The workings of the Black City and its inhabitants become more apparent as the group explore their environs and meet the residents.
Encounters with a number of the Councillors are enlightening, to say the least, from the laboratories of cloned workers belonging to the Eternal Man and Mistress of Sorrow to the vibrant, wild gardens of the Poison Queen. All under the watchful eye of the oft-praised and never-seen Protector.
Zeb retrieves her goods, on behalf of her client in Charmonde, and has a brief run-in with the local law-enforcement whilst investigating the green glowing liquid that flows throughout the city.
On returning to their residence, the group find Sodrun has returned stating that the price of the Purifiers has been raised by the Protector’s Herald – something he did not forsee – and then promptly collapses in a fevered fit.
Solinar’s medical skills tell him that Sodrun has succumbed to some sort of infection from his Numenera implant which is no longer functioning – a feature of Numenera brought into the Black City – and they are all quickly summoned to the Herald’s Council Chambers to continue the negotiation.
A woman purposefully walks into Caelan and shoves a scribbled note into his hand, unbeknownst to the others.
The Herald briefly explains that nature of the Protector, and the effect this has on Numenera brought into the City. He tells them of the excavation site to the South, plagued by some vicious wildlife but containing the largest Numenera artifact he has ever seen – one that the Protector wants the power of.
In exchange for bringing this back, the Herald will provide care for Rather and Sodrun – or at least, ensure it is continued – and will provide such a supply of Purifiers that they need never return to the Black City. Solinar and Zeb ensure this agreement includes a clause that they can return for more, should Charmonde suffer any further loss of Purifiers such as the situation that brought them there in the first place.
On returning to the residence, to prepare for their trip, Caelan reads the note and reveals it to his friends – a warning about the Eternal Man and Caelan’s life. Zeb encourages the others to join her in the garden district, searching out a suitable establishment where one would go if one wished to remain clandestine.
After a quick haggle with a serving boy, the group are brought food and recreational herbs then approached by the woman who crashed into Caelan earlier. She reveals herself as Caelan’s biological mother, stating him to be an ‘original’ not a clone like the other Servitors but special. She says he was taken from her and put through the conditioning, then sold off as a clone to ensure he escaped the city. According to her, all the clones of Caelan became dangerous and were terminated.
Before she leaves, she tells them to run from the City and to avoid the Eternal Man.
As they return to the residence, Solinar expresses his disgust for the City’s practices, Caelan states that the Eternal Man must die and Zeb focuses on survival….