The Machinations of the White Spider – A Tale of Aethermarked

I can tell you this much: nobody gets through the Occulum gates without being noticed. I have a cousin who entered the confictors’ guild out of Corporum, completely changed his face and build. They drew up a full set of papers, this whole intricate backstory backed up by dozens of people. By this point my twenty-four year old male cousin is a harpy of a woman, a crafter of beads and leather when he leaves Occulum to go spy for us. Comes back two years later as a teenage boy, dressed in finery, bearing a gift for the confictor excelsior. Inside this box, painted black, is a leather necklace, with beads shaped like eyes woven all through it, and a card with this inscription: ‘We admire your work. Please send more.’ along with a white spider painted where the signature would be.

~Yllerian Pontificus of the Corporum Aetherium

White Spider? Oh, he’s in your garden. He’s spinning a web to catch you talking to your wife about magisterial affairs. Ah right, he’s spun a web in the rafters of the local brothel, and he’s listening to you brag to some jenny about the confictors you sent to Occulum to spy for your country. He’s probably just outside your window right now, getting a web ready to snare your deepest desires to use them against you.

~Esseren, traveling merchant and storyweaver

The most powerful of the Occulum – A Master of Minds

White Spider was spotted in Facerum, they said. My brother-in-law’s best friend was out on patrol and they caught wind of some bloke skulking around the rooftops of the Facerum magisterial campus. He never would’ve seen him if it hadn’t been for the stroke of lightning that illuminated White Spider up there on the roof four stories up. I’ll never forget how he described this skulker: a slight man in yellow with a thick, billowing cloak, and the aethermark of the spider’s web glowing on his cheek. The rest of his face was in shadow from the cloak, see, but the aethermark was glowing. And now I hear tell the same figure was spotted in Locurum as well just a few days’ past. The Magisterium better tighten security. 

~Denarria Hyrax, wife of Facerum Magister Orren.

He’s handsome, of course, if you can overlook the aethermark. It’s a spider’s web that covers fully half his face. He cuts a fine figure, and I should know. He’s been in to see the master twice in the past month. He stands with regal purpose, and has these mesmerizing eyes. You’d swear he was peering into every sinful thought you ever had. He listens, too. Not many men do that, of course! When he stayed over under the master’s roof in the guest bedroom, I had the opportunity to wait on him, and I couldn’t help but spill all the tea over what I’d been doing in the past month, and what the master and the master’s children had been up to since he’d been here last. Oh, and he remembered my name. It’s not something you’d expect of a highborn noble like White Spider. Perfect gentleman with perfect manners. 

~Annelise, Lady in Waiting for Lord Orvis

A Nightmare for Innocents. An Impossible Hero of Mankind

I’ve heard he can put his soul into your body and dance you around like a marionette if he wanted to. Sure, of course it’s illegal and punishable by death, but who’s going to find a confictor excelsior guilty of anything, and especially when he plays the spy game so well? Innkeep told me one of his regulars was spotted at the top of Occulum keep, standing at the wall and ready to jump. Way I hear it, that man was none other than the high maester’s brother, a priest out of the main temple, and a high ranker too. A man with power, prestige, and money; nobody that you’d think would be stepping up and killing themselves. It was White Spider spooking that cleric, sure as shit. Maybe he spoke about some sensitive info with the high clerics from around the empire, or maybe he had an exotic girl down at the local brothel. Musta got the message too. I didn’t hear about no splattered high priest scraped up off the cobbles. Point is, folks don’t cross White Spider twice.

~Tevrin, journeyman blacksmith

I hear he took down a full gang of bandits who ambushed his people on the high road. He ventured out of the city in his own carriage-and-four, with light guard so they wouldn’t think it was too easy, and then he made all of them blind so he could walk around and administer justice at his own pace. He wanted his people and his paperwork back, see? He must’ve been after some coded messages about confictor activity in one of the other city states. I don’t know. The point is, a pair of woodcutters found those highwaymen with daggers in each others’ throats in a ring, near their hideout. Which was halfway burnt to the ground. 

~Arnosian, vigilant of Occulum

Worst assignment your second born or third born can get is to be a spy bound for Occulum. You might as well just present yourself to White Spider the moment you get into the city, tell him you’re here to spy on behalf of wherever… Facerum, Exitium, Corporum, Locurum. Doesn’t matter. Throwing yourself at his mercy is the only way you’re getting out of that city with your head still on your shoulders, and your mind still in that head you’re still lucky to have.

~Cateralla Quintellis, wife of Gracionus, Magister of Corporum

White Spider – Coming Soon 😉

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Published by Damien Lee Hanson

I am the founder of Damien Hanson Books. Come check out awesome authors right here at my website!

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