Return 7

Behind them, shadowed by one of the empty buildings and what had once been a dense wooden fence protecting a garden, one human figure and one much smaller one watched them go. Aquamarine light splashed, and the smaller shape became human, at least in form. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything that beautiful,” the one who had been small said, tone approaching reverence. “No,” the other said quietly, “nothing even close for a very long time. An Enodian dancer, to traditional if simplified Enodian music, very obviously blessed by Meyar…” “But they’re the heretics. Aren’t they?” He didn’t sound …

Continue reading

Return 6

Narcissa, bounding along effortlessly in hare-form, looked back as she heard her sister mutter a curse under her breath. They couldn’t really question Kieran’s logic, that a dance meant to honour one earthborn and invoke her blessing might be an effective way of coaxing another into coming out to talk to them and perhaps giving them further pieces to this puzzle. Nor could they question Tyrel’s caution that they needed to do so far enough from their camp in the middle of the town that there would be no prying eyes. And Lysandra had done a short flight herself to …

Continue reading

Return 5

Kaveri stirred the pot of soup and tasted it. Good, the herbs she’d added had turned it from tolerable to savoury. At least, she thought so; regional tastes could vary quite a lot. Still, it was healthy but should be reasonably gentle on bodies that had been short on food for some time, and that was what mattered most. A covered dish held rounds of simple pan-bread to accompany the soup, though it had made serious inroads into their supply of flour. Carrying food around definitely had both advantages and disadvantages. There wasn’t much here for even her to forage …

Continue reading

Return 4

Half a world away, a small woman with russet hair, who had spent more nights walking this rooftop garden than the youthfulness of face and body would suggest, gazed out over a nocturnal landscape that, to her eyes, was entirely clear but had a yellow tinge. The land was too flat, too rocky, to feel right. Somewhere deep in her heart, home created an image of thickly forested hills, where the flora and fauna alike were very different from anything to be found here, and of a humble dwelling that was little more than a cave, though made by her …

Continue reading

Return 3 pt3

(chapter continued from previous post) “Your husband isn’t here?” Narcissa asked. “Gone, like all Ilek’s master craftsmen, looking for a place he can earn a living to support his family. He’ll be back when he can. Meanwhile, I do what I can to keep his children and myself fed, and remember my duty to Ejiro’s Bride even when many others forget.” She paused in front of a sandstone shop, closed like the others. Unlike the others, the faded and chipped sign above showed the unmistakable form of an astrolabe. Enodian technology turns up in the oddest places, Lysandra reflected. “Your …

Continue reading