Friday, July 17, 2009

85 - Spark of the Sun's Ray, What are you Doing?

“Centurion!” I didn’t shout, to not startle my brother to his death. “Why in Hayel isn’t someone going after the Coronet?”

“Spark!” He looked frantically between his men holding the cloak, to Kaita who wept in terror for Ilesias to me. “I cannot ask my men to risk their souls to go up to get the Coronet Regal!”
The nurse, in her skirts and a woman, could not climb up and the guards didn’t dare, risking their eternal afterlife. Ilesias crowed, so far above, and a drop of drool splatted onto the stone floor next to the spread-out cloak.

“He’s just a baby... Kaita, how – “ I cut off. None of how or why was important. There was only one person who might dare climb up on Selinae.

I pulled off my slippers and thrust them into the solas Centurion’s gauntlets. “Here... hold these for me.” He took them, startled,

“Spark of the Sun’s Ray, what are you doing?”

I was already up on the top of the Goddess’s foot before he finished my title. Before he finished speaking I reached up to a fold of her gown. He came up to the base of the statue but I was already above the stretch of his reaching hand and he didn’t dare brush Her gown if he overbalanced.

My little brother crowed loud. “Mi! Mi! He was working on single words and couldn’t say Minis yet.

I looked up toward Ilesias. “Hey, little brother. Stay there. Stay there. I’m coming up to you.”

“You men! Hold that cloak tight!” The Centurion did his ineffectual best. I could hope they’d break his fall if he slipped.

He squealed and reached for me, slipped and grabbed the marble lock of Her hair, his wide smile transforming in an instant from joyful to afraid. “Hang on, Ilesias. You sit there. Sit still!” He tried to pull himself back as I clung to the slippery folds of the Goddess’s sleeve of her outstretched hand, and his feet slipped and he slid down her shoulder toward me, dangling by his hands. “Hang on, Ilesias! I’m coming!”

Below me Kaita cried ‘NO!’ and the solas as well, as if their cries could somehow hold him up in time for me to reach him.

Mother Goddess help me save him! Help him! He’s just a baby! I lunged up Her stone breast, my one hand slipping even as he lost his grip. No... squealing with fear, he slid down the Goddess’s gown toward the precipice, a flailing toe turned him away from the clear fall between her outstretched hands, instead, down toward me. He plunged into my chest, as I grabbed a handful of shirt and hair, but the force of his fall knocked me loose from my one-handed grip.

Everything went strange and slow and I felt like I had lots of time to turn him in my hands, tuck him against my front and put both arms around him, his little head pressed tight to my chest. I curled myself around him, clutching as we fell. Kaita screamed, and the guards were reacting too slowly, moving to try and catch us.

Instead of falling into the gap between the Goddess’s fingertips and her right elbow, we fell only a few feet, landing hard in Selinae’s open left hand, cupped across in front of her body at her waist. I saw stars, the wind knocked out of me, and struggled to make my chest open to breathe. We lay on my back in the palm of Her hand and I held my little brother hugged tight in my arms. I looked up and it seemed as though Selinae’s serene face held the faintest trace of a smile. My breath came back with a whoop and a sob and I sat up slowly.

Ilesias was silent in my grip and I checked him. He seemed to be all right, but a little dazed. “Hey, blob.” I poked him gently in the chest and smiled at him, before hugging him really close again suddenly scared I hadn’t caught him, scared that the Goddess hadn’t really caught both of us.

He was frightened enough without getting yelled at. His eyes were still shocked wide and round. “Ilesias, we know you’re a climber but this is just dumb!”

“Mi!” he said. “Mi... “ His clear words dissolved into gurgles. “Bruzza.” I think he meant brother but wasn’t sure.

“We’re all right,” I yelled down to the group calling from below. “He’s fine!” I did a quick check of his fingers and toes, arms and legs. "He seems fine. I just need...”

I paused because Kaita, suddenly seeing her charge safe, seeing him alive and unharmed, realizing she did not have to explain to Father how her inattention had killed the infant Coronet, fainted.

The solas beside her caught her and lowered her gently to the floor, the others all looking up at Ilesias and me, sitting in the gigantic stone hand. “Preserver of Children,” one of them whispered and they all made the quick prayer sign, one hand flying up to touch their temples, cupped. Their upturned faces looked a little like sunflowers, a little like discs. I wondered if the Gods saw us as flowers like that, gazing up at them.

I shook a little, then more as reaction from the fall caught up with me, but Ilesias wiggled and I knew if I let go of him he’d probably do something stupid like head straight for the edge of Her palm. I couldn’t stop, I still had to get us down somehow. For a moment I couldn’t think of a way to keep Ilesias close and still have use of my hands to climb down.

“Spark of the Sun’s Ray?” The Centurion called from below. “How...”

“We’ll be down in a moment, Centurion.” I tickled his tummy to take his mind off heading away from my lap and undid the sash I had around my waist. I was suddenly glad my top had long sleeves.

I pulled my twelve-more-years-of-growth-and-fat shirt off my back and pulled it over his head. His blond fluff of a head poked out of the big neck and he started giggling, sitting inside the puddles of cloth all around him. I laid him down and tied a big knot in the bottom and tied the arms tight around my neck so Ilesias was against my back, drooling down my neck, pulling on my braid. The sash went back around my waist, securing the bottom knot tight against his wiggling.

He was pulling on my braid both hands, having pulled it into the shirt/bag with him and was yelling ‘horsie!’ ‘horsie!” A huge bubble of relief welled up inside me and I was giggling too. I snorted and neighed at him and he shrieked too loud. But at least he wasn’t trying to climb out of my makeshift bag.

Very, very carefully and slowly, I clambered down the long folds of the Goddess’s dress, moving from rosette to ribbon, from trailing lock of hair to shawl fringe until, at last, I stood again on the top of Selinae’s bare foot, sat down and slid down from the instep to her toes onto the red granite plinth.

Ilesias liked that and shouted, “’gain! ‘gain! Mi, ‘gain!” Of course wanting me to do it again. I turned around on my stomach and slid us down to the floor. When my feet touched the floor, I didn’t kneel down and kiss it but I wanted to.

By this time Kaita sat up, looking pale and a little sick. The solas came and untied my ruined shirt, having to cut the sleeves at my neck since they were too tight to undo with any speed. When they put the bundle of brother into Kaita’s arms where she sat, she finally took a deep breath and some colour came back into her face.

I sat down on the floor, stretching my legs out so they touched all along their length, and my hands flat on either side, to feel the security all along through to my seat-bones and up my spine.
“Spark of the Sun’s Ray... This one must... This one will have to... report this to the Imperator,” the Centurion said.

I closed my eyes. It would be a disaster for Ilesias. And for Kaita. Father could even decide it was a murderous lapse and execute her. My brother needed his nurse.

“Splinter in the Mind of God,” she went forward almost all the way down, as best she could without letting go of Ilesias. “This abject worm set the Coronet Regal down for only a moment...”

I cut her off with a slash of my hand in the air. “No, I don’t want to hear it. He’s fast now that he’s running.” When had that happened? Last time I remember he was still pulling himself around on the edges of furniture, or on tippy toes sitting on his miniature donkey. “It’s all right, Kaita. Ilesias needs a nappy change, I think. Or I do.” I actually smiled at her shock. One of the guards snorted like he was trying not to laugh.

“Centurion. I’m sorry, but can I request you do something a bit dangerous?”

He looked at me as though he’d never seen me before. He was an older man, so he might have, working in the Marble Palace guard. I wondered if I’d made his life more difficult without noticing before. “This one... um... this one is at the Spark’s disposal, of course.”

“I don’t want you to lie... but I’d like you to stretch the truth a bit in your report. Can you leave me out of it and say it was the Aitza who rescued the Coronet Regal from climbing on... ah... a statue? My brother needs his nurse. No need to say which statue--you’re not required to be as precise as Mahid, are you?” I had goosebumps all over my chest and arms. The stone was cold and a chill breeze wafted across the back of my neck from one of the hallways.

He looked at me, hard, then at Kaita who hadn’t moved from her crouched position, and then at the men in his shift. They looked at one another and the decurion saluted sharply and said. “This one begs forgiveness for having disturbed the honourable centurion with so minor an incident. Did any of you men see anything that warranted my alarm?”

“No, Decurion, no, Centurion. Nothing. Nope.” A chorus of noes rumbled out from the guards. “These lowly ones saw nothing that required a major report. Nothing at all. No.”

The Centurion nodded and turned back to me. “This one asks the Spark of the Sun’s Ray’s forgiveness for misinterpreting a nurse’s upset with her charge. Splinter in the Mind of God, this one swears It saw nothing requiring panic.”

“I am pleased to hear that, Centurion... what is It’s name?”

“Kennas Shulashen, solas, Spark of the Sun’s Ray.”

“I am happy with your diligence, Shulashen, dismiss.”

Kaita had straightened up, her panic turning to gratitude, but before she could start gushing or saying anything I reached for Ilesias who reached back. “Come along, my brother, the splendour of God,” I said as the guards dispersed back to their posts. “I need another hot bath and another won’t hurt you.” Praise Your Name Mother Selinae. This lowly one begs to thank Thee.


  1. Umm.... did I miss a post explaining why there hasn't been any new updates? Or is something worn gwith my computer that I'm not seeing them? I just don't want to be missing out....

  2. No, sorry... I sort of explained why and I will be trying to catch up in the next few weeks. I'll be up to 89 by Monday...