Bite-sized Backstory 47: The Best Thing I Can Think To Be

“You’re the devil,” Alis Li whispers. “I remember… in one of the old tongues, Mara means death.” “You realize,” Alis Li says, breathing hard, “that this is the worst thing ever done. Worse than stealing a few thousand people from heaven. Worse than that thing we fled, before we were Awoken—” The words above, spoken by Alis Li to Mara Sov, are…


Bite-sized Backstory 46: Per Audacia Ad Astra

In the years after Uldren’s victory over Sjur, the Awoken have returned to working on their ambitious dream of space flight. And this time, instead of living on a distant mountain top or remaining hidden in the woods, Mara Sov is out in the open, at the forefront of it all. And Sjur and Uldren are there with her. In Uldren, Mara had an enforcer who could win battles and put down opposition with…


Bite-sized Backstory 45: The Hunter and the Soldier

With the world watching, Uldren Sov and Sjur Eido take their places for their first potentially deadly contest. Somehow or other, it has been decided that their blade duel will take place near one of Queen Nguya Pin’s nuclear reactors. The actual stage for this fight is to be a netting made of woody lianas vines woven into a sort of rope that is suspended some distance above a pool of heavy water…


Bite-sized Backstory 44: Sjur Eido

In the years following Queen Alis Li’s abdication, the position of Queen still existed, but it became a much more ceremonial role. Where Alis Li had ruled a large majority of the Awoken population, the role of Queen now shrinks to become little more than a guide for the Awoken’s artistic and spiritual needs. In the place of a singular Queen, the Awoken people turn to a large group of scholars…


Bite-sized Backstory 43: Mara’s Third Way

Queen Alis Li and the ever enigmatic Mara Sov stand together a kilometer off the ground on a wooden deck the Awoken have built to reach up to on of the Shipspire’s airlocks. They are both watching a somber funeral ceremony taking place on the lake far below. Bodies of Awoken killed in the ongoing Theodicy War are being sent out into the lake and set ablaze while friends and loved ones sing songs…


Bite-sized Backstory 42: The Theodicy War

After the Awoken have their great council, they set out to truly explore and understand their new world. Some travel the land making maps and discoveries as the go. Others build ships and chart the oceans and coastlines. And others turn their eyes to that sky that it so full of starts it is milk white in some places. Meanwhile, Alis Li works to help the Awoken rediscover things like proper…


Bite-sized Backstory 41: Nine Verdicts

After Alis Li takes Mara on a tour of their new world, the two work together to begin calling the rest of the Awoken back from the void: Two became four, and the four called out, and so the four became eight. In this manner, conjured forth by their doubling, the sleepers did awaken. In time the awoken spilled across the face of the world, and their number was forty thousand eight hundred ninety…


Bite-sized Backstory 40: The Awakening of the Awoken

Physics no longer work quite right outside the Yang Liwei, where Mara Sov went to die. When Mara pushes off the ship’s hull the strange, life threatening gravity waves being produced by the mysterious alien ship push and pull on her, yanking her first one way and then the other. She pushed off with some 50km of super thin tether, but her progress away from the ship is uneven. Eventually, though,…


Bite-sized Backstory 39: SKYSHOCK

After her meeting with Alice Li, Mara likely returns to her normal routine. She makes timely, unscheduled repairs. She disappears for days at a time as she basks in the starlight shining on the Yang Liwei’s outer hull. And she continues to perform spectacular, death defying acts so she can spread those sensations among the colony ship’s crew. I get the sense that nothing and no one onboard the…


Bite-sized Backstory 38: Brother, Mother, and Alice Li

As Mara heads inside from her most recent spacewalk, we get to learn a little more about the young woman and those around her. We learn that Mara was previously some sort of Extra Vehicular Activity tech near Jupiter. It was, in fact, a shocking experience on one of her maintenance EVAs that caused her to insist that she and her family leave the solar system. Mara and an unnamed man were outside…