Today’s excerpt from Starless:
They rounded the next hillock, and came face to face with an unforeseen impediment. A small party of men, scouting the area.
The Apocalytes drew up short, taking in the group’s display, the soldier-like formation, the insectile gazes of a dozen gas-masked faces.
It was an unexpected encounter, but not a trace of fear passed over either astronomers’ face. Destinies and fates were easy enough to predict, but the route taken, the bends in the road, could never all be known. Free will still existed, still played a part in how each being fulfilled his fate. The journey itself had always been and would always be prone to twists and turns along the way.
“Glacier wasps,” Techa observed coolly. “What brings you buzzing out of the North?”
With a heavy thunk, another figure dropped into the picture from a sequestering hillock, landing in a crouch before them. She stood, straightening to an impressive height made greater by the diamond headdress atop her raven head. “This is the North,” she announced darkly through her own mask. While she left her piercing blue eyes unobstructed, a snout-like chamber covered the bottom half of her face, distorting her voice.
Yet in spite of the masked face and warped voice, it was no mystery who she was.
That was the last thought Simene harbored before a debilitating steel blow rendered the starry world black.