59 \ 147

Saga’s serpentine form was positioned throughout the waterfall, rainbow scales flashing over and beneath the water. Er head rested up top in the foam of the churning rapid cascading over the edge. Raising er gaze to meet Arkuda’s, Saga blinked softly and rose from place, glittering drops sheeting off er scales. Saga’s draconid humanoid also appeared on a ledge from behind the waterfall.

Arkuda stood at the edge of the purple lotus shore in humanoid; above, er serpentine mirrored Saga’s newly arisen position in midair, brightening like a cloud revealing the sun. Between them they released a tunnel of sound, replaying voices heard and things said between the times they’d seen each other.

The Councillor’s Imperial status was of no concern except as a topic of conversation. “Why do you bother taking anybody’s part?” asked Saga. “How is it worth it? Can’t you just go somewhere else and let them do unto themselves as they will. Shake their grip on your scales, you owe nothing.”

“They are written on your scales too, Saga. You love them more than most of us.”

“I can’t oppose kin this time.” Their serpentine shapes twined through the air without touching.

“Are you missing very much of yourself?” asked Arkuda.

“I feel distant in some ways, yes. I’m practically living on Level Plaine, which of course we can’t. But at least I get to see others in a remote, sort of empty way.” The space between their flying shapes narrowed as they circled and opposed each other in various dimensions. The setting pulsed vibrantly as lines of white radiance drew themselves in the air.

“How long must we be apart?” Arkuda understood that Saga was referring to the standing divides between all dragons, including the two of them.

“Until time’s tide changes its flow. The sea is rushing up to engulf the land. I must hold with these people, even against my kind, and not for the first time. They are a part of me, and you too; standing beneath a rockfall, and backed against a cliff.”

“Where they placed themselves.” The two flattened the coils of their flight against the glyphwork cliffs to either side of the waterfall, turning their heads to speak across the energetic rush. “I’ve been with them since beyond their known histories, but I don’t belong to them. Love as I may, I would hinder as hinder not. I have the rest of me to consider.” Saga lengthened, dipping er tailtip into the purple lotus pool. “Have you met with a returned exile?”

“No!” replied Arkuda defensively. Saga leveled a look at er, as though ‘e were clearly missing something. “Have you?” Arkuda returned the question.

Saga evaded the retort. “My presence wanes now in some of the places we know.”

“It’s not the same without you.”

“Of course it isn’t,” Saga said with an exasperated guffaw. “I’m just not taking a side this time, which is lonelier. But I am not alone. You saw the other Unphased outside?” Arkuda hummed affirmative. “I think we are all wanting to talk with you, if only to match scales again.”

“I am glad.” Gazing at Saga across the waterfall, Arkuda had little breath left to say more.

“Will you welcome the others with me by the Golden Apple River? So we may all have time and so that I might stay by you.” Arkuda nodded. Saga took hold of er finely crafted glyphscape, and the scene flowed away from Purple Lotus Waterfall, over and down to the banks of Golden Apple River: a shining orchard on a leisurely picnic slope where the current flowed past in natural rhythm. A river wide enough to get into, a cleansing wash.

The glyph’s exterior reading changed, and the two in reverie outside both noticed: Saga-Arkuda Within, Welcoming the Unphased, Golden Apple River. Ottokad and Myricotl entered in succession.

58 \ 146

He’s not exactly supposed to be gambling while on errand, but he’s reserved a maverick moment for one such a non-occasion. The best time to break a rule is when nothing seems to be working. So, General Draig Claymore got into a poker game with strangers, after going to see nothing where nothing was supposed to be. He wasn’t protected, nor was he wearing anything officially identifying. He worked unrelated thoughts and feelings into his gameplay, just to see what that did, win or lose.

Draig’s stack of coins was slightly bigger than when he first began. He received gazes of mild confusion from his fellow players, as happens when playing Riverboat like an oracle. Not acting or thinking like he’s in it to win makes it a mystery when he does. In this fashion, the cards in his hand are known characters or elements within control, and the cards on the table are the circumstances. The cards in his hand react to the cards on the table. Draig wins this way approximately as often as when he plays to his prowess.

On the ship that had spotted the Princess, records were intact and frustratingly uninformative. Biometric positive for Soleil, Magus. Unidentified vehicle type. Totally unexplainable behavior. Subject vanished.

Hand after hand, Claymore middled around. This was a nice old place; a heritage hole, as he referred to them. There was no sign outside, but it was all documented and above board. It reminded him of a pub in the Capital called the Show Horse, with the thousand-year-old bar that predates spacefaring. The establishment he was in now had a little less memorabilia on the walls, though still a seemingly popular accommodation. The General’s contacts used this place often when in Dalmeera; the communications must be good here. From inside the kitchen he heard the sound of dishes being stacked one by one, rapid-fire. It was somehow more orderly than the usual clatter, and he liked the sound.

Joe the bartender brought Claymore another Hot Silver, calling him Gerald. Draig was drinking, too: double maverick. If he had too much for the evening, there was inn lodging underground, from when there was once a clandestine dormitory adjacent to the Scurry, Dalmeera’s historical tunnel network.

His thoughts were in outer space, somewhere around the Viridian Phasing point intersection. She – possibly the Princess – had been there, and then she wasn’t. There and gone, there… and gone. And, gone. What was that about? He’d been under the casual assumption that she was working to meet him halfway. Did she run? From him? Or from Derringer? Or from home? Did she mean to give them the slip, was she under a different danger, or was it terrible luck? Draig’s stack was still growing. He thought he would have lost by now.

Free Shelf, Signed

In the greater Seattle area, there are now a few signed & bookmarked (with very slightly off-kilter covers) copies of Fire On All Sides on free bookshelves.

One at the little library on 26th & Norman, next to Amy Tan.

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Two at the Everett Transit Station free bookshelf (with dedications to the station), on two separate shelves – between Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (having recently attended The Raven King’s Ball), and Honor to the Queen, and Michael Crichton’s Congo (greatly enjoyed in middle school) and Carlos Castaneda. At first I thought of titling this book “The Fire Within”, then learned that was a Castaneda title. Very well, Don Juan… very well then, let us be neighbors.

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OryCon Panels Announced, Mythical Creatures

Newly confirmed announcement! OryCon 39, Portland OR November 17-19, is going to be a NINE PANEL EXTRAVAGANZA… triple Eva every day. I’m really looking forward to every single one of these discussions & activities, most especially with OryConians! Come hang out, homies! Behold:

FRIDAY
Comics Created Our Modern Mythologies
Wenatchee – 166 Parlor
Fri Nov 17 4:00pm-5:00pm
How comics conquered our art, stories and media.
Lee Moyer, Curtis Chen, Benjamin Hsu, Eva Elasigue

The Quest for the Ultimate Superhero
Wenatchee – 166 Parlor
Fri Nov 17 6:00pm-7:00pm
What makes a super hero a superhero? What would make a superhero the ultimate example of his or her kind? Power, talent, heart, courage, or self-sacrifice? And could an ultimate super hero connect to the average human, as Superman seems to or, like Doctor Manhattan, end up estranged from the rest of us?
Rob McMonigal, Eva Elasigue, Tom Whitmore, Marshall Maresca, Barry Deutsch

Rx for Fitness
Lion Kings Den – 266
Fri Nov 17 8:00pm-9:00pm
What you learned back in the day in health and P.E. is probably wrong. Discuss and learn about the latest developments in fitness, strength training, nutrition, and one of the only treatments for chronic illness available. Are fitness and nutrition the medicines of the future?
Matt Bellet, Jennifer Willis, Sean Robinson, Eva Elasigue

SATURDAY
Make your own book in one hour
Spokane Suite – 256
Sat Nov 18 3:00am-4:00am (HMMMMMM)
Create a real, physical book in one hour. All ages welcome.
Jamie (SunnyJim) Morgan, Eva Elasigue

I Want to Get My Science On
Pettygrove
Sat Nov 18 9:00am-10:00am
Where does the lay person keep up with the latest developments?
Manny Frishberg, Sean Robinson, Eva Elasigue, Howard Davidson, Jessica Hebert

Backyard Astronomy
Pettygrove
Sat Nov 18 8:00pm-9:00pm
It’s a dark night with lots of stars. Actually, some are galaxies, and some are planets, and nebulae–what can you see from your backyard, and what are good resources to learn about what you’re seeing? Bonus–what might be visible from other worlds with different solar system conditions?
Roy Torley, Gerald Nordley, Eva Elasigue, b War

SUNDAY
Overturning the Cart
White Stag
Sun Nov 19 10:00am-11:00am
Revolution and rebellion in fantasy fiction.
K. M. Alexander, Eva Elasigue, ElizaBeth Gilligan, Alma Alexander

Superheroes in Times of Crisis
Wenatchee – 166 Parlor
Sun Nov 19 12:00pm-1:00pm
Do superhero comics reflect times of crisis?
Marshall Maresca, Curtis Chen, b War, Eva Elasigue

Trades versus Weeklies Economics
Wenatchee – 166 Parlor
Sun Nov 19 1:00pm-2:00pm
Comic collections or issues? Why have one when we already have the other?
Rob McMonigal, Eva Elasigue, Jeff Soesbe, Curtis Chen

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posting from a Praxis Arts creative jam session

Also, I will be working live on my (unrelated) mixed media art series, Passengers, as posted on serial/surreal, at the Seattle event Mythical Creatures: Forest of Dreams on October 28, featuring Kalya Scintilla, Desert Dwellers, Whitebear, Sixis, Drumspyder, and more! I’ll have a few books to sell there, some chapter art prints, and who knows what else.