Jack Shaftoe had often passed quiet hours wondering what would have become of him, how differently his life might've turned out,
if he hadn't parted company with Eliza of Qwghlm during that edifying (if oddly hazy) Hexen-party atop the mountain near Bockboden. Perhaps she'd have demonstrated some
secrets learnt from Books of India: Jack had been quite taken by her knack with his chakras.
On the other hand, she might have driven him mad (madder, to be exact: the Pox was manifesting again) with her incessant babble of
, and other such courtly and impractical notions.
Of course, Eliza's conversation had not been limited to romantickal nonsense.
She had also waxed vehement on the subject of slavery, which by some strange coincidence was much on Jack's mind at present.
Fortunately, he was beset by sufficient hallucinations and phantasmagoria to ignore almost everything that was happening around him: the weeping women, the stench of unwashed bodies,
the hearty bellow of the auctioneer, the rattle of fetters.
An impertinent fellow wrangled Jack out to the middle of the marketplace, and the auctioneer spouted a catalogue of lies and deceptions.
(Jack spoke no Turkish, but was familiar with sales technique the world over.
) And the hallucinations, whether Pox-driven or sent by some Imp, were especially glossy today, for Jack could not only
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