Gideon nods to each of the team members as they introduce themselves.
“A pleasure, I’m sure.”
He turns his head for a moment, as if listening to someone behind him.
“So, let us return to the subject of breaching the Bazaar. I’m sure you’re all wondering how we can do it. The plan is a work in progress, but the essential points are as follow:
“Firstly, we will need to enter the out-buildings surrounding the spires. A Shaper’s Pass will get you as far as the Side-Streets, but the deeper repositories clustered around the Bazaar’s base will be tougher to crack. Fortunately, thanks to my own larcenous activities in the area, I have found a way through.”
Gideon rummages in the folds of his bombazine cloak and extracts a segmented copper cylinder. When held up in the moonlight, it gleams. The portions of the cylinder still in shadow shine with a light of their own - a faint fiery glow like remembered sunlight.
The radiance forms the outline of sigils; letters of the Correspondence are inscribed around the three segments. It leaves a faint afterglow as Gideon places it on the marble surface of the coffin before him. Despite the faint slope, it does not roll off.
“I liberated this from a Special Constable on his way to the Bazaar. He was unwise to stop to relieve himself in such a secluded alley. I don’t know how it works, but I was hoping you could help me in that matter – particularly the Ticking Scientist. I believe it will allow access into the area directly around the Bazaar from the Side-Streets. However, we will need one each. Making a copy may be difficult; I tried copying down some of the symbols and found that my parchment burst into flames in short order. Perhaps it is better left to a Correspondent. Or we could just steal some more from the Special Constables, although they will no doubt be on the lookout.
“It will not, however, protect us from more physical threats. The bats that ever circle the spires and the other agents of the Masters are still a cause for concern. Even if we manage to enter undetected, they will surely know us for interlopers. Going loud would likely result in us all being killed as soon as reinforcements arrived, but there must be a more stealthy option.”
He turns his head again, falling silent for a long moment.
“Further matters of interest: the doors to the Bazaar. Copper, ivory, glass, ormolu, steel. One of them will be suitable, but I do not know which one. Opening them will require… payment. The Correspondence traps on the floors and walls may also require some attention.”
As Gideon continues to speak, his eyes burn with fervour and his voice slips from the well-practised cadence of the gentry into a guttural drawl like the last foul breath of a dying man.
“Once we are inside, no man knows what may await us. The interior of the Bazaar may be a battlefield, or a city on fire, or a ship crossing dark water, or a house of mirrors, or a windswept cliffside. It may bring a vision of the heart of the sun, or a sensation of such infinite melancholy that it crushes our hearts in sorrow. (Not in the false-summer, though; the lacre-pits will be much depleted while the Bazaar prepares to cry herself to sleep once more.)
“It is not a place for humanity. It is further above us than we can ever comprehend. How can we hope to understand it? The Chain separates us, as it always will. It is further above the Masters than the Masters are above us.”
His voice returns to normal. A light sweat breaks out on his forehead and he mops it absently with a surface-silk handkerchief.
“Terribly sorry. A… lapse in judgement. It won’t happen again. Suffice it to say, the passage will be difficult. But it will be well worth the trip.”
edited by JimmyTMalice on 8/17/2016