(reading time: 2 hours, 6 minutes)
The Aych Fauce and Sea Fauce would’ve been considered deities themselves if Porce didn’t already have such stiff competition amongst its religions. For all recorded time they had poured, their flow never weakening. Third Sink would’ve long overflowed if the Snyre drain wasn’t open.
Their waters held their temperature long after leaving their home. Waters of the Aych stayed just shy of a boil, making them incredibly useful for heating ships and homes in winter times. Waters of the Sea were just shy of ice, useful for preserving food and bathing under the harshest light of the florent. Harvesting it was simple enough, as all a ship or sinkside settlement had to do was lower a bucket into the edges of the Fauce’s influence, where its intensity was only a short distance from tepid safety. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 28 minutes)
Seven days passed from Rob’s bargain with Fixadilaran Bocculum. He continued his lessons with Ciamuse, but each time his mind drifted further from her lectures. He saw himself crossing the city, the river, and the bone powder dunes to arrive at the doorstep of Cloader of theft.
His plans had always had confidants. He could whisper to Teal. Discuss strategy with his grandfather and Oddball. Order Roary to guard the plans. Count on Alast to overhear. Execute with Dawn at his side, flattering him with exact mimicry of his bonepicking maneuvers. Now his schemes were all alone and lorded over by the soulless gel of a prosite. The plans were on the tip of the pirate’s tongue, and they scalded it with nowhere to go. He wanted nothing more than to speak with Vyra; she would appreciate it. Alas, Clix did not allow them to be alone together. The tilefolk was back to smiles and manners, but any time Rob approached her he found a hairy hand on his arm, pulling him away to a chore or conversation. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 26 minutes)
Tales of the Living Sixteen: Ciamuse
The first thing she had to get used to was privacy stalls. Her tragedy had taken her behind First Stone Door and atop First Toil, to the expanse beyond First Seat and under First Tank. She was in the shadow of Lunginvess and the toil’s lever. The folk in the town there valued their privacy above all else and looked to the stall around them in their architecture.
Every chamber pot and relief hole, no matter how remote, had its own privacy stall. Every bed was surrounded by one as well, whether its walls were wood, stone, topa, or cloth. When Wympona Dotsettr found lodging and employment there she was given a room to share with six other women, most of them barely more than girls. She was twelve rests herself (Blaine’s Note: thirty-three), but was just as shy and uneducated as the rest of them. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 9 minutes)
Red raw hands, some with spots of black frostbite, rose toward the sky in exultation. The starved men and women of the Greedy Old Mop flooded out of the smelly yellow caverns of the Winchar Straits and into the melt crater Ice Master Shuckr had predicted.
They spread out under the florent and frolicked like rabards in heat, jumping about and slipping onto their tailbones. The crater was massive, nearly a valley unto itself, and had a very round shape. Metallic trees and shrubs dotted the sides, a few even bearing rainfairies. Walls of ice, only occasionally stained with rings of the yellow flammable compounds, curved and rose on all sides. At its center there was a blue lake: a pocket of isolated sea that likely connected to the rest of the Snyre by a few narrow tunnels. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 18 minutes)
Graves of the First
Dinner in Infinicilia occurred at the same time each night, just before Fwa Nippr cloaked herself in a thick black robe to dim the light. The other eight members of the living sixteen arrived right on time to help prepare the meal. Rob was introduced to them all, but they didn’t add much to his evaluations. Argnaught was extraordinary. Vyra was aggressive and unpredictable. Clix fancied himself in charge. Fwa was the florent. Ciamuse was a beloved nutter. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 30 minutes)
The Living Sixteen
The marsh of gore beneath the Fith did not go on forever. The Fith only showed in patches in the Pipes, the rest of the ceiling composed of bedrock or rounded rusted metal. After two drops of walking Vyra leapt up onto a stone plateau with bonepicking. Rob followed.
“Private privies!” he exclaimed at the sight of it: a city constructed like no other he had ever seen. The buildings moved, the layered circles of their construction shifting back and forth like seaweed in a gentle current. Many had walls of perfect crystal clear as glass that sang along with the motion. The towers were taller than he could see and occasionally coupled with each other. Yet despite the constant activity of the stone, the place was abandoned. Continue reading
(reading time: 54 minutes)
There was a time in Porce where the tiles, toils, and sinks were not the height of civilization. Before the Age of Building, before the Age of Tragedy, things lived within the walls and pipes of Porce, feeding on moisture and lighting their way by thought. Modern tales spoke of the Pipes as the underworld: a pit of damp suffering where evil souls and bodies were stored for all eternity, denied the mercy of complete rot. Those who believed in the eight gods and those of the Toil Papers both believed this. They were only partly right. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 38 minutes)
Enough Stock for Soup
Veer Keystonr could not see much of anything from his place at the bottom of the lifeboat. He could only trade information with the other bodiless members of the Calcitheater Rob had rescued. (Blaine’s Note: Veer is a skull we mentioned earlier, recognizable by the iron crown bonded to his head. He tutored Alast in arithmetic when he first joined the crew. In fleshed life he was a human ledger, and his memory for numbers seems to have only improved since then.)
“It was Qliomatrok! Can you believe it?” one of them muttered. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 2 minutes)
A Beast Fights
The tables for the feast had buckets crafted into them because bergfolk celebrations often devolved into dancing right where you ate; this way they could not be kicked aside. The buckets were filled to the brim with all sorts of strange refreshments: spiced green cleansing water, warm red oystie sauce, pure blue toil water, and a foaming drink called scrub-throat that kept its bubbles for days. The bergfolk swished them about in their mouths and noses, sometimes holding one nostril closed so they could blast a fountain of it out the other. Alast watched as a woman gladly opened her mouth to accept a jet of cleansing water fired from a neighboring nostril. It might’ve been rude not to join, but Alast couldn’t bring himself to do it; he let any liquid that came his way splash across his shirt instead. Continue reading
(reading time: 34 minutes)
Cracking the Knuckles
Captain Rob moved through abandoned streets. The folk of Dhonshui had been evacuated from the part of town near the gates, a district called Quig, before the assault began. The closed mint was there and Rob made his move as soon as the last rows of soldiers came through. Luck was on his side, as Inguin had not done anything about the bronze disk Alast had hidden the piece of the Reflecting Path inside. The search Rob had endured for the supposedly swallowed piece was not his favorite thing, but it was far better than anything Yugo had planned. Continue reading