Dark Wings Fly Highest - 6“Solve already, fluffy?”
Kniff looked up at the ledge above him, where Giblet’s anvil gleamed in the torchlight. The forge master had stopped hammering out his current work to lean over it and peer down at him.
The younger Minion frowned. “Solve what?”
Giblet grinned. “Jinx and Stripe.”
Kniff’s eyes lit up. He’d rather lost track of the question for the past few days, being busy with his own affairs. The question most pressing to him now was the matter of how to best train his youngsters, especially now they were being born in such great amounts… but he thought he had a new plan that might just work. It’d been Rascal’s headgear to get him thinking, the hat even fluffier than his own; the seal head. He just needed the help of a Minion he’d find here in the forge.
His ears slightly swivelled back. “Forgot for bit, sorry.” He looked around. “Where Grubby?”
Giblet gestured with a claw and
Dark Wings Fly Highest - 7With more energy than she’d had in days, and staring up with wide eyes, Jinx neared her final destination. Spread wings lifted her up along a series of radiant, viscous cyan waterfalls, sharply contrasted against inky, cracked and tormented rock… and then out and over all of it.
Drip held his breath behind her. “The source.”
Zephyros floated high above the world. Below him everything fell away in almost absolute darkness, and ahead a ring of jagged mountains, miles in diameter, loomed up in an omnipresent blue glow. The inside of that ring was completely taken up by a shining lake, its light illuminating the mountainsides and beaming up at the black clouds. A veil-like aurora rolled along the sky, then a faraway, silent flash of lightning joined it.
Jinx couldn’t speak. It was so much more than she’d expected.
The mythical source of the Kemetis wasn’t just a lake. There was a city in the middle of it all, spread across a number of huge islands,
Dark Wings Fly Highest - 4Part 2: Sky
Jinx had envisioned lots of things when thinking of the Ruborian capital, informed as she was by her Ruborians and the tales Seffec and Masud had told her during the time they’d been encamped in the Netherworld at the time of Sayron’s conquest. The jewel in the delta, a city of white towers with tops glistening in gold and sapphire… Seffec had originally hailed from Napata, but he had visited the capital, and Masud had grown up here. Not around the white towers, however. Jinx had heard of a gradual sloping down of the city, both in height and glory. She’d been told the royal palace was built on one of the large islands in the delta, which branched into a complex system of canals here, and was connected to the rest of the city by means of seven elegant bridges. Beyond that lay the grand dwellings of the nobility, the middle class, and finally a tangle of markets, business districts and slums.
Jinx looked out over what she could see of Ke
Dark Wings Fly Highest - 5Time didn’t seem to pass at all in the endless, crazily warped black desert, but Gnarl told her she’d spent a week in flight above Ruboria thus far. The tormented landscape now flattened into cracked plateaus and gorges, and around the blue-glowing noon the horizon suddenly held a new spectacle.
A huge city, comparable to Kerma, a sprawling mass of broken and collapsed towers, domes and a mosaic of flat rooftops around the luminous Kemetis. A web of glowing cracks outstretched into the desert from its heart, and the land rose and fell around it in a series of irregular plateaus, like jagged shards.
“This would be Napata, Mistress.”
“Napata…” Seffec’s birthplace.
“The city of the Serpent and the Worm, if I remember well.” Zephyros’ wings carried her and Drip closer steadily, and Jinx recognized the remnants of the city’s layout; Napata rose up towards the heart in a stepped manner, like a great pyramid. The h
Dark Wings Fly Highest - 3“…Mistress?”
The world came back to her in grey waves. Her breathing set in, halting at first and then more steadily, but the pain was still there – only now it had been diluted across her whole body. A strange howling resounded in her ears, but she didn’t know if it came from the world outside of her or not.
A blue Minion’s face hung between her and the clouded sky. Two more knelt at her side, and Jinx recognized Soaker, Drip and Trickle. Kniff was on her other side, and his ears flew up as she met his gaze. His claws tightened around her hand. She smiled briefly. “Hi.”
“Mistress,” Gnarl creaked into her ear. “Please never do that again. This would never have happened to Lord Sayron,” he grumbled.
Jinx was about to get up, but decided not to after a very painful moment of trying. “What happened?”
Drip looked up, his hands still full of blue sparks. Only then did Jinx realize her healing was still ongoi