Kael struggled to hide her horror. The cliff. They had… done something to it. Something about an edict and a gift? How did you give away a cliff? Or power it? Power it away? She needed to drink this potion quickly; there was far too much missing in her vocabulary. “They did what to the cliff? The large one into Artle?”
The clever daughter looked at Kael sharply. “You have to have seen the bridge. If you flew in, it is big enough that you can see it from space. And if you drove in, well, almost everyone comes in from Artle. The train, the bus – did you come in from Carron?”
Kael had the sense from the way the girl shifted topics that she was being thrown a lifeline. She took it. “Carron, yes.” She was going to have to look it up. “I’m sorry, it is just something that I read about – that is.” She was supposed to be in character. She cleared her throat and winked at the girl. “I know not of these places you speak of. A bridge over the River Meadon? A place called Carron? Is that Carrenonna’s Annex?”
The girl leaned forward. “Caronn- Caronn, say that again? Please,” she added hastily, presumably before her mother could tell her to be polite. Or her father, who seemed very engrossed in the leaflet.
“Carrenonna. Carrenonna’s Annex, a tower much like this one with several buildings around it, making up a small village of sorts. It was granted to Carrenonna in the same year that this tower, Kaelingrade Torrent-Step’s Black Tower, was built, and it stood such that on a clear day, you could see one tower from the other.”
“There’s no tower in Carron.” The older daughter had heretofore been engaged with her tablet, taking notes of some sort. Now she looked up and turned the tablet so that Kael could see a map – no, a tower’s-eye view of a large town or a small city, rendered in shining glass. “See? This is Carron, and there’s nothing taller than maybe six stories.” She smirked, and considered Kael. “In the terms of the age, Lady Kaelingrade Torrent-Step, the entirety of Carron reacheth not to the top of your secondary annex. Which has way too many stairs. You should consider an elevator.”
Reacheth? Wait, elevator? Something which raised, that was easy enough. “But then…” She glanced out the window. Quite some time had passed. “Then Carrenonna’s Annex is fallen to dust, and likely Carrenonna with it.”
“Well, uh, Carrenonna, if she lived the same time as Kaelingrade – I mean, as you – lived a thousand years ago. Even if the old people back then were like Methuselah or something, their towers weren’t. Right? I mean, this place is a replica and all.”
Metuselah! Kael struggled to maintain her composure. “It would take a great deal of work for a tower to stand for a thousand years, yes.” She’d thought Carrenonna had such work in her. Perhaps she hadn’t.
“So, I do have a question.” The daughter turned the map back towards her. “Why’s that one named after Carrenonna, then, and this place isn’t named after you? After Kaelingrade, I mean.”