The three pushed through the crowd, which seemed to have grown even more in the short time that had passed. The Moving Market was held once every month so it was normally quite crowded, but tonight was exceptional.
Djarina was reluctant about sharing her name with either of these strangers, she didn't like trusting people. Despite what Scathe had said, she still suspected he had followed her- how else was he meant to have fund her again, just as she was about to tell that woman what she had? MindLines. If that Apex Varion was actually able to get her a buyer, then she should give him her name. So she told them, just as they got to Old Man Benki's stall. It was just as well anyway, because he greeted her by name.
"Djarina! I see you found it. Welcome. You bring companions?" He asked, glancing at those accompanying her.
Apex Varion stepped forward then. "I have come representing Velia-" He started, and saw the light of understanding in Old Man Benki's eyes.
"Say no more. I understand. I suspected the time was coming. I have heard from others, rumours of an uprising... I assume you have come to confirm that?" He spoke quickly and quietly, glancing around.
"I have yes...Do you know what to do? I wasn't given much information except to pass this on. I was also told to find a woman named Karel, could you help me with that?"
"She is just down there, at the end of this row of stalls. She is in the last one, a tall woman with flaming locks of red hair, and tattooed patterns all over her body. She will arrange the announcement. Tell her I said it was time to let the Golden Cage be opened."
"Thank you for your help. Is there anything you would like me to tell Velia from you?"
"Tell her she better make a d*mn success of this."
As they turned to go he called Djarina to his side. He waved for the others to go on while he spoke.
"Djarina, what are you doing getting mixed up with revolutionaries like these? There is going to be a fierce fight, and you will be right in the center of it if you stay with these men."
"I didn't know that until now-ish. And what is with all you people tryin' to protect me today? I can look after myself, and I got my own business to attend. Look, I still don't have any shoes. You don't got no idea how many people have stamped on my feet today."
"Djarina, I've always kept an eye out for you, you know that, so I'm just saying, be careful. There are going to be big changes around here, and they will be looking for people to recruit."
"It wont make a difference though, will it? There are too many people in charge with all their Magic and all their fancy gadgets. We people have Portones and H-Boards, and I can't even use mine without shoes."
"Look, if it's that important, tell Karel to give you a pair of shoes, say I'll reimburse her... She sells clothes and all that sort of thing anyway."
"I ain't accepting charity, you know I'm not like that."
"And stealing is so much better, is it?"
"At least I do that myself, and I'm the one at risk. I am good at it, and there aren't many other opportunities for people like me."
"But all that is about to change, we are going to revolt, we are going to rise up against this monarchy. We are going to make this place a different and better one."
"Yeah, with our army and our guns, right?"
"You know that our weapons are equally as effective. Their "Magic" is taught by brats and fools, and their selfishness will stop them from fulfilling their true capabilities." The normally deadpan old man, with his graying beard and deep set eyes, was getting remarkably passionate about this. "Anyway, go on now, catch up with them and do your business, but try not to get too involved, it's going to become dangerous."
"Thanks old man" Djarina said with a fond smile "See you soon."
She pushed her way out and into the main stream of people, with the same difficulty as spreading cold butter on soft bread. It was a slower moving crowd than before, and seemed to almost be halting.
Then she could see why.
Up ahead, at one end of the packed warehouse, a woman was rising into the air. She was on what looked like circular hoverboard, and she had a head of bright red hair, which was piled up on top of her head. Her torso was covered with a protective vest, her arms were dark with tattoos, she was holding a Magnifier in one hand and a cutlass in the other. The Magnifier looked like a simple horn, but it made her voice clear and projected it to all corners of the building. It also made her figure look like it was the same size to everyone, so even people at the far end of the building could see her.
"Greetings, brothers and sisters. I see you have gathered here and I hope you share my feelings about the news I bring." She lifted her hand, holding her weapon in the air, and she made an inspiring figure."The uprising has begun! On this very night, our leader Velia was attacked. This attempted assassination signals the complete abandonment of all moral and legal behaviour on the part of those who pretend to look after us. Those who treat us like scum, and keep all education and employment opportunities for themselves. We will no longer stand for it! Join us as we make our voices heard!"
In the crowd, which had been silent up till now, murmurings of opinion began to form. Djarina was right in the middle of it, wondering if she would be able to get her shoes after this, wondering where her companions were. On one side of her, a man and what must have been his brother embraced, jubilant at the news. On the other, a family of five looked worried; she could hear the parents muttering about jobs and security and see them glancing around, looking for an escape, not wanting to get caught up in this. This mixture of opinion was found throughout the crowd, but Karel ignored it and kept speaking, an inspiring and very, very dangerous speech.