Darth Wiki: Achava

Historical fantasy novel by Crowqueen. Part of The Nine Lives Of Michal Piech. Set in the eponymous capital of Michal's home Salvatkan province.

Went through several incarnations – started out as a basic outline in a Graphic Novel written in 2000, then was written as a experimental novel (half in Polish, half in English; with short chapters consisting of nothing but dialogue interspersed with more orthodox prose; and with some very bizarre dream sequences based on the characters seeing themselves in corresponding roles in the real world) in 2002-2003, with some gratuitous satire added in 2005 after the author's side lost the 2005 British general election. As of 2011 the novel has been extensively rewritten and refocused. Some of the more bizarre plot elements, such as Jan's magic bed, have been saved for other stories in- and out of universe.

The writing of the first trilogy meant that the first 2011 draft was essentially abandoned. The second 2011-begun draft will incorporate much of what already exists, but will make an attempt to add some of the original story. Most notably, and immediately, Michal's dream sequence has been reinstated from the 2005 book, since the decision to play up the magical elements of the setting was instrumental in writing Seymour as a magician rather than just an extremely naughty boy. Some parts were cut (notably several artefacts). After the conclusion of Going Home the beginning situation also changed slightly. Since for the moment the general plot remains the same in both 2011 drafts, this blog will not make too much of a distinction except where the two drafts differ. The style of the writing was changed to fit the pacing of the previous trilogies. The consequences of Brother Wolf had to be added. As you can see from the tropes below, there is/was a strong animal theme naming convention running through the book, which had to be unpicked slightly and then worked into the stories in places where it might suit the plot for, e.g., a man named Kozlowski (Goat) to be under scrutiny by the authorities and his friends. Lipka also had to be a lot more shocked when Jan told him his real name and occupation. A lot more shocked. Verging almost on shallow grave territory.

The two halves of the story have now been split off to avoid the plot of the second half being a spoiler for the next few books and to avoid Synchronous Episodes in an otherwise fairly linear series. Achava is now solely the story of Jan Jach, Michal's struggle with the church, his difficult Epiphany Therapy regarding what he assumes is his destiny, and meeting with his new employer. We are also introduced to the backstory of a character who we have already met and his agency behind the scenes to pin down Simon Seymour, his crime(s), and his whereabouts. The part of the story concerning Biruta, Domaszewicz, and Wlodzimierz Ciesla, although they all still appear in the story, will be written up as another story, a bit like Going Home, mainly to prevent the book becoming the Dickensian Lord of the Rings.

Eleven years ago, Jan Jach, an Achava censor, was divorced by his wife and ruined by a penurious divorce settlement. In the hope that the case might be reviewed, he has begun to improve his income illegally and fantasises about retrieving the girl who brought him to ruin.

Meanwhile, Michal Piech returns to his homeland after seven years away, and becomes embroiled in the politics of the local ghetto when he is discovered to be not quite who he says he is. Upon bringing him home, Thomas Moreland confronts his own past and learns more about what Seymour did at Lowe Road. Choosing to become more involved in the saga, he...watch this space.


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    Original 2000 cartoon strip/Odds and Ends/Brainstormed Ideas 
Characters
  • Dream Weaver - Mietek Kebicz returned in a future story, during the war, to help Michal on a Vision Quest to find his animal totem, the raven. While that theme was played with later on - and influenced the modern story significantly - and while the author has plans to reintroduce Mietek later on, the whole idea seems a bit alien to the steampunk European setting and maybe needs to be rethought.

    2003- 05 version 
Language Tropes
  • Bilingual Dialogue - the way the Moratovian version of Lipka spoke to Jan, mainly in trying to get him to use the vy/wy form of you rather than the rather posh variant Lipka finds intolerable as a communist: instead of the second person plural, Polish/Salwat uses the third person (pan/pani/panowie/panie/panstwo) as formal address; the second person plural is just that and used only when speaking to groups of friends with whom you would use the familiar ty. In Real Life, the Polish communists tried to encourage using wy as the formal second person singular after 1945. It failed to catch on, largely because it resembled the Russian usage.
    • The solution in the 2011 versions was to translate expressions literally. For example, the normal English version: ten to ten. The Polish translation, using ordinal numbers for the hour: za dziesiec dziesiata. The English version used by the author: "It's ten before [the] tenth [hour]".
  • Funetik Aksent - Ania (who later became Jola) spoke with a silly accent based on the slow, broad vowels of Slovak. It was ditched because it made her unintentionally funny and exhausting for even the author to read.
  • Poirot Speak - the whole thing was practically written this way, with Polish creeping in more than was strictly necessary and linguistic differences conveyed through warping the English text to fit the grammar or style of the various languages involved. For example, in order to get across that the characters sometimes spoke in a different language from their listener - particularly when Jan overhears the Lipkas arguing in Moratovian - the English text was written in English adorned with the relevant diacritic marks and, in the case of the dialogue supposedly in "Czech", substituting "h" for "g" (as Czech uses "h" where Polish would use "g"). It was never road-tested on any actual readers, but the author took the device from a comic book where people speaking in Portuguese in front of English speakers had the Portuguese ~ diacritic over some appropriate letters, and used the same technique in her graphic novels, so it must have actually worked to a certain degree.
    • The one reader who read a snatch of the Polish text actually said it was a bit of a "Blind Idiot" Translation. One of the most egregious mistakes was using the adjective "lwi" for "leonine", as in a "leonine man". The Polish word is simply used to describe items pertaining to a lion, such as "lwia skora" - lion's skin, or "lwi ogon", a lion's tail - not used as a metaphor. Tip: Stick to your own language, you can't go far wrong with that. Can you?

Other Tropes
  • All Just a Dream - the sequences in our world. Michal and Jan have experiences in communist Poland, 21st century London, Tsarist Russia and the Holocaust (natch). An old Deutsch soldier dreams of an incident from World War Two, putting him in a position that he was in in the First War and caused him to go on the tramp. Tadeusz dreams of the First World War, and Gosha dreams of Stalinist deportations of Poles to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Some of the individual experiences occur when they actually sleep in the bed that is Jan's during the story. The climax of the story is when the bed spreads its magic through the house when Jan dies and breaks under the pressure. It got cut because it was the biggest load of history wank the author has ever indulged in.
  • Baba Yaga - a version of the legend was incorporated into a dream Michal has on the train as the story opens. Minerva (or Theodora as she was before the 2010-11 setting re-working) suddenly morphs into Baba Yaga, herself an evil goddess in this setting (in fact this remains the case in the current setting, as Stevenson in the current draft of Going Home believes in Morrigan, who is a cognate). Gladkinska later on threatened Michal with the wrath of Baba Yaga for the cruel way in which the Communists were dealing with the city's inhabitants, particularly when he claims it's not revenge he wants on Walentyna, or other rich men and women, it's justice.
  • Creator Breakdown - the 2005 draft was peppered with angry allusions to the 2005 General Election, even to the extent of writing in a scene with Michal entering the body of former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard in a dream. The parts where the characters find themselves in the real world, accessed through dreaming while sleeping in Jan's bed, were taken out for the 2011 rewrite, because of poor research opportunities for the references to communist-era Poland, excising gratuitous references to the Holocaust and real-life wars which would take the story too far in the direction of satire or allegory, and a desire to refocus on the imaginary world. Some elements, such as Marcin Solinski's name (the previous version was Sylwester Majdanczyk - majdan actually means "marketplace" in Ukrainian, a loan-word from Turkish), remain as artifacts, mostly again to avoid Unfortunate Implications regarding Holocaust references.
  • Henpecked Husband - A reasonable description of Jan in the 2005 draft; the Polish word pantoflarz, which literally means "under the slipper" - under the wife's slipper - made an appearance as the heading of a chapter. Now subverted in that most of the characters, including Jan, have grown a spine.

     2011 version 1 
  • All Abusers Are Male – Solinski, Pav and Gryczewski. Also averted through Walentyna's continued demands from Jan. In the 2005 draft it was more marked than in the 2011 rewrite.
  • Ambiguously Jewish – Jan. Although Minervanism is a pastiche of Russian Orthodox worship, the Minervans occupy the same cultural niche the Jews occupied in 19th century Europe, at least in Salvatka.
  • Angel Unaware - the people in the tiergarten. One - the lady who steps in after Michal is forbidden from skating - is clearly a spirit, and she resembles the way the goddess Minerva is portrayed in vostochni iconography. She sends him to the ghetto, where he comes to the attention of Soltys Wlodzimierz Ciesla and Hilarity Ensues. In the previous scene in Tiergarten, the father and his son glow and Michal is unsure of whether they are actually divine, spirit or mundane. The boy and his father are The Artifact from original drafts where Michal meets his childhood self and uncle Kazik, who are mentioned in the scene.
  • Animal Theme Naming - happens largely by accident, but numerous characters have ended up with animal names which are either referenced as part of the story or occur as accidental happenstance. After the events of Brother Wolf, anyone with an animal name is in trouble. However, that can be seen as an extensive exercise in Fridge Horror for most of these characters. Particularly because Jan has deliberately chosen to name himself Mr Fox.
    • The most obvious example, and the one that is talked about the most by the characters themselves, is Kozlowski, also known as "Goat".
    • Kosinski fits the Crows well, being a blackbird by name.
    • In the 2005 draft, Michal sees toy bears on sale at the fair and gets quite sentimental. The Polish/Salvat diminutive for Michal, Misiek or Mish, can also mean "little bear", and is used for the concept of a "teddy bear".
    • Jan fancies himself as cunning as a fox, naming himself Henryk Lis, an alias which is shattered in the first chapter by Lipka. The god Lisak's name is also derived from the same word.
    • Kurak is...well...a chicken. Literally.
    • Plant Theme Naming for Lipkowski (lipka, linden) and Jaworski (jawor, myrtle) might also enter into it; Roziak (roza, rose) and Berzina (Latvian/Vesgali berzs, birch) are also plant-derived names.
  • Anything That Moves - Solinski genuinely falls in love with both Jola and Michal, and as a pimp has no qualms about anything regarding sex, except incest with Antek.
  • Bilingual Bonus - In-universe example, probably also Bilingual Backfire on Solinski's part. Moreland knowns Salvat but does not let on, letting Solinski and Kurak incriminate themselves as regards their intentions towards Michal.
  • Black Market - Solinski and Kurak use the same techniques as shonky traders at the old flea market in Warsaw held at the old Decade Stadium, now demolished to make room for Poland's new European Championship complex. They sell harmless trinkets, old clothes, other household goods and hygiene items on street corners - and when the punter approaches them after towels or hatpins or tooth powder, they offer them illicit magazines, pornography and other books that have either never passed the censors or been retroactively indexed. It's how they make money during the winter when their regular trade in human flesh can't use Tiergarten and is mostly confined to brothels.
  • Breakout Character - Jan. In the original strip, the attention was wholly focussed on Michal. Jan was there in his present incarnation, but survived the story as mere furniture. Another, unrelated character died. By the 2005 incarnation, Jan had made it to a main character, and the 2011 book made him the lead role. Also an Ascended Extra - and how.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" - The word for advent calendar is Polonicised to przechodnik.
  • Chekhov's GunmanGladkinska.
  • City Noir – The title city, particularly in part 2 where it is all but destroyed. Later books dwell on the utter destruction; the railway terminus is described in the sequel Giedre as having been levelled. This may be an obvious Shout-Out to people, like the author, who know the layout and history of Warsaw well.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander - Nat. He's right.
  • Code Name - Kozlowski is known as Goat. This is referenced in Going Home but more fully explored in this novel.
  • Comically Missing the Point - Jan and his dream. It's meant to warn him not to try to find Jola, who has moved back into the area. It propels him into actively looking for her again.
  • Cult - Lipka met his wife through a neo-pagan cult of Lisak that evolved out of a historical re-enactment of pre-modern religious practices. Nowadays his fixation is on ethnic dancers. For anthropological research purposes only. Of course.
  • Cunning Like a Fox - Somewhat subverted. Jan initially poses as Henryk Lis - "Henry Fox". Whether it's deliberate or not, he ends up not living up to his cunning pseudonym.
  • Dances and Balls - played dead straight with Sobkowski's Yuletide ball. Sciborski thinks he can intercept Jan on his way, but thanks to the coat he manages to get past him unrecognised.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means - explored in part 2. Michal feels he's acting villainously towards Gryczewska because she is the class enemy and deserves punishment for that alone. It is the reason the bourgeoisie have rebelled so much - the communists are going over-the-top in prosecuting the revolution and class war that the backlash is just as bad. Gryczewska has a point when she interrogates him as to his reasons for picking on her - is it really "justice" that he wants - or is it revenge for Jan's sake?
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength - Pav. He's not sure what he intended to do with the girl, but she ended up dead anyway.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come - Jan, who spends part of the following chapter trying to work out whether it was a prophecy or not or whether it was just simple wish-fulfillment about Jola.
  • Dropped A Bridge On Them - literally. Tadeusz, Domaszewicz and Ciesla are all killed when Selwrenski Bridge is blown up.
  • Dysfunction Junction - what happens when you let around ten distinct personalities loose on each other. Everyone has some agenda to push and most of them are pushing far, far too hard.
  • Fantastic Ghetto - Zalkiewka Minor. The official restrictions have been eased, but at the time when the Salvat authorities were forced to dismantle the general discrimination against the vostochni, Wlodek Ciesla's predecessors refused to give up the vostochni rights to the area of the city around the minster. Naturally, this situation suits the present city authorities and has not been revoked, even though the formal strictures are merely symbolic.
  • Fantastic Racism - the whole story revolves around this trope.
  • General Ripper - Slawomir is not quite a General, but he's still a bastard. Even Sciborski has to stop him from defenestrating Jola by telling him he's no longer at the front and that sort of thing might even get him a prison term.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely - it's actually Michal that needs a bath to change him from a gravedigger into a gentleman worthy of going out with Piotr and Jan, or to Lipkowski's for Yule. The scene in which they buy him new boots is also important enough to Jan's story.
  • Heroic BSOD – Jan has these. Repeatedly. So does the author.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold – When she has no other option, Jola.
  • ...Incest Subtext when Antek's living arrangements are referred to, even though it is the one thing Solinski wouldn't stoop to.
  • Irishman And A Jew – Tadeusz and Jan. Michal is both simultaneously.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast - some of Biruta and Domaszewicz's relationship may be seen as this. Semi-justified - Domaszewicz is a conservative, older male cleric, not someone who might be thought to have progressive views, particularly on sexuality and modernising church reforms - but his character contrasts with that of Biruta unfavourably and he is accused of being the person who informed on her.
  • Meaningful Name - numerous. If this happens it's mostly accidental, given that the original manuscript was ruined by too many meaningful names being inserted in the 2005 satirical revamp. The author uses random names from Polish, Russian and Lithuanian newspapers in order that it should be accidental whether they end up meaningful or not. However, some of the significant ones are purposeful:
    • Zalkiewka - zalowac means "to regret" in Polish.
    • Solinski is after sol, salt, though is vaguely satirical (not telling on that one, sorry).
    • Mizgierska Street, a parade of brothels where Jola ends up. Mizgier is the Polish adaptation of the German word metzger, or "butcher", almost always happened across as a surname (the author knew a Mizgier at university). Fleshmarket, essentially.
    • In universe, Tadeusz is delighted when he connects his communist codename, "Goat", with his own surname. Up until Jan tells him what it means, it is simply another word to him. It's the translation of the Krovot word kozyol, the root word of his surname Kozlowski.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future - The backstory of Jan's divorce and Jola's predicament is explained in flashback scenes. Biruta's story in Part 2 is told this way, with the big reveal coming at the climax of the revolutionary story even though the events take place between the two parts and she begins Part 2 dead.
  • Off The Wagon – Averted. Michal has problems with vodka and can only drink beer without fear of relapse. The whole reason he is a pauper is to do with drink, and avoids Tadeusz’ and Jan’s offers stubbornly.
  • Oh My Gods! - Piech reveals himself as vostochni by swearing "By Minerva!" in front of the ice-skating kiosk.
  • One Steve Limit - Averted, or basically ignored. Both Kurak and Sciborski are named Antoni. However, Kurak is referred to as Antek and the two characters never come into the same scenes. In the 2005 draft Sciborski was named Radoslaw, but this was scrapped as radosc means "joy" and the character is not particularly a joyful contribution to the story.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss - Sobkowski.
  • Psycho for Hire - Pav.
  • Red Light District - Tiergarten, and the surrounding streets (Mizgierska in particular). Noticeably, this is an Empire-wide association of zoos with prostitution of both men and women.
  • Sinister Minister - Domaszewicz, somewhat - in-universe. Neither Wlodek nor Biruta trust him not to sell Michal back to his father for the ten thousand guilder reward, and he displays some rather egregious misogyny when dealing with Biruta's proposals of a mission to the red light district and the body of Pav's victim. In Part 2, he successfully convinces Michal that Wlodek does not want to evacuate the ghetto, whilst having initially opposed the idea when Wlodek passed on Michal's anxiety about the exposed community and asked Wlodek to evacuate. Also, it is strongly believed that he informed on Biruta's heresy and witchcraft. Whether or not the reputation is deserved is left up to the reader to work out.
  • Stuffed In A Fridge - Biruta, by ...Nope, I'm not going to give the game away here. Sorry.
  • Supporting Protagonist - Michal. His story is advanced, through his acquaintance with Jan the story affects him and his decision to leave Achava in the end and he does have several scenes where he is observing life in the Salvat capital independently of Jan, but essentially this is Jan's story. Even Part 2 has him as a significant mediator but he is still quite often a mere observer of much of the action.
  • Take It to the Bridge – Jan’s dream in Part 1, and the climax in Part 2 as Selwrenski Bridge is destroyed. The river separates the slums from the High Town.
  • The Alcoholic – Subverted. Sciborski considers Jan an alcoholic and breaks his decanter in order to bully him for not turning up to their rendezvous. Jan acknowledges drinking is his only real luxury, tries a variety of spirits during the story, reveals his secrets to Piotr and Pav while smashed, but never quite lapses into full alcoholism. He does put away a large amount, though.
  • The Heretic - Biruta. Domaszewicz has been appointed by the church authorities to oversee her and prune out her wilder beliefs. She is arrested on charges of witchcraft by increasingly paranoid and reactionary secular authorities on the basis of the tip-off that provides the main mystery of the second part of the novel.
  • The Owl-Knowing One - Mr Hoot, Biruta's pet, who gives Jan a clue to his dream. Owls are, not surprisingly, the symbol of Minerva, and after discovering feathers, later identified as owl feathers, in his room, Jan believes his dream was prophetic.
  • Xanatos Gambit - arguably, Domaszewicz's machinations. Heads, he wins. Tails, Biruta and Wlodek lose.

     2011 version 2 

  • Animal Theme Naming - how the issue above was resolved: any animal names are deliberate, and another is introduced - Jacek Swistak, or Gopher (a kind of gopher - or properly, the European ground squirrel, called susel in Polish or suslik in Russian - lives in Poland and the Carpathian mountains, ranging from southern Poland and Slovakia to Bulgaria). It's not about whether or not he is a shapechanger; it's more about what people think of him and how Jan and Sobkowski conspire against him, because of his name and also because he represents a particularly obnoxious faction which is starting to get the upper hand in Salwat politics, to the concern of even lisachni like Sobkowski and Gryczewski. People left nuts on his desk before the Shackleton case.
  • Art Imitates Life - the author's cousin was a civilian instructor in the army cadets because he didn't want to go officially into the army, where he'd have to cut his hair. The same dilemma faces Witek.
  • Auction of Not Quite Evil - the labour-broker. Not quite selling slaves, but landlords paying money for the hire of men which they then pay back in reduced wages over the term of an indenture. A recruitment agency with a difference, in other words.
  • Automaton Horses - played straight in universe by Walentyna, who is desperate for her own carriage and begs her already thinly-stretched first husband for one. Jan could not afford a single horse and its attendant needs without getting significantly into debt and he deliberately mentions it to needle her about her excessive demands.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill - How Siedlecki gets a respectable and reliable printer to produce Od Niczego - by forging letters of marque from the censorship bureau, thus substituting one False Flag Operation for another. The letters, of course, have disappeared from inside a locked drawer by the time the printer is arrested by Jan. It helps massively that the printer is a former soldier and Siedlecki goes in dressed in his major's uniform.
  • Conspiracy Theorist - Sciborski, and Tadek and Michal at the end of the book. Some people believe that nationalist Salwat agents kidnapped Michal in Ludlin, rather than having just been a random crime of opportunity. Nevertheless, it suits the Crows so much that Tadek explains that if Michal breaks cover and goes home, he might be in more rather than less danger. Suitably, the cancellation of Michal's residency permit and the start of a conspiracy against Moreland does add up to shenanigans of a more directly political nature rather than a simply opportunist crime.
  • The Dragon - Siedlecki to Seymour...or is it Seymour to Siedlecki?
  • Ensign Newbie - Witek is still a cadet, but has a position of enormous responsibility - which offends Siedlecki.
  • Fantastic Foxes - an aversion of the feminine fox trope: Lisicki, i.e. Fox-ski, is male.
  • Genre Savvy - Jan knows the dangers of starting a romance with a prostitute because he has read too many pulp novels which cross his desk as a censor looking for pornography. He doesn't realise the real relationship between Jola and Solinski...
  • Porn Stash - not exactly, but Jan is in charge of the obscenity department and finds himself, rather awkwardly, in the middle of what is a standard plot in many of the novels he has to censor.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom - Wlodek Ciesla. He uses a picture of Michal's sister as a pin-up; more importantly he has kept a more accurate picture of Michal at the time of his marriage to Carrie in his desk drawer - which is much more accurate than anything the press threw up at the time of his disappearance and therefore provides a clinching clue to Michal's identity.
  • Russian Mythology and Tales - slightly misused in that Baba Yaga and rusalki are of Russian origin rather than Polish, but it can be explained that the vostochni - whose name comes from the Russian/Krovot vostok word for east rather than the Polish wschod cognate - are considered to be a Krovot fifth column and have an identity that straddles both provinces of the Empire. Kozlowski and Domaszewicz, however, are of Krovot extraction, which causes a tension within the Minervan community as well between them and the still ethnically Salwat vostochni.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money! - two instances involving the Piech family - Michal in the flashback scene at the Lewinski hotel, supposedly closed to vostochni but open to the Piechowie; and Witek, who has to get the Graf to sponsor him just to go and give a guest lecture at the Piontka university, also closed to vostochni. Michal directly pulls rank while Witek has to make use of his connections even as a representative of the military; a hotel is more susceptible to monetary concerns than the universities are.
  • Kick the Dog - Siedlecki. Not just kicking - shooting a stray as target practice.
  • First Episode Spoiler - nay, even Prologue Spoiler. Bankrupt and impoverished second son of a squire Moreland committed himself to a workhouse out of desperation and arguably prospered because of it; his story shadows Michal's as a way of demonstrating perhaps one of three possibilities: the active conspiracy against Michal by opportunistic nationalists, the generally crueller and less liberal post-Lenkish War climate of the 1,980ths as compared to the 1,950ths (Whig Theory of History be damned!), or how Michal's depression and inertia is crippling his ability to re-establish himself.
  • Smug Snake - Siedlecki.
  • Staged Populist Uprising - Sciborski's revenge on having to buy foreign underwear made by a company formed by Thomas Moreland from the vostochni-owned Rydzowskich.
  • Stockholm Syndrome - subverted with Jola. She loves Solinski, and Solinski loves her. Apart from being her pimp, he actually treats her with kindness and is devastated - with predictable results - when she is spirited out of the city by Biruta and Michal.
  • There Are No Therapists - Otherwise Slawek's PTSD would probably not have led to the break-up of Jan's marriage and the attempted rape of Jola. Siedlecki has no such excuse.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: A number in addition to the extensive use of Meanwhile In The Past used in the 2011 version.
    • Michal, in the prologue.
    • Moreland, established by one scene in the opening chapter. Briefly: he was in Michal's situation at more or less the same age.
    • Jola in the expository scene about the dress.
    • George enacts a Pietà Plagiarism with a sleeping Michal before Seymour catches him and accuses him of molestation.
    • We get to see Chicken's story, which is as Troubled as they come.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting - elements of this in the division between Ludlin and Achava, though there are points where the two sequences of events make contact. To spare the reader any more of it, the next novel was split into two.
  • Urban Segregation - the city is divided by districts, but the river is not the demarcation "zone" between rich and poor, as north of Tiergarten on the left bank is also a more select district around the university than Zalkiewka and the Provisionals next door.
  • Vendor Trash - the salvage work Michal does with the paupers at the ghetto workhouse is governed by the Department of Public Works, and as such, anything found there belongs not to those that find it, but has to be passed on to the Department (yes, the same one) to be sold. Even the coins they find, often of very small denomination, belong to the city.
  • Voice of the Resistance - Od Niczego, or Ex Nihilo. Subverted - the journal is actually a trap for careless anarchists and communists, being set up not by the censorship bureau, which move against it as soon as Jan finds out where it is being published, but by the Crows as a False Flag Operation.