The odd, onion-shaped domes of Brahvniki are really pretty in the morning mist. We’re tied up on the opposite shore and the swarms of little boats that sell or buy anything that might fit in such a little floating barge, that beleaguer the incoming ships, are all out-harbour, beyond the tax-line.
Initaeran told me I was doing really well. She said that I was going to heal fast probably because it was strangers who took me away and tortured me, rather than my own family. “It is less of a betrayal,” she’d said in her gentle, brutally direct Haian way. “Less of a betrayal than the ones who should love you and raise you. Granted you will have to re-learn trust on a number of levels.”
Minis doesn’t realize yet that he’s one of the best people I know to re-teach me trust. Even in the golden and gem-decked cess pit of the Marble Palace, he did the best he could not to hurt me.
I remember lying on the foot of his bed. I had been glad he’d put the barricade of pillows between us and he was all the way on the other side of the mattress. He’d cry in his sleep sometimes. I always woke up when there was noise. I was supposed to and if I hadn’t someone might have hurt me worse.
Who was I trying to fool? Someone? Kurkas would have hurt me. Not Minis.
Initaeran said. The Mahid would just want me focused on Kurkas. Just Kurkas. No one else. And no one else was supposed to exist. The walls in my head tried to go up again.
Now a days the walls were more like lacey holes of pain and the awfulness dripped. The think is... yes, think, not thing.
The think is I can see and feel through the Mahid awfulness. There’s people on the other side. Minis, kind of wrapped in this garbage but holding his hands through to pull me through. And you know... he doesn’t realize that he’s hanging on to the pain that holds him in the wall.
He has to let go, to pull me through. Not really. I could walk through myself but I LIKE Minis. I won’t leave him in the shen, however much he thinks he should be there. Deserves to be there.
Somebody gave him a bridge out of the shen and kyash and Mahid pain. Pain like lava and a black wall that you can’t see past. Anything on the other side just does not exist. But Mahid don’t understand that tears can reach past pain. Tears can reach through sorrow. Love is a force like water wearing away stone. When the water and salt have passed the stone is gone with them.
Tears do not destroy stone, but transform it, make it part of themselves. It’s one reason that torturers fear them and try to dry them up. Tears are more powerful than pain and they know it. Sometimes it takes an ocean of tears to wear away pain and torture but that is what happens. Ultimately torture drowns in tears and love.
I turned from the rail and flung one arm around Minis and another around Ili. “I’ll bet there’s a good library or two here. There’s dozens of stories for Minakas Akam to uncover and write out of here, preserved here and unknown in Arko, because Arkan Imperators have strangled the histories in their infancy!”
I tighten my arm around Gannara. He is the strong one of us... him and me, I mean. Ili is all right. I’ll throw myself in front of Ili to save him and won’t hesitate. He’s innocent in a way I can plaster over.
Dear Gods. Dear Selinae. You already know. I will sacrifice myself for Ili. You know that.
He is my little brother. The best thing I could do is take him into the heart of Yeola-e where these free thinking people live.
Slaves must agree to be slaves. People must submit themselves to be slaves, or they will not be slaves long. They die.
Without fear of death and Hayel and eternal smothering, no one would allow the torture of the flesh. Perhaps no one would allow the control of the soul. Gods. Gods and Ancestors and Eternal Selestialis... I cannot.
Gods. I cannot submit myself to You because I am myself. Perhaps I know too much.
You cannot be the tiny Beings that human minds can understand. You cannot be the miniscule minds that encompass humanity. You MUST be bigger. You must be more than can fit inside the narrow, ugly, controlling words that rest inside the stone walls the iron minds of man.
GODS! Where are YOU?”
My words are flung into the void. But I cannot cease thinking them. I try and reduce the magisty of the Gods to single strokes of thread but the only way I can see Them is in the gathering of all threads.
M, where are you? I am lost. Mama said a day would come when I wanted someone to cling to who wasn't her. I need more than just my mama. I want someone who I've been to Hayel and back with. I need a physical human man to throw my arms around, to keep the dark at bay...
What am I saying? Another caring soul who would hold me to my life and my dreams instead of letting me fall into my nightmares. I don't understand what I'm longing for.
What is it about human dreams that make the nightmares so much stronger, so much clearer? Why can we see the depths of darkness so much more clearly?”
Why may we not see Selestialis? Are we blinded? We peer into the light and are afraid and our fear makes the light blinding.
M, I am angry. I will stare into the light and dare it to blind me! I refuse to let the darkness silence me any more than the darkness silences the canary you sent me. He sings in defiance of all. Light, dark, cool, warm. He sings. It is his choice. Faced with darkness, he sings.
M. Wherever you are... be safe. Wherever you are... be happy.
My mother thinks in terms of the next stitch. I dream of tapestries and vast landscapes of thread, the hanks and tangles and smooth, vast sweeps of story... I’m sorry. I will never send this. I don’t understand.
I look at my sewing basket and I see a mass of threads and colours and I wonder if the God see us as single threads in the tapestry They are weaving. Other writers, I now know, have said this... but words are more powerful than stitches...
M... I can do nothing here, but create. I weave and stitch a vision of what I wish. Not what is, but what I wish. Is that not what authors do? Weave a world out of words of all colours that they wish rather than worlds out of single types of thread?
I wish and want my world to be my word. Is this wrong? Is this odd?
There must be more than I have been taught by the approved priests and dekinas and the Fenjitzas. I quote: “The manifest works of thy fingers...” Goddess I am confused.