WARNING! The following page contains spoilers for the lore of Worlds Adrift
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Oppeetobee had been home to some of the greatest debates, and the chalk circles drew a mighty crowd.
I was determined to find in that crowd, the most disreputable and scruffy man I could, and if not to kiss him, then pretend to do so, and let my father catch wind of the gossip. But I was so captivated by the roar of the crowd and the bickering of the warlocks, I entirely forgot my quest.
When the debate was over, I went for a walk. The city was old, with some of the rickety charm the Karemese loved. They were a sly people, who looked at one another conspiratorially when I walked by, Before long, our little group had wandered out of town and into the hills. I skipped ahead excitedly.
"Please wait dear lady Rosetta," Savoie cried, but I ran faster and faster until their voices were far behind. Orange and yellow trees seem to grow up around me. I discovered I was frightfully lost.
It was then that I heard a gazumphing. Wondering what it was, I followed the sound. It brought me to a large clearing, at the centre of which stood a tall young man with the dark complexion and blond hair so particular to the Karem. His hair was silky-smooth, and tied back in a bundle behind his head. His mouth was sharp and broad. He was handsome, though I remember I thought him too thin.
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Now, the next day we were resolved to leave, the holiday having come to a sour end. Savoie bustled about, gathering things up, and gushing about the Nabob Vulio's personal qualities, which so irritated me that I locked her in the cleaning cupboard and instructed no-one to let her out until I was gone from the estate.
As a matter of pride, I had decided I must distance myself from my father in the eyes of the young Mr Feather. I'd had nothing to do with Dawnfire, or any of my father's industries, and in fairness to father, he'd never suggested I should.
"Business is for menfolk," he once said.
"What of the Empress?"
"Pah," he'd chuckled, "a figurehead, nothing more."
I sought advice from my pilot, De Noc\u00e9, on the whereabouts of Mr Feather's factory.
"Can only be Eagle-eye," he slurred, "at the water's edge."
So I ventured out into a heavy rainstorm, and lightning streaked the sky. I rushed through an avenue of folk so unsavoury I was almost persuaded to turn back, when I spotted the sign "Eagle-eye". The building form which it limply dangled was nothing like my father's premises, but instead half-collapsed, with scorched brickery and no roof.
There was a dreadful burnt smell, mingled with effluent. I held my nose and creaked open the large square sheet of metal that seemed to constitute a door.
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Horris asked me to marry him and I said yes!
We would be wed as soon as he had finished consignment for the war effort he said.
Of course, I knew the consignment would never be finished. With the earth shifting every day, the walls had come down again, and I had no money left to put them back up. Rain from the incessant storms was ruining production, and even the most loyal of Horris' workers was thinking of giving up.
But Horris wouldn't listen, he ploughed on day an night, and I worried for his health. Then one evening he cracked.
"The bolts have sheared, they must have gotten wet," said Steed.
"No, no, no, no!" said Horris, throwing the broken gasket to the floor.
"Let it go, Horris," I said, "you have to let it go."
"She's right Mr. Feather," said Steed, "but we've one last project."
It took every ounce of his knowledge and skill, the retooling of many components, but when Mr. Feather stepped back to take in his new creation, I could see he was satisfied.
"She'll be a good ship. I dub her Rosetta."
"A very good ship. The best you've ever made. But quickly, the storm worsens," said Steed.,
As the skyship took up into the purple thunder, I looked back at Oppeetobee. It slanted, like sand in an hourglass. It had all happened so quickly. How things of beauty die or are broken, and we are left wondering what it's all for.
I sill had my Horris, and how I longed, even if it was our last act. to become Mrs. Rosetta Feather.
But first we stopped at Ten-Rui, at the house.
"Father, you must come with us. Savoie and the maids will all be there. De Noc\u00e9 will pilot her. Rossetta is built especially for these terrors, the best ship ever built."
"Ha! More hyperbole from that squitty pimpled rat. Best ship ever? I've been doing this for fifty years, my ships are untouchable."
"Father, your business is extinct, business is extinct."
"Have you not notice the storms, the quakes, the panic?!"
"I'm not coming on a snivelling brat's lifeboat, and that's final."
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- I'm guessing that supposed to be an "é"