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Rust and Redemption
“This place is a Madhouse,” stated the Fourth Aspect, stepping through a seam of light and darkness into Coyote Jay’s salon. “Is this your new Strategy, Jay? To throw as many mortals as you can Find into the fire, in Hopes one might fall your way?”
“If it were, I wouldn’t have started with a bunch of heroes,” Coyote Jay sighed. “The only one of that lot who’s even eligible for my ranks is the witch girl, and I think Beliath’s got a lock on her.”
“Don’t feel Bad,” the Sidhe comforted. “Yours is the hardest row to hoe, Jay. We all Know this.”
“As if that helps me any. It’s been a bad year for redemption, Catháir. Everyone’s too busy just keeping their heads above water.” He picked up a Jacobs-ladder in his long hands. “I thought those Hell escapees might be my ticket, but the damn devils have reclaimed them all. Tor’s the only one left. Him and Omeria’s lot, and they’ve already signed with Beliath.”
“Beliath certainly is having a Banner year,” the Fourth Aspect agreed.
Coyote Jay wound the Jacobs-ladder up distractedly. “You made any tonight?”
“The fallen Goddess. Not entirely Unexpected, but it is always good to have Things formalized.” She smiled, or at least the half of her face that was not in perpetual shadow smiled. Jay could never really be sure about the other half. “I doubt there will be more for Me, not now. I’ll be keeping my Eye on the lad. These souls are not exactly as Ripe as most of the ones who Pass this way.” Coyote Jay nodded. “Maeve has hopes of Turning one or two of them, and I Fear she may succeed. Ah well, you win some, you Lose some; there are enough souls to go Around. Is he really your Last chance, this one?”
“It’s looking more and more like it,” said Jay, and tilted his hand forward so that the Jacobs-ladder went cascading down in a clatter of ribbons and wood. Backwards, and it began again. “I still think I have a shot at the jester, but it won’t be any time soon. They take time, these things.” He paused, and tilted the Jacobs-ladder forward again. It fell as implacably as the rain. “I don’t have any more time, Cathy,” Coyote Jay said.
“You have all the time in the world,” she pointed out. “In Here.”
The Jacobs-ladder ran back up its length and folded itself neatly into his hand.
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