Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

Green swatch— Sumataniki makes it to the ruins of his old home, the Palace and encounters somebody he never expected to see again. —

Prince Sumataniki stared in disbelief. The north side of the Palace, from whence he had come, had looked deceptively intact. Now he saw that the whole south side lay in ruins, in places merely large piles of rubble. It reflected the greater damaged by the mine’s ejections to the south side of the valley than the north, and made him wonder if this had been by the cruel will of the Anakuna.
“Perhaps they wished to hide the damage from us until we came upon the City. In that moment, we would have become dispirited.”
He wandered about the ruin, trying to shake off the feelings of loss and hear the voice of his brother or sister.
“I see you have found your way here too!” a feeble voice croaked, from a pile of rags against a wall.
Sumataniki had spied the rags, even in the darkness, but thought nothing of them. They moved and a hand stretched forth in welcome.
“I have waited for you Prince Sumataniki.”
Sumataniki hobbled over and crouched down. There could be no mistaking the empty eye sockets that seemed to bore into his soul, even in darkness.
“Nathaniel! From the Land of the Ark. Hello old man.”
“Ha! None in the City remember my name now. It’s good to hear it. Have you been well?”
Sumataniki stole a glance at his arm but replied, “Yes. We survive. In the mountains.”
“I heard about the great battle. Well done. Don’t you yearn for peace?”
“Yes. Now that you speak of it. I weary of battle. They have ruined Peroturnkar, Seer. Tuma and his … scum.”
“But he was your brother once.”

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

Green swatch— Sumataniki takes cover in a woodpile and overhears an interesting conversation. —

As the sun dipped beneath the horizon, two mine guards took a break and sat on the logs. Sumataniki listened intently to their conversation, eager for any scrap of information. At first, they spoke in whispers but as the shroud of darkness grew thicker, they became bolder.
“Things will change anyway soon. Now the wolf-men have their new method of mining, they no longer need the miners, so we can use them to fight Sumataniki and his dirty rebels. And the Anakuna have promised Prince Tuma that they will bring additional soldiers from villages on the other side of the mountains.”
“With what? Their sky-whales are all broken down.”
“No. One still flies. I saw it the other day. It makes a bad noise, but it still flies.”
“Hm. I don’t understand why they have stopped blasting the rock anyway. How can anything else work better?”
“They are trying to move Atalan’Tea. They will move us to a place where they can dig more easily.”
“Don’t be stupid! You can’t move the mountains! I think you’re drunk!”
The two voices felt silent for a while. Sumataniki thought he heard the sound of liquid, swilling in a gourd. Then the last voice continued.
“I guess the mirrors on the mountains will go too?”
“No, they need them for the new method.”
“You seem to know a lot! But nobody even knows what this method is called!”
“I do. But it makes no sense to me.”
“What’s it called then?”
“A singularity.”
“What’s that then?”
“I don’t know.”
“We’re both drunk now! We better get back to work.”

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

Green swatch— Tuma attemps to outwit is his old lover, Llanka, but he reckons without her love for Sumataniki or the wisdom of the years since they last met. —

“You want me to spy for you?”
“I wouldn’t put it that way. We were lovers once.”
Llanka laughed sarcastically and grinned at Tuma. She had made her mind up.
“Alright. Where’s this comfortable room you talked about?”
Tuma led her toward the servant’s chamber. On the other side of a heavy door, she heard the unmistakable growl of an Anakuna, the wolf-men that had dogged the history of Peroturnaka.
“They live here now?” she asked Tuma.
“Only one.”
“The leader? The female with the gold earrings?”
“Ha! No. She died centuries ago. A distant descendant. They’re few now and they will soon die out completely. They’re stuck here. Their flying carts – they call them space ships – constantly break down. Anyway, they still help me and soon I won’t even need them. Don’t worry. You’re safe. Here we are.”
Tuma opened a door and watched as she lay upon the luxurious bed. Indeed, her silky hair, when splayed out on the blue pillow reminded him of the Princess, whom he had felt forced to kill. He bitterly rued the day, but sought to sink its memory forever in his kisses upon Llanka’s soft skin.
As he kissed her bared breasts and forced himself into her, Tuma whispered, “Puki! Puki!”
Llanka bit her tongue and stared at the ceiling.

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Green swatch— While Prince Sumataniki recovers in his tent, his wife, Llanka and B’katan’s wife discuss the foolishness of men. —

Llanka began leaving her tent more regularly, and one day, she encountered B’katan’s wife. The two women pulled their panaha’s tight around their shoulders against a chill wind, the first sign of coming winter.
“It’s cold, but refreshing, to feel the wind on our faces Llanka.”
“Yes. I heard that B’katan is recovering too. I’m very happy for you.”
“He has even begun to walk, with the aid of a stick. He’s a very lucky man if a bit of a fool. I told him he’s too old now to play at soldiers. He promised not to go to war again!”
“They are like little boys, aren’t they?”
“You heard what the men are saying? They want Prince Sumataniki to claim the title of King! It’s his right! Then we can go back to Peroturnakar and kick Tuma out!”
“He won’t! I have asked him myself. He says that until Tuma has gone and Peroturnakar rebuilt, he thinks of himself as only a Prince.”
“But while both he and Tuma claim the title of Prince, there will always be war!”
“I know. Such stupidity. Like little boys!”
“Yes.”
B’katan’s wife spoke truthfully. Every Exile wanted Sumataniki to proclaim himself King but he would not do so. Nevertheless, Llanka’s short conversation with another woman had lifted her spirits. She began to hope that the Prince would live, and sure enough, over the next few months, he began to grow stronger.

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

Green swatch— Prince Sumataniki holds the top of the hill in a great battle but Quytur is out for his blood. Only B’katan is close enough to defend his prince. —

Sumataniki raised his sword to ward off any blow from Quytur, but when he saw the black barrel of the gun, he almost lost hope. His sword seemed to waver in his hand. He closed his eyes and whispered:
“God help me now!”
B’katan seemed to see everything in slow-motion, despite the rapid gallop of his lamaca. The soldiers fighting around Quytur and Sumataniki were fighting for their lives; they didn’t see how close the titans, the Prince and General, were. B’katan yelled again, “Save the Prince!” and brandished his spear, but to no avail. He watched, horrified, as Quytur raised his gun to fire. At the last moment, B’katan made a decision. He swerved his lamaca and forced it to a desperate lunge with his heels. The poor animal leaped over several bloody corpses and landed in Quytur’s line of fire.
Quytur swore and pulled the trigger again. This time it clicked, and the barrel jerked upward. If it hadn’t, he may well have still hit Sumataniki, but B’katan’s lamaka stumbled on the bloody ground and fell forward. Quytur’s shot slammed into the beast’s neck, bringing from it one, brief bleat, before it fell to its knees and tipped B’katan into the growing pile of bodies.
“Damn you!” Quytur raged, throwing away his gun and drawing his sword. He thrust the blade through B’katan’s back, stepped over the lifeless body and strode up to the Prince with his blade raised for the first blow.

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

red swatch— Omah and Bri head back to Grand Bay Island City but he knows the danger is not over for him. —

The morning came too soon for Omah. Not only did his head pound but the woman beside him looked too beautiful to disturb. He had showered and ordered a late breakfast before Bri stuck her face over the single, thin sheet and smiled at him.
“We have to get back,” he said. “The VTOL will be here in less than an hour.”
“Why the hell didn’t you tell me!” she said, throwing off the sheet and running into the shower room.
On the VTOL flight back to Grand Bay, Omah tried to make conversation:
“I guess we’ll know by the end of the day what Gowdy has to do with all this.”
“Yes.”
“And whether Greentree thinks this is all solved and I can go home.”
“Yes.”
The last part was what Bri could not stop thinking about. When the crew weren’t looking Bri clasped Omah’s hand on the seat between them. He took hold of her hand and stared at the range of ice-capped mountains that drifted
beneath them. Bri stared at the blue dome of sky ahead.
“I’m a dead man if Mel finds out!” Omah told himself.

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Today’s News from: Rip – Find the Magic Key

red swatch— Omah and Bri sweat their moves in a nightclub and then head back to the hotel. The night is hot and they’re both drunk. —

“I’m completely drunk!” Bri said.
“Me too, nearly.”
“You can’t be nearly and completely!”
“Well, I am! I’m a very confused man!”
“Oh, stop it. All men are! I’m so hot! Hold this!”
Bri handed Omah her mobile and began to pull her blouse over her shoulders. Omah’s eyes confirmed what he had suspected; that she hadn’t been wearing a bra that evening.
“Stop!” he said. “You’ll be nude!”
“But only from the waist up! Lots of girls do it round here. Me and my friend did it when we were here. Everybody does! Come on! You too!”
Bri handed Omah her blouse and tugged at his at his t-shirt until it rucked up underneath his armpits.
“Bri! You can’t do this! We work together! Come on! I’d better get you back!”
Omah tried to cover Bri’s nakedness every time anybody passed by but she struggled to get free, giggling. She walked past the receptionist without a care in the world, by which time Omah had conceded defeat. The strong cocktails they had drunk were beginning to take effect, and he had to concentrate to make the lift take them to the correct floor.
“Here we are!” he declared. “Room 331!”

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