16.6 \ 198

All sounded a blaring phase transition, and began throwing to hit each other’s ornaments in midair. Like in the game of barricades with its angle science, they altered trajectories to find open pockets with amazing certainty. Deflected objects were deflected again by angled headplate, softening velocities till things coasted gracefully, zipping between spaces.

Soleil decided to observe differences by heading to another balcony. Foolhardy danger-seeking perhaps, but she drew the distinction from seeking perspective despite the danger. She waiting in the tunnels when she heard traffic charging through. Shaking under her feet told her what was happening, how close, how fast. Keeping her feet was like riding Moonshadow – while everything’s moving, remember they’re still on the ground.

It occurred to her that they might hear her footsteps pattering through the weave of sound, just as well as their own. She tried tapping out a signature syncopation, and heard the sound repeated in response. She was heard. She traveled from one tunnel mouth to another, knowing she could be found at the close of festivities. Making her way to an entirely new side like many Aureny, she appreciated the differentiation of local frequencies around the geode’s natural shape. Rosy Glow kept up with her, more reassuring than necessary. Soleil was glad for her presence, and also glad she could forget the Kao-Sidhe was there.

Where ornaments lay in the openings, Soleil inspected them, testing them with a knock of her gloved knuckle. Some were broken and damaged, and she began recognizing the different ways that metals and stones were spliced in. They destroyed things and remade them. The Tempering, where things survived or didn’t, proved strong or made stronger. They brought things from other places and exchanged pieces. The worked stones looked fascinatingly precious, holding special life within. Many were surely collected from piles such as those they were making now.

The Princess Ascendant allowed her curiosity free reign, and stayed safe. Though tapping energy reserves, she kept lively and didn’t miss a moment. After the sound petered out and the chamber was disengaging, some cute little Aureny came in and began scooping gems into transport buckets. Mystvall found Soleil propped against a wall, panting and grinning from ear to ear.

16.5 \ 198

Caught up in the trance of this spectacle, Soleil rocked on her ready stance with extreme intensity. A unanimous soundblast took over the space, and several Aureny ran into the tunnels from their balcony ledges, including Mystvall.

In the suddenly vacated space, the Princess could hear their thundering steps recede and approach, echoing louder when they crossed a tunnel opening into the geode. There were muffled crashes as they met and collided, shearing their enduring hides against the crystal-coated walls, soft scrapes in the debris. The steady underlay of body syncopation and basso vocalization hinted like the peak of an iceberg at something far greater beneath perception.

Soleil stepped into the center of the reception cone. Details of the communal music leapt into clarity, any point of listening sounding forefront with the slightest adjustment. If she could place her head two stories higher the sound would no doubt be better, more so with their range of sensory perception. She looked up and saw Rosy Glow in that position. In this moment, to this human, there had never been anything like it. Her astonishment was complete without allowing it to overwhelm.

A careering sound of approach grew with alacrity. She whirled and, watching the incoming Aureny, slid into the most welcoming concavity. She’d guessed correctly that a large object was flying in behind her. The arrival grated to a pinpoint stop and caught an airborne set of pauldrons, which they donned rhythmically, dragging forelimbs in wide arcs around the mouth of the passageway. Soleil reflexively shielded her face from the glittering shower, letting a few fall into her palm and tipping them to the ground. Despite the mortal danger, she felt washes of glee at the creative destruction, the elation of collision, oneness of sound, elegance of cooperative sporting, detachment of personal property, and wondrous abundance.

Private Housewarming Library Reading


In this delightful deep forest library, I shared snippet readings  from Bones of Starlight with people closely inhabiting a connected and intimate setting. Beyond the library, people shared beautiful art, delicious food, and great music. It was a pleasure to be a part of this grand meeting at a special time.


Friends and colleagues, may you ever prosper. I will consider availability for your library-warmings. Try it, just one breathing author. Or more, with any others. Pick your nearest.



16.4 / 198

A brassy trumpeting began to sound, spreading around the cavern until it seemed like it could shake the place apart. Stomping polyrhythms began again in earnest when this subsided, the bass wobble harmonics multiplying. Mystvall removed their large circular neck torc. Drawing Soleil’s attention with piercing focus, they let loose a melodic bellow.


With a great heave, the torc went spinning through the air until it ricocheted crashing against a far curved wall, sending crystalline gems sparkling down through the air. The torc rebounded directly toward someone across the chamber, who caught it and flung their own torc into other recesses. Crashes and catches syncopated, tinkling explosions in chorded pitches.

Aureny began launching their regalia in groups via criss-crossing trajectories, rotating throws and catches. Pauldrons and other accessories went into the mix. Hardly accident nor error could Soleil notice as chunks of metal and stone greater than her size went hurtling. The body-fitting designs also possessed aerodynamic qualities. Crystals were falling constantly on every side, facets flashing as the glow inside dimmed, chiming as they tumbled into each other. These riches piled up on the floor far below.