliant job explaining the wizardry angle, and Martin had little solid ground to stand on when he said they had a committee to study the problem. He had to go check in with his boss-in-the-box.
We were left in the library again. They left Anton with us, probably just to unnerve me. Through a series of questions I figured that he’s basically brainwashed to obey as a servant – that is, he wouldn’t sit down unless commanded to, although clearly it was hell for him to be standing.
Martin came back, eventually, and while quite irate with us personally, did concede that the cost/benefit analysis of moving the market versus having the black mark of wizardry (because someone else might think of it too) against them yielded the result that both outcomes were bad, but moving the market would be the lesser evil. He said that the Balanced Scale would not hold this against us, but that he personally had lost face, and would be seeking to harm us in any way he could. (This later led to detailed discussions regarding an embargo against us.)
We had some important clarifications and adjustments to the contracts they wanted us to sign, (ie, removing the part where we were responsible for covering all of their financial losses incurred by moving) and time was running short before our dead-man’s switch went off and our companions started hollering about the wizardry to all who would listen. We went downstairs to find them. Martin gave me Anton’s contract as a freebie – either to bother me, or because he wasn’t useful enough to justify his upkeep, or possibly both. I still don’t know if it will be possible to fix him – Martin said something insincere about asking around after who had purchased his memories – but at least it’s good to have him out of their hands. He was clearly exhausted and sleep deprived, in addition to mentally and physically crippled.
We rounded up the group from downstairs and went up to wait for the updated contracts. I told Anton he could sit or stand as he pleased, and that it was okay to go to sleep if he wanted, and he sat and fell asleep right away. We caught up with what everyone else had been doing.
Cinnamon, Ivraham, and Jinko decided to try to get out of the estate, and were all stopped by Kumori, the shadow-spirit who terrifies Big Brother Chip and who had come by to say hi awhile back after she’d been told, you know, not to destroy us. Cinnamon had a dream-hallucination where she was able to get out of the estate and warn all of the temples what was happening. I’d told her about my false-full-day’s-experience-in-an-hour’s-dream, but it was still equally upsetting for her to wake up and find she hadn’t been out of the estate at all.
Eventually we made our way back up to the waiting library. Martin came in with updated contracts, with provisions for later updates to be made. Initially he’d just had them for me, Byron, and Cinnamon, but other party members were able to sign their own if they wished rather than being counted under our banners. The eventual punishment we negotiated was an embargo against us of 3 years, with exceptions to Golden Eye, Silkies, Myagami, and Ssama.
Then I led everyone down to the servants’ quarters where Ashwall had stocked some untainted edibles. We finally were able to get something to eat, and get a good night’s sleep.
I’m worried about Anton. Martin mentioned that he’d gotten him for a song from the Self, Unchained. I wonder if they still have the rest of him, and if there’s any way to find it or get it back.