“Does Silver need to be here?”

“Nope, not physically,” Julia said. “Now, the reading puts you through the first stage of a Rise- you won’t be able to move, so get comfy. Don’t worry, I won’t bind you to anything.”

“This is your binding hoop?” Phoebe asked. The cordage laid out on the kitchen floor was more akin to a lopsided oval, and there was a world of difference between it and Connell’s smooth, white ring.

“Mhm! I actually have a few, but I made this one myself.”

Image: Phoebe sits cross-legged on the kitchen floor, inside the hoop. Julia kneels in front of her, outside of the hoop, with her eyes closed in peaceful contemplation. Wisps of light are beginning to flow out from the cordage. End description.

Phoebe sat down in the hoop’s approximate center. She wasn't keen on experiencing that choking paralysis again, but she shifted and nodded for Julia to continue. Her eyes squeezed shut as light filled the room, shining out of the windows to rival the afternoon sun. Her breath caught in her throat. Light constricted her, wiggled under her skin. But slowly the buzz died down and she could hear a voice.

“Look!” Julia exclaimed. “I can see your feather.”

Opening her eyes, Phoebe realized that she could, too. The world around her was burning white, but she saw so much.

Image: Phoebe, naked and viewed from the waist up, peers down in surprise at her feather. She is in a white void, and is rendered in white with black outlines. Her feather, resting in the center of her chest, is black as well. Thick strands are attached to her body in multiple places, which almost seem to bubble and crackle as they float away from her. End description.

Her feather was bright inside her, evaporating the last shreds of doubt she clung to. Along with it, strings of energy flowed through her body. They ebbed in and out of her like seafoam atop waves. Phoebe followed them as they spread, realizing in that moment that this had to be the Consumption, and that she and Julia were not alone.

Image: Phoebe and Silver are both sitting on the floor of the void, startled to see each-other. The strands of energy flow between them, connecting them. While Phoebe’s feather is obvious, Silver doesn’t have one. End description.

The reading had summoned Silver and Yuli into the void as well, removing all walls between the four of them.



Oh shit there he is.

Next week is gonna be a busy one for me. I’m giving a short presentation about my graduate research. Wish me luck! Next week’s page might be delayed. We’ll see.