14.3 \ 196

Rosy Glow zipped over the entire group in circles, leaving an evanescent wake of sparkling pink that really alleviated the mood. Some of the Aureny took on communicative announcer postures. The lingering pink twinkles scattered by the Kao-Sidhe coalesced into focused beams of visualization that moved with conscious vibration, like smoke in the air revealing ripples of breath and speech.

Rosy Glow audially translated speech that she could apparently understand, with character tones that carried eerie clarity of individuality – for something coming from a completely different vibrational language pattern.

YOU ARE BRAVE, COMING TO US HERE.
HUMAN BEINGS ARE FRAGILE WITHOUT YOUR MACHINES OF DESTRUCTION, WHICH HAVE CAUSED US EXTREME SORROW.
HERE AND NOW, WE ARE GIVING YOU A BETTER CHANCE NOT TO SUFFER LIKEWISE WHEN THE DECISION RESTS IN OUR MOMENT.
WE ARE GOING TO LEARN ABOUT YOU.

Soleil stepped out from the edge of the group to address them. “I also wish to learn, in order to know what must be done.” Announce yourself by fitting your role, not speaking your title, she remembered from a dim motherly lesson.

WE WILL HAVE YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF ACCORDING TO OUR CUSTOM.
MYSTVALL WILL BE THE ONE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT MATCHING FORCES.
THEY – translated Rosy Glow, selecting the ungendered pronoun not of the draconid set – WILL BRING YOU TO A PLACE OF PREPARATION.

Derringer looked down at himself as he stepped forward.

NOT YOU.
ONLY HER. The Aureny speaking indicated Soleil with their pointed chin.
THE REST OF YOU MAY WAIT IN A PLACE WHERE NOURISHMENT WILL BE PROVIDED.

Everyone regarded Soleil, and she looked back at them gravely as she separated herself further from the group by a couple steps.

THE TRANSLATOR WILL ACCOMPANY HER.
GO NOW.

As she moved to follow Mystvall, the Princess Ascendant looked back over her shoulder at each of her traveling group, saying nothing as she disappeared. Rosy Glow bobbed a courtesy and followed them away, humming.

Poetry at Gallery Mystes Rising

Gallery Mystes Rising is a unique space in Friday Harbor, WA that hosts an eclectic array of visual and other arts. Right next to the ferry landing, it draws seekers and dreamers.

I am bringing some poetry poppers to next Monday’s musical event, on the 23rd, 8-10pm. Find them, or find me. 100 Front St. Ste. 28, 98250. Can also arrange for signed copies of Bones of Starlight.

IMG_3422

[Containing a hand-lettered cloth patch, editioned/signed handwritten copier broadsheet of winning poem “Stars Framed in Adobe Clay” & beach-found seaglass, sewn shut.]

14.2 \ 196

Derringer stepped out first. He’s a natural icebreaker. He looked up, beyond double the height of the open hatch, probably more than triple. Fakking huge, looking – or breathing – right at him. He couldn’t tell if those were eyes or nostrils, where the other set might be or if that were one set of each. They knew he was there, and they knew he was looking at them.

The rest were stepping out around him. The ones who’d already met them said they called themselves Aureny. Their frontal skull ridge resembled a clothing iron turned upside down, like a captain’s hat with a peak facing front, defining a flat capital plateau the size of a corner stage. Four nostrils or eyes or both or neither in a row beneath the edge of the cap. There was more to them than that, but Derringer was still taking in that impression. Seven of them formed a wedge surrounding Drift X’s hold hatch.

Their stony-hided shoulders were subtended with different amounts of grey ropy fur matted into giant knotted locks. The surface of their skins looked like ancient rock. Derringer watched as one turned its head and gnashed its ridged crescent dental platforms. Colonnade front limbs rolled under their bison hunches. Longfooted back legs like excavators, and a pointy chin to match the captain’s apex.

Once the entire visiting party was standing amongst them, the Aureny thrust their heads close to scrutinize the tiny beings. They made a jaw percussion to acknowledge sentient presence. The one positioned in front drew up, and beckoned them sidelong as it turned. The rest repeated the dexterous ironclawed gesture to follow along. They formed a slowly moving spear with the visitors in the center. They paused between each step, so that the tiny steps could keep pace. They walked on the scale of architecture toward the opening of a weathered natural corrosion.

This subterranean entrance was undifferentiated from any other hole in the ground. Walking with them, their grievance was dawning on Soleil – who divined, from the entirely natural appearance of this opening, that their sentience might be overlooked if one were not attempting to observe it. This included their apparent absence of appearance alteration such as ornament or clothing, at least as of yet.

Soleil could clearly recall the feeling of meeting people such as these, from her dream trance, completing all the presences she’d encountered. Their expressions were so alien, but she could perceive the depth of their complexity. Having mouths was a relatable trait.

As they descended through that opening, sheer walls rose to either side, forming a chasm where they walked the bottom under dim diffusion of faraway skylights. Toller was the first to notice more of the Aureny people looking out from openings in the sheer cliffs, reminding him of the subterranean apartments in Anzi. Before he’d made any mention, something shiny and large came hurtling toward them from one above. “Falling!” he yelled, laying a hand on the nearest person who was Wendel. The humans looked up in alarm, but before they scattered, their point escort reared up, caught the object, and shrugged it on. It was a metal ornament that draped from shoulder to powerful shoulder, gorgeously fashioned and set with gems. Another flew from a different opening, caught by another Aureny along their stately progression. The small humans relaxed once it seemed they were not the target of these projectiles, and they hardly flinched at all under directed velocities. Their escorts didn’t miss a catch, and soon all were fully bedecked, armored or adorned, including rings for their fur locks that were big enough for Soleil to put her head through.

The one walking point stopped their progress and turned to face the guests. They heard nothing, but Rosy Glow said, “You may now remove your breathing cloths.” Hand-sized, she’d been floating along without need for a breathing adaptation. After wiping down her face, Soleil tied each cool cloth around a wrist. A long huff of breath from the Aureny facing them rolled across her, lifting her hair a little. It smelled of flowers.

The chasm had grown several stories deep; they’d descended a ways, and were continuing onward. The workmanship worn by these Aureny was fascinating, and Soleil stared. Variegated shimmering textures showed off bizarrely unfamiliar alloys and forging techniques. It wasn’t just the metals which were new and strange, but the gems as well. Soleil had seen gems and physical elements aplenty. Many of these were also glowing enough for their eyes to see by, innovatively charged and possibly of additional values of phronium spectra. It was not often Soleil felt faced with people richer than she, and beyond that she felt a burning curiosity regarding all these novelties beyond compare. She was forming more guesses as to how grievances began.

Through another deeper archway, perhaps not entirely natural. The small group was flanked within by a pair of receiving columns, who then closed the back of their formation. The Aureny closed into a circle to regard the envoys for a long time, as though not crushing them was the greatest of courtesies.

 

3: Greater Beyond, Table of Contents

Now that the third book of Bones of Starlight is past its first chapter/Sequence, it’s getting its own table of contents page! See the top menu bar to witness the glory of all three titles, side by side. They’re clickable and contain ordered links to all the postings of the story serialization. It may be the last book, but there’s still a lot yet to occur in the saga that is Bones of Starlight. Thanks for following along, and stay tuned.