Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Train: Epilogue

Notes: Oh my gosh, it's the end! The end of The Train, the end of my steampunk-alternate history-mystery-magical-sort of romance! Or is it? Because really, it's more mystery than romance, and I really, really want to write more of these guys. So! Keep your eyes on the blog, because I've got some things in the works for Anton and Camille that I think you'll enjoy.

Next up: the sequel to The Academy, or: where I royally fuck everything up and we all get to go on a crazy adventure!

Title: The Train: Epilogue




The train pulled into Zürich bright and early the next morning, expertly conducted by young Bert, whose grief and anger appeared to be held at bay by dint of sheer will at this point. Monsieur Cassan was bound and gagged, and the cohort of consuls and lesser nobility were duly cowed by Camille’s stern words. No one was allowed off the train while Camille fetched the local constabulary, and to Anton’s great surprise, everyone obeyed.

Anton himself kept away from the crowd. He had, as promised by Camille, arrived in Zürich on time. Once he was off the train, he would make his way to Master Grable’s office at the Universität Zürich, present his credentials, and take his first steps on the path that would lead to the future he had always wanted. Academia had been his goal from a young age: following in his father’s footsteps, splitting his time between research and teaching. He would become one of the greatest thaumaturgical engineers of his age.

Surprisingly, the prospect of a future secreted away in a laboratory had lost some of its luster over the past few days. Working alongside Camille, even though Anton had been coerced into doing so, had been…illuminating. Which makes sense, given Camille’s occupation, Anton thought wryly as he set the lock on his holdall. He was coming out of this experience with a new appreciation for field work, at the very least. And it had been, well, exciting at times―incredibly so, despite the danger. Or perhaps because of it. Anton had helped foil an attack against the crown. He had contributed to the discovery of a dangerous plot against the Empire. It gave him a sense of great satisfaction, to be so useful.

Then again, he couldn’t imagine enjoying any of the madness of the past few days without Camille. The lumière was no ordinary man, so it only made sense that working with him should be extraordinary. If it were possible to continue doing so…if Anton could somehow stay with him, continue to assist him in his work, and perhaps—perhaps—

No, it was foolish. He took a deep breath and hoisted his holdall off the bunk, then turned toward the door. He stepped forward just as it opened, and narrowly missed being knocked in the nose by the wooden edge.

“Ah,” Camille said as he stepped inside. “You are still here. I was hoping you would be.”

“I…yes. Really?” Anton asked, feeling both hopeful and foolish. “Why is that?”

“There are a few matters yet to be settled between us,” Camille said. Anton’s heart sank. That sounded serious.

“You did say that you wouldn’t press charges against me if I helped you,” he reminded Camille nervously. “And I did, quite spectacularly, I think.”

Camille shook his head. “I have no qualms over your services rendered, Anton. Rather, I want to ensure that you’re properly compensated for them.”

Anton frowned. “I thought not being thrown in jail was my compensation.”

“That,” Camille said, a slight smile gracing his lips, “was just the start. You were instrumental in unraveling this plot, and you deserve recognition for that. The first step in that is this.” He passed over a purse. Anton took it dumbly, feeling the heavy slide of metal coins within. “Payment for your efforts.”

Anton peeked inside, then gaped. “This is…” It was more gold than he’d ever seen in once place before. “This is too much!”

“You nearly died several times over. What price would you put on your own life?” Camille asked. “Besides, you have equipment to replace, do you not?”

“I do not require charity.”

Camille arched one eyebrow. “I would never presume to give you any. This is, believe it or not, a very reasonable sum given the work you’ve done. Lumières cannot afford to be parsimonious in their pursuit of the truth.”

Anton wasn’t entirely sure he believed Camille, but on the other hand, he could hardly give back the money now without giving offense. Besides, it would come in extremely handy. “Thank you,” he said.

“Don’t be so quick to thank me, I’m not finished. There is the matter of these weapons.” He patted his coat, where Anton could see the outline of the gun.

“You should keep those,” Anton said fervently. “I have absolutely no need for them, I wouldn’t know what to do with them, I’d probably just bury them somewhere and say good riddance, and I know that would be—”

Camille’s hand on Anton’s shoulder stopped his babbling. “I have no intention of asking you to take them,” he assured Anton. “But there is still the matter of the spell that created them. Contained in this, I believe.” He withdrew the palimpsest from a pocket. “You were on your way to unraveling the code, were you not?”

Anton’s fingers literally itched to touch the palimpsest. It was a magical puzzle, clever and exciting, and just the sort of thing he loved despite the fact that unraveling its mysteries would lead to a horrifying spell. Brilliant, but horrifying. “Yes,” he allowed after a moment.

“Then I feel that you should continue your work.” Camille passed the leather booklet to Anton; or rather, he tried to. Anton, despite his eagerness, balked at actually grasping it.

“But that’s important. It might be the only one of its kind,” he said. “You cannot leave it in the hands of a mere student. You must know dozens of thaumaturges who are better suited to revealing its contents.”

“But none I trust so well.” Anton stared at Camille, dumbfounded. “I am perfectly serious. This palimpsest contains a spell so powerful that I would rather not give it to anyone, honestly. I would prefer to burn it to ash, but it is possible that in understanding the spell, we can understand how to combat it. Perhaps there are other copies out there.” Camille shrugged. “Perhaps not. There is no way of knowing, and until we do, I would prefer not to discard our only source of information about it. I would have you translate it, deconstruct it, and discover how to work against it. Are you up to the task?”

“I—of course.” This time when Camille extended the slim volume, Anton took it. “But…you keep saying ‘we.’ I am not a lumière, though.”

“That is true,” Camille said. “But you are a clever, resourceful man whom I admire greatly, and with whom I would enjoy working again, should fate bring me back to Zürich. Are you amenable to me keeping in touch?”

“Absolutely! Yes!” Anton took a deep breath. “I mean, yes, of course. I will work out a translation for the book, I can…I guarantee I won’t fail you.”

Camille smiled. “I know you won’t.” He glanced at his pocket watch. “The authorities are due to arrive at any moment, and I must be on hand to meet them. There is only one thing remaining, then.” He stepped in a bit closer to Anton, raised his long-fingered hands to cup his face. “Do tell me if I’ve read this completely wrong,” he said quietly.

Anton didn’t wait for Camille to close the distance. He threw his arms around Camille and kissed him desperately, ecstatically, with all the pent-up longing and emotion that he’d been forced to sublimate since he stepped foot onto the train. Camille drew him deeper into the kiss, his mouth warm and soft beneath the bristles of his moustache, and Anton moaned.

Camille backed away far too soon, however. “Duty calls,” he muttered. “Damn it.”

No, don’t go. Not yet. “You cannot spare yourself another five minutes?”

“Not when there are bodies on ice,” Camille said regretfully. “But rest assured, my dear.” He reached up and straightened his hat. “You’ll see me again.”

“Soon,” Anton insisted. He felt positively aflame. It was the hardest thing in the world not to reach out and reel Camille in by the lapels, but he managed to hold back. “Say it will be soon.”

“Sooner than you think.” Camille leaned in and brushed their lips together one last time, then briefly shook Anton’s hand in a more formal farewell. “Good luck, Mr. Seiber.” He turned and left their sleeping cabin. Anton watched him go, then exhaled explosively.

Well, he was a trifle—incredibly—frustrated, but it could have been worse. The train, for all its horribleness, had gotten him to Zürich intact, on time, and with a connection he could scarce have imagined making back in England. He was here. His future was ready to begin.

And God and the emperor willing, Lord Camille Lumière would be a part of it.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Two Fantastic Things

Hi there darlins!

It's time for news, news, news. My feet have recovered, my fingers are flying and I've got all sorts of stuff going on. The big things lately are this:

Firstly, my upcoming Riptide release Friendly Fire is available for preorder. It comes out in October, but preorder and you get it a whole weekend early! Elliot the conman-made-good, Lennox the frustrated cinnamon roll, plus a teenage girl, a tiny dog, intrigue, drama and, of course, firefights. Because yeah, I might have written something contemporary but I'll be damned if there isn't something/someone getting shot or blown up in it.

The other thing...do you guys remember Soothsayer? Cillian Kelly making bad choices and a landvaettir inhabiting the body of his lover as they swung along for the ride? Pretty banner?

I reworked the lame parts, edited the whole thing and sold it to Nine Star Press! Urban fantasy fun ftw! I'm very excited to be working with them again. Now, the bad part...I had to take most of the story down off the blog. The posts are still there, but only the first few paragraphs of story remain, if that. I've gotta be fair, after all. I hope if you've read it before you'll want to pick up the new and improved version, and if not...hey, at least you got it for free in the first place, right?

That's it for now! I'm working on a few other interesting things, including some fun collaborations I look forward to telling you more about, but the next thing to look forward to is the culmination of The Train, coming on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Back From The Trail...A Bit Early

A stock photo of Snow Mesa, aka the place we didn't quite make it to...

Hi darlins!

I'm back from the trail, yaaaay. This was a decidedly mixed trip as far as enjoyment went. I love backpacking, love being on the Colorado Trail, and love spending time with me dad, so all good things. Unfortunately, we ran into technical issues on day two (someone's boot soles delaminated, so help me God-- but REI replaced the shoes at no cost, as they do) that couldn't be completely patched up with duct tape, and so had to pull out the following day. 

This left us a little short of San Juan Mountain and Snow Mesa, which are both completely gorgeous. I did get to do some lovely walking along Cochetopa Creek, however, practiced my blister-bandaging skills, and was treated to the delight of clouds of both mosquitoes and biting flies simultaneously. This is what happens when you hike where people put their cows out to pasture. *sigh*

Hopefully next year will be different. Actually, next year won't happen, but the year after that, then.

And now I'm back and will be writing and editing and posting the last part of The Train next week, because after that?

We're going back to Cody and Ten! *self-fives*

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I'm Off!

It's that time again! Time to go commune with nature for a week. My father, two family friends and I will make up the contingent this time. We're 5 days on the Colorado Trail starting tomorrow, so I'll be out of touch until late next Tuesday. So yes, that means no Train post. I'm sorry, darlins! I'll make it up to you.

So wish me luck, ie no fires, no bears, no falls, no blisters and no food poisoning!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Train: Chapter Eight, Part Two

Notes: Final revelations, woot! One more post after this and then we're done with The Train, btw. It won't be coming next week, unfortunately--I'm going to be backpacking from Thursday to Tuesday--but I'll get it to you before the end of the month.

Title: The Train: Chapter Eight, Part Two


Chapter Eight, Part Two


“Arrest Monsieur Cassan…but―” Anton was dumbfounded. “Why? He’s been nothing but helpful to you.”

“He has been helpful, in his own very particular way,” Camille agreed, but maintaining his serious mien. “He was most helpful in arranging things so that this train would serve as a conduit to bringing Consul Hasler and his palimpsest into contact with someone who was obviously prepared to use it, our former porter Monsieur Lafayette. He was quite helpful at ensuring that there were myriad dead ends and red herrings concerning the viscount’s death, very skillful at taking a bit of blame upon himself to muddy the waters. He knew that Viscount Bonaparte was going to be murdered on this train. Whether he is a member of the Dévoué or not remains to be seen, but my bet is that he is, and as more than a foot soldier.”

“Surely most of this is just conjecture,” Anton protested. “It could all be explained by pure coincidence.”

“There is rarely such a thing as pure, unadulterated coincidence that results in murder.” Camille shook his head. “Of course, I knew that coming in to this, but I can understand why you are reluctant to believe me at this point.”

Anton felt his jaw drop. “What do you mean, you knew that coming in to this? You knew there was going to be a murder?”

“Indeed. More to the point, I knew it was going to be the Viscount.”

“But―but he was a Bonaparte! A member of the Emperor’s own family! Why didn’t you act to stop the killing before it happened?”

To Anton’s surprise, Camille smiled. The expression was surprisingly soft. “You are a gentle soul, aren’t you? What other man in possession of a knife that always kills its target wouldn’t even think to draw it while fighting for his life? My dear Anton, the Emperor has more family members snapping at his heels and fighting each other for scraps of the Empire than he cares to deal with. This particular specimen was one of the worst. The Duchess of Lucerne is a dear friend of the Emperor’s eldest daughter. He would never marry her off to such a sluggard.”

Anton blamed the fact that he was possibly still in a state of shock on the slowness of his comprehension. That, and the fact that it seemed like the details of this case had been ripped from the nearest newspaper adventure serial, too far-flung to possibly be true. Yet this was happening, and it was happening in his life. “The Emperor sent him to die.”

“He sacrificed a pawn who reached too high to discover information about a far more sinister threat to his peace of mind,” Camille corrected. “The Dévoué are a fanatical sect hell-bent on breaking apart the Empire, and they will use any means in their power to accomplish it. Even―” he indicated the gun at his waist, “―engage in the worst sort of destructive thaumaturgy. Weapons that never miss? Imagine that spell set into countless cannon. How many people would die on the battlefield that might otherwise live?”

“It is horrible,” Anton agreed. “But I think it is equally horrible for someone, even one in the Emperor’s position, to deliberately send a man to his death simply to test out his conspiracy theory.”

“It is no theory. The Dévoué are fact, and they are growing in number every day. The Empire is headed for a confrontation of truly monumental proportions, Anton.” Camille sighed. “The days of peace and relative prosperity are numbered. It is only a matter of time before cantons begin to attempt to splinter away. War is coming to the continent, and the Emperor wishes to minimize the damage as best he can. The sacrifice of one despicable man in pursuit of that is scarcely a sacrifice at all.”

“But it wasn’t just one despicable man,” Anton said. “It was Consul Olivier, too. It was the engineer, whose poor son will grow up without a father. It was even a young woman who was clearly abused by the Viscount, and took what must have seemed like the only way out for herself and her husband. And Monsieur Lafayette, but he was rather more deserving than the others.”

Camille shook his head. “You speak with commendable compassion, Anton, but little sense of scale. The pursuit of justice is never a straight, clear path. Occasional sacrifices are made for the greater good. It is simply unavoidable. Now.” He straightened his hat. “We have a train master to apprehend.”

“Why not just shoot him?” Anton asked a little bitterly as he followed Camille down the slender hall to the engineer’s booth.

“Because he’s the architect of a larger scenario that I originally gave him credit for. I want to know who his underlings are, and more importantly, who his masters are. You needn’t come with me if you don’t want to.”

“Oh no,” Anton declared. “I want to see this madness through.”

“So harsh,” Camille murmured, still maintaining a trace of humor despite the grim turn their conversation had taken.

That humor evaporated the moment they reached the engineer’s booth, and found Monsieur Cassan there, holding a gun to the head of young Bert, who looked terrified, tears running down his thin face. “Gentlemen,” Cassan said conversationally. “Do not take another step.”

Camille stopped, and Anton of a necessity came to a stop behind him. “How did you know we approached?”

“You think I don’t know my own train? I heard the squeak of your steps before you closed the door to the lounge room. I knew it was only a matter of time before you put things together, Lord Lumière.” He inclined his head. “You do your profession justice.”

“Appropriate, given that justice is my profession.”

“Ah, no.” Cassan shook his head. “You follow a shadow master so removed from the ills of his supposed ‘people’ that he cannot even name their trials and tribulations, much less commiserate with them. We are too many to be contained under the aegis of one distant, careless man who pretends to be a god. We must go our own way, seize our own destinies. Separation is inevitable, both for the Empire and for us, right now.” He looked toward the slender door on the side of the booth. “If you let yourselves out, I can promise you that this train and its people will safely reach Zürich, and I shall take no further action against either of you. The boy shall also be set free once I’m safely away.”

Anton leaned back against the wall, one hand carefully reaching for the piece of chalk he kept in his pocket. It was quite challenging to mark a sigil into the wall without looking at what he was doing, but he and Caroline had forced themselves to practice it until they had perfected the art, after one particularly innovative professor had demanded that every student compose a spell in total darkness.

“Has Zürich always been your final destination?” Camille asked calmly, stepping slightly forward and holding Cassan’s attention. “Who are you meeting there? More of the Dévoué?”

“It is nothing to you now.” Cassan’s lips thinned as he smiled. “I suggest you and Consul ‘Hasler’ over there proceed directly, before my trigger finger slips. I may not wield a weapon that always kills, but I could hardly miss the boy’s head at point-blank range.”

Anton bit his lip. How to adapt this sigil on the fly…it was one of the simplest out there, special in that it could be made to work on nothing but will, extra paraphernalia not needed. But to force the energy forward, to make it strong enough to be sure he’d save the boy―it took the sort of analytical thinking that Caroline had always been better with on the fly. He made the outer ring thicker, just in case.

“This is your last chance,” Cassan said, pressing the muzzle of the gun righter to Bert’s head. “Leave now, or his blood is on your hands.”

Anton dropped the chalk and slapped his hand against the sigil. As he shouted the one-word incantation for stop, Camille surged forward.

The spell wasn’t strong enough to actually make Cassan stop what he was doing, but it slowed his reaction time enough that Camille, unfettered by the magic, reached him before he pulled the trigger and knocked his gun out of the way before he jerked him back from Bert. In a moment, Camille had Cassan bent helplessly over the engineer’s control panel, and Anton was on the floor, seeing stars after the sudden expulsion of energy. The only sounds as the spell began to fade were Cassan’s violent shouts and his own panting, before Bert finally yelled at Cassan, “You fucking blaireau!

Hmm. It looked like the Device didn’t have a completely thorough dictionary of swear words.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Train: Chapter Eight, Part One

Notes: So, hey! Probably one more chapter and an epilogue and we're done with this one! I know, I know, but Cari--where's the fricking romance? Didn't I promise a romance? GIRL! GET WITH IT!

Some things can't be rushed. This particular story ended up being more of an extended introduction to both characters, who I hope to turn into a couple as their saga continues. I've got plans for more novellas about them, and this one will end in a very hopeful place, but...sorry, no nookie. (Not yet, at least ;))

Title: The Train: Chapter Eight, Part One

Chapter Eight, Part One


The train had come to a stop. Irate, fearful voices resonated across the chilled mountain canyon as the passengers worked themselves into a near-frenzy. Numerous people accosted Anton, demanding that he tell them what he know, what was going on, who was responsible, what was happening? He lacked the strength to take to his feet and defend himself, and so he shrouded his consciousness in silence instead, an active meditation that all apprentice thaumaturges had to learn before they could be trusted to work spells. Focus was key. He needed to focus on the task at hand, which was…

Death. So much death. First the real Consul Hasler, then Viscount Bonaparte. The innocent engineer, the garrulous Consul Olivier. The porter. Madame Orlande. So much death…had it really been only two days since this infernal journey began? It seemed a lifetime. Unfortunately, lifetimes were uncomfortably abbreviated of late.

Someone was standing in front of him, yelling. The noise filtered through Anton’s ears like they were filled with woolen fluff, vague and burbling. He barely even felt the hand that cracked across his face, turning his head sharply.

The voice that sounded next cut through the haze of Anton’s meditation like a knife. “Lay another hand on my thaumaturge, Monsieur, and I will charge you with interfering in the Emperor’s justice and drag you from the back of this train all the way to Zürich. Am I clear?”

“He…” The man faltered for a moment. “He was just sitting there like a lump, ignoring me! I was the Viscount’s closest friend, you know, and I am entitled to know the truth. I will—”

“You will do nothing.” Camille’’s voice commanded obedience. “You will stand there like the small, unimportant wastrel that you are and listen to me spoonfeed you all the truth you can stomach. You will listen without speaking, without moving, and I will tell you what I wish and release you on my own time. Do you understand me?”

“I…yes, Lord Lumière. Of course.”

“Better, if barely.” Camille knelt down in front of Anton and placed a cool hand on his sore cheek. “Are you well?” he murmured.

“No,” Anton replied. “But I will manage.”

“It is for just a bit longer, I promise you.”

The concern in his voice was atypical, and worrying. Keep your wits about you, idiot, Anton told himself. He dredged up a smile from somewhere. “I shall be fine. And I’m interested in learning all that you discovered as well.”

“Hmm.” Camille straightened and removed his hand, but to Anton’s relief he didn’t leave again, merely turned to face the crowd. “You have ten seconds to silence yourselves,” he announced to the room at large. It was quiet in five.

“Many of you are wondering about the murder of Viscount Bonaparte, and the other deaths that have occurred on this train.” Camille spoke sonorously, standing tall and imposing, impossible to look away from. “Here is what I may tell you at this time. The Viscount was killed by a porter, Monsieur Jacques Lafayette, who was a member of the group you may know as the Dévoué. He was aided in his task by Monsieur and Madame Orlande, the Viscount’s personal servants. Over the course of discovering this information, my assistant and I―” his hand touched Anton’s shoulder, who tried not to lean too heavily into it “―were attacked several times by Monsieur Lafayette. He killed the engineer of this train, as well as Consul Laurence Olivier, in his efforts to get to us.” Anton shivered at the memory of Olivier’s wound, and Camille’s hand tightened.

“I am pleased to inform you that Monsieur Lafayette is now deceased, and all others involved in the crimes have been either apprehended or become victims of their own poor decisions. We shall be continuing on to Zürich without delay, where local law enforcement will take over the prisoners and messages of our predicament shall be sent back to Paris. Your fates lie in the hands of the Emperor now. Return to your sleeping cars and await further instruction. It’s quite likely you’ll be there for the remainder of the journey, so I suggest you stop in the dining car on the way.”

“Preposterous,” one woman exclaimed. “You can’t expect us to hide like rats in our holes while there are murderers gadding about! Monsieur Orlande is still alive, is he not? Let me interrogate him. I will discover if there are any more of the Dévoué aboard this train.” She brandished a parasol menacingly. Anton was oddly reminded of Caroline for a moment, and nearly laughed.

“Madame, I can assure you, no efforts will be spared.” Camille’s voice was colder than the blowing snow outside. “Now I must insist: return to your sleeping cars, or I will put you there myself.”

“I am not afraid of you,” she insisted, but everyone else was already heading toward the back of the train. The woman hmmphed, but eventually followed them.

Anton wondered how long he had spent in a trance. “Where is Monsieur Orlande?” he asked once they were alone.

“Locked in the broom closet. I’m not worried about him becoming a threat, Anton. He is a broken man after the death of his wife. I’m not even entirely sure he knew she was Dévoué.”

“I keep meaning to ask, what are the—wait!” Anton shot to his feet, then almost fell over as an intense rush of dizziness swept over him. “The palimpsest! It’s missing from my holdall, it—look, I didn’t tell you,” and oh, did he ever regret that now, “but Consul Hasler had a book with him, a palimpsest. It’s some sort of spell book, and the porter wanted it. He searched my room for it but couldn’t find it. I said I had it with me but I didn’t, and I don’t know how someone could have broken through my—” His voice petered out as Camille reached into a breast pocket and emerged with the slim volume.

“How—how did you—”

“It was only logical,” Camille said calmly. “Consul Hasler was the architect of the magic infusing both the gun and the knife; of course he would have the spell’s blueprints with him.”

“But how did you get to it?” Anton asked. “You said you can’t do magic! How did you manage to avoid my failsafes?”



“Magic has no effect on me.”

Anton laughed. He couldn’t help it―stress after stress had piled upon him so deeply that he was to the point of hysteria, and it was more of an effort than it should have been to rein in his unsavory mirth. “That—that’s not possible,” he said once he’d caught his breath. “Everyone is affected by magic. It’s the basis for all religious ceremonies, it touches us with every blessing, it is both faith and fact. If you have a soul, magic has an effect on you.”

“That is true.”

Anton stared at Camille in silence for a long moment, taking in the unhappy curve of his mouth almost hidden beneath his moustache, and the fresh lines of tension radiating from the sides of his eyes. “You…how?” he breathed incredulously. “I’ve only ever heard of such things as the result of a curse on the mother, or, or the result of making a deal with the devil, or...”

“The condition can stem from such dramatic origins, or, as in my case, it simply occurs with no explanation.” Camille seemed to relax a bit, perhaps because Anton had yet to decry him to all and sundry as an abomination. “The discrepancy was noticed at my baptism, of course. The cause was investigated most thoroughly, but nothing could be pinned down. My mother was, and is, a very good woman. My father had the power to prevent the Church from excommunicating me as an infant, but I could never be introduced into high society, not if there was any chance of keeping my condition quiet. I was educated privately, and eventually was recruited into the ranks of the emperor’s lumières. It was thought that an investigator who was immune to the effects of magic would be quite useful under the right circumstances, and they were correct.”

He shrugged minutely. “It does make certain things harder, but I’ve been rather fortunate lately in the company I keep.” His voice was warm, but his expression was still forbidding. “If you wish to have done with me, that’s understandable, but I ask that you contain yourself until I can leave you safe in Zürich.”

“You’re still taking me to Zürich?”

“I have no reason to keep you from disembarking there. Anton—”

“You can see magic, though. You saw the smoke recreate the Viscount’s death scene.”

Camille looked a bit confused. “Yes? Although that was highly indirect. You could say that I saw the results of the spell, but not the spell itself.”

“And you were unaffected by my failsafes, but your presence hasn’t prevented or interfered with my own thaumaturgy,” Anton persisted. “Why hasn’t this been studied further? What if you contain a partial soul, or a different aspect of the holy spirit? This is fascinating!”

Camille’s shoulders relaxed. “I’m relieved to hear it.”

“You must tell me more.”

“I would be pleased to, but for now, we must go to the engineer’s cabin.”


“Because,” and now his voice had gone stern again. “I have to arrest Monsieur Cassan.”