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Tuesday, June 23

Naoke: Conclusion

Slipping past the lighthouse known as Milton’s Folly, the Nǎoké made its way into Freeport in the twilight. As she came slowly into dock, everyone line up on the deck rails cheering and waving and flags flying. Word of Baldric’s return had made him a hero, and his defeat of Cho Sun only cemented his reputation as a formidable candidate for the Sea Lord’s Council.

Passengers and their possessions went ashore in a scene of great noise and confusion. The milling port officials, crew, porters, hawkers, and would-be guides only added to the chaos. Clem, Tranco, and Estaboth slipped out into the crowd.

“I’ll take you to the Marquis Moon.” Yolanda was about to don one of her familiar masks. “You’ll be safe there.”

“We won’t if you advertise who you are. Keep the mask off for now. We’ll have to lay low,” said Kham. “Last time we were here, we pissed off the daughter of a certain powerful newspaper editor. And I’m supposedly dead in a botched rescue operation.”

Yolanda turned and screamed shrilly. “Patricia!”

Patricia had gone into the harbor. Vlad ran over to the edge of the dock. Patricia’s broad hat was on the quay and there were ripples on the water. The Milandisian dove in.

“She missed her step,” Francesca said, rocking herself. “She missed her step. She missed her step.”

“She jumped,” said Ilmarė. “Stupid humans.”

A man with a pad and paper was waiting for Vlad as he brought Patricia back to the dock. “Freeport News: can I have a word with you?”

“Damn it!” muttered Kham. “Ilmarė, do something before we end up on the front page!” [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:15 AM


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