Compiègne Wagon

CHAPTER 10 – III

The economic empire that Harry Augustina had created had crumbled. His businesses either disappeared completely, or were taken over by former associates or rivals who fought each other over the scraps. There was a realignment in the city’s holders of power.

Power was what Tayli believed she was owed as she took over a third of Augustina’s retail stores. Her legs, no longer operational after being attacked by Geryman, had been amputated and she disdained the prosthetics that she strapped on each morning. She funneled that energy into work. It was Augustina’s old empire that she envisioned herself rebuilding.

Rebuilding the city was a tall order, and Janifer stepped into the job, leading the city’s efforts after years of devastation. Seattle would become bigger and better than before. The death of Urissa had hit her hard, however, and she seldom spoke with her former allies. She held too many resentments.

Resentments seemed to be what fueled the disparate disciples of Moon Tat’s religion. Each member of the Counsel (Qira, Raysi, Audra Abisia, Pete Sanil, and Trey Ku) went their own way in order to chart their own path. They were unified, however, in their hatred of Glendan for infiltrating them, Carenf for killing their leader, but most especially Aleris for turning his back on them and betraying their cause. A wrong that could only be made right with blood.

Blood leaked out onto the snow atop Mount Rainier, melting it and creating a steamy cocktail of blood and water. The spike that was plunged through Geryman’s chest missed all vital organs. He was defeated, but would survive. He was taken down the mountain and imprisoned in a solitary train car on an unnamed island hidden in Puget Sound, where he was meant to stay indefinitely. Using the energy-transfer technique she had learned from her mentor back in New Orleans, Carenf was able to sap Geryman of most of his strength and to store that energy into the train car itself, making it an impenetrable fortress. It was a clever ploy that would work for the next 21 years.

Years of conflict had ended and now Carenf and Glendan could live in peace once again. It was the love that Carenf felt for Glendan that made her spare Geryman’s life. She was hopeful that she had figured out a way to keep her brother-in-law alive, yet keep his inner darkness impotent. After so much pain and suffering, the two parents could now focus on their greatest accomplishment: the son they had named Aricame. If the world was a cold place, then he would be their fire.

Fire heated a small wooden shack in rural upstate New York. Above the flame was a dirty bowl of stew, dinner for the cabin’s two inhabitants. One was a baby given the name of Stievo. The other was the baby’s keeper, Victor Strife.

History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes
Rules for every contest dictate who wins
Can there ever be said to be an end to all times
When there is no point at which a circle begins

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