Chapter 11: The Lussa Part3
Author’s Note: This chapter is dedicated to Luisa; I wish you vision and persistence, as armed with these, luck is becomes statistic and the world becomes a better place.
An hour passed.
Chloe got something for Alexander, then left her alone in her office.
Chloe Rhye walked the last few steps of the belltower’s flights. The spire was one of the tallest buildings in the city, third to the castle’s fourth tower, and the Royal Time Keeper’s building. The belltower was four storeys tall, and it looked down on the university and its inhabitants quietly, most of the time.
Chloe sat on the stone guardrail and thought about her position.
I have quite a list here—
She started to compile her information, but then the tower rang out. Ah, no… Chloe knew she would lose her train of thought if she waited for all nine chimes. She looked around. The stairs…there’s too many. What about the scaffolds?
Chloe looked over the edge of the tower at all sides. Old wooden beams stuck out a little more than two handlengths, partway down, at the base of where each ceiling went. They used to hold up the scaffolding, decades ago, but now they no longer supported anything. They would, however, put a layer of stone between her and the bell and shield her from most of the noise.
The bell went off a second time.
Chloe went to the south-facing side, the side where she was least likely to be seen and least likely to be yelled at, and she dropped her hips down off edge of the ledge. It was only a foot down to the first set of support beams. She lowered herself down with her arms,
This is a bad idea…
Chloe let go, falling nearly two cubits, then once her toes touched, she lowered herself down with her legs.
It hit for a third time.
Chloe sat, legs wrapped around the beam, leaning on the outer wall of the square tower. The bell was far quieter now.
So… a T-chart I guess…
Chloe compiled her list visually:
|All roles (all academic roles, two-hand swords)|
|Core||Alexandre||Biokem, swords (Unknown)|
That’s, ah, I feel like we could use more people. I really do not, ah, I don’t want to have to focus on two things at once. And yet…who?
It seemed pointless. Almost none of the citizenry could had combat training, and all of the guard was busy with the reopening of the wall. I will just go home.
But Chloe didn’t go home. She sat on the edge of the beam and let her legs dangle in space.
You’re in a real PINCH Alexandre!
I can see someone
Though my eyes are closed
Alexandre awoke and saw the figure at her door. How haunting. She pushed the small blanket off of herself and stood. Where did that come from…I don’t have time to figure it out. Who is this here? The lights were unlit. Alex’s office had no windows, being in the interior portion of the building. It was very dark. Office dark has to be one of the worst types of dark.
The figure shifted as Alexandre stood up. It almost s poke, but Alex interrupted it.
“Do you need something?”
A woman. A girl, replied. “It would be unwise to follow Rhye to the Underside.”
Oh, we’re talking with vague ornate orature are we? Fine, two can play in that space.
“And yet,” Alex said to the pitch, “it would simultaneously be the wisest large-scale decision I’ve ever made.”
“Sh-She has enemies! It isn’t safe!”
“I am not safe here. I betrayed all my” Alexandre stopped to scoff, “all of my closest friends except for Finch. Isn’t it safer than my life here?”
“Yes, you!” Alexandre shouted.
She moved to the centre counter and let the lamp.
“Oh, what the hell, you’re that kid. Man, get out of here.”
The ‘kid’ blushed. “I can’t! This is my mission.”
Alexandre sighed and kicked her blanket back into the cupboard, closing the doors. She took one of her two chairs and impolitely threw it at her guest. Then she too the other and sat.
The chair hit the girl in the collar and bounced to the floor. “Ow!”
“Sit!” Alexandre again shouted.
She was obeyed.
“You’re a fool.”
“Wha!” The visitor’s blush deepened.
“Your wisdom is ass-backwards. Give it up.
“I can’t! It’s… I don’t know; it’s all I have.”
Alexandre sighed. “I just told you the same thing you said to me when you got here. I don’t want to hear hypocrisy.”
The visitor rubbed her collar. It was bruising.
“So, fool, what is your name?”
“Listen, youth, let me tell you something about the adult world, the world you have decided to interact with. No one listens to kids. Kids are stupid.”
Ammelia began to cry silently. Alexandre ignored it.
“There’s only one redeeming thing about a child. Do you know what it is Ammelia?”
“What,” Ammelia murmured.
“The fool foreruns the hero.”
Ammelia began to weep openly. Alexandre stood, walked past her, and exited the room. Ammelia considered leaving too, considered running away, but the convulsions from the weeping had exhausted her, and her leg was throbbing. Alexandre returned two minutes later, frowning. She closed the door behind her.
“The library is not open at this hour. We will use the other book instead…the manuscript of sorts. Here it is.” She walked to the far overhead cupboard and opened it. One of the shelves, right above the cups, had been repurposed as a bookshelf. There were only four books on it. She took one, a black book, and flipped until she saw a memorized page number, and read aloud.
“A curious combination of typical trickster motifs in the…er, his fondness for sly jobs and malicious pranks, his powers as a shape-shifter, his dual nature, half animal half divine, his exposure to all kinds of tortures and last – but not least – his approximation to the figure of a saviour.” She reflexively added the citation, “(Jung 255)”
Ammelia’s crying became loud and violent, and she stood and ran no around the experimentation table no no and into Alexandre’s arms. Damn it.
Alex closed her eyes and sighed. Being rather tall; four full cubits, or six imperial feet; Ammelia was able to take refuge in her neck. Her head felt gross and wet.
As the Lussa calmed, Alexandre let out a sigh. It was finally coming to an end, although, it wasn’t as bad as our first meeting.
“You’re blushing!” Ammelia was looking up at her. She has returned to her usual state of idiocy.
“No!” Alexander said. It was less a protest and more an exclamation of disappointment in her body.
Alexandre sighed, surgically removed the now much calmer girl from herself, and sat down.
“I’m assuming you don’t read, or I would lend this to you.”
Ammelia ambled around the tiny space. She said, “Why would you assume that.”
“I assume everything I believe; that I have justified, to be true until proven otherwise. You don’t read, right?”
“Most people do not.”
Ammelia picked up the doublelens and said, “What’s this?”
“A doublelens magnifier. Most people don’t read, which is why most people either don’t go to, or drop out of university.”
She walked over to the rat cage. “Is this needle for these rats?”
Ammelia moved to Alex’s poster the periodic table. “Are there any more of these?”
Scientist in the making? She wants a periodic table? “More periodic tables? I have some smaller copies I had scribed a few months back.”
“No, more of the…ele…elements.” Ammelia sat on the ground near the far counter and stared up at the elements. “There are…”
She can barely read. “There may be. That one is based on Chloe Rhye’s work that was done around a century ago. I had been working with a law of octaves to re-arrange the table, but Newlands has taken that over. Since then I’ve considered trying to measure mass in order to find a better ordering by putting elements into identical containers and comparing density but…”
“There are sixty-four elements?”
“Yes, that’s why I think the rule of octaves is so potent.”
“Sixty-four is eight squared…” Ammelia mused.
Good at math at least. “Yes. But Chloe proposed invisible, insensible elements.”
Alexandre looked around. She could tell Ammelia was getting bored. I hate teenagers.
Eventually Ammelia noticed and felt the urge to fill the void. She wiped old tears from her eyes, then said, “God elements?”
“…she read the Djeb paper on that, but she didn’t like the name. She believed they could be measured because they must have mass. She called them noble elements. They would ruin my idea of a perfect eight by eight table of elements.”
“So, how do you even know the God elements are real?” Ammelia laughed.
“First, she found Hydrogen. Then, she found that it existed in a double bond, like a lot of other gasses. Chloe decided, quite arbitrarily, that hydrogen was the classical indivisible unit, the atom, and that all elements were made of hydrogen. She further concluded that the noble gases were to be found in the weight category between Hydrogen the atom and Lithium the metal, which she said was made of three atoms.
“That was all before she figured that there must be an entire noble column of invisible elements. Umm, where did you learn about ‘god elements’?”
Alexandre looked down and saw that the girl had fallen asleep on the floor.
Sketches of characters from this scene: