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Issue Eight Synopsis

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In Tiermond, two strangers - one of them the man in the bulky coat from whom Rain stole the artifact - are asking people in the street about a device or a person. No-one has seen what they are after; they are worried they've lost "it, and the device".

Rua, Miriam and Rain are also in Tiermond, Rua and Miriam discussing how best to find Maren. During the discussion, Rain vanishes.

Maren arrives in Tiermond, unobtrusively, and is about to start looking for Miriam & co when he spots a person - definitely a human - who is nonetheless unmistakably one of the creatures he saw on the raft. Maren struggles briefly with his conscience, then, telling himself that Miriam will understand, he starts to follow the creature.

Rua realises why Rain is no longer with him - he tells Miriam that Rain found the artifact in Sarani. Miriam is furious with Rain, and then as Rua relates the story of the pickpocketing, she turns her anger on him. After all, if they hadn't fled to the raft, the Sarani police - and the flyers - would never have found the raft, and it would still be safe. Rua, bemused, apologises. Miriam says, grumpily, that it doesn't matter. If Rain wants the artifact, then let him - her - wander off. Perhaps unwisely, Rua asks if she still wants it. Miriam tells him irritably to stop harping on about it. Getting a bit annoyed himself, Rua retorts that that was, after all, what she hired him to do in Ember; find the artifact. Miriam snaps that she doesn't want it any more, so he can go. She's going to stay with Maren and try and rebuild what Rua destroyed.

Their discussion, which was rather loud, attracts the attention of Arram and Shirin, who are still wandering around a little aimlessly. On following the noise, they find Rua and Miriam, and Shirin recognises them instantly.

Rain, having slipped away from Rua and Miriam, emerges from an alleyway straight into the path of the two who were asking about the device. They recognise the little thief ('I saw it. It was unaffected by the telemetry signal'), although not before Rain has made apologies and moved hurriedly away. Before they can follow Rain too far, however, the creature Maren is following shows up and asks them about 'the little chimaera.' Maren's creature provokes the first two, but they have no choice but to keep following Rain unless they want to lose the trail again. Maren's creature follows them, and Maren follows on behind, not sure what's happening but ever curious.

Rain, meanwhile, slips away across a roof, enjoying the feeling.

In the alleyway, Miriam looks briefly to Rua before remembering what she just told him and looking away. Nevertheless, Rua directs her to one side, telling her that they can't catch both of them. Rua asks Arram what he wants, and Arram says he wants Rua, on charges of theft and murder, and at the behest of the Flyers' Guild, the Notaries' Guild and the police of Ember and Triaden. Shirin sighs quietly; this has gone completely off track. Arram attacks Rua, who defends himself, but Shirin approaches Miriam, who freezes, uncertain what to do. Seeing that, Rua reaches out to grab Shirin and pull her aside, giving Miriam a chance to get away. This allows Arram to actually hit him, knocking him out, but Miriam has fled. Shirin tells Arram to let her go, since he's already got one to carry.

Miriam runs into the two who were following Rain. She apologises, but the man in the bulky coat recognises her as 'having been with the spawn before.' He and his friend, addressed as "Kitziezg", pull her into the alleyway and question her. They want to know where the artifact is. Miriam covers fear with anger, but it doesn't do much good. In front of her eyes, Kitziezg turns into a monster with loose, mottled grey skin, and threatens her. His friend tells him not to kill her, but Kitziezg wants to know what's one specimen left, in a zoo whose keepers are gone? Miriam doesn't know what a zoo is, and wonders what the monster means by 'specimen'. When Kitziezg asks her again, she repeats that she doesn't know, and demands he let her go. Somewhat to her surprise, he does, leaving her curled up on the ground, shaking. As her attackers leave the alley, they remark that at least they lost Uzguias-Eshkar. Maren's creature, and Maren, are not in sight.

Arram has finished a thorough search of Rua and found nothing. Shirin says offhandedly that he is no use, but Arram doesn't understand. He is, after all, multiply wanted. Maren wants to get 'the girl', and take her and Rua back to Triaden, but Shirin insists on finding the artifact. Arram, angry, tells her that they have no leads to the artifact, but Shirin fobs him off by explaining that they can find the artifact through Miriam, and even if not, Arram can then take Rua and Miriam back to Ember as he wants. Arram doesn't understand her priorities. He asks what to do with Rua, and Shirin suggests giving him to the local Flyers' Guild. Rua does not look happy at this, but is incarcerated in the Flyers' Guild tower, to await the Principal's pleasure.

Miriam meets up with Maren at last, and he asks her about the two men he was following. She points him in their direction, a bit dubiously, and he tells her where his boat is and that there is a dinghy she can use on shore.

On getting to Maren's yacht, Miriam spends a little while crying. She's tired and confused and scared, and her hands are hurting from the rowing. In time, she looks up and spots the remains of the library from Second that Maren stashed on the boat. Books have always been a comfort to her; she starts reading.

She gets to a book on 'The Outer Celestial Bodies,' and remembers asking her dad about where the stars came from. When she pursued the question, her father gets angry with her and shouted. Later on, she heard her parents talking about it, worried. She never did understand why atronomy was a forbidden science. After all, cannons hurt people, but what can stars do?

On a random roof, Rain wakes from a dream of falling, a familiar nightmare, and heads for the wall, intending to go back to Sarani.

Shirin and Arram start on their quest again, looking for 'a blonde girl in a dark brown coat,' or 'a pale-haired child in blue.' Their search is unsuccessful, but Arram's mind isn't really on it anyway. He's thinking about Shirin.

On the yacht, Miriam has finished reading her book and is extrapolating from the observations in it - are there many worlds out there? What do the people look like? Grey-skinned monsters? And what would they want in a zoo full of specimens? Maren returns, and Miriam asks him where he first saw the men. He says on the raft, and adds that they were talking about a spawn, or a child, or a chimaera, about studying it - or killing it. Miriam puts two and two together - the same men caught and questioned her about the artifact, and she knows Rain has it. They also know Rain has it (although they referred to Rain as 'the child'); Rain is in danger! She wants to find and warn her friend, but Maren is worried. There are many factions of monsters, he thinks, and they have amazing technology. He asks after Rua, and Miriam tells him what happened, and then asks him to help her rescue Rua. She doesn't know him well, but she wants to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maren is dubious, but she tempts him by telling him that where Rain is, the monsters will eventually show up. So why, he asks, do they need Rua? Because, Miriam says, he's good at finding things.

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