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Nym had watched as the small airship that she knew as the Crow approached them through the storm. She had anticipated Amos, at first imagining him kicking the controls and flipping levers and switches at random until she remembered that the vessel belonged to SkyCaptain Magruder. He had given the ship to Amos as a means of keeping him in sight. It’s very difficult to hide and airship, it’s like a pin on the map of your location and Magruder wanted the Apport Sextant badly enough to make temporary sacrifices.
Unlike Amos, Magruder’s piloting of the Crow was impeccable, even as the supernatural storm engulfed them all.
The Envoy was not faring nearly so well. Ben Hammerton had been arguing with Perryn and Mike for some time about their methods of navigation. On two occasions Eudora had threatened the whole crew with her pistol, frustrated and bitter about the state of her dress and, Nym suspected, feeling frightened. The airship careened and moaned under the tenacious gale. However, the inability of the small crew to agree on anything was by far more dangerous than the rain, and with Magruder closing the space between them, it was going to be their end.
Nym watched the sky, keeping careful track of The Crow and tried not to allow herself to get lost in domestic disputes. With each flash of lightning Magruder seemed to gain significant amounts of sky and Nym knew that he would overtake them with little effort.
She was soaking wet, exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed by the events and information of the past several days. She worried for Amos. She wondered about her mother and her sister: were they even real? How could she forget her own family? Her short and curious memory had been nothing more than one of Marcel Ghostraven and a driving need to find him but who was he and how…?
Nym lowered the binoculars, a cold numbness moving through her veins. Without explanation her heart began to flutter; a strange arrhythmia that stole her breath. Her ears seemed to congest, the sounds around her – Perryn protesting, Eudora commanding, Ben trying to be rational but also get his way – drew themselves to the end of a long cylindrical tunnel. Nym was over them all, looking down from the sky, so far away. She turned her head gently to one side, observing them all blankly.
Who were they?
Nym was suffocating, but intensely aware of her breathing. She was cold, but also burning from within; a heat so overwhelming that it charred her vision causing the peripheral of her world to grow black. The blackness felt strangely comfortable, like a lullaby calling her to sleep. She felt the abnormal pace of her heart, like a panicked cry from within. She heard the metal thud as the binoculars fell from her hands to the soaking and slippery wooden deck of the airship. Lightning surrounded everything, until she could not tell real images from the black specters that reigned in the space of the flash. Nym’s eyes searched for anything familiar, until they met with Mike’s who had taken notice of her strange behavior and rushed to her side.
Lightening flashed once more and the world went dark.
Voices filtered their way through the abyss of Nym’s mind:
“Sweetheart, are you okay? Perryn! She needs help.” She felt strong hands on her shoulders and face.
“What’s happened? My goodness! Let’s get her inside.” A second voice, so far away. Hands on her knees.
“Inside? You can’t just abandon the helm!” A woman’s voice, shrill and aggressive.
“Ben can manage for a time.” The man at her knees said.
She felt arms around her and she moaned, trying to move, trying to help, but her heart continued to palpate. Her desperate gasps for air where drawing rain into her nostrils and her throat and she coughed and gagged. She could feel sweat upon her neck and midback. She knew that this was dying somehow, she just didn’t know how to do it. Some voice beat against her brain like a hammer, telling her to let go. Telling her to let it in, but her whole body contracted against the words.
“It’s just drama and it’s going to get us all killed!” The woman said.
She heard pistol shots like the backfire of an automobile. The darkness was persistent and growing in force.
“Good god, he’s caught us.” She shrieked.
“Get to the helm, I’ll carry her. You’re the only one with flight experience.” A calm man announced.
“Oh! Now I have flight experience.” A man said before the sound of more shots rang through the night. The entire world shifted to the left, an abrupt sense of vertigo overwhelmed her. The sound of gunfire startled the air once more.
Confusion. People rushing. Her body was returned to the rain drenched deck, and she rolled to her side against the pelting storm.
“He’s been shot.” She heard him say.
A woman gasped, “What… is he?”
The voices around her went silent. The darkness took over.
Nimble, the voice in her mind said sweetly, Darling! You must remember. Open your mind!
Nym. Nym. My name is Nym. She thought.
Nimble. Nimble. No bigger than a thimble! She heard the mocking voice of her sister. It’s a stupid name. Stupid you. Her sister had stuck out her tongue before continuing her song, Trixie. Trixie. I’m a little pixie! Then she danced away into the void.
Nym, the voice said, I can feel you hurting. Let me in! I can help.
Nym felt so many things, a tempest raging in her heart. She saw Amos’ sweet boyish smile and felt his kiss before he disappeared into the darkness.
She remembered a place, like a photograph image in her mind’s eye, black mountain peaks like shards of glass with two blue moons suspended in a rose colored sky. She could smell the white blossoms that cascaded from countless trees, and feel a wind that was hot and comforting on her cheeks. The edges of the photo began to burn from all sides, until the cinder of it’s memory drifted away.
She felt the warm reassurance of two pale, silver eyes set in the massive black head of her father. He had always smiled, he had always understood her… and he was gone. Something inside of her imploded, a searing pain that twisted and bit, unable to escape. She felt her eyes and nose burn. In her head, in her heart, with everything inside of her she called for him. She screamed and begged upon her knees for him to come back, not to leave; not to go and leave her alone… but he didn’t answer.
Nym! The sweet voice was plaintive. Please! Everyone we love needs us now. Please, Darling girl, I know how much you’ve been through, how much we’ve all been through. I can help. Please, let me in.
Her sister stood in front of her, grinning. She looked down into her hands and saw the broken pieces of a favorite doll. She remembered every frustrating day trapped with this little beast breaking her things, calling her names and chasing her. Never alone. Never an end to her games.
Trixie twisted her body on her heels and laughed, I’m prettier than you. Prettier and better and everyone likes me more.
Nym had read her books, she had learned to build and to think quickly. She had tried so hard. I’m the big sister, she thought. I had to be responsible. I had to show Trixie how to be. I had to but I didn’t want it. I didn’t want her and I don’t want to go back.
Nym, the sweet voice said, I can feel how confused you are. I am so, so proud of you. Marcel will be too.
Marcel, she thought. In front of her she saw a tall, thin man with dark curls and gentle blue eyes. He was smiling. His pipe was clinched between his teeth and he was telling her a story about how he had built chess pieces that wouldn’t stop talking. There was a sparkle in his eyes and they had both laughed. It was Marcel that had finally listened to her when she had confided her frustrations. He had made her feel safe with her feelings and he had created the machination for her, so that she could escape. He was her friend.
Something felt like a stab under her ribs. A betrayal. He had taken Trixie.
On the night that Kronos had attacked Meiville, when someone had to stay with TriAnna and someone had to go with Marcel, he had taken Trixie.
She covered her ears with her arms and curled into a ball.
Nym, a familiar man’s voice said calling her from her grief and confusion.
Oh, Sweet Girl. His eyes were soft and sincere. I took Trix because I couldn’t trust her like I trust you. I needed your clever mind to help TriAnna if something on the heliograph broke. I needed your determination and your courage… and your smarts. He tapped his forehead lightly with the tip of his pipe and she could smell the woody sweetness of the tobacco.
TriAnna, well, she needed your steady hand. Marcel smiled at her then, Can you imagine Trix alone with five hundred and fifty five carefully placed mirrors? Marcel pretended to powder his nose and gave a Trixie-like pose, saccharine and demure.
Nym found herself smiling.
That’s my sweet girl, Marcel chuffed her on the chin, It’s time now. Kronos is here and we all have a part to play. I know I can count on you. I’ve always known. With a proud smile and a wink he was gone.
TriAnna stood before her, with open arms and a soft and welcoming smile. Nym flew into her, knowing safety and home in her embrace. As their minds and hearts connected, Nym let herself open at last.
Once open, she remembered everything.