When Edmund stepped off the elevator, he had already begun to hear another storm brewing. Distant thunder and the faint tentative taps of a slight rain echoed through the roof into the fifth floor. Edmund took a deep breath as he knocked gently on the tower door.
The door swung open. Edmund paused, staring into the dark stairwell. The door had never been left unlatched before. He wondered if the Thing was out wandering between the walls of Moulde Hall.
He stepped into the middle of the round room, listening to the strengthening rain and deepening thunder. A flash of lightning lit the room as Edmund turned to look at the large gargoyle statue. It didn’t look as frightening as it had before, Edmund thought. Even in the darkness with the mouth hanging wide, it seemed somehow smaller to Edmund now. He remembered how large it had seemed when he first saw it–how strong and angry. He remembered the mouth had…
Memento Mori…the mouth of memory…
Edmund stepped closer to the stone statue. He remembered he had seen a gleam in the teeth. Looking at the statue now, he could see it was a rough granite–not shiny at all. But the gleam had to have come from somewhere…
Leaning closer and twisting his head, Edmund could just make out something metallic in the beast’s mouth. Carefully, he slipped his hand between the large stone teeth, and felt about until a small piece of metal had slipped off a delicate stone hook, and was now in his hand. It was a tiny key.
Another key? What did this one unlock?
Edmund stared at the steady gaze of the Gran Gargoyle. He had the key — the key that would lead him to the Cavalcadium of Fortune. He was one step closer to his goal, and if there was anything he was certain of, it was where he needed to go next.
‘Walk the winding path,’ Tayatra had said. Edmund almost felt insulted.
The Mansion struck ten in the evening.
Edmund gripped the tiny key in his hand as the rolling storm clouds crept over the city, blanketing the smog and making everything darker still. The black rain fell fast and hard, splattering against the hundreds of windows in the walls of Moulde Hall, with a sound like irregular clockwork.
It had only taken Edmund a few moments to make his way down to the basement, and the side door that led out into the gardens. And now, he stood in the open doorway, staring out into the shadowy mists. It was time, and Edmund was ready.
He wasn’t positive he was correct, but he couldn’t help but feel confident. He had to be right–it was exactly what he would have done. A flash of lightning lit the world a brilliant blue as Edmund’s heart began to beat faster and faster. The air was electric, sending tingling energy though his body. He felt like he had just before he had given Matron his poem to read at the orphanage, or fit the Mechanus Vitae into Tayatra. He was about to experience something important.