Welcome Aboard

Chelsea stood just inside the doorway of a small officer’s cabin on the Crimson Gale. She placed her few Hell-plundered items on the floor, beside a small writing desk, and flopped onto the bed, exhausted. Only then did it occur to her that although Edelweiss had tidied the bed after the previous tenant’s departure, she hadn’t taken the time to clean the sheets, and they still had his scent on them. A man with too much testosterone for his own good, Chelsea guessed.

That reminded her of Amber Veins, and overcome by sudden loneliness–even despite his betrayal–she hugged the pillow against her, letting tears soak it for a while. In a few minutes she had no tears left…and then she remembered the necklace he’d given her.

She pulled it from her pocket and examined it closely, remembering the letter that had come with it. “This has no secrets yet, but perhaps you can give it some.”

Chelsea had taken that as a challenge to craft some magic into it, but there could have been a double meaning in it. If she possessed something Amber had given her, even something non-magical, it might be possible for him to track her through it. If so, he could have confirmed her activities in Gem, and would be able to follow her anywhere else. It had never really been a gift at all; just another tool to justify the theft and punish her for avenging it.

Chelsea opened the porthole-window of the cabin and dropped the necklace out. It glimmered once as it fell, and then hit the dune below, where a gust of wind covered it over with sand.

She closed the window again and laid back on the bed. Sleepiness tugged at the corners of her mind, and the ache in her ankle begged for a night of real rest and safety. Tomorrow, some new adventure would begin, and perhaps the forces of Hell really would chase her for the rest of her days. But for now, there was one last thing she owed her sole remaining demonic ally.



“You can say it now.”

I told you so.

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