But perhaps I should begin a little earlier in the story.
"Everything is packed, you've turned the gas off, and we've said good-bye to everyone still left in the neighborhood," Kathy said. "The carriage driver is waiting for us, and time, in this case, is most definitely money."
"I know, I know… I just can't help feeling that we're leaving something behind that we shouldn't be."
Kathy tossed her hair back. "The house is so small that we can hardly have overlooked anything. Now, down the stairs with you, sister, before I send you out the emergency hatch."
"One day you should try it," I said, before realizing that there would be no other days here.
Chez Jameson on Aether Isle, in the shadow of the Sky City
Only a few weeks earlier I had received an urgent note from the Guvnah. Workers at the other end of Aether Isle, where we lived, were digging on unoccupied land and had discovered buried munitions. Had they detonated, no building would be left standing on the island, and even the great Steam Sky City above us might have been badly damaged. Munitions experts arrived to remove the bombs safely. They were almost entirely successful - but the "almost" was a costly one. One of the workers stumbled in moving one of the last crates of explosives, spilling the contents of the crate. The explosives inside detonated, killing the worker instantly and setting off the few remaining crates. Though the damage to structures on my side of the island wasn't bad, the explosion ripped open a sealed chamber that contained various toxins, likely the byproducts of unsuccessful experiments that had taken place on the island over the years. The toxins ran into the wells on the island, hopelessly poisoning the drinking water supply. The Guvnah wanted residents to move as soon as possible for our own safety.
As this was Aether Isle, the list of possible culprits was lengthy: Mr. Denver Hax, Mrs. Fogwoman Grey-Volare, Miss Glorf Bulmer,… at this point, I was trying to remember what possessed me to live nearby so many dangerous people. Ah, yes: the price was right.
Kathy and I discussed where we might be able to afford to live. Our finances were somewhat precarious at the time, and we were concerned that the best we would be able to manage would be rooms in one of the less savory streets of Victoria City. (Oh, you didn't think Victoria City had unsavory streets? Let me assure you, Dear Reader, that parts of that eminent city should be burned down; no decent person should be seen there.) Then we received a second urgent note, this time with much better news than the first. "Aunt" Petunia, an elderly friend of ours who, when her health declined, stayed in the Tamrannoch sanitarium until she passed away, had left Kathy and me a generous legacy.
The Mayfair property at night.
The timing could not have been better. With that money, we were able to find a small piece of property in Mayfair. The property itself was wooded, but we were able to make arrangements to have a ramshackle house moved from a nearby property onto ours. I wasn't sure why the neighbors had not burned down the house as an affront to the eye and a drag on nearby property values, but I was grateful they had not. Contract in hand, we made arrangements to leave the house on Aether Isle.
The house last Christmas.
[OOC notes: The Guvnah did, in fact, discuss restructuring Steam Sky City into a homestead sim, requiring some shifting of residents. As always, he was wonderfully helpful in matching me up with a property that suited my needs. In addition to changes in SSC, I heard that Dundee and Windemere would both be disappearing. Sad news, but I'm hopeful that a slightly smaller Caledon will be a significantly stronger Caledon financially.]