early afternoon, the first day
Lemma and Marshmallow
The market warren is on the fringe of the hold, the outskirts of the Outskirts. Sitting alongside the motorpool, it's one of the first things a traveler encounters as he approaches along the twenty-kilometer-long Mercer shelf, the main route for ground traffic in and out of Guntown.
The bus is still here, you can see. The heavy armored personnel carrier and its escort jeep are parked outside the largest entrance into the market's tunnels, and you glimpse a flash of bright red through the windshield of the APC - Clarion the bus driver, guarding the vehicles.
But something is up. A crowd is gathering on the glass of the shelf, and Clarion is getting out and swinging up onto the top of his vehicle, getting a better look. As you approach, a number of stragglers emerge from the market warren. They've been working around heat, so they're inappropriately dressed, coming out wrapped in quickly-grabbed furs and tarpaulins for temporary protection against the cold.
Everyone is looking south. As the two of you come down out of Guntown's shelter, you look out over the sea, and you see why.
Something big is burning somewhere over the horizon. It must be hundreds of miles away, but the column of oily smoke is distinct, rising up in a black column and smudging across the sky as it hits a layer of wind. What is that? Only one possibility comes to mind ... Lady Franklin must have gone up in flames.