Ankh-Morpork had been rebuilt over and over again throughout the years— it didn't take long for reconstruction, such as it was, to begin. There was not as much property damage as Vimes had expected, most of the harm being done to people unlucky enough to get in the thralls' way; that and the thralls themselves. They were victims too.

The Palace— and the Patrician— got to look good by having a little memorial service-cum-festival. The citizens of Ankh-Morpork got to get drunk [21] and sing bawdy songs about their dead friends [22].

The Watch was kept busy, keeping the peace and being honored for their various services.

The thing was that most couldn't really recall what the crisis had been in the first place.

It was kind of a blur— people remembered the life-timers but not what they looked like, or how much sand was in them. The timers had disappeared at the same instant as Lady Reche. Left behind was only a kind of vague memory of a menace, darkness and not much else.

Vimes, Carrot, and Angua seemed to remember the most, but even that was fading.

Death found Vimes again in his office, working on paperwork.

"Hello," Vimes said, awkwardly. Just what did a man say to an anthropomorphized personification of death whom you had just seen rip out a woman's still beating heart, he wondered. Perhaps there was a card for it. "Er, are things… all right now?"

Tʜᴇ ʙᴀʟᴀɴᴄᴇ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ Dɪsᴄ ɪs ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴛᴏ ɴᴏʀᴍᴀʟ. Death said. Nᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴡᴏʀʀʏ. Yᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ᴀʟʟ ᴅɪᴇ ᴏɴ sᴄʜᴇᴅᴜʟᴇ.

"Oh. Good." Vimes shuffled a few papers around on his desk, then stood so he was at Death's level. "Cleanup is going fine around here as well. We haven't seen you— what have you been up to?"

I ʜᴀᴠᴇ ғᴏᴜɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ sᴏᴜʟs ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛɪᴍᴇʀ-ᴛʜʀᴀʟʟs. Tʜᴇʏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴍᴏᴠᴇᴅ ᴏɴ.

"Oh," said Vimes. "To…?"

Glowing blue eyes stared at him.

"Right," said Vimes, a little embarrassed. "Never mind."

I ᴄᴀᴍᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴀʟʟ ᴡᴀs ᴡᴇʟʟ, Death said. He shuffled. Aɴᴅ ᴀʟsᴏ…

Vimes had a brief moment of panic, trying desperately to remember how much had been in his timer. Death seemed like a multitasker.

Death reached under his robe. That was where the scythe lived, wasn't it? Vimes winced.

Death emerged with…

A homemade card.

He held it out to Vimes, who took it. At Death's expectant look, he opened it. There was a picture of a raven, holding a dead flower in its beak. Tʜᴀɴᴋ ʏᴏᴜ, it read, in letters that kind of made Vimes' head hurt. I ᴀᴘᴘʀᴇᴄɪᴀᴛᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴀssɪsᴛᴀɴᴄᴇ ɪɴ ᴅᴇʟɪᴄᴀᴛᴇ ᴍᴀᴛᴛᴇʀs.

Mʏ ɢʀᴀɴᴅᴅᴀᴜɢʜᴛᴇʀ sᴀʏs ᴛʜᴀɴᴋ-ʏᴏᴜ ᴄᴀʀᴅs ᴀʀᴇ ᴘᴏʟɪᴛᴇ, Death said. Aɴᴅ ᴏɴʟʏ ɪᴍᴘᴏʟɪᴛᴇ ʙᴏʏs ᴀɴᴅ ɢɪʀʟs ғᴏʀɢᴇᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴇɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇᴍ.

"That's very… thoughtful," Vimes said. "Thanks. The missus will love to see it." He didn't know why he said that. Possibly too much culture had seeped in through his armor. Next thing you knew, Vimes would be a polite boy. He shuddered at the thought.

Either way, Death seemed to perk up. I ᴀᴍ ɢʟᴀᴅ, he said. Wᴇʟʟ, I ʜᴀᴅ ʙᴇᴛᴛᴇʀ ʙᴇ ɢᴏɪɴɢ, he said. Dᴇᴀᴛʜ ᴡᴀɪᴛs ғᴏʀ ɴᴏ ᴍᴀɴ. There was an amused pause. I ᴀᴍ sᴏʀʀʏ. I ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ɴᴏᴛ ʀᴇsɪsᴛ. I sᴜsᴘᴇᴄᴛ I ᴡɪʟʟ sᴇᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀɢᴀɪɴ, Cᴏᴍᴍᴀɴᴅᴇʀ Vɪᴍᴇs.

"Not too soon, okay?" Vimes said.

Death, Vimes thought, might have smiled.

Already, Vimes could hardly remember what their ally had looked like— the impressions of shadows, of something glowing and blue. That was probably for the best.

[21] Respectfully.

[22] Slightly less respectfully.

"It's beautiful, sir," Carrot said, wiping a tear. It had taken him a good three minutes to decipher the card— decorated with a horse being eaten by a lion— during which Death had waited patiently. "Thank you. That will go up on the wall in my room."

I ᴀᴍ ɢʟᴀᴅ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘᴏsɪᴛɪᴠᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴ, Death said. Cᴀᴘᴛᴀɪɴ Aɴɢᴜᴀ ᴛʜʀᴇᴡ ᴀ ᴛᴀʙʟᴇ ᴀᴛ ᴍᴇ. I sᴛᴀʀᴛʟᴇᴅ ʜᴇʀ.

"That's Angua," Carrot said fondly. "Thank you for the card. But it's our duty as Watchmen. We don't need thanks."

Pᴏʟɪᴛᴇɴᴇss ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ʜᴜʀᴛs, Death said. I ᴍᴜsᴛ ɢᴏ ɴᴏᴡ. I'ʟʟ ᴄᴀᴛᴄʜ ʏᴏᴜ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀ sɪᴅᴇ.

"Wait, sir," Carrot said, stopping Death politely.

Yᴇs, Cᴀᴘᴛᴀɪɴ?

"I was wondering," said Carrot.

A ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs ᴘᴀsᴛɪᴍᴇ.

Carrot smiled a little. "Yes. These life-timers, they're our True Names?"


"Oh," said Carrot. He brought something out of his pocket: the last life-timer in the whole of Ankh-Morpork. He looked at it, and ran a finger over the letters. "I always wondered," he said, almost to himself. Then he looked up at Death. "If I may, I'd prefer it to say Carrot Ironfoundersson. Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson, that is."

Wᴇ ᴅᴏ ɴᴏᴛ ᴜsᴜᴀʟʟʏ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ʀᴇǫᴜᴇsᴛs.

Carrot smiled that broad, trustworthy smile. "I think I'm probably going to insist."

Sᴏᴍᴇ ᴍɪɢʜᴛ sᴀʏ ᴛʜɪs ɪs ᴛᴜʀɴɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜʀ ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴏɴ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴛʀᴜᴇ ʜᴇʀɪᴛᴀɢᴇ.

"Heritage," Carrot said. "What's a heritage without my parents? Without the Watch and the Fine Men and Women and Other Beings who worked to protect the city before I showed up?" He smiled again. "Turning my back? Not as far as I see it. I think I'd be proud to be buried under the name of my ma and da, the old dwarfs, just like I live under it." Carrot held out his hourglass.

Death took it with one long spindly hand. Something about him suggested a faintly approving air.

As ʏᴏᴜ ᴡɪsʜ, he said, and gave it to Carrot for inspection. It was now engraved with Dwarfish runic letters, but the Captain part was written in Morporkian. Yᴏᴜʀ Tʀᴜᴇ Nᴀᴍᴇ, he said. Gᴏᴏᴅ Lᴜᴄᴋ.

"Thanks," said Carrot, looking quite pleased with himself. He gave it back. "You have a good day, sir."

Tʜᴇ ʟɪᴠɪɴɢ, said Death in a musing sort of tone. Yᴏᴜ ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴄᴇᴀsᴇ ᴛᴏ sᴜʀᴘʀɪsᴇ ᴍᴇ.

"Speaking of that," said Carrot. "I meant to ask. How come you came to the Watch for help? I'm sure the wizards or the witches or the Patrician could have done it."

Death didn't have teeth, but he could almost smile. I ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʜᴀᴅ ᴇɴᴄᴏᴜɴᴛᴇʀs ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴍᴀɴʏ Wᴀᴛᴄʜᴍᴇɴ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ ʏᴇᴀʀs, he said. Iɴᴄʟᴜᴅɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜʀ Cᴏᴍᴍᴀɴᴅᴇʀ Vɪᴍᴇs. Hᴇ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ɴᴏᴛ ʀᴇᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀ.


Aɴᴅ, said Death, leaning in close, Eᴠᴇʀʏ Wᴀᴛᴄʜᴍᴀɴ I ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴇᴠᴇʀ ᴍᴇᴛ ʜᴀs ᴛʀɪᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ғɪɢʜᴛ ᴍᴇ. Hᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ ɢᴏᴏᴅ ᴅᴀʏ, Cᴀᴘᴛᴀɪɴ Cᴀʀʀᴏᴛ.

Carrot saluted. Death disappeared. Now it was on to patrol, after which he was to have dinner with Commander Vimes and Lady Vimes. Small Vimes, of course, would need a gift brought; Carrot thought he would visit one of the dwarfen bakeries for a sweet. Through the window in his office, it was sunny and chattering with life. Carrot pinned the card onto his wall, then stood up and went to the window.

He leaned out it. "Two o'clock!" he said. "And all's well!"