Chapter Forty: Finding the Fleet

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I lay on cold hard stone, staring up at the empty sky.

The electric lights of the city washed out the stars.

I could barely remember how I'd got here; a clash of colours, a tumble of lights. Weightless for a second, suspended in the air, and then Éven's hand in my hand, Éven's arms around me, and the walls falling around us.

The ground was littered with the glittering remains of the flags, and these faded into nothingness as my vision focused on what was real. Éven lay on the ground close by me, either asleep or dead.

We lay in a wide, empty flagstone courtyard, flanked on all sides by white buildings. I thought we might be at Buckingham Palace—but would Éven drop us in the Queen's backyard? Was a royal assassination part of the plot?

I had blacked out—perhaps fainted in fear, or from lack of breath. But I wasn't dead. I wasn't injured. Éven had kept me alive. My arms worked. My legs worked. I wasn't broken or bleeding. I could stand. I could breathe.

His eyes were closed, but his chest rose and fell.

If my eyes were to be trusted, he had successfully taken down Gogmagog's Wall and left the city defenceless.

As I tried to get my bearings, I realised I had been in this courtyard once before, but last time there had been an ice rink here. We weren't at Buckingham Palace after all. We were at Somerset House on the north bank of the Thames; a former palace that was now all offices and art galleries—and an ice rink every winter. I had been here years ago with Danny, while Mum went shopping. I remembered it fondly. Danny taught me to skate. The day had been loud and bright and fun.

Now it was night, and it was dark and still and quiet. Much too quiet for this city, even at night.

I pulled out my phone.

My phone wouldn't turn on; it had probably been damaged in the fall. I slipped it back in my pocket...and felt the handle of dad's knife.

And there was Éven. Asleep, like the city. Defenceless, like the city.

What would a soldier do in this moment?

What would Danny do, if I were bleeding and maybe dying a hundreds of miles away, and he was standing over the helpless form of the man responsible?

What would Dad do? Would a soldier kill a man to save a city? Was that what Horseshoe wanted from me?

I knew I could never do that. I slid the knife back into my pocket.

Éven said the Accords were signed at Somerset Place. This was Somerset House, but names change across the centuries; I had to assume this was the same location. A different building, perhaps, but built on the same land.

The twelve courts had come here in their grand ships and made a big show of their presence, and they had met with Queen Elizabeth to sign their freedom away. Perhaps in this very courtyard, under these very stars.

The Horseshoe Men were founded here as well, I remembered—and their modern offices were just around the corner. The ugly block of Lancaster House, where Lawrence Keele had interrogated me, and where Éven had invaded the vaults, were only a stone's throw away, and they could provide sanctuary. Reinforcements. Help. Lancaster House could save me, and I wouldn't have to do anything I might regret.

I ran. I crossed the courtyard as fast as I could. I didn't look back to see if his eyes had opened. I scrambled over the gates and into the street, desperate to find someone, anyone, who could help.

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