Introduction – Gregor de Cago
We are introduced to Gregor’s car before we meet him. Tearing across the wastes with a convoy, fleeing a party of Soudaska raiders, Fourthhorse, driven by an anonymous Wheelman and defended by Clark de Sprigfeld, fights to protect the Eighteener at the convoy’s center. A car covered in pike-wielding raiders comes rushing up besides Fourthhorse, the fight becomes one between individuals as Clark crawls across his car to fend them off in single combat, all the while shouting updates to the Wheelman, who responds with shouts of encouragement. The numbers are overwhelming, and Clark is nearly thrown from the vehicle. Undefended, the Wheelman is speared; screaming words of righteous fury, he sets Odessa to autopilot and leaps onto the enemy vehicle and detonates the grenades on his belt. Clark roars in dismay, but is forced to watch from his point of disadvantage. The raiders are driven off, and we see Fourthhorse fall in line at the rear of the convoy. We cut to the next morning, with Sconsin’s priest reading off the achievements of Fourthhorse’s late Wheelman. He then begins listing the lineage of the next Wheelman, Gregor. Gregor himself has not accrued any glory, but we get a picture of his ancestors – his grandfather was a renowned Eighteener, his father was a notable Wheelman, and his grandmother had served as a mechanic-priest for decades. Gregor’s career thus far, as the priest explains, has consisted of riding along in hunting parties, gaining necessary skills as a mechanic and driver. This should help explain that Gregor has been chosen not because he is a “chosen one” character, but rather because this is how the tribe works. With the ceremony concluded, Gregor walks over to Clark, and they share a tense moment as they both come to the understanding that Gregor must put his life in the hands of a man who has already failed to defend his Wheelman. Clark recites the Lancer’s creed as he stands before Gregor’s uncertain gaze, a speech promising that his life is second to not only the holy vehicle, but to Gregor’s as well. Despite Gregor’s apprehension, they clasp each other’s forearm in a sign of solidarity, and the scene ends.