Song Of The Body Cartographer

Siren traces the marks on Inyanna’s body. There are concave hollows in Inyanna’s arms, and there are connectors along her ribs that allow her to jack into her windbeast when she is in flight. Under Siren’s fingers, the patterns on Inyanna’s shoulders register as bumps—like tiny hills grouped together in circles that wind in and around each other.

“That tickles,” Inyanna says.

Her voice sends shivers along Siren’s spine and her fingers clutch and caress Inyanna’s skin.

“There is no one more beautiful than you,” Siren says.

She worships Inyanna’s body and follows the shape of muscle and bone with her hands. There is no fat on her body and Siren takes note of this too. Her fingers glide over her love’s hipbones, and she feels the muscles contract and hears Inyanna’s indrawn breath.

“There,” Inyanna says.

The shiver in her voice makes Siren smile.

“Here?” she asks.

She blows gently and watches Inyanna stretch and reach upwards.

In the moment when Inyanna reaches climax, Siren feels as if she has traced the road from Lower Ayudan to that place where the high gods dwell.


The Matriarchy had sent Inyanna to Siren with an express command. For all that Siren was one of the common, she had been and still was the best body cartographer in all of Ayudan. She could have become Qa’ta if she wished, but she’d always cherished the freedom that came with being common and no matter that being Qa’ta came with privileges, she couldn’t bear to leave her carefree life behind.

Inyanna was Timor’an–more than that she was gifted with insight and with the Matriarch’s blood. She would ascend to the Matriarch’s place if she could prove herself in flight. And there lay the heart of the problem–Inyanna was meant to fly and yet she could not.

“I tried when I was seven,” Inyanna said. “My cousins had all ascended to the skies by then. It was necessary to ascend into flight if I wished to bond fully with the pillor’ak gifted to me by my aunt.”

Siren hummed under her breath, she kept her eyes steady on the screen where colors fluctuated as Inyanna kept up her narration.

“I couldn’t ascend,” Inyanna said. “I tried to jack in, but the windbeast didn’t respond.”

A vivid splash of scarlet accompanied the agitation in Inyanna’s voice. Siren noted where the splash took place and mapped it onto the image that was growing under her hands.

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