Stepping away from the WIP

After a few weeks working on the ninth (and presumably last) volume in the Anye Universe books, I’ve decided to give it a rest. The fourth book has lain fallow long enough for a fresh restart, so that’s what I’ll do until inspired to switch horses again.

Here’s a look at the first chapter of Vacuum Forged after some brutal cutting. Who knows what it’ll look like a month from now.

Part 1 – Chapter 0

First House, Planet Vidura, 70,000 BCE

Upon the sixth anniversary of First House’s instantiation, Master Sa summoned his three most important cub-school students to tell them what they were.

Spring was early in the Northern Reach. The scent of young blossoms drifted through parlor doors. Birdsong rang in the air. Tree pollen tickled noses. It was all, said Master Sa, an artful deception. “We call it the Anodyne Virtuality.”

Sattva took the news with a smug grin on her face. Master Sa gave her the hairy eyeball. “Your father already told you.”

She wrinkled her muzzle at him. “I remembered the trouble I got into for letting on about the Winter King, so I kept it to myself.”

Kharva poked her in the ribs. “You could have told me.”

Isa was a year younger. He drew a long, sad face. “We’re not real?”

Their teacher replied, “You’re a person with a soul, as real as I am.”

“I don’t have a physical body?”

“No. Your spirit is anchored to a quantum device. Your body, here in the Anodyne, is the only one you have.”

“What about my parents?”

“They’re natural persons. They live in the Physicality, as do all the adults in your life.”

Isa kicked at the floor. “What am I standing on?”

“A model of the Physicality, down to the tiniest detail.”

Sattva snorted. “Ta says there aren’t enough goats in all of Vidura to pull that cart.”

Their teacher frowned. “Shortcuts are taken. Not that you’d notice.”

She persisted. “The service doesn’t make things all the way until it needs to.”

Kharva barked. “I’ve seen that!”

Sa glared at her. “You’re not helping.”

Isa leaned into Sattva’s comforting embrace. “Don’t tell me I’m being a baby.”

She kissed his furry ears. “You’re five. You can be a baby if you want.”

“Where do we come from?”

“Uncle Amil discovered us with his Soul Camera, guiding spirits to and from the between-life. He thinks we’re angels.”

“Is that what we are?”

“Nobody knows.” She squeezed his hand. “But maybe we’ll find out someday.”

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