Shifting Ice: Rest For The Wicked

The seventh installment of Jared Vaillancourt’s ‘Shifting Ice’ series.

By Jared Vaillencourt [Creative Writing Bureau Chief]

Chapter Seven

It was a difficult week for Vintis. Kyraa refused to say two words to it at work, Izraal on the streets seemed even more keen to ignore it than ever, and to make matters worse, any Pyryx it ran into insisted on stopping to chat with it. Vintis wouldn’t mind if they had anything relevant to say.

“So I hear Brakksys is cold,” the Pyryx sitting next to it on the transport was saying.

“Indeed it is,” Vintis muttered. The Pyryx chuckled.

“Kir is hot,” he commented. “It’s basically one large desert, buta real desert, not one with sand like on an Izraal world,” he informed Vintis. That worthy nodded its head, its eyes focused straight ahead.
“So I hear.”

“I hear Brakksys only has one sun,” the Pyryx continued. “That’s rather unusual, isn’t it?” he asked. Vintis nodded. “Kir has two. That’s pretty common, though. That’s why I moved here to Kapilo, you know; it has two suns, just like Kir.”

“So it does.”

“I also hear Brakksys is very cold. Is it true it’s covered in ice?”

“Brown dwarfs don’t usually allow water to melt, yes.”

The Pyryx chuckled. “I find that fascinating, don’t you?” he asked. Vintis looked up at the large, imposing alien. It did its best to smile.

“This is my stop,” it informed him. The Pyryx looked out of the window and blinked, but nodded and moved to allow Vintis to leave. As it stepped off of the transport, it shook its head and sighed.

Despite the unusual attitudes of the aliens around it, Vintis did have something to look forward to every night. Although Klezyp was busy taking census reports in cities all across Kapilo, it returned every night for dinner with Vintis. It was refreshing to have another Zwitii to talk to, especially one with a sense of humor like Klezyp’s.

“So Kyraa won’t speak to you anymore?” Klezyp asked as it considered the piece of fruit perched tentatively between the pair of feeding sticks it was holding. Vintis sighed.

“I hear she requested a separate office,” Vintis sighed. “It’s like I don’t know her anymore.”

“It’s not entirely her fault,” Klezyp commented after swallowing the fruit. “From what I understand, this Jaxal was well liked, especially amongst the local Izraal. Some of the denizens of the city I went to today asked about him.” Vintis looked up at Klezyp with a surprised expression.

“He was pretty well known for a barkeep,” Vintis mused. Klezyp scoffed.

“He’s more or less a martyr now,” Klezyp grumbled. Vintis sighed.

“Of course,” it muttered. Klezyp picked through their salad for another piece of fruit. “I should have expected the Izraal to rally behind his death. Theocratic species are known to do that.” Vintis looked up at Klezyp as that worthy chuckled. “What?” it asked. Klezyp shot Vintis a coy smile.

“I thought we didn’t want to talk about the war,” it remarked. Vintis smirked and examined its feeding sticks.

“I suppose it was inevitable,” Vintis sighed. “If everyone else jumps off an iceberg…”

“So do we,” Klezyp chuckled. Vintis smiled and took a sip of its mist. “Well, so long as we’re on the subject, I came across some hearsay today.” It said coyly. Vintis rolled its eyes.

“Pray tell,” it muttered sarcastically. Klezyp giggled and cleared its throat.

“I hear the Oulu and the J’r have gotten involved,” it said. “One on the Izraal side and the other behind the Pyryx in retaliation.” It rooted through the salad as Vintis ran both hands over its head and groaned up at the ceiling.
“Great stars,” it moaned, “soon you’ll be telling me the Jukkopo are stepping in!” Klezyp chuckled as it pulled another piece of fruit from the salad.

“The Jukkopo don’t have thousand-year-old treaties with either side,” Klezyp commented. “Good news is, neither do we.” This last bit caught Vintis’ attention.

“It doesn’t matter,” Vintis grumbled. “Brakksys is on the other side of the galaxy. We couldn’t get involved if we tried. Could you imagine the blockades?” it asked. Klezyp looked up at it and raised it glass.

“From zero to fleet admiral in one conversation,” Klezyp chuckled. “Dear me, Vintis, you are a Zwitii of talent, indeed!” Vintis took a second to register this before it smiled and engaged in the toast.

“So,” Vintis asked after downing its drink, “shall I walk you home again?” it asked.

“I think,” Klezyp, replied impishly, “you can come inside this time.”

To be continued…