Chapter 1:1 – Cause and Effect

In the north-west of Auspar, suspended between the central towers of the city lies the tiered Grapnel Arena. It’s home to the Grapnel Guard, the city’s watchmen, gladiatorial fighters and the blade behind the steadfast’s religion. The people of Thaemor and especially the citizens in the capital all nurtured the same belief: Fate is the consequence of a singular action. To set in motion a possible chain of events, a set of dominoes falling to create your future was down to the individual, however, there was no telling what that first step would be. It could only be found when the effect had happened and for those in today’s ritual, the outcome was fated to be caused by their deaths.

Two prisoners, a man in his prime and a girl who had yet to step on that path came before the baying crowd. The light disorientated them through the sacks covering their heads. The crowd defeated their ears and the smell of roasted meat, rotten vegetables, and the iron of fresh blood overwhelmed them both. In the cacophony, a new set of restraints were slipped onto their wrists. Thinner than the manacles, they were used to. Both prisoners could feel something being taken from them, like being blinded or deafened, a connection to a sense that was now lost. The crowd cheered as the device went on, recognisable by its brassy and blood stained tint in the sunlight. The two were jerked forward by the chain attached to their prison shackles. They were kicked to the ground; a crude silk scarf was used to gag over their sacks them an ornate silken covering was placed over the top.
The crowd roared as they fell, music played triumphant tunes in brass, synth, and string.

Large silken screens were lowered from the arena platform above. In a pale blue, the ritual was relayed in animated drawings to the crowds in the higher stands. The excitement of the crowd was building almost becoming deafening but instantly fell silent when a man in his mid-fifties, with a grey stubbled beard and hair equally as short. He dressed in ornate armour approached the central stage with a cloak that changed hues as he walked. There was an air of the exotic to him, shared by the fashionable elite of the city. Metal bands and jewellery adorned every available space; their pattern contained a design that seemed fluid, dependent on the light. He looked out of place amongst the blood, bodies and chopping block but the way he held himself, his gaze into the audience even his tone, not only did he belong there but he enjoyed it and revelled as the spotlight fell on him”Ladies and gentlemen of Auspar,” proclaimed the gentleman with showmanship flair,” politicians and painters, servicemen and sculptors, merchants and Numenera masters alike, may all your seedlings find prosperity.” The crowd cheered and clapped. He had them in the palm of his hand and smiled. “Welcome, for today we pass blessing on the safe return of Her Royal Highness Princess Elise. This marks the sixth day of the Cascade ritual and these two souls will help nurture the fates into guiding her home. Everyone, please show them your faith and appreciation.”The two prisoners cowered, for their darkened world was pelted with a barrage of offerings. Shins flew past their heads, clinking on the ground. Silken scraps, each with golden thread fell around them like the caress of fingertips. The smell of incense and flowers mixed with the roasted meat as they fell. The crowd cheered and wildly clapped in anticipation, the excitement made the two prisoners equally as sick.

“Ladies and gentlemen of Auspar,” proclaimed the gentleman with showmanship flair,” politicians and painters, servicemen and sculptors, merchants and Numenera masters alike, may all your seedlings find prosperity.” The crowd cheered and clapped. He had them in the palm of his hand and smiled. “Welcome, for today we pass blessing on the safe return of Her Royal Highness Princess Elise. This marks the sixth day of the Cascade ritual and these two souls will help nurture the fates into guiding her home. Everyone, please show them your faith and appreciation.”The two prisoners cowered, for their darkened world was pelted with a barrage of offerings. Shins flew past their heads, clinking on the ground. Silken scraps, each with golden thread fell around them like the caress of fingertips. The smell of incense and flowers mixed with the roasted meat as they fell. The crowd cheered and wildly clapped in anticipation, the excitement made the two prisoners equally as sick.

The two prisoners cowered, for their darkened world was pelted with a barrage of offerings. Shins flew past their heads, clinking on the ground. Silken scraps, each with golden thread fell around them like the caress of fingertips. The smell of incense and flowers mixed with the roasted meat as they fell. The crowd cheered and wildly clapped in anticipation, the excitement made the two prisoners equally as sick.
“In turn, she will gain strength to find her way home. We pray that this one action will spread through the Datasphere, ever changing, ever flowing, into protection and guidance as it has done before many years ago. However, before we continue and while I have your undivided attention ladies and gentlemen, the Abbot will be proceeding over a Rite of Ascension later today, as House Ethis completes their latest phase of building. I hope you can all attend the celebration of their prosperity and future fortunes.”