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“We must for the bivouac,” said the astronomer, “we’ll freeze out here.”

“Go,” said Drosselmeier, drawing his saber and pulling himself from the trench. “I have business in the city, and no better chance to transact it.”

“Drosselmeier! Wait!” He stumbled after, into the white wind.

“I set out to find Krakatuk for the sake of a child, cursed through no fault but her father’s. You asked why I brought you here; in truth I wish I had joined the fight alone.” Drosselmeier’s words were a trail of ghosts. “I began this quest for pity. I will finish it for love.”