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What's the right question?
— Ornette Lost, Shouldn't You Be in School?

Ornette Lost is the daughter of Prosper Lost, and attends Wade Academy. She lives with her two uncles, the Talkie Brothers, who represent Stain'd-by-the-Sea's Official Fire Department.

She previously attended Stain'd Secondary School, but was transferred, along with all the town's schoolchildren, to the Wade Academy when her school was burned down as part of Hangfire's scheme. She is an expert in origami, as a young Lemony Snicket described in Shouldn't You Be in School?. Ornette is tall, and wears a backwards cap.


Early Life

Ornette lived at The Lost Arms inn with her father, Prosper Lost, and her mother, Alice; she gained her love of sculpture from her mother. Some time before the events of All the Wrong Questions, Ornette smelled smoke- another family trait- and managed to evacuate the hotel while a fire destroyed the Far West Wing. While the guests and staff were brought to safety, Alice perished in the fire.[1]

After this, Prosper sent her to live with her uncles, the Talkie Brothers, who were two firefighters, in hopes that she'd be safer. Her uncles taught her how to sneak popcorn into the movies under coat.

Ornette is briefly mentioned by her father after the fire at Stain'd Secondary; he'd been worried about her, but thankfully nobody had been in the building during the arson.[2] 

Shouldn't You Be in School?

My uncles always tell me I'm driving them to distraction, so let me drive a little distraction Stew's way, once we get outside.
— Ornette Lost, Shouldn't You Be in School?

Ornette was sent to Wade Academy after the fire at Stain'd Secondary with all of the other students. However, Wade Academy no longer functioned as a top-drawer school; all of the students were drugged with laudanum, no classes were held, and all the students were told to stay in their rooms. Ornette managed to avoid the effects of the drug once the rest of the Association of Asssociates arrived and Cleo Knight was able to find bark that fought the laudanum if the students chewed on it.  When Lemony Snicket arrives on campus, the Association meets in the Library and Ornette explains the situation to him, as well as the fact that the students had been forced to unload large fish tanks from a school bus that morning. Ellington Feint


explains that the students will be sent out on a field trip the next day, and also that Hangfire confiscated the Bombinating Beast statue from her, though Ornette doesn't know what it is. Snicket then reveals he is part of the Volunteer Fire Department, and recruits the others into helping him with his plans to stop Hangfire. 

The next day, the bell rings in the clock tower, so Ornette dons a mask, as required, and meets up with the other Associates outside for the field trip. Snicket requests that they throw a wagon over the wall, though he doesn't explain why. Ornette volunteers herself as a distraction, and when Stew Mitchum makes the students line up, Ornette pretends that her mask is blinding her and stumbles away, keeping Stew from seeing the Associates. 

The students are driven to town and ordered to load honeydew melons into the school bus from the back of Partial's. Ornette sneaks away when she sees Snicket, informing him that it might take her longer to sneak away from the group and hide at Hungry's, as Stew was keeping a close eye on her. Snicket asks if she can trust her uncles, and then asks if they buy her popcorn at the movies or say it's too expensive. She replies that they taught her how to sneak it into the movies under her coat, and Snicket says then they're probably trustworthy and asks her to send them a message; she writes them a note, telling them that the fire hydrants had been messed with, and to take the day off instead of fighting fires with dangerous chemicals. 

She later escapes from the school, and stays up late nursing her uncles' wounds with medicine made by Cleo. She manages to meet up with the Associates at Handkerchief Heights, where they agree to communicate secretly and work on a fragmentary plot, before playing the Beethoven Game. 

Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?

I'm the one who made the beasts. If I hadn't made two of them, Hangfire never would have realized what we were up to. I'm responsible for the mess we're in.

Cleo and the associates gather their research.

Both Moxie and Kellar ask Ornette to fold them fake statues of the Bombinating Beast in order to fool Hangfire; as they're all operating on a fragmentary plot, neither knows that the other has the same plan, and without knowing how to tell them, Ornette instead signals Snicket that he will need to be on the next train out of town, where both Moxie and Kellar are planning to meet Hangfire. She also gets onto the train when it makes an unexpected stop, though she was caught by Gifford and Ghede. She distracts them and leaves a folded coffee cup for Snicket on the ground, having seen a mysterious figure enter the Cafe Compartment. 

When Snicket returns to Moxie's compartment, Ornette greets him, and he explains both the murder of Dashiell Qwerty, and that he agreed to trade Hangfire the statue for the freedom of S Theodora Markson. He asks Ornette what she made the steam of the coffee cup origami out of, and she says it was the bark from Wadfe Academy, though they're no longer sure it's actually bark. Stew Mitchum arrives to escort Snicket to Hangfire, and Ornette decides that they should talk to his so-called witnesses. 

Ornette later joins the Associates when they find Snicket, Hangfire and Ellington, and Snicket steals the statue and summons the Bombinating Beast, feeding Hangfire to it. Outside the wreckage of the train, Snicket explains Hangfire's plan to the passengers, and says that she will be able to help the town, as her uncles are teaching her to fight fires. She is noted as looking towards town during Elllington Feint's arrest, and she waves goodbye to Snicket as he leaves and goes into the Clusterous Forest. 

Physical Appearance

Ornette is described as very tall, and she wears a backwards baseball cap. In the illustrations, she has light hair tied into a bun.


Shouldn't You Be in School?

Ornette Lost: How is he?
Lemony Snicket: Worried about you.
Ornette Lost: He should be. Everyone should be worried about everyone here. After my school burned down, the Department of Education told us we'd get a top-drawer education, but everybody in the drawer is wandering around in a daze. This isn't a school. Not really. There are classrooms, but there aren't any classes. There are desks but no desk work. We were searched and told to stay in our rooms, and we stay there, and that's it and that's all.
—Chapter Nine
What's the Bombinating Beast?
— Chapter Nine
Jake Hix: Good morning, Snicket. Take one if you need it.
Lemony Snicket: Thanks, but I've had my coffee.
Ornette Lost: I'll take one of those. I'm feeling quite woozy this morning.
—Chapter Ten
Oh! My mask is blinding me! I need someone strong to help me because I'm helpless!
— Distracting Stew, Chapter Ten
Ornette Lost: I might not be able to meet our peers. Stew is peering at me too closely.
Lemony Snicket: I don't need you to meet us. Not if you can trust your uncles.
Ornette Lost: Doesn't everybody trust their uncles?
Lemony Snicket: Everybody does, but not everybody should. Do they buy you popcorn at the movies or do they say it's too expensive?
Ornette Lost: They taught me how to sneak it into the movies under my coat.
Lemony Snicket: Then you can probably trust them. I need you to bring them a message.
—Chapter Ten
Jake Hix: You didn't even tell us that we were waiting at the wrong place.
Ornette Lost: He told me, and I told my uncles and my uncles told the horses not to respond to any alarm.
—Chapter Thirteen
Lemony Snicket: My chaperone tells me they received a reward for a job well done- a fruit basket from Harold Limetta.
Jake Hix: There are no Italian lime tress. Hangfire must have sent that.
Ornette Lost: And I bet I know what kind of melon was included.
—Chapter Thirteen

Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?

Lemony Snicket. Surprised to see me?
— Chapter Eleven
You found my message. The others were sure you would.
— Chapter Eleven
Ornette Lost: I knew I had to warn everyone, but I was caught sneaking aboard.
Lemony Snicket: Who caught you?
Ornette Lost: Two people who said they were real live train conductors.
Kellar Haines: Gifford and Ghede.
Ornette Lost: I managed to distract them, and I left a message on the floor. I saw a masked figure enter the Café Compartment, before the bell even rang. I figured it was Hangfire.
—Chapter Eleven
I've never been this far, not since they built this part of the railway line.
— Chapter Eleven
Let's fetch those witnesses. We have some more questions for them.
— Chapter Eleven



Prosper Lost
Alice Lost
Ornette Lost