Kieran finally found Capri in the basement of the Tower. The basement had become project space for off-duty Kirayth; over the past few years it had been subdivided until it was a large-scale maze, and Kieran had to make his way through makeshift wood shops and electronics labs, doubling back a few times to try to get to the far side of the basement.
When he finally turned the corner, he stopped short, staring at the display. Capri, perched on a smaller table next to the enormous table that took up much of the floorspace, grinned. "Pretty cool, huh?"
"Huh." He walked around the table, taking it all in - a perfect scale model of Shayara, from the gates all the way back to the Ferris wheel at the rear of the Carnival district. At least at first glance, it looked perfect, right down to the verdigris on the gates. He bent to eye his own district. "I can't speak for anyone else's territory, but Narsan's spot on. Is this yours?"
"Michael's. He used to do model railroads. This would totally have a train running through it. If, y'know, we had a train here."
"How long has he...?"
"I found it a year ago, but it was pretty complete even then. I think he's been working on it since he found the city."
"A year. You never said!"
She brandished a paintbrush at him. "Hey. I don't get many secrets. You have to allow me a few."
"True enough." He grinned. "Hey, there's the Tower."
She touched the penthouse of the model Tower gently. "And there I am, always."
He studied her. "This is pretty up to date, actually."
"It should be precisely up to date. Michael updates it."
"What are you painting?"
"Oh yeah. They did just go blue." A few months ago, but I'm sure Michael's doing his best to keep up.
"Is this the right blue?"
"Yeah, looks spot-on."
"Good." She smiled wistfully. "Someday I'll get to go there again."
He nodded, walking around the model, and she huffed a small laugh. He looked back up at her. "What?"
"You used to reassure me. 'Yes, Capri, you'll get out of the Tower soon. You can stop hiding soon. We'll take back the city soon.'"
"You will. We will."
"It's been five years."
"And we're looking for the Lishaya now."
"Yeah, I know." She scooted off the table and set her paintbrush down on a paper towel. "You're looking for her, and then you'll be convincing her, and then there'll be endless planning, and then Tyka will be painting the coffeehouse again, and... I don't know, Kier. I want to go for a walk. I want to go get my own muffins from Tyka's. I want to go out dancing; I've never been. I do my best for you and Halloran and everyone, but sometimes I am so tired of being the girl in the Tower." She touched another building, one with ivy painted on its walls, and met his eyes. "That's where I lived before the Purges. Do you remember?"
"I love you guys. But I want to go home." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek, then retreated through the partitioned maze. Kieran lingered, letting her go, studying the castle at the heart of the model city - the only building with no detail whatsoever.
Capri is a chipper sort, but not all the time, and five years of hiding can get to anyone.
Oh hey, having an obsessively-detailed scale model of the city is going to come in handy planning that war. So remember that that's there, kthx.