TDV 64: There They FreezeMarch 12th, 2010 by Sharkchild
The Cantlebrin Bridge was high up and made of ice. It connected one side of the Rezlinought Canyon to the other, a railless pathway joining opposing caves that nested thirty yards down from the canyon’s ridges. Although made entirely of ice—ice partially fused, partially wedged—the bridge had been a reliable mode of travel for centuries; it had been crossed countless times.
This was to be my four-hundred and forty-ninth crossing of the Cantlebrin Bridge. And the Nebulae of Dust standing rigidly at the other end caused me to believe it would be my last. These were nefarious beings that traveled in packs, leeching upon the misfortunate. And they were evasive; they could be solid or gaseous when desired, and travel to places unbeknownst to the world of man. To encounter a Nebula of Dust without the proper safeguard was to encounter a certain but slow death. Once upon its victim, it would oscillate rapidly between its forms beneath the flesh, never fully allowing either form to settle. In this manner it would burst like bubble-sized, miniature explosions while feeding on the wounded, pulped leftovers. The only defense against such creatures was a tempered rod imbued with a copper outer coating, which acted like a magnet, drawing the things away from their hosts—hopefully before too much damage had been exacted.
I had no such implement, and the base of the canyon—nearly two clicks downward—holding hundreds of pockets of frozen water—a sheath of giant, frosted honeycomb—would have killed me had the Nebulae failed. This was not a depth wisely gazed upon for but a moment. There was no course safe except to trek back the way I had come. And I would have reversed, if I was able, but such a choice would have left me in the cave upon nightfall, stranded as easy prey for the Coming of Death.
(Listen to the rest)