12/20/21 Snippet, THE STARS ARE WRONG.

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The Vicar’s teeth showed, bright and white. “And what mishap would be greater than a dozen half-drunk, half-maddened Guardians being swallowed up by the streets?”

“Hundreds of sober ones with axes and torches, come to burn out the Razor District,” I said promptly.

“Ha!” barked the Vicar — and I do believe that he found the situation grotesquely, pervertedly amusing — “they will come anyway, your lost Guardians or not. Your masters will not attempt to stay their coming wrath, even if your comrades still live, and are brought forth. Dead fools might still have some perceived value to Seacity; alive ones enjoy none.”

“And what value is that, Reverend?” I asked, putting a bold face on a sinking stomach. Because he was correct, and his next words proved it:

“Why, Guardian Ward, they will serve as a most wondrous excuse. So rejoice! This self-chosen duty of yours is as naught. You are free from the fetters of responsibility, for what you do does not matter. You might as well return to your comrades, and prepare yourself for the coming assault.” He knelt again, this time head bowed towards the altar. “Rejoin the formless horde your city has spawned, and find what peace you can manage.”