This is not a tale of love or happiness or peace,
But one of death and murder in the name of science.
Mayhap murder lacks the proper sense,
Rather, a Homin life is changed for aye
As power heeded not the price to pay….
Galhara, was a young Fyros, who had been blessed by Ma-Duk not only with a well-formed body and a good-looking countenance; but also with a lively spirit. Galhara lived near the southern gate of Pyr where she traded as a merchant, leading, on the whole, a comfortable and quiet life. Additionally, being a loyal follower of the Kami, she was well-liked, and given many privileges in her home town. She had free access to the senate meetings, as she was on good terms with several high-ranking politicians of the empire.
On a day like any other, as the birds were singing and the gingos howling in the wind, there was a noisy debate in the senate, with the final outcome that it was decided to keep Galhara away from any future senate meetings for security reasons. This would have been unremarkable, except that immediately after; she disappeared without a trace.
At first, there were rumors amongst the people that Galhara had been killed for political reasons, which later, however, turned out to be false. The senators swore before the emperor, who had taken charge of the situation personally, that they had never murdered anyone, nor hired someone else to have anyone murdered, and so the rumours gradually dissipated.
With increasing frequency, however, the neighbors began to talk of strange shadows they claimed to have seen behind Galhara’s windows, and immediately new rumours appeared. “She is experimenting with forbidden magic” or even “she withdrew herself with her lover” were the most often heard. Even a person so valued in a city like Pyr can quickly find their name blackened in this manner.
What really happened back then, nobody really cared to find out. The people actually preferred to have something to gossip about.
Galhara awoke in a dark room. She was naked and her body felt slimy. Surrounding her there was bubbling and occasionally there was a spark that let her see things that were probably never meant for the mortal eye.
- “She has woken up, master!” the voice sounded very submissive, almost frightened.
- “Good, take care of her. Clean her, and then get her new clothes.”
These words were spoken in a voice full of hate, greed and all the evil of this world, a voice that made your hair stand on end. The darkness around Galhara did not allow her to make out movement or even any details of her surroundings. Nor could she place the sounds that reached her. She was having a problem orientating herself, and indeed, just seconds after the words of evil it became even darker around her and she lost consciousness again.
When Galhara awoke again, she was dressed and clean. She was obviously lying in a tent. Light streamed in through small holes in the ceiling and touched her body. She looked down full of surprise. She was wearing the light armor of the Tryker people. Completely black, save the purple sleeves.
- “Do you like what you see?” the evil voice that she had heard before, asked her.
- “Where…where am I?”, Galhara replied to the man’s question.
He was a small man, a Tryker with a flat face and blonde hair, which was plaited with many knotty pigtails. He, too, wore the noble armor of his people, in those same colours.
- “You are in the Grove of Umbra, in the camp of the Black Circle.” The man replied calmly. “We found you in the sewers of Pyr. Dirty. A wonder that the rats hadn’t started to gnaw on you yet, the way you stunk, Galhara.”
- “You know my name? Where from?” Galhara asked full of surprise. She was more concerned, however, as to how she had supposedly got into the sewers of Pyr and why she had been brought here instead of the hospital.
The Tryker gave her a smile and explained to Galhara that she had to be patient before she would find out everything. She doubted his words, as she was right to do, but having no choice at that moment; she surrendered herself to her fate.
— a meeting between a Tribe Chief and a Homin.
- “Are you hungry?” the Tryker asked more kindly that one would have expected from him. It was impossible to tell if he was truly being friendly or if he simply was a very talented actor.
After a good meal – roasted Igara and boiled psycopla sprouts – Galhara was returned to the tent in which she had awoken earlier. She had not been shown the way between the two tents. Her eyes had been covered with something gross and slimy for the trip.
Back in the tent, the Tryker with the light-colored hair was already waiting for her. He dismissed the guards after they had removed the strange mass from her eyes.
- “Excuse this procedure. This is the way we deal with all homins when we don’t know if they’re going to stay or leave us again.” The voice no longer sounded evil, indeed, with every word it became more appealing and persuasive.
- “My name is Ba’Wity Codgan, I am the leader of the Black Circle.” The Tryker bowed courtly and bid her to seat herself.
- “How did you get the idea, that I could possibly stay, honoured leader?” she asked with skepticism. She did so with a smile on her well-formed face. Her tone of voice however left no doubt that her words were more than sarcastic. There was a pause, while he watched her with sharp eyes. One could literally smell the tension between them. Not until he took his eyes off her and started fumbling with a few bottles, did the tension ease.
- “Well, many do stay, after they learn about our way of life and ideals.” With these words, he handed her a glass and motioned for her to take a sip. The color of the drink seemed very unusual to her. She took a smell of the blue liquid that also had a light red shimmer to it – almost violet. The liquid had a soft and sweet smell and so she carefully took a sip. Surprised by the pleasant taste, she immediately raised the glass to her lips again, and took an even greater swallow.
With a smile and another expression that Galhara could not interpret, Ba’Wity Codgan watched her. “So let me tell you about our goals”. He started a long monologue about the importance of research, but avoided all questions regarding the subject of this research. Also, he ignored all her questions about the financing of this research. Cogan was a very skilled speaker and Galhara was beginning to feel heavy headed with all this information after only a few minutes. As time passed, it became increasingly hard for her to think logically with her swimming head. That this could have been due to the drink she had earlier, failed completely to occur to her at the time. Indeed in only a few more minutes her senses left her and she collapsed onto her seat.
The Tryker rushed to the entrance of the tent, ordered the guards to remove the Fyros and sent for his deputy.
- “I did warn you.” were the first words of the deputy, as he rushed into the tent with long strides. “To make things worse, she is of no use for our research.”
- “Let this be of my concern” Ba’Wity Codgan answered. “We move to the next phase. Our last job brought us a nice sum of money.” The laughter that followed had less to do with humour than with evil. “I would have really liked to see the eyes of our fellow countrymen, widened in shock “ – here he spat with derision – “when he slumped to the ground despite all their fancy security measures.” Again, one could hear the ice-cold laughter. “But this here”, with this he pointed to a large, only half closed chest, in which one could see plenty of dappers, “this is also a nice payment. And SHE will have the honour to participate in the next phase of our research first.” The horrific laughter went on for a long time, ringing in the still night airs of Atys.
— a meeting between a Tribe Chief and a Homin.