The Shadows Chapter 34
By Keith Adams
Thiek led Schala up the spiraling staircase, past one door, to the top, with a sturdy iron door. He turned the handle, revealing an odd structure. The bottom portion looked like a small boat, perhaps ten feet long and five feet wide. It had a wheel in the front , and had ropes connecting to a sleekly surved ballon atop it. Thiek climbed in the front.
"Come on in. It's not dangerous," Thiek said reassuringly before he told the truth "Well, perhaps a bit dangerous. It should work. Get in the second seat. There's some food under it."
Schala glanced, a bit worried, at the structure, then got on the back plank. There was a rope with a hook on both sides of her. Schala hooked the ropes together. Thiek got up and pulled on his roof, pulling it back to reveal a cool, breezy night. The stars were sparkling, the clouds were absent, and the moon shone its' light across the fresh snow. Thiek got back into the ship and pulled up on the wheel. The ship rose out of the attic and spiraled upwards, before leveling off. It was a bit chilly - they were several hundred feet up at least, thought Schala. Odd that I, of all people, should be afraid of heights. I spent all my life in Zeal. But this is different. Not as reassuring. Zeal would always float, but this contraption could fall, sending her to her death.
Thiek spun the wheel, and they were facing opposite of the direction Schala came from. Thiek pushed on the wheel, and the airship began running against the wind. Strips of hair flung themselves into Schala's eyes and send her hair flying into the wind. Schala laughed, and the wind pressed against the roof of her mouth. This was fun. How long since she had felt that? It seemed to be an eternity ago. The ship swiveled and made a long loop over the water before continuing.
"Schala, what do you know about temporal theory?" asked Thiek.
"Nothing, I'm afraid. What is it?"
"Just a theory. States that," the airship spun upwards then downwards "That an observed event has to happen. Nothing important. Never mind."
Schala smiled. They were lower now, right near an body of water. Thiek ran across the top of it, sending water flying in all directions, then dipped a bit and flew upwards. Thiek swiveled the airship.
"Do you recall anything?" asked Thiek.
"Just that Janus and the Guru's fell into black portals of some kind. After that, nothing."
"Very interesting. Any theories on what happened?"
"Not really. Just blackness and then winding up in the snow. That's it, really."
"Very unusual. I suppose that Janus character might be able to figure it out. I wonder what he knows about temporal theory."
Schala saw a forest in the distant, as well as a column of smoke. They were approaching a village of some kind. The forest had a sort of clearing, where people were gathered around a rather large bonfire.
"I'm setting down," stated Thiek, who brought the airship down at the edge of the clearing.
Schala looked at the people gathered around the fire; enlightened one's and Earthbound one's, playing, laughing. One older one glanced in her direction; it was the Earthbound One's Elder. He waved at her, then squinted his eyes and smiled.
"Why hello Schala. Where have you been?"
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