Chapter 1 Falling Out
A promising night had ended in a total fiasco. Anira Leyma had left ambassador Nahalka's party in quite a hurry. She had been caught red handed in his office her fingers deep in crystals containing state secrets leaving her with no choice than to depart with the utmost hurry. There was no time to think, only adrenaline and a dash of embarrassment to drive her along and it drove her right through the window. The closed window. Under normal circumstances this would have been at the very least a bad idea that would reward her cuts with a bouquet of bruises. But ambassador Nahalka was a representative of the Nomad Empire and as such had his mobile embassy on top of floating island which to delight and impress his guests was now floating smugly right under a canopy of clouds.
At least, thought Anira, this would give her enough time to find a way to escape certain death. She had survived worse. At least this time she was not poisoned nor did she hang suspended over a lake of molten rock or stalked by an incorporeal assassin who would only live in a body again if she died. It was just her and the free fall. Her soul was powerful and would survive the impact. On the other hand with the speed she was falling at her immortal essence would probably smack right through the planets outer shell directly into the Inner World and where would she get a body then? She shook her head, taking a deep breath forcing her fear away. Right now there was nothing much she could do. Her magic would get her nowhere right now. Her mind-force was powerful but it could not cheat gravity and she once she had grasped the advanced concepts of the shell-art as a young adult a few bodies ago she stopped cultivating it. So turning her body into metal or any other feats of impressive body-shell mastery where beyond her. The embassy was now only a small speck above her and below her the field of light that was the city Dahiri was spreading over the ground with unfortunate speed. Yet it was this field of light that gave Anira a bit of hope. Dahiri like all the cities of the Hinkyoda qu Shyosha, the kingdom of the hundred cities, was by ancient law bound to cover only a limited amount of soil and thus the building of the city stretched far towards the skyshell. If she could move near enough to one of the great sky-towers shed be able to slide along its polished stone walls slowly breaking her fall, landing with dignity and disappearing into the crowds of the night markets. That way she would even make it to her rendezvous point early for a change.
She made her way towards one of the shining spires trying to get close enough to be able to almost touch them but not so close that a sudden gust of wind or a navigational error on her side would skewer her on one of the many decorative shafts and rods and columns for which the local architecture was so well known. By now she was plummeting between to large towers both a couple dozen meters away from her. Seeing the floors of the buildings pass her by as one colourful smear gave her a much better idea of her true speed and despite all her professional training she felt her panic rising again. The time for deep breaths was over now. She either found a way to break her fall or she would explode in a gory mess in on the floor below her. Teeth grinding in concentration she willed her self slowly towards the tower that seemed to be a bit more frugal about balconies and outlying towers, avoiding them as well as she could. She had to force herself to continue breathing as she tried to ignore the gusts of wind caused by bits of building passing her by at distances that would be deemed scandalous in polite company.
By now she had found a nice long stretch that was nothing but a wall of shining stone decorated with shining windows. Good enough. She had forced herself at arms distance to it, focusing just on the bit in front of her. It was just a somewhat garish wall with changing colours that were so in style with the rich and taste resistant these days. She stretched out her hand, which was not nearly ripped off an open window, and started to feel the wall. The flow of its essence. Once the connection had been established she performed her hand seals expanding her own power into that of the building, heating the stone using her considerable falling speed to power the process. The wall in front of her started to glow red hot and to melt right away leaving a streak of angry scarlet behind her. Whenever she passed a window it evaporated but at least she was losing speed. But not fast enough. Below her balcony was rushing towards her ringed by her friends the pointy spires and veteran spears that had retired to a life of wall decoration. Feeling the power of her magic flow through her gave Anira back her confidence. She would probably die a violent death as that was the usual fate for a mercenary spy such as her but not today. Cheating gravity only a little bit she crouched on down on the wall beside her. her hands and feet leaving shining trails behind her. She fixed the building adjacent to hers. It was maybe thirty meters away. But she could close that distance. Again her hand went into a flurry of motion as she formed the hand seals necessary to redirect the force of her fall from the vertical into the horizontal. One last deep breath and she released the final sign and jumped.
She was moving a graceful arc towards the other smaller building which was thankfully a far older structure, from a time when people thought that a really elegant building should only be one sleek unbroken surface. Perfect. Now she only had to make her jump. If she had used to much force she would smash into the wall in front of her smashing all of her bones into post-modern shapes or if she had used to little force she would find her self to far away from any larger structure to use to slow her down. As she reached the middle of the flat arc of her jump she spun her leg in front of her, it looked like she had performed an almost perfect jump. She smiled into the sky above her. A smile that died an early death. Above her in the sky she saw several figures moving at an alarming speed towards the ground. It looked that the ambassador was not happy with her sudden departure and had sent a squad of his personal bodyguard after her. Maybe to make sure that she was dead and quite certainly to retrieve the crystals she had grabbed just before her great escape. While Anira was confident that she could lose the guards once she entered the crowded streets of the night markets below her they had one serious advantage as long as she was still airborne. They had flying armour.