By the time we reached Second Avenue, the neighborhood started to look familiar—rows of low-rise apartment buildings, run-down hardware shops, convenience stores, and Indian restaurants. I knew that Percy Jackson lived around here somewhere, but my trips across the sky in the sun chariot had given me something of a Google Earth orientation. I wasn’t used to traveling at street level.
Also, in this mortal form, my flawless memory had become… flawed. Mortal fears and needs clouded my thoughts. I wanted to eat. I wanted to use the restroom. My body hurt. My clothes stank. I felt as if my brain had been stuffed with wet cotton. Honestly, how do you humans stand it?
It’s a hard lump to swallow. It catches in the mageling’s throat, like a pebble stuck in the sole of a boot.
It’s dusty and dry and a thousand other words for a sand whipped plain, as unforgiving desert sun damn near blinds the tawny colored girl.
She’s young, to be sure. Probably younger than one ought to be when faced with a decision like this. Young enough that the proper plumage hasn’t even started winding along her freckled arms. Still, with a sniffle and a backhanded rub of her dirty nose, the Rintha starts to gingerly pick her way down the pale blue dune. Down, down, down into The Vale.
The Vale, she notes in the back of her mind, is infamous for how many unfortunate events seem to happen around it. Not even around, but perhaps because of it.
Perine muses this might be because of the most important source hidden inside it’s ruined structures and crumbling caverns, long since secreted away by unruly sand, leaving nothing but a deep valley in their place.
Now, however, it is no longer unreachable. After what a visitor is calling a ‘natural disaster’, The Vale’s gem has been revealed.
As her feet sink into the delicate blue, the owlish child gets her first glimpse at the treasure she’s been sent to plunder.
Murky, softly lapping at one edge of a recently uncovered stone lined hole, and seeming to move independently of the chaos around it…
The name for such a thing chokes out of Perine’s throat, like it’s a spell she’s just now practicing after putting it off for much too long. Dull yellow eyes blink rapidly, because Marhan’s mercy, she’d been expecting some but not… this much.
A screech rings out with a swivel of her head, with excited chittering returning her call. The area around seems to shiver with curiosity; Something that catches Perine off guard for a moment, before she reminds herself this place is riddled with ancient lay lines. For all she knows, the damn well could be sentient.
There was water. Life saving, thirst killing water.
They might still be starving, but stars… at least there was water.
You go to the library to find that last perfect source for one of your term papers. The library computers tell you where to find the periodical you so desperately need. You smile as you head to the section where this literary treasure is hidden: soon, the source you need will be all yours, and this paper will be over shortly.
Upon reaching the stack, you begin searching for the volume you need: volume 3. You find volume 1, volume 2, and volume 4. Your library does not have volume 3.
Volume 3 does not show up no matter how much you cry and beg on your knees to the library gods to spare you, just this once.