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Chapter 30

Autumn comes back to me at times.  The present pools lucid, but I can't quite dive in, held by memories, waiting to be told.

Old Awaziurak town square sits on the surface, but it lies half in shadow.  The massive Awaziurak space station hovers about fifty meters above.  The town has long been a favorite resort for the rich of Nohin.  It's old station, frozen as period architecture, stands in the old square.  The new station, towering above, is a reflection of the old, only fifty times larger.  Instead of wood, it is built of glass, steel, and granite.  A massive double staircase stretches from the hovering station to the surface below.  The stairs alone are half the size of the whole town square.  They cast a long, cold shadow.

From the stairs, a visitor can see the broad valley cradled in mountains dyed deep crimson.  In the distance, massive Mount Amasa puffs away volcanic breath into the sky.

Being a resort planet, the people of Awaziurak prize their closeness to nature.  The great landed estates are still there, each the center of some invisible fiefdom.  Now, each manse floats just amongst the treetops.  This accommodates the occasional spaceship when the masters arrive, fleeing some distant, stress filled world.  As I walked, passing under the shadows of the mansions, floating just out of reach, I saw the occasional resident.    On some jaunt across the forest floor, his feet pattered across colored leaf covered paths and thick carpets of light spattered moss.

Following the long straight paths through the crimson forest I found a stream lined with especially beautiful views.  The path was narrow, just wide enough to squeeze by a photographer hunched over his tripod capturing red leaves.

At the end of the path stood a beautiful woman.  She was dressed in a long white wedding dress.  As she posed for her picture, she spoke in some dialect of the Central Empire, conversing with a flock of slim men in tuxedos.  Blue sky above, red mountains behind, the long lake before her reflected crimson shapes.  Her black tresses rippled down below her shoulders, splashing onto her sparkling white dress.  Like a living photograph, she floated separate.

I had arrived in Awaziurak in early morning, riding above a wakening world.  I climbed the staircase into the sky and left from the massive station of glass and steel and stone.  I boarded a speeding metal bullet.  Zip zip, black flashed by, perforated by momentary glimpses of small red, yellow, and then emerald worlds.  Suddenly I was in vast Oykot, the Eastern Capital of Nohin.  Here I would paint fat black cherry trunks in the High Field, beside a bustling temporary market of foods from around this Empire at the Base of the Sun.