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second star to the right

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Marko left the ship for something - food or just to catch sight of something new; Klara knew that feeling well enough. “Just put her to bed if I’m not back,” he said, as if his own mother didn’t know what to do with children.

Yet when bedtime neared and Hazel and Friendo’s clumsy, devastating circuit through the ship began to slow, Klara was suddenly disinclined to pack Hazel up and tuck her in. She wrapped Hazel in cloak. “We’re going out,” she said, and Hazel, wide-eyed, put up no fuss. No idiot, that child.

Out the ship they went, but not far. In the ship’s shadow, Klara put down a blanket, and she lay on the edge of it. “Sit,” she said, patting the blanket, and Hazel sat. Friendo stomped around somewhere in the near distance; Izabel would keep her from straying too far. “Look,” Klara said, pointing up.

It was the wrong time of year to see Landfall’s star from Gardenia, but Klara pointed out the bright young sun that Demimonde circled – “Deadly when they want to be. Pity they can rarely be bothered to fight” – and Jetsam – “I’ve never been. All underwater; I don’t think I could abide it. It’s supposed to be very pretty, though.” Though not, obviously, as beautiful as Wreath.

Klara told Hazel about Wreath, about home. Who knew how much the child could grasp; what could home even mean to someone whose world was spanned by a few wooden walls? But Klara talked of it anyway until long after Hazel’s eyes were shut.

[end]