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Perhaps 8 is the magic number after all. It's always been lucky in China - they have eight immortals too if I remember right - just like us eh? If you give it some thought the number eight comes back repeatedly throughout history and culture; the ancient Egyptians had eight primordial gods, the Gnostics had the eighth sphere, the musical octave, the two types of 8mm film, the eight track cartridge, eight bits in a byte...the points on a compass look a hell of a lot like the Dharmacakra. So what the hell are we then? The opposite of gods – a kind of pathetic anti-pantheon – the final eight losing control of the destiny of the time...well maybe...and what a time this is.

Marco and Seth seem dead-set against each other, but the fallout from this opposition, rather than the mutual negation one might have expected, just appears to be creating some new kind of apartheid. The city, in the wearying hands of Marco, is becoming splintered; a bureaucratic monster only open or available to some but with countless thousands banging on the gates and about as many trying to get out. Seth is trying to destroy the city altogether. He sees it as a lumbering leviathan – no, he thinks what we need is speed, SPEED. He'll do all he can  to destroy it, and the great, the glorious Ennio, out of control now, will mop up the rest - and have the grandest of times while doing it too. Between you and me I don't rate Marco's chances against those two - a machine and a Goddess...well they should be open to reason - kappa.

No one has seen Photeus for months. Everyone assumes he has taken Clio and they're hiding out somewhere hatching something big. It bloody well better be...

Of course none of this matters one scrap to me. My time is here, my place is here, and I'm reveling in it. I never gave a shit for any of that crap they spouted, all these systems and layers of hierarchy just mean there's someone above you with their boot in your face. I care nothing for Marco's city, nothing for Seth's technology and even less for Photeus' well-meaning experiment. People just aren't like that in this world - you need to look after number one above all else - nobody is going to do that for you mate. If you're smart enough you can survive anything and just let these idiots play their games around you. I don't take sides and I sure as hell don't want their help. Everyone is fair game and they're all humming my tune. Doesn't mean I won't help anyone else though - I'm not heartless! But I'll walk away in a second if I get leant upon too heavily - I can't be anyone's nursemaid... or their scapegoat either for that matter.

Gregor is alright though. I found him propping up a bar feeling very sorry for himself indeed. As soon as I clocked him I could tell I'd copped a fluke and got chatting to him straight off. He's a good sort and trusting, not like others around here so I guessed he was fresh out of elsewhere. Had some lucre on him sure enough though despite trying to trick me into buying (who did he think he was dealing with?), and to my thinking he could probably use some company. Truth is it's more than company he needs - he needs direction. It's been a long time since I came across one so broken down as him. Lost his job, his wife, lost all meaning to his life the poor bugger. Well as you can guess I'm big on direction...I'll go anywhere, so we downed a few '64s and I hatched this idea of going south to the city to see what's going on. I figured if we could get down there and cause as much trouble as possible then he could get his revenge on the cause of all his woes, and I could be there to capitalise on the chaos, and maybe get to see The Mistress at work too. There's something about her that still fascinates and captivates me. What can I say? I just love seeing something done well, even if it's mayhem. Considering their already anxiety-riddled state it should be easy pickings when our shit hits their creaking fan. I hear people are running from the city in swarms, the city of incipient nomads. It's nothing personal you know, but like I said, you have to look out for yourself these days.

Gregor agreed of course but wanted to go by way of The Marchlands to check on my old friend Jerome. It turned out Gregor and he were in the same business - they were pretty close in fact, and Gregor had even bought some of Jerome's work back in his wealthy days and before Jerome had got himself some gainful employment and fled off to the Marches to be Marlene Dietrich.

Well Jerome was the one guy I actually called a friend. We had a lot in common back in the days before he became the hermit of now. I always liked that he thought for himself - he was a real inspiration for the aspiring self-determinist, and we spent many nights philosophising - we didn't agree on much I have to admit, but it didn't seem to bother either of us. We were glad of the company, and more so because we felt no ties to each other for it. Yes, we were a right double act - the priest and the magician, the artist and the mercenary. I haven't seen or heard from him in many a year. It's odd but I always thought I would be the first person he'd turn to if he ever had to leave the Marchlands.

Of course Jerome could well be heading south himself . Jerome may think Marco is a better bet than me, and maybe he's right - or perhaps the Plotlands have just become too crowded for him. Well I guess there's one way to find out, and I'm sure our paths will cross again.

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