November 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
It was simple. She held out her hand, and he took it. One of the burning trails on his skin slithered down onto her, and as it wrapped itself around her wrist it left him. With it came pain, as the skin on her arm registered the intense, fluid heat and for a moment began to burn.
Then she knew how to not burn, as thoughts, memories, lives upon lives showed themselves to her. She did not live them. they merely clawed their way into her and were there in her mind. She didn’t even scream, just shuddered as the shape on her arm melted and resolved from a tendril into a chain. Many chains, thick red and black shapes, lashing around her limbs. She could feel raw heat climbing down the skin of her back and could hear hundreds of voices explaining that the path of flame was a metaphor. A means to an end. A way of using force, of approaching the cosmos. She didn’t care. In that moment only the body on the ground staring up with dead eyes held any reality for her.
A black stone body pushed itself up through the ground, dust and grit clinging to the spinal lobe in the center of its elongated disc body. She imagined the chains on her arms lashing out, and that’s exactly what they did, crashing down on its body and cutting it in molten halves. Her teeth were bared, her swollen lower lip bleeding and staining her teeth. She’d bitten it. Her hair whirled around her head in the updraft from her own body, and she knew she was covered in fire. She was fire. She hated, and the hate was a bright burning up and down her spine.
More of them were coming out of the hole that had been tunneled out of the ground near her feet. She could vaguely feel something from the grey man who had touched her hand, but she wasn’t focused on him. He could do whatever he was going to do. She was going to burn.
And so were they. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
He had a name, but he had not used it nor heard it used in so long that he didn’t casually remember it. It would have taken an effort, and he didn’t expend it. The Blue One had called him The Orphan, back when he’d been pledged to learn the Path of Water. He had not learned it. He’d meant to, but while he had the aptitude, he did not have the desire.
He pivoted his body in a form he’d learned long ago, when he’d first traveled to Biv. Snaking ropes of fire rippled off of his skin, slashing out at the terribly silent blackness. They did not reflect the lights aimed down at them so much as they ate light so thoroughly that you could tell where they were by how much darker it was. Looking at them caused his eyes to water and twitch. Horrible static emitted from the mass of them, a thousand scraping nails down shale. If they thought at all he couldn’t hear it.
He made a fist. Above him, a fist of pure seething red-orange plasma appeared and crashed down into the mass of them. Even as their figures tumbled and melted from it, more came up. It was pointless. He backed away, contemplating his next move. Flight was an option, if destruction couldn’t be successfully achieved and containment seemed improbable. He had no idea how many living things were on this planet. If it were heavily populated, it should have been like a beacon in the dark and the zero tunnel should have been easy to establish. Instead, he’d only found it by pure accident, following a trail of dead worlds that should have or could have supported life.
He could feel the radio emissions that suggested life, or at least intelligence, perhaps artificial. But the life itself was hidden. If he had not left the zero tunnel up he might have been trapped there. If these things had already killed off the world’s native life he had no reason to stay. Six tendrils of fire lashed out from his shoulders, striking in great sweeping arcs to clear tendrils composed entirely of the smaller black ovals. Scattering them in molten stone spraying backward, glittering trails of red hot rock and severed oval bodies.
He prepared himself to ascend when he felt coherent thoughts behind him. Someone was alive. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
I admit, I could not believe it. I don’t think any of us did. It happened so fast.
I was called back to Throneworld to report on the incidents on several of our least important colonies. These were worlds with sparse populations of Naratsilath, ones that didn’t particularly support agriculture in any form. Not even heavily modified plants in most cases. Hrad had barely even been capable of supporting organic life without assistance. Naratsilath could not walk unaided on its surface. It was not surprising that Kotash barely paid the world any attention, even though it was of course his duty to do so. Kotash has been a fixture in my life growing up, and although I admit I find his behavior in this case lacking, he was always amusing when I was a child. Father’s slightly scandalous friend, he cut through the rules.
Growing up there were always so many rules. For the youngest child, especially. I grew up with Malan and Tatris already long since adults, unreachable, essentially strangers I would see when they came home to report to our parents. Kyrian and Arktiesh were closer to me in age, but Kyrian was like the spiny plants that they try and use in every room of the shining mountains to pretend life could possibly endure there without our constant toil. Kyrian was simultaneously always there and yet revealing nothing, as carefully cultivated and as inaccessible as those jagged fronds. Arktiesh was easier to get to know, since were were barely a few decades apart, but Arktiesh is as transparent as Kyrian is opaque. Arktiesh dislikes dealing with people, but loves tactics, strategies, loves watching others and trying to understand how to move them to his desired outcome. Tatris and Malan want to rule, but Arktiesh wants to be the means.
And as for me, Rythe, the daughter born last? I joined the Kandrakoleth as soon as I could, not because it was expected of me. I joined to escape. In the end, I ended up finding comfort in my service. Tatris used it to find a voice, Malan used it to find a mate, and Arktiesh found it suitable for his overall goals. None of us understood why Kyrian would not serve. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
“Why tell me this?” The child looked up at Kyrian with a frank and baffled expression, still speaking words in response to thoughts. Behind those words, Kyr could already feel the emotions, the subtle impressions. The boy was of the blood, there was no doubt. Could be no doubt. Despite being freeborn to long dwellers, he was Tsilath. One of the blood, and thus, he could not stay with the terrified woman and resentful yet horror-paralyzed man. If he had air in his lungs he might have sighed.
“Just listen.” Kyrian surveyed the tiny sun-baked mud and stone home the two long dwellers lived in. Like the rest of their settlement, it dated back roughly four thousand years. Kyrian often wondered why all the people, the Tsilath and the Naratsilath alike, counted time the way they did, in units handed down from before there was even a people as they now existed. In the rounded, carefully shaped dome of the house he felt the boy’s parents stares. There was no way to explain to them why their son would leave with him that night. Another of the Tsilath would most likely simply take the boy from where he found him. He knew his sisters and brothers would, and dump the child off to be raised with the bastards and orphans of the Tsilath, not truly kin but more than kind. Even Tatris probably would, for all that he doted on his own children. “When they came, they were… unconcerned. They knew that life like us existed. They knew that it often covered worlds with valuable minerals they use in their birth oceans. But they were neither convinced that anything made of what we are could be intelligent, nor were they particularly concerned with finding out. Like the ones we do not name, they were happy with a state of affairs which rewarded their convenience.”
“And so they took Klarakshton. Had they not, I would not have come here today.” « Read the rest of this entry »