The lasting effects of Lily Ripper on Annalow are clear in retrospec. One has only to ask the parents of the city or listen to the bonfire stories of children. Lily moves on, a ghost of fear told under the breath of the mume capital to frighten or impress. Dares will be made to visit the torture garden or the rubble that once was the killer's home, soon to be replaced by the familiar statue of children in memorial of those lost.
Also, the Red Guard would put strong faith in the research of deduction that Master Drate and Anna Goldeyes created. Because after Anna quit the city, true pandemonium began. A chaotic dance of fear and Mob mentality started with the orders from Captain Erick Crateshift.
A speach was made in front of City Hall that the Captain, thanks to the efforts of guards at the Docks, had found the location of the Lily Ripper killings. Though the perpatrator was unknown, he was certain it would not be long before the killer was caught. This, of course, didn't work for two reasons. One, from the account of Madeline Fallbringer, Lily had already been scared off, and two, from the account of Miss Goldeyes herself, this move by the captain was "Comically and poorly thought out."
"Why in the world would you warn your prey you're waiting for them?" She once told me on a visit here in Alexture. "He wasn't thinking about catching Lily, and so missed the point of the hunt. I wasn't the only one to see this, Quill. You heard about the riots."
The riots started a hand of days after the announcement. It was true that the guards had found the torture garden (as it was designated), but of course they failed. Day after day, the guards kept watch over the entrance to the legendary balcony, and each day nothing happened. At the same time, Madeline, Cherry, and Peter would hold meetings to try and figure a new way to track down Lily. Madeline created potions of deviation in order to find clues her own way, Cherry kept the entire academy on watch and account for all children upon entering or leaving the schools, and Peter woke earlier int he morning and spread word with the morning guard as to what they were looking for topside. And then Lily left a message for the whole city.
It had been the first killing with blood since the first killing was found four seasons prior. The girl was hung by the neck from a statue of Carr'dine near the schools. Many children whole left their homes to meet with teachers saw the poor dead creature and screamed. A memory they would never forget. She was naked except for the rope used to hold her and her bleeding body held a single Borc rune carved deep. It translated into Ixxar as "Mothers." The busing and battering shown on the rest of the girl's body was so severe that the strongest of Guards, Red and City, retched at the sight.
Citezens stormed City Hall demanding justice, swift and sure. The fuel of fear ignited and the Captain of the Guards was brought to question as his men fended off Mume, Borc, and Marf alike from bursting through the gates of the building. Politics, as well, were thrown out the window as the Council also held the Church, and therefore Coincil-Effee Pindrop the church represenative, responcible for the false information. Only the Ixxar remained silent durring the proceedings, an oddity given the fiasco's nature.
In essence, mid-spring of 2005ADZ was teh month Annalow went mad.
The traders and merchants were thrown from the city and the borders closed up. A quarentine put in place more by the citezens than the guards. The docks were sealed entirely off from the city. Word was now that Lily Ripper was an outsider sent to test the mettle of the city. Word was that Lily Ripper was the demon sent by the Dread Lord Ipskin as revenge for his fall hundreds of year ago. Word was that Lily Ripper was a group of mad cultists worshiping with the Dread Wolves from the south.
Mumes put to their faith would trust the church over the state and gathered into the safty of the Ebony tower. Red Guards would only allow Mumes and their children. No other race. They locked off the outside world.
Upstairs, in the organized hallways of the Red Guard Offices, Harri Eleanor held her head at her desk next to a bottle of starshine liquor, a kind of gold-wheat ale with the ale removed. Her blured gaze never moved from the jacket she hung next to her own. She couldn't understand why she held such thoughts in her head. It doesn't matter, she thought. The city is lost.
To my dear friend, Anna Goldeyes,
Quill and I have thought long about your plight and, if you would have us, would welcome you to our household. Quill, as you know, is annoyingly disposed to serve me, still, despite being free from the confines of her slavery. I think you'll find she's an excellent assistant when it comes to filing or finding certain information. When not in the service of my household, she volunteers at the Library of Alexture and I feel may have fully absorbed every book in existance. How much can one Effee hold in her head, I wonder. It would surprise me if she quoted the world, now.
But I do worry about your status as a rogue Heart Mage. This may follow you far beyond the cliffs of Annalow, my friend. You should return and face your foes head on. If not in physical combat, I know you are more than a match mentally, and politics is little more than a fanciful game of chess. If you should ever tire, you have a place here in Alexture.
Your friend and colleague,
"That's absolute madness." Bliss said, wrapping wire around heavy wooden post. The fence was made to keep wolves away, so had to be narrow. Bliss finished her work and wiped her brown. "Alright, Wheatsoil, that'll do, I think."
The tall womume smile at her new friend, Crystal. "They wouldn't even let Mister Bonish in when he showed personally! Can you believe it?"
"The city's a crazy place, girl." Bliss said, patting Wheatsoil, a short but strong Effee, on the shoulder. "Wheatsoil, go fetch Crystal and I a glass of Leaf, would you?"
"Yes, Miss Bliss."
"Take a break after that. I'll need you for later when I fetch the wire." The Effee nodded and hopped off. He passed a large Borc dressed in heavy green cloth walking toward the two womume. "Hey, Grush! What do you think?"
"Looks fine. Fine, I think. Who's yer' friend, Bliss?"
The other womume nodded her head. "Hi there. I'm Crystal, from the city."
"Pleased ta' meet'cher aquainting, Miss Crystal fromt he city."
Crystal threw her gold curls back and laughed. "Just Crystal, Mister Grush. I'm sort of kicked out, right now, from Annalow. I was helping this fellow next door. Mister Bonish."
Bliss elbowed her in the ribs. "Don't say the 'B' name, Crystal." Grush frowned at the neighboring farm, just in veiw from the top of the hill. "B and Grush don't get along."
"Well, that don't matter much none." Grush tried to shrug it off. "As long as he didn't send you here."
Crystal threw up her hands. "Oh no! No, sir. Uh...Sorry, i didn't realize there were rivals out here in the fields."
Bliss took her turn to laugh. It was harty and friendly, like a Borcs. "Don't worry about it. Grush here is as sweet and honey. That's Grush." Bliss put her hands on both of her friend's shoulders. "Grush I can vouch for her. Besides, I'm interested in the city."
"Well, if she's sure about you, Miss Crystal, I supposed that's fine with me. Oh, Wheatsoil, that's mighty fine of you." Grush took the glasses from Leaf from the Effee and gave one to Crystal.
"But...uh..." Wheatsoil started, but Bliss motions he should drop it.
Crystal took a long draw from the glass. "So, are you a work hand here, Bliss? Or..."
"HA!" Grush nearly spit out his drink. "She's my security, she is! We been have'n bandit trouble lately and they're afraid of her, they is."
Crystal shock a look at Bliss who was knotting her dress to her side. Bliss waved it away. "I have a knack for fighting. Men are men, Crystal, and this lot are barely boys."
Crystal finished her drink and asked, "Then why are you-"
"Oh, the fence. I gotta keep in shape, you know?"
"Well, I have my own work to do. This gloomy weather has to greak some time, yeah?" She handed the cup back to the Effee. "Thank you for the drink. Miss Bliss, Mister Grush, I hope I'll see you again."
After sending the Effee off to rest Grush and Bliss walked back to the house. It wasn't just a house, sitting next to a grove, it was a home. Borc Design, meant to keep out the cold, but did just as well keeping it in. Bliss shook her head the first time she saw it. Borc home in the tropics of the Annalow country-side. Imagine.
"You're from the city too, Ain'cha? Might nice know'n someone from the same place." Grush stretched his thick hairy arms. "I knew a guy from Cavefall, once. He was the son of a friend of mine. See I used ta' live up north before. He said it was Borc Cross territory, now. Rebellion took it over."
"Sounds like something like that might happen at Annalow."
"Nah." Grush waved it away. "That city has seen worse than this, you'll see. She'll pop right out the other side o' this storm and be all the better for it."