47: Collecting Data
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It took us a week of flying to get to where the Wind Court was supposed to be, but when we arrived… it wasn’t hard to figure out why it was missing. There wasn’t any land there at all.

About thirty kilometers back, the smashed and broken land had become islands, floating impossibly above a sea of cloud. Every now and then, the sky below us would part, revealing the glowing orange core of the planet. Except it wasn’t just orange, it was shot through with black tendrils, same as the stuff that had reached up to save us from the rot monsters.

The world was quite literally coming apart at the seams, and at an alarming rate. Thank fuck the land appeared to be floating instead of just falling into the void below. In fact, I don’t think we had actually lost any landmass by pure area. Instead, it was now smashed up and spread out over a much larger area.

When we realised our destination had gone missing, Bassi called a meeting in the galley. Everyone piled in, save for a few who were making sure the ship didn’t crash or whatever.

“So, it appears that the Wind Court has vanished,” Bassi began without preamble. “I’m open to suggestions for our next step, because this is unprecedented. The very ground beneath our feet cannot be trusted anymore.”

“Good thing there’s no ground beneath us then, huh?” Jitters remarked with a chuckle.

“The way I see it,” Beth said, speaking loud enough for everyone to hear, “The world is turning into some sort of crazy floating island scenario. So two things could have happened. Either, the land is being shuffled once it breaks apart, or it isn't. If it is, we’ve got a long search on our hands, but if it’s the latter, then it probably isn’t too far out over the horizon.”

Bassi and Jitters both looked baffled, but the rest of us were nodding along. This was yet another abstract thought exercise that as nerds from Earth, we were better equipped to handle. The concept of floating islands wasn’t lost on us, nor the idea that it could exist out there in that sea of clouds.

“I mean, we have like, a ton of math nerds in here, right?” I asked, turning to gesture at the party. “I’m sure we could extrapolate the court’s new position with some guesswork.”

More agreement came in from everyone gathered, and someone I had barely interacted with spoke up. I think his name was Neil. “If we could go back and forth along the coast, such as it is, I think we could get enough data to put a new map together.”

“That easy?” Bassi asked, impressed.

“I mean, it won’t be easy, but I’m pretty confident we could,” Neil said, looking at some of the other boys who were good with code and math.

“Well then,” she said. “Let’s get moving, shall we?”

****

 

Trawling up and down the coast took us a further two days, but during that time we saw something incredible, and we had to deviate from our original objective. We saw a floating island born, for lack of a better term.

It was sundered from the mainland with a terrifying crack of shearing rock. It drifted free on black and orange winds, but there was something in there we didn’t expect to see. Hidden and just barely visible was a green and silver energy, faint but tangible. It coiled around the rocks in a lethargic, almost tired way, working with the deep magma entity’s energies to hold the massive chunk of rock and earth aloft.

“They’re working together,” I breathed, standing with my face to the bridge’s window. “The goddess and the… the god of destruction? That’s what the orange and black is, right? It has to be.”

“That makes no sense, though,” Bassi whispered, her voice holding just as much awe as mine. “It doesn’t make any sense. Everything in the church doctrine says they are eternally opposed to each other. The legends tell of their hatred for one another. It’s… that’s…”

“It’s bizarre,” Jitters agreed tiredly. She and Kory had been up all night fixing one of the engines, which had mysteriously conked out. Thankfully it had just been an old part, but it had required us to carefully dismount the engine and pull it into the machine shop for mid-air repairs.

We followed the island for a long while, the maths boys saying that they had enough data to make the map, especially if we followed the huge chunk of rock out to its final destination, if it had one. When it finally came to a rest, a day after it had begun to move, we watched in awe as all the energies that had shepherded it into position infused themselves into the island.

That gave the boys more than enough information to draw a new map, based on a mathematical model they had drawn up. It was all way above my head, but they could identify roughly where the Wind Court would be, or at least the trajectory it had taken.

Now that we were out over the open sky, it was both incredible and terrifying. If something went wrong with our ship, we’d just plunge down into the deep.

The first floating island we came across was… confusing, to say the least. It bore the signs of rot and decay, but it was like the evil magic corruption had died. In its place was a mix of few and verdant growth, combined with the scorched and blackened soil. The two were interwoven, the latter feeding the former.

Night began to descend as we flew, and soon I was too tired to stay up. According to the math boys, our destination wouldn’t show for a while anyway, so Bassi and I both decided to head to bed.

I opened the door to our small cabin ahead of Bassi, then held it open for her to enter after me. Almost as soon as the door clicked closed, she was taking her clothes off, like they'd burned her or something. Since she was enthusiastic about nakedness right then, I followed suit, unzipping my stealth outfit with a flexible hand.

"I am exhausted," Bassi groaned, slipping beneath the sheets of our small bed.

"You've been amazing, though," I said softly, joining her under the covers.

She made a concommital noise and shifted to allow me to snuggle up into her side, skin to skin.

"So what do you make of the floating islands and stuff?" I asked, placing my head on her shoulder.

"The world is changing," she said softly, almost fearfully. "I don't think Anamoor will survive much longer. The corruption is clearly fleeing from the sundering land, and soon there will be nowhere for it to go but over the walls. Humanity as a whole will be doomed either way, though. We'll be trapped on a tiny island with no more wastes to explore and harvest for resources."

"That just means we need to find a way to teach them how to make these rot resistant airships," I said shifting so I could reach up and capture her lips in a brief kiss. “The islands out here are recovering too. This might actually end up being what saves humanity, gives everyone freedom again.”

“I certainly hope so,” she whispered, rolling her head to the side so she could nuzzle my hair. With a grimace, she rolled it back again. “These ears are an issue. I look almost entirely full fae now, did you know? I look like you and your friends. My eyes have even gotten slightly rounder.”

“They look like cat’s eyes now,” I told her with a grin, pushing myself up to hover over her. “Your pupils are almost the size of your eyes, and your irises take up the rest of the space. It’s honestly really pretty.”

Frowning up at me, she raised an eyebrow. “Is it still intimidating?”

“Oh yes, very intimidating,” I whispered, leaning down to place another kiss on her lips.

Evidently, she didn’t believe me, because she decided it was time to make sure I was thoroughly intimidated. With a feat of speed that only she could manage, I found myself on my back in our tiny bed, her leg firmly planted at the apex of my thighs.

The pressure caused warmth to spring up down there, adding spice to what I really wanted, to feel her all over me. I wanted her lips on mine, I wanted to feel her envelop me in a cocoon of soft skin and love.

“Bassi,” I breathed, reaching up to thread my hands around her neck.

She obliged my little begging tugs on her, laying languid across my body as she used her mouth to suckle on my bottom lip. God, how could she be such a hardass, but have such soft lips. My legs came up almost of their own accord, wrapping themselves around her waist.

The kiss was slow, loving, and entirely unhurried. Some of that was because we were both extremely tired, but also… we were getting past the stage of desperate love. The all consuming desire to be touching one another was slowly being transformed into something deeper, something that felt like it was almost a part of me now.

I know that it was still pretty early in our relationship, but I really did feel like Basilisk was the twin to my soul. We were so in sync, such a perfect fit for one another, I didn’t doubt we would be spending a long time together, if not the rest of our lives. I really hoped it was the latter.

 

Still slowly writing anamoor. I can sort of vaguely see the light at the end of the tunnel. Finishing a story would do a lot for my confidence in my writing and stuff. I'm just wary of burning out near the end like what happened when I originally tried to finish Pellan. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

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