It’s all Mary Robinette Kowal’s fault

Thaumatrope is a twitter fiction magazine for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror fiction under 140 characters - edited by @nelilly.

Thaumatrope is a twitter fiction magazine for
Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror fiction
under 140 characters—edited by @nelilly.



Daniel Ausema

ausema (Daniel Ausema) ausema's website

Writer, experiential educator, stay-at-home dad

8:12AM PDT, Apr 2, 2009

[ed, is a seafaring fantasy by Daniel Ausema @ausema]

8:36AM PDT, Apr 2, 2009

Dawn at a fishing jetty. Water to the horizon, but there must be land eventually, cities more advanced, where my magic is valued.

7:22AM PDT, Apr 3, 2009

I summon a swarm of wind elementals to carry me over the sea to other lands. They laugh as they refuse. Now I must row.

1:30PM PDT, Apr 3, 2009

I look to shore. Their grandparents would have offered riches for my spells. Times change, the factories, the steam engines...

8:15AM PDT, Apr 4, 2009

Storm! Waves tall as dragons flick my boat high, drop it in deep troughs. I tie myself to the struts, spend magic to keep afloat.

8:10PM PDT, Apr 4, 2009

The waves still, but the skies don’t clear. A sea serpent surfaces, peers at me, its eyes pierced with memories of the storm.

7:40AM PDT, Apr 5, 2009

Found a fishing spear among the storm debris. Keeping expectations low, but anything’s better than the tasteless stuff I conjure.

6:26AM PDT, Apr 6, 2009

Clouds pull back from a horizon dominated by an enormous tree. I ask a salmon, and she tells me to go seek its base.

10:24AM PDT, Apr 7, 2009

Nearly lost the spear giving a minor wound to a shark, all toothy grin. Need to tether it with a stronger rope.

2:00AM PDT, Apr 8, 2009

Woke by a jolt from below. Surrounded by a forest of ornate waterspouts. The image remains frozen, though the sea was soon flat.

2:10PM PDT, Apr 8, 2009

Reined in one of last night’s whales. It pulls me east and south through wild spray until my magic slips. The tree fills my sight.

11:00AM PDT, Apr 9, 2009

Seaweed pulls at the oars, scrapes the boat bottom. I’d say “hull,” except this tiny boat doesn’t earn the word.

10:35AM PDT, Apr 10, 2009

The tree grows larger, but no nearer, it seems. I hear birdsong at night. I must be close if songbirds fly from the tree to here.

8:34AM PDT, Apr 11, 2009

I let my hope up too soon. The “birdsong” was a siren on a coral reef. My shallow hull let me scrape away. Gods, she was beautiful.

6:08AM PDT, Apr 12, 2009

A night of shooting stars. I drifted, watching them, and forgot my sea anchor. This morning I woke with the tree well to the west.

9:44AM PDT, Apr 13, 2009

An island, scarcely above water, blocks my way. Inland, a spring. Freshwater! No tang of magic from purified seawater.

6:12PM PDT, Apr 13, 2009

Tempting to stay on the island. No rowing, bird eggs, water, give my magic a rest—but the tree glows at night, calling.

7:55AM PDT, Apr 14, 2009

Back to sea. It pains me to leave the island, but then I look up at the tree. I take a handful of eggs. I fear they’ll soon smell.

11:17AM PDT, Apr 15, 2009

Tried for a fish with my spear, but it glanced off the scales. The seaweed that came back, though, tastes like dreams of the tree.

11:14PM PDT, Apr 15, 2009

This close, the tree covers half the stars. I have to remind myself to stop staring and row. My neck hurts from looking up.

4:10PM PDT, Apr 16, 2009

The sea is choppy beside the tree’s base. I pulled hard and nearly reached the tree, but the waves pushed me back.

9:12AM PDT, Apr 17, 2009

Trying again in a new place. The waves look smaller in the lee of a ridge that must be the top of a giant root. Wish myself luck.

3:34PM PDT, Apr 17, 2009

Only the help of a friendly otter got me to shore. Or not shore, bark? In a world so different as this tree, words have to change.

5:30PM PDT, Apr 18, 2009

The bark is scored deep with footholds. Moss makes it slippery, though manageable. Climbing’s easy, but sleeping? I’m nervous.

7:02AM PDT, Apr 19, 2009

Found a shelf of fungus bigger than my boat and tied myself to it. I woke to chafing, and I smell like sour mushrooms. But I woke.

9:20AM PDT, Apr 20, 2009

Never knew lichen could be a forest. It curls into amazing shapes above my head, and I watch for wild beasts as I climb through.

4:08PM PDT, Apr 20, 2009

Tried the spell I used for food in the boat. Mushrooms popped up in a circle around me, reaching for me like feelers. Inedible.

10:12AM PDT, Apr 21, 2009

The water’s already distant. Looking down makes me tighten my grip, but the countless sprites race carefree from bark to moss.

8:46AM PDT, Apr 22, 2009

Found a shrine built into a shallow knot, a circle of rocks draped in moss. Who built it? How did they carry those stones up here?

3:45PM PDT, Apr 22, 2009

A blackened gash in the bark makes easy climbing. Until I wonder what caused it. Lightning is no danger to the tree, but to me...

9:30AM PDT, Apr 23, 2009

A ridge sticks out. Can’t see how it formed, but electric light sparks on its outer edge, like the fire that visits sailing ships.

5:50PM PDT, Apr 24, 2009

Campsite attacked by head-sized wood-lice. I bat them away. They curl into balls and fall. Gods save me from beetles with pincers.

10:44AM PDT, Apr 25, 2009

I pass out of moss forests, beyond straggling patches of lichen, onto bare expanses of bark. Can a tree have a timber line?

4:16PM PDT, Apr 25, 2009

Cold winds up here. I tie myself into hollows in the bark to sleep. As if I could really sleep. I move when my eyebrows ice over.

10:10AM PDT, Apr 26, 2009

The cold forces me into a ravine, diving under the bark. A moss lining insulates me. I share the crevice with voiceless fairies.

6:02PM PDT, Apr 26, 2009

The crevice becomes a tunnel. No more moss, but warmth rises with me. My pack of totems and fetishes is too wide, so I drop it.

9:22AM PDT, Apr 27, 2009

A vast network of branches form the tree’s crown. Warmth gathers as if caught by a web, and above me I see cities!

4:40PM PDT, Apr 27, 2009

Cities of insects, I discover. They walk upright and greet me with a nod but don’t speak. Did I fight their young, far below?

6:20AM PDT, Apr 28, 2009

The city has twigs and vines for streets, buildings of sturdy paper. Sleeping within makes me understand their speechless words.

1:10PM PDT, Apr 28, 2009

My magic, what I can perform without totems, makes flowers bloom from the paper walls. Bright colors where all is green, brown.

2:50PM PDT, Apr 29, 2009

I am a curiosity. I sense what the insects say of me, of my flowers. They thrill at the blooms and gawk at the lurid colors.

8:12AM PDT, Apr 30, 2009

I will never be great here, never more than a bizarre eccentric. Yet I’m satisfied to tend my own flower garden and dream.

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Original miniplanet image by Jan Vejlupek ©2008