I stepped out of the Consulate into Steelhead square. I heard the wet crunch of snow beneath my bare feet and felt the sting against bare skin. Flakes floated silently all around me. Everything was coated in white, amplifying the glow of the gaslamps and flickering candles in windows.
I have never felt the cold. I have never smelled the crisp winter air or the scent of pine needles. Not long ago I could have calculated the density of the snowflakes and recorded the patterns of every flake. But now, it was simply overwhelming.
"You'll catch your death of cold out here. Go inside, child."
Red wings wrapped around me like a cloak, radiating warmth. I had just enough space to turn to behold the Elder's face of alabaster, kohl and crimson.
"Is this not the time for miracles, Sweet Qli?"
His wings grew translucent from a growing brilliance nearby.
"Beg pardon," interrupted the angel. "I have a delivery for Miss Qlippothic from Velvel's Shanghai Bazaar?"