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Laksam hated the ashmounts. Every day, no matter the results of the inane discussions the villagers insisted on having , piles of ash fell on the fields of Tathingdwen that he’d just finished cleaning. With Era dead, he had to clean out her garden in addition to all his other duties. He didn’t have time for all this nonsense with the villagers and the Spiked murdering each other when they wouldn’t last the year without fresh crops. Laksam had tried to recruit others to help him in his quest to clear the fields of ash, but they had all refused. “We’re busy,” they had said, or perhaps, “Don’t you know the village has more important things to do?” Fools, every last one of them. What difference did it make if they found and eliminated all the Spiked? At this rate, the village would kill itself off. Laksam participated in the village’s peculiar brand of justice to keep up appearances, no use trying to save the village if he was going to get murdered for it, but in his brief moments of spare time, Laksam began writing letters. Lots and lots of letters, one for each person in the outside world he knew. If the inhabitants of Tathingdwen wouldn’t listen to reason, perhaps the expatriate Terris would. Just in case, Laksam prepared one final letter, more of a poster really. Asking nicely hadn’t worked, explaining the severity of the ash problem had been laughed off, so Laksam decided to try demanding obedience. “Citizens of Tathingdwen:” the poster announced in large letters. “Ising the needing of working of you. Ising of the cleansing of ash. Needing the arriving of you the time of appointing. Ising the giving of brooms.” In smaller letters, Laksam wrote out the name of each surviving resident, along with the times he expected them to show up. Each shift required two people, to limit the effects of attrition on the continuous effort. Satisfied, Laksam left his house, poster in hand, letters in the pockets of his robe. The mist was thick that night. Laksam enjoyed misty nights; he could almost ignore the omnipresent ash at times like these. Years of nights spent outside, just him, the mists, and the ash, had given Laksam an impeccable sense for the village in darkness. He wasted no time walking up to the Synod lodge and nailing his poster to the wall using a mallet he’d borrowed from Era upon her death. This task done, he turned and gazed out to the periphery of the village. The night was still young, and his steelminds were full of speed. He could, potentially, rush out to deliver his letters and return before the villagers realized he was gone. Sweeping ash all day left little time to store speed, but he’d been saving up for years, ever since that day long ago when Izzy had needed an emergency supply of animal crackers to placate her gods. Now, she was gone too. Laksam shook his head wearily. The Spiked were taking everything from him. He would not let them prevent him from fighting his eternal war against the ash. Glancing at his Steelminds, Laksam made his decision. The ash could wait for a few more hours. Laksam tapped speed and took off into the night, letters in tow. As he ran, Laksam remembered how much he enjoyed Steelrunning, especially at night. The cool breeze of the wind blowing across his face. The enveloping presence of the mists, covering up the ugliness of the world without unduly limiting his vision. The blinding agony as he suddenly tripped and smashed his face against the hard ground. Wait, no, that wasn’t right. Laksam struggled to get up and continue his journey, but the intense pain in his head forced him to his knees again. He sat there for a minute, struggling to collect his thoughts, hoping the pain would go away, that it wasn’t permanent. He stood up dizzily just in time to hear a voice behind him say, “Well, looks like we have a runner. Where are you going so late at night, when all the decent folks have gone to sleep?” Laksam turned around groggily, almost falling over in the process. His vision blurred, leaving him unable to identify the newcomer. The swirling mist didn’t help matters. Laksam tried to respond, resorting to the street slang of his youth. “Ising the being of you of decent?” he forced out. “Hmm? I didn’t catch that,” the figure said conversationally pulling something long and sharp out from under his robes. Ah well. We’ll see how long it takes the villagers to find your body.” At this, Laksam, already nervous, began to panic. He tapped speed, attempting to turn and run, but the Spiked was prepared for this. The razor-sharp projectile, hurled at extreme velocities, pierced Laksam from behind even as he began to run. The ash sweeper’s body made it a few more paces before realizing it was dead, finally collapsing a mere ten meters from the shin high steel tripwire that had caused Laksam’s downfall. The Spiked nodded in approval. All that time spend surrounding the village with a ring of steel had paid off. The Spiked walked up to Laksam’s corpse to retrieve the obsidian javelin, pausing at the sound of paper crinkling. Upon finding the first of the letters, the figure’s grin widened. The frantic entreaties for aid would serve as excellent kindling for their writer’s funeral pyre. Ethin Hallil’s drink had been poisoned. It would have been a great travesty, if he hadn’t accidentally nudged it with his elbow as he animatedly retold the death of HanTor, and poured the wine all over his brand new SCUBA gear. The dry cleaning bill was a lot cheaper than a notary and an interment, though, so he gladly paid it once the laundry lady asked why his gear smelled like strychnine. Olaf rose from his seat in the Synod, thoroughly exhausted and befuddled. After its members had called for a clandestine meeting in the night, Olaf had an apprehension that something major was about to take place in the Synod. The meeting had certainly not disappointed. The remaining Synod members had tired of Marne’s calls for moderation. A decisive viote had ousted him from his position as chair of the Synod, reducing him back to an ordinary member. Olaf recalled the thunderstruck look on his new friend’s face as the hands had gone up, one by one, and Marne had been removed from his long-standing position. Olaf himself had been shocked, his faith in the legislative body and his belief in the goodness of the Synod’s errand both in tatters. Removing Marne had not been in their best interests. The man was a competent, capable leader, and his peaceful and nonviolent stances were, in Olaf’s eyes, a mark of the man’s strength. Though he did not take an authoritative stance, and was never the most decisive, Olaf appreciated the compassion within the man, a trait he had always struggled to acquire. In addition, without a leader to guide them, the Synod was aimless and had no clear direction. Despite claims from the Synod that a new leader would be appointed, Olaf knew that a leader of Marne’s caliber did not exist elsewhere in the Synod, and without one, the Synod would drift purposelessly. However, the Terris had been in agreement about one crucial element; Tarin needed to be killed. The orphan had been accused of association with the deceased agents of the Lord Ruler, and enough of the Terris had decided that she warranted removal by Olaf’s assassin. Marne, again shocked, had merely voted present. Olaf voted against the resolution. While he was sympathetic of Marne’s situation, and felt terrible for his friend’s plight, he knew that his assassin should not be used when the Synod was leaderless, and unable to guide themselves to wise decisions. Nevertheless, Olaf had been outvoted again, with the cripple Leidene siding with the younger, ascendant faction that had deposed Marne. So it was that Olaf found himself outside with a purse full of money that was not his, knocking on the door of his Coinshot. He had carefully removed all metal on him, and had filled the purse with paper notes, to minimise the risk of an accidental or careless Steelpush incapacitating or killing him. Trepidatious, Olaf stood on the porch, waiting for his man to emerge. The wind swirled around him, chilling him and shaking the bushes from side to side. Olaf watched the movement of the branches, thinking of warm fires, and therefore did not notice when the front door swung silently outward on oiled hinges, and a cloaked figure in black garb alighted on the steps. Recognising the eye tattooed on Olaf’s ankle, the man did not bother inquiring as to Olaf’s identity, instead moving to take his purse. Raising an eyebrow at the paper currency, the assassin rummaged through the purse, lips mouthing numbers as he counted the sum. When he was done, he whistled softly, appreciative. The Coinshot turned to Olaf with a broad smile on his face. “️️Who?” he asked simply. Olaf answered hesitantly. “Tarin,” he said. “Orphan girl who just moved into Tathingdwen. A...group I’m in thinks she might be a snoop for the Lord Ruler, and we’d rather get her out of the way before we proceed any further.” The half-lie would hopefully placate the man. Olaf would be laughed away if he explained what Hadrian and Marne had done to him in front of his old associates, and so he had learned to keep up pretenses. More importantly, however, he could not compromise the Synod, even if he disagreed with its current direction. Men like this assassin, while they ostensibly served him, would do anything to turn a profit, Olaf knew—he had been among their ranks for the better part of his adulthood. If it meant a few more bills in his pocket, the Coinshot would not hesitate to sell out the Synod to those willing to pay for such information. So Olaf kept a tight lip as the man nodded, a self-satisfied smirk upon his face, and jumped off into the mists after his target. Olaf watched him go, standing on the small veranda in the ash-coated yard. His associate would not fail, though a nagging doubt gnawed at the insides of the conflicted man as he towered over the streets and small buildings, striding towards Marne’s old house, the initial hideout that Olaf had nearly razed. He felt that Tarin was not guilty, that the Synod had adjudicated incorrectly. And to form a different plan, to truly save the Terris, Olaf would need to enlist the aid of his first ally in the Synod, its former leader, if he was to not fail this group that had placed their reliance in him. For the second time that night, even as the unfortunate Tarin was riddled with holes from many coins, Olaf knocked on a door he had not planned to be at, hoping that behind this one lay the answers he sought. Rathmaskal was slaughtered by the Spiked! He was a Village Steel Ferring (Steelrunner)! All credit to Devotary for his death, please go give her upvotes. Cadmium Compounder was attacked, but was protected! Worldhopper from Yolen was assassinated by the Synod! She was a Village Zinc Ferring (Sparker)! Marne was deposed as the leader of the Synod! He was a Moderate Pacifist! Ascendancy over the Synod is now open! As a flavor vote, today you may each cast a vote in purple to elect a new Synod leader, in addition to your regular lynch vote. The person with the most votes gets to lead the Synod. Day 4 has begun! It will end in 48 hours, on Wednesday the 22nd of August at 9 PM EDT. Player List: 1. Rathmaskal as Laksam, an ash sweeper from the Eastern streets Village Steel Ferring 2. Xinoehp512 as Ereheman Tresni, a man with his priorities backwards 3. Steeldancer as Steel, the fastest sculpture of a squid wrought entirely in steel in all of Tathingdwen 4. Randuir as Zihel, a worldhopper looking for his twin brother 5. I think I am here as Itiah VI, a missionary on a mission Village Steel Ferring 6. Bort as Tee Mai, a tailor specialising in offensive clothing 7. Cadmium Compounder as Ethin Hallil, a cadmium Feruchemist and SCUBA diver 8. _Stick_ as Stick, President of the Tathingdwen Tautological Society of Tautology 9. Jondesu as Remart, a man back from vacation armed with vaguely ominous statements 10. Kidpen as HanTor, a lonely Kandra that’s definitely not Spiked, nope Spiked Zinc Ferring 11. Elandera as Era, an old woman who claims to have been alive before the reign of the Lord Ruler Village Pewter Ferring 12. Snipexe as Snip, a fabric cutter in the local quilt shop Village Iron Ferring 13. Worldhopper from Yolen as Tarin, a Sparker with a wonderful, awful idea Village Zinc Ferring 14. Alvron as Izzy Dedyet, who is not dead, feels happy, and thinks she'll go for a walk Village Full Feruchemist 15. Phatterner as Citona Vinid, a seemingly faithful follower of the Lord Ruler 16. Ark1002 as Kardik, a Full Feruchemist 17. Araris Valerian as Valwyn, an honest rug merchant Spiked Pewter Ferring; Rug Merchant 18. Coop772 as Irion, a Full Feruchemist with hidden potential Village Copper Ferring 19. Sart, a stuttering Nameless