Cedar has been in Gestas for almost a year, and she’s starting to get desperate. The city has wrapped itself around her foot like a snare and she’s contemplating amputation. She never wants to linger, but she can’t break free; every road leads back into town, every flight is canceled, every ferry is delayed. Schedules and maps, like everything else, are a tissue of meaningless, pointless lies, knowledge gleefully hoarded for the sheer joy of hoarding.

She hasn’t learned anyone’s name — or, rather, has learned dozens of names for every one she’s met, inconsistently and maliciously shifting from moment to moment. Faces blur together, bodies melt and flow like wax whenever she turns her head. It is only her grinding, stubborn worthlessness that has kept her entire, and even then she has met herself several times turning a corner; the same crooked nose, the same nicotine stained hands, the same wide-spaced teeth. Gestas steals without remorse, but also without covetousness; her doppelgangers thrill to see her, spread their arms wide for a lingering hug.

She’s been pickpocketed hundreds of times, but she never has anything she can’t afford to lose, nothing anyone can meaningfully take from her, except the freedom to move. Gestas threatens that, but unknowing; roads may twist and maps may lie, but the sky does not. She hopes.