A day? Only a day? I’m on my feet with both fists in the air, seals flashing as I shake them. *You were to be here to help me! What You are giving me is moving images and PLATITUDES!*
I’m falling surrounded by digging tools. Silver picks and shovels, trowels and pry bars. I see a trenching spade in gold but it is much too far beyond my reach. I’m falling, grabbing at things as they fall upwards, past me. I manage to grab a silver spoon, even as I am landing on a heap of… words.
“Mella!” Risae’s voice thunders over my head. “Move Yourself. I will no longer tolerate laziness in My service! MELLLLLLAAAAAAA!”
I slide down the words tumbling, rolling. I don’t have time for this. I land with a thump at the bottom of this enormous pile of information and I can see it is cascading in from above, like a hail-storm. Broken pieces of sentences. Partial images. I am reminded of my dream, with Mikas bound by printer’s tape and paper, forced to sit under an unending disorganized stream of information.
I sit, on the floor, and look at the single spoon in my hand. Mella is under that mess somewhere. I can hope that She found the information Risae needs. I’m so tired. I can barely lift the spoon and begin shifting single letters scattered in front of me. My despairs grows as I sift through ‘a’s’ and ‘k’s’ and punctuation marks.
*The links are all broken, boy.* I hear the voice but don’t see the God or Goddess. My spoon is wearing down, even as I dig. It is only silver. The Gods said I cannot do this by myself. *Gods. Goddesses. Help. Arko. Help me. Help me Arko. With your golden cloths you waved me to the God. With your black cloths you cloak me in blessed darkness after the merciless Eyes of the Ten. I burn under the Gold. Help me, Arko. Give me blessed strength and then merciful shade from the unblinking Eye that might yet strike me blind.*
The Temple animals refused to leave Minis this third day, no matter how the priests and dekinae called or cajoled, risked lifting them off the statue only to have the birds flutter up, around and then land to shade him with their wings once again.
Doof and three of Muunas’s eagles flew over him where he lay, soaring, wings spread to shade him. Bella joined Dimae’s hounds, the ferrets and rats and mice and even the Temple cleaner’s donkeys joined the growing throng of creatures.
Narilla watched a brace of white mice scoot through an acolyte’s fingers for the fourth time running, land on the marble with tiny huffs of air and scuttle straight for Muunas’s hand. The Temple was full of people, full of animals.
“Priestess.” The Marble Palace stable master bowed behind her. “I am finding it difficult to keep the horses in their stalls. Their Masters and Mistresses are calling them.”
A commotion broke out at the Temple stairs and a white ox, trailing broken pieces of harness, trotted up the stairs and into the Temple, straight to Imbas’s statue.
“Thank you, stable master. Let them come. The Temple calls them. It might be chaos but the Temple calls.”
He bowed and Narilla nodded across the floor at the High priest who had once been her bouncer. “Radas.”
He nodded. She turned to the Dowager Imperatrix and, driven by an odd impulse, tapped her on the shoulder in a peculiar pattern. Inensa whirled, hands coming up defensively.
“This has to stop if we are going to help Your son, Dowager,” Narilla said, resolutely. “The Almight Mothers Five require you to bring your poison gardens into the Temple.”
She froze. “All of it?”
“Everything that can be moved.”
Inensa curtsied as the glass instrument hit a high note far above what any human throat could manage. “Immediately, Fenjitza.”