Choosing Death

  The Deadly Sun A few days pass and the distribution of the inhibitors is complete. Chiwan, the healing master, joins them in their work. Just as he guided the sisters when they left their cave, so he guides the sleepers. He joins me when I reassemble the masters, to answer their questions about life […]


  The Twins The Jiku guards are gone, and the royal compound is nearly deserted. One Kizak guard brings him back to the ship, and returns his commdisk.

“This isn’t mine,” says Ilaz.

“It is,” says the guard. “I put it in the storage area myself, and no one else has been there.”

It […]


  Reunion “Prince Ilaz!” says Siya, the director of the research center. She’s about seventy years old, middle age for the Jiku.

“Director Siya, you’re still alive!”

She laughs. “You know I’m not that old.” “I missed you.” “I haven’t seen you in over ten years.” “You stopped coming, and then I heard you were […]

Diplomacy and Death

  Secret Meetings “I don’t like it,” says her elder advisor. “There’s no way we can protect you tomorrow when you visit the emperor on his ship.”

“At the moment, they mean us no harm, elder,” says Keela. “Besides, Berek will be there with me.”

“They are heavily armed, and we don’t know how many […]

Prisons of the Mind

  Neyima The next day, Brewky arranges for me to leave my job, and come to work for the syndicate. My old boss isn’t happy, but Brewky pays him off.

“I’m surprised he didn’t just take you.” “I couldn’t say no.”

“I think he wanted to make me happy, and I suggested that he treat […]

Fast and Slow

  Night Night is the same as day, here in the cave. Only our inner clocks tell us that the day is gone. Every Jiku knows whether it’s morning, evening, or night, even in a dark place, with no clues from the sun. We always know the exact hour and minute.

Time is twisted […]

Fields of War

  Barren Lands Chiwan is not home when I arrive, but I find a message waiting for me.

“Find me, Yagrin, before you release the old ones.”

How does he know? Did Shazira contact him?

I check the timestamp on the message, and discover that the message was recorded an hour before I left the […]

The Warrior and the Dreamer

  Stealing Her Thoughts Tzina is dying. I transform myself into Tzina’s exact form, fire eyes and all. Then I spread my listening body. This lets me see and feel someone’s thoughts, feelings, and memories.

Shazira has never seen anyone do this. Flow masters, like Shazira, use masks to change their shape, but never take […]