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The Southwinds I 4
A MATTER OF OBLIGATION
___________________________________________________________Ministry of Integrity, Kalahasi 44'5'195'5
Kalén paced. She had been traversing the network of bridges and landings that crisscrossed the upper reaches of her ministry tower since before it had closed.
The Minister of Integrity had watched from her lofty perch as her staff-birds left in their private transports; she had looked on as hundreds of clerks boarded ministerial shuttles that would ferry off to their homes; she had watched an army of maintenance workers arrive at dusk, finish their work and disappear out into the darkened city. She had only stopped pacing the walkways only when the voluminous central atrium had finally fallen silent only when Kalén knew she was the last one left in the tower. And that had her on edge.
Several levels below, an artificial waterfall trickled over a rocky ledge, splashing down into a n
The Southwinds I 8
IN THE PROVINCE OF OUR KIND
___________________________________________________________ Corvio's shuttle en route to the Grand Forum, Kalahasi 35'6'195'5
Kalén held a wing up to her silver and gold headdress, keeping it low over her beak. A gust of wind buffeted against the wide flanges of the thing threatening to whip it off her head for what seemed like the eighth time. Kalén preferred her enclosed luxury shuttle to Corvio's sleek open air transport. The male hawk reclined and winked at Kalén, seeming to find humor in her constant losing battle with the turbulent wind flow. Every slight bump in the air threw her carefully balanced headdress askew.
"Just take it off, Kal," Corvio chawed. He nudged his beak towards his own ministerial headdress resting on the seat next to him.
"Hmph, that's quite alright," she huffed. "Just tell your pilot to slow up."
"Where's the fun in that?" Corvio asked. "My beautiful kiyre wasn't built to go slow and low."
The Southwinds I 6
___________________________________________________________Dining hall, Artimea Priory 22'6'195'5
The raven, Laia, glared across the low mesa table at Rikaio. The jay slumped down on his perch, averting his gaze. The two magpies sulked on either side of Rikaio, content enough to ignore him. The end of the long dining hall was deserted save for the four birds being punished with no food. Content sounds of eating and relaxation carried over to their mesa from the other young Ílarte, who were all delightedly scoffing down their evening meals of roasted rockworms and seasoned fish. The aromas of food were too much for Rikaio. He doubled over, his feathers bristling as he tried to hide the aching groan in his gut.
Laia snorted at him.
"Hungry?" the raven sneered. "You're lucky they didn't throw you to the wind after what you started."
"I didn't start anything," Rikaio kept his gaz
The Southwinds I 7
___________________________________________________________Sanctum of the Sibyls, Kalahasi 35'6'195'5
The silence was finally broken.
the smooth timbre of a female voice filled the darkened chamber.
Advocate Skalfen stood motionless in the small cone of light shining down from a spotlight fixed into the high arched ceiling.
a second, more florid, disembodied voice spoke up. <i>
Dead Man's SwitchIn control, then not -
Sudden loss of grip.
Headlong to where?
Details lost, smudged, streaked.
Careening; no system of
No dead man's switch,
On a fast track -
With or without a god?
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