Another snippet from “Salyx”

The knight dreamt of home: vast oceans of grass rip­pling in unfelt breezes, the whis­per of leaves, the back­ground hiss of his aug­men­ta­tion cloud’s comm cycles. A cas­tle sus­pend­ed in the air winked reflect­ed sun­light from crys­tal win­dows. Man’s first sun lay low to the hori­zon, a bulging red oval near­ly kiss­ing the edge of the world.

He looked around, and his vision was bright with sec­ondary knowl­edge. The aug-cloud sprayed knowl­edge at him, com­pressed microbursts of data that were lay­ered over his vision: the float­ing cas­tle was named Yama-arashi, which meant “Moun­tain Storm” in a samu­rai lan­guage, and its smooth blue under­side con­cealed float-field gen­er­a­tors and pulsed laser arrays that deter­mined, microsec­ond by microsec­ond, how the winds and humid­i­ty and tem­per­a­ture affect­ed the castle’s height. The leaves hiss­ing on the breeze hung from a stand of aspens plant­ed by King Ultrecht IX of Vafn­rheim in the eighty-eighth year of his reign. It was nine min­utes and twen­ty-two sec­onds till local sun­set, and to the south­east, against the dark sky, the first of the geo­syn­chro­nous fairy cities would already be vis­i­ble, a dim smudge of light stud­ded with brighter star­lets with­in, can­is­ters and wheels in a cloud of escaped gas­es and space­craft exhaust vapor.

A dead woman spoke his name, and the dream col­lapsed, walls of light that passed through each oth­er, tum­bling away to infinity.