Young traveller Kai has spent years in search of salvation, a cure for his debilitating curse. When he discovers the cleansing Bright Water and is taken in by the kind priests who keep it, blessings soon become blights as Kai sinks in his crushing need for purity, and discovers the shattering truth behind his curse. More
Kaiyu Tana travels the Areas alone, on the run from his past and ceaselessly seeking a future that seems far beyond his reach: one in which he will no longer be slathered in unshiftable filth. Most everyone is afflicted by the grime, but it is Kai who is cursed: cursed that he should see (and smell), and cursed in his ignorance. In tiny mountain town Meizui, he hears of the Temple of Bright Waters and its namesake’s powers, and after meeting Sommers, a fatherly priest who staggers Kai with his unsullied skin, Kai abandons his life and becomes an acolyte when offered access to the purifying water in exchange. But over time, Kai’s desire to be clean takes control of him, and his ill mind is the catalyst to at last uncovering the true nature of his curse, and answers to the questions that have ruled his existence for seven years. What happened when he was found unconscious by the river at age seventeen? Why does he see what he sees? And why is no one as filthy as Kai?
Set in the Four Free Areas, a technologically advanced world where Gods watch from rivers and fantastical arts are practiced by wizards and priests, Under the Bright Water is the second instalment of the short story cycle Treading Twisted Lines with Darren, Maddi, and Kai.