We guess correctly. The gear key leads to Eberron. Specifically, Khorvaire. Specifically, the city of Sharn. It’s not Sigil. All Prime cities look alike.
We split up, hoping to find clues regarding Shade. I see one of the warforged and begin inspecting him. He is well-built, but shows a range of bizarre behavior. He takes offense. He gets distracted. He shows emotion. Why would someone design a weapon to do this? He asks where I am from and I tell him. He seems to think I mean heaven. I correct him. He looks very astonished and runs off. I wonder if the others were more successful.
Charles’ efforts bear fruit. We are taken to a Cannith laboratory, where a tinker engorged upon his ego tells us how to find Shade. I ask him about the warforged and he takes offense. At least he has the excuse of being human. We learn that Shade was found, rather than built. There are a number of aspects regarding her design that cause me to believe she is not really a warforged. Not like the others. Apparently she is a skilled assassin. I suppose we will see how she fares against prepared opponents. The tinker directs us to the village of Wolf’s Paw. He wants us to hurt her, like she hurt him. She does need to die, but it doesn’t need to be painful. We will need to take the lightning rail if we are to get there any time soon. Audra mentions she has family business there, as well.
We obtain tickets for the first class car on a train to the city of Passage. Once we arrive in Passage, we will need to travel by road. Shade’s lead is substantial, and it is unlikely we will be able to close the gap unless she stops moving. There are a number of other passengers on the car with us, and most of them bear a dragonmark. I decide to learn more of this place. I find Grumnil and ask to borrow one of his guidebooks. He hands it over without incident. I am surprised that speaking the truth to him earns his ire, while being a soulless abomination to the natural order is immediately forgiven. I don’t understand religion. I think I never will.
I read while the others get to know the other passengers. One or both of the marked elves takes a strong interest in Audra. How often has that happened during these past months? The only attention I have received is from fans confusing me with The Indestructible. Amazingly, there are a couple of them on the train. They ask if I am her. I say I am not. How often has that happened during these past months? This is the first time Ryltar has seen the interchange. He asks for clarification. I give it. He says that while I’m not pretty, I shouldn’t be confused with a half-orc. I’m not sure if that’s an insult or a compliment, and then I wonder why I care.
I finish the book and begin writing some notes on what I have learned. A quick primer on the nations and houses of Khorvaire. Perhaps the others will appreciate the effort. Perhaps not. I leave out some things that they don’t need to know. We can’t afford distractions. Another passenger, a noblewoman, begins making a scene. Ryltar and Audra become partners in distain. I return to my work. I finish. It is late. I retire. I will share my knowledge in the morning.
I am jerked awake. The train has come to a sudden halt. I leave my room and head to the engine. Some of the others do the same. One of the guards tells us that the tracks ahead have broken. I ask how long it will take to be repaired. He says a couple hours. Shade already has several days on us. I suppose this delay will matter little. Besides, there’s nothing we can do. The guard begins checking on the other passengers to make sure they weren’t injured by the stop. It turns out one of the elves is dead. Apparently murdered. The guard takes comfort in the knowledge that one of the nearby passengers is a detective of some renown. Convenient.