support me on patreon

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

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).

Support me on patreon

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.

Patrons, click here to read the whole chapter (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can read the rest of this chapter and get access to other content by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

support me on patreon

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

Finally. FINALLY. I have been able to get back to writing. And this long, long overdue chapter is done. I will not blame you if you cannot remember where we left off. Click here for the TOC up to this point – only works for Patreon supporters at the $10 or up levels. (By this time next month all the chapters will be here on the Tempest blog.) On to the chapter!

support me on patreon

Chapter 13

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.”

Patrons on the Read Along level, click here to read the whole chapter (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can read the rest of this chapter and all the ones that came before by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

support me on patreon

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

support me on patreon

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.

Patrons on the Read Along level, click here to read the whole chapter (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can read the rest of this chapter and all the ones that came before by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

support me on patreon

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

support me on patreon

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.

Patrons on the Read Along level, click here to read the whole chapter (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can read the rest of this chapter and all the ones that came before by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

support me on patreon

Section 2 | Chapter 6 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Patrons Only]

support me on patreon

Ibi had rarely felt comfortable in the High House. The few moments she had felt it were all associated with the Beetle Bay. That was where she honed her skill and learned to appreciate the intricate workings of the copper scarabs. The one place where she felt complete confidence in her ability, even when her chief doubted her. Coming back, he couldn’t access any of that same feeling in the Bay. Perhaps because the words of that engineer still circled around her. That one word. In her time here, no one had ever called her that in her hearing. Now she wondered how often people had been saying it when she wasn’t in the room.

She had followed Ziwat to the Bay after the big meeting and tried to share in the excited energy coursing through the room and failed. Instead of feeling like part of the success, she felt out of place, separate, unnecessary. With permission, she slipped out and went back to the suite.

Patrons on the Read Along level, click here to read the whole chapter (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can read the rest of this chapter and all the ones that came before by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

Section 2 | Chapter 5 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Patrons Only]

support me on patreon

Work on the first beetle began that day. They had help. More help than they could use. More than they wanted. Every engineer of the High House crowded close to watch, with pilots on tiptoe just behind, and plenty of people beyond them who had no business in the Bay except to gawk. Ziwat couldn’t blame them for wanting to be there, so didn’t send them away even as the chatter grew noisier. Tomorrow she would insist that everyone in the Bay be there on specific business or not at all. If she made it to tomorrow.

She and Hui started by taking most of the carapace panels off the outside, then pulling up the reed mats and panels on the inside, exposing the inner pipes and gears.

“I want to avoid taking it completely apart,” Hui said, and Ziwat nodded. They both disliked inefficiency and wasting time. “I think we can get away with pulling the pipes just on the left side out here and that first layer inside. That will give us access to the ones that need changing and rerouting.”

Zi consulted the schematic on the wall nearby. “Even these here next to the central grid?”

“Yes. We’ll need to get [name, name, and name] to work on that part. They’re small enough to shimmy in. Not afraid of cramped spaces, are you?” Hui called over to them and received assurances that they would shimmy anywhere they were told.

“I see just four places where we need all new pipe and gear. Agree?”

“As long as the machine is in good condition. All of the beetles in the High House should be fine, but others upriver may not be.” This said with her head stuck inside the beetle.  “Though this one’s in excellent shape for being almost sixty years old.”

“Ibi has an engineer’s eye for maintenance.” Zi did not disguise the pride in her voice.

“But not an engineer’s drive.” Hui didn’t realize she was close enough to hear that judging from the look on her face when she came out from between the pipes.

Patrons on the Read Along level, click here to read the whole chapter (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can read the rest of this chapter and all the ones that came before by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

support me on patreon

Section 2 | Chapter 4 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Patrons Only]

support me on patreon

In the morning, before it was time to meet with the engineers, Ibi went down to check on ushabAny.

:I’m so sorry,: she pulsed to him when she made it down to the Bay. :We got here and just abandoned you. I didn’t even shut the machine down properly.:

I could sense how fatigued you were, Any pulsed. You needed rest. The other pilots took care of things. And spent many shades trying to figure out what was different about the copper and how you made it fly.

:Did they ask you?:

Some did. I could only say what the Superior already said and acted as if I didn’t know any more. They believed that.

Ibi scowled. Of course they assumed an ushab wouldn’t know or understand.

Patrons on the Read Along level, click here to read the whole chapter (you’ll need the password). Not a patron yet? You can read the rest of this chapter and all the ones that came before by becoming one of my supporters on Patreon. Just click the orange banner above.

Section 2 | Chapter 3 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Patrons Only]

Since the time Ibi began her training as an adept in the Spirit House she found it easy to demarcate the line between asleep and awake, between dream and reality. She immersed herself in dreams and the messages and symbols her ka communicated within, then emerged from them fully aware and grounded in the waking world. Until that first scarab flight.

Click here to read the rest of the chapter

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

Any thoughts Ziwat had about doing what the healer told her and getting rest were tossed to the crocodiles the moment she saw her sister Zibqat standing at the threshold of her bedchamber.

Click here to read the rest of the chapter

Section 2 | Chapter 1 – #PyramidsAndPunk [Patrons Only]

When the copper beetle landed and the song ended Ziwat wanted to leap from the bench and scream her triumph so loud Wisser would hear it in the next world. Her body wouldn’t let her do any of these things. She shook as if she’d pushed every single muscle beyond endurance and her heart throbbed so violently she had trouble breathing.

And she hadn’t been doing any of the work.

Ibi, who had been still, dropped to one knee with a huff of breath the opposite of the harmony that had come from her a moment before. Instinct took over; Ziwat pulled from the straps and was by her side before the girl could sink all the way to the reed mat. They both ended up a heap in the center of the cabin, exhausted and, for Zi’s part, in awe of what they’d just accomplished.

“You did it,” she said into Ibi’s ear, willing her words and pride and love into her consciousness.

Click here to read the rest of the chapter