Lady Scylla sat in an old oak chair at the head of the table. It was ornately carved, solid after even a hundred years of life and twenty-five of neglect. The lumber barons of Deerton had known their business.

And Lady Scylla knew hers.

“To me, my faithful,” said she, rubbing softly on the amber gem that hung around her neck. “To me, my unwinders of the world’s webs.”

A chair at the far end of the table was suddenly occupied. It was Pate, digging into the magnificent and ever-enduring feast laid out by Lady Scylla, as was his wont. Saved from a place that had starved to death, he was always hungry even though he did not need food.

“Bah,” Pate snorted. “Midwestern food. Bland enough to make British cooking jump like fireworks in the mouth.”

Much closer to Lady Scylla, on her left, a chair scraped at it was turned backwards. Touchstone, who had named herself from a play that he had never read, cackled. “It’s been too long,” she laughed. “Too long since we heard the call.” She had been born in a stultifying town that had withered away in its own seriousness; her first laugh had been its destruction.

And finally, at the foot of the table…Nyx. It had been a crisis of identity that had torn apart Nyx’s home, and so Nyx had none. No form, no shape, no gender, only what Nyx assumed, as long as Nyx saw fit to assume it.

“You’re a gorilla tonight, Nyx,” chuckled Lady Scylla. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I’m hungry,” laughed Nix. “And I wanted to see if I could get a reaction out of you.”

“And so you have.” Lady Scylla clapped her hands together. “Now then, my friends. To the task at hand. Let us discuss how we will go about sucking the marrow from this place.”

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