She stared into the chasm. It looked to be about twenty feet from her side to the other, and stretched a long way in both directions. In between, floating, were trees, their roots floating bare in the air. She looked at them, wondering if it was just a trick of perspective. No, there was really nothing holding them up there.
“Air trees!” said Ku. “I think that’s what Skidbladnir is made of.”
“Maybe you can do the eagle thing again and get us across?” Brynn asked.
“This is a puddle of magic, a place of congealment. If I change here, there’s no telling what will happen. I certainly won’t have control over it. Remember when you first met me, the purple bat thing? That’s what happened.” Ku said. “Look down, carefully!”
Brynn got down on her belly and eased over to the edge, feeling the ground for soft points. She looked down. At first it looked like water, shimmering in the sun, a stream running through the crevasse. Then it turned green, then red, then blue, then orange. Around the shore of the stream were strange objects, appearing and disappearing under the lapping waves, changing from one thing to another- a helmet turning into a sock, a chair turning into a small animal. Little fluttering blue creatures darted over the stream, dipping in their heads and then flitting away.
“Pixies, drinking pure magic,” said Ku. “They are a way of the earth trying to right itself- the pixies drink the magic and then fly away, spreading it around the dreamlands a little bit at a time. But it is not enough- we need spreaders out here to sing to this.”
“Wha?” asked Brynn, but he didn’t explain.
“We will have to go around,” Ku said. “Should we go left or right?”
“Now just hang on, I think I could make that jump,” Brynn said, pointing to the nearest air tree. It was about ten feet, give or take, and about two feet higher than the ground they were on.
“No you-” Ku stopped, considering her with his huge eyes. “Well, maybe you can. Then what?”
Brynn scooted back and stood, looking at the trees from different angles. “I could go to that one there, the one on the end there, with the purple leaves, and then over there, to that other stand, to the one with that branch twisted in a spiral.”
She thought of something. “They are solid, aren’t they? They ain’t made out of air?”
“They are solid,” said Ku. Then he added in a mutter, “at least as far as I know.”
“Well, there’s a time for words and a time for action, and this looks like action to me!” Brynn said, readying herself. Ku climbed back on her, clinging once more to her scabbard straps.
Brynn took a running leap and managed to land on the tree, her feet hitting the natural curve of the roots where they spread. What she had not expected was that the force of her landing would send the tree shooting off, thrust by the force of her momentum. She hugged the tree by reflex, saving them from falling. It was a slender tree, one that she could wrap her arms around easily. The tree slowly came to a halt. They were silent for a moment, letting their hearts slow to a normal pace.
“I didn’t expect that,” said Brynn.
“Obviously,” came a cross voice from the back of her head. He was holding her neck with a vice grip, making her glad of her armor’s neck piece.
She re-evaluated the situation. The tree they were on was in a different position, but still close enough to the other stand of trees to make a leap possible. She adjusted her feet on the roots, steadying herself.
“To make things more complicated,” Ku said, overriding Brynn’s groan, “When you jump, you will push back the tree we are on.”
“Maybe...” Brynn said, reaching up to the nearest branches. She pulled herself up. The tree began to tilt. She eased herself down again, not wanting to know what happened if the tree flipped completely over.
“We’re too far from the opposite side,” Ku said. Brynn looked over. They were exactly halfway in between the two sides. On the far side it was rocky, a single dead tree hanging out over a rocky outcrop. No way to jump that far, especially not from an unstable surface.
“Ku, do I have a rope in my bag?” Brynn asked, trying to remember. She remembered her daggers, what food she had, but rope?
Ku scrambled around behind her, going into her bag. “You need to get a bag of capacity, they certainly come in handy at times like this.”
“Funny that, they were all out at the store.” Brynn said.
“No rope, just string. Why do you have string?” Ku said, showing the ball of twine.
“It’s good for keeping armor together if a strap breaks.” Brynn admitted. A thought occurred to her. She took the twine from Ku and pulled out one end. Balancing carefully, she pulled off her ring and tied the string to it. She let the string play out until it was long, dangling down below them. Then she began to swing the ring, aiming towards the dead tree on the other side. There was a small stub, if she could get the ring to wrap around that- it missed. She started again, swinging her arm, flicking her wrist carefully. It hit, wrapping around. She tugged. It was stuck.
“That’s amazing!” Ku said.
“It’s a ring of aim improvement,” Brynn explained. “Has to work over that stuff!”
Slowly, gently, she pulled. The string went taut, quivering. It could come off, it could snap- they both watched, holding their breath. It held and the tree started floating toward that side. She continued to reel it in, careful inches at a time. When she got close, Ku jumped off.
“Hey!” said Brynn.
“Sorry,” Ku said, scrambling down the tree.
Brynn pulled herself in as close as she could, then leapt to the bank. There was a terrifying moment when dirt started crumbling under her boots, but she managed to get to firm ground.
“Huh. Air trees.” said Brynn with a sniff. She turned her back on them.
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