“Just Radas, please, Spark,” he said, settling down cross-legged on the tiles with me, completely heedless of the fact that we were sitting in the middle of the Temple floor, in the middle of the night, under the high God’s eye.
“If that’s the case then just Minis, for me,” I said to him and managed to wipe my face with the sodden handkerchief I had clutched in one fist and thrust it into one of my sleeve pockets. The servants would probably hate me later. “I’ve… had my father’s dekinas who was the single most boring individual alive, then I had 2nd Amitzas Mahid and the priest-trained Mahid – er, some encouragement from the Yeoli Imperator. And I’ve met an odd old Yeoli woman sage on a mountain.”
“That sounds like you’ve gotten mostly pedantry and sophistry.”
I blinked at him, not sure what to say. “I read a lot.”
He smiled at me. He had a sweet smile. “So I understand. So, what do you feel, of the Ten?”
But… what? What? Um… well… but… “Errrr… well… um…”
He shook his head at me. “I am too blunt. My apologies, Minis.”
“No, no… in fact you almost remind me of the Yeoli sage. But she was blunt enough to bruise one’s forehead on… or to bruise one’s ego on, I suppose. I liked her.”
“She sounds like she knows herself very well.” How did he know? Did all God touched have access to their own private connection? Now that I was just looking at Radas, he looked God touched and I had the urge to unburden my heart.
“Fenjitzas… Radas… I don’t know how to talk to the Ten, I was taught so much fear… so much… I was convinced for the longest time that I was forzak no matter what I did… I grew to hate any teachings about the Gods and Goddesses…” My voice trailed off in a disorganized mumble and I ended up looking at Muunas’s marble toe peeking out from under the flowing, open robe.
“Ah. Are you upset with yourself because you are angry? Many men in Arko are taught only fear and hate. Of the Gods, of themselves.”
“The Regent and the Yeoli Imperator weren’t taught that fear of the Gods. They were taught love of the Gods.” I looked away from the statue at the scraping noise.
He’d pushed the bucket out of the way as he leaned forward to look into my eyes. I wasn’t sure what I saw in his eyes, so close. They were almost dark blue with blue-white flecks in them. We locked eyes and I wondered what he saw in mine.
He looked into my eyes and I tried to keep my eyes open, for all that my heart shrank. “I… Fen… Radas… the God… he told me… he said… I needed to be clear eye’d, to open my eyes to everything.” I had to drop my gaze. His was almost as bright as the God’s and my heart was riven.
“You are sensitive to the Ten,” he said. “I’m happy for you, and I’m sorry for you.”
My gaze snapped up from the fascinating tableau of my hands on the gold tile and his bare knees. “You… um…thank you.” He understands. “Am I… are my dreams… real?”
“Of course they are real.” He smiled. “If you like, Minis, perhaps we can go through the Holy Book and talk about the Ten, just you and I? Perhaps we can look at the crippled and hobbled versions of the Book you were taught and you might be interested in how I see the Gods, hmmm?”
“I… I…” I gulped. “I’d like that. Quite a lot.”
His hand came up to buffet me on the shoulder, rocking me where I knelt. He had been solas. Of course. “Good lad.”