NEW Story: General Infantry
Broad mossy meadows slope away from Vekllei’s “ashen lands” – vast, glacial moonscapes in the highland interior. The soils here are rich with nitrogen, and are dominated by an alpine heathland of button grass and tea shrubs. The oils from these plants seep downstream into the glacial runoff, and by the time the water meets the mosslands the creeks are stained tea-coloured, a mix of reds and yellows that catches gold in the light. These are Vekllei’s tannin rivers; rusty freshwater streams that run red from the base of the Thanveler glacier to the outskirts of Antarta and Dasm.
The mosses here are thick and dewey, and Tzipora’s house sandals did nothing to keep her out of them. With her feet soaked and her school bag on the station platform, she dared Cobian and Zhi to leap the tannin river. Local myth was that it was good luck, but she’d have jumped it anyway.
“I’m good at jumping,” Tzipors said to her friends, wiping her cold nose on the back of her arm.
“You’re going to go in that bloody river and you’ll be soaked for the train home,” Cobian said.
“Not if I make it.”
She squelched a few steps backwards, squinting at the amber creek ahead.