From the journal of Alaric Clay:
It’s been too long since I got things out of my head and onto paper. Perhaps that’s part of the problem.
I finally learned Tower‘s intent, weirdly enough, in another tower – the spire belonging to the wizard Caribdus. Despite my previous trust, my gut feeling that despite its words it meant me no harm, that wasn’t true. It wanted my soul. What was therefore animating it, I’ve no idea. I couldn’t wind it down – it had somehow removed its key and become self-winding (though the key was there when I found it). But it couldn’t have my soul.
A clockwork, I have always believed, deserves to be treated like a person – they have a soul like the rest of us, of course. But their creation disturbs the natural order. To pluck a soul from the Underworld and trap it forever in a body of cogs and gears… Never to move on, to be anchored to this world forever, like one of the fae. Never to be scoured, to forget and to be reborn. That is…unnatural for we mortals, no matter which gods you believe in. Those that have life, I would never take it from them, unless they asked – and assuming I can find a way. But I will prevent the creation of any more – and I will prevent the creation of anything that resembles them, that might grow to desire a soul. Perhaps all things built in the shape of men desire a soul, as Tower did; I will build no more of them.
“As Tower did”. No longer.
We defeated the Demon Lord’s scheme, oh yes. But you know that. You’ve seen the sky. I was there, though; I saw it.
I’m still not used to the double memory of short-term time travel; to seeing something through the same eyes more than once from different angles. It gives the whole thing a vividness lacking in other memories. And so I remember it all very clearly, or at least what I was looking at. What I didn’t realise until I was too late, because my younger self wasn’t looking, was that Sister Hüvje had decided to replace Havelock. Not before the sacrifice, no; he was already dead, had already given of himself as intended to fuel the ritual that would damn and save us all. I don’t know why she brought him back, and had the elf slay her instead. I don’t know what…well, I hesitate to use the phrase “possessed her”. She might have ruined the entire ritual, or weakened it, by being the one to die. I’ve no idea what she was thinking.
I’ll have to ask her. Because she still lives. Ensnared by Tower, by the empty clockwork which hungered for a soul. Apparently if it couldn’t have mine, another would do – but not just any soul. It didn’t want Havelock. Nor anyone else who died. Just her.
So one quest is done. The elf roads we repaired, the lore that we sought, the ritual we chanted…and now the darkness we have brought. All succeeded. But at such a cost.
There will be a way to undo what that machine has done. If magic can put a soul into a machine, then it pull it back out again. And if that’s what Hüvje wants, then I won’t rest. Maybe the key Branka found can help her, and if not, I will walk the earth to find it. In the meantime, I can find ways to help us survive this darkness we have brought.