CHAPTER SEVEN: Silver Moon (part 3)

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The Resident of Labrys Town received few visitors

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The Resident of Labrys Town received few visitors. Most of those who came to the Nightshade did so on official business – the heads of the merchant and industry guilds, gambling and entertainment councils – and these visitors could never hide their discomfort when seeing the metal plates covering their governor's eyes. They wondered how one weakened by blindness could attain such a lofty position as the Residency. They did not realise that there was more than one way in which a man might see, and the Resident of Labrys Town saw everything.

Van Bam stood alone in his observatory, deep inside the Nightshade. The room was alive with wispy imagery and spectral visions that filled his inner sight with myriad shades of grey. On the streets of Labrys Town, the ubiquitous eye devices took in streams of information at all times. The police used the eyes to watch the hidden corners of town, but ultimately all audio and visual information was fed to the Nightshade for the attention of the Resident.

Van Bam observed Samuel and Clara, and it was almost as though he stood out in the forecourt beside them. But the young changeling and the old bounty hunter were unaware of the Resident's presence. He watched as they boarded the Nightshade's official tram and set off through the tunnel, heading south towards the central district. Van Bam followed them, jumping through the eyes held in the hands of the statues lining Resident Approach; and then he overtook the tram and travelled across the world he governed. Drifting, flying almost, he weaved through the streets and back alleys as a phantom, the unseen watcher.

Labrys Town held a population of close to a million denizens. It was divided into five districts and covered two and a half thousand square miles of ground. The town was boxed in by the sheer boundary walls, a hundred feet high on all four sides. Beyond the boundary lay the endless twists and turns of the Great Labyrinth, where the Retrospective roamed, where even Van Bam's vision could not see. There was no escaping this place, not anymore. Labrys Town was all the denizens had, all they would ever have, and they knew they were being watched.

The districts were all but deserted in the cold early hours of Silver Moon. The streets were wet and few people walked them. To Van Bam's inner sight, all was as it should be. He continued to follow the eyes southward until reaching the central district and a plaza known as Watchers' Gallery, located at the exact centre of town. Inside the plaza stood square building that was the headquarters of the Labrys Town Police Force. Impressive in size, it was still much smaller than the Nightshade. Van Bam's vision entered the building, jumping through the eyes inside, until he reached the upper level and the office of Captain Jeter.

Jeter sat as his desk, working through a mountain of paperwork. He looked tired. Three empty cups before him were evidence of the coffee that was helping to keep him awake. The office now filled the observation room of the Nightshade as though Van Bam stood there before the desk, but it was only imagery, and he ensured that Jeter could not see him.

With a mental command, Van Bam activated the audio function. 'Working late, Captain?' he said.

Jeter started to his feet. He saluted his Resident, though in actuality the gesture was aimed at the eye device fixed to his office wall.

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