Silence

  Pilgrims The spaceport near the capital city is called StarPath. It was designed by one of the empire’s leading architects, filled with curves and high ceilings. Most of the waiting areas are underground, beneath the clusters of landing pads. The ships rise and rest quietly, through g-tech that allows them to manipulate gravity. The above-ground terminal is made of three domes, surrounding a taller fourth dome, with a blue stone tower. The smaller domes are red, yellow, and green, with black-roofed walkways at ground level leading to the larger white dome. Each of the three outer domes has a large entrance, marked by an arch thirty feet tall. A river of stars and planets moves across the arch, displaying the colonies of the empire. The inner walls of the spaceport are also in motion, covered with info streams, or decorative, moving patterns. I find the loading gate, and a…

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Colors of the Heart

A Free Heart   Late at night, the inside of the ship is quiet and dark, in the areas where the pilgrims sleep. The elders keep a close watch on the pilgrims, enforcing a rigid schedule, with an early bedtime. The common rooms for the crew are bright and noisy, hours after the pilgrims have gone to bed. I sleep near the crew, and I often stay up with them. The captain lets the staff decide their own hours, as long as the work gets done. The young body that I wear doesn’t need much sleep. Still, if I’m tired in the morning, I sleep late, or use healing energy to restore my strength. The ship has a cage projector that cuts me off from the web, but I can block it. I use a nullifier sparingly, to shield me from the projector, and reconnect with the web. We’re far…

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Long Way Home

  Alone I walk slowly, letting the crowd move past me toward the shuttle. Mayani takes my arm, and we stop. He pushes on my mind wall, and I drop it. He gives me a series of three security codes. Can you remember them? Easily. Your identity has been authorized for full access to the facility, Lukara. Enter the main storage area, and find the control surface. Touch in the codes without requesting a command, and a hidden door will open, giving you entry to a ship hanger. Thank you. Where will you go? Do you have another ship hidden on another world that can travel between galaxies? How long will it take you to reach your home? The ship you’ve given me will be good enough. As soon as I get far enough from this planet, the effects of the cage projector will fade. I’ll be home shortly after…

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Lost Light

  Watchers My energy sight is gone. I can’t feel the web, or the movement of energy. Still, I have a vague sense that Kihyez is scanning me. “What’s wrong with you?” he asks, a moment later. “You were a master when you first met us.” “Now you have no strength at all!” “How can you be a watcher like this?” “The others will crush you.” “Others?” He grabs me without answering, and flies toward the second tower. The towers are great stone cylinders, fifty feet wide and two hundred fifty feet tall, that glitter in the daylight. The surface of the towers is decorated with thin streams of colored crystal that move up the towers in gentle spirals that branch, merge, and disappear. A sharp crystal spire rises another thirty feet above the cylinders. The base of each tower is surrounded by a garden with flowers always in bloom,…

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Bright Shadows

  Four Lands The travel suit is light-grey, a little thicker and heavier than ordinary clothing, and warm to the touch. It shapes itself to me when I put it on, and I feel a trickle of energy from the shield that spreads across the material. I soon forget that the suit is there, even the mask that covers my face. I hover over the towers at ten thousand feet, while I scan through terrain maps on the headset display. There are a few small islands scattered through the ocean, but only four continents, three of them joined to a fourth. The seven races and the guardians refer to them as the four lands: First, North, West, and East. FirstLand is the heart of them all, a near-perfect circle, fifteen hundred miles in diameter. The towers rest on a plateau at its center. Legend says that creation began here.

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Outsiders

  Pull The towers shine when seen with energy eyes, even the black tower that hides in the sea. As I approach it, I see that something has changed while I was with the Davow. The bottom edge of the tower has a visible glow. I need to get back to the surface, and go to Siksa, but something inside the tower pulls at me. Neither my fire body or my inner sight can penetrate the walls, and there are no openings. A voice within me whispers that I need a physical body to get answers, so I raise a shield, and fill it with a pressurized bubble of air. Then I take my Jiku form. The tower glows even brighter when I reach out to touch it, but the light fades the moment I pull away. I flow into a Davow form, and wrap myself around the base of…

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Starlight

  Trust “Wait,” says the Bizra to me and the Gen. “Watchers must be taught Sindar’s laws, the Madar language, and the secrets of the towers.” Neebol and Vala back away from the tower, and the opening closes. “How long will this take?” I ask. “I need to leave for Siksa as soon as possible.” “But you’re a watcher!” says the Bizra. “You can’t just leave.” I never intended to stay in the tower, but it’s too soon to reveal the truth. First, I need to gain the knowledge that the watchers have, in case they know something I can use against the Kizak. “Sindar was also a watcher,” I tell them, “but he left Kihyez in his place, when there was a need.” “True,” says one of the Madar. “You can leave after you learn our ways.” “A few hours in the trainer should be enough.” “Let Yagrin absorb…

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