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Nov. 25 – Foresight Lost (Dark Aether)

Bookworm Hienrichs was on her way to City Hall when she spotted a small figure running down the street.  It wasn’t long before she recognized it as Cyan Rayna, the feline urchin she’d known from last year.  He’d been gone from the city for quite some time, but had recently returned.

“Oh, Ms. Hienrichs,” he panted, skidding to a stop on the new-fallen snow.  “I was just coming to find you.  Something’s happened to the Writer!”  Without another word, he whirled around and took off running back toward City Hall.

“What?”  Bookworm hastened after Cyan, and caught up with him at the room where the Writer was stored.  She sucked in a breath at the sight of the Writer lying on the floor, a few cogs scattered around it, and a hammer driven into its “ear.”  There was another pile of machinery next to it, the last remains of one of Miss Avariel Falcon’s clockworks.

“What–or who–did this?” Bookworm asked.

“I don’t know,” Cyan replied.  “I’m sure Moriarty could have had a hand in it.”  He paused, looking at the Writer.  “The last page that was written basically talks of massive deaths, though, and monsters falling from the sky.”

Bookworm stooped to read the last page, being careful not to touch the Writer.  She read at the end of the page:

“Miss Hienrichs had one,” replied Kaylee, “before she was dragged away by those Van Creed Clanks”

Bookworm paled a bit at that, though she said nothing.

“It’s not a very happy ending, it seems,” Cyan said.

“Not happy all the way through,” Bookworm replied wryly.

“Gadget mentioned the group that I’m part of, too… which finalizes my fate as well in this story.”

Bookworm stood up, and rubbed her face.  “So. Can this be repaired, or is this the last of our warning?”

“That is a good question.  It does seem to be functional, but we don’t know how deep the damage to the machine is.”

“I think we need to have a machinist look at it.  And…unless it’s damaged beyond repair, have the militia guarding it, not just an unarmed clockwork device.”

“Indeed, although would have thought being here would have protected it.”

“We assumed too much, obviously.”  Bookworm sighed.

The two of them speculated whether Miss Falcon might be able to salvage anything from her automaton, and what they should do next. At one point, Cyan said, with tears in his eyes, “I don’t want to die.”

Bookworm laid a comforting hand on his shoulder.  “None of us do, Cyan. We’ll do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

While they were still there, first Jimmy Branagh, then Dr. Kristos Sonnerstin, and finally Miss Avariel Falcon herself arrived, word apparently having spread of what had happened.  Miss Falcon told them that the clockwork unit had been destroyed some time the previous day, and that its data unit was missing, so there was no way to recover any specific information about who had done this.

While they were all talking, Bookworm was struck by a sudden thought.  “I wonder if anything’s changed at the Van Creed building.”  With the information give on the latest page from the writer, that building had suddenly assumed much more importance in her mind.

Dr. Sonnerstein, Cyan Rayna, and Avariel Falcon offered to come with her, and she decided that would be a wise move, especially given what had happened to her before.  They made their way over to the building and squeezed inside–even Miss Falcon somehow managed.  A quick look around, though, showed nothing different than her last visit.  The most excitement came from Dr. Sonnerstein, whose close encounter with the gas in the building caused his madness to return.  Thankfully, it was of a more sedate manner than at other times, and Bookworm was able to lead him out of the building and get him to safety.

Bookworm took her leave of the others there, to hurry back to Militia headquarters with the news.  She had the feeling that events were rushing them more and more quickly toward the events described in the book.  She could only hope that somehow, she and the other would be able to keep their heads above water.

 

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