Thread: The Mere Tide
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:19 PM
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bluewpc (Offline)
The Next Bard
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They drove back in the cracking of the dawn. The day's yolk seeping color into the world which was all as the pilot had told. The child hugged the bag in her lap. She stared at the paper. Seeing the quadratic formulation of its fabricature.

Well hey today wasnt so bad was it?

They stopped outside the cathedral gates and the pilot helped the child out and then the truck drove off to park itself in the car port. She showed her the rudiments of cane use and Dachni hobbled a three legged ancient ill of gait. She made it to her room after a long struggle and when she opened the door her room was ordered again. Her bed made, the books replaced. Dachni set on the bed. Anaya came in a moment later with the bags and began to put the clothes in the chesterdrawer. Filling only the lower drawers that she could reach. When she was done she came and sat by her on the bed and looked out the colored window.

In my library I have a collection of novels. Its a beautiful tome. The lettering is of gold gilt, so too the foredges. The endpapers have a swirled pastel marbling and its jacketed in a tan bonded leather with three ribs to the spine. There is a scuff and I hate that. And yet on page 579, among other pages, it reads: To have gone to both and them home would have entailed a sixty-mile horseback ride. Its plain what the typesetter thought he saw. To have gone to both of them and then home and yet its there. The editor must have thought the same too. If ever it should be that I am commissioned to do another run of that collection I would keep the error. I glory in that imperfection.

She bent down and kissed her and went out.

۝

Two weeks then of days alike in panther black or auteur orb starting constellations of motes on sunbeams. Her sleepless hours sweat wracked abed parceling out the theoretical perdurantism of night, the tribal combat of dark against light, each decaying to the others recede as if a curse to be flown from. Eventually to succumb to a rank rest would last till lousy morrows, to scamper frantic to the bathroom and back her head lifting pained out of the toilet bowl, her unkempt lock ends dripping a citrus colored bile. Or else to wander the corridors lethargic, inevitably to be intercepted by the stealthy giant also prone to after hour serenades thereof to be born to the altar for drinks.

Once the pilot presented a silky brown beverage floating soft black clumps. Dachni poked them into dissolution with a spoon and with no small suspicion and deadly gravity asked: Ded ye poop in this?

Anaya cackled grandly. Its chocolate Dachni. Its sweet youll like it.

But Dachni narrowed a distrustful eye. That werent the question.

Even so she found herself the beneficent of a cautious dotage that knew too well the delicate balance on which such truces rested. That changed her sheets, that brought offerings of tobacco and fortified brew that prevented her contraction of scurvy. Who sang myriologues and cooked meals of which through claims of dysphagia she would manage to partake only a few morsels of.

The pilot weighed her and truth she lost no weight yet in her drare diurnal ventures from the dorter it was as a frail retardate shambling sullenly as if out of Orcus where aught she might have been of wont to remain. Staged late in emaciation as though undergoing a ritual of minishment. Bones razarous under the lunar translucency of her hide and her whiteless eyes huge and blank in their sockets. And reducto absurdem would she regress yonder infancy and in a final fading assume the shadow ambiance of the halls? For it is so men may also become the shadows of shades.

One night to emerge out of a groggy fugue. She blinked at the ceiling and spread her arms on the bed and clasped its sides. Then threw off the blankets and groped for her cane and finding it looked about and hobbled out.

The other dorters were empty. The library. The refectory. She retraced her route, looking into the bathroom, the nave. The flame in the lantern seemed a silhouette rapt in ponder and the crucifix below it creaked as it turned heavily in the air. Subordination to a foreign deity in his own repurposed house. She returned to her room and got the lantern for to light those back end corridors she loathed to traverse. Where the echo seemed to escape through false walls and where the barriers between vales did thin. Hear now distantly a gramophone rife with static. Violent violin sawed by an arthritic and can the bone warp be told in the chaos of the chords? No signs to tell where she went. There were rooms. Some empty. Some with piping jutting from the concrete. Others locked. A scratching at boards stopped her and she knocked and those were nails on wood.

Whos there?

Something like a caterwaul's death croak answered.

Who is she? Is it her? Is it really her?

The something pounded on the doors. The child peered through a slit in the boards. To see a shadow move in anguish. Say who, she hissed. Say who.

Perhaps the thing within had no tongue. It could not say and the child went on. At the stairway she raised high her lamp to give reach the light a few more inches into the puzzle below where paths multiply. Down these stairs. Would that she could debride the cathedral to find what heathen stepgod festered below and is it he who has laid the roads of time? She caned gingerly down, lowering the lantern a few steps ahead at a time and then easing down herself. At the bottom she spared a fretful glance to the light above but then she spat and cursed god and marshaled on. The first she was come to was an undercroft stacked with casks. Puncheons out of what cooperage. She tried a tap and sour black amber whiskey poured out and she wished all journeys were so rewarded. She drank up her courage and then drank away her senses and stumbled out. Her lantern multiplied as did her new spawned arms and their lights accordioned in and out of the article like a shadow that lost no detail in its duplication. Somewhere a mourner puled. A scaled hexapod skittered across her roof and regarded her broadwise with its torso oculars and the lids closed and opened as it breathe in sequence and then the headless thing slipped into a wall crack, its beneedled tail flattening and sucking into its body to fit. The involucrum of dark bayed by her light. Farther down it began to snow. Snow coming from a lunarium in the ceiling. She found the second stairwell. Or a stairwell like it. At the these depths it grew humid. A swelter reeking of humus blown in from existence strictly ordinate. Flowerfied wax vining upwards budding a thick foliage of wicks that blossomed with light. She broke off a branch and it was smooth in her hand and left an oily feel. Plashing rebated by soil walls but the puddles investigated rippled not. Ahead the tunnel flared into a chamber a pair squared acres sowed with an obelisk flora. Groping charmel. Rigid, upright, bearing a sentient fruit that rattled a shivaree with its chitin casing as she passed. And in so doing scared off bugs of another earth to be chumbled by leathery insectivores whose drool succored the fruit.

At the far end of the chamber was an exit and this she took. Antepaste of misventures future bound this corridor. Stepgod to this heathen. A shallow flow of water rising out of a seep and flowing on. At the next turn she found herself in a channel freshly painted. She put her back against the far wall and gave the painting a study.

It was the battle of Oreck'u'kii. When forty nine thousand airships disrupted the magenta heavens. High cloudbanks, mesas of cumulus and the archipelagic cirrus higher yet and far below the occluded front. The scene was well advance from that opening salvo first delivered from a range of a hundred and thirty two miles that devastated the skirmish lines before degrading twenty seconds later into a dogfight.

The airspace depicted was so crowded she could count no less than eight collisions. Four Gorecki class carriers dueling five Barrazgez. Aerial leviathans clouds themselves and their crazed rain duelists streaking at every vector, their passes like medieval jousts, some popping in and out of actual reality, reducing their probability of existence so low that missiles streaked through them without harm. They speak of a momentary blankness, the pilots. The theological portents of that nonexistence not lost on them, no not on them. Bombers approached in such a state and would they for too long remain would blink into nothingness never to return. Gunships blazed through the murk, their shields shining, their guns pissing great steams of tungsten that tore through tungsten and here was the grand gunner Coraskii in his crimson corvette having just cleared the smoke plume of his nemesis Gabios, never to see him in person, on his deathbed citing it his greatest regret, That dubious charlatan let fly his soul.

Thirties of thousands of missiles hounded exactly each soul of the shrieking craft, their contrails intersticed by tracers, by hot beams of plasma turning the overcast to steam, flashes of laser and flak burst. Missiles in swarms rendered in such detail you could read the serial numbers, see the galena's transit into and out of the masks of terror. Aircraft of divers designs, hyper specialized wings, a different manufacturer for almost every formation. Shock collared planforms, canards, sweep wings and scramjets. Ships exploding in glimmers of fire and downed ships falling, venting coiffured smoke, or barrel rolling through the alchemical convoke of flak burst, some shalki pilot, his canopy shattered banging on the side of his airframe and two ejected belligerents from opposite factions exchanging fire with their sidearms still strapped to their seats. And this battle only a prelude to the contest of land to occur scarcely an hour later.
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