Filarin’s cave is hidden within the ring, a circle of mountains that once surrounded a lush plateau home to Taluk, the most beautiful city of the old kingdom.
When Botzar used the sword, it erased every trace of the city, leaving an unnaturally thick forest always covered by clouds.
Within the trees is the Breath of Life, the place where I first found the sword, and must soon return, to release its energy.
The cave is deep within a mountain and difficult to reach, but I find a PathFinder gate that takes us there quickly.
Can this be … Read more
Waiting for the Storm
I wake early today, before first sun, and walk onto the deck.
The ocean calms me, and I forget myself as I watch the waves far below.
Another clear day.
Unusual weather for this time of year, the season of violent lightstorms.
I find myself strangely disappointed with the clear weather.
A storm would fit better with the way I feel inside.
Shazira and I sleep in the same room, but most of the time, I still avoid her.
I’m a ghost, caught between worlds, haunted by the dead and the living.
My old life … Read more
“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 won’t last long.”
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, … Read more
Dilasa sleeps in a green guesthouse near Wisten’s home.
The bed and the room are round, and the house is full of windows.
A gentle breeze blows through Dilasa’s long, black hair, and across the dark red sheets.
She sleeps for hours after the fire that took her guardians.
I can do nothing for her while she sleeps, but still, I watch over her, through the open doorway to the next room.
Her body is healed, but her dreams are troubled, and her energy is strange.
The ship travels outside of normal space.
Rings of energy spin around us, with tiny blue sparks striking the ship, again, and again.
It takes hours to reach the rendezvous point with Fwitay’s commander.
Makish and I stay in the cargo hold of the old Jiku ship, as we travel.
I flow some chairs, cushions, even a couch to rest on, and I add color to these cold, gray walls.
Then I surround us with food and drink, so we can renew our strength and find comfort.
The Shape of Emptiness
It’s still night when Shazira wakes, to a soft, sad sound coming from the deck outside our bedroom.
She wraps herself in a warm maroon cloak, covered with yellow flowers.
Moving silently, she slips on sandals, and goes out on the deck of the Watchtower.
The morning is still cool, especially at this height.
One of the Kishla is sitting on the deck, singing a song that tears the heart.
Shazira has never seen one this age, only a month or two old.
The young ones are never seen among us.
I wake a … Read more
I wake Shazira and the children, hours before first sun, to begin the trip home.
The building is quiet, except for a few guards who greet us as we move through the halls.
Makish and Chiwan will stay here, for now, to watch over the sisters.
The outer doorway is sealed when we reach it.
“Open it,” I tell the guard.
“Tshuan is covered with a powerful storm,” he says.
“You’ll need to delay your journey.”
“Thanks for your concern,” I tell him, “but the storm won’t stop us.”
When the doorway opens, I surround us with a … Read more
Berek and I wear the same style party robes, but in different colors.
I’m not used to so much color, but it’s common in Tshuan.
This elegant pattern of cobalt blue, gold, and black caught me, the moment I first saw it.
The fabric weighs almost nothing.
Why am I here at this party?
To walk around in beautiful clothing?
To enjoy the king’s attention?
I’m here to help the sisters, and understand more about Tshuan, and what role it will play in the coming time of war.
Keela approaches me, looking troubled.
“How long until … Read more
Makish and I land on the deck of the Watchtower outside the healing room.
As I walk through the door, Tzina hugs me tightly.
“I missed you so much, ina,” she says.
I smile at her.
“I was only gone for a day!”
“I know,” she says, “but I was lost in my head so long, before you saved me.”
“I want to be near you and oodah.”
“How is Berek?” I ask her.
“Calmer,” she says.
“He’s getting used to the idea that you’re his father.”
“How does he like having a sister?”
“Ina, he and I … Read more