So basically I have written the most annoyingly formatted scenes in the history of creation. And now I am giving them to you! This is the revamped first novel in the space dragon
universe, and in revamping I apparently lost my mind
and thought, hey! In the original novel it's half-told through footnotes, because the narrating character is psychic, and the story is two-leveled, I should do that here, but in, like, a style that suits Nikolao!
Ha ha ha ha, what have I created
, etc. If it weren't for rich text formatting I would have wept profusely trying to format this. I am madly, deeply, truly in love with the rich text feature. (I should be proposing any day now.) I suddenly understand how people do awesome things with footnotes! Wow!title:
the ghost in my mouthauthor: cridecoeur
/dextrocardiacprompt: prompt #173
and lost colony for parthenon
. i, uh, kind of twisted the prompts to my own nefarious ends.rating:
um, this story will eventually be nikolao/pipra, but pipra's like ten
in this one. so, basically, none.warning:
subscripts. lots of them. for real. ( There's... really no good quote to take for this. Read on, I guess! )
“The man who mistakes divinity for superstition
has made a fatal mistake."
The drumbeats (120 beats per minute, rapid, leading through the final stages of dying) were audible even as we stepped from the drop ship. The night was humid and hot – even after dark there is little escape from the heat, during Amah’s summers – and as Dioscorus stepped from the ship beside me, he grunted in surprise.
“Still not used to it,” he said, when I slanted him a look. “Never been anywhere this hot.”
“You’ve had three years,” I said, “I’d suggest you adjust.”
Dioscorus grunted, again, and walked away without any further reply. I sighed and followed behind him (in the distance voices were raised to singing, adding another tone, higher frequency, stimulating the higher mind) and behind me came Vespera and Venka, Vespera already suffused with white light, Venka shifting to long lean muscle, Jejohil Temol (54 stretches per hour, mottled, rippling green to hide among the brush). We had not landed far from the camp, just far enough for the rest of the Tijojil not to be disturbed by our landing. Soon I could clearly make out their shapes, thrown by firelight.
“Vespera,” Dioscorus said, and she nodded and went ahead of us. As she broke from the scrublands, into the circle, cries were raised, before a sudden silence was thrown over them, as Vespera’s innate light soothed them to mind-blankness (veritable mass hypnosis, patently unbelievable until I met her) .
We broke from the shadows and into the circle, passing blank-faced dancers and drummers, to where a man lay (breathing thready, weak – we had little time before he came up, soulless and mindless, trapped between worlds, undying). in the center on a pallet woven of river reeds. Beside him sat a small child, neither obviously male nor female (womanly curves at their hips, flatness at chest, leanness in musculature, and delicacy in facial features) with the soft haze of light about their head that signified one who traveled to Zejohus Mbuol, the Dying Lands, to heal fractured souls.
“Cefus Aru!” I said, shocked into indiscretion.
Dioscorus looked at me in a way that said, quite clearly, that I was lucky it was only he and Venka and Vespera who had heard me. I was careful not to apologize, simply turning back to regard the child, taking a deep breath (trembling somewhere in my chest). Their eyes were closed, seeing into another world, but their face was expressive, radiant. I took another, steadier breath.
“I’m going,” I said and hesitated only a moment before crossing the distance and crouching down to sit beside them. I looked at their face a final time (trying to memorize features that would, no doubt, change in Zehojus Mbuol, making the attempt rather futile) before closing my eyes and reaching for my heartbeat and the world behind it.
I traveled down the roots of the brush land, through a tunnel of packed-dirt walls and emerged on a red-rock mesa, where above hung the planets and stars (overlarge, hanging close, an impossible gravitation had Zehojus Mbuol played by the otherwise unbendable laws of the universe). Astoo was not immediately visible, and so I called for her, ending on a shrill whistle. A sudden flutter of wings and she was beside me (a bird, small in size, feathers riotously purple and red, wing span no more than two hands across) twittering and dipping her head. She turned once in the air, then darted off, wings fluttering, and I was quick to shift (four-legged muzzled, 32 stretches in an hour, pure white, an unsuited predator for the mesa, had my intention been to hunt or hide) following her.
“Hurry, hurry,” she said, “He’s going to wake up,” and I pressed my lean muscles for all they were worth, stretching long over the mesa, running hard.
We came upon him in the sudden way things happened, here, and I shifted to a halt, claws biting into the dust. He spirit was not old or decrepit like his body had been, but spry with youth, timeless. A child held on to one of his hands, clearly neither boy nor girl, the same Twice-Born who had sat beside him in life (features hardly shifted, as if they did not play by the usual rules of World-Walkers). Beside them sat Jortur (four-legged, long-necked, ornately horned, coat the color of rich earth) watching with an unnerving intensity.
The child blinked up at me, several times, before smiling and swinging the arm they were holding.
“It’s okay,” they said. “He’s better, now. You can take him.”
Astoo circled several times, twittering. “Be quick,” she said, and I shifted again, back to my common form, standing up from where I crouched among the rocks. I closed the distance between us in two strides, only stopping when bare inches separated the spirit and I, looking into his eyes. I set one hand on his cheek, his form cool to the touch, leaning closer so that my lips nearly touched his ear.
“E hepus gosen,” I whispered. “Fummus en, ‘A cefus hepur oc.’” and then I kissed him firmly on the mouth, sealing the words between his lips. He vanished, entirely (his spirit for the gates, his next life buried under his skin). I stepped back, closing my eyes, tipping my head back and breathing out the smoke that filled my lungs.
When I looked down again, the Twice-Born child was watching me through big, blue eyes, smiling. He reached out with the hand that had held the spirit’s, only to take mine, turning it palm-up, and touching a curious finger to the blood-red crystal imbedded in my palm.
“U cefus temol,” they said and then bent down to kiss my palm, directly over the crystal. My body was suddenly filled with such heat, felt as if it had been split so wide open that I crumpled to the ground, one arm across my stomach as if trying to hold in my guts. I gasped, feeling my mind blossoming open, suddenly, thoughts visible, spiraling, written clearly across the air. The child reached out to touch them, smiling wider, then closed their eyes and thought, my name is Pipra, clearly, in my own mind.
The pain vanished, suddenly, leaving only the noise of a fresh link between us, thoughts spiraling around each other, intimate.
“Cefus Aru,” I said and was suddenly flying back, upwards, through a dirt-packed tunnel, along the roots of the brush-land, Pipra beside me, with me, to the Living World in which our bodies waited for us.