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Section 2 | Chapter 14 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Patrons Only]

This entry is part 22 of 22 in the series Novel in Progress [2018 Chapters]

This post is accessible to ALL patrons for a few reasons. First being that it’s been a few months since I’ve been able to deliver stuff to y’all consistently, and I want to thank you for your patience regarding that. Second, this chapter should be able to stand alone if you’re at all familiar with the world and the basics of the story. Third, I’m at the end of section 2 and I AM SO THRILLED TO FINALLY BE HERE and I wanna share my joy with everyone. Thanks to all the folks who’ve stuck with me through the very quiet months. :)

For those of you on the Read Along level you can see all previous chapters on Patreon except for chapter 13, which is here (the password for that is on Patreon).

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Chapter 14

A shade after emerging from the world of night, born again from the womb of Nut, the Kheper-sun’s rays reached into the Beetle Bay, lighting up the seven scarab heads aligned just so to catch the earliest morning light. The light and heat grew stronger, and from within ushabAny’s machine Ibi could sense the steam begin to course through the pipes. It had taken several days of meditating while in zepitep with Atet for her to become sensitive enough to subtle energies within and around her body to identify them. Next step would be learning how to manipulate those energies. That would come later. Right now she focused on her breath, slowly pulling the air into her lungs and controlling the release, all in an effort not to let anxiety overwhelm her.

The steam pressure inside reached the optimal level and six ready bells sounded up and down the Bay.

:Let’s go,: she pulsed to all the ushabs. All seven copper scarabs of the High House rose up on their legs, stepped out of their berths, performed perfect 90 degree turns, and walked out of the Bay together into the morning light.

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Section 2 | Chapter 13 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Supporters Only]

This entry is part 21 of 22 in the series Novel in Progress [2018 Chapters]

After leaving Apepi’s suite, Nebthetaru didn’t make Ziwat wait long before answering the unspoken question between them.

“I won’t stand in the way of your plan,” the older kinswoman said without preamble. “You have enough support among the others that me holding firm against this would divide us in ways that are, ultimately, not to the benefit of the Kinswomen or the High House.”

“Does this mean you’ll speak in support of it?”

“No.”

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[Patrons Only] Review of Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Tempest Challenge patron level

This month’s video review is of Prime Meridian, a novella some of you on the $3/month level and above got as a backer reward. Those of you who did, I hope you enjoy! Those who did not, I’m here to let you in on why you should pre-order it post haste.

Patrons on the Tempest Challenge ($3) level and above, click here to watch the video. Have the password ready when ya do!

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Section 2 | Chapter 12 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Supporters Only]

This entry is part 20 of 22 in the series Novel in Progress [2018 Chapters]

Ibi had wanted to stay in the Beetle Bay after the test to speak more with ushabAny and perhaps work more with Atet. She should have known that people wouldn’t leave her alone if they could see her still there, and once the kinswomen and Apepi had left the engineers and pilots formed a group around her. Most of them were not talking to her, they seemed to want her to hear their theories on how the technique for flight might me applied to other objects, or how piloting would become much more elite going forward. About half a shade into this Raia cut through the crowd and took her hand.

“The Superior Engineer is asking for you,” she said, pulling Ibi out of the throng.

She hesitated only a moment, checking to make sure Atet was comfortable with her statue staying in ushabAny’s scarab.

Go, the ba-spirit pulsed. I have more to do here.

Ibi wondered what that meant as she pulsed a command to ushabAny to close the outer wings. She knew no one else would touch the machine–Ziwat left orders about it. Atet was safe from discovery for now.

After one last look back she allowed Raia to lead her from the Bay, but they didn’t turn to go into the guildhouse or up to the living quarters.

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Section 2 | Chapter 11 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Supporters Only]

This entry is part 19 of 22 in the series Novel in Progress [2018 Chapters]

Ziwat had never been told No more times in one day in her life.

It started with the Supreme mason of hetWaret, who came to the engineer’s guildhouse before the beetle test. She’d hoped their meeting would be short and he would accept the wisdom of what she was asking with little questioning. She’d been wrong.

“No, that’s not possible,” [TK name] said when she told him the pilots needed to learn how to move stone like masons.

“Not possible? It is possible,” she answered.

“Why do they need to learn this?”

“The beetles fly using harmonic resonance.” His eyes widened a little at this–he hadn’t known or even guessed. “In order for the pilots to create this resonance they need to understand the basics of it.”

“You say that as if it’s nothing, but that skill takes time to build, and there is other knowledge apprentices need to grasp before they get to that.” [name] shook his head. “This is a breach of our guild.”

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Section 2 | Chapter 10 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Supporters Only]

This entry is part 18 of 22 in the series Novel in Progress [2018 Chapters]

On the day of the inspection, Ibi woke up just before the Kheper-dawn and prepared herself to go down to the Beetle Bay. She’d decided to join the other pilots in their morning ritual because she needed a return to something familiar right now and because she wanted to spend some time with ushabAny before the engineers and everyone else arrived for the test. The entire week she’d been so focused on herself and her frustrations that she hadn’t gone down to check on him. She had no idea what kind of effect the modifications to the copper might have on him and she worried that he’d spent several days being talked at but not talked to.

When she arrived in the Bay the morning chant had just started and the pilots were busy filling their jugs with water. Hui noticed her first, and paused in the middle of handing an empty jug to one of the women. They couldn’t speak–only sacred sounds were allowed while the morning rituals were happening–so, after acknowledging the Supreme, Ibi nodded to ushabAny’s scarab. Hui hesitated, then handed her a jug full of water. Whatever Ziwat had said to her, she was keeping the promise. No hint of antagonism even though there weren’t any engineers around to see. Ibi dipped her head in respect and smiled, hoping that the war between them was really over.

With everyone’s eyes on her, she went to stand at the scarab’s head and waited. When the morning chant ended and the bell rang, she started to sing along with the others and poured water into the reservoir.

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Section 2 | Chapter 9 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Supporters Only]

This entry is part 17 of 22 in the series Novel in Progress [2018 Chapters]

Ziwat felt a surge of pride as she watched the engineers fit the last of the new pipe inside Ibi’s copper beetle. They would still need to refit the pipes in front of it and test to ensure the steam flowed without leaks, but they were essentially done. A cheer went up as Hui announced as much, the sound almost as loud as when they’d completed the wall project. So many new achievements to celebrate. And so many more to come.

“Tomorrow I’ll bring Ibi down to make her inspection and test it. Tani and the other kinswomen may want to come as well, so have some of the apprentices tidy up,” she said to Hui.

“I haven’t seen her since [dinner] the other night. I would have thought she would be down here watching this process.” Hui’s tone was a practiced neutral.

“Ibi is working hard at figuring out how to impart her… skill to you and the other pilots.” Ziwat hoped Atet had been able to teach her enough to begin with that. Hui was being patient, per her promise, but that wouldn’t last. “Concentrate on this. I’ll ensure the rest, all right?”

She left the Beetle Bay in an exuberant mood, her mind already on the next day and the end of the week and the months to come. Soon copper beetles would fill the sky, raising Spirit Houses and monuments, carrying the members of the High House across the Black Land and beyond. For now, she would settle for a good meal and massage from her new suite assistant, whom she had barely spoken to so far.

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Section 2 | Chapter 8 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Patrons Only]

This entry is part 16 of 22 in the series Novel in Progress [2018 Chapters]

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The first step in learning how to fly the scarabs was to harmonize with stone.

You know this, Atet pulsed. I’ve seen it in your memories.

They practiced with a limestone statuette carved to resemble a Heqa man. Together they hummed and sang as Ibi had been taught to do in the Spirit House, shaping her lips, placing her voice in the proper places in her mouth. She could make it resonate with her voice, change it subtly to accept a ba-spirit with practiced ease.

Now, lift it above your head, Atet pulsed.

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Pyramids and Punk DVD Extras

Background Sketch: Ibi 2 – DVD Extras [Patrons Only]

Trying to do more with Ibi in the chapters I’m writing now. This scene is from when she was training in the Spirit House to become a ba-adept.

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Section 2 | Chapter 7 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Patrons Only]

This entry is part 15 of 22 in the series Novel in Progress [2018 Chapters]

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The bell in the center of the High House marked the moment the disk of the sun first peeked above the horizon. Three strikes. One breath apart. Before the Kheper pushed the sun more than halfway above the sand, the notes of the dawn song set the stone walls reverberating and the sacred words rang down each passage and into each room. Rise up. The sun is born again.

When the first voice fades, a second replaces it. Deeper, sonorous. The Pharaoh’s chant is gratitude and promise and beseeching. When he reaches the apex of his hymn, the hamuti punctuates it with a final strike of the bell, and everyone within the walls of the High House emerges from sleep, whether they want to or not.

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