Matthas hurtled down the steps into the Mahid quarters, bellowing. “To the WATCH! Mahid Rise! Rise!”
He nearly ran into Ilesias, sliding out of one of the hidden passages, from the stable. “The Temple…” he panted springing to his feet.
“Yes, Minis needs us!”
“WOMEN!” Sofonisba, Alaria and Sulatesha came out of the training hall, Sofonisba dragging the other two along by force.
“Mahid, we are needed!” Matthas grabbed Alaria and Ilesias seized Sulatesha, both women protesting.
“We’re not really Mahid! We were married in, we shouldn’t we can’t we mustn’t…” Sofonisba straightened and snarled at them.
“If you are not Mahid as you claimed you are cowards and imposters! Stop this wailing and choose! You said you chose when we came back to the City! Enough of this NONSENSE,” she roared. “You’re Mahid enough to claim the name, to hear the Temple when the Ten call us to defend and support our Imperator!”
There was a moment, too long a ringing silence. Then both girls bowed and said, “Yes, Senior.”
Sofonisba turned to Matthas. “We are here. The First is in Yeola-e, Melforasha is watching the children.”
“Good,” Matthas said. “It must suffice.”
The doors of the Mahid nursery burst open and little Boras, with Tesha in front of him, rode out on one of Tanifas’s silky Great Hounds with Melforasha chasing after. “Boras and Tesha Mahid, you are too young to be called by the Temple!” She shouted grabbing at the dog’s tail, missing by a hair as the massive animal tucked it between his legs and tried to run faster, with Boras and Tesha crying him on.
Somehow the dog dodged sideways, bowling the two men back, staggering, as it pushed between Matthas and Ilesias and up the stairs. “We’re called!” The little boy waved at them. “Come on! Come ON!”
Ilesias swore in Yeoli as he plunged after the disappearing dog. “What he said. Come ON!”
The words and information flow ever deeper as I dig into the mass. I can hear Mella under it, Her words are muffled and indistinct so I do not know if She has found humanity's salvation. A cure for a God-created illness. An illness *made* by one of Risae’s students. Dearest Gods let there have been a cure created, along with the illness.
I have the silver stub of the spoon in my hands and I'm dug into the mound in a tunnel that seems to get no closer to Mella no matter how I dig. I set my hands and begin scooping words up and as the seals touch them, they fly up and become part of the walls and the ceiling and the floors… They all have their places and no one has managed, or bothered, to sort them all out and put them away.
I am running out of strength. What more can I do?
The mouse who has decided to live with its tail curled around my ear rises up, puts one paw on the top of my ear and squeaks shrilly, high as a glass harmonium. The squeak becomes a squeal and there is an enormous rustling noise as hundreds of Risae’s mice and Anae’s ferrets pour into the space around me, rush through my hands to touch the Imperial seals, and then begin pulling the mountain of words apart.
In the distance I can hear someone yelling ‘Come ON! Come ON!’ It sounds like Ili used to sound when he was a much younger boy. “We are NOT too young! Leave us alone! We’re here for Minis and Arko. We are Mahid! MAMA ANAE! Mama Anae! Open Your still-room for us!”