Evangeline stood with her eyes closed, just feeling the wind in her hair. Around her, the city breathed, and exhaled with a cacophony of sirens and street noise. From time to time, she liked to stand and listen. It wasn’t communing, really; it was more a sense of burgeoning understanding. An acknowledgement that fundamental aspects of the Marble City were alive.
Communing would require the city to speak in return. Upon occasion, she wondered whether, if she honed her perceptions with great attention, she might actually come to comprehend the panoply of sensations that ran through her when she stood in reflection.
Tonight, however, she was not seeking any great insight. She was not prompting a vision, or pushing at the boundaries of the theoretical universe. She was just experiencing things.
Briefly, the sultry miasma of air stirred in the small grotto. Cool stone met with moist air, leaving an earthy scent lingering in the quiet space. Images of chaos flickered behind her eyes, and she flinched at the more violent ones. She remembered the events of the night before—the chasing and the fighting and the shooting. Innocent people, viciously pulled into the twilight world of kindred existence by the monsters known as the Sabbat. All of them going about their lives as if no monsters were waiting for them behind the sheltered wall of their ignorance.
How wrong they had been. How horribly, abysmally wrong.
It had been a night of mercy killings. She felt a chill shiver course through her, and the breeze dusted across her pale skin. I’m sorry...it was better that way, truly...
The city resonated with each gunshot, each blow. And she did, as well. Echoes in a still well.
Was Father Dunstin right? Did the city learn from every action taken within its solemn boundaries? Could it mend itself before it was too late? She thought of the Nephandus, and of the things Father Dunstin had told her it had said. It had wanted her dead, more so than many other denizens of Washington’s Court. Was she really surprised?
She breathed in the night air, and stood, trembling on the edge of true perception.
The problem, she thought, is that Justice is a subjective concept the moment it is conceived of, bounded by the mortality of each cognizant being... They never spoke of Hammurabai, or his Code. The body of law...
Her thoughts swirled and shifted. The night pressed on.