Tracing the staff which disgorged monsters back to the Munitions Store which sold it, the Special Crimes Unit were attacked by the shopowner, together with a set of mechanical guns which unfolded themselves from their crates.
The owner, Kaja Stewart, was taken into custody, and interrogated by Constable Sorvad Heron, and Junior Constable Christian. During the interrogation, Sorvad was once more unable to control himself – a consequence of leaving part of his soul in the Bleak Gate. Sorvad struck the prisoner with the staff no less than five times in an attempt to get her to reveal whatever information she held. Christian witnessed the entire incident.
Kaja went to see Senior Constable Evergreen, and was in his office for some time.
Walker, returning, found that Kaja had spoken with Evergreen. Suspecting some collusion between them, he went up and confronted Evergreen in his office.
“Why did Kaja Stewart need to see you?” he asked.
Evergreen responded by quoting the rules and regulations back at him. Every prisoner was entitled to see a Senior Constable if they were assaulted while in custody. Few took this offer up, but the rules were there.
If I’d wanted to quote rules and regulations, I would have bought Ms Ravenhorn. Silence for a while. Walker moved to fill it. “I was a street Constable first. I know that sometimes, in the heat of the moment, things happen that shouldn’t.”
“So was I.”
“Street Constables share. Level with me.”
Evergreen quoted regulations again. Walker was getting nothing. “You’re not the man I thought you were,” he said to Evergreen, and turned to leave.
As Walker placed his hand on the door to open it, Evergreen said: “You were.”
Walker paused there for a moment. Then left the office.
Walker stalked down to the squad room. The team were all there. He looked at each of them in turn, and said as he did so: “I need to know each of you had nothing to do with harming Ms Kaja Stewart.”
“No,” said Cala emphatically. “I wasn’t aware of anything.”
Christian, too, denied it for a moment. “No.” Then: “Yes. Sorvad hurt her.”
“It was an accident,” said Sorvad. The room was quiet as Christian said “You don’t accidentally hurt someone five times in the course of a minute.”
Sorvad handed over the staff to Walker. Dried blood was on the end of it.
All eyes were on Sorvad now. “I’ll take this for the Evidence Locker. I need you to take a weeke’s leave, Mr Heron.”
“Can I explain…”
“Now, Mr Heron.”
Sorvad gathered his things and left the office. Cala followed.
“Take the rest of the night off, Mr Christian.”
Christian left, leaving Walker alone in the office with his thoughts.
Cala and Sorvad went to the Cloudwood, to try and find answers to the thing that had possession of a piece of Sorvad’s soul from the Skyseer Heward Sechim – but they arrived to find a camp in the throes of grief. Sechim was dead.
But this wasn’t necessarily the end of him being able to advise them. Using a Spirit Medium, Cala and Sorvad questioned Sechim. They were able to ask him three questions. What had happened to Sorvad’s soul? Could it be retrieved? And who was behind it all?
Sechim responded that Sorvad’s soul had moved on from the Bleak Gate and was now being held in the hands of others – the Obscurati, a previously unknown player in the game.
In The Red Melancholy, Christian got talking with a young Minotaur with a red ribbon between her horns – Taura, dressed for her date with Cala. With Sorvad and Cala away at the Cloudwood, Taura was all alone at the Red Melancholy. Christian proceeded to console the stood-up Minotaur and a game of Ring of Fire ensued. What happened afterwards remains to be seen.
Back at the station, Walker emerged from the Evidence Room, closing and locking the door behind him. He walked past Senior Constable Evergreen’s office – pausing for a moment outside the door, the lamps still lit within – then continued down the corridor to the bathrooms.
Inside the bathroom, Walker looked at himself in the mirror for a long time.
Then he took the staff from his coat, and began to wash off the dried blood.