Tukiko appeared at Hyle's door shortly after the autopsy had been completed and poor Magrat's body taken away to be made presentable for the coming funeral.
For a full minute, mother and daughter sat in silence across the small kitchen table while two cups of coffee cooled unnoticed between them.
Tuki broke the silence.
"It was my fault. She'd still be alive if I hadn't brought her here."
Hyle reached a hand out across the table and squeezed her daughter's.
"No. Absolutely not. Bringing her here was the right thing to do..."
With the memory of the autopsy still very fresh in her mind,
anger was very close to the surface and her mother's attempt to alleviate the guilt she was feeling brought the so far suppressed anger at herself erupting to the surface.
"How can you say that?! People in Hope hated her. Hated her enough to do... to do THAT to her."
Hyle felt her hackles begin to rise. Tukiko may be her daughter but she wasn't going to let her castigate herself over this...
And she wasn't going to let her lay the blame on the people of Hope either. Most citizens were fine, good people...
Ans so the argument began.
Once begun it grew until both stubborn-as-mules Troys were shouting at each other while the coffees shivered and rattled as points were scored by fingers jabbing down onto the peeling table-top.
For a fleeting moment, as Hyle was rolling her eyes at Tukiko latest tirade of martyrdom, the mayor saw people on the street outside and her rebuttal stuck in her throat.
Across the street, three children, two of whom were siblings and their best friend were rolling around on the sidewalk knocking lumps out of each other in biting,
hair-pulling fury over whether the ball had crossed the goal line or not.
Next door to them, two lifelong neighbour women were standing nose to nose, hands-on-hips, destroying twenty years of friendship over where the property line ran.
Worst of all, in the middle of the street, two Lightbearers who normally stood guard outside the clinic, were circling each other, swords drawn and cold hatred on their faces.
Hyle had seen it before, not often and nowhere near as powerful. White-faced with shock, she turned to her daughter.
"Tuki, stop." But her words were lost, overpowered by whatever reason Tuki was claiming to prove her guilt. Hyle reached out again for her daughters' hands, both of them, and held them tight.
"Tukiko. Stop" She turned to the window. "Look."
Puzzled and more than a little concerned by the look on her mother's face, Tuki looked. She saw, and understood and then felt sick.
It began as a wail of disbelief, but by the time it reached the exclamation point it had turned into abject misery.
A huge sob tore up from her innermost being, gathering up, first Hyle and then the warring Lightbearers before crossing the street and smothering the women and children.
Huge tears rolled down Hyle's cheeks as she felt happiness flee her soul. But Hyle was in the fortunate position of knowing what was happening.
Those outside had no clue as to why the fighting had turned to emotionally charged crying, or even why they had been fighting in the first place.
Fighting against the emptiness flowing out from Tukiko, Hyle crossed to her daughter's side of the table and hugged Tukiko to her.
"It's all right, baby. It's all right. I'm here."
It took a long time for the sobbing to stop and for Hyle's world to return. Hyle lifted Tuki to her feet and led her through to the living room.
There they sat, Hyle gently teasing out strands of Tuki's hair, repositioning them, as she slept. Tuki lay peacefully crossway on the sofa with her head and shoulders resting on Hyle's lap.
Hyle watched her daughter sleeping, watched her gentle breathing, watched her pupils dancing beneath the drawn blinds of eyelids.
What was she dreaming? Hyle wondered for a moment, hoping that the images on Tuki's sleeping mind were good, and peaceful, and far away from the horrors of the last 24 or so hours.
Judging by the calm sleeping form in her lap, Hyle hoped this was so.
Hyle glanced up, the two Lightbearer, the same two who a few minutes ago had been about to kill each other, walked past the window, heads turned toward the house.
Hyle paid them no never mind and brought her attention back to her sleeping daughter. The storm of Tuki's emotional outburst was long passed.
Hyle considered her own reaction, how the outburst had brought uncharacteristic thoughts into her head, thoughts of vengeance, of violence.
But then, Hyle thought. She and Tuki had always had a close bond, Tuki brought out her maternal instinct easily, she always had done. But what had happened earlier had been exceptional.
But in that respect, the circumstances were exceptional, Tuki was emotionally, personally involved, her dreams and ambition for Magrat ripped away in an instant.
And without a doubt, Tuki had felt guilty, personally responsible.
"Det var ikke din skyld." Hyle murmured the sleeping form.
Another movement outside caught Hyle's eye. There they were again, The two Lightbearers.
And Tuki had pulled all this emotion inside and locked down the lid. The pressure had built up. Hyle knew she would, she knew it would.
Thankfully the dam had burst, although the radius and strength of the empathetic charge had surprised Hyle, she remembered the scuffle outside as Tuki broke down.
But it was gone. The love of Mother and Daughter, their bond was stronger than hate. Now Tuki was resting, Hyle smiled, this was her place, her job.
Hyle knew she had other things to do, more visits and meetings. But they would have to wait. Her place, her main responsibility was lying in her lap.
And there they were again. Hyle sighed, gently lifting the sleeping Tuki and placing her down on the sofa.
"Where are your ladders?"
The first Lightbearer looked confused, the second watched The Cursed Mother of Seeker Troy marching from her door towards them.
"Your ladders, where are they? You keep peering at my windows I figured they must need cleaning or something?" Hyle asked with unlimited scorn in her expression.
"You were nosing around my daughter. I can tell you she is fine and I am looking after her....
Now toddle off back to Lightbulb Bob and tell him that Seeker Troy is safe and well, under the care of HER MOTHER!." Hyle pointed in the general direction of Haven. "Now fuck off!"