The Eight Crimes of The Iconodules

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Kallen knew he would find the limits of his own power eventually.

The problem was not that his Idolatry had suddenly peaked. There was still exploration to be done there. Sometimes he dreamed of things he had never seen: wooden planks and bloodstained dirt, more trees than he knew in his life, a vast plain of white…stuff. Cold white stuff. That one was probably the most confusing. Kallen felt like he should know what it is, or that he did know what it is. Shaved ice, maybe, like the Shavraythalai had. He hadn’t brought it up to Anis. A man can only take so much patronizing dismissal to simple questions in one day.

And he had certainly had a lot of that, at late.

The limit of Kallen’s power and understanding, it turned out, was not in the ephemeral realm of dreams, but in the very mundane realm of bureaucracy. He was not used to bureaucrats. Their purpose was comprehensible enough. Like many people in the city, they merely did things Kallen did not want to do, things which were therefore of minimal concern. They were, for that reason, noble professions. Certainly not the best professions.

Kallen chewed on something invisible for a moment, thinking at his own thoughts. So much strangeness.

Unfortunately it was well within the power of these bureaucrats to deny him what he wanted. Vellius helped him with the first missive, Evenria, by correspondence, helped with the next two (she was back with the Inspectors?). The tone had started out calm and respectful (Vellius) and meandered its way into accusatory and impatient (Evenria). Strangely it was the latter that got the proper response. Kallen felt he really should have read what was contained in any of the missives. All that had mattered to him at the moment were that they would get him what he wanted: every scrap of information that The City had about Luciva.

Which, of course, he was denied.

Apparently without clearance to summon or imprison black-level entities in the Menagerie, his ability to even know about them was limited. The Agents that had delivered the first response were almost bored. Those that delivered the second asked a dozen pointless questions. “Who made you aware of this entity?”

“Well, she did.” Kallen had replied, perhaps needlessly sarcastic with them. They told him that he wouldn’t get anything. Shamelessly tenacious, he had sent the third letter. That one, at least, had gotten a real response.

“A third party has granted you temporary clearance in this matter. Here is a portion of the information requested.” it had read. Signed by a bureaucrat, a name of no importance. No amount of reading gave a hint as to who that third party was. In the end, and Kallen was somewhat embarrassed to admit this, he presented the letter to the dogs to sniff. They whined at him and failed to go charging off to deliver him to these third parties that toyed with his progress. Worse still, it wasn’t clear if they were trying to help or hinder his progress. Reading the short sheaf of paper that it came with (all fresh copies of some original text) only raised further questions.

Dozens of redacted names, slashed out with a flat ink as black as the Edge itself. The format was the same for each. Blacked out name. Dash. Date. Dash. Payment. It wasn’t hard to figure out what it was. It was a hit list. The City was aware of her, keenly aware of not only her activities but also her victims. Their names were there, though. Dozens of individuals Kallen didn’t recognize, but three he did. Gammond, Kelling, Orvan. Much more recent than the others. Kallen flipped back a few pages. Then a few more.

The tally ran back to the Founding. Then before. Dates in notation he didn’t even recognize.

Well, Kallen thought. shit.

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