Homesick I’m quiet as we enter the scout pod and rise toward Keesha’s ship. I smell the Fiklow pilot’s fear, and I can’t help but touch his thoughts. He wonders what I am. A Jiku wearing a Fiklow body? The shadow to the queen? Or a spirit from the world of the dead, come to consume the living?
The Cave We glide quickly through the spinning, sparkling tunnel that leads from the Seven Towers to Siksa. An energy shield surrounds us and protects us from the wild energies of the tunnel, and whatever dangers we may find at tunnel’s end. “Are you mad at me, Yagrin?” asks Dilasa, as she touches my mind. She’s afraid of the anger that I showed before, and her mind touch is weak. “No, Dilasa.” “I’m not angry any more, but I wish that you had listened to me.”
Story Music fills an open plaza near one of the river bridges, and bright spheres of colored ice dance in the air, fifty feet above the bridge. It’s warm in the city, but Mayla spins cool breezes around us to mirror the ice above. There are crystal tables in the plaza arranged in a small circle, set with food and drink. We sit and watch and listen, and eat.
Away Shazira is furious. “You’re leaving?!” I repeat what Mayla told us, and I try to explain, but Shazira continues to yell at me. Tzina and Dilasa come to our room, surprised by the yelling they hear when I open the privacy shield. Shazira stops when she sees the children. “What’s wrong?” asks Dilasa quietly. “Visions!” answers Shazira. “What visions?” asks Tzina. Shazira is silent. She doesn’t want to speak to the children while she is so angry at me.
Star Map Morning comes. I walk around the starship as it rests on the sand, not far from the waves of the inland sea. Mayla’s new design is fast, elegant, and beautiful. The ship is eighty feet in diameter, reddish-gold, black, silver, and green. When the city was built, no one planned to launch ships from here. Still, there are a few open places in the city large enough for the ship: the sand, the ocean, and the flat roofs of several buildings. Any of these would do, since we can take off from any surface, without damage to the ship or its surroundings. “Mayla?” “Yes, Yagrin?” “Why do you want us to launch from the beach?” “It’s convenient,” she answers. Mayla likes to pretend that she acts on pure logic, but she was built with a personality and emotions, and they color her actions. Today, she remembers her…
Weapons Shazira sits next to me as the ship returns to Siksa. We’re quiet, and our spirits rest, together. Dilasa sits on the other side of Shazira, and looks troubled. She turns toward me, and I sense her mind touch, and her fear. “How do we stop the Spiral, ina?” “Don’t you need a plan?” I have no plan, and no words to answer her yet. I gently squeeze Dilasa’s small hand, touch it to my cheek, and look at her. Shazira feels Dilasa’s fear, and looks at my calm eyes. Then she takes Dilasa’s hand, and mine, and presses them to her heart. When she lets go, we are all calm, and I know what to say. “I have ideas, little one, not a plan, but don’t worry.” “The way is waiting for us.” “It just seems out of reach.” “Help me let go and listen, and the…
A Good Death Dilasa and I walk again on Sinesu, among shattered, blood-stained pieces of Sindar’s monument. Nearby, one of the large, automated weapons sits, quiet and dark. Part of the vision has come true Wisten is dead and the monument gone, but the town survives with little damage, and we’ve driven away the hunters.
Lost Mayru I return to Keesha’s ship, and share my memories of the Mayru, growers of stars, children of the star spirits. “How will they help us defeat the Spiral, ina?” asks Dilasa. “I don’t know,” I answer, frustrated, “but their destiny is tied up with ours.” “Let’s look for a vision,” she suggests. We enter the Dream Hunter gateway together, hunting for a vision about the Mayru. The wanderer appears before us, seeding Sinesu with his children. The past is clear, but their future is hidden. “Why can’t we find their future, ina?” asks Dilasa, as we leave the gateway. “I can’t explain it.” I look for answers elsewhere, quieting my thoughts, and asking my inner self how the creatures can help us. One word rises into my mind, healing, and I feel like I’m falling into a hole, a distant place that I can never escape from….
Cocoon “Now, you want to let the Spiral go?!” yells Dilasa. “It has to die.” “It’s already dead, Dilasa,” I answer quietly. “The group mind is shattered, and the energy gone.” “Only a few spirits remain.” “I don’t care,” she says. “Kill them all.” “The remaining spirits are too weak to join together again, and they’ll never survive on their own.” “They’re dying?” “Yes, Dilasa.” “They won’t last long.”