“Shh!” Mawnco cut her off as they came to a sudden stop, and all at once everything was silent. Although they lacked breath, they did not dare give away any hint of shallow breathing. Absolutely nothing stirred, though the distant grunts of the searchers lingered.
“What do you think it is?” Mawnco said in the darkness as the starlight vanished once again.
“Think what is?” Patcha wondered.
“That! On the ground.”
“I don’t see anything because I don’t have a torch,” Areesee snapped back.
Then the cloud cover shifted again, and a sheen of light caught Kooteeck’s eyes. Mawnco was some ways ahead of where the three girls pressed up against the walls of a long-hall, standing over a small puddle that had accumulated in a muddy patch of ground where the cobblestones broke in the street. Kooteeck saw nothing special about it, and it certainly did not emit any light besides the reflection of the star-shine. Except that the puddle was a deep indigo color.
“Calm down, Mawnco, it’s just a puddle,” Patcha assured him. “But there seems to be an inconsistency with what color it should be and what color it is.”
“The ink!” Areesee announced.
“And next to the ink…?” Mawnco offered hesitantly. The girls’ eyes wandered to see a large paw print beside broken glass. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 7: The Chase
The Janpee stepped atop the Chakana, his sandals making dull thuds against the marble as he climbed to the top tier. He placed a red bead on each semicircle around the hollow square. They began to glow with the fading light, and suddenly the green splotches of the marble began to glow bright as fire. Once the tablets were all glowing orange, the Janpee collected the beads and threw them into the hollow center. He stepped down, and indicated for the four to ascend.
Patcha and Kooteeck followed Mawnco and Areesee’s lead, quickly climbing the slippery, but surprisingly lukewarm, tiers. Patcha gasped at the top when she saw that the hollow center now swirled with orange mist, like the silt of a fiery river. Areesee, without hesitation, dropped down into the mist, and disappeared. There was no sound to indicate a person hitting any sort of ground. Patcha felt her stomach clench. There was no sign of her at all. She had never seen magic of this sort in all her life, nor heard tales of it. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 6.5: The Fields of Innocence
“I mean it’s incredible that the Lavakoomas could have such precision in making lines in the earth — and everything else they’re doing. I find it even more incredible that they could learn such a detailed system and utilize it flawlessly in such a short amount of time. But it’s very important to know if all of the Bloodkoomas are being held together. If they are, we simply need to contact all the others and tell them to investigate the nearest lake, and the rest can move in.”
“Except that they’ll never listen,” Areesee added, finally pulling Mawnco’s gaze away from the field.
Mawnco snorted, a tiny shadow of a scowl creeping across his upper lip. “I’ll make them listen.” … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 6: Atok
Patcha dreamt that the Time of Chaos had arrived, and there was no Flood in sight. The dried-blood sky during the Time of Chaos seemed distorted like water, brittle like wood, and shiny like marble. Strange entities and gods roamed the sunless region above, made visible now that blue or black skies no longer separated Kai from Hanan. She was atop the Capital Volcano, with nothing but deformed skeletons surrounding her. The buildings themselves were rotting, and the ice and lava of the volcano rolled around her feet. Below her, rivers were dry, plants were decaying, and no animal, big or small, fierce or tame, was anywhere to be spotted. The only movement was of the black earth, beneath which the Lavakoomas were stirring. She saw great mounds of earth the size of entire villages move below her, guided by the Lavakoomas. The upturned earth, which smoldered with the fires of Uku, formed symbols that only Patcha could read. Each and every one of them read: Revenge. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 5: The Shack of Power and Games
You dare leave your fellows during the Time of Chaos? the voices boomed. Though they did not grow louder, their tone grew harsher.
We have to. There’s a quest. My sister’s been summoned.
Yet you have not, Kooteeck Mapa Ango Char. Does your family not need comfort during this perilous time? Are you so impertinent to suggest you know what is best for them?
No, Kooteeck conceded, deciding to remain silent for some time. But the Hwaca still did not respond. Please, Hwaca of Raua, I humbly ask your permission to embark on this quest. My sister needs my help. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 4.5: The Hwaca
“This can’t be a coincidence,” Mawnco told her. He glanced over at Chusku. He was trying hard to light a pile of wood atop the temple to signal the other villages nearby to send a Runner. He had apparently expended all of his energy searching for the boys, and so was attempting to light the wood with red magic.
“I apologize ahead of time for whatever consequences there might be, but I officially recruit you on my quest,” Mawnco said to Patcha. “Both of you. I need your knowledge of the symbols if I’m going to find them.” … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 4: The World is Shaken
Capac finally looked down. The Sisis were swarming his blood, never straying from its path for very long. But while he was not surprised that his blood had not formed a straight trail, he was utterly astounded at the shapes it made now. The Sisis themselves seemed to be relocating the red liquid, digging at the dampened dirt through which the blood had already disappeared and shoving it into odd loops and scratches. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 3: Two Trails of Blood
Though distorted by the flowing water, Patcha’s eyes grew wide when she saw that they were the same characters of the system she had invented. She read the symbols, and pronounced, “Past, Protection, Change.” … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 2: A Net of Fears
“Red Spirit…” she cursed. “It’s a spirit!” Making sure that her family was not awake, she slipped both legs out of the window. She wouldn’t be able to lock the door downstairs from the outside, and she couldn’t leave her family vulnerable to Soikles — this was the only remaining way out. She maneuvered down the path her sister always took to sneak out at night during the Southern Season and swim in the river. She slipped clumsily and crashed to the ground, her elbone digging into the soft earth. She yanked it out. The Qhilla was now all the way in between the homes adjacent to hers; this was no ordinary creature. Patcha ran after it, and found herself hard pressed to keep up. Every now and then, she would blink, and it would be lost from sight.
She was some ways out of the village and uphill, toward the temple, when a nearby holler met her ears. She faltered for just a moment, and the Qhilla vanished. She cursed, knowing that she had to help instead of following the spirit. She shot off in the direction of the cries. It wasn’t long before her blood ran cold at the sight of Soikle tracks among the shrubbery.
A boy was cornered on the foundation of an abandoned store house. He had a sling, useless to him at such close proximity, slung over his right shoulder. He instead used his gloved left hand to wield a traveling stick coated in frost. The pack of tiny Soikles, each no larger than a Meesee, seemed to have just cornered the cloaked young man, who retreated as far back as he could on the foundation before reaching a wall. He leaped forwards again as some of the Soikles attempted to climb the base with their hairy black legs, swatting them with his icy staff to keep them away. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 1: The First Record