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Even in the verdant glory of the Reach, there is much to fear, and song promises no safety. You know this intimately; you knew it before you ever ventured through the Gate. And you know too that the wise captain keeps their distance from Chorister Bees, strong enough in numbers to crack a steel hull wide open – but now you steam through gardens of papery hives, past drifting swarms, and through the reinforced walls of your locomotive, the music of their wings echoes. Crew gather, listen, cross themselves or spit into their palms for luck; you catch even the Repentant Devil in a wistful smile, before he realizes you’re watching.

He could tell you what they’re saying, if you asked. If it suited him, maybe he even would. But the funny thing is, you think you’ve got a sense of it already, in the mathematical intricacies of their dance, the harmonies that should be mournful and instead leave you heartened.

There is much to fear, the bee-song seems to say, but fear not endings. There’s a promise in it – not of life eternal, but that the universe is full of old things which will endure when you are gone, and new things which will be born after.

It was said once that all would be well. Beneath the Surface, you drank those words in a bitter draught; here, now – rootless in a wilderness that cares nothing for your survival, listening to music never meant for human ears – you believe them.