Wednesday, April 8, 2015

99 - The Tickle of Their Feet

Minis sealed the last letter and when Atzana picked it up put his head down on the desk.  “It’s late,” he said. “Tomorrow we should start a bit later.”

The city below was mostly dark, save for the street lamps and Sereniteers’ security lights.  Here and there through the trees and the darkened gardens, a faint flicker of a lamp showed where someone was still up late. The Temple was a glow all its own, and Feliras’s Glory was hosting a party and so was a lit glass bauble floating over the dim street below.

“I’ll send a note down to your first appointment to start a bead later,” Atzana said. “Then Assembly sits and you can’t leave the robe as a placeholder any longer than this.”

“Yes.  Thank you, Atzana.  Good night.”

The Srians had their naval and air support and the Prophet was contained behind the closed Tunnel, though that would only give them a little time to gain more information, and perhaps thin the numbers of his cult.

Minis put his hand out to ruffle Doof’s feathers and she sleepily clambered onto his arm and then up to his shoulder, dropped her head on his and sighed, gustily. “Late,” she said. “Stupid.”

He laughed. “You’ve been listening to Kyriala.”

Bella nudged behind his knees and he dropped his other hand on her head.  “I’m surrounded by nurse maids of all kinds.”

His guards, this time, were Sofonisba and one of the new ones… Rialforas, that was his name, and he nodded at them as they fell in beside him, to cross to the Temple.  Everyone was probably asleep together by now and he was sleepy enough that he looked forward to curling around his family.

He paused on the raised walkway, looking over to the moon, just peeking over the Rim. It was a clear, warm night, but there was enough of a dewy coolness on Finpollendias that a fog poured over the Rim, like a living thing, sending tendrils seeking down the polished wall. It would probably take all night before the city cooled enough for the veil of it to reach the street.

He stepped into the main door of the Temple and turned to head behind the Goddess’, but found himself waved over to where Narilla stood, half-way between Risae and Dimae.  Megan sat, cross-legged on the edge of the step between the two Goddesses, eyes closed. He recognized her as he stepped up next to the Fenjitza, as a cloud of silver butterflies  swarmed up from where they’d covered her.

They swirled up in a spiral pattern, that flew out over the kahara circle then back around the Physician and the Huntress, before dissolving into a shower of sparkles against the darkened sun-slits.

“What are those?” Minis whispered as he realized Megan was once more covered in silver. This time the butterflies were different, with almost black edges on their wings and a white body, but they shimmered where they sat on pale white legs, covering the salt and pepper braids and her shoulders, all down her arms, as if they were somehow manifesting from thin air and then evaporating again. Though her eyes were closed, Megan’s face was not serene, rather tense and clenched as if bracing herself against something.

“She stepped into the Temple, walked over here without a word, sat down and this started happening,” Narilla said.  “She said something about the colour that no one could see and that the Temple was full of it.”

Bella, who had come with him, padded around to stare into Megan’s face, as Doof took off and flew in circles with the dissolving butterflies over them, reassuringly solid.

Minis pressed his eyes shut, then opened them.  “I will pray.”  He sat down, also cross-legged, with his back to Megan’s, facing Mikas and Aras. The next flood of butterflies began covering him as well; he could feel their tickling feet. He raised his hands to his head and opened himself to the Ten.


  1. I love Minis even dead tired he takes time to pray and sit with someone in need.

    1. He considers it his job. His dad should have had one hundredth of the sense of responsibility he has! I told him that he should let the Temple and the High Priests sort it out and he raised one eyebrow at me and marched across to Megan and sat down!