Astral: Chapter 7, “Ancestors”

Skai’s eyes, swollen and caked with crust, peeled open and squinted into burning light: a low, cavernous ceiling crawling with wisps. She struggled to push upright in the surrounding bed of sand, but it suctioned onto her like a wet mold. Fluid ebbed at her arms and legs, as thick and white as blood. She…

Astral: Chapter 6, “Abyss”

The abyss, far from Aiur’s more populated regions, took Skai a half-pulse to reach. She was grateful for the wisps that led her way; the expanse was riddled with sharp rocks and ridges intent on hooking her by the boot, and without light from the Arc or any other nearby constructs, the wisps were all…

Astral: Chapter 5, “Aija”

The farther Skai ventured into the arena, the more it came to life around her. The gel that blanketed the earth continued to swell and assemble various obstacles: short cliffsides, tunnels, stalagmites and stalactites. Her teammates entered the arena behind her in small pops and snaps, like the sound of a numai in need of…

Astral: Chapter 4, “Mystic”

Pakka jumped out at Skai the moment she came outside, startling her so much that she stumbled back into the veil. “Pakka, tek’ka ao’set!” she cussed as water sprayed down her back and into her boots. She fumed at the bright expression that answered her: large, round eyes and a toothy grin Skai felt like…

Astral: Chapter 3, “Pointless”

The Trance dragged on far longer than Skai anticipated, perhaps due to her inability to drift off a second time and having to sit in silence, awaiting the words meant to coax them all from their otherworld. When it was over, Skai glowered down at her numb legs as though they were foreign creatures gnawing…

Astral: Chapter 2, “Trance”

Go, Skai commanded her legs. Just move. She’d halted at the edge of the Trance gathering place, a unique dip in the land surrounding an overhanging rock. A curtain of water poured over it from above, creating a liquid mirror broken only by black, geometric chunks of metal left there by the ancestors long ago.…

Astral: Chapter 1, “Aberration”

Eyes. They’re just eyes. Skai shook her head and tore her own eyes from the creature that gazed on her from across the dim enclosure. She focused instead on her hands, curled into fists in her lap. They’re shaking again, she realized as she turned them around and examined her perspiring palms — anything to…