Some good story concepts here. As I’ve said elsewhere, I feel like we underused Gravedust’s guide-the-spirits-to-their-destiny raison d’etre after the first few chapters, so I relished the chance to make it the focus of a subplot, even one so simply written as to take on the tone of an Aesop’s fable.

Likewise, I think there are times when Guilded Age‘s class-conflict themes can make it look like we’re treating the oppressed as angels. I wanted at least a nod to the idea that pettiness can come from any economic class, it’s just generally more dangerous when it comes from higher strata. So you’ve got E-Merl’s old crowd here, buttering him up a bit and trying to guilt him out of as much of that sweet, sweet government money as they can get. It suits the low-stakes nature of this story (Frigg could resolve it in about twenty seconds), but it’s still a conflict.

Some unusual pairings here too, especially Rachel and Bandit, who rarely have a good excuse to interact otherwise.

For all that, I feel like the text is moving a little too fast and a little too directly in service of its story points, like there are some parts here I didn’t quite bring out of outline.