Episode One: Welcome back, wayward child.
The city ever since it had come into existence has been divided into several districts, most, if not all of them, were hellholes in their own way. Where Thule was dry and dirty, Helheim was cold, windy and desolate. Although it snowed almost perpetually, it never accumulated in the streets proper, the alleys where another story.
I knew Wayland would have stayed in this corner of the City, but not where exactly. The old city wasn't like those you found in the mortal realm, in total, it was a little larger than the state of Texas, and more crowded than hell itself.
Wayland's current house was rather hard to spot, the entrance that lead to the basement where he dwelt was about a dozen yards inside the alley and a large mountain of snow obscured it. As I walked over I noticed a few things; one, the door was open by a crack, two, there were at least three pairs of shoes that went out relatively recently, two of them were flat soled but slightly different in terms of size, while the third seemed like a pair of sneakers.
I stood there a moment, tracing the steps of the people. The flats had taken small, purposeful and regular paces, while who ever had worn the sneakers had taken large steps that sunk deeply into the snow, telling signs of someone who was running away... Yet none of them bore the sign of someone limping like Weyland did.
I opened the bag that still hung from my shoulder and pulled out my sword, although I had a handgun with me, bullets were hard to come by in the city... I went down the handful of snow covered concrete stairs and pushed the door slightly, open.
The wind that entered the lodging caused a tornado of loose papers to swirl around the sacked room. The ceiling light hung down, moving lightly from side to side and casting shadows with the handful of scavenged furniture that had been tossed around. Blade still in hand, I moved toward the second room, separated from the living room by nothing but an old drape that bore old Germanic motives sewn into it.
Buried under the sound of the wind and moving paper, I could hear a sound, a faint rumbling that emanated from the next room, something that was half-way between the purr of a cat and the growling of car engine.
With the tip of my sword, I pushed the curtain away and stepped inside the room, alert and ready for a fight. Just as it was Wayland's habit, the room wasn't a bedroom but instead was used as a melding station.
Melding was a thing unique to the city, with everything made of memory stuff rather than actual matter, it was possible to reshape things into new form. Wayland had always been one of the best Melder's I'd known. The procedures existed partly as chemistry and partly as blacksmithing.
As I stepped further, the rumbling turned into a full on growling, and I looked down at the source. Maybe two feet high at the shoulder, a small and mangy scrap dog growled mechanically, on it's back, two out of four batteries were missing. It's maw of scrap metal made biting motions at me, it's tail waggling in a frantic manner.
I slowly lowered the sword and squatted down, using only slow and fluid movements, making myself not too intimidating to the little golem. It's eyes stuck on me and he stared, for a moment as I avoided it's gaze, effectively submitting to it's authority.
After a moment, it seemingly calmed down and strutted carefully toward the overturned workshop table, taking a bit out of the spread out tools and chomping on the metal pieces and the wiring.
I waited there for a moment and it eventually picked something up and dropped it at my feet before walking out of the door. My eyes followed it until I turned around and looked at the tool it had just dropped.
I picked the hammer up and examined it, it didn't take long to recognize it. It was one of the tools I'd acquired for Weyland years ago, objects made of Mneme had the disadvantage of fading away with time when not feed by emotional bonds, which was hard to create with tools. That particular tool however was made of real stuff, something that had passed through with a visitor... There was no way he would have left it behind, not with the value it bore...
I pocketed the tool and started walking out, there wasn't anything there for me.
Outside, it seemed that the snowfall had graduated into a full blown storm, the visibility almost null, I looked again at the ground, searching for a new set of tracks, but nothing that would be attributable to Weyland seemed to go. Either he hadn't left walking on his own, or he hadn't been there recently...
At least two parties were involved here...
I began walking toward the street, wanting to catch one of the buses to head home, when I heard someone call me.
I turned around and saw the figure that detached itself slightly from the blizzard, it wore a long and neat white business suit, while it's face was wrapped in impossible shadows. Both of it's hands, dressed with powder blue gloves were posed on the tip of a metal cane.
"Who are you?" I asked, keeping a hand on the hilt of my sword, which peeked out of the edge of my coat.
"That's funny. I was about to ask you the same question. Mr. Sandoval." He said. Something gave me the impression that a smile formed on his lips, but I couldn't see it, it was something I simply knew.
I drew the blade and pointed at toward the man. "Alright, I don't want to play game, Who are you and what the hell happened here?"
"Such language..." He sighed in annoyance and took a few steps forward, his face still concealed. "I believe we need to talk, in private. Why don't you come with me?"
"Like hell I will."
"Your consent is not required."
That's when I felt something hit me from behind and a massive shock shake through my body, making me fall down, hitting my knees in the snow and keeling over, face first.