OUR HEROES: Tira Wolfsdaughter Hank Woodman Gilead Persia Khaz

58. Night of the Living Dead

istress Dakota's eyes are soon restored by the Hall of Healing. The various Riven rescued from the Puppeteer are cleared for indenture. With the exception of Quarra, all are snatched up by Grandmistress Novya.

Novya soon reveals more of her plans to Gilead and Persia. She plans to do far more than become a broker for riven. She wishes to create a system of training and placement. She wants her rvien to essentially be premium riven. To this end, she has bought property at the edge of the Burn on East Hill, with the intention of creating a riven academy. This will be a place of housing and education, as well as training in combat, security and other service-related skills. She offers training positions to Gilead and Persia. Gilead politely refuses, given his many other responsibilities. Persia accepts, however.

Tira and Gilead are deeply surprised several days later to spot Farallon, the meek and mild healer, wearing of all things, a sword. It is a very nice one, too, a spirit blade. He claims that he is wearing it do to the number of attacks that surround the friends of Gilead these days. He also says enough odd things to make Tira suspicious that he might be trying to impress a girlfriend. Despite her prying, he refuses to reveal more. He does ask Gilead for some fencing instruction, though. He also requests that Gilead come by for his final check-up after hours, since things are far too hectic during the day.

That evening, Hank and Persia are on hand to witness a disturbance at the Back Gate of the Old Circle. A riven lies outside the gate, wounded. The guards do not have the authority to open them (or possibly they do not have the desire). Both Persia and Hanks are in the service of powerful Grandmasters though and use that clout to get the man inside. He is wounded, stoned by a crowd apparently. He has an unfortunate reaving in that his fetaures are partially avian. Though his body is furred and striped, his head is that of a great bird of prey. Apparently this was enough to set off a mob's hatred of the Seraphim of the Celestial City. The two decide to take him to the Hall of Healing.

Hall of Art Floor Plans
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Ground Floor

Second Floor


About the same time, Gilead has gone to see Farallon. The healer insists that Khaz and Quarra remain outside. Gilead relaxes comfortably on a couch while Farallon begins the esamination. Suddenly, without any warning, Farallon attacks Gilead, rendering him helpless with a morphic devotion. The healer then throughs open the door and tells Gilead's bodyguards that the young man has fallen victim to some kind of poisoning. Using a great deal of fast talk and alarmed speech he convinces them to help take Gilead down to the basement, where "specialists can help him." The two are extremely suspicious, but Gilead is obviously in distress, so they comply.

Unfortuantely for the two of them, neither one can read. They are unable to decipher the word "Morgue" written over the basement door. They quickly realize they have been duped when they see the interior however. Bodies lie on slabs under sheets throughout the room. It is about to get far more horrific, though. At a word from Farallon, the corpses rise, unsheathing spirit swords. Khaz quickly (and incorrectly) decides that Farallon is the source of their animation and bludgeons the healer into unconsciousness. Before the hammer falls, Farallon is able to tell the zombies to carry out their missions, whatever they may be.

Khaz is a bout to deliver the coup de grace on Farallon, but is ordered to desist by Gilead, who has been slowly regaining consciousness. Khaz and Quarra concentrate instead on fighting the zombies who are trying to escape the morgue. There are too many of them, however, and the mutant and the riven only manage to stop a couple. The rest run up the stairwell upon an unknown mission.

Up above, Persia and Hank have reached Farallon's office and are told that some people saw him running down the steps of the Tower of the Way. They descend the staircase and are instantly on guard when they discover slain bodies upn the stairs. The bodies bear no obvious wounds, but they do not take the time to investigate further. No sooner have they passed than the "dead" bodies arise and continue up the stairs. By simply lying down and not moving, the zombies managed to get past any interference.

In a flash, the two reach the morgue and quickly confer with those below. Gilead is feeling much better now. Hank and Persia realize that the bodies they saw were zombies and the whole party sets off in pursuit.

Meanwhile, Tira receives a pair of nocturnal visitors. Two of the zombies are apparently assigned the task of doing her in or capturing her. She is not sure which and doesn't wait to find out. She evades them with clever use of the minor devotions she has been taught and runs off to get ehlp. Help is not far away, as the others have deduced that Tira might be one of the targets. It is when they hear the cries of "Fire" coming from across the great hall that they realize the other target. The zombies are attacking the library, probably in an attempt to destroy the Book of Standing Stones stolen from the Celestial City. It is a hard fought battle and many volumes are lost, not to mention the lives of zombies and guards. When the flames are exteniguished however, all the zombies lie dead and the Rare Volumes Room is more or less intact. The zombie bodies and their weapons (spirit swords all) are collected by the military. Farallon is arrested for questioning.