City Lights at Night

The Top of the Tower

in which the August Motley faces Joanna Galthwaite

Holy Hell, we did it— and by “it”, I suppose I mean several things.

We entered a city where the Lost go in and don’t come out.
We challenged a demon… and won.
We left the city where the Lost go in and don’t come out.
We went up to the dead city called Avalon.
We put down John Galt.
And we came back down, battered but alive.

A clockwork man, a walkin’ chess piece, a livin’ fireball, a bird and a guitar.

This entire ordeal will haunt me, the rest of my life. I thought I’d felt fear before, back in Arcadia— but it was nothin’ compared to the fear I faced these last few days. Not fear for myself, but fear for the four most important people to me. It’s somethin’ I couldn’t have anticipated. It occurred to me, though, that it’s that kind of fear that makes us brave.

Avalon was a great city, no doubt about it. Those who lived there fought and fell, and what they left behind is just a shadow. Ghosts, bones, old prophecies and an automated defense system. (That was a sight.) It’s what I saw from those with us, though, that will stay with me the longest. I watched Masa go mad; I saw Red nearly die fightin’ Avalon’s secret weapon; I saw Ondrej realize that the pledge he made might just kill him anyway; I watched Dirge go back to the city he’s been runnin’ from for who knows how long; I saw Frederick make a sacrifice nobody would expect of a Hob, because he is Masa’s friend; and I saw myself prepared to fly right for the woman we came to fight, in spite of my fear.

That’s not to say I didn’t see more’n a few sights that are goin’ to stick with me. The memory of that medical wing is goin’ to give me the creeps long as I live; the engineer, holed up in the control room who put a bullet in his own head will too. On th’ other hand, I will forever be amused by the look of shock on Mr. Scratch’s face when I turned into a dove right ‘fore his eyes. And the rest of Avalon… that’s gonna stick with me, too. No wonder the poor Reverend went mad. Thankfully, after the Key of the Goblin King was broken, Texarkana won’t be a trap any more. (Not that I’m plannin’ on goin’ back, understand.)

Now we’re headed back for Las Vegas with two men closer to Death than most would like and the King of All Hobs in tow.

I am so tired.



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