Thursday, April 2, 2015

98 - The Sea of Silver

Jorasa, beside Megan, didn’t rush her but let her turn on her own time. The double doors were open, between the pillars and the hall inside seemed to stretch on vastly, rising toward the heavens, toward the high God in the centre. His Goddess stood by his side, her hair providing the backdrop to both of them, as if they stood somehow suspended either in water or flying in air, even though he was grounded on his throne. The sun-slit shone bright on his head, gilding the painted stone even more brightly. Hundreds of people were in the Temple, coming and going, hundreds more either sat in the pews at the feet of their Gods or prostrate before them, gloves stretched over their heads. 

The vast golden river of tile flowing up the centre, each level of caste shining brighter and somehow more vivid pulled the eye towards the High Gods. In the very centre a perfect circle of brightly patterned tiles made an eddy in the sweep of the floor. People were coming and going through high arches on either side of Muunas and Selinae and there were as many as a dozen galleries rising to the choir walk just under the roof. 

“Nice,” Megan said. “It’s certainly a vast and glorious Temple. At home, the Goddess’s… to our Koru… is perhaps half this visible size and there’s a round, rose window made with coloured glass… and…” Her voice fell silent. From the Goddess’s side a tiny silver butterfly floated and jinked in the air, seeming to rise and fall on the breath of the people praying below. Megan’s eyes locked on it. “It… can’t be,” she said in a half whisper. 

“Is there something I can explain, Teik?” Jorasa’s question was faint in her ears as she followed the butterfly’s spiraling, hovering, looping course through the sunlight and dustmotes. The distant choir began the next set of hymns quietly, humbly. 

“That’s…they…” A second butterfly joined the first, then a third. They only live in the Goddess sanctuary. Nowhere else on earth that I’ve seen. The priests… the priestesses… My… Goddess. This is trance and I will not step into this place. I…

“Be welcome in the Temple of Arko,” a voice said and when she turned her gaze toward the woman coming towards them she had to press her eyes shut tight because they stung as though sun-blinded. She blinked again and found the approaching woman had diminished to a mere mortal. “I’m Narilla and I understand that you’ve been invited in by one of my Lady Goddesses.” 

A thunderous rush of wind through her ears and her mind. “No need to hide, no let her see, let her see all. Yes, no, yes, Argos hides, we hid from the others, the slaves. No, no more slaves. Show, show, show! People freed, systems renewed. Systems repaired, systems recreated. We are awake. We are renewed. We are expanded."

The chorus of joyful babbling voices was like the voice of the Brezhan River over rapids, and as she stood at the door, the Temple changed in her eyes. There is the colour that no one can see! This whole place, this whole thing, the stones quiver and dance as though transparent. The air is alive, the stone statues hover on the edge of motion. The lives of every one of these people in the Temple shine brightly gold, silver, white, copper, as though every soul burns, connected to each of their Gods. Heartbeats, I can hear everyone’s heartbeat and the rush of their blood in their veins, the roar of their breathing. They're surrounded by sparks and flickers of light but when they leave, past me, they trail the ghosts of blessings behind them. The Gods call them back at the threshold, reluctantly. 

The manrauq is confined. Confined to the Temple. Restrained by the building. Contained inside people. 

She took a deep breath and realized that she was outlined in manrauq as much as the Temple was. A different colour. A different shape. The motes of her power rang in a different sequence and scale. 

“Thank you. Um. This… not comfortable is.” The sheer size of the empowered Temple took her breath away, terrified her to her bones. She could feel her bones resonate to the Temple's dance. “The stones are empowered, the air is full of power.” 

“You are invited and are safe inside.” Narilla said, softly, as if to refrain from overwhelming her. 

Megan looked all around the edges of the threshold and shook herself. “Thank you,” she said again. "This place is full of the colour that no one can see." She raised her foot to see it encased in the silver motes of the Temple as she stepped across the threshold.

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