On Holofernes Judith sets herself up as a madame and does very well, all things considered. It’s a beast of a job, but she runs an honest house and keeps everyone clean and more or less healthy. The wealthy sons find her and word gets around and almost overnight she’s become a power in the city, recognized if not spoken to, courted in a sly way by the powerful and those who would be powerful. She doesn’t take it very seriously – in the back of her mind is always that return ticket – but she plays the game and spreads her wings in a modest way over the rest of the district.

Things go sour sooner rather than later, there’s a backlash or a moral crusade or a reform movement or something, and just like that she’s back where she was or worse, rocks thrown through her windows, her girls beaten black and blue or worse, filthy fucking whore sprayed over the front of her largest house (which to be honest she finds more hilarious than anything, because of course) but finally they set fire to her house and she decides to pull up stakes. She calls the girls together for one last meeting.

“My dears,” she says, still smudged with smoke, “we had a good run but it’s over. You’ve all been priceless, and any place in town will be more than lucky to have you. Any one looking to get out of the life will find she has more than enough to set herself up in a modest way in any city on half a dozen planets.”

Miriam raises her hand. “Pardon me I’m sure, ma’am, but where are you going and can we go with you?”

Judith shakes her head, a little sadly. “No, my love, no. It’s a long road I’ve yet to travel, and years and worlds yet to go, but thank you for the offer. I will carry you with me.”

And then she’s gone, the dust of Holofernes scattered behind her, one more bright point in a sea of bright points, dwindling, disappearing, gone.

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