The grenade sails through the air like a sycamore leaf, gyrating in the frigid afternoon air. When this happened, time did not slow down; no one present, and there are more than a few people on the street, later described the chain of events as "frozen", "molasses slow" or even "crystal clear". But, for us, who view these events long after they transpired, time can slow down. The grenade sails through the air, moving but infinitesimally, giving us time to review the scene before it completes its deadly arc. Indeed, I am telling you now reader that it will take a long time for that grenade to reach its target because time is about to split. In the street, making its way amidst the crowd (its path cleared for it by red-cloaked policemen), moves a caravan. Don't picture camels or gaudily painted wagons; the City has long since moved on from its nomadic, pre-industrial roots. Instead, picture lavish carriages and even a car, one of those hybrid machines from before the art of the moving vehicle was perfected. Half wagon and half motor, it holds two individuals dressed in stark white. These are the couple Hunig. On the left sits Cedar, a member of parliament and the son of a member of parliament who was, in turn, a merchant. At his side is Meristem, the love of his life. He genuinely loves her and she loves him. They take pride in going against the resentful trope of the aloof, cold, and distant rich couple (although they are all of that to most of the other people in their lives). She, coming from an equally well-regarded family active in various roles of the City's municipal life, contemplates the avenue down which their car rolls and the glint of the sun on some object, perhaps organic, floating through the air. This is, of course, our grenade though Meristem does not yet know.

Those are two of the seven although we could have chosen to start from anywhere else; they are not more important than the other five, simply spatially convenient since their social station has placed them in the center of the convoy. They present one way to look at the rest, arrayed around them however accidentally. Where to go from here? Who should we introduce next? I suppose it does not matter so I will pick at random. Which is to say, I will pick the one which I feel like introducing next and that will be Wolf Baldachin. He did not like his name, especially the first part. It did not suit him, he felt and everyone around him agree. Standing to the right of Cedar Honig, he is his secretary.

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