PodCastle 323: The Ascent of Unreason

By Marie Brennan
Read by Wilson Fowlie (of the Maple Leaf Singers)
Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Read it here!

“I want to make a map of Driftwood.”

Watching Last cough up his wine at the words wasn’t the only reason for Tolyat’s declaration, but he had to admit it was part of the appeal.  The man was a guide, and had seen so much, experienced so much, gone so many places, that it was hard to crack his shell of burnt-out weariness.  One pretty much had to say something so outrageous it should never be uttered by a sane man.

Tolyat leaned back, and nearly fell out of his hammock.  They were in Kyey, where the local people had given over most of what remained of their world to the cultivation of some plant with an unpronounceable name, whose chief virtue was the production of tough fiber.  The Kyeyi ate a little of it, sold a lot, and used the rest to make practically everything around them.  Even the walls were mostly fiber, woven between the occasional piece of imported timber.

Despite coughing, Last balanced on his hammock like he’d been born Kyeyi.  He wiped his chin and set his wine horn on the table — more fiber, mixed with mud and baked hard.  Even the wine was a byproduct of that damned plant, from the liquid drained off during fiber extraction.  Tolyat thought it tasted like fermented rope, but Last, for some inexplicable reason, liked it.

Last said, “Only idiots bother trying to make maps of Driftwood.”

Rated PG. Contains Dying Worlds, Flying Monsters, and Other Fun Stuff

 

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