Wrapped in Storms

  Shields We walk together on the mountain, enjoying the cool breeze. Berek stops and looks confused when I remove his energy shield. “Why did you dissolve the shield, ina?” he asks. “I can’t fly without it.” “Your next practice will be without a shield, but you won’t be doing much flying.” I take him up five hundred feet. “When I release you, let yourself fall for five seconds.” “Then what?” “Connect to the web to stop your fall.” “Hover in place for a few seconds, but don’t move.” “Then rise to where you started.” “Disconnect, count to five as you fall, and repeat.” “For how long?” “Hundreds or thousands of times!” “Do it until I tell you to stop.” “That will take hours.” “That’s right.” “Get started.”

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Spinning Sword

  Flying High We fly together from the barren lands toward Tshuan. You can see a person’s heart by watching how high they fly. Some fly close to the ground, just high enough to clear obstacles. They fly, but they’re afraid that if they get too far from the ground, they’ll never be able to return to their life on the ground. Other Jiku fly higher — one, two, three thousand feet high. They enjoy the height and the view, but flying is just a way to get to a destination. Then there are the Jiku who fly as high as they can. They would leave the world, if not stopped by the cold, and the need to breathe.

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