In the aftermath, it was called The Year Cya Didn’t Keep Anyone.
She freed the lost boy named after a destroyed city — a boy her grandson had found forher, the way his father had brought her home boy after boy when he was in school — dropped her grands off at school, and walked out into the wilderness.
People said she’d walked out into the desert to meditate. People said she’d gone nuts. People said she’d finally gone sane.
Gaheris, who knew where she was, said very little.
What she did was none of those things, or perhaps all of them. She walked - and drove,because she was Cya, and she believed in being prepared - until she found a town on a cleanish river, an abandoned town that had fallen to ruin.
And she destroyed it. Brick by brick, she brought the ruins of the town down until there was nothing left but tidy piles of building materials and the old power plant.
And then, in true Cynara fashion, she laid out her plans, blueprints, drawings, maps, and one sketch on the back of a napkin. And she started building.
One by one the buildings came out of the ground. One by one, they took shape, adobe buildings, brick buildings, square and tall and sturdy. One by one the walls came up, three linked circles, surrounded by a double ring of taller walls.
And, in the very center, a Citadel grew.
“We’re worried about our grandmother” was not something Luke was really equipped to deal with, but when the grandmother in question was Cynara Red Doomsday, he had to admit there was reason for him to be involved. If the woman Named “Doomsday” had finally gone off the edge...
Assume nothing. He flew out in the direction he was pointed, out past ruined cities, out past the markers she had caved into the stone. “Land now,” one helpfully warned. He kept going.
The city, from the air, looked beautiful. It looked like a model, actually, all white adobe and even whiter marble against the red of the ground, the green of the trees, the blue of the river. And it looked secure - at least from the ground.
The gates were thick enough that it must take a Working to open them.
And there, on the wall, Cynara was watching him. She looked dirty, covered from head to toe in dust. She looked sunburnt, her trademark red hair bleached from the sun and coated in the same dirt. And she was smiling.
“She’s building a city,” he informed her grandsons when he returned. “She’ll be fine.”