Taramiel finds his way home, and Maisero sits outside.
It had been two days of hard journeying; only enough food and water to keep him alive, virtually no sleep. The path for Taramiel to follow became more and more obvious over time; trees crushed and splintered to widen the way, more and heavier footsteps following in. A ruined village at the side, much of the cabins burnt, bodies charred underneath the rubble. Soon enough he could even hear the commotion ahead of him, the mud and dirt under the feet of the Sacredate’s army like a thousand leather-faced drums. He began to run, imagining to himself the kind of rampage he could make—running alongside the army until he was just in arm’s reach of Gloss, tear him down from his ride and end this damned journey once and for all, his torture along with it.
But then he saw the army itself down the path, and he remembered, briefly, the Sacredate standing on a wood block speaking to a crowd, his old village, warning them of the coming change, and inviting them to make something of it. His heart filled with a cloudy substance, and his run slowed to a walk, trailing just behind the others.
“Is that Taramiel? Taramiel!” One of the soldiers shouted, turning to him and pointing at him. Taramiel increased his pace a bit and re-entered the crowd to a chaotic party, cheering and jumping to catch a glimpse of him. Gloss decided to turn around too, and gave Taramiel a small smirk before looking forward once again.
There was a quietness where Sartore was sitting. He was in the middle of the library, watching as the people around him drifted back and forth, like ghosts forever haunting the same halls. There were books lying open on different desks and tables, Some people hunched over them with dark expressions over their faces, and a sense of disarray—as though someone had shaken the room up and tried to put the pieces back together. Whoever had done it had done a pretty poor job of it.
There was another shout from the back room. Sartore was pretty sure it was Maisero. He looked back, and thought he could see the door bend from the force of his shout. Sartore turned back around. What else was there to see? The small balcony that he sat on, overseeing the dust that draped over the tops of the bookshelves, the dead insects that lay there, cocooned in something he couldn’t quite make out. He shook his head, rubbed his eyes. The sun was still up, spearing his eyes when he turned to it. He could recall Maisero from, what, a few days ago? Meek, he thought; perhaps a little strange, but meek. Who was there screaming in the room now.
Sartore turned around, saw Anastasia standing in the doorway, more disheveled than before. Maisero’s face was bright red. The others sat, sweating, their faces seeming clammy, and looking back at him. Maisero, for Sartore’s benefit, wasn’t looking in that direction.
“You can come back in now,” she said, her voice sore. Sartore stood, up, his legs shaking a bit, and walked back into the room.