Storm-gate, Naime celebrated with the apprentices in the workshop, and the Master of the Yard, who was a patron-cousin of her elder-father on the Iskra side. A delegation of fresh-faced cadets and students from the New Academy came all the way out from the shore of the Inland Sea on the fast train that several Zoia clan-branches and two branches of the Iskri had constructed in honor of the peace of Naime the Just, now most of a century ago.
The snowy volcanic reaches of North Continent, with its Water-Temple guest-houses built around hot springs, and the steppes and mountains of South Continent, where the journey-ships’ horse-stocks roamed wild and recombined in all their glory, not to mention the Colonies within a Jump, all sent their youthful tribute to the New Academy.
Desnaray of Iskra, the clan-branch famed for the terraforming of the first colony-planets, had its own little group of cadets, whispering together. They raised the flaming punch in its goblets, extinguished the flames with a single sharp out-breath, like a voice-blow in grappling, and tipped their heads back to drink.
Indeed, a voice-blow. On the right shoulder of each of them, a shoulder-cord and ribbon-rosette of white and red, slashed diagonally so the cut ends hung loose. The knot, cut through: one of the other traditional props of Martis-Mortis, the sword and the cut-knot, the sword that erased difficulties by severing them through to show white of nerves, red of blood or flesh.
From Camp NaNoWriMo project Shipwright, Captain, Figurehead, short stories in the Ship’s Heart universe.
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