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Thiel Fellow, Harvard dropout, cofounded Stream & Sprayable. Dual present passions are programming and writing.

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Week 17 - Novel - Dreams Part XI - September 23-29

“This news, expectedly, hit Aeon hard. It pained him greatly to be deemed unworthy in such a stark fashion, and he vowed to never be subject to such heartbreaking humiliation again. I began to see in him a hunger and an ambition that had never been there before. While this concerned me, and deep down I knew there was something dangerous here, I still loved Aeon, and trusted him fully.

“By this point, I had had my suspicions for quite a while that there was a possibility that Aeon, unlike any that had ever come before, could be the one to harness the Heartstone. However, I also knew that he was far from ready for such an attempt, and to be gifted with such unlimited power without further practice and deep indoctrination of responsibility and discipline.

“Aeon, unfortunately, had other ideas. I had spoken to him about the Heartstone on many occasions, having explained by now every stone...

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Week 16 - Novel - Dreams Part X - September 16-22

“Stoneworking is an interesting art—not all stones work for all people, and not all in the same way. For many of the races of Eukaon, stoneworking is inherent, but limited. It is part of our nature, and we have evolved over time to know how to use certain stones innately, or even grow certain stones as part of our bodies over time. I belong to one of these ancient lineages—so ancient now that I am the sole remaining member, all my brethren having been lost to long ago to the sands of time and change.

“My race is a particularly interesting one. We, as one collective whole, shared our grasp over stones. As our numbers diminished, my individual power grew. Now, as the last remaining survivor of my kind, I have near unparalleled command over the stones of this world, both as a function of hard-sought knowledge carefully accreted over many centuries, and the consolidation of the collective...

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Week 15 - Novel - Dreams Part IX - September 9-15

“You won’t have to worry about that. The portal stone ensures time distortion between our worlds. What time you spend here will pass only here, and upon your return home, you will find things exactly as you left them.

“As for why you should want to come here, it is because we need you, far more than you are needed in your own world. There, you may be forgotten, but here, we will not survive with you. Your friends,” Elvir said, spreading his arms to gesture towards Ardin and Tan, “will perish without your aid.”

Ardin looked up finally at this. “What are you saying? What’s going to happen if she doesn’t come?”

“The same thing that has already happened to Tach,” Elvir replied.

“And what happened with Tach? What happened after we left?” Ardin demanded.

“It was destroyed. The entire city has been engulfed.”

There was a moment of silence as everyone digested this news. Jo held a hand to...

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Week 14 - Novel - Dreams Part VIII - September 2-8

Simultaneously, Jo blushed deeply and winced hard. She wasn’t sure what was making her more uncomfortable: the fact that Ardin was pressing directly into her claw wounds, or the fact that this was the first time she’d ever been hugged by a boy.

“Ah,” she said, holding her hands awkwardly at her side and still blushing and wincing furiously. She really didn’t know what to do.

Tan noticed her wince. “Ardin, I think you’re hurting her.”

Alarmed, Ardin backed off. “Whoah, I’m sorry. Are you hurt?”

Jo lowered her face to try to cover her blush. “Um, just a little bit. It’s not a big deal. I think Elvir may have clawed me a bit when he was grabbing us. Nothing too serious. It’s just a little sore.”

Ardin turned and looked at Elvir accusingly. Elvir bowed his head slightly. “My apologies, Jo. I was not certain that I would be able to transport you here safely when you were falling through...

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Week 13 - Novel - Dreams Part VII - August 26-September 1

To her great relief, the wound didn’t actually look that bad. She could make out the claw marks, which definitely had pierced her skin and left her bleeding, but it didn’t look like they had penetrated that deeply. The blood had mostly clotted, it seemed, and none of her internal organs appeared to be exiting her body. Things were okay.

At the same time, being faced with irrefutable visual proof that she did in fact have very real physical claw marks on her back unsettled her immensely. She considered the various possibilities this implied. Either she was still dreaming, and this was all a hallucination as well, or something about her dream had actually somehow crossed over into reality. She wasn’t sure which possibility frightened her more.

She slapped herself in the face. It stung. She wasn’t sure if this was irrefutable proof that this was real life, but at least it certainly felt...

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Week 12 - Novel - Dreams Part VI - August 19-25

“There are a couple of ways of doing it, depending on the harnesser, the stone in question, and if you’re part of a collective harnessing force or harnessing on your own. What you saw me do earlier was harnessing a personal stone using a personal device. What we do to harness those massive pillars is a bit different. The pillar itself is encased in a harnessing device, and the city basically recruits an army of harnessers to work together to use the thing,” Tan explained.

“It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. In fact, it’s probably one of the most unpleasant things you can do. I feel like a slave when it’s our shift. Imagine a hundred people all lined up in a circle for hours at a time, in total unrelenting exhausting concentration, unable to move or do anything but focus on harnessing the stone to do what we need it to do,” Ardin added. He wrinkled his nose in disgust. “I hate it. As...

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Week 11 - Novel - Dreams Part V - August 12-18

“What else can you do with the stones?” Jo asked.

“Us specifically, not too much yet. We’ve just started to be able to learn. They don’t allow anyone under the age of 14 to harness stones since it’s a pretty dangerous and complex art. There are some real masters out there though, and the stuff they can do is pretty wild. Fuse stones together, move entire homes, even split the earth.” Tan replied.

“Is that how those huge stones were created? What are they for?”

Tan nodded. “With a few exceptions, the amount of power you can harness from a stone is proportional to its size. Many of those stones provide public services for the city. That stone, for instance,” Tan said, pointing to an emerald spire somewhat in the distance, “cools the entire city when needed.”

Ardin pointed to a ruby pillar adjacent to the emerald tower. “And that heats the city. Between the two of them, we’re able to...

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Week 10 - Novel - Dreams Part IV - August 5-11

When they noticed her staring, the boys looked at each other, and then the taller of the two began to walk towards her, with the shorter one trailing closely behind. She felt a jolt of anxiety as they began to approach. Even in her dreams, interacting with people terrified her, it seemed. Elvir had been okay because he had been clearly outlandishly a dragon–but the fact that these boys seemed, apart from their plain and roughhewn burlap clothing, very much like anyone she might encounter her own age in the real world made the encounter that much more real and nerve-wracking.

She determined to stick her ground and do her best to convey an attitude of nonchalance. This was just a dream, she reminded herself.

When the taller boy finally reached her, he spoke with a comprehensible, but very strange accent. If she had to place it, she’d say it seemed like some combination of...

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Week 9 - Novel - Dreams Part III - July 29-August 4

Exactly one terrible day later, where indeed her breath did not prove to be of any importance as she spent her entire time at school in complete silence, Jo returned home. She hated this part of the day, coming home from school, almost as much as she hated being at school. Her mother wouldn’t be home yet for another five or six hours. She was staying later and later at work these days.

In the meantime, Jo felt incredibly alone. She had no friends she could hang out with or even talk to. She’d already read every book in the house three times over. As the final nail in the coffin, mother had requisitioned her computer until she got her grades back up. There was absolutely, positively, nothing for Jo to do.

As much as she griped and despaired about it, she had to admit—the computer thing was working. Even homework was mildly enjoyable when there was actually nothing else to do. She...

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Week 8 - Novel - Dreams Part II - July 22-28

“Jo! You’re late again! You’ve got ten minutes!”

Jo woke with a start and a stifled scream. It took her a few seconds to collect her bearings and deduct where she was and who was yelling at her. She was in her bed. That was her mother.

She glanced at her alarm clock on the bed-stand. 6:50. Crap. She really did have 10 minutes before she’d miss the bus and with the muck and snow outside, there was no way she’d possibly make it to school without motorized transport. Or, she thought, mind turning, she could just pretend to be incredibly sick and skip the whole dreadful debacle of school in the first place. She yawned, bleary eyed and totally exhausted. It was like she hadn’t slept at all. It was time for Plan B.

“Mom…I’m really not feeling well. I’m not sure I can make it today…” Jo moaned, in what she hoped was her most convincingly sick voice.

An exasperated sigh emerged from the...

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