A flare of illumination washed the chamber in flickering shadow and gleam. I'd gone through another door, into a different room, longer and wider than the one I knew. Runes were scratched on every visible inch of walls, ceiling and floor. Repeated phrases: Death feeds life. Life breeds death. Death breathes. Tall and heavy armoires slithering with gold filigree lined both sides of this horrid space, most with their doors open, spilling out once-beautiful gowns now molded and rotting, reminding me of molted skins.
I was sagging, listing in pain, by the time I could see Rattle and the crew. They were waiting on the Eight-B platform, near the engine console. The Eight-B line had a rust-and-people smell that mingled into a peculiar musk. I imagined the stench of Hail's blood and body beneath the usual platform scents. From Rattle's face, I knew she didn't have to.