Walk as though you are accustomed to firm ground beneath your feet. Shake your hair loose. Let your arms swing away from your body. Increase the length of your strides as though you’ve spent your entire life surrounded by abundant space, more space than could ever be explored or exhausted—but keep your head down, because here on Earth you are not a free woman of the New Cities; you are a subject of the Perpetual Empire.
Erol knew as soon as he handed over his sword that he was going to regret it. He didn’t want to fight, but if the world rewarded any virtues other than wealth and violence, he wouldn’t be here in the first place.
She snuggles into the covers, smiling, comforted by the sound of whirring gears and the pneumatic wheezes of the Clockwork Guards outside her bedroom door, never dreaming that they’re not clockwork at all, those strange-faced beings still concealed in their hydraulic suits—that they are biding their time and one day, six years from tonight, they will attack her family and drive them out before they come for her.
Fewer than eight hours were left before the end of the world, and Jamie still had one thing left to do.