Her name was Nefertiti. She had been born in New Babbage thirteen years before the Great Fire that had taken the life of her mother. She wondered if people still remembered the horrific devastation of that infernal night so many decades past.
Her footfalls clacked and echoed off the buildings lining Savory Street as she made her way north from the port. She was not accustomed to wearing boots but recognized the need to blend in.
So many memories, like fossils, imprisoned in these cobbled streets! The memories contained no warmth and though the night’s wind carried the promise of a spring thaw she shivered nonetheless. She drew the cloak more tightly about her shoulders, ensuring her hood was well secured.
Her father had been a weak man. How he had ever won the heart of a woman as strong as her mother she could never comprehend. The rage she experienced on that afternoon upon returning early from school to find him lost in a lust-fueled, naked passion with one of the maids had never waned. Mother had been buried less than a month and already he had succumbed to his body’s base desires.
Nefertiti had meant to kill the maid but her father’s death had been an accident. She’d seen her grandpa gelding rams on his farm in the foothills beneath Falun for years without incident. That her father could not endure the loss of blood was just further proof of his feeble nature.
‘Criminal Hysteria‘ had been the charge that confined her to the Dunsany and it was in that institution where she had met her true Father.
With birth comes pain. The pain had been tremendous. That she had been the first to prevail, the first to endure the rigours of rebirth, filled her with pride – the eldest of Father’s children. When the surface edifice of the Dunsany had been condemned she helped establish the laboratories deep beneath the streets of Clockhaven where Father’s work could continue unabated.
As she continued her northward trek, she took note of the shops along the way. The city had changed in the decades she’d been underground. She hadn’t anticipated the elation she would feel to once more see the stars. Glorious days lay ahead.
Nefertiti paused before the entrance to the Brunel Hotel. She barely hesitated before reaching for the handle with her bony white hand. She knew Father would be waiting in a darkened corner of the bar downstairs sipping his scotch as he observed the other patrons. He was not an impatient man yet she had no wish to keep him waiting. She would please him with her success. Inside her cloak she had the list of names he had requested. With a sense of anticipation, she slipped inside.