Chapter 19 of Lead Heart is up!
Leliana swung lazily from the mainmast watch harness. An ocean of
trees swept over mountains in every direction, and a cold breeze tickled
“Normal people generally stand in the crow’s nest. The ropes are just for accidents.”
“Normal people are boring. “She glanced at Karina from the corner of a droopy eye. “What’s up?”
“They’ve been talking about that map for hours, thought I’d jump
overboard to cure my boredom.” Karina slouched against the wooden frame
and took a deep breath. “I always love flying over mountains. It smells
Leliana opened both eyes then. “Are there things you don’t like flying over?”
“Cities and deserts mostly. It either smells like filth, or it’s hot
enough to make me smell like filth. Not a fan. One time we flew over
this huge canyon in the middle of nowhere filled with weird purple and
green stuff growing out of it, like a boiling pot frozen in time. We
circled it to get a better view and the ship reeked like rotting fish
for weeks. I think Sekkel’s the only one who could stomache food for a
“Cooool.” Bad smells didn’t bother Leliana, but checking out weird,
bad smelling things was definitely on the to-do list. “Do you remember
where it was?”
“Ugh, not a chance.” Karina shuddered. “There’s other things to remember to check out without going back there again.”
She screwed up her face and got lost in thought for a few minutes.
Leliana zoomed in on Antros and Jovi’s conversation, using her rifle
scope to check out the map through their windscreen. Antros was trying
to explain that losing a couple of days was better than encountering the
gang of mountain-folk who’d setup shop at the choke in the faster
“Oh.” Leliana almost dropped the scope as Karina bounced out of
thought. “There was an expedition off the coast one time looking through
an old city. They were pretty far down, but their lights lit up the
ocean floor like the damn sun, I could see all kinds of buildings and
stuff.” She gazed at the forest below, remembering what it looked like.
“I would love to check something out like that someday.”
Leliana definitely agreed.
The girl departed as her tiny sister called across the ship. Leliana was once again suspended in her own imagination.
Technically she was supposed to be on watch, but she’d “watched” the
trees earlier and woke up who knows how much later. So now she was
“Once we shoot out of the Northern pass here, it’s basically just a
straight shot Southeast to get to Gaffsgrave. It’s about 300 miles due
East from there to Rosewood.”
Antros’ baritone voice droned on, working in sync with the cool breeze to sink Leliana once again into the embrace of slee-
She slapped her cheeks and did a suspended work-out to get the blood
flowing. “Who knew staying awake was so hard.” She pulled the rifle
scope back out of her pocket, muttering as she peered through and looked
for curiosities. “Whoa, cooool. A fishing quillbear.” She’d never seen
one alive before, but she’d seen them dead a time or two when the
hunters brought them back to eat.
She swiveled the glass to and fro, smiling to herself. A spotted
flycatcher digesting a tiger? Holy scrap that’s a big flower. A bunch of
hag bees taking down a huge worm. Gross. Cool there’s an old dude with a
harpoon on a cliff above us.
“Uh? You guys?”
She raised her voice above the wind, but nobody answered. “You gu-”
She stopped as the old man spread his arms and leapt from the side of
the mountain. Through the magnifying glass, she followed him over as
big, billowy wings puffed up between his arms and legs. Instead of
plummeting to his death, he was headed straight for them. “Slag in my-”
Silence fell as a spear pierced the hull. She could feel six pairs of eyes burning into her from below.
“Oh, uh, hey guys. I think someone’s out there!”