The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 9

The last rope bridge sloped downward, but not enough to bring it all the way to the forest floor. Instead, it sloped downward just enough to rest among the branches of a tree as wide as it was tall. The diameter from the northernmost to the southernmost leaves must have matched that of a small town. The massive tree formed an expansive clearing beneath it, holding back competing trees and blocking sunlight to the plants below.

Between its boughs, countless meshes of planks and organic matter formed platforms where people lounged, worked, and played. The central crook of the tree was in sight, and had been partially hollowed out and lined with stones to form a large fire pit, above with hung a collection of spits as long as a hull of the Gladiator.

The color orange was everywhere: in the watercups that grew along the branches of the tree; in the paint coating the wood and various wooden bowls, toys, and instruments of Klima; in every single person’s clothing; and in the large banners hanging from the side of each bridge leading to the town.  … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 9

The Flood Thieves Chapter 5: The Shack of Power and Games

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

The Flood Thieves Chapter 4.5: The Hwaca

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

The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 7

Emerging one by one from the large mouth of the cave, they stood on the inward side of the mountain. As Klyra and Chroma blinked repeatedly, desperately, the scene unfolded in front of them. Like a rolling sea, a homogenous sea of treetops stretched just below them. The clouds spilling over the lower mountain pass to their right were letting a curtain of rain fall even as they watched, making it look like the gray bodies were smearing downwards. A few rainbows caught the yellowing light of the afternoon from behind the tips of the mountains, forming colorful bridges down into the treetops. A flock of birds took flight from just beyond the storm, and the girls watched as they began making their way around the gigantic bowl as large as their entire home island.

“The bridge is down there,” Yim said, starting her trek down a steep, grass-coated path towards a decrepit, fallen tree that was connecting the middle of the canopy to their mountainside.

“I kind of wish Flor was here to see this,” Klyra breathed.

“Yeah, if she was here we’d have time to stop and see it,” Chroma agreed, beginning to follow Yim down the less-dense path that was evidently too steep for anything to grow.

“I — I can’t believe my eyes,” Klyra said, not budging from where she was.

Chroma glanced behind her, and then back at the view of the entire inner island of Klima. “Yes, it’s far better than the sketches my uncle used to bring me. Our journey’s going to be full of sights like this.”

“Aren’t you the least bit impressed?” Klyra demanded, half-laughing. There were tears in her eyes.

Chroma glanced away. “Like I said, I’ve seen sketches before. Being a princess has its perks. Now come on, we’ve got a teammate to save, and we’ve got plenty of time to come back here. You need to watch where you put your feet.” … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 7

The Flood Thieves Chapter 4: The World is Shaken

“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

The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 6

When they rounded the trunk, they found themselves at the maw of a brown-stoned cave. A few lichens were creeping partway to the entrance, and a few vines draped over rocks near the inside, but the place seemed otherwise devoid of sunlight and life. It was as if someone had taken a torch, shoved it into the plants, and burned a hole in the jungle.

“Some of these tunnels lead directly to town,” Yim told them.

“We’re going through the gaping dark hole instead of the well-known pass with a lovely river?” Chroma asked emotionlessly.

“The Greens are likely waiting for you there. But when they figure out we’re taking the tunnels, they won’t know which one I lead you down. That’s why we’re not using torches.”

“I wasn’t complaining,” Chroma responded. “I’m just glad that if we get separated we’ll be in a dark labyrinth with no idea where the light of day is.” … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 6

The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 5

The child turned around and dove into the foliage as Chroma frantically followed. The shouting behind them faded almost instantly as Chroma followed the child’s path through the growth, slightly uphill. Finally, between the brown and green brushes snagging at her body and hair, they came to a grove overtaken by the shade of the canopy of a single large tree. The ground was flatter, and Chroma had no trouble sprinting after the child as it deftly leapt between the gray, low-hanging branches to reach the safety of the bows. Chroma clambered up with ease and then held still as the child covered her mouth with a single, tan hand. … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 5

The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene #4

I’ve dedicated nearly my whole life to becoming a voyager, and in the last few years it looked like I could even be on the First Contact voyage. Sailing uncharted waters with a competent group of adventurers. But no, apparently the system doesn’t work like that. They didn’t put the best travelers out there first. No, they put the princess and the translator who can’t even show up on time. Do you honestly think you were in the advanced class because of your skills? Or that you’re here because you deserve it? No. You’re here because you just so happened to be born into the family that violently conquered all of Cambia. … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene #4

The Flood Thieves Chapter 1: The First Record

“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[16], 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