To a Chanticleer it rhymed with mind. To an Aeolian working for The Breath it rhymed with tinned. Wind.

A clock thrown into a breeze. They were sailing The Chronon Seas – a metaphorscape where these old comrades might meet and exploit the best of both worlds that they occupied.

There was a rumour that somewhere, out in the deep ocean, marked by something that was masquerading as a star, was a key, or a quay, of however you wanted to say it. A boy sat on the buoy watching with his sniper rifle trained on the spot the person who came to liberate it would have to stand.

Bugs in the streets from the Inn Sects. Drones from The Hives. If it wasn’t damned birds that they were moving against it was creepy crawlies.

O’Shaun stuck his finger in the glass of water and commanded that it build a model of the fluid universe through which they would be moving.

Thyme wound his watch and listened to the calendar condensed to ticks soundings like a deathwatch beetle marching through the walls of time.

What was your metaphor? They had a Tunesmith onboard who saw the whole experience as a surfing of radio waves to get to the end of a song, or a playlist, or something musical. Wasn’t everything a resonant frequency strung between notes and adding up to a movement.

What do you do when a what turns out to be who?

‘Didn’t even recognise my leitmotif, eh? Fallen so far out of accordance with the orchestra that no one read my notes.’

‘Floot? What’s the idea? And how? How here from where you were?’

‘Ah, well, I met a girl with a walking house in a bar, and she told me that a Living Element needed me for a spell.’

‘A spell meaning for a time? Or a spell as in a conjuration?’

‘Spell for a spell, fellow name of Spinfellow didn’t rightly seem to mind what it was that he was casting.Said when I got out the glmour would turn into these lucky dice and I was to give them to whoever had arrived to take my place.’

‘Take your place?’

‘Oh yeah, this is a Not Knot, built on the site of a sunken city called L’undone. We dropped the book about it on a time jaunt and some people through it was an origin story, where it was really a prognostication. It’s a Capital City in a geographical alphabet, and with you here we have a way to stop time, the songlines, and we still the sea.’

‘Why? What do you stand to gain from this?’

‘Me, nothing? I am to be freed from this, in this moment – given a tune to go and play that none will understand but me; a tune that is all you.’

Floot was gone. And everything stopped. Spinfellow span up. The Living Element was sluiced from his crooked wound, and The Walking House stopped walking.

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