Epilogue II

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The District of Embers Tears had a distinctive smell to it.

The region had, much like the Billows, been lost to the Gloam during the Fifth. Embers Tears, along with the legend of Withering Heights, was the closest the Golems had penetrated into the City fifty years ago. But the entire district had been the sight of a running battle, as trains carrying Valkyries harried the Golem until it had collapsed in front of the next wall.

Because of the devastation of the Golem rampaging through the district, Embers Tears had been abandoned for decades after the Fifth.

Many of the buildings had been constructed around the largest pieces of rubble. So much so that many buildings had massive pieces of cement or stone bricks jutting out of the walls at odd angles. The pieces had been reinforced, but the monuments served as a reminder of the danger the City was constantly in.

All things considered, it was an odd place to ask for a clandestine rendezvous.

"So Bert," Inspector Angela Ostal said, as she and the shadow both stepped off at Breakwall Station. The odd shape to the stones that made up the walkway was what had earned the name of the station, as it had been made from the ruins of the wall collected after the Fifth. "Have any idea why Samuel was called away this morning?"

"My lottery tokens are on Samuel being offered a job," Bertram replied. "He left quite an impression on Agrias."

"I'd have mixed feeling about seeing him in Oversight," Angela admitted, with a sigh. "Mostly because our last job for them was such a burning mess. But I could see him there, he'd be good at it."

Bertram nodded, and the shadow glanced around. Angela could see out of the corner of her eye how he was carefully marking the distance between themselves and anyone who could listen to their conversation.

"So," Angela said, preempting his question. "I should tell you why I asked for company."

Angela fished a note out of her pocket and unfolded it. "This was left for me at my precinct desk by a kid. Said some woman gave him the token and the letter, said to give it to the one-armed inspector."

Angela glanced over the contents of the letter one more time before she handed it to Bertram.


Inspector Ostal,

I believe the two of us share a degree of curiosity. Momentous events have happened right in front of us, and not knowing the cause must rankle. Particularly since you are so close to someone who will not tell you the truth.

If you wish to compare notes, come to the south wall of Ember's Tears, a half-mile west of the station. You may bring the shadow who accompanied you during your investigation, but I will not show if you bring more orderlies, Samuel, or if I even suspect an airship is nearby.

I do hope we can help each other.

Q


Bertram read the note, nodded solemnly, and returned the note. "Quentin, I take it?"

"Of course," Angela remarked, as she rolled her modified Salamander in her holster and shifted her coat. "I should have asked already, but you're armed, right?"

"At all times," Bertram admitted. "It's policy in Oversight."

"Good. Because I don't know what we're walking into. Quentin might be willing to just talk. But if not, we might have to fight our way out," Angela explained. "My only backup plan is a bunch of letters that get sent if I'm not back in the office by late this evening."

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