Day 3: Third Cycle – Clique
The alley exuded an unforgiving air, surrounding Chloe, settling on her skin and messing with her hair. The sun disappeared slowly behind the skyline. She skulked the back roads, vigilant.
Chloe had woken up at her usual time today, an hour before sunrise. Toura and Ellis hadn’t shown up to their own house that night, and Chloe regretted not taking their bed…
Chapter 2A: Elicit – Link
Chloe found a door, hidden in the metal walls of the claustrophobic street. It had the brand, the symbol she was looking for. A black three pronged crown stared at her. She gave it a single experimental knock, and then waited. A long time passed. The light of the sun gave away to dim silver of the moon. As Chloe exhaled, the door opened.
“We don’t accept visitors.” A man appeared, pale with long black hair. He wore formal button up shirt and black pants.
Chloe peered inside, “Well, I, ah, I need some help…”
There were two more people inside. A gray haired and stern looking black man stood behind the first, watching critically. Lying on a flourish couch was a third person, but it was too dark to see anything clearly.
“That is her!” The older man said, pointing. “that’s our target, the mark!”
The doorman took Chloe’s shoulder and pulled her inside and closed the door.
“Hey-” She said, surprised.
Chloe kind of squirmed as the woman on the couch stood up. She was tall, with the pale skin and dark eyes so common in the city. She wore a silk doublet of white, and dark red lace around her neck.
Her voice was strong, “Chloe? We’ve been looking for you since yesterday.”
Chloe’s mind raced, yesterday? She thought back to the footsteps in the hallway. Was that one of these people?
“It is good that you came. Balance will be pleased. Tell me, miss, do you have a place to stay? I don’t think you do.” The woman was stark.
“I, uhh… Not really. It’s hard to find accommodation here.”
“It should be easy, seeing as you’re part of the royal family.”
“How? How do you know all this about me? Who told you?”
“I am a priest for the Servant of Balance. He tells me everything he knows. And the Servant of Tendrils has a lot to say about you.” She says all knowing, “But that’s not the whole story, is it? Balance and Tendrils see a great future for you, so they called me. I’m here to help you.”
“Uhh,” Chloe knew about the Servant of Tendrils, her sister worked for him, but she had never heard of Balance.
“I’m offering you a place to stay and my guidance.”
“Listen, I don’t need your help.”
“That’s true, but I know you want it.”
Chloe considered her words, rubbing her eyes, “I don’t even know you.”
“I am Sorin, priest of Balance. These are my acolytes. The young one with long hair is Ravvvenn, and the older man with dark skin is Jeff.”
“Jeff? Is that a real name?”
“He’s from the other side of town.”
“It’s dark, I’m sure you don’t want to stand by the door all night. Come in, we have a few extra rooms here.”
“Yeah, I could sleep…”
Chloe’s new room was lush, silk and cashmere, soft, expensive and new. She didn’t even light the lamp before lying down.
Chloe covered herself and said, “Sorin, just… Let me sleep.”
Sorin smiled, “Fine, but, dear prince, tonight is the last time you tell me what to do. Tomorrow,” She touched Chloe’s head, “We’re going to teach you how things work here.”
Then she left, silently.