The urchins leave the stone and the casket next to the dock crane. It will do the last bit of heavy lifting. I pay them off and away they scamper in all directions. It looks like they have another job. I wonder what it might be.
[img_assist|nid=4214|title=The leave taking of Tasha|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=640|height=480]
“What is the new graveyard like Miss Hermit? Did you design it?“, asks Tasha.
“Yes dear I did. It is by the shore with a nice stone wall and a curvy pathway made of wood. I am allowing others to place their tombs there to make it look pleasant. I think you will like the new people you will see there. Steelhead is not as big as Babbage but to compensate I believe the neighborhoods are much more interesting. I do know of at least one other graveyard so you may travel once the household tasks are done.” I throw a canvas over the casket and stone as they lie on the hoisting pallet. No need to get odd looks from the sailors over this cargo.
“What does the house look like? Do I have more work than I did in the brownstone?“
“The house is a bit smaller but still has two floors. You will have to let me know where you want your spirit shrine located once you settle in.”
“I shall do that ma’am. Might I ask if you are all right?“
“You mean from what happened last night?”
“Yes ma’am. It must have hurt when Mr. Metier flew through you. I was afraid he was going to possess you!“
“No, he did not but he did bind me to the city. I suppose that makes me responsible for its’ soul after a fashion. He left so much within me. I still feel it and think I shall spend a few days processing it in mediation. No wonder someone without the Temple’s training would go so mad.”
“They say he was raving mad even before he was dead ma’am.“
“I know but I did not see it. Poor man, he had a hard code to follow in his life and it got no better when he died. Myself, I wonder where this will lead. In any case I need to get you to Nevermoor and to send a pigeon to the Senior monk and Father at once. They are not going to like this you know.”
“While I never met either of the gentlemen, your description leaves no doubt within me that you are in line for a dressing down Miss Hermit.“
“Agreed. It’s time to go dear. Call the others for their goodbyes and then inside the casket with you.”
Babbage spirits fade into view around us and wish Tasha fair travels.
If ghosts could cry I think Evie would although they were not the
greatest of friends. I see Daniel and motion to him. He floats with me as I walk behind the crane.
“You were a fool to take on the duty. You know we can not help you all that much. What was the wisdom and gain of it?“
“I understand what it means to serve the greater purpose. The Temple and the clan drilled that into me. I have grown to love Babbage. Think of it as giri, the duty honor-bound.”
“It means you are now the
protector. What skills do you have to defeat this foe? You have none of the talents of the Engineers nor the power of the Cloud Angels.“
I have nothing from the times before to combat this. But I have
weapons you never thought of. I have skills of the Temple, the talent of the un-named clan, and the power of the heroines and heroes of
Babbage. I have the binding which Metier gave me and most important of all I have the faith of trust.”
“We shall see it that is enough Goddess of Death.“
“Yes, we will Engineer of the Elder Times.”
Daniel returns to the group and speaks quietly to Tasha. Then they all move back as she enters the casket. Sofie and Evie wave to me as Mac tips his cap. As mist they depart and through that mist the dock crew arrive to load the pallet. The mate calls to me from the wheelhouse to board as they will leave as soon as the ‘cargo’ is aboard. I start to walk up the ramp to the main deck when I feel something hug me briefly. I sadly smile and whisper into the night…
“Fear not Babbage, the miko will return to save you.”