Megan turned from where she peered out onto the Presentation Square, from one of ‘Muunas’s Eyes’. “You can just see his entourage disappear down that street,” she said. “These windows good are!”
Minis sat, cross-legged on the stone floor, at the entrance to the antechamber and Matthas lay on his back, only his head inside the Imperial Chapel, door propped wide. “Did you see Gannara turn back?”
“At the bridge, dah.” She sank down on the cool stone next to him and looked at the boy who had a handful of pens carefully laid out next to his lap desk on one side, and his dated, numbered notebooks on the other. “Atza,” she said, the best her Zak tongue could manage to wrap itself around ‘Atzathratzas’. “I will try to connect with the Ambassador unbeknownst to him, and as he speaks in Fehinnan, I will translate and repeat his words.”
“Oh! And you need me to take down what you say!” he blurted out, then blushed.
“Very good. We’ve a little time for me to get set in the other world, or the Temple world as you say. I suggest you… ah… yourself relieve. I don’t know how long this take will.” She smiled as he blushed even harder and excused himself.
She arranged her loose hair, sat down under the sconce between the two windows, and drew a semi-circle with black chalk enclosing her and the small shaving mirror she’d requested. “There is no one observing,” Matthas said with only a faint echo of the Temple in his voice, as he lay with his fingers laced together across his stomach, his ankles crossed, eyes closed.
Atzathratzas rushed back in, bobbed his mini prostration at Minis. “The door’s closed and locked behind this one.”
“Good, sit down," Minis whispered. "I think once you’re settled and ready, she’ll begin.”
Megan laid the scrap of paper with the earring and the hairs in front of her, folded it open and laid the earring in the centre of the mirror. Then she let her hands fall open on her knees and began a low, deep hum.
The sea of manrauq…not a puddle… not a river… vast as an ocean. All colours. Green fading to blue. Sparks of white and purple and beyond roaring in high waves against the turquoise sky of power. She set her teeth, expecting the biting through rust as she joined her power to it, found molten iron, forge steel instead. Her own energy danced enclosed in white and blue light and swam in manrauq instead of being battered against the shoals, dragged through corals. Deep water. Deep power. She could see the rusted iron bars driven into the sea floor where she’d begun, worn, pitted, a dying cage that would have fallen and crushed her as it fell, however stately and slow a fall it would have been inevitable death.
The door, wrenched open by the Goddess who had slashed through it with Her scalpel, cut the chains that mortality had bound around her, flung the whole into the furnace of creation, lay ghostly in the blue blue sand, melting, hanging, dripping from the last shattered hinge.
She was outside. Free. This was a tiny, enclosed ocean, part of the greater sea where the Gods shone and danced and sang. The foxy One winked at her as He spun by, juggling the hairy stars. She was drunk with it and pulled up short with a shock. A hand on her ankle. Matthas. Mahid. Duty. Oh, yes. Light poured out of his eyes and nose and ears and mouth. “Hear what we need to hear.”
“Yes, oh you silly Gods,” she laughed; laughed in the face of rising, angry thunder. “The faint squeak of the Fehinnan mortal we wish… the chain lies here. I shall not play. Yet this work is play… I start.”
As her breathing deepened the hum grew lower faintly shaking her tiny form. Minis realized suddenly that the basso hum wasn’t coming from her any longer, but from Matthas, who hadn’t moved.
There was a smothered gasp from Atzathratzas as the tiny drift of long black hairs on the mirror twitched and rose up in the air in front of her face. Each hair separated from its neighbour and hovered vertically before her, every one outlined in white light. At first they were a straight line and then formed a circle that began to spin, half the hairs spun one direction, the other half the other direction until they twisted close together and whirled into a miniature lightning bolt, a double spiral. The whorl hovered in front of her face, lighting it white and gilding her eyelashes and edges of her hair silver on black.
Her mouth opened and a man’s voice came out, with a slight pause between each word, as Megan, or the Temple, translated. “So, Bil, whad’ja think of that dawg n’ pony show?”