|Ossis Potior (Bone Collector)portrayed in my mind|
by Christopher Eccleston
The junior GRALIDUS arrives to fetch ALECTO and MANTIUS on behalf of Master ISAACUS. They depart with him and the remainder of the First goes on to Patricus’s domicile (which strikes them, VARIAN in particular, as considerably less than the statesman deserves), where they meet THESSALY and proffer their greetings and well-wishes.
CATALINA and Kim go on to visit the former’s mother and daughter, in the course of which both LEPIDA and Kim are distressed by Cat indicating Terentius as her significant other, whom she intends to introduce to ALIA. ARCTURUS goes to visit his cousin JERENAIS, in the course of which he is much dismayed to witness the current living conditions in the Undercity, including unclean well water and an enormous cat menacing the populace. Jerenais asks Arc to “put in a good word for him” in the matter of mount recruitment—a request that does not go over well with Jerenais’s wife MICA, landing Arc in the middle of a domestic dispute. He eventually manages to extricate himself and join Cat and Kim, departing the Undercity before curfew and arriving at the dormitory just in time for Cat to receive a summons to appear at her own disciplinary hearing the next day.
Varian attempts to improve on the building plans for the Undercity, but is rebuffed by the new Pinpoint Architect, ARTENAS ARTILIAN (his son Erasmus having been injured in a construction accident). With the assistance of juniors ENNAIS and LOGINUS, Ian is able to gain audience with masters AUDEN, KENJIRO, and SER ORLANDO, as well as mounts TALTUN and Ennais. In the course of this, documents are signed, enabling Ian to alter building plans as necessary, and the finance team calculates and approves a budget of 21 million bright light, the first million of which Kenjiro promises by noon the next day.
Meanwhile, having individually undergone Isaac’s inquiry into their loyalties, Mantius and Aly are drafted—as Bone Collector and Saint of Consonance, respectively—into the highly classified Veiled Number, among whose surprising roster Aly meets Ian’s brother HADRIAN and Terry’s brother CARDIUS. Led by Isaac, BENJAMINUS, Aly, Thess, Mantius, DANIELUS, and LADY ADRIA promptly embark on their first mission—recovering LEONTES, the Voice of Warders, and the Fellmind from the latter’s mount, TORRENCE of the Black Number, who is then summarily killed by Ben.
That night, Aly, Cat, and Ian have conversations with the shards Saint of Consonance, Fire Mage, and Bejeweled Warder respectively, in which Aly gets the okay to pay court to the Saint of Shards; Cat warns JEREN about the upcoming hearing and gets permission to pay court to a legendary; and Ian is surprised to find himself at a dinner at which he meets the legendaries, and DIONES makes it cordially clear that his mount is already in a committed relationship. Arc prays with Ser Orlando and receives his advice on legendaries as well as ladies.
The next morning, Cat is summoned by Kenjiro, who proceeds to tear up the summons to her hearing and instead take her, Taltun, and Ennais on a frantic whirlwind of bright light facility acquisition, which lasts until late afternoon and nets around 20 such establishments (and during which Kenjiro kills a courtier and they decline to enter a facility with a legendary inside).
At breakfast, Aly is picked up by Auden for her promised advanced training, which leads to her helping with the recruitment of prospective future mounts AJANUS (age 6), COLIAN (5), DERIADA (12), and more. She also winds up participating in some training and evaluation of the fast-rising 11th number, comprising:
- Hadrian, Cyclopean Titan HERACLIUS, Hammer of Night
- JUSTINIAN, Blue Light Infiltrator ARANIA, Lucent Warder
- BASILICUS, Auric Decalogue EUDOSIA, Daughter of Storms
- DUCAS, Brother Stone
which Auden expects to replace the current Tenth within six months’ time. Upon her return to Peerdin, Aly indirectly warns the Tenth, in particular MAISI, about this possibility.
Varian pushes forward with his improved plans for the Undercity, with the very reluctant cooperation of the Pinpoint Warder. He manages to win over the rest of the building committee:
- KILLIAN, Master Builder KAIZA, Keystone Engineer
- LORIC, Cloud Anchorite TOMASSI, Thunder Mason
as well as the complement of approximately 100 builders. The foundations are laid and the Bejeweled Warder’s vision begins to become reality in stunningly short order.
Mantius officially invites the Second to pay court to the legendaries after resharding the following day, and is unofficially invited to Lord Hanor and Lady Adria’s upcoming wedding. He spends the rest of the day waiting for Cat outside the shadow corridors (not knowing that she has been stricken from the list of disciplinary hearings), where he greets a distressed Lord Hanor, a furious ELINORA, a cheerful AMALTHEA, a sanguine TOBIAS, and QUINCEY of the Eighth, all apparently reporting for their own hearings. Mantius and Toby wait together until the frazzled Cat finally comes back from her many missions.
Arc delivers the same invitation to the Third, which is received with disdain by Elinora, to LUCIA’S annoyance. Lucia later apologizes further to Arc, only to again be interrupted by Elinora’s rudeness and her conviction that it was Cat who reported her to the ruling warders. After warning Arc that the First should expect challenges from many of the numbers after the three-month moratorium on challenges ends, Lucia leaves, to be replaced by STEPHANUS, IONIS, and Meg, who have a lot to say about Elinora, including that it was Meg who reported her and fully intends to do so again, at the first opportunity.
Waiting in line for salarium disbursement, Cat decides to confront Elinora, whom she feels is the one who reported her. They have an exchange of sharp words, but it ends civilly enough until the intervention of Kim, who slaps Elinora and is stunned to be slapped back. Elinora runs off (missing her salarium), and Kim is kissed for her action by Meg, Stephan, Ionis, and Toby.
Ian shows his friends what he has accomplished so far, and all witness are much impressed by the Undercity’s development.