In his spare time, he wrangles three cats. He and his wife enjoy putting their pets in cute little costumes and making them cosplay for the annual Christmas card.You can visit him at williamctracy.com.
But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.
The Dissolution is coming.
which Sam finds himself:
grew on each other, sprouting up like mushrooms after a heavy rain. So many buildings. They stretched on,
built up and around. A glint of light caught his eye above the line of structures,
reflecting from a giant curved surface. It pushed through the fluff in his
mind, and Sam staggered at a moment of vertigo. He swallowed and grasped for
his watch, feeling a little more himself.
is that glass thing?” Did I just point at
a whole bunch of aliens? He glanced around, but no one besides the two maji
were paying attention.
Majus Cyrysi followed the surface with one hook-nailed finger. Sam’s gaze went
higher and higher, and he could feel unease scratching at his mind behind the
cotton. “The columns are spaced more or less regularly, through the Nether.
They connect the floor—” Majus Cyrysi pointed down, as if through the dirt beneath their feet, “—to the ceiling,
far above.” His finger speared upward. The immense cylindrical surface
protruded from the buildings lining the square, reaching upward until it was
lost to sight. Reflections shimmered across it, and buildings crowded around
like small animals bundled near a larger one for warmth.
The column disappeared from view as they passed under an archway, moist, earthy
scents pungent in the enclosed tunnel. Small ferns and moss dotted the sides of
the streets, and Sam pulled his arm close before he brushed a wide, furry alien.
His stomach turned over, and he swallowed bile, though he didn’t feel afraid.
Councilor Ayama said, from just behind. Sam blinked back at her, trying to
understand. The fog in his mind was slowing everything. “The first maji found
their way to this place long ago. The ten species came from different stars and
galaxies, like you did. Normally, one must have detailed information of the
endpoint of a portal, except for the Nether. This is the one place maji can
reach without knowing where they are going beforehand.”