Wednesday, November 3, 2010

374 - The Scent of Bitter Myrrh

She led me toward the one cliff, between the water and the backs of the other tents.  I vaguely WONDERED  where they were trying to retreat to.  The sounds of fighting were fading behind us, either because the wind was rising and the water was lapping higher, or because Kaneka and the others were winning. The moon was bright on the water, bright enough to see clearly now we were out from under the trees. I was vaguely impressed that even as badly outnumber as they were the Mahid had fought as long as they had.
3rd Elsha, her one hand holding my good elbow, looked back, once, twice. I couldn’t LOOK around and the path was narrow enough for her to pull me close.  It was really meant to be one person wide without sliding into the lake.  I could not turn my head to see how deep the water was, if there was a drop off. Or a place to wade.
There were other Mahid women all around. They had covered lights strapped to their wrists.  Kraumaks I thought. I could not see them other than as black and silver shapes, but I could smell them.  I realized. When I had been a boy and stepping into their tent, I had not noticed they all wore the same scent.  Now, surrounded by them, I was enveloped by it. I tried to think about my mother about the fight, but all I could do now was breathe deep.  I stumbled, trying to bury my nose in Elsha’s hair.
She smelled like safety, she smelled like home I NEEDED more of that I NEEDED I vaguely heard her tell me something “Spark, stop.” but the words couldn’t get past the NEED, it was myrrh.  Bitter myrrh, I sniffed and my one hand did come up under my own NEED.  “…fixated… Accedence loop…”
Someone kicked my knees from behind, I landed on them in the sand reaching for the perfume, the hair.  Someone grabbed my head by the hair and plunged my head into the lake, breaking my sniffing as I inhaled ice water and began coughing and choking.  My head smashed through the black surface, plunging me under twice more and hauled me back onto my heels, let me cough my lungs clear.  I was not going to feel very good once all this was resolved and I didn’t have the glass wall of Accedence around me.  “Spark.  Follow Elsha.”  Of course unless I was dead from my mother cutting my throat, I would feel nothing at all.
The icy shock had broken the endless round of behaviour. Water poured down my face over my broken bone, soaking me all the way to mid-chest, mid back. I coughed and finally inhaled a full lung of just air instead of air and water and got up to follow once more.
“Spark, put your back to the cliff wall and wait.”  They had me up against the rock with the water on my right.  I was slowly beginning to notice the pain of my broken clavicle.  Same bone as was broken on 1st Amitzas, I thought, for a moment looping through the memory before I came to notice the rock against my back.
I could see over the moonlight shining on the women’s heads strung along the narrow path.  Where it widened I could see Joras  hanging limp between two women, arms slung over their shoulders.  They’re stronger than I thought.  One woman, Inensa, came back, easing past the others putting their bodies between me and theYeolis.  Kaneka what are you doing??? Forlanas? Riryaena? There were several of the elite I knew... I hoped they were coming.
She took Elsha’s place, holding on to the sash binding my arm down. The tent we had come from was in the middle of the row and if the Elite wanted to attack in the created corridor between lake and tents they’d have to come in one at a time.  Someone cutting through other tents would give warning.  But Kaneka has enough warriors to send someone through all the tents… you cannot treat it like a bulwark…
“Spark. Look down into the lake,” my mother said quietly. I did.  I could see, just under the surface, pale against the dark water, stepping stones.  “Do you see?”
“Could you walk along the stones, safely, under Accedence?”
“Do so. Carefully. We will guard your back.”  I couldn’t help it.  I set my foot on the first stone.  Had someone placed these here?  Of course.  I could not imagine 2nd Amitzas having thought of something like this.  The first stone was ankle deep in the water and solid.  As was the second. My eyes were moving from stone to stone.  I couldn’t raise my eyes as I heard the rip of tents being cut through, the thwip of darts.  Lights... torchlight bloomed behind me.  A rush of flames from the middle of the camp. Did the women have tubes, weapons? I hadn’t seen any. It must be Kaneka, stunning them.
“Faster, Spar…”
She sagged against me, throwing us both off the stones, into the dark, icy lake. My shoulder was wrenched as I struggled up, one arm and my legs pushed me up to breathe and my legs kept me safe, gulping for air on the surface, goosebumps all over my body.
Next to me, struggling, splashing, coughing, my mother thrashed in the water, over her head. The ice water momentarily countered the stun drug. Her skirts were full of water and she went under.  She was within reach but did not catch at my arm, even as the dress dragged her down, flailing. 

She slowed, stopped moving, the drug taking hold. The water was crystal clear and I could see her eyes close, her pale circle of face begin to sink away from me, into the dark.


  1. Eeeep! I'm not sure how this all qualifies as going off "without a hitch" but it is certainly exciting.
    I suppose having only Minis's drugged viewpoint we don't really know how it's going from Kaneka's vp...


  3. Blue you are quoting from ak, yes?

    There's a reason why it's worded that way there.

    Though I might make changes a bit later in the book.

  4. Karen you are an evil evil woman Post the next chapter Fast!

  5. Ummm. I'm not Karen. I'm Shirley. But I am still an evil woman and will. Tomorrow. At least it isn't a Friday.

  6. Und... alle neue aus Deutschland, willkomen!

  7. Oh sure, Fan! Indict ME for HER crimes! Thanks a LOT!