Before All Is Lost

Lady Henrietta Wickes was rich, pretty, and happy. Lord Benedict Wickes was rich, handsome, and evil. When Henrietta found out, she blindly ran. Now she's stuck in the cutthroat underbelly of society known as the Crease. Henrietta is rescued by the group called Temper Mints and finds refuge in the patchwork family of illegal magicians, mechanics, and thieves. Henrietta trades her social savvy for street smarts. Benedict plans to replace the aristocracy with a tyranny. Struggling with the ethics of law versus humanity, Henrietta must protect her new friends, fight off a new love interest, and save the country from her husband.


15. Patchwork Family


Henrietta was relaxed for the first time since she left Temper Mints. They were all together in the shop. 

All except Hugo, of course... 

Mina was trying to pretend everything was normal as she bustled about the window-less kitchen, preparing a small 'snack so we don't lose good sense', as she put it. Drake was deep in conversation with Geneve. She was muttering angrily, and he was calmly pointing something out. Becca was chattering, more cheerfully than Hettie had ever seen her, to Carl about how to improve Pi, while Pi shouted out random comments about how confused he was. 

Benedict watched, looking partially amused and partially disturbed by the chaos. Hettie smiled. 

Geneve broke away from Drake and grabbed Hettie's hand. "Hettie, can you trust him? Completely? I've seen the things he's done!" 

Hettie withdrew her hands, a little coldly. "Yes, Geneve. I know. I saw, same as you. But... he won't do those things again." 

Geneve bit her lip. "Hettie... it all seems so wrong. You can't bring him here!" 

"Carl says it's fine." Hettie said vaguely. 

"Carl is an old man, obsessed as Becca with impossibilities." 

"It wasn't an impossibility. Pi is alive, in a strange way." Hettie's lips curled into a smile at the sweet story, odd though it was. 

"Hettie..." Geneve said. "Leave." 

"What?" She looked at the red-head in confusion. 

"GO! Before it's too late!" Geneve pushed against Hettie's chest, moving her towards the front door. 

But it was too late already. 

The brick wall facing the alley-way exploded, and when the dust cleared, Hugo was standing in the rubble, a mob of angry Crease-born behind him. 

"You knew." Hettie gaped at Geneve. 

Geneve tapped her chest. "It's gone. I cried my heart out. It's time to help people." 

"Geneve! There's a better way tha-" Hettie was cut off. 

The mob descended on Temper Mints. It seemed an overkill for six people, including Pi and excluding Geneve. But it seemed Hugo was taking no chances. 

Drake looked to Geneve and Hettie. 

"Sister?" He asked. 

Geneve gave the tiniest of nods.

Mina tried to beat back the burliest men with a frying pan, but they easily pushed past, though one yelped at the scalding metal. One grabbed Becca, and another Benedict. Drake tried to stop them but he was hit in the chest with some sort of ray. 

Someone grabbed Hettie from  behind, and she just had time to see another ray hit Carl and a man knock Pi over before a sack was shoved over her head and everything went black. 

* * * * *

The carriage ride was hell. It was hot and dark, cramped in the tiny compartment. She felt Drake next to her, unconscious. But even worse was Carl on her other side, growing colder with each jolt. 

He was dead. 

She knew it. The chilling touch of his hand rubbing against hers, the way he limply lolled from side to side. 

But for once, tears didn't come. 

Mina shouted and screamed until someone cocked a pistol. Henrietta didn't know where it was aimed, didn't know who held it, but it didn't matter. 

Drake was clenching and unclenching his fists. His sister was as evil as Hugo. 

Benedict had tried to find Hettie, blinded by his own rucksack. But he gave up shortly. 

Becca was silent, and Hettie knew her every thought was trained on Pi. 

Hettie was betrayed. 

This was worse than the two men in Nocks and Emery Legal. Their betrayal was that of a stranger. Though terrible, it was nothing compared to Hugo, who had once saved her life. Geneve, who had been her friend. 

Yes, the ride was hell. 

The coach stopped after an hour of agonizingly slow journeying. 

The door opened and hot light flashed through the sacks on their heads, red and painful. They were dragged out, one-by-one. 

"This'n's dead, sir." One man said. 

Hugo replied, "Put him in the stable. We can deal with it later." 


Henreitta screamed. "Hugo! How could you call him that?! How can you do this to your family?!" 

A blow to the jaw sent her sprawling on the ground, hands still bound and eyes blinded. 

"My family would have stopped me from saving the rest. Saving the Crease!" Hugo bellowed. 

"And who will save you?" Hettie whispered. A boot, wet with mud, pressed against her abdomen. 

"Hettie... you should be asking that of yourself." 


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