Oct 01, 2020 3:39 PM
Lucy gets warped to a different place and time in the Fallen London universe
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"A Judgment who collects the dead. Yeah, that doesn't sound like someone I'd get along with at all. I am, uh, by Judgment standards...somewhat illegal. Where by somewhat I mean very." 

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"Uh."

 

"Are we gonna be in trouble for having anything to do with you."

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"Oh, no, the thing that's illegal is committing amalgamy, not associating with the product of it. They might destroy me for existing but they might not even bother. My ancestors really don't want to meet the space constables but, uh, insofar as you don't want to it's mostly because the Judgments and their enforcers don't, like, care, about not incidentally killing people as far down the Chain as humans." 

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"Yeah, I know stars will totally murder you on a whim or less if you're stupid enough to be near one." Deep breath. "Uh, more Bronzewood to sell at New Winchester, and then shopping from my dad's wishlist, and you can look around the city and ask me stuff at the same time?"

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"Sure, sounds good. Sorry for spooking you." 

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"It kind of happens a lot, doesn't seem super avoidable? Yeah. New Winchester might be hard to approach without alarming anyone but you can probably handle it and I know all the signs and codes to get into Victory Hall if we need local influence to calm things down."

She goes and collects her father's wish-list.

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"Cool." 

She transforms and picks up the Bronzewood and opens one of her "doors" for June. 

"You'll have to tell me which way to go." 

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She can do that. After borrowing a chart from the navigator. It's a different path through the twisting wilderness, down the other branch where they had to go left to get to the Reserve.

"We go right here, but Titania's to the left - that way, by the way," June notes about a third of the way there. "And Carillon's past it, next major offshoot to the left after Titania. Have I told you about Carillon yet?" 

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"You haven't! Or Titania."

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"Titania's right on top of a Chorister Bee nest, but the artists who live there would never give it up and leave. Even when they get attacked on a regular basis. Bunch of weirdos. Pretty, though. And Carillon's a sort of... Devil salon-slash-sanatorium, where they'll treat you for flaws in your soul with really weird penances. Seems... Benign, as devils go, I think."

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"Yeah. There are uses for having a soul that's better by devil standards but they're pretty obscure." 

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"The going rate for a generically 'good' soul is seventy Sovereigns. For a poor one, fifteen. Specialized buyers nonwithstanding." She snorts. "Prices. So important for sky-sailors to know, if they hope to make enough money to keep flying."

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"I really wouldn't recommend selling them." 

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"Why not? What do they even do besides be sort of Judgement-y... Spores? Rumor says 'nothing, maybe'."

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"Some people change when they lose theirs. And you can get someone back easier if you don't have their body, if they didn't sell it. And the Judgmenty spore thing isn't irrelevant, Judgments don't want new Judgments to remember being people with souls but it's not impossible. Souls contain the potential for apotheosis. I mean not that Judgments are like, worthy of worship or anything, but apotheosis sounds cool." 

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"Reminds me of a vague rumor I heard. I figure I should probably mention it whenever that happens, to give you background? The Heart-Catchers in Eleutheria can make... A jar with your death in it, to hide away. Not immortality, but protection against a particular fate. Or so the rumors go. So Judgements come from, ah, weaker souls?"

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"No, souls have to be pretty strong to even become a Judgment in the first place. Most souls don't, ever. But the longer you're alive the more stuff your soul has on it, and you have to consume some of the stuff to become a Judgment, but if you live long enough and do enough cool stuff you could, in theory, have enough stuff that you won't miss what you lose. I've been working on this for, like, ten years, I haven't been able to put theory into practice yet, but I'm pretty confident in it. The hard part is, uh, not having anything horrible happen to you for long enough. Which is pretty hard. Simple doesn't mean easy." 

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"...Mm."

 

There is an especially large, blue-painted locomotive visible up ahead, around the next bend. June swears quietly. "Windward Company dreadnaught."

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"Is that bad? Will they bother with me? I don't look like a train or anything."

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"Tacketies and the Windward Company are sort of at war? I thought I explained that. Maybe I forgot. They're probably freaking the hell out, not knowing what you are. Might try to shoot at you but you're way, way faster. Will definitely report you."

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"You did explain that but I don't think I look very Tackety and they shouldn't be able to see you very clearly in there." 

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"I guess not. It's just, seeing one of those is usually bad news, you know?"

The dreadnaught is turning back the way it came.

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"Oh sure. But even if they did get aggressive I could take 'em." 

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"Yeah, you could probably take most things that'll try to bother you. Probably. Oh, you wouldn't know about the Unwanted Guests. They're... Eels? I think? They're attracted to things of sentimental value on flying locomotives, and they mostly don't try to kill you but tend to crush people inadvertently. And when there's, like, a critical mass of them, then they take over the engine and keep flying it and launch their - acid spit or something - into other engines. A proper menace. When you have one Guest, others know how to find you, somehow."

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"Huh, okay. If we see any of those I'll try to talk to them. Maybe they'll talk to me, maybe we can make sense of them, maybe they're not people and I can just squish 'em." 

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