Thin knives of rain water pour down, soaking far more then any fat drops could. I wait under my umbrellaa t the bus stop. My hands are still shaking. There are cuts on my skin and my clothes is marked with smoke, blood and dirt. My breathing won’t calm down. I need the bus to get here, to take me away, not out of this nightmare, but onto the next leg of my journey. I can never leave these days and nights of horror. Every death of mine is undone. Every life i watch torn asunder is forever lost.
I got through the park with so little trouble. I’ll keep going. I can’t leave this life until i understand how to die. I’ve died so many times that i figured that i was dead. I’ve been running through this city for the last two days, and i’m losing my breath. I know i have to catch teh next bus that comes to this stopand get off four stops before the end. if i miss my stop i’ll die again, and i don’t know how long that will set me back. When i get off teh stop i have to find the marked door, only i don’t know how its marked or what it looks like, and past the marked door is the next marker, which i guess will take me to Hues, who is suppose to know how to help me.
There’s a darkness coming up on my left. I hope it isn’t another nightmare. I want to get on the bus and get going. I want to know how to die so i can wake up from this city. I want to not have to shoot the nightmare that’s waiting for teh bus with me. I want the rain to wash the blood off my dress.
//Cat, Quazon speakeasy
“You street samurai?”
“Do those still exist?”
“i heard of a few still kicking. Out of tzu mostly.”
“they do stagnate in their old ways. Push the new into the old traditions, no matter how they fit.
“and look where we are now. So what then?> ronin? Muscle or thug back up?”
“ronin would be the closest term.”
“up for sale or contracted?”
“contracted by engagement. No ties at present, no retainer outisde of a weekend once a month. What did you have in mind.”
“i know someone who might be interested in your expertise.”
“while we’re on the subject, do you claim any expertise to sell? You seem lke an all around type, but i’ve been wrong before.”
“quick guard and fast draw, both short range.”
“not if i can help it.”
“i’m surprised. Most ronin on the street carry their gear openly. I wouldn’t have guessed from your load out. What’re your feeds?”
“Flat tech summons mostly. Their the quickest i could find.”
“do you have the bionics to match?”
“no i keep clean of most of the invasive stuff. I don’t like toomuhc of thework being done for me. Makes me lazy.
“old school i see.”
“my hometown was oldschool. We didn’t have teh cash to front an of teh high level tech. First two tiers were all that the high rollers could afford, so that left teh rest of us to compete in other ways.”
“you got out though, and here we find you. Anyway, i’ve got i guy who can upgrae or outfit if you or my contact think it’s needed. I’ll go ahead and set the deal to the contact?”
“go for it. Whats your take in this?”
“5% off the top. “
“seems pretty low considering teh stakes i think i’m getting involved in. “
“any more and i’d have to do more then facilitate. As it is i fence you to who knows where to sell you, and from their you and the buyer work things out. Middlemanagement suits me fine, thank you. I don’t like teh risk and my hands aret’ nearly as bloodstained as the other parties concerned.”
“at least not literally.”
“what do i care for the morals? Especially here? Go to this place tomorrow night. I should hear back from the contact by mornings sun, an di’ll pass it on to you by noon.”
“who’s the guy i’m going to?”
“he’s alled the Shopkeep. He only lets in people who know his name.”
“so what’s his name?”
“that, you’ll find out tomorrow, if all goes well.”
The bus pulled up a few minutes later, before the darkness filled the stop. It wasn’t a city bus like i’m used to, beut this old trolley bus, from a century or so back. Its wheels sparked slightly as they rolled along the street. Whatever colour had once painted it had long gone, leaving adead grey and brown to spread aournd it. I find myself thinking of the Flying Dutchman, and wetehr in recent times he took to driving a trolley instead of his ship. The doors rattle open as i hurried into the shelter of the bus, finally getting out of the rain.
The driver wore a heavy cloak of a dark materilal i couldn’t guess, both shiney and matt in the same instant, akin to fresh ink onpaper before it dries seconds later. His fae was deep set, with cheekbones almost impossible to locate. Despite the roundness of his face his face looked emanciated and stretched taut. His eyes were sunken and half closed, and what eyes were beneath i ouldn’t see. His forehead stretched back into the cloaks hood, and if he had any hair it wasn’t notiable. Maybe it was hidden under the cloak. The hands that rested on the archaic and peeling wheel were thin as well, though what muscle was plainly apparent beneath th wrapped skin looked to droop, their weight finally exasperated even to support themselves. His skin was an off blue grey colour, as if he had just rolled around in blue ash. It blotted at pointrs and his veins stood out as rivers on his neck and what little skin was visible.
I closed my umbrella and tried to hold it in front of my shotgun. I don’t want him to think i’m any danger. I stammer and wonder how i must look, standing on his bus’s stop ledge, dripping with rain and blood.
“I..” I start, but one of his hands rises from the wheel and he gestures me on. His feet arenb’t on any pedals. There aren’t any pedals below the steering wheels. My eyes widen as his head turns towards me, his eyes never opening.
“I’m trying to- to get to ah-“
“you’d be Emy. What stop?” his voice slithers out, somehow clanking against the walls of the bus. I can feel the darkness behind me through the open door. How the driver knows my name is lost to me, but so long as he takes me on my way from this place to the next i don’t care.“Fourth from the last, sir.” I don’t know why i called him sir. I don’t all anyone sir. His blank gaze looking through me felt like a chill wind. He seemed to command authority, if only over this small domain of his.
“That’s quite a trip. Sit down,” He said, his head shifting back. The doors behind me snapped shut and immediately the decaying warmth of the bus mae me exhale. Within the bus wasn’t light, but what seemed like a long picee of thread hung around the teh border of the bus’s roof, strung up like Christmas lights. That was what immediately came to mind, as at various points along the trhead were small flames, flickering slowly, casting pools of warm light inside teh bus.
I shivered and sat down on the closest bench, immediately behind the bar that stood alongside the steps to teh door. The bus rattled to life and i felt the rain slip off me. The next second my breath caught in my throat as the bus tilted over a cliff and fell into darkness.
The buzz rings against her arm. Looking down at teh intruding sound, she rubs her eyes awake and reaches to the metal wrapped into a bracelet around her right arm. She riasies her arm and hears teh scraty voice materialize from inside the flat piece of tech.
“up and at em Ronin girl.”
He had met Card the night before in one of the few wetwire pubs that the town hid beneath its respectable venues. Outside the Quazon hotel turned safehouse, an early morning rainfall was finishing up, eroding less of teh ground with each wave of acidic moisture. The mining town had been a good gig but his retainer had been terminated outside of his orders several weeks past and he was beginning to feel on edge. He didn’t have enough money to get out of town by plane so any job that provided transport was welcome indeed.
His room was stark. Of the many subeterranian hotales, this was one of teh seadiest and heepest. It wasn’t frequented by locals as much, but by the business men and tourist that came through. It had been home for the last two years, save when he had been outside of teh town on assignment for different retainers. For teh last few weeks he hadn’t been out much, choosing to slep and recouperate until someone found him rather then himgoing out to find someone.
It didn’t matter who found him, be it a contact a client or someone sent to tie up loose ends. One of teh benefits of a hotel like his was that bodies weren’t too far outside of normal. Clean up crews were on staff, though anexpensive room service item.
The hardwood floor was warm as he got up and moved to the windows screens which lined one of the walls. He was on one of the middle floors, facing the canyon wall. The window screens showed an above ground scene, blurry with perspective distance. At teh tops of each panel were small glass rectangles, far darker then what teh screen portrayed. These let in the atual daylight, filtered through the enclosed space opf the canyon, trhough the glass shielded dome above the hotel. The shield was p to limit and filter teh air that teh mines put out as well as teh rain which fell, isolving and eroding the ground, now filtered into old fashion rainwater. The morning sun drifted through, paler then teh simulated orane light prohected tform teh window screen, which now showed a sun rise of in far distance.
“ yeah it’s me, i got your contacts profile, you’re good to go. We’re meeting up in an hour and 20 minutes to set you up and get you on your way” card said.
“gods, what happened to noon?”
“you rather stay in bed?”
“not a chance. I’m up.” He pulled himself to a stand and walked over to teh window screen, pearing through the rectangle into the grey air above. “where’s teh meet?”
“get your stuff and meet us at the port. You’re out of Quazon for a while it seems.”
“thanks Card, see you soon.” He said, ending the call.
He looked around the room. Blank walls, svae for teh windowscreens. Hardwood floor. Futon with covering sheets. Against one wall lay the empty duffel bag. Next to the shell was teh portable armoire and inventory that held his mobile life. Sighing, he walked over nad withdrew clothes for the days travels, tossing them on the bed. Folding closed the tiered clothes compartmenst, he picked out his weapons and tossed those onto the futon as well. Dropping down the racks and foldouts into the small space that folded into themselves, their contents being moved into FlatSpace. Within a few minute the armoire had been reduced to a small crate, which he fitted snugly into the duffel bag.
My worldly possessions reduced to a carry on, he thought.
He walked over to teh adjacent wall. Nondescriptive foreign birds flitted in the image. Tapping an active panel on the widnow screen, it shifted from the morning vista to a mirror.
He stood watching the reflected image of his body. The curves of his shoulders arching into his chest and somach down to his legs. He started into his, the iris a solid colour with a geometric distribution of flecs, programmed to look natural and unmodified unless you knew what to look for. His left arm and shoulder were highlighted with muted chrome, or teh colour chrome would be without its gloss. He stretched his muscles and teh nerves fired off in the triogger mechanism built into the cybernetics. His fingers split into claws, a swept forward blade protruding from the skin almost soundlessly. Hthe skin of his arm moved apart in shells and aloud for teh metal plating underneath to take place on top of it, creating a gauntlet which swept past the elbow joint, while leaving the joint untouched. Within five seconds his fingers were now sharpened angular claws, his forearm a gauntlet of dark brushed metal. Holding it up to the mirror, the dark claw ontrasted painfully against his pale skin. Five seconds later his arm had transformed back to a more natural state, leaving only the mutted chrome seams as evidence, camouflaged as tattoos and aesthetic markings.
Sighing, he closed his eyes and stood up straight, his arms at his sides. His skin moved and his features shifted slightly. His chest expanded out and his groin pulled into itself. Several minutes later, she opened her eyes.
It was time to get going.
//-, Hues’s shop
Hues’ apartment was cluttered, as it usually was, with an odd assortment of books, mechanics, cybernetics an knick-knacks. His office floor was layered with the remanants of packaging, the packages themselves, and whatever had absently fallen off his desk, forgotten until it was sougt after.
the apartment over the shop was deceptive. Both were lies, but of different nature. The apartment had a remarkable amount of money put into it, which was out of place for the lower levels of Tokyo.
The ground levels were maintenance and long distance access. Piles of trash waited to be repupsed or transported elsewhere, the debris that drifted down from teh upper levels accumulated and was only dismantled by the droens and workers taht were charged with keeping the levels below the fset of roads, 10 or so stories into teh air. The first few levels of streets networked around eachother, the glowing translucent roads updrives creating the streets of Lower Tokyo. Here the money was thin and most always sought after. Much like ancient times, the money started at teh top and then trickled down, each level below the Penthouse district of streets having less and less then those above them.
That Hues lived on the highest of teh lowest levels was then a curiosity indeed. He had chosen the building with aloot of thought, decideing against the glammor and constant barrage of bright flourencesnts theat the higherlevels were known for. Of ourse there were lights of all shapes sizes and colours down on his level, winding along teh roads, snaking out between buildings, covring every store that could afford them. The neons of the city were the purple patches form days gone past.
From the streets curb, Hues shop looked like so many others on his block; mostly shutdown and for all intents and purposes, dead. The metal and plastic making up the storefront had long ago peeled away to revela the metal plastic and concrestes underneath, gougd carved and worn away with lives and time alike.
Behind the facade was a tidy, if not cluttered shop that would’ve been at home a few levels above where it was. Boxes lined teh wooden shlves on teh walls, each labld and sealed. Light drifted through teh reinforced covered windows. Wood ws teh motif of teh shop, and the few people that enetered usually remarked on the stark contrast between teh inside of teh shop and teh street it wasfound on. it was efficient and proper as well as elegant and sublinly anachronistic, which put it even more out of place.
The apartment and shop were quiet, but that would change soon enough.
//Emy, Void ferry
The bus tipped over and we fell into darkness. My scream caught in my throat and then the bus was gone. I think i passed out, but it felt the same as the last time i died. Did the fall kill me? I feel myself shiver and then my eyes open.
I’m sitting on the bus, just where i was. The fire doted threads sway above me. The hodded driver is at the wheel. Everything is as it was. The bus shakes and rattles as it moves alongthe..what? i look out the window. And see dark buildings pass. They look twisted and hunched over. It looks like i’m in a city street, but not like one i’ve seen. The street is made of stones, not paved flat. The buildinsg look wobbly and solid, as they were all meltedand deformed, and then solidified their.
“sorry bout the fall ma’am, but there aren’t many ways to my stops without it, and i can’t as well take this bucket done one of teh staircases that most people use,” the driver says.
The buildings end abruptly as the city gives way to fields of long grass, blue green as mixed into a milkywashout colour as the bus rattles through the field. Surrounding the bus is a dense fog. The driver seems to know where he’s going. I pull my feet up on the seet, hugging myself. I feel the cool metal of teh shotgun tucked on my lap through my clothes. Where am o traveleing through? At least i woke up from my last death where i need to be.
Cat stood outside the aged door. She had never been to this part of toklyo, below the upper belts. The last time she had been in the city was for upgrades and training, all on someone elses credit, which for her meant she never saw below the first cloud belt.
The door in front of her was dead, peeling upon itself, the frame apparent beneath the faux exterior. An ancient peephole lens was mounted in teh center of teh door.
She knocked and felt the echo trhough the inside , lost when it hit back against teh noise of teh grungy street. The peephole blinked its shutter, whirring to life as teh camera behind teh steel guard peered at her. A crackle from a hidden voicebox gave out static and a voice stumbled trhough to her.
“can i help you miss?”
“i’ve been directed to you through a mutual contact. I’ve been told you have a lovely assortment of flowers,” Cat recited from the card she had memorized on the plane.
“Is that so,” the voice sparked, “any in specific?”
“Saphire Isle Lillies.”
The voice chuckled through the hiss of the voice box’s static.
“I think i might have something in the back. I’ll be down in a second.” The voicebox snapped off teh hisss and it’s sound. Cat heard the doors slide unlock, mechanisms unworking themselves from teh meshed knot they usually rested in.
With a sigh of decompressing air, the door opened and Cat stepped into Hues’ shop.
//Cat, Hues’s shop
Cat opened her eyes. Her lenses adjusted themselves, running a start up diagnostic, scanning the room without moving, leaving the control functions up to her. Cat broke the silence of the makeshift operating room, formerly Hues’s kitchen.
“this is some pricey tech you’ve fitted me with. Who’s footing the bill?”
“My dear, how unorthodox to ask. I thought you retainers didn’t ask questions?”
“i don’t ask questions of a job. I do when it involves cutting. Anything that requires specific tech hat i’m required to have, i need to know why it’s required.”
Well from how you came in, you already had tier three, tier four bionics. All i’ve done is upgrade the software, sharpen what you have. Your ocular implants have teh same functions, keyed to the same triggers.
Cat flicked several muscles, moveving them almost inperceptibly. Hues was right. The targeting had a new reticle, but all the simple functions were still there. Flicking through them, seh was Hues above her, silhouetted in thermal, then lit up by teh low light view, then compensetting for teh lights above her with teh flare compesnsator. She opened up a display promt, phased trhough teh camera , then closed both. Closing her eyelids felt lighter then she remembered.
“one of the side effects,” Hues continued, “is that with better materials, things might feel a bit off. The plates in your lids are lighter and stronger now. When you stand up, your body might feel a bit bouncy until you work out the compression on your heels. Your left arm will feel heavier though. Your old Shin claw was showing age, and you haven’t had it maintenced in some time so you couldn’t have been told that it needed replacing.”
“what have i got now?”
“a Wu claw. The ports are still tattoos, only they’re a bit more visible. I can bruish paint the ports so they blend a bit better with your skin, but in your line of work, having them revealed wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
“You must get alot of jobs like these.”
“not so much. I rarely have clients in who’re so candid. Most want what they came for and then leave, not a word, nor manners. It’s pleasant to have someone i can help who’s more refined then my neighbours.”
“you’re more than welcome. I would think it common curtesy to be polite to whoever is working around inside of you.”
“one would think, but then from some of your scarring, i would imagine you share my view that curtesy is a luxury more commonly dropped.”
“unfortunately. You didn’t answer me though. What’s the tech for?”
“ah that you’re right. You need to be in top shape for your task. Our client, your new lord, will be in shortly. We should have you up and ready by the time they get here.”
“not many i can disclose i’m afraid. I’ll leave introductions to them, along with what more to say. All i cans ay is taht you needed new gear so that you’d be in good form for protective services.” You have been, so now you are. Lets get you closed up and all tidy now.”
The bus shudder to a halt. Teh driver never looked away from the from as i shuffled past him. How many deaths during that ride? I’m not sure but i don’t feel lik i died at all, only this odd hollow feeling that follows me. The sidewalk is covered in grime grease and yet i can see through it. Like i’m walking on glass. Where am i? The sky above me is dark. Where teh sky should be is a layer blocking it, another street lying on top of this one. The streets are mostly empty, people vague shadows just out of teh range of vision. I look ahead to the door in front of me.
My legs feel numb as i stumble to the door. The storefront that it sits in looks like it should be condemned. Is this the place i need to be? i look on it for a symbol or something out of place. Is this the marked door? I glance back at the street and notice the bus that brought me is gone. I’m alone again. I grip my shotgun tighter and feel myself breath in harshly. There’s a quality to the air, like i’m breathing, swimming through grease.
I look at the door. Most of the storefront its set in is shrouded in a wash of streetlamp light and teh reflections of coloured signs that cast a dull glow. I bang on the door with the butt of my gun, not trusting my fists to make enough noise. The sound dies almost immediately, sucked away past the door.
I cast a look back nervously. The street behind me has no one on it. The lights are dimmed now, les and less light protecting me. Some where across the dirty glass street a scraping sounds out, lke a beast of dull metal knives is stretching and pulling itself to its feet.
The door clicks and i push against it. It’s still locked, but there’s a circle raised in the door now, domed and smooth with a dark glow behind it. A voice from above my shoulder hisses and barks at me.
“Good evening young lady, may i help you?”
I don’t know what to do, what to say. Is another trap the nightmares set? I stammer and shiver. This place is colder then the park.
“I-I’m not sure. I’m looking for a marked door. I’m not sure what it looks like.”
“is the mark you are looking for the one above the peephole?”
Before my eyes a bright yellow line began to trace itself above the domed circle in the center of teh door. It burnt itself into a stretched diamond, with the high point twice or three times as long as the bottom. From halfway up the diamond curves sprouted, circling around itself into a flat elipse. An outside circle formed wider, segments jutting out. Once the mark finished tracing itself, i realized teh squashed cirle was a gear, the diamond in teh center remaining a mystery. Once it was fully complete, the mark faded back into the door, it’s colour disappearing.
“so?” said teh metallic voice. I heard more metal scraping behind me closer. I didn’t risk a look behind me.
“yes. This is the door i need. Please let me in.” I’ve never seen the mark before, but it felt right, and i have to go with whatever i can. A wave of cold went trhough me and i shivered. The door started clanking and soon sighed open inward, the darkness behind me having grown large. I dived trhough the opening, pushing the heavy door closed behind me. I’m off the streets and through the door. What now?
I turned to face the inside of the store and the owner of the voice that gave me entry.
//-, Hues’s shop
There were two figures waiting for the small child as she closed the door. Both watched from the far side of the showroom, it’s many closed boxes looming around them. The small girl looked around nervously, shotgun clutched in both hands. The pair shrouded in darkness watched as she shuffled into the enter of the room, staying within the boundaries of wher theh light touched.
The man hiden in teh shadows stepped forward, his arms spread apart. He looked well put together, grease stained apron aside, when compared to the girls blood and dirt spalltered sundress.
“young lady,” hues began, “you’ve come to my door armed and unannoced, and you’ve gained entrance by revealing knowledge of my door’s marking. What is your name?”
“Emy,” she said, her eyes staring into the man who stood with her in the fake natural light cast by the false skylight above them. “I’m looking for the marker, which will take me to someone.”
“indeed...” hues said. “who is it that you seek, and this marker of yours, what is it?”
“I-I don’t know what the marker is, and who i’m looking for is none of your concern!” the small girl pulled back, the shotgun cradled between her hands now aimed at Hues, whose hands slowly raised, palsm open.
“allow me to be so bold as to guess your pursuits. You are searching for me, and i dare say you’ve gotten somewhat muddled, for your marker is a person, not a thing, who shall be the one to protect you. My associate is eager to meet you.”
The young girl shook, unable to get a sense if teh man before her was lying. His eyes sparkled kindly, but his hands looked hard. They were used to hard work. Hard work involved unpleasant situations in her recent experience.
“i don’t know who you are. Or who your asso- your friend is. Tell me your name or i’ll shoot! And don’t think i wont!”
“i have no misconceptions,” he said, eyes on her bloodstains, “that you will. My name is Morison Hues, purveyor of Tokyo’s most elusive boutique. My associate will be your bodyguard in the next portion of your journey.”
“T-tokyo? That’s..no, i’m in Fourside, Tokyo’s across the Angler sea! How can i be...”
“You came to my door through...unusual or irregular means, i gather?”
Emy nodded, the shotgun, lowered, once again cradled in her tiny arms.
“Then distances matter little. What matters is that you are here, your marker is ready and you will be on your way. I don’t want to sound unhospitalble, but time is a preious rare commodity. As a test of your bodyguards abilities, she will now disarm you without injuring you”
Cat watched the conversation leaning forward. Employers often introduced her as such, with an immediate command as demonstration. She flet the adrenaline flood her body, systems activating, reflexes sharpening. She didn’t think the little girl would pose a trheat, but then shapes could be misleading.
Cat’s body twisted out of the darkness, towards her new lord.
I’ve got someone with me now. She’s tall, but so is most everyone around me. She took my gun from me, saying that she was my new gun, and that having me firing into places she might be wouldn’t be a good way to form a bond. It’s not like i could argue. She took it from me so quick.
We’ve been walking on the streets here for some time. After a while i stopped looking for nightmares. Cat seems like she can protect me, so i’ve been looking around. I saw trhough the street at one point, where some of the dirt had been scraped aside. Below the street looked like another street. I don’t feel like i’m up high, but i guess i could be.
The panic i live on has gone away abit since i’ve had company. We keep walking, with her holding my hand. I know she treats sees me as a child, but she hasn’t talked down to me. She hasn’t talked at all, unless i ask her diret questions.
We’re still walking on the street, ducking into alleys and weaving through the people who wander about. It feels like forever but it can’t be more than an hour. This place is weird. It smells like dirt and fire and cars, but i haven’t seen any of either. It’s night now, i think, but it’s hard to tell with all the glowing signs.
Cat pulls my hand towards an archway set between two of the buildings. It looks as though the buildings were pushed apart to make room for the archway. I see that there’s a series of doors beyond the archway. Cat pulls me over to the closest.
“We need to get up a level or two if we can. Find a place to get you off the street,” she says, “keep your arms in and try not to hurt your knees, i’ll be right behind you.”
She pushes me into the tube and i start to scream but it never comes out. I’m thrown along the tube, dark on all sides save a strip of window facing towards the street we ame off of. I’m pulled higher and highe,r teh street falling below me, floors upon floors climbing by. The walls turn a yellow colour and i’m thrown out onto the ground. I stumble a bit but still land on the ground.
This street’s different. For one the ground isn’t covered in garbage and grime. There’re lanterns of glowing light above me, hung from this floor’s arch.
There’s a soft tone from behind me and i turn back to the tube doors to see Cat land soundlessly on the ground behind me, knees bent.
She asks me if I’m hurt. I say no. She gets me on my feet and takes my hand again. She tells me that she has a place that we can spend the night, until we know next where to go. We start walking again.
I haven’t died since I’ve met her, and i don’t know how I’d deal with this place It hurts every time I die.
Hear me child.
A voice drifted out of the nothingness. Emy opened her eyes and saw nothing. It wasn’t a nothing which was indisribable, for it was grey and cloud like. She felt her body trail behind her, then fall into place. Her arms were long and firm, her body mature. She was herself again, old in body as she was inmind. The connection of those two brought a harsh giggle to her lips. For so long she had been in a difernt form, her body years younger, her mind forced to work within the constrains of what the body she lived in let her. Once again in her real body, she couldn’t help but laugh and spin in the shapless cloud that surrounded her.
hear me and see your path.
The clouds disappeare and Emy found herself high in the air, so high she could see the curvature of the planet. She could make out vast tracks of land, forest bordering high, [piercing mountains, off to the right was water and yet, points of light glowed out from the dark blue. The plnet revolved around her as she saw teh continents, her own, the connecting snowcapes of Winters above it, Deep darkness below, connected by teh tiny bridge of land, barely visible.
Across the great sea were more islands, and yet, they pulsed with an irridiscience that she could not comprehend. She watched as the pulse of the eldritch colour trailed back intio deep darkness, to a shape she had neverknown, which wasn’t on any map she had seen. Nestled in the west hook of the land, a dark grey disk hovered high above , barley scraping the mountains.
“Do you see it?”
Emy nodded her head. She was moving closer and soon, she could make out the intricacies of teh disk. There were machines, plastic and metal, all over it, and yet, plant life, and structures of breathtaking beauty, simplicity and complexity.
As she watched, the an explosion rocked teh disc. For a second, it seemed like the shine of teh structure disappeared, and everything on it was dark and falling. Then it was back as if nothing had happened. A point of light emerged becoming brighter and brighter.
She moved back, pulling away from the structure and saw what she couldn’t up close. Thin lines of half invisible light sprouted from teh disc to places across teh planet. The burst of light moved along one of them, and she followed, moving further away, letting the planet rotate underneath her.
She watched as the dot of light reached the end of the path and burst, fading away. And yet, the trail didn’t vanish. It bulged and rippled back along it’s path, whipping about as if gently tugged at both ends. She watched the bulge move back to Lux.
She watched as the trails which sprouted from the disc flickered. Some burnt in blazing colours she couldn’t describe. Others withered and stretched. Some coiled. After a time all of the calmed and righted themselves to their previous positions.
The planet moved on. She moved towards the island where teh burst of light had ended.
This is where your path ends, withthe one who has survived to the Isles.
Emy reached out towards teh island grasping after it, but the clouds of grey, the inpenetrable nothingness were back. She spun around, frantically looking for someone, anyone, the owner of teh voice, but there was nothing.
That is not where you are meant to go.
Emy felt herself falling, as if the gravity she had been ignoring had finally realized she was there. She felt the world rush by and throughout the feeling, the grey nothingness never changed
Find the Bridge. Find the next to join you.
Then there was nothing but the darkness and cold pain of death.
Emy woke with a start. Looking around she saw that she was in a low ceilinged room, the last place she had been escorted by her new associate. she started to get up and fumbled with the frame of the foam pad she had been lying on. her hands were that of a child again a dash to the reflective strip in the wall showed that the rest of her body was a child’s as well.
Sighing, she made her way back to the foam pad and slumped over. Cat would be back soon, then hey would have to go. At least now, she thought, I’ve got a place to head towards.