This is what the stars have shown us. From this day forward, the Lumisary Legion is disbanded. By the turning of the final lunar month this year, all services for the dead will be concluded. The War of Bleeding Margins is, henceforth, not to be written, mentioned, or preserved in any distasteful way. From thirty-three years of suffering, let us build thirty-three more of perfect peace.
He killed any fondness for his favorite game, of spotting the nervous buttonquails when they ran. He thought not at all of being sent off to bed without haggard carers and squabbling sisters.
The pathway to the priestess’s tower was almost as lush as the flanking gardens. No one’s feet had disturbed it for quite some time. Vines and creepers spilled tiny blossoms before Umi's boots. When was the last time anyone had gone in, or out?
Shiori fell to the bottom of the world. It was black. It was cold, and wet like oil was wet. It was full of moving faces. They ate Shiori’s fingers, robes, eyes.
“I remember," she said eventually. "There was a family who always brought goats past our street to the market. One ate the flower off my dress when I was little. Their son promised he’d marry me if I stopped crying, but I think I hit him. I don’t remember if I said yes or not. I might not have stopped crying, either.”
“Regnor has a history with magic like this. We’ll send him there.”
Umi caressed the careful stitching of petals in his fingers. Would life have felt like pink embroidery if he’d gone the path meant for him? For her, he denied. Not me. Yet here he sat in the priestess’s tower.
It took them hours to reach it—a flat, dark lake with coarse water, sheltered by the broken sides of what had once been a quarry. James didn’t say it, but Eric knew he could have covered three times their distance in half the time if he'd gone alone.
In 1997, Armistice Todd had a plan.
When she finally came to bother James in the storehouse, Lizzy had aged by about thirty years since she’d talked to him. Quite literally. James was not, by this, point, surprised.