I did not go alone.
The landscape we found ourselves in was bleak. It seemed like a recreation of the Forward Ice Ring of the Sunspot, a glacier beset by intermittent but year round blizzards, only it continued for as far as the eye could see.
There was no Endcap and the sky was not filled with the geography of the Garden. Ice continued off into the horizon in all directions in a way that felt profoundly unnatural.
The weather was clear and the sky was full of stars. No moon. No sun.
And Akailea stood before me, looking ahead, as if sie had stepped out of a door in front of me.
“I wish we could get Jenefere involved in this,” sie said over hir shoulder.
“It would be best,” I agreed. “I also miss xem.”
“There are supposed to be a lot more people living here than this,” Akailea then observed, knowing that the subject of Jenefere’s presence, or lack of it, was not going to get us anywhere. “You’d think that the owner of this Netspace would be present.”
“They’re here,” I assured hir.
Sie finally looked over hir shoulder up at me, frowning, “I can’t sense them.”
“Indeed. I know a trick, though,” I nodded down at hir. “An impertinent child taught it to me, and I don’t think xe’s the only one that knows it. Our hosts are hiding.”
“In the Network?”
“In the Network.”
“OK, Eh. I’ll trust you on this,” sie turned back to survey the nearly featureless landscape.