labingi: (Ghanior)
Chapters 1-6 on AO3

Chapter 7

Our Journey, Day 9, Continued

In the evening's cool, I hugged the fire, the beach rocks hard beneath me.

"It's a dangerous tech that makes you see dreams you can't snap out of," said Nyra as she stirred the pot. The smell of her stew almost dispelled our troubles. She was the hand of reality reaching into our dreams.

She and Lastri'nom maybe.

"Yes, it is," I said to her, then went on in Vunizh, "But was it caused by our tech? Tanez do you think you saw into Jana itself or...?"

"Or had a psychotic break?" He smiled.

The joke did not amuse Lastri'nom.

"It could well be Jana," said Glin. "The fact that we're being slammed doesn't mean our jae bands are inactive. We could be receiving input from Jana."

"Without consciously directing our minds toward Jana?" Anger colored Lastri'nom's voice. "That would be without precedent": would be frightening, he meant.

"It's not. You know it's not," said Tanez. "My father has spontaneously felt the presence of Jana almost since you First Walkers began."

"Your father has a unique connection to Jana. Everyone knows that."

"Still," said Glin, "one case doesn't equal unprecedented. Slamming's been rare too till now."

"Chi'anové?" I asked.

"It could be," he said sleepily. If anything, the idea of being connected to Jana comforted him.

Glin picked up a piece of sandstone and starting filing her nails. The sound of the tide rolled in to us like a giant's sleeping breath. The beach, blanketed in placid gray, was nothing now except itself. It carried no flavor of dreams.Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
Chapters 1-5 on AO3

Chapter 6

Our Journey, Day 8

For three days, we had crossed a terrain of steep, coastal hillsides, often with a mere depression in the rock for a trail. The scrabbling took a toll on Chi'anové. His legs ached and sweat clung around his eyes, his frustration compounded by hurt pride: he was a skilled rock climber; aside from Jana, climbing was his prime element. But now that his health was defeating him, no one saw his talent. Again, he was misjudged--or so he thought. In fact, Nyra noted his poise, and seeing how he struggled when he ought to have outstripped us alerted her to his illness. I didn't tell him that; he chafed under her attention.

But she asked me about it as we gathered kindling, and I explained what I could: that sickness was building up inside him and he needed a machine to cleanse it.

The idea filled her with pity and revulsion. "If he were of our folk, we'd let him die. We don't hold with machines to stave off death."

I nodded. "'Let die.'" It was one of the most famous Kiri precepts, the admonition not to cling to things beyond their time. "But if he were one of you, he would never have been a Walker."

"That's so." Nyra cracked a stick hard across her knee. "Thus, he wouldn't be ill."Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
Chapters 1-5 on AO3

Chapter 5

I awoke to clamor, floundering in the water. A moment later, I woke truly on dry sand, woke to agony, throbbing, nauseous, his mind gasping, I did it, but where?, and a need to hide till the lightning in the brain stopped and sight was possible. And fear from us all, and cries and chatter.

A handlight clicked on--Chi'anové's. I groped for mine. So did Glin, and then three lights shown on the man crumpled by the embers of our fire.

I recall Tanez next to him, Tanez's voice, sharp, "It's Ghanior. He's a friend."

Ghanior? 'Ghanior Lastri'nom? The Director of the Walking Program. One of the First Walkers, the first generation. He had Walked to us--or been slammed, a thin, middle-aged man in a blue-black sy'gad's uniform, the second highest rank in the Ash'tor; he had come in Ash'tor's name.Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Chapter 4

But there was no chance. The next day, we took Glin and Tanez to my ship, where the sum total of our expertise pronounced it irreparable in the absence of a synapse grower. Even Chi'anové couldn't deny it. Like rusty swimmers beached on an island, we reset our conception of time and space and firmed our minds for the long, long swim.


Our Journey: Day 1

The following day, we set out just after breakfast, a relief to us all except Leyvar. For him, Nyra's departure came like the cracking of an old, over-heavy tree limb: both expected and abrupt. Accustomed as he was to her wanderings, our stranding smacked of danger, and our destination was far away. Nyra understood his unease with an old familiarity and hugged him tightly in parting.

Though my shoulder ached under my pack, our steady pace comforted me. The morning cool was made for walking, the woods quiet: once we left the town, I sensed no people but our company. Blessed be progress without hurry. To go by foot is humanity's natural state, synced--so they guess--to our evolution: walking... Walking. That other Walking will always be alien to our bodies. Except Chi'anové's: his natural state, indeed, is Walking, so much so he bleeds Jana out of his cells. When I thought of the jae damage building in his body, our pace no longer pleased me.

The day warmed, not dramatically, a lifting of fog, sun dappling the turf. We were all lucky to have hardwearing clothes, though the seal-slick Leddie jumpsuits breathed better than our Ash'torian coats and breeches. Nyra, in light, loose pants and tunic fared best as temperature crept up.

As the sun ascended glacially, my legs grew leaden and my shoulder burned, numbed, tingled, burned by turns. When we stopped for lunch, I sank gratefully on a rock just off the path. There's a freedom in being able to stop anywhere: no hotel, no dining district, no transit station--just world.Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Chapter 3

The next day we used the hand com to call for help. Again it was too easy. The general distress signal had been running not five minutes when an eager voice commed in:

"Hello? We are receiving. Respond please." The man spoke the Leddie language, Vunizh, for the same reason I am writing in Vunizh. For us, it's a lingua franca, and so for you of the future, at least, it should still be translatable. His accent was good but not native.

I described our situation, presenting myself as a diplomatic attaché and Chi'anové as a courier. It was so much our standard cover story it almost seemed the truth.

"I'm Tanez Shadowdell," said the man, "Of the Rha-Lutran Walking Academy."

Chi'anové and I glanced at each other. "Pardon me," I said, "You are the Tanez Shadowdell, the son of Sheseson?" If so, he was royalty among Walkers, son of one of the First to enter Jana.

"Yes, that's right." His tone, though amicable, suggested the question was a nuisance. "Two standard days ago, my fellow instructor, Soval, and I were taking three advanced students on a training Walk. Everything seemed ordinary, but when we Walked, Soval and I got slammed to this planet, like you."Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
By 'Eblia Te'Zhano Yoq

A story from the Continuation universe.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

I awoke again, squished in padding that propped me on my side. As on awakening from a nightmare, I lay still, afraid to move, the world reduced to my throbbing head and pounding blood. After some seconds, I deflated the padding and clambered out of my harness. Reports showed only minor damage. I began to be hopeful. Sensors read breathable atmosphere at 1.1 G, no electronics within ten, twenty, I went out to fifty kilometers. When I requested an astral location, however, my ship's gentle pulse clicked off; screens vanished; lifeless alloy surrounded me, battery-lit. The shutdown was so smooth and total that a message stating, "fools fail" could not have made it plainer. On some level, I must have guessed from the first that my ship had been sabotaged, but I'd treated the crisis as a force of nature. Now, the obvious humanity of my adversary filled me with a human anger.

I rolled the top hatch open on manual. It lay perpendicular to the ground. A whirling green before my eyes stilled into a coniferous forest, thick and moistly grassy beyond the lacerated earth. Morning? Afternoon? The air flooded in heavy with wet turf and smoke, though I saw no fire; my ears popped.

I listened. A breeze fanned my sweaty face. Two birds conversed with a monotonous "tich, tich," life barely touched by my passage. The damp dripped into my ship as if wrung from a washcloth. My mind poured outward furiously, the polar opposite of my usual self-encasement. Surging all my hypertelepath's power at the forest, I caught a faint hint of distant minds, at least a kilometer away, too far off for me to a guess a direction or a number beyond more-than-one. Friends or enemies? Not the slightest clue.
Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
This is a Continuation story that is properly a side-story of the The Dying Cycle, but I'm going to start posting it as a standalone, mainly because I fully intend to write a crossover in which 'Eblia meets Charles Xavier. But of that odd psychological space, more later. Many thanks to Jamie and Jodi and [ profile] louderandlouder for the excellent critiquing.

by 'Eblia Te'Zhano Yoq


'Ghanior, this is my love letter to you. It's for posterity too, for while this account can't be published in the current political climate, it might be of some historical value when these events have been forgotten. You and I know from 'Hasha's writings that love and history are not mutually exclusive. So here it is: my love for you--and for 'Shoan.

Chapter 1

I registered the signs but did not respond to them. In the month since Qer'yem had left me, she dominated my thoughts. I went to work in a fog, navigating by force of habit, and when the scenery changed, I noticed without noticing.

I was a spy then, an "Eye-man," in our language. (In Ash'torian, women are Eye-men too.) My partner, Chi'anové, and I served the Trae'dah Eye as field agents, he the tracker and I the reader. He would Walk in first to scout the assigned location. I'd follow in the guise of an attaché and listen in telepathically. This is against international law, but our government, for a warrior people, is remarkably discreet.

I've said Chi'anové was a Walker and assumed that you, my future readers, know I meant. Do you still have Walkers in your time, those adventurers implanted with a device that lets them enter the dimension called Jana and punch a line through it to instantly travel anywhere in our known planets? If you've never heard of this, it must sound like an incredible power. And it is. Yet I took it for granted, as I did Chi'anové.

Our assignment was routine, the kind we'd played dozens of times as smoothly as a high hand in fast-tac. But as soon as we were in the hall, Chi'anové said, "Damn, but you could smell the photo fear at that briefing," the fear of being held accountable.*

And I said, "Yes," because I'd felt it too, and thought no more about it.

In retrospect, it's clear they wanted to nullify my hypertelepathy. As an HT, I made a good spy, in part, because my telepathic skills are so sensitive that thoughts leak to me even through blocked minds, and since I don't have to reach out to read them, few sense the intrusion. But this could be as much as hazard for our handlers as for our marks. In this briefing, our handler had oozed unease. I was too preoccupied to care.

So much for my obtuseness, but what of Chi'anové? Later, for a time, it puzzled me that he wasn't more mistrustful. But it isn't hard to fathom. Covert intelligence is a fabric so famously woven of lies that lies become its honesty. They lied, he thought. We all do. Information, perversely, thrives in obfuscation. Insects call in the grass because on a slab, they'd be eaten. And so we grasshoppers sprang dutifully out into the meadow and into the waiting mouth.Read more... )


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