Ivaris - Chapter 2 by Jennifer Raney

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SUMMARY: Ivaris acquires a comrade and begins her journey to save her life - and discovers a dark conspiracy while she's at it.

Escape is tricky business.

Especially when your enemy is invisible and more good at his business then you are bad at it. If that makes any sense.

I believe a brief explanation is required here, in order to help you understand the reasons why I was not killed again - on this rainy day. It all comes down to divine intervention.

At some point in our prehistory, spiritual leaders made a breakthrough in their study of the afterlife, and discovered that souls disappeared and were lost to the mystery of empty space when the body died. It was hypothesized that great power and a sort of ultimate justice could be had if someone was on the other side to tend to these released beings.

I will not bore you with more details, but I will tell you that a large convention was held and five of the wisest, most respected leaders of the era were chosen to take responsibility for the afterlife. With their new powers, the Spiritists (as they are now called) produced a ceremony to preserve these souls and give them dominion over the dead.

A coincidental side-effect of these semi-sentient celestial afterlife entities was that they actually have a certain amount of influence on the fortunes and actions of their decedents. For example my patron, Aetomexis, was a warrior chief of a tribe I have the strongest blood connection to. Those more closely related to his line feel the effects more strongly than those more distant, and so forth. This is not so obviously beneficial to me, as I'm sure you've deduced that I am not a warrior of any kind, but I will explain in a moment where it makes a difference.

One who gains favor with his or her patron Star in one way or another might earn certain fortunes they might not otherwise be able to. I had gained a few points of favor with Aetomexis by using my head and not endangering the University Chancellor (also of his tribe) and when I gained his attention, I also gained a bit of sympathy for my situation.
Pay attention. Hey! Don't go to sleep, keep reading, it gets better, I swear.

So there I sat in the Grand Library, furiously trying to decide what I should do to relieve myself of the information I was carrying, while at the same time surviving to see the next day. I decided the best idea was to somehow get myself accompanied to the Ministry of City Defense, where I might safely report what I knew. Easy peasy. Not.

I had resolved not to tell anyone why I was going, to reduce their risk of a horrible death (I know, my selfless consideration for others is astounding). So, I had to convince someone to walk almost six miles to the center of the city with me without knowing why. After some thought, I decided the University Security Department might have a good candidate for an escort hanging about.

Once there, I used a little feminine guile, and just a dash of panicked, tearful begging to tell my convincing story that I couldn't tell them why, I just needed help getting to the Ministry of Internal Security. It was all an act of course, I was totally calm underneath.

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