He worked his way towards the centre of the city and found himself on the main street approaching the Cathedral. Even from a distance, the Fortress Wall was an imposing sight; a great iron structure, thirty feet in height, jutting out in a semi-circle from the mesa which the Cathedral was built into, enclosing the stronghold of the Manufactorum. Guards line the top, interspersed buy huge ballistae and mangonels, mounted on tracks and operated by mechanical constructs. It was rumoured that the walls themselves bristled with weaponry that could spew flaming oil at any would-be attackers. He could see now why no army had ever tried to breach it.
Inside, Archdeacon Laondes and his Smiths oversaw the workings of the city. While they did not rule in any official capacity, the Governors of Ferra were merely merchants who had profited greatly from the production of the city, furnishing the rest of the nations and city states of the world with crafted goods, and so did as they were bade by the Council of the Manufactorum. Ferra had sold weapons to all sides, and continued to do so to keep the armies away from them.
Now a Seal had been made and the Archdeacon was to die. It would throw the city into disarray; the foundries would fall silent and the furnaces go out. The people of the city would starve and the war would rage on in spite of it. Shattano knew that his actions would bring this to pass, but it didn’t matter. The fate of all, from the lowliest beggar to the highest ruler, had always been intertwined and it was not for him to force them apart.
The gates to the outer compound of the Manufactorum were always open during the day, to allow in supplicants and merchants. Getting in would not be a problem, but entering the Cathedral itself unnoticed could prove difficult. Navigating the labyrinth of halls and corridors dug into the cliff face to find his target without any sort of prior knowledge would be close to impossible.
Even this close to the Cathedral, there were houses which were derelict. He wandered until he found one which seemed tall enough to watch the both the guards on the gate and on the wall. The windows were boarded up overlooking the street, but the entrance to the cellar was merely locked and secured with a chain. It was the work of moments to pick the lock and slide in through the gap which the chain permitted.
Pulling the door to behind him, Shattano paused and listened for sounds of other inhabitants. Satisfied that he was alone, he made his way to the hall and up the stairs to the top floor. The air was stale, and smelled of mould and rotten wood. Dust covered everything and old, long abandoned cobwebs hung from the railings. Every now and then a scurrying beneath the floor belied the rats that inhabited the building now.
In the attic, there was a small, filthy skylight. The hinges wanted for oil, but seemed functional. He dragged an old trunk over beneath the opening, climbed on top of it and looked out; the view was exactly what he had been hoping for. After some time, he stepped down off the trunk, pulling the window closed behind him. He sat on his haunches and, in the gloom and silence, closed his eyes.