The Flood Thieves Chapter 7: The Chase

“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 Flood Thieves Chapter 6.5: The Fields of Innocence

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

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 Flood Thieves Chapter 3: Two Trails of Blood

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

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