Monday, July 19, 2010

a scene from "Daughter"

"His pulse is slowing. Damn it!" She turned her face skyward and shrieked her frustrations at the clouds, but they did not answer. She grabbed both sides of Sorônt's face and used her thumbs to force his eyelids open. The Thissir's eyes were glazed over, and if he was aware of her presence, he did not show it. "If he dies in our care, Thônt-ilôzu will never believe it was not treachery. It's war for certain." Ileno and Athelo both stared at her blankly. They knew as well as she did, but what could they do? None of them were skilled healers.

"The roads..." Ileno's voice trailed off as he stared into the water rushing across the packed earth. He was right, of course. There was little they could do as long as water blocked their path every mile or so.

Of course.

Lorandir closed her eyes and pulled her focus in until all she could feel was herself, all she could hear was her own breathing. Opening her heart, she murmured a prayer to Nismeon. The Lady of the Moon was the greatest of the Three Goddesses. If Kalures seemed so determined to block their path with storms and the treacherous, overflowing river, then it was only fitting to seek the aid of the Queen of Tides. It was a simple prayer for a clear path, but behind it lay the force of all her desperation, the fear that failure meant an end to the tenuous peace she had worked to help her King maintain.

She chanted her prayer over and over again, and heard the iShan begin to murmur along with her. She did not know how long they chanted the spell, but she opened her eyes to see that the clouds had parted, and the moon shone like a silver sun in the starless darkness. Nismeon's radiance was gentle, but as it flowed down to settle around them like a mantle, she felt as though all the strength and grace of her people had been lent to them, just the four of them. The glow seemed to invigorate Sorônt, though he did not waken. Athelo stared at her, plainly awestruck, while Ileno bowed his head, seemingly unable to meet her gaze.

Hurriedly, Lorandir whispered her thanks and blessings to the goddess as they rode forward again, moving effortlessly through the water. As the night wore on, not another drop of rain fell where they rode.

Aluarsilo awoke suddenly, feeling as though she would be crushed by a great sorrow. Her heart leapt into her throat, and she ran to the stables as though for her life. Clad only in her night-robe, she drew stunned looks from the few acolytes still awake at this hour, but she paid them no heed. No time. No time. No time. The words thundered in her head like the hooves of a thousand horses, frightened of some terrible beast.

As her horse charged out the gate and down the western road, she felt Nismeon pulling her ever faster, and the words kept repeating in her mind. No time. No time. No time.

Goddesses willing, they were wrong.