By the Effee Scribe, Quill
Since my exile from the city of the Living Goddess, I've used my unique endowments to keep in touch with Annalow. Annalow who's image burns in my memories.
Oh Annalow, the Mume city that sits atop an imposible platue. On the sea side, her mountain empties into a deep cave holding all docks and ships that travel from along the world's eadge just to glimpse her magnificient. The climb, either from her ramp at south or the cave up north, leads atop the flattented mound entereing a city that swings it's two mile radius to hold homes, buildings, and lush parks of blue, orange, and yellow stone masondry. She basks under a tropical sun and her greenery shines for it. She is beautiful, fore she is the capital city of the Mume race and it is in the Mumes to always stirve to make the world beautiful. Sometimes terrible, but always beautiful. And both terrible and beautiful is Annalow's key feature, tho you would think the platue should be enough. At the center of her circular encumbrance stands a huge ebony tower that shines black with the sun behind it. Mandra's Tower, the Church, that reaches two-hundred and Twenty-one stories into the sky and houses the Goddess at the top where she can look down and watch over her people.
As I write these words now, I sit south of my beloved city, and although I was a slave in Annalow, the last city of the world to allow slavery, I long for looks upon my home. Three sylabals the house my heart and tease my long ears and longing eyes. Ann-A-Low.
With my longings, you understand, I had to keep in touch with my few but loyal friends. The most interesting of them was Anna Goldeyes, a strange Red Gaurd of the Church of Mandra, who's eyes were, in fact, gold and flashed pleasantly in the sight of all children. The Red Guard stand as elite military who police the magic of the Mume people and protect the city if it is threatened. The Red Guard, crueler half of the church, but solid and dutiful. They are like a trained bear or wolf, frightening to outsiders and strangers, but a comfert once you realize they are on your side. I have spied on them for my former masters and I have judged them strong, practical, militant, and sturdy Mumes.
They're mirrored people, the White Maidens, are kind, generous, wise, and above all else, strive to be the bindings of comunity. All members of the Church of the Living Goddess are womume, for in womume only could the Living Goddess Mandra trust her magic, the feared magic to control minds and souls. Heartmagi, a feared word describing both white and red members womume.
Durring the events that lead to my exile, Anna Goldeyes did an intelectual dance with my current and brilliant master Drate Felfkin who now resides in a hidden felf village to the south. I would speak more of him for I'm so very devoted to his well being, but neither he nor the Felf race have much to do with this tale, I'm afraid. Perhaps another day. Anna Goldeyes made herself known as an oddity of the Red Guard for she believed, like my master, that the guilt of one's crimes would be precievable in traces left durring the act of the sin. Annalow has one cardinal and strict law above all others, there will be no death in the city. It was Anna Goldeyes' duty, therefore, to track like a huntress the deeds done by a rogue Red Guard that damaged and snuffed out minds and drove one poor White Maiden to madness. Master Drate found in Anna both an ally in his own quest and, much to his delight and surprise, a student of the art known as "Deduction."
The word was coined by Master Drate as such "To deduct is to remove slowly and methodically that which is imposible to find the gem of truth, however unlikely, that remains. Even in the unstudy rules of so called 'Magic' there are rules indeed that leave foot prints in the ground of reality." Master Drate and Anna traded countless letters he would show to me in excitement as the two created the idea of a detector of these footprints. A "Detective," as Anna would come to finalize the term.
The size and scope of Annalow would put their theories to the test during the spring storms that occurred five years after the bi-millennium. Tho the events actually began in mid-spring of 2,003 AZD.
Death of the First Child
Everyone knows of the two cardinal rights of everyone inside the walls of Annalow; The Right to Live no matter what the crime and, barring the Effee race, the right of property. To have our first and most guarded right breached on a child, even if it is a slave or Effee or urchin, stands the most regretful.
She was a Mume girl, perhaps 10 or 11 years young, found laying in a back ally in the north district. Her enshrined corpse were found by Ixxar eyes, a set of twins that lived in the richer of neighborhoods, but decided to take one of the city's short-cuts, famous for trouble. The North district is not particularly dangerous and so the alleyways were not such a great risk, but the image the Ixxar saw force a scream from both of them in unison.
The child was naked except for a single blue lily placed carefully in her mouth. Her hands rested on her chest as if she had just fallen asleep, and her elbows lay on a blue cloth. The true dread of the site was her stomach, which was ripped, bloodless, out and down the rest of her body, covering her from tummy to knees. Everything was so carefully done that the murder raised much interest, not just in the city guard who's jurisdiction it falls under, but the locals, the rest of the city, and eventually of course, to Anna Goldeyes.
The name given to such a villan capable of this deed was "Lily Ripper." Race? Gender? Nothing was known. We only knew that over the next two years, Lily would gift us 20 more atrocities, all alike. Some differences would be had, but they were all Mume girls with face and lips untarnished to accept the death-sign of a blue lily flower and they all lay on blue dyed cloth. That was significant to Anna Goldeyes, she once wrote me, because blue dye was dreadfully expensive.
Lily Ripper was the fear on the lips of all Annalow, making the spring months dreadful and unacceptable. Lily was a ghost, a blue shadow, Mumes would paint her as darkened azure cloaks with fingers like knives and hovering over girls waste high in waters that bore her name-sake flower. Each murder made Anna Goldeyes angrier and angrier until she finally stumbled on the traces of the killer.