Following more exchange among bird-keepers and indications of the clear concerns of some members of Alise’s and Sedric’s circles, “White Flood” opens upon Leftrin trying to kill Jess amid bad weather and the unraveling of the latter’s plans. Floodwater and debris sweep over them, and Leftrin begins to give himself up for dead. The Tarman makes shift to retrieve him, though, and he waits for rescue.
Sintara unceremoniously deposits Thymara with Alise, and the two women orient themselves amid the tumult, taking stock of their situation. The Rain Wild River is swollen in the wake of a flash flood and running a milky acidic white. The dragons, heeding Mercor, struggle for the riverbanks, Thymara urging Sintara along.
Sintara struggles, and Alise and Thymara urge her along more vocally and fully, and they join other keepers to secure their dragons against the continuing flood. The keepers confer about damages and losses, and Thymara begins to blame herself for the loss of Rapskal and his dragon, Heeby. Alise attempts to offer comfort, but more comes from other keepers who speak to the current billeting of Sintara and others. The loss of much material in the flood is noted, however, but a grim resolve to continue settles upon the keepers.
As I reread the chapter, I was put in mind of an experience more than twenty years gone, now. In the summer of 2002, I was commuting from my parents’ home to my undergraduate school, moving back in after a year in the dorms and a year in on-campus apartments. And I had been laying on the couch for a fair bit of the time I was not in class, rereading a different series of novels on the days when I was not working. My doing so attracted some commentary from my parents, to which I replied with some angry crack about things being boring otherwise.
I have said before that I have mellowed out in my old age.
The day after I made the comment, a tropical system decided to seat itself over the Hill Country and dump feet of rain upon us. Two dams upstream of my parents’ house failed, and in the time it took us to look out the back door, out the front door, and turn back to look out back, the creek rose a dozen feet. It didn’t stop there, either, flowing into the house and through it.
We all got out safely, but it was a long time getting things back in order from the flood. Not everybody in town has, even now; some houses were flatly washed away, and their foundations still stand in lots overgrown with weeds.
We had support, though, and even then, it was a hard thing. For people isolated and already living under onus, it can only be worse.
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