You revived Bel Tat, who had quite lost her head. In the smoke, gingerly picking their way among the broken pieces of blades that were still whirling and whirling, they crossed the square to the little light now burning in the post office window.
A sign affixed there read, “Took you long enough, Morin”. It’s possible that someone had crossed out “Morin” and written “moron” and then undone it. But it was hard to say.
The lovely lady with the big eyes was indeed inside, just as Brother Wayrest had drawn her. Paper was everywhere. The messages on it were a special kind of insanity and were best avoided.
The lady’s voice was grating – and she didn’t even speak! Nonetheless, through gesture and note she showed the brief story of the struggle in the broken city. The monks silencing the mechanical bells. Some device that had been left in the post office’s storage room had gone off, reacting with some other device sent by the clockwork queen and powered by the bells.
The room it was in had particularly hard time. Literally. It turned out that Meer was able to pick the lock and open the door and get inside. It seems the key to the Zero Point Shelter that she had been carrying, and the group’s syncing with it was what protected them – to some degree – from what was happening to Booda.
With your help, the Sister was able to take what was clearly a device of the Amber papacy to the crying lady statue in the city’s art square, where the bells had been cast down. She set the egg-shaped thing marked with the Pope’s crown in the arms of the statue, and rigged it with some kind of pale gel she applied gingerly from her backpack.
It was clear that the true work was now to begin: running like hell to get out of Booda before the Sister’s explosive device went off. They even rescued poor Kronk from where he’d gotten caught in an eddy and was floating upside down by the bridge, the hydrophobic legs of his suit kicking and kicking away their “auto-return” functionality.
“My goodness,” said abbot Kine later, “that is quite a story. But clearly you too are touched by the madness of that place. Who can know what truly did or did not happen in that place?”
They wondered if he heard the blades clicking and the bells ringing, because there was something in his eyes as he looked back across the water at Booda, where many of the people were fine, and only a few were dead and mad. But at least they *were*, even if they didn’t realize what a miracle that was, and didn’t quite know whom to thank for it.