Argaian Articles

Found and Overheard

Excerpt from the transcript of the trial of Rowan Umberend   ADJUDICATOR VIPER: Rowan Umberend, you stand before a council of your peers, accused of reigniting the Red Rains and returning the Chimera to an unhappy world. How do you plead?  ADJUDICATOR GILSTREAM: No answer, sir? It was you who surrendered to us.  ACCUSED: I have surrendered to no one. I came to speak.  ADJUDICATOR VIPER: We ordered you surrender yourself and you appeared.  ACCUSED: Order me as you wish. Condemn me as you will. In the end it does not matter.  ADJUDICATOR DIAMONDCREST: You should not dismiss these accusations so readily! Your crimes are worthy of death.  ACCUSED: Yet you will not kill me. You cannot, for every Phoenixborn is now more valuable than ever before. You will all thank me in time, for you will see all the lives I have saved.  ADJUDICATOR ROARKWIN: You mock us by claiming yourself savior?  ACCUSED: Already you feel it, brother! Those tugging fingers that clawed into your brain, that told you to crave the deaths of your peers. They have left you as they have left me. Left us all! The Phoenix  shall not torment us as long as the Chimera run rampant! Their rebirth is our stay of execution. Savior? Yes! I have saved us all.  ADJUDICATOR VIPER: And what of the villages swept away in rivers of blood? Of towns decimated by the predations of your new monsters?  ACCUSED: The farmer regrets the cattle lost to the wolf and so kills the wolf. Inconvenient, yes, costly perhaps, but the farmer knows there will always be more cows. The doctor told me I was dying. Worthless woman! I did not have you call on me for such useless commentary. Ease the pain of my breathing, damn you, or away with haste. For two years now I have enjoyed my stay at the Promenade, but now this hotel suite has lost its gleam. Now all I long for is home, but with this newest turn of my health, I know I shall never feel the embrace of my beloved Goldwater again. And with the advent of the renewed Red Rains, it is unlikely that even my dead bones will be allowed the courtesy of travel. The chimera have returned and the cities are implementing all the old strategies. High walls will be raised higher. Stout gates will be made stouter. And so the doors of Goldwater will likely be closed to me for eternity.  	The success of the Weekly Highriver gave me financial freedom, and lucky investments gave me wealth. I had someone from the firm pay me one final visit yesterday so that I might have destroyed all documentation pertaining to my last wishes. No money shall go to Farial and her family, for such shall not help them fare any better in this new world they are inheriting. No money shall go to the Goldwater Theatrical Endowment, for their priorities are changing even as we speak.  	No. Instead, tonight, I will be visited by a low man and he and I shall conclude a weeks-long negotiation. If I am to leave this world in such miserable condition, with its future so dubiously cast to the winds, then I swear that with my last capability I will stab at the devil that vexes this otherwise wonderful existence. The low man understands his role quite well and the firm understands theirs. When news of Rowan Umberend’s demise is widespread, the low man may claim the key to my lock box at Anfarro’s. Kill that wretch and lay claim to my abundance! I do not care how, just see that his life is ended before this madness can expand any further. Asphyxiate the flames so that they may not burn through this verdant world I have been so privileged to be part of.

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