Image: Scene break ornament. End Description.

Image: Three train cars lay across the tracks as the sun rises. They’ve skidded into the surrounding grass and dirt, and one of the cars has knocked a tree over. End description.

Dawn peaked over the trees and fields, beginning to warm the August morning. Sheets of smoke obscured the rising sun and the otherwise quaint wilderness was interrupted by the scent of calamity. The locomotive, thoroughly derailed, sprawled over the tracks like an accordion.

“I can’t believe our guy was on the fucking train!” Julia said, “A fledgling, too! I was talking to the police until I nearly fell asleep, and now everyone from the Society is calling me. I was on the phone with Isra for three hours.”

“Aren’t you and Isra friends?” inquired Cat Lange. His linsang whiskers pulled back over his face as he yawned.

Image: Julia and Cat are sitting against a tree. Cat has a linsang aspect, blue eyes, and light skin. He is wearing a gray-blue tank top. He looks down at Julia as she complains. Behind them is a green field. End description.

“And it was nice to talk to her again, but… This was a business call. God, it’s such a mess. Cat, whoever that person was, they used a Consumption ritual. They were a witch, and that means…”

“The Society is more interested in what we’re doing now?”

“Yeah. Well, I’m already the link between the Society and Quill, but we might be working together more closely in the future. Might actually get that funding, too.” She absentmindedly patted Yuli’s head.