The jeep descended slowly, zig-zagging down the switchback trail cut into the side of the cliff face. There were a few nervous moments, as there always were, when they passed though the cloud layer and they could barely see the way ahead of them, much less the sickening drop to the side. Then they were down through the clouds, and through the ceaselessly shifting sheets of rain they could see the jungle hundreds of feet below, a rolling carpet of fog-shrouded green that sprawled facelessly in every direction.
Yes, I know, I’m wasting all of your time to shill something again. This time it’s not something related to Tyrant King Productions, but I think you’ll agree that it’s still very cool:
Feathered dromaeosaur action figures! Show of hands, who reading this has longed for decently articulated feathered dinosaur toys?
Put your hand down dingus, I can’t actually see you.
The holy diver launched itself out of the water to land on Taro’s raft, and his granddaughter Ume immediately set her book aside and slid forward. As he watched, the teenage girl coaxed the bird to give up its catch so she could toss the still-squirming fish into a watery compartment cut into the rickety-looking raft. With a hollow scrabbling of claws on bamboo the diver slid over the edge and back into the water, and Ume wiped her hands on her shirt with a look of distaste before returning to her book.
As before, none of these are canon. Also, I’m not sorry!
Also also, some of these will contain spoilers if you haven’t read the smash hit Gondolend novella Hunting Ground, included in the groundbreaking anthology Hunting Ground and Other Stories. Get your copy today! All the cool kids have theirs. You wanna be a cool kid, don’t you?
Vestay 19, 642
I didn’t sleep very well last night. I almost wish I’d gone to bed drunk again; without the concealing fog of alcohol I was left alone with my sober thoughts, and naturally they all turned to the possibility of a second attack. Even if I could have fallen asleep I doubt I would have, for fear of waking up to screams, or the sound of gunfire, or the sharp bite of a blade in my throat. I’m not sure when I did finally drift off, but when I wake up late in the morning I feel like I’ve barely slept at all. I feel disgusting. My eyes sting and feel gritty, my face feels greasy, and the less said about the rest of my body the better. I’d step over my own dying mother for a hot shower, a clean bed, and a cool Pikan evening breeze.
Gina is the first outside, motioning for us to wait while she makes sure the coast is clear. A moment later she reappears and beckons us to follow and we join her, moving carefully and hugging the wall. The first few moments are the worst. My heart is hammering so hard that I’m sure everyone can hear it all across the outpost, and I have to force myself to breathe deeper, slower, and quieter. When seconds pass and no bullets rip through the night and no one comes diving out at us with a knife, it becomes easier. Though the sound of the rain hopefully masks any sounds of our movement, I still consciously remind myself not to tiptoe; I think back to when I was a kid, reading about how in the old days Dioi assassins would walk flatfooted because that spread out their weight and reduced the likelihood of creaking floorboards. I begin to wonder if that even applies here, and have to remind myself this isn’t exactly a good time to let my mind wander.
Vestay 17, 642
Much of the day passes uneventfully. Gina wakes us up before dawn when she has a nightmare and screams in her sleep, but other than that not a whole lot happens. Haran spends the morning and most of the afternoon shut up in the outpost’s shrine, communing with the gods. Based on Arenaria’s rather unflattering description of the process, I imagine him drooling on the floor with his pupils the size of dimes. I try exploring the outpost some more to pass the time, but it does little to help me relax. When I give up on that I hang out in the barracks, with Janusz telling us stories of his more exciting experiences as a combat photographer. He speaks in Andrish for my benefit while Gina quietly translates his words into Tenrec for her father, but I’m so tense I feel like I miss half of the stories. I can’t exactly say I’m in the mood right now for stories about being trapped in a hotel by snipers or being chased down the street by angry mobs anyway.
I had been looking through my flashdrive i’ve held onto and continue to use for awhile now, and i had stumbled across a piece of writing that I had written in March, back when I was still working with Reptilzemlya, and i Might actually start that up a Flintstones style project again at some point because of this. But for now, a peek at the only piece of writing from the Project
I’m sitting in my bunk looking over my notes so far and listening to Arenaria play a nonsense tune on her jongo when we hear a sudden burst of gunfire. Everyone’s head snaps up and turns toward the sound, but when we soon relax when silence returns to the jungle outside. Gina lies back down and mutters something in Tenrec as she turns onto her side, while Arenaria resumes her noodling. Ulonan is sitting on the bunk next to Gina’s sharpening his knife, while up above me Janusz clicks and taps away at his laptop.