Margaux cinched the leather chin strap tightly to hear the groan of leather on leather. She worked her jaw around while snugging the helmet-like Chronicaller onto her head. If it sat loosely it would get off symmetry. If it got off symmetry she’d get funky results and a headache. And she didn’t want a headache. The Chronicaller looked like a brain might look had it been designed by an artistic god who’d seen a real brain for a moment and then been given a week to come up with a replica. Now snug, Margaux removed the mouthpiece from it’s perch and situated it between her lips. She blew lightly to check the resting tune. With expert fingers she dialed in a finer note and blew again–still lightly. As a result she unlatched a locked rubber tube along the sagittal and actuated two copper levers: one on the left and one on the right near the base of her skull. Tendrils of near-blonde red hair stuck out from under the cumbersome headpiece like a bad neighbor’s vines growing under a fence.
She leaned forward to better balance the mass of copper and leather and shell and wood and rubber tubing that made up the Chronicaller.
OK, gonna need to come back to this mess another day.
Everything about a Waccho appears human expect for their scale and proportions.
Given the same age and maturity a Waccho man extends past his human counterpart by his head and shoulders. While not making him quite as imposing as those arboreal giants of Canituu, the Anori, Wacchos regularly participate socially with humans. Their presense can be quite disconcerting. Waccho women—who are often confused for adolescent males—follow the same pattern of scale and sociability. Most times the women are on par with an adult human man. Some clever traders among their clans use these differences artfully in negotiating deals with our people.
If their height is disconcerting, their proportions are humorous and a bit off putting. From not a great distance, an unmoving Waccho appears human. If there is no other reference—a building or livestock to provide scale—even more so. Then they move.
A local fern-peddler, a man claiming to have hunted wild trens in the Thoon archipelago with the Captain Noag himself (so he should know), described the Waccho gait as an unsuccessful attempt to fall down. A Waccho’s lower limbs—arms and legs—are longer in proportion to their upper limbs than are a human’s.
The differences continue in their faces. A Waccho’s mouth is slender and nearly lipless. While their noses’ parallel our own, the distance between the mouth and the nose exceeds ours. Their eyes favor the edges of their face more than the center and are large and wide. Overall they have a flatter facial structure, that along with the mouth and eyes, reminds one of a startled doe. According to Waccho men their women are quite lovely with more delicate faces, but this author uses their modes of dress to distinguish between the sexes on most occasions.
Word count: 302
Immediately you are struck by the misplacement of the man in the garb. Gane is like a rabbit wearing a hat or a puppy in a shirt. Doable; just not right. But you don’t know what you would change.
From top to bottom he’s Solex Guy. Gane’s dreads are rubbed evenly with alizarin crimson and pleat evenly left and right when he’s at Mass or ride high in a ponytail bound in a tight clasp near his scalp when he’s on the job. His split-sleeved cassock fits smartly. His blue and gold subdermals pulse professionally from the gaps. His cincture is tied expertly in the old style–thank-you brother Chabe. When he walks his boots clip precisely on the stoneways.
Gane’s hres are error free. No one unit tests their prayers as effectively as he. His knowledge of circuits, networking, hymns, and chants is unparalleled. If you had three sons and you wanted the third to be in the clergy you want him to be just like Gane. You just wouldn’t want him to be Gane.
He’s a faker, an impostor, or a liar. Or he’s deluded, confused, or biding his time. Clearly he’s unwilling to be bad at what he’s pretending but he’s not bothered to fully obscure what must be disdain.
Leaving it there. Everything else that I tried fell flat.
Word count: 219