Cold round - cont.
Strange is the way each city affects a girar.
It's never the same.
Every girar knows now that men undergo the city's powers easier than women, and women are better to get connected with city's Farva.
Among Daenair, Hjotennir suffers the city's impact the most, with his personality changing from calm to rageful, cheerful to depressed. Llava masters his true-face-hiding skills, although even he cannot resist a lot, but Keranomu got dubbed "Meathead" for being insensitive and city-proof.
Maniiv is the best when establishing contact with a new city, as well as maintaining this connection and earning city's favour.
This rule doesn't work with Rumas, which rejects Maniiv's greeting and proves to be hostile and threatening to her, although never shows this to anyone else.
The city makes Llava forgetful heavysleeper, Naghill becomes unusually temperamental there, losing her cold judgemental mind; though, on the bright side, she succumbed to her emotions and transformed them into deep dark poetry.
She leaves the group as soon as she gets to know her local fandom, and stays with them, moving from flat to flat, performing right there, in the kitchens and sitting rooms, later - in underground illegal poetry clubs.
She visits the Daenair's place occasionally, once asking the rest to accompany her, and they all play a few old songs, and nearly get into a fight after one of the listeners comments snarkily on "the old-ass cheezy tunes" and Maniiv's "sharp dingly voice", after which they leave and swear to never play together in Rumas again.
Next time Naghill comes back is the infamous Vayeel-Roch party.
Fern and Ke are lucky ones to stay out of any touch with Rumas's Farva. They live in a blissful ignorance about what kind of place they are really facing, ingnorant is Hjotennir, who avoids everyone around him, becoming aggressive, grudgy, obsessed and slobby, which makes women suspicious about what could change him so much, Naghill is first to suggest it has something to do with the city's affect.
Time passes, and Hoza gets worse, pushing away Mavi and Fern, locking up in the barn or "working" day and night.
/enter the last paragraph of previous article/
The girars split and mislead the hunters, killing almost everyone, but then they lose time and must catch up with the "family" who stays near the bridge, so Ke, Llava and the strangers head there, the women find the Hunters' bunker and capture it, eliminating the remaining Hunters and getting their posessions and food. They spend there two nights waiting for the rain to stop, and during that stay Maniiv confesses to Fern that she feels she can't kill anymore. She says something has changed inside of her and she is not able to spill someone's blood easily, as "there's enough of it on her hands".
Fern suggests that if she doesn't want to murder, she can just knock them out, but Mavi says she gets too carried away and can't stop when fighting.
They both admit they wish to get back to Haelegaes as soon as possible. The next day they set off on the Hunters' wagon, but Fernollg forgets to keep contact with Keranomu and loses the road, which leads them to a strange little town. It appears to be a community of settled humans, splitted in two parts - "minds" and "hands", elite and working class accordingly. The women are put to the test and separated thereafter. The test consisted of watching the extremely disturbing, gore and absurdly cruel beyond any reason made-believe scenes in an improvised theatre chamber, the scenes full of body horrors, homicide and tortures. The two of elite judge about the watcher by her reaction to what she sees.
Maniiv is shocked and breaks down, letting judges assess her as "lowly non-analitical mind", while Fernollg keeps unimpressed, cynical and cool, and she joins the elite.
Knowing they must escape fast, Fernollg finds out that the settlement is not guarded and anyone can leave it unobstructed, but no one yet wanted to...
Soon the elite brainwash her and try to convince that outsidd there's nothing but fog and woods, and every city is the same, so why not live in a better one, the borderless town where you do not need to worry about your life, because you have your place here, you do not have to think or care, just do what's prescribed.
Fern begs Maniiv to wait saying she's got a plan of how to grab more from this place, but dozen of days pass, and Fern is still hesitating, then Maniiv breaks into the "minds" territory, kills and knocks out guards, makes Fern to pick up as much loot as she can carry, and they flee from the town.
When they are out, Fernollg tries to get in touch with Llava (who spent all this time along with Ke helping other girars and humans to escape Rumas and deliver them to the Bridge) and is greatly surprised, when he tells her she and Mavi have been out of reach for almost two moons. Fern blames herself and hurries to meet them, but instead of the bridge Llava asks her to drive to an abandoned industrial zone on the western side across the bridge. They drive slowly through thick fog, barely able to notice the road in front of them, and see mere shapes of the bridge rails.
The wagon approaches the half-ruined factory, when Fernollg asks Naghill about their camp's whereabouts, then drives in the heart of the zone. The women get off at the dormitories, walk into the inner court and Naghill leads her "follower", warning her Hoza is already here and "there might be a massive drama scene".
They find a huge girar camp full of families, who had chosen this vast place suitable for their winter stay.
Fern sees Naghill through the window and is a bit frightened at the sight of Hjotennir.
Naghill laughs signing to her: "What a pretty boy, uh? Don't worry, he is back and sane, only looks like a bag of old coal."
Then Hoza notices Maniiv's presence and contacts her, making her stunned at first, then she rushes to the upstairs, led by her senses only, looking for him at the upper floors, and meets him at the flight of steps.
They can't find words, spoken or non-spoken,
he kneels and hugs her legs, and they stand there while the time around them stops, and Maniiv transfers them into the Rain Chamber, where they make love and fall asleep in each other's arms.
They join the Daenair women in the court and announce their strange and alarming decision about returning to the Rumas on their own, because "Hoza has got an unfinished machine to build". Naghill is surprisingly calm about this, but Fern is deadly worried, remembering the awful changes the city made to Hoza, but Mavi swears she is going to protect him from the impacts, and already made a plan of entering the city unnoticed.
They depart, agreeing to leave the city as soon as they finish their job.
When Keranomu and Llava learn about this, they are shocked, and scold Fern because she didn't warn them two, and they wouldn't let that happened in the world.
She gets obligation to get in touch with Maniiv every fortnight, to make sure the couple is all right.