Odosday, 15 Pullulus

Earned 32 / Spent 129

Savings 16,295

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There’s never enough time in Kernel.

It’s a young town, chronologically speaking – compared to, say, Ombustraße or Pension – but it bustles with life.

Before the Displacement it was dead, or so I’m told.  The industry had collapsed and a lot of the old suburbs are now empty districts filled with warehouses and two hundred year old factories.  I’ve done less-than-legal runs down there with packets passing between dealers and vagrants, who take it in turns to inhabit these dirty, decrepit areas.  Kernel had the life sucked out of it and people walked around looking defeated, shoulders slumped, with a moroseness that has become a stereotype for the region. 

Over the years the jungle pressed in again, and it became vivid with the greenery that the new expansion hasn’t yet been able to push back.  But it’s not our colour, and the energy that came from the Displacement feels like a sham.

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After my few days in the warm south, returning to Kernel and being imprisoned by the maréchaussée felt like having my legs cut off.  Squatting in the dank oubliette has, over that week, deteriorated the muscle in my thighs.  I’ve chewed more drakeroot than is medically safe to give me the calories and energy to work it back again.  I’ve dashed around like a madman from place to place – tools for Ochre, who works hard at finishing his new storefront; reports from the Blue Parliament which, for the extra seeds, I’m diverting for the Rotun and copying; and searching, searching, searching for a new place to live.

I haven’t been able to get over the suspicion that my journals are being read.  Having decided that the treehouse was no longer private, I’ve left and found a place on the side of Capital Hill.  The first month’s rent nearly killed me, and moving out was difficult – the tree was a shared place, lopsided but sturdy.  Over the years the other tenants and I have let it degrade.  I share some responsibility with the root-chewing student that caused more mess than the others, and the blessed retiree who cleaned less than she would have liked.  I suspect that I’ll miss their company, though I’m sure they hardly noticed the time I was lost to the maréchaussée’s bloody beaurocracy.

Two half-domesticated xylem have taken up lodgings in the tree as well, and I’ll miss them.  They stalk about the place, as though unable to resist their feral nature and hunting instinct.  The little woody things feel at home amongst the untidiness of my room in the tree.  One would climb into my wardobe, where it had made a next of leaves.  The other would leapt up onto the windowsill and sit motionless, peering out and looking for all the world like a miniature shrub in the goldlight.

The new place is wonderful.  Moving my things there, one cartload at a time in borrowed rickshaws, wasn’t even damped by the by the misery of my maréchaussée imprisonment, the bottom of which I still haven’t gotten to.  Most are lucky to escape with only a few bamboo marks and bruises.  I’m not going to push it.

Capital Hill is cosmopolitan.  There is a strong presence from the Jade Reefs, whose people make assiduous students at the Kernel Saints University a short walk down the slope.  Others from the Straits have small furniture shops constantly on sale or closing down, but stay afloat perportedly forever.  There are a hundred places to eat from all over Terren, regions I’d never heard of from over the ocean.

I think of Foist with me.  She moves ghostlike, half through my memory, half through the new house.  Her long fingers reposition books on shelves, organise glass and chipped porcelain in the cupboards, touch empty picture hooks that she will soon employ for her carpelwork.  She hasn’t made anything for months, I don’t know if she makes things now in Metrodon, those delicate little structures of flower ovum and stigmas dusted with pollen.

My desire is that she construct these beautiful things for the rest of her life, and fill this home of ours with colour and vivacity.

— RSR

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