The seventh day in the season of Fire in the 617th year in the Era of Rivening
"O-oh by the gods, another one!" Shouts filled the streets, rising above the sounds of heavy boots and muffled conversations of both the general citizenry and the guards. Pox kept to the roofs, curiously peering down at the confusion, Túx clinging to his back and clacking right along with all the rest of the noise. A group of women almost directly below him paid him no mind, their voices a bit louder than conversational in the din of chaos and the attempted assertion of order around them.
"Do you think... Do think it's the children?"
"No, no, that-"
"I saw some of the... the pieces. They weren't-"
"Oh gods, don't call them that-"
"-the size of children. Or at least, I don't think but-"
"Is this really happening? I mean-"
"-it could have been. Oh gods. Senna-"
"I'm sure he's fine. There wasn't a feather-"
"-the Vepari don't know who it is and-"
Pox sat back on the roof, wings outstretched on either side of him and fluttering gently against the light breeze that passed over the city as he took a break from the panicked conversation. The atmosphere was toxic, he could feel acidic bite of panic on his tongue, the rotting stench of fear and uncertainty pressing against his own excitement and intrigue. It made him feel a bit ill, and leaning into the breeze helped him visualize the emotions passing over him - external forces acting upon him rather than from within him. He'd never really experienced so cohesive a collection of everyone's negative emotions - the positives were a bit more common like pleasure in taverns or pride during festivals and events. What he felt now, was nothing so easily enjoyed. He wanted to see the "pieces" the woman had spoken of, to know what the source of everyone's fear was, but he also understood he needed to do so with his own reasons in mind. The panic, especially, was infections and he didn't want to be pulled away from something due the most basic of blind reactions.
Hopping to his feet, Pox took to the air, drifting over the crowds and catching snippets of conversations. It seemed, from what he could tell, that the waterways held the most interesting things, so he headed that way, avoiding the Vepari when he saw them. It wasn't that he didn't like them, or trust them, but they often had strong feelings of anger or aggression, two things that Pox found exceedingly uncomfortable when they crawled up under his skin. After a short while, he came to one of the canals. His wings faltered and he quickly fell a couple feet before regaining his composure and settling to the ground with a little stumble, catching at the side of a building to steady himself as he stared into the peculiar sight before him.
The water was peppered with parts and pieces of a familiar, greater whole. Separated as they were, they seemed fake. Copper filled the air, mixed with the humid wet of the water that was dyed a darker, swirling shade. Approaching the edge of the canal, Pox knelt down, his eyes wide with wonder as he he examined a severed foot, the flesh bloated from the water, bits torn from the investigative nibbles of fish and birds. It was something he'd never seen before, and he could feel the heat of excitement rise up in his chest. The lack of detail was tantalizing - where the usually drew fascination from the face, the eyes, the bits of body floating in the bloody waters painted a wholly different picture. In fact, it was like comparing a sculpture to a painting, or a piece of jewelry to a song. They were different beasts entirely.
Leaning over the edge of the street, Pox kept his wings spread to balance himself as he reached down towards the water, dipping the tips of his fingers into the murk, gently chewing on his bottom lip in thought. The water was cold and thin; the blood that darkened it was more aesthetic than anything else, but it set a wonderful macabre scene. The body parts floated a bit too far out for him to reach from the shore, but he didn't want to disturb the sobriety of the scene. The quiet lapping of the waters was the like whispers of people the parts belonged to, faded but not quite gone - still lingering upon the edges of perception.
Túx chittered again, its little legs tapping against his back, and Pox patted its rocky back with his dry hand, wiping the bloodied water on his pants and leaving behind a muddy stain. His voice was quiet, reverent, as he stared at the water, a small smile on his lips as he drew a deep, filling breath before speaking. "And the light faded into the darkness, leaving the world swathed in starless night." The soft, flowing sound of his Oríyu matched the meter of the lapping splashes as he slowly walked along the water's edge, his leather sandals making no noise as his soft footfalls propelled him gently forward. The breeze had not followed him into the streets, and the subtle heat of the morning pressed pleasantly agains the bare skin of his chest. He tapped lightly on the side of a building as he passed, still watching the water with a growing sense of mystery and desire. "The sun and the moon had taken leave; the stars had all turned the back. And the people knew despair, fear, and uncertainty."
With a little scramble of crystalline legs, Túx scuttled onto Pox's shoulder. It's little rocky body pressed against his jaw, and Pox grinned, tapping it gently with an amicable pet. "But there was one who held no despair. No fear. No uncertainty. There was one who held the darkness. There was one who called the moon and the sun away. One who turned the stars." Túx let out a happy clack as Pox picked up the little rocky creature and settled it back into the wispy white hairs at the nape of his neck. Concluding the little fable, Pox grinned as a hand bobbed to the surface - its fingers splayed and blotchy, numbering only four in total. "That one was death; not a god nor self but Death. And Death smiled."
Reference for Síku Oríyu
to help with translating Pox's phrases and provide insight into his mannerisms and intonation.