The sky over the City of Brass darkened to a scabrous red, but no stars came out, and no lamps were lit in the streets. The curfew, whatever it was called, seemed universally respected. Salamanders patrolled the streets.
Callista crouched fifty feet above on the roof of the compound where Grimly was being held in the Tower of the Gladiators. He had apparently made quite a name for himself in the six months since he fell through the eyepiece of that architectural model they had rescued from Fermion’s Hold. “Grimly the Great,” they were calling him in the marketplace.
The others had registered with the inhuman officials at the entrance to the city, and paid 500 gold for the privilege of being branded on the cheek. Callista, out of sight, had drawn a brand with soot and nettle juice, which caused a convincing swelling, and saved the gold for bribes. Not that it would go far here. This was the richest place she had ever even heard of, much less seen, at least in terms of metals and gems. Food and water were another matter. Nothing grew here.
As she watched the patrols, and the compound’s guards doing their rounds, she made and discarded a dozen plans. The place was too well-guarded to simply break Grimly out, and he’d probably refuse to leave the other prisoners behind, anyway. A slave revolt would require too much time, and would be put down by the other houses, no matter their personal rivalries. Murdering Nasim the slave master was certainly possible, but she didn’t like their chances of getting out of the city without being discovered afterwards. It didn’t seem like a place where one murder, even of an important person, would cause much chaos.
It was a pretty problem. She spent close to twelve hours considering it before an answer came to her.