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Nov. 4 – Two Readings, Two Interpretations (Dark Aether)

((Private entry–but feel free to comment!))

Bookworm Hienrichs walked out of the records room, impatiently dashing away tears brought to her eyes by the written fates of Breezy and Viv.  She knew by now, of course, that, unless some people had fled before the explosion mentioned, many of the people she knew would have met horrible fates in this account.  But actually reading about them was still upsetting–especially when she still had no idea how to stop it.

She went through the northern entrance of City Hall, paused at the top of the steps, then walked to the side and hoisted herself onto the wall there, looking at the autumn-colored trees that flanked either side of the staircase.  She sat there in the morning light, thinking about what she’d read.  At least a somewhat clearer picture was beginning to form.  Her guess was that, after the explosion referenced, and the attack by the creatures, large and small, the survivors gathered at the Imperial Theatre to make their plans.  That there were so few was…not encouraging.

Bookworm wasn’t sure how she felt about not appearing yet in the account.  Reading about her death would be horrid, she was sure–and yet, she couldn’t help but think that the anticipation was worse.  Did she really die so soon?  Or worse–had she fled?

‘No,’ she thought, violently shaking her head.  The only way she’d leave was if she was leading others out, too.  And at this point, she rather doubted anyone was ready to flee the city yet.  Not while there was a chance to stop it.

‘I knew the risks when I decided to join the Militia…and those that come with being a Heroine,’ Book thought.  ‘If I’m to die…I just hope my death counts for something.’

She hurried off, hoping to find Tepic Harlequin and get some information from him.  If she couldn’t…well, it might just be time for a little breaking and entering.

——

Mariah walked out of the records room, relieved that there was still no mention of Miss Bookworm in the account.  There was still that chance that she could escape this horror alive.  Mariah would do her utmost to make sure of that–her last repayment of her debt of gratitude to Miss Bookworm’s parents.

Ever since Mariah had left New Babbage to serve on the smuggling ship “Mary Rose,” those many years ago, she’d had the feeling, never articulated but always present, that if she returned to the city to live there, she would…die.  Not right away, perhaps, but sooner rather than later.  Whenever the smuggling runs brought them back to New Babbage, even when she’d gained the captaincy of the “Mary Rose,” she had always slept on board the ship, just to make it clear where her residence truly was.

But then, several years into her retirement, she’d begun visiting New Babbage, and Miss Bookworm.  She’d even stayed there days at a time, and nothing had happened.  So when the time came, she moved back into the city without a qualm, sure that the nebulous feeling of decades had been nothing more than superstition.

Mariah smiled sardonically.  How wrong she’d been.  She had no doubt that the events the Automaton were describing would mean her death.  She didn’t care, so long as Miss Bookworm, Mrs. Pritchard, and Mrs. Sawyer were kept safe.  After all, her family had died in the Great Fire decades ago.  It was only appropriate that she die in one of its sequels.

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