They say he was there when the gods made the world-and he would have offered to help, except that they looked like they had it in hand. So he sat in the absence of reeds and played on the absence of a flute, and where he dawdled those things came to be. […]
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Khallan righted his bicorne hat and trudged up the muddy slope overlooking Taliomar. Half a day he’d waited, so fewer people would spot him at this late hour. Evening fog snaked through the city as lantern-keepers on stilts lit street lamps with torches. Noble carriages scurried to their requisite abodes as red-coated Bravos patrolled the curbs. If he was successful, he’d ride in a carriage of his own soon. […]
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Jack put resin to bow, an absence in his eyes.
The violin’s neck was warm beneath his callused fingers. He had placed it upon the radiator to push back the midwinter frost, the musician within him fighting to preserve his instrument even as all else lay in ruins. Jack maintained it as he did his own body, by force of habit rather than any true effort of will, and in the past few days even the regular grind of sustenance and sleep had fallen away in the pursuit of his goal. […]
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