Thread: The Mere Tide
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:52 PM
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bluewpc (Offline)
The Next Bard
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And we are back with a massive post so I think maybe no updates for two or so weeks? Aye? Aye. I didnt want to break it up because with the exception of the opening scene its a coherent whole without any break. I did manage to work up a decent sized buffer. Ive got a hundred page buffer now and we are up to page 70 thus far. I'm actually using size 6 font with an 8x11 page size

Dachni woke to a dryness she knew would not last. She threw off the duvet and seized when the fabric brushed her foot and it was this total shock of body that kept her from soiling the bed. She recovered limbmeal and when she had regained some tenuous control she rolled off the bed and searched for a place to pee. Nothing presented itself. And so what receptacles. A gold chalice and were it the ark of the covenant it would have made no difference. She hop rushed to it with the first drops beginning to leak and plopped down and let loose a long stream.

Awuuuh, she sighed in pained relief. And too soon and her cup overfloweth. She stoppered herself with a pinky and put the brimming cup aside and hopped like some bandylegged victim to an urn. She unlidded it and squatted and let out the scorching water. It made a splattering sound like the sound rain makes on mud. With the voiding of that worry a new concern disquieted her and she cast about the panoply of arcana for that artifact not inaugurated among their number. She stood still dripping and hopped to the bed holding up the flannel pajamas she did not remember donning. The bed was empty. She looked at the door and the door opened. It was the pilot.

Ye lefted! Dachni raged.

I made breakfast.

The pilot set two enormous gold patens on the bureau and lifted their lids. Good American breakfasts. Thick prime rib and full eggs. Grits. Porcelain cups filled with orange juice and spiked with vodka. Dachni couldnt see them through her anger. Couldnt hear the meat sizzling. Smell the oily aroma.

Quitted! Ye quitted!

The pilot smiled. She crossed the room and pulled up the child's pajamas and retied the drawstring and lifted her up and bobbed her and gave an affectionate lick along the underside of her jaw.

Uck, groaned Dachni wiping her face.

The pilot kissed her again. You need shoes.

And here is Dachni jouncing along in a truck huddled haybird shy against the passenger door. Verily lapped to it as though pressed upon by an invisible force and bleeding the while the last vestiges of a terrified huff. In the long ascent from the chamber her breakfast had gone untouched and she ravaged it now. Rupturing the yellow boil of the fetus and sopping up the goo with the grits and stripping the meat from the t-bone with her teeth.

You were hungry.

Her eyes darted wolfishly to the pilot. She occupied stately the majority of the cab. Her legs tucked under herself and her arms in her robes in the manner of the Chinese or in her manner.

Dachni shrunk further.

Its alright. Its a good thing.

Gowbs dat, she mouth round the soggy bolus of potato and beef.

Well, said the pilot taking the air and a brief manual control of the wheel, you starve yourself when youre upset.

Doesnt do it.

The pilot cracked her neck. Left. Right. She released the wheel and it stayed their course. Ok.

Dachni nibbled at the bone. A greasy ring of juice had formed around her mouth. She said: If ye soy sauce her good its eggs.

I see.

Ith kay.

She stopped her chamfering to dislodge gristle lipes from between incisors. Sliding a stained thumbnail between them and then reaching further back to unstuck meat wedged between molars. Tilting her head upwards mouth agape and performing quick rotary motions at the wrist.


Ohnt gih out, she muttered. Gout.

A front wheel dropped into a pothole about as she was saying gout and the mispronunciation yelped forth more mangled as her teeth clapped on her thumb.

Guhagammit, she cursed sucking at the little row of imprints in her skin.

This pickup was no pauper's transport. The sleek design fresh from the printers and the careful minds of aerodynamicists. At rest it could levitate up to ten feet and in motion had four feet of clearance. The interior was a picture of luxury. Tempered windows. Heated seats. A HUD display built into the windshield and cameras with proximity alarms. Everything that moved doing so with a grace bordering on arrogance. And backed by warranty even in this wicked age as Jason Coke of the Lighthouse Gazette dubbed it. Among other features it had passenger side airbags and when Dachni first touched her bony rump to the bonded leather the onboard AI had warned that airbags were a peril to small children and with Dachni's hurt and totter it advised she don a seatbelt and as after her initial recovery of its existence she hissed not dissimilarly from her hissing now: Fick ye stringey cock khist.

Parental controls being enabled the AI had the personality of a nanny and in the posh tone of such proceeded to chastise the child.

Language missy. Or Ill roll down the windows and you can have your breakfast cold. A woman's voice. Moral indignation sharp in the inflection. You could almost hear its heels click. It habited so far as was discernible a screen inset in a board of jewels polygonal not aglitter but aglow and so a location and so a personality and so an offense.

Kill that fuckin thing. How does ye kill it?

Did you pick her manners out of a pig trough?

The pilot chuckled a dark pluming mirth out her sides.

How can you find this funny? demanded the AI. Juvenile services will have a lifelong ward if she doesnt acquire at least a semblance of civility. Why the church wouldnt have her. And if she is to have any prospect, economic or marital or any at all then these egregious tendencies have to be curtailed.

Yull git last irvices ye keeps talkin.

Whoever heard of an AI obeyed a truculent. To elders and AI respect. That will take you the long way in life. And dont forget I control all functions of this vehicle. And to exhibit this power it twighted the wheel a sharp port then starboard but the pilot digging one talon into the rubber of the wheel countered that though the artificiality believed in its own autonomy yet it did nothing of its own accord for it was slaved to the drive which it did not choose and in any case could be overridden by button or word and that other than a few cases of self-driving cars inexplicably ramming themselves into trees or failing to brake at intersections it was the prevailing opinion of programmers systemwide that so limited a construct was incapable of discovering suicide.

The pilot leaned across the seats. Which is the key to it all.

Herghp, Dachni grunted. She looked at the AI but the AI had no retort. She stripped the last gelatinous fascia from the bone and stored it in the side panel pocket and licked the paten clean and stored it there too. She belched lowly and slowly unflattened from the door.



Anaya reached behind the seats and fetched a water bottle and cloth. Hands out.

Dachni hid her hands behind her back. Fored what?

Youre a mess.

Irr the mess.

Heartbeat thy grubby feelers are slathered in the residue of cattle and fetus fowl and howevermuch their odor pleases tables they do indeed mark incivility elsewhere. Regard them.

Her fambles to regard. Slathered in myoglobin sheens and a barkdust of wet carbon. Tiny bits of grits like fly eggs and slivers of grime refuged under the blue tinted and rippled awnings of her nails. Appendages to whats? To gnarl perhaps with arthritis' aid into the roots of junipers. She wiped them in her hair.

Anaya laughed. Vaik. Ga goshga, megii. Come here. She uncapped the bottle and wet the rag and wrung it and the polysynthetic floor absorbed the spill into the vehicle's mechanical bladder that discharged then the waste onto the road. Dachni glared at the smooth dry floor. At her hands.

Aintint that dirty, she said.

Resent not what cant have pride. Those prideful have already learned. And who would they suspect broke them low?

A desolate guffaw croaked out the pilot that raised the dire horripilate out the child's pale scars. The pilot scooted near and took her hands and scrubbed the sear paste from her palms and between her fingers and nails with the altogether contradictory deliberateness of grief. Streams of dark water pooled on her fingerpads and broke into a charcoal rain. Steak juice was rinsed out the knotty tangles of her hair and her pale cheeks were daubed and for the soot it looked as though she wept the resin of the void.

All this Dachni endured in childish squirm murmuring guttural protestations but when Anaya had finished and moved to return to her side of the cab she found herself dragging the child with.

She smiled warmly and Dachni kneaded her forehead into her side, her eyes tight down. Is ye doned?

The pilot flicked her nose playfully. Doned. One more thing.


Mouth open.


Anaya vexed her with a smile. Dachni with a mumbling growl of uncertainty and the pilot strummed her lips to make a long blubbery sound. She flinched back. Ey.

Hello heartbeat. Mouth open. Come on.

Her mandible creaked ajar. Instantly a talon was thrust through the gap and in a deft swipe pulled out again. Kekt aye, she sputtered. But there was a relief in her jaw and as she massaged her mouth she saw on the tip of the talon held before her the meat.


She nodded shivering in her outsized clothes, her threadbare skin. Maybis. The front of her shirt was a contorted mess for all the wrong mismatch of buttons to the wrong slits but it was so huge on her it made no difference. She played with it. Folding the placket back and twisting it up.

Are you cold?

Its pretted cold, she said suddenly hugging herself.

The pilot loosened her robes and opened them in a gesture of reception.

She looked in at the nest then at the pilot. Yer coldest all.

The pilot smiled and pressed a button marked by curling line rises on the dashboard and adjusted the vents as the recycled air was shunted out and blasted through the cab. Hot benediction of engine breath, warmed by twelve cylinder's gallop.

Its warm!

Aye, said the pilot. Better now?

Aye aye. Dachni warmed her hands in the jetstreams and marveled at numbness' yield to a burning in her fingers. Is reallied warm. She knelt on her good leg and bridged the dashboard with an arm and investigated the vent slits. Airs ta fire?

No fire.

Bellshit. Howta hell...she poked about, blinking against the dry desert gust. She closed the vent making of the slats lamellar visors and opened them again but there was no fire. She glanced back at the pilot and caught some sad infection in her repose.

Yer wronged?


Not yer wronged. Yer...yer...whats wrong?


Dachni shoved off the dashboard into an almost graceful pivot on the ball of her heel and dropped to a knee and reached out and stopped. Like a child caught in theft. Her fingertips trembling in a space an inch from the pilot. They tightened almost into a fist but before they could withdraw long sickles curled round her arm and for a moment they were locked as if in greeting and then Anaya drew her caressingly towards the grotto of her robes. The child went warily and in fumbling lentor flipped into the nest of her lap and fussed at her robes until she had hid herself behind a halfdozen sashes.

Mm, she mumbled into the wool.

I know.


Night fell in through the windows and snow soundless but with a tone, a melody in its reticent and cambered trajectories of descent gloomed a without the headlights paled two bores in.

What heaventhroned elegist keeps the weathers? Who proves his muse? Who his awe? Has he the expressionist a manifest wherein he stores the tempest's wrath and the days of benevolent blue? How is he moved to rain? Is thunder the disturbance of a temper or lightning his shrive? He keeps his counsel he holds the tides and whispers through the balmy sweet secrets of their spume and elsewhere makes desolate the taiga with the cuckold's fears and dread the misted winter air of dawned portents at a windlass fair and is it more the grass blade or the locust he addresses or who is the Judas amongst birds birds that conspires to his end and who wiser to his wiles the mariner or the landsman?

The pilot struck a sulfur match and flame blued to yellow and she lit her her pipe and soon was exhaling out her operculum the smoke of myrrh. Dachni nestled sleepily. The glow from the instruments painting her the delft of blue like a sorrowful madonna. The lids to her eyes fluttered and her breathing shallowed but before the sopor the narcohypnia and would she awaken? And something waiting in the down below. Fetor lingered of a whatsit night hag orange of mine and Aryan eyes. Untrussed or a wrinkled hide save for a visage lecherous and butcherbrown nag paps. A dismal witch leaking magical cellulitis out a cloudy catheter and her mound puffed out by an enormous douche. Who would meet such a figure in dreams or out? Who sharpened her mudhooks with such avid intent.

Isses pretty farred ride.

Twenty minutes until we reach out destination, informed the AI.

Mute the AI, said the pilot. She looked at the child. Its going to be a little while yet. We cant go to Matraple.

Whos Matrapull? Whats Matrapull.

Its the town up from the lake.


The pilot scritched her spine and she straightened halfalarmed and settled back.

Mm, she moaned discomfortedly.

Why did you do it?


Why did you stab that girl?

Was ye knowed her?

I saw the spunky little brat atimes in town. Why did you
do it?

Never ded. Not far cause ta brung em to.

Why lie? Ive gived the wergild. Youre in the clear.

The what?

I paid them for the injury.

Dachni seized the pilot's scapular. Ye did leave!

Answering my door is leaving?

But ye lefted!

Its not far off.

Et tooked most an houred ta get down.

Not that long and besides theres a hole in all those floors and a rope.

A rope?

Youll need a ladder. No an elevator. Ill show you when we get back.

Aint goin back.


An it wasnt asked ta ya to do none of that.

The pilot massaged her scalp. Dont be muly. Twas your gratitude first won me. Dont destroy that. Dont efface that. Even in anger. Her hand slid down her face, lingering upon her lips, to the thready pulse quivering the shallow wem of her neck and traced it to those chambers she said were but brides.

And maybe thou art in doubt of your beauty but what star ever shone upon one glorious as you? Cosmic majesty is bluster and envy to your smile. Aye the planets would stumbled at your glance and turn themselves trinket to adorn your wrist. Jupiter his giant eye would wink and blush pole to pole at his forwardness and Mercury would forsake his near radiance as dull and scorn evermore the star's lashes and vie with his lusty neighbor for you attentions. Never go out at night, you would move the moon to woo. Roses will wither in despair to see how more worthy you are in spring blossoming and never cross the Pacific for the glistening spangled slivers of the surfaced sunlit sea shall stagnate when seeing drop the dew of your sorrow wistful under the gaze of tongue tied eternity. What rains on you rains vainly, what lash could mar the scarlet soul that aches Orion's heart? That worries the clouds booming before thee unrequested heralds. And youll be a saint a day kings pilgrim to. And every failed hope fulfilled and courage beyond childhood's imaginings, wilder than the first crowned prince's first caparisoned charger heady and snorting pride and tempered brave by fear endured and every hope you will fulfill whilst timshel shell whisper from beyond the sill.

Dachni looked up at her, mulling a fold in the robe. Ok.

Anaya laughed. Her laugh faded. Well then. Are you sorry?
Did you wish she was dead?


Well you severed her brachial plexus. She wont be tipping that stetson anytime soon.

Dachni wrapped her arms tight in the robes. Never meaned ye trouble.

I know.

Whats then ta hap?

I told you, nothing. Were you upset?


Why then?

She kept...the child trailed off. She could find no reason. Could not recall her sense at the time. Or any sense. The scenes of that night, the night before still images. A procession of sequence as though through painted glass up unto the deity of wind.

Has ye ever seed Yandvilai. Seen him?

A sharp series of pains lanced across her breast for the involuntary twitch of a hand.

Ow, she said wincing an eye closed.

How said I to say that name? said the pilot.

Ye dont git ta dictate who lieves what.



Where did you learn that word?

Dachni pulled at the pilot's thumb. From you.

The pilot lifted her talons to her chin. Touched the bridge of her nose.

Ye told it much.

Thats so. From whence comes the query?

Yandi? Has ye seen him?


He was here.

What did you see?

He was a...a...they aint words towards it. But it was him. It was. Hes in the wind.

Far away sky and earth shimmered in sporadic gray achromaticity like a sterile sun doffing a mask. Dachni thought it lightning but feeble and thunderless. Meeker lightning never seen, gelded, and a mock of stars. A buzzing accompanied it. Not like the wasps she had heard, that raised blisters or rent the skin but not unlike them either and dislike them in its electrical byss. The dawn flickered. A hard gray that skipped over the horizon and in a few minutes landed sterile day upon them.

Es gotted kinder light, said Dachni.

The pilot smiled a sad smile. Tis a cold ash gray night and it isnt dawn.

Dachni snuffled and smushed her nose against the pilot to relieve an itch. Ifn tell tell right. Is lettely light. Toe never was no queerer sunbreak.

Tis a false dawn. Tis a satellite grid called Half-Night. This is its third test run. A delegation from Hokkaido was invited to observe the stress trials. These will be the new mornings and everything still over its shadow.


Look out. Look out on the things that are made.

Dachni gathered the strength drowsiness had sapped and
holding to the pilot pulled herself up and searched out any falsity in the day. Scanning the terrain with its rags of snow and distant trees. But it was not there. And yet something unright in the leaden serge overhead.

Dont see it.

The horizon.

She pressed her face to the glass. Outside farms, orchards, wineries. Subtly illfit to their shapes like a dour mask. The road ruts. The fallen snow shining gray and fissile the gray of slate or the static radiation leaves on filmstrip. Farther out the perceptible brink of the world was shrouded in pluvial darkness. She shook her head.

Nothins diffint. Or not too diffint.

What direction is that?

She scratched her bow with her thumb and the hand turned up. Well, she said sagely. Its mornin an its light so thats gotta be east.

The horizon. Whats there. Whats of it?

Dachni located that thin meridian. Not far away and quivering and then where what masons of maya have mured the skysill with sable ramparts.

Its! Its!

Thats south. Thats south of us.

She looked east into the plumb of undawn. She searched for the source of this impostrous day but there was no point to deduce it from.

Whats wrong? What happened? Was the sun? Did it die? It died! It died dinnit it? It died!

Dachni scampered about the cab in her panicked digestion of revelations and puzzlements. Cycling back and forth on two limbs like the most maimed of dogs until Anaya intercepted her and fitted her into the cradle of her lap. She squirmed as if in agony and shouted but the sharp talons at breast and belly pawed her calm and she mustered a bravery against the gravity of such apocalypses.

Tis not the world end, said the pilot.

Then what? But real morning. Whens gonna real the morning?

Not for another two hours.

Thats nothin rights, she moaned.

Tis quite the crime.

Ifs not the end then what is?

Do you mean what is it?

She shook her head as though to clear the misreckoned phrases and resort the jumbula of words. Aye.

Tis order's immutable advance. Men save evil for times of evil. Or to put it plainly that which is suitable for the dark is endeavored in the dark. Ostensibly this experiment hopes to reduce that time in the hopes of reducing the perpetration. Nothing of the sort will happen, in fact quite the opposite which may well be their aim. Who knows who would benefit from the proliferation of lycanthropy.

The pilot's face sobered in the telling of these things. As if more than knowing what would come to pass had foreseen passes that would come. She looked down suddenly.

Hows your foot?

Its a turibil hurts.

The pilot cupped the injured foot and massaged it feathery through the bindings.

Ahead a riotous covey flowed across the road like a diarrehtic movement squealing wild otherworldly squeals. Stubsnouted ungulates with shitbrown flanks stenched of the slop trough.

Where did you want to go?

Away, Dachni spoke as softly, as sadly.

Where was away?

The grad.

The last of the swine crossed and the clutch sucked back ghostly on its own and the stick shifted into first and the truck pulled away.

The pilot felt the tip of each purple toe, applying pressure until the child winced.

Ill take you in the fall.


You dont want to go anymore?

Dachni shook her head. She closed the robes round her face so that the v it form was based upon her lips. Gonna loned.

You want to be alone?

Dont wanna talk ta nobody.

Theres going to be about half a hundred million
somebodies to talk to in the grad.


What then?

Dachni began to cry. Not you.

The pilot let her foot down and held her, rubbing her arm. Arent we all over that?

No. Nobody would. You wouldnt.

I have.

Ye werent nothin ta mad over.

Do you really believe that?

Dachni stifled her little sobs and wiped her eyes and buried herself in the robes.

Ive let it all go. What do you want me to say?

Dachni's lips parted in a snarl. You know what ye...what ye...

The truth is twas the barrenness of thy faith that betrayed me.

This dumbfounded the child. Wha-what?

The pilot said it again.

Hell does that mean?

The pilot sighed as though on the rim of tears and hugged her. Lets not talk of this now. I wanted this to be a good day for you.

Dachni wrestled to get free. Her eyes seamed tight. Its rottenest shit day.

Dont say that.

Wanna go away. Aint stayin.

You have to stay a little while. You cant go anywhere on that foot. And I said Id take you in the fall. You wont get there any faster and thats if you were to make it at all. Listen. Theres a bounty on your head for thirty thousand dollars.

Ye saided ye paid it.

For Emily. But what about your Ural girls?

Dachni's vision swam. She clapped the back of her skull and let out a loud moan. Jess go, she groaned. Jess go.

They went. Some minutes later a plower surfaced out of the dark. Sprinkling salt and sneezing hydraulic exhaust. Its angled blade spuming thick white waves onto the roadside banks. Ahead of it the edge of the light flickered across the terrain.

Is it gonna go? she muttered hatefully.

Very soon. The last time they had to abort over Astrakhan. Heinkel predicted this would be the first completely successful run but it seems theres some damaged bulbs.

The plower grew larger. The sprinkler whipped out its carousel of salt. The mudflaps white with splatters of brine.

Dachni lifted her chin. Whatta bout it? Is buddies kere?

Automated. Everything here is automated.

Means programs?


Some miles up at a crossroads the plower turned right and they kept on the straight path. Dachni watched it lumber idiotically out of sight. She shut her eyes and scraped her cheek with her palm scabs and felt her ears. Newly bandaged, the incipient cicatrix painted with iodine. When she opened her eyes again the grid had shifted north and she could see as few on earth ever had so fast an advance on the ponderous and inscrutable dark.

Two more miles and the truck slowed at a bridge to allow sheep to cross. Wool cirrus shuffling along the sidewalk trotted along by a few dogs. Harried shepherds bringing up the rear. They had a strange gait as thought they werent used to their bodies. They clutched their crooks in trepidatious hail of this new order oversweeping all and while they watched the definable line of light shot past and in the inch wide hemorrhage of gray twilight the headlights flared on.

Peoples, Dachni gasped half ducking from sight. Is they

Shepherds, said the pilot.

But peoples.

They might be machines too.

Programs aye? Would it be a think?

The pilot rolled down the window and the warmth of the
cab was quickly evacuated. Hello.

Allo, said the herdsmen.

Doan talk to em. Dachni hissed from under the robes.

What are you two? the pilot inquired.

Dachni peered out between the sashes. The shepherds looked at themselves. At their matched gray overcoats. They didnt know. They said it was the first interrogative ever they had been posed and all their lives a haze.

Non in utero, said the pilot.

The shepherds professed ignorance.

She smiled curiously. How long have you shepherded these flocks?

The taller shepherd, a man of gray stubble, and Roman physique looked to his flock. All my life, he said in the accent of the deaf.

How long has your life been?

He stared blankly.

Is that your voice?

My voice? he said touching his throat.

Well talk later, she said and rolled up the window. She ordered the AI onwards and it shifted into gear and pulled away. The road beyond the bridge wasnt pavement but a tousled clay a high cream color like beachsand and rimed corn formed its rails. Labarums flapped from the roadsigns.

Haupt, piped the child.


Haup haup. Up! Ta see!

Ah. The pilot put her knees together and shifted the child upon them and drew in her legs and in so doing boosted the child to a better vantage.

Dachni held the doorsill and looked through the window but save for distant blooms shining through the heads of corn it was all dark.

Is that a see?

Its country. Its land.

Whats yor see? Does ye see anythin?

The pilot's head inclined low and left. Her irises shifting, widening as they drank in dark and flowed as though over contours.

Well? Sye seed saided. Said yer see.

I see rich dala. Loam long and fuscous.

Whats fuskus? Uscous?

A color brownish gray.

How can ye tell that?

Maybe I dont see it but I know its there.

What else?

You lither soul than me. Good chernozem.

Dachni pinched an eye closed. Say right. Quet sayan all that.

As thou wishes. What do I see? I see seeders sowing Calico and Schrieffer brands of winter wheat. I see their harvests and in them the flour sacks that will become the loaf and the pastry. Can you hear them?

Thats thuhs kinder thunder?

Aye. And those pale auras, canst thou see them?

Aye. Theys fuckin up the world.

And what way should the world be?

Not this way.

What way was it ever?

Dachni fumbled with her poet collar. She tucked her good
leg beneath her, forgetting she was aloft and her toes brushed the pilot's belly where it aught not and she jerked them away. Esset sposed sun fore mornin, she said quickly. Firstlies.

Are you still Catholic?

She fumbled with her buttons. Hassint churched, she confessed. It were a kindered le. About priesties bein old ta trip. Nevered priested an werdent no church.

I know.

Her fingers spasmed all discombobulated and she pushed herself an inch over the ledge of the pilot's knees and slid into her lap.

Well yer posed ta tellis ems.

True I am to do so.

Ye can say how ye wons. Yer times prettied kinder by yer voice.

Instantly her cheeks flushed and she covered her head in the robes.

The pilot pulled back the wool and laid a doting kiss upon her crown. Well. What do I see? Ist possible this see be any way other? Here is the truth. What I see cannot change but what I see in it is infinitely modifiable.

Essent that way now?

How should I know what I see? Should I say I see the logomaniacism of autodidactic sediment? Or the implausible sprent of possibility? Or a hyperdefined reality screeching down iron rails.

Dachni peeked out again. Ta what?

The pilot smiled and in a thespial outboard gaze appropriate to woe ignored her. I see crakes. I see sandgrouse and swans. Miracles watering at lakes glaciers didnt leave. Those are heated lakes. Look at them. They steam.

Caint see out.

But were she able she would seen it was indeed true, the illrounded pots did steam and there were likewise the birds alluded to.

They teem with fish. And what fear have they of drought? If these oases dry tis no matter for in their parched beds the eggs of catfish, soon pike and bream, can survive fifteen years. Beyond them aqueducts carry water. Pipes could carry it but you cant see pipes. The festooned arcades are like galleries and through them are offered windows to the hip of heaven and earth. What is lost is no longer lost forever and in their resurrection is the tacit acknowledgment of a folly and a willingness to rectify it.

In this man is become as a gardener. He sees what can be gardened and knows himself as such a thing. He steads himself. He esteems what is good. The childish indulgence in weakness flies. He recognizes himself in the things he cultivates. He knows it is from the loins of the leaf vein that bids his sprung heart face the sun. Aye when Gigphaii peered into the bark it was the warrior himself stared back. This humility towers over the narcissistic hedonism of youth. And gratitude born of knowledge that this reality decayed out of nothing. It is not meaningless because nothing could have become anything or that there are infinite possibilities realized in infinite realities and that these realities will in their time each return to nothing to become another anything. Meaning is in the beingness.

Reciprocity reigns. If I can hurt I can be hurt. Land has been set aside for the cultivation of medicinal herbs. It doesnt matter that altruism is not the sole motivating factor for their cultivation for even selfishness is born out of fear and a hope and a trust. Otherwise wherefore hospitals?

There are watermelons. Fat melons with fat bands like the reports of electrocardiograms. Rows of broccoli, carrots, fields of berries after their kind. Alfalfa. Deep green, a touch of waxy brightness to the leaves. Miles of sugarcane. Red leaved shaking in the early breeze like an army of spears preparing to sweep antiquity away. How many cups of tea will they sweeten? Besides I see tobacco, marijuana, poppy. Neighbors all to potatoes. I know with the ambiguous sense of disconcerted comfort that vice abides. But maybe those plats arent so big now. But then there are many other plats laid to fallow.

Alas the soul leaps perennial. Oh its a pleasure. They have plagued the vistas with roses. Flowerheads that could plug the bores of howitzers and maybe they have finally contrived a gaudy rose but what a delight of tulips and bonnet. In flowers Ive always seen hope. No matter what Ive said. The hope is in their beauty. The senseless beauty beautiful for its own sake. Strangest of all are pineapples. Blue bracted, hided oddly like ovoid formations of testudo. The ability to create that which has the power to bewilder the creator is the most precious gift of all. Man having achieved wonders not least of all because of its dreamers.

The pilot sighed deeply and sank into the seat. And yet in this exuberant lushness I see the eye critical of his jejunity, his sparseness, his absence. But not his sternness. Not the wild economy of his hurricanes. Not the prodigal waste, the viral concupiscent paroxysms of war. In desolation's amending to fitness for stock and staple there is indeed an indictment that the word was insufficient, that god was too affined to hell. Aye twas Lucifer was the favored angel gived reign of three quarts the world. But then what? What do I see? The meteorological mastery of the world is a spite of nature. I see the way astronomers see, telescoping the redshift, how the chemical reactions rewind through hubris, continual triumph's disease, resolve's rust into hope tempered in despair by the hundreds of millennia of merciless clawing of knowledge out reality's iron with bloody fingerbones and oft dug to through leagues of dead even to reach the iron and the naming preceded by the unspeakable horror, the sight, and always steeped unshod in endless folly and disgrace and the irresistible tendency towards oblivion that will seems powerless to overcome save that it is wedded to blind chance and charity and then back again inversely inverting in cycles epochs long to the singularity when the two great pillars of death and sentience slammed upon the shoulders of man and got its hook in the eye sockets and before even that the delicate lace of fossils through time to the first fragile bestowal of life.

Neither does this rework of surfaces or skies strike as a rejection of the chalice of the grace but rather a seizing of the mantle of the staff. Here is the salvage of a slaughter god. Man has despoilt the spirit of the dawn with orbiting sheets of lightbulbs. As if to say you are no longer the christener of the day. Men will say what is good but the announcement for all its pride is not malice to the core. Its to say we too are of nature. What hollows the atrium warps the sun wind. Were old enough now. You made us too in your image. Retire now among your star crowds and come a day when we are old and by our hearth nodding under the reading lamp you may decide to make our epigraph true: take these our ancient bones and again make us new.

Thass a lotta see.

Tis but to thee: Man hath assumed of god his brutal austerity. But not his immutability. And our enemies too have forged their deity. Or demon. A sickly decrepit titan of rust bleeding acid sap and slouching forth cold and fevery. These are the goliaths due to war, man gainst demon for rule of all.

A few minutes passed in silence.

Haupt, piped the child again.

Why dost thee fife?

The child didnt know. Or neologism distinct from the Germanic definition, germane to sick slumber. Far ahead bands of light were falling through the hard bars of trees and she pointed it out.

Es getted ta dawn again.

Nein, said the pilot shaking her head. Thats a logging camp.

And indeed workmen. Tranced, wallowing in the tsimmes, their sleek augments reflecting in the play and counterplay of lamps and carnival flares searing their shadows to the ground so that they appeared chiaroscuro harlequins or pixelated digita let loose upon the physical realms. Metal dretches shouldering timbers in teams and loading them into waiting flatbeds. Communicants supping horilka out of a jorum. A welder was cutting pipes to length with a plasma torch and the strings of sparks screamed out like tentacles nerved to a malfunctioning brain. As each pipe fell divided another would take them up and plier burrs offs the fresh ends. Skid cats hogged the road, their blared foghorns parting the shuffling clumps of laborers, their tracks roaching up all sign of their going and leaving fat sipes for wheels to rock and the massive floodlights mounted upon the rollbars boring caves in the dark. A heavy industrial reek polluted the air. Acrid and sweet and slightly intoxicating. The clearing with its havoc great root crowned stumps was like a junkyard for the the thrones of kings.

As they drove up a rangy sloomed hide bobcat accumbent on the roof an operating caterpillar and the moonshine of its eyes followed them with slight interest. Strings of oil drenched horses were being led down the road like sordid refugees and the branch of Sawyers who led them would not one survive the first skirmish of the coming war. Deep in this hurlyburly shined a mill like a chapel and the shrill scream of the saws hewed the night light an electric parish. Outside a tower yarder rose and crazed men, mast monkeys displaced in time, ascended in heavy gear and others sat fishing for hats with their tape measurers, letting the long yellow blades down with bobs and a hook at the end that would snag upon any unsecured headgear and then zip back up into their chrome cases.

Dachni the while was ducked away crying: Peoples! Theys peoples! And cursing the pilot as a traitorous sunuvabitch. Theyre folks!

Yes there are.

What if what if...

They dont know you.

The truck hovered along the shoulder for it had been decreed construction and salvage had right of way and the pilot noted the oddity of categorizing the industry of lumber as salvage.

Gotta git outta here.

Were going.

She tugged frantically at the pilot's sleeves. Leeeeve.

And so they did. Drove clear of the yard unto hills from which more distant hills were visible by the simple lamps hung from house flagpole or bracer. Wood huts with wattle and daub paddocks built into the slopes out which sounded a bleating confusion shepherds tried to repress.

Go back, seethed the child.

Were here.

Aldmost air?




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