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Where the great bridge between the Grails and, what became shortly thereafter, the Looms was destroyed by black powder during the Vague Revolution it left many of the arches intact. Though the Arks bailiwick grew in the ruins below from the abhorred route to Port Mercy, not everyone that came to take residence thereabouts, as a result of the disaster, dwelled in what became the bailiwick. Indeed, first one and then several of the arches came to be occupied by the very worst of the new Parquet society. In a time when the former agitators reviled and denounced one another, when Drouais sought to establish a comprehensive system of laws (having disabled the old wig and buccaneer court) there was very little law in the Delves, but perhaps a very great deal of justice. But justice is uncaring and cares not for even the rude court of the wig, and for a time the brutal accusation and contrary judgements of the Looms were reflected across the Delves with the newly established mirror and vitro balls that made captive the projected light from above. Self-elected committees sought to rule each of the bailiwicks, and though doomed in the great sanity that came to Parquet, still many an innocent was tried and scientifically executed. But not all were so innocent, and not all were executed, and one of those was a villain now recalled (if at all) only as ‘Salzburg’, an Austrian given up by the sea during the very days of the Vague Revolution. A murderer, a boot haler as now the lingua would have it, and a fiercely religious man then in a year of terror he was, where so many were accused of the very worst, the very worst of what the innocent were accused. It was in the Grails that he was nearly caught, and by the late maquereau they called M. Comptable. Himself a cruel man, a jack of a violent pandy, still as a maquereau it was his women that Salzburg had murdered. Had murdered indeed

and in the latter occasions accused them in their own blood of being treacherous women, who alone one chosen of god would love. From this, and for a while,. M. Comptable assuming a rival gang was operating rather than but one man, called the killers the Samsons (for the daubs were a reference to that tale). That it was one man only later became clear, but by which point the name had stuck. Whether M. Comptable had been unerringly accurate, or more likely that Salzburg believed the tales he heard of himself, still he was cornered but escaped, and to the arches. Many of which still of considerable height, and few pursuing possessed of the lithe confidence, of the performers acrobatics, of Salzburg, he escaped. M. Comptable did not pursue, he had his own business to attend to and doubtless his own accusations to answer. Shortly and it has to be assumed that Salzburg attracted other outcasts, other villains seeking to escape from the new Parquet, where for their villainy even William Lane offered only uncertain anonymity. It is considered probable that Salzburg was done away with by the first, or when they banded together, for certainly he was not heard of again. Something that cannot be said of the Samsons. They did not call themselves such, that was the Grails where not liking to let go of a good tale (or suspecting more likely that a new one might cost) those that now made their home on the arches were the Samsons. The never-were horrors that for a time never-had stalked the Grails. Latterly however even they have taken up the name. Some believe (likely confusing the tale of Salzburg) there is but one Samson. Others would tell of a barbaric pandy numbering several score, and the truth is almost certainly somewhere in between. Both Maddi Lanterne and Caleb Dycker have in recent years attempted expeditions to clear the tops of the arches, those possessed by the Samsons and called by them ‘Etam’. Neither have been successful for the Samsons who, whilst few in number, know the treacherous and lofty ruins, the tricks, paths and the roping of them. So too in extremis will the Samsons use rifled muskets and pistols to shoot away those that come too close. In addition, certain dangerous medusa rising from the Arks consider parts of Etam their territory. Further, and as spiteful gossip would have it, the Samsons do keep a certain threat to the Grails and the Arks that means people need their Jacks to defend them, something convenient for Lanterne and Dycker both, to have a terrible enemy always out there, always stalking.

There are many tales of the Samsons, some wilder and many more entertaining than others. All agree though that the Samsons descend to the Arks or cross to the Grails at times to take what they want; and often that is people. When bodies are found at all, strung up and relieved of their softer organs, they are found hung by the wrists and blinded. The Samsons never cut their hair, and perhaps because of the medusa wear masks cut from, or in mockery of, the Trengrove lungs worn by the toads, or those others commonly liable to find the foul air. Many tales tell that a victim is cornered, caught by ropes and presented with riddles (though fewer claim that such a victim is released if they have the wit to answer). What is true is that to the rest of Parquet the Samsons are the problem of the two bailiwicks they trouble. It is so central to the culture of Parquet that the Jack’s keep the peace of their bailiwick that no other would possible offer to help. Indeed, whilst the Troges could perhaps do something about the horrors that shelter in Etam, itself in the shadow from the stolen light of the Looms, they consider it a problem of invado making and none of theirs. At times even they have identified the Samsons as a cult, citing them as solar worshippers, even followers in some dark way of Herakles (whom they would have it as the source of any biblical Samson myth at all). Once Maddi Lanterne sought to divert light upon Etam but the attempt so ruined the careful balance of that stolen from the Looms that she dared not attempt it again, else see her bright bailiwick descend into the gloom of those below hers. Etam itself now stretches over two arches, or so most believe, where some fragment of the great bridge remains. Not atop but within, and from which at times those ghastly masked villains descend or cross, to take food or choicer sacrifices. Most curiously of all has been the theft of instruments over the years and with which, for reasons known only to themselves (but perhaps in honour of Salzburg) the Samsons play very badly, but discernibly, Mozart. The strains on quiet days can be heard faintly in the two bailiwicks closest to them. Terrible and imperfectly, where on every instrument imaginable Symphony 25 takes on an almost ridiculously haunting air. Indeed, so much so that throughout the Delves, Mozart is the music associated with murder and cannibalism. Frothy and delightful though it might be to the ears still of naifs freshly given up by the sea, in Parquet it is the complicated music of devils. Unlike a good shanty

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