Thomas Maple, leaving the Tower Of L’Undone with Corvus Corvax. Bella Crow leaving with Corvus Corvidae. Christoper Wren leaving with Troglydytus Troglydytus.
A Needle sticking up from the center of the tapestry. This was symbolic of the fall. A dark tower, a tower where the machinery ran on blood; vampire architecture.
Thomas wore a poppy in his lapel – Remembrance Day was not far away. The poppy was a dream gateway flower as well; another Vector Flower blooming in the city. It was a poppy programmed to deflect White Site technology.
Bella Crow wore a brooch with a ruby shaped like an egg in a silver nest. It was a well-crafted metaphor.
Christopher Wren was wearing an Insomniaxe Coffee T-shirt.
There was a story of how the first Vector Flower was the transformed head and spine of a fallen Immaculate Author. There was garden where cuttings from that first flower were grown – The Shard Garden they called it, and it was looked after by The Sheath. Wordswords were also grown there, and Shake Spears. Petalled Mirror Tech.
A man was walking behind them, and behind him another. For a second their footsteps were hidden by the footfalls of the three in front of them. And then the man in front decided to let those steps fall out of synch.
Thomas Maple spun on his heel.
‘And you’re a Gank?’ said Bella Crow.
‘He is,’ said Spay.
‘And what are you doing here? And why are you following us?’
‘Well, you are working with Carter Brecht, aren’t you? All working to put Coran Andress and David Arnover where they need to be?’
‘How do you know this?’
‘Oh, me? I’m everywhere – ask your friend Quint Essential. I may even be the reason this whole thing started.’
‘And to answer the first questions I asked – why are you here? And why are you following us?’
‘To be there, when it happens.’
‘When what happens?’
‘The reboot. And we know you have Excalibur with you, and she has the Stone Of Tara, and Chris here is carrying a Hand Of Glory. We know that you are an Echo Pattern, and when you do what you have to do – whether we are there or not – we are going to step through into the room with your friends, and we are going to do what needs to be done.’
‘That sounds like something that none of us are going to agree to, or assist you in.’
‘You do realise,’ said Bella Crow ‘That we have satellite covens of Edge Witches rolling around in our orbit?’
‘Oh, friendly with Mary Elizabeth, are we?’
‘You know her?’
‘Sure. I’m connected.’
Bella smiled. Connected? Weren’t they all? Some days she wondered, if she had a chance to, whether she might go back and destroy The Slice. Where did that start though? Might it be with the very man dragged along in the wake of this Original? Gank and his Weapon Eyes? Then the Cryptochrome Eyes that she had seen, and which had inspired her to come up with The Slice? Cryptochrome Eyes which she believed were the root of the transformative tech behind the things that had started as her Crows, and had become the thing known as The Nest. Weren’t those eyes that allowed people to see into the quantum field the very thing that had elevated Spay to where he now was?
Yes, she knew he was Spay, though he thought himself so clever. And Spay, as The Original, he had set The War Ravens in motion. Did The War Ravens become The Nest also? Super-positional beings with Super-positional roots and super-positional awareness might commingle and become the same thing over time, or outside of time; in a story that did not know where it began and where it ended.
Had Bella Crow created the conditions which made it possible for the spread of the influence of the man that created the War Ravens, who became The Nest? Was Bella Crow the most dangerous person in the multiverse? She wondered – wouldn’t all this have come to pass anyway? Wasn’t this the inevitable pattern that the wave was going to collapse into? Had she created the world which made the interconnected truths of David Arnover possible? Had David Arnover then created Coran Andress as a pseudonym for him to operate within his own fiction? Had he then created the stories about Metaphor Tech that seeded the idea that made Metaphor Tech possible, and which led to her inventions, to Gank’s inventions, to the beings that had travelled back in time to shape the world that he, blind to the intricasies of time and reality, then was influence to write about? She was in the gut of Ouroboros.
Thomas had come to her and told her about all the things that were in play, all the actors that were known about in theatre, and he told her that she might play a part in it. She had forgotten that she already had. How far away from the centre of the story had she moved that she remembered none of it? At what point had she changed relation to the story? Being written inside it, rather than writing it?
‘You know all about it, don’t you?’ said Gank.
‘He’s not playing you, is he?’
‘But you’re going to go along with his plan anyway aren’t you?’
‘Collapse a wave Double slot the experiment. See how it all plays out, and if it seems to be exactly the same narrative, then isn’t that just how it is meant to be?’
‘I don’t know – I’ve been following for so long. Caught in the tide of others for so long. I haven’t been in control of my own story for a very long time.’
‘There’s a cab, you guys. Let’s take a ride’
They all followed Christoper Wren into the Black Cab.
‘I have The Knowledge. I learned it from Martello. I am taking you where you need to go.’
The birds flew above that black vehicle with five people smooshed into the back seat.