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JETTE landed at the door to Crawley's main administrative building. She could already sense a certain tension in the air... and a chill. Despite the height of summer, it seemed like the temperature out here was 10 degrees cooler than in the heart of Bedlam. She watched as one of the guards reached to his walkie-talkie and said, "Uh, boss? We got another one."

 

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"There's no other way to put it," said Dr. Blackmore. "Bedlam is screwed. Oh, there's always talk of civic pride and 'f--- you, I'm Bedlam strong,' but this city has a hundred veins of rot running beneath its surface. One of those started here, back when these grounds belonged to the Bedlam Ladies' Academy. A place for young women of esteem and breeding who represented the heart's blood of the city. And, like any heart's blood, prime to be sacrificed." Dr. Blackmore scratched at her arms; deep down, Lady Horus recognized it as one of the automatisms of people desperately wanting a cigarette. "There have always been stories of entities lurking throughout the history of Bedlam. Mad prophets and dark shepherds, gods of death and decay and insanity. The girls who died at that school... may have been offered up to one of those entities, in an attempt to drive it away from Bedlam for a time. And, in time, those girls - the ones who survived - learned how to make deals with such entities. If they were offered to such an entity to save Bedlam, they would command such an entity to destroy it."

 

Dr. Blackmore pulled a file from her desk, filled with yellowed scraps of newspaper lined through with red ink. "The collapse of Country Club, the death of several families on Scarlett Hill... there have been misfortunes, maledictions, all throughout the history of the city. Things designed to strike back at the same gentry who offered these girls up like fatted lambs. But, for a time... the misfortune slowed down. And the daughters of Bedlam, and their daughters, and their daughters, seemed to move back into the societal ranks that they'd harrowed."

 

She sighed. "I think... if the chaos in the city, the sightings of that... thing, and all the deaths are any indicator... there's a schism. One side wants death; the other wants control. Those who have been killed are the ones who tried to use their gifts for power and wealth, and the ones with the upper hand... they want to let loose whatever entity they bound to their side." She rapped her fingernails on her desk. "I think they'll be coming here soon. For me." 

 

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The Omegadrone charged across the kitchen, closing with Wadjet. Its steel-clad fist was enough to knock her aside, the dark glow of its pike passing far too close to her face for comfort. Arrowhawk met it in combat, her blows rattling whatever meat lay within that dreadful prison. It turned its attention on her, seeking to meet wrath with wrath...

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JETTE marched right up to that security guard. “Hey. Amazingly, I’m not here for my health. Where’s the living god?” She was…not okay. She wanted a drink. Hell, several. It was the Terminus Invasion, Part 2. And the dead had been ripped from the earth. She’d come to Bedlam to get away from this crap. The worst part? There was that little part of her that was thrilled to be “making a difference” again. God, she needed a therapist. “Now would be good. You know, before something unpleasant shows up and ruins everyone’s day.” A beat. “More.”

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