The Uprising
Copyright 1999 by
Joshua Hendrickson


It was a cold and rainy day, much like all the others in the City of Doors, the stench of pollution ever present in the murky rainwater. He, like everyone else, had to wear dark cloaks to protect themselves as well as their clothes from the brownish rain. His stomach turned as he, a very high standing officer of the Harmonium, had to go out like all of the plebeians of Sigil in order to get what he wanted. But his troubles and risks would yield great rewards. He only hoped that Sarin was stupid enough to trust him.

He crossed the border into the Lower Ward now, passing the Armory held by the Doomguard. Having now to pull his scarf over his mouth to shield his lungs from the choking smoke of the forges and smiths of the ward. Eventually he had to put on his glasses the smog was so thick this day. This was a grim blessing, as fewer people would see him conduct his business.

Now passing the New Market on Bellows Street, the vastly large factory that is the Great Foundry ominously looming Downwards, the great pea soup thick smog cloud produced by its nearly infinite number of smokestacks as present as ever. He wondered how any living being could work in such a place, much less it be the headquarters of the Believers of the Source. But then, they are the Godsmen, after all, he thought. So he pressed onward, not to draw attention to himself, staring at the Great Foundry.

Coughing out bits of burned refuse in the air, he proceeded on to the Green Mill, the meeting place where he would join up with his man. He seriously hoped the 25,000 gold crowns that he was paying this stranger to complete this rather gruesome assignment. Failure would mean capture of this man, who would no doubt lead the Fraternity of Order back to him. And that would almost certainly mean death by the Wyrm. He shuddered to think about what gruesome fate would await him if he failed, as all around the city would come to see him get torn to pieces by the great beast.

After almost 5 hours of walking, from one side of the city to the other, he finally arrived at the Green Mill. It was a relief to see this fine place, nice green painted walls stood out brightly from the ash covered building that were found everywhere else in the ward. The large Ash tree stood tall in the front yard. He chuckled as he realized the ironic nature of this large healthy seeming tree being named after the dark burning soot that blanketed the rest of the ward.

After going inside to get a breath of fresh air and a quick drink, he returned outside and leaned on the picket fence surrounding the mill. He looked at his pocket watch and frowned. Six A.P. Where was he? He paced nervously. This would be the only opportunity to get him inside and to Sarin's room before 10 A.P. He took out a cigar and began to smoke it, then laughed as he would get more tar and smoke by going down to the foundry and inhaling. But there was no nicotine in the smoke there. So he puffed, to a few befuddled onlookers. At about 7 A.P., right when he was about to leave, a figure totally concealed in black leather walked up to him.

"The power, my friend, shall soon be yours," he said as he handed him a small piece of paper with "Green Mill, 6 A.P."

"You're an hour late," said the first man. "If we don't run the guard will begin curfew patrol and we won't be able to get you in."

"Sorry sir, it's just that I was a bit surprised at how fast some old people can run when they are being chased by an assassin."

"Well enough waiting, let's hurry on."

The two figures speed-walked through the ward as fast as they could. The choking ash causing their lungs to work ever harder as they hurried by the Great Foundry. A few people wondered where they were off to in such a hurry, but then went about their business.

After taking a wrong turn at Tanner's Lane, they arrived at the armory and stopped for a breather. They now were out of the Lower Ward and back into the relative safety of The Lady's Ward. The change of scenery was refreshing from the ash and smoke that covered the Lower Ward like the morning fog.

He looked at his pocket watch. 8 A.P. He pulled at the assassin's cloak to wake him and they hurried onward. It was much easier to walk now because the lungs no longer had to stress as hard as they had to earlier. They walked onto Armory Road and dodged through the seething mass of creatures of every sort. Passing a clock he started to run. It was like he was fighting time.

They stopped again at Transformant's Square. They stared at a large building. They had no clue what it was. A temple, or perhaps a government hall? They had no time to wonder. He looked at a clock. 9:30 A.P. They had no time to go around the Harmonium blocks on the main roads. He would have to go through the back alleys to get there in time.

Darting into an alley they pushed through refuse and slid over muck puddles. Perhaps this wasn't a good idea after all. But at 9:50 A.P., the arrived at the barracks. Darting back into the alley, he took of his now brown cloak and put on his cloak made of gold and fine furs. "Stay quiet, and don't draw attention to yourself. I'll shackle you so they'll think I'm bringing you in."

He put on a set of shackles. He intentionally set them loose so they could fight if they had to. He nodded over to a cart with several chests in it. "It's all there in gold coins. Just like you asked." The assassin smiled under his mask. This would be the biggest job he ever pulled. He'd go down in history, if The Lady didn't catch him first.

They arrived at the gate. "Sir, you are out awful late. Are you all right?" said the guard.

"I am fine. I have scragged a knight of the post out during my walk and I would like to book him personally."

"Yes sir. Good night sir." The guard opened the gate and they walked in while the guard went to his home elsewhere in the ward. Good, thought the one with the fur cloak, now the guard is gone and there will be no one to provide information.

Instead of going to the booking office, they went deeper into the City Barracks. When they reached the restricted area, he unshackled the assassin, and opened up an air vent. "OK, right now Sarin should be in his room asleep. I'll continue on and distract his guards while you sneak into his room via the air vents. No slip ups, understand?" The assassin nodded.

The assassin entered the vent and closed it behind him. Then the other man went on and proceeded to the Factol's room. The assassin watched his employer and followed him every step of the way. Then they reached the Factol's door.

"Good evening sir," said one of the guards.

"Good evening. Is they're anyone else in the Factol's room?"

"No sir."

The man suddenly coughed. That was the signal for the assassin to proceed on.

"Good. Just making sure you are following curfew orders. So how has your day been?"

The conversation continued as the assassin went on. He crept as silent as a still wind. He then saw Sarin getting ready for bed. He knew it would be better to wait until he was inactive before entering his room.

Meanwhile, the man was having a bit of trouble keeping the conversation going. "I say, how about a dice game? I've been itching to play one."

"I don't know sir, we've got to keep watch."

"Oh why? The curfew patrol is out, and who would come to visit Sarin after curfew?"

"Hmm.OK, why not?"

The guards and the cloaked man began to play dice games while the assassin continued to wait for Sarin. He waited for what seemed an eternity up in the drafty air vents. Doesn't this guy sleep at night?, thought the assassin.

Finally Sarin went to sleep. He silently checked the vent for traps. None. Such fools, thought the assassin. Then he lifted up the grate and slid down a rope. Tying the rope to the grate, and wedging the grate into the vent, he slid down the rope like water. He drew his sword and held it still. He crept over to Sarin's bedside. He was sleeping like a baby. He then debated the best way to kill him. Suffocation? No, it would make to much noise. Slitting the throat? No, that would make to much mess. Aha, run him through the heart! He raised the sword above his heart, and plunged it through.

Sarin woke up, but the assassin cover his mouth before he could scream. Then, Sarin fell into eternal silence. The assassin had done it! Another flawless job completed, he thought. But then he decided to move along fast. There would be no time for celebration. He would have to leave town as soon as he could, lest The Lady throw him into a Maze.

He scurried up the rope. He wasn't worried about making a mess or noise now. He was just worried about getting his money and running away from Sigil. But he did drop a small piece of paper with his name on it, so everyone would know he was the greatest assassin alive.

He scurried along as the man looked up. "Well, I must be off. Good evening to you all."

"Good evening sir."

"Oh and one thing, make sure you check on him later. I have received an ill omen that this would be a sad night for the Harmonium."

"Yes sir."

Then the two meet up in an empty hall outside the restricted area.

"Did you complete the mission?"

"Of course. He never knew what hit him. Poor sod."

"Wonderful. Well what are you going to do now?"

"Leave the city for the Prime. That way your guys will never be able to find me."

"Smart man. Very smart."

"Oh you flatter me. Now I had better be off."

"Not yet. Stay awhile."


"I want to give you a tour."

Then all of a sudden, a shout is heard from deep within the halls. The guard had discovered that Sarin was killed.

"They've found out!"

"Yes, and now they'll want the killer."

"Exactly why I have to leave."

"But, you see, just him dying alone won't be enough to make me factol, I'll have to find the killer too."

"WHA!?" The assassin's face went pale all of a sudden, being taken totally by surprise by the fact that he was being double-crossed.

"Thank you, you have been of great use to me. But now, you have outlived your usefulness to me."

He punched the assassin, and jumped behind him. The assassin tried to turn around to fight, but the man drew a flintlock arquebus and fired a round right into his lung. The assassin screamed and fell to the ground.

The man took the assassin's sword and cut himself several times to make the scene appear as if there had been a fight. The guards ran around the corner in a hurry to find the two. "I saw him running from the building in a hurry. I thought he was suspicious and I shot him in the back. Looks like I got a lucky shot."

I am Arctur Bonifest. I have been on a quest for power for 50 years. Now, as it plain to see, I will be the Factol of the Harmonium. Mine is a fascinating story. But how I got to this point, shall have to be told another time. Now is the time for me to tell you about the Great Harmonium Uprising. I can only hope you have a strong stomach, because those weak souls will find the following rather distasteful.

Authored by: Ken Lipka
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