Julien follows Terth to Her lady of justice’s temple with a coughing Jimmy in tow. Along the way he makes what passes for small talk. “Well since you don’t see it fit to leave him in my care i suppose we can see who else is seeking cures from the church, but if they cannot help him you must agree i should look over him.”
“No, I’m sure we’ll find someone to watch out for him at the church. They’re pretty helpful there. Besides, they know Jimmy there, no offense. I’m sure he’ll be more comfortable around the brothers and sisters of the church. Besides, I know you’re a busy guy. I can’t ask you to look after one of my own. Especially if you have a lot of research to work on.”
Jimmy coughs some more and looks somewhere between sullen and hating the world.
“Funny you should say that but the body of my research was taken by the order recently. So no my itinerary at the moment is clear. I would say these circumstances are alarming but i feel its more likely Jethro unleashed it when he threw the source of these spores out a window.” Patting jimmy on the head julien rubs his hair pulls on a tuff and then quickly examines his hand and pockets a strand of hair. “Yet id also appreciate a fresh pair of eyes on the matter.”
“They took your samples away from you? That’s intriguing… you’d think they would let someone with first hand experience with the matter do the original research. And I’d forgotten that Jethro had tossed spores out the Spires, maybe someone has been synthesizing something out of those in that area. If you’d like, after I get Jimmy squared away at the church I could help you look around that area for samples.”
“They have rewarded me for the find and will return the specimen in due time. I did argue just that but perhaps their avenue of research is outside my specialty or possibly a more senior member took interest in my fieldwork.”
Julien stares upward at the flying buttress as they round the corner to the temples entrance. “I haven’t been here in a great deal of time. Always loved the architecture here. Many troubled youth come here, I’m sure from one of them we can buy drugs. Do you recall the name, Jimmy?”
Jimmy stares back with wide eyes, as does the young wisp of a girl sweeping the front steps of the church. Broom firmly in her small hands, she runs back through the doors and comes out again a moment later, pointing at the trio.
“What did-” Iskanda pokes her head out, worried, but she sighs when she sees them. “Oh, it’s you. Of course. Run along, Kat.”
The girl nods and hurries inside again. Iskanda frowns and comes out onto the steps. “I thought you were going to see that foolish speech? Did it-” She catches sight of Jimmy’s sickly appearance. “By gods, are you ill, Jimmeno?” Jimmy almost seems to flinch at his very unstylish full name. Iskanda looks to Terth and Julien. “What happened?”
“He’s become infected with that mold we encountered in the Spires. Well, we’re not certain that’s what it is, but he’s showing signs very similar to yours. I wish…to find the substance which infected him, to be sure. Could we speak to some of your youths?”
“Ah, I see. Many of them are out now, to watch the…festivities.” Iskanda scowls. “It’s mostly just the young children here today. But…what substance? Something carrying the mold spores?”
Jimmy shifts uneasily. “Look we don’t have to do this. I can take you to my friends who gave me the Dredge. I-I’m sorry about all this. Hopefully you can heal my friends if they’re infected too. You can heal us right doctor?”
Jimmy looks to Julien with desperate eyes expectantly…
Bending down to stare into Jimmy’s face, Julien pauses and says, “I swear, Jimmy, with my efforts you won’t die painfully. Now, where can we find your friends?”
Iskanda promptly puts herself in between Julien and Jimmy. “Die? What are you talking about? What do you need his friends for? What do they have?”
Jimmy tries his best to keep from crying. “I’m sorry! I’ll take you to them right away! They should be at the commencement speech!”
“Uhg, of course.” Iskanda frowns. “Tell me what exactly is going on before you go there, at least. And-” She pauses and steps away, gesturing for Julien to follow, then continues quietly. “What makes you think he’s going to…that he’s that sick? And if it’s the same mold, what does that mean for me?”
“Oh, I don’t think you’ll die. I’d still treat it like I said, but you’re a healthy adult while Jimmy is a malnourished child. I haven’t watched anyone die of it yet so it may not even be fatal in and of itself. The bodies we encountered may just have been infected and died of other circumstances. Weakened in the spires, as you know one could fall victim to many hazards. Also, they may have been constantly exposed to the spores et cetera, so there are so many variables we cannot account for. In the meantime, we should find who producing this and why. If it is fatal, who would gain from that?”
“Someone who seeks to create chaos and paranoia by harming the lower classes. Just like the bombings…It’s certainly not meant to impact the people living in the Towers. At least not directly. How is it being distributed, exactly? Food? Water?” Iskanda glances at Jimmy, then looks back to Julien. “Or…he spoke of ‘Dredge’? A drug?”
“What Jimmy does in his free time is of no concern to others. We should focus on the task at hand, mainly finding who making this substance.”
Terth chimes in.
“It’s possible that if someone is trying to sow chaos like this, they might be trying to distribute it at the commencement speech, by “samples” or even just scattering into the air if it’s supposed to be inhaled… besides if we want to find out who’s behind this, talking to orphans and street dealers may not be the best way to go about things…"
“Ah.” Iskanda relaxes, oddly more at ease now. “Yes, it’s best to go to the source in such matters. I’d…best stay out of the public eye for a few days, but tell me if you find anything of note. I’ll ask around here to see if anyone knows anything at all. But a word of advice.” She focuses on Julien. “Be subtle.”
“I think you all think me brazen and rash but i just reach the appropriate response much quicker than anyone else, but fine ill wait and allow someone else to take the initiative.
So to the festivities?”
“Yes, if we’re going to try and solve this mystery, that may be the best place to start. Iskanda, is it alright if I leave Jimmy in your care? It’ll be just for the day.”