Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Silent Sphere - 6


A moment of a ship leaving a sphere is dramatic: the grip that had bound it is made null, and it jumps upward, the ground seems to fall away, and rapidly the clutter of details that defines an ordinary life on the ground, merge and fuse into a vast tapestry, and then to a tableaux.

Everyone below, we are going to hit the shock soon!Niccolo's voice was hard to hear above the roaring din of the air rushing way that filled the space around them. It blew across the front of the ship, and he turned the wheel half a circle. The rush hit the lanterns, which then blazed with an unearthly brilliance. The ground was now indistinct, and seemed like a cloud above them, rather than rushing away as it had done at first. They were in a kind of blue sky twilight, where the sun above them was losing its prominence, but the stars were only partially visible.

So, just as suddenly as a clap of thunder, the blue of sky evaporated, and they were back in night, buffeted by unearthly winds. The ship buckled and bolted, like a stallion being broken. The priestess had to hold her breath to prevent from vomiting. The astrologer turned his eyes upward and grabbed the nearby mast for dear life, it had been a very long time since he had ventured into space. The princess clung to the swordsman, who used his legs to wrap around a bulkhead and hold them both in place.

Thus turbulence continued with yaws around the axis of the ship coming between heavy dips. Niccolo's hands were not, however, gripping the wheel white, instead, each turn lead to a light response, and the occasional hard pull if the ship bucked him.

You need a name little craft, though I suspect you have one that I do not know.His hand caressed the knobs as he turned the wheel, and gripped as he pulled back on it. Before him was a white rippling of the bow shock of Eo, which now was a huge orb, but no longer a plate that covered the entire horizon to horizon. He stared down at her, sparkling with long planes of green and moderate stretches of brackish blue. There were whirls of clouds, and crackling crowns of green at the poles, that encompassed around a swirling white of the polar gyres. The pattern of the land and see left water and land almost exactly equal, and from here it could be seen that all of the land was one giant maze, sometimes thicker, sometimes thinner, but, on this side, all connected. But he rapidly looked away out into space, searching for the fold in the ether that they could ride. The huge rolling aurora of the bow shock rolled towards them, as if ready to snuff them out. He waited, and then seeming at the last instant, turned the ship hard along the shock.

Below everyone else waited. Higar, who had never left Eo before, shat his pants and sheepishly wept as the pissed emptied unbidden from his bladder. The priestess pet his thin thatch of light brown hair, and cooedIt is alright, you are still gravely wounded.Both, however, knew that this had nothing to do with his injuries. He wept, murmuring over and over againI don't want to die and be lost in the abyss.

Petting him again, she cooed.

Higar wept again:My god has deserted me, I've never been so alone before.

Have trust.

They did devotionals together, and after some time, a small smile appeared on Higar's face, and he felt touched again.

Sheltered the princess, the swordsman said nothing. His insides were clenched as steel. He had voyaged before, and knew that the captain was doing something radical, perhaps to evade pursuit.

Once the ether wind filled the topsail, and then the wing sails. Niccolo pulled the lever, and a vast gear turned, pulling down the under-mast, whose sail unfurled. Half sized mechanical figures, shaped like men, then moved in a clockwork pattern, going about the tasks of opening the sails, and then rotating back away in their niches. The ship stabilized, shaking wobbles turning to gently shifting bobs, that gradually tamped down to an even motion. They were running along the bow shock, and Niccolo skillfully dipped in to the curls that flew off of it, accelerating with each, and then out again before the next curl could slow them. The books balanced, each tug on the string of the shock slowed the greater world a trifle, but Eo was pulled along in her orbit by a crackling attraction that was vastly more potent than any mortal power.

They were free of the grip of the sphere, even though she still almost filled the sky. However, slowly, majestically, she was shrinking as she left them behind.