Climbing the Tower

Lynn scales a tower and completely fails at self-analysis through the medium of introspection.

Fuck’s sake but I hate this stuff.

In vain, Lynn attempted to deposit her box of tree-sap back into one of the numerous pouches that lined her clothes. The muck was useful, there was no doubt, and she was delighted that she had finally uncovered the secret to using it for climbing, but the way it made everything stick to her fingers drove her absolutely mental. Simply attempting to separate box and fingers was proving a challenge, and it took a fumbling combination of elbows and back-of-hands coordination before her hands were free to do their work. The feet were easier, marginally. A smear on the front of her left foot and the back of her right meant she could walk, albeit awkwardly, without having to pull them free with every step.

It’s not even really necessary. Bricks like this, bet even Rand could be made to climb this thing. If you put a banana for him to chase up top, at least.

That as may be, Lynn was in no mood to take chances. Not now. Not with this whole mad business resting on getting in and out of Tower 3 quick and quiet. Mad, bloody business! She didn’t belong in it, not in any conceivable way. And yet here she was, poised to place the a stack of hot papers in the private office of a fucking guard captain just because the group of jackasses she had fallen in with wouldn’t understand the concept of ‘keeping one’s head down’ if Lynn herself was gradually burying their noggins in the sand.

Just now, Lynn was not a happy witch.

Looking up at the dark tower she again tried to understand why she was sticking around. There were so many chances to bolt. Truth be told, if she had any sense, she could have slipped away from the caravan that got them into Sanctuary before they were within sight of the gates.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

She had been stupid to come here. Stupid to run with the mad obsession about Shalpa and stupid to chase the spectre of her father. Stupid to stay with that group of attention-magnets. And yet, here she was. About to do something crazy on behalf of a group of crazy people for a crazy scheme that, if it succeeded, would go a long way to ensure the anonymity of absolutely no one.

Even so, one positive thing about all this was that she was finally by herself for a while. Moreover, she was exerting herself, doing what she did best, and that was when her mind got closest to feeling at rest. Beginning to work her way up the tower wall, keeping on the side shaded by the moonlight and moving slowly and smoothly, her mind began to calm, her thoughts flowing more freely than they had for days.

It was Shalpa’s fault, really. The thought of him was a large part of what brought her here, and his little appearance cemented her determination to see that chase to the end. Secrets and mystery. Anonymity and protection. All that the search for Shalpa teased to reveal made Lynn turn back every time she was close to running. Besides, what was the alternative, really? Mercenary work and forever fearing that the Rankan eye would linger on her for too long. Better than to be right in the middle of things, where there was so much going wrong that she was only one suspicious face in a crowd of thousand.

And there was Amelia, of course. Try as she might, Lynn could do nothing but enjoy the company of the little girl. Maybe it was the fact that the pragmatic, matter of fact attitude Amelia had to most things appealed to something deep inside Lynn, or maybe it was just the soul of one fundamentally messed-up individual speaking to another. Whatever the reason, Lynn had a deep-set wish that Amelia had been an orphan, and that the two of them had met only to go on as companions. It could have been so good.

Loathe as Lynn was to admit it, she had grown fond of the girl. Had she allowed herself to contemplate it, she might even have felt attached. But attachments are dangerous things, and people die all too easily.

Aside from Shalpa and his secrets, and aside from fondness for Amelia, and even in spite of the numbing, horrendous stupidity of it all, the madness was exciting! In between the fear, expectation, and concentration; in between the anger, frustration, and violence, the excitement coursed through Lynn, at times making her want to laugh in maniacal glee. Throwing that thing and setting fire to Thaddeus’ lab had set her blood pumping with a wanton disregard for anything but the one thought: no witnesses. Fight it as she might, the excitement was urging her on, trying to pull her out of the shadows.

Have to be careful with that. Won’t do to die now. Then again, there are worse things._

Step by step, never quite standing still, never jerking or moving sharply, Lynn insinuated her way up the tower wall, her thoughts flowing and ebbing much like her limbs. The sap sticking to her hands and feet gave her that little extra hold to make sure she did not have to scramble for purchase, making her ascent uneventful.

It’s high time I got a damn break. Better not be something unpleasant up there, or I will be seriously pissed off._

Apart from a window shuttered closed, no unpleasantness waited at the top of the tower. With a little sticky fumbling with various tools of the trade, Lynn worked the latch open through cracks in the woodwork, and gently swinging the shutters open she was met by a dark, silent, empty office. Seemingly.

Can’t even trust the bloody shadows in this city.

Nothing to it. If there were things in the shadows, trying to stare them out wouldn’t do much good. Lynn slid inn through the window and landed quietly on the floor of the Captain’s office. Nothing happened. The faint sound of murmurs and voices could be heard from below, but nothing in the room itself seemed alarmed. So far so good.

Tempted as she was Lynn resisted the urge to look around and search the room for something to pocket. Her fingers might be sticky, quite literally at the moment, but she had enough deviousness in her to realize that for the plant to be successful, everything else must be left untouched. Pity. At any rate, she did not dare light the room up with her orb, dim as that light was, and attempting to find valuables or interesting documents in the dark was not something she relished. Compared to that task, finding somewhere to place the documents was fairly easy. The Captain’s big, solid desk had a number of drawers and compartments, and choosing one that was not too obvious and probably did not see too frequent use was not exceptionally challenging. Getting it open was more so, and Lynn had to resort to pulling off her gloves and really getting in close with the mechanism.

Who the fuck was it that gave locks names, anyway?

Mysteriously, attempting to whisper ‘three-tier barrel lock’ did not magically make the drawer spring open, and so Lynn had to rely on old-fashioned skill, which luckily had not had the opportunity to rust just yet, fire, ice and swamp-water notwithstanding. Slipping the incriminating papers inside, Lynn slid the drawer shut and worked the lock back to its original position. Quiet, still and decidedly empty as the room was, she could not shake a gnawing sensation that she was being watched. Trying to make the hairs on the back of her neck behave themselves and lie flat, she crept back to the window and mounted the sill. Looking out over the night of sanctuary, she took a moment to savour the silence and relative stillness of the night, and her place in it.

She suspected it would be the last opportunity for some time.



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