I stand behind shaded glass, and look down upon the city.
Not much to see from here, unless you have an interest in the jagged peaks of building tops and the thin black points of the support-spires erupting from a wide dark sea of webs; sharp angles tangled with brighter strands of fresh silk and brushed by fleeting fingers of speeding cloud.
Close to the distant horizon—beyond the city streets and suburban homes and all the farms and villages unseen—the sun stands still in a sky of washed out blue.
If I press my hand against the glass I touch the coldness of the air outside. The chill of winter biting at the world.
Here, so close to the Daughter, so far from the shroud that follows me, I feel alone.
I lower my hand and step back.
I turn at the soft whisper of an opening door, the click-click-click of boots on polished marble flooring. This room is opulent but sterile; every surface pristine, precise, harsh. No furniture, no comfortable waiting area, no casual ease. A tall curve of window, a series of doors of various sizes, and the broad checkerboard floor across which marches the stern stiff form of the tower-master, Crick.
He snaps to a halt and presents a vague outline of a salute, which I return with neat precision.
“Widow Enke,” he begins. “So good of you to attend-” as if I had a choice “-the Daughter will see you now.”
Nothing more than that, he spins about and click-click-clicks away and I follow—at a quick step with my palms damp and my heart racing—into the blackness beyond the doorway, into the presence of my god.