Friday, July 26, 2013

102 - A Whiteburning Torch

Hara looked at the strange contraption in her hands, ran her fingers around the join that held the single, modified scale on the end of a stick. The bees had modified the scale to grow into the end of the long straight branch broken from a bowarrow bush and a few still clung to it.

She shook it, gently and it began waving backwards and forwards slowly on the end of the stick. Not only that it turned one way, then the other, smoothly, but turning almost a three quarter circle one way, then the other, on the suspended socket the real dragons had to allow the incredible scale mobility.

It would not catch fire, just from motion. The circuit, designed in code, would not allow that. To burst into flames the built scale had to be immersed in water. Hara lowered the scale end and dipped the whole thing into the basin full of water placed just for that purpose.

The edge of the water dropped, almost the width of a fingerjoint, and the stick in her hands grew heavier. When it could hold no more water, she raised it out of the bowl, swung it 'round her head at full stretch and the scale on the end of the stick burst into blue, nearly clear flame, all around its tip and edges, a small roaring noise emanating from the flame itself.

She set the butt of the stick on the stone and looked up at the flaming, roaring scale. “From water,” she said to herself, and the flames went from nearly invisible to a flare of brilliant green and then a bright yellow, the sound changing each time.

The stick was soaked with water, running down from the flames above, barely warm over her hand. “The flame makes water as it burns,” she said to the page on her desk, where the swarm of bees recorded her notes.  "It smells of hot metal as it burns, but does not consume the scale it is rising from."

She looked around and realized there was nowhere to place the thing down without setting other things on fire. The motion of the scale, undirected, could roll the torch off bare stone. She lowered the scale and set the flame in the water, where it continued to burn. “Owner spit,” she said. “Little sisters, could I get your help?”

The swarm buzzed and rose from the desk, others coming from where they worked code on the mechanical dragon. “A socket in the rock for my torch?”

It took a few moments but she was able to wave the last of the insects away from the hole they'd clined in the rock and slot her brand-new, long-life, whiteburning torch into the stone where it could burn itself out, once it ran out of water.

“We may have to store these things in the bottom of the river, or in the reservoirs,” Hara said to her recording bees. “Now we need to put these scales on my first dragon and then figure out how to control and direct my flying sword, before I show it to Shashi and stepapa, da and Kyrus.”

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