Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sailing upon the Rainbrella Ship

And so the days passed.
The leagues of the øde were melting behind the passage of the sqòqhi lömijülik lömibadik reinajelömik vessel. Puîyus sometimes found himself withdrawing from Captain Euqliîna and the crew and concentrating more of his attention unto ailing Princess Éfhelìnye, although he still walked in the midst of the herds of the bagpipe creatures and ran and chased about Princess Ixhúja his umquhile twin and rode upon the back of the wonderous and alary lwúnìqte, and prayed with Qìtien the Acolyte and watched as the crew danced their jigs and sang their tnóje mallemarokings, and ate the cookies that Captain Euqliîna gave him, but the ship and crew and bagpipes were almost an haze unto him, for beaming out of the fog came rays of a lighthouse always unto him beckoning, and unto her his thoughts had to reach.
The only food that Princess Éfhelìnye could eat without coughing up blood was apples, and the apples she would let herself taste were those that Puîyus had bitten and chewed and would kiss into her lips. She was able to drink a little of pure lustral waters and of the dewbeads that the bagpipes and Ixhúja were able to gather in the light haze that was as close to morningtide as these wastes could witness, but when she tasted of the water she wanted Puîyus to bring it unto her lips, and then she still demanded a kiss afterwards. And so it was that she only drank and ate of the food of Puîyus’ love. And slowly she began to recover her strength. When she got better she was able to sit up for longer periods of time, and sometimes Puîyus could carry her about the cabin and then later about the deck, and she was abel to breathe easier then. And yet even when she was beginning to wax haler, still Éfhelìnye could not help herself but pretend to be weak just to feel Puîyus’ lips upon hers, and sometimes she would ask for water even though she thirsted not, for then she could demand a kiss from him, for she found his kisses to be a wellspring that never ran dry and always satiated her. Her cousin however, Princess Ixhúja, tángjiě daa bat-dod frænka soror patruelis doxtar amoo tų̀łu’úna, when she was not busy terrorizing the crew and chasing bagpipes and the fantastical mörkö and in general leaping about Puîyus and challenging him, when she saw how often Éfhelìnye just wanted to be in Puîyus’ presence and kissed, came to suspect after a while that her younger cousin Éfhelìnye was just playing acting. For when Puîyus was chewing the apples and about to kiss them into Éfhelìnye’s mouth, she for her part was just a little too enthusiastic in her kissing him back and throwing her arms about her beloved, although of course Ixhúja was far too polite to say anything about it. Sometimes Puîyus would exhaust himself in taking care of her and worrying about the pirate crew, for he did not shirk in his duties in being one of the bucchaneers, he mopped the decks and mended the solar sails and unraveled the rope and accepted whatever orders the boatswain or Captain Euqliîna gave unto him, and also he made sure that the bagpipe folk were comfortable and the lwúnìqte remained wellfed on good memories and the purity of heart. Ixhúja took care of Éfhelìnye, mostly at night, when Puîyus was exhausted, and his eyen grew red, although the concept of night here in Winter Eternal and in the War of Heaven was rather a subjective feeling of the cold oppressive darkness falling upon all things. But in the darker darkness of night, Puîyus took out his harp and played Éfhelìnye to sleep until he had no strength left unto him at all, and Ixhúja would nudge him down to sleep upon the floor beside the Princess, and then it was that Ixhúja would make her rounds, the dulcimer volk were piping their last as they knelt down upon their drone limbs and their clockwork organs were slowing down, and the pirates were retiring to their hammocks, and Captain Euqliîna was gathering up all of his atsáya nazischo and hugging them in his four arms as they all tumbled into sleep, and the Acolyte Qìtien would arise in the moonlight and sprinkle incense within the winds and bless all the pirates and the new Emperor and Empress and their Sister. And Ixhúja would gaze out into the moonlight and watch the gleam for a time rét glé bright and then turn back and watch Puîyus and Éfhelìnye in their sleep.

There was neither dawn nor afternoon, no twilight nor noon, just an endless kaleidoscopic confluence of Midnight and the various ebon sheens of darkness, deeper midnight and moonstrook midnight and starstudded midnight and cloudspangle midnight and the great ash gloam that floated upwards from thousands of landmasses and floating islands and asteroids which once had gleamed, and remnants of great planets which had once floated within the mainswells of xhthopùryo xènxha, the pandimensional space ocean of dust and energy that floated in the midst of the billion, billion worlds. Time was slowing, the children could feel that it was fracturing, they had the crawling sensation within their own skin, it was as if time were ailing and wounded and some of its sickness were creeping outwards and affecting all the rest of matter and causality in ways that they could hardly even conceive. It was a feeling of doom hanging upon them, of ancient fell powers set at work, they felt as if a few tiny gears were trickling and powering up tremendous motors that kept entire glass cities afloat, they felt as if just a few snowflakes were falling unto the side of a mountain and beginning all of the avalanche thick and bright and uabhasach, they felt as if just a few leaves were tumbling golden and red, and it presaged the beginning of a terrible endingtide. And so Princess Éfhelìnye shivered all the more in her pure white sheets and alban quilts, and Puîyus watched her in protection all the harder, and Princess Ixhúja was left alone to wander upon the decks and contemplate the loergann and try to read them like so many jhìntram selenegrams such as her people were wont to send lunascriptionaries.
But then one morn, or at least in a period of time when the darkness was less deep and oppressive, when Éfhelìnye was awakening she was feeling far better than she had in some time. Puîyus at once sprang unto life beside her, for he was accustomed to having to hold her when she first awoke, for then she would begin coughing up her first blood of the day, and sometimes she coughed so hard that it was only his grasp that strengthened her, and sometimes he had to stroke her back to dislodge the blood filling her lungs and throat. But this time she arose and breathed deeply, and could taste the cinnamon of her own souls and no blood at all. She turned to Puîyus and smiled. He came unto her and held her, and she but leaned her head against his shoulders and told him – Please do not worry about me, Puey. I know I am getting better. I worry far more about you, you are pale and thin, I know that you still fast for our Fhermáta and would not feast even upon the cookies that Euqliîna’s men have pillaged from a thousand ports, but at least you can drink nectar and stay upon the deck and not consume yourself for worry for me. –
Puîyus tapped Éfhelìnye’s back a few times just to ensure that no blood was blocking her lungs, but she was breathing clearly now. He was still holding her, but she turned to embrace him, and as they hugged each other she whispered unto him – I can feel a great change coming to pass around us, we are sailing into new tides, something marvelous is burgeoning, though I know not what. We shall arise from dreams of sorrow, we shall walk together in gardens beyond all our imaginations. –
Puîyus blinked a few times in inquiry. Éfhelìnye just held him all the tighter. – Whatever it is that shall come unto us, we shall feel it together. We have languished in shadow for so long that we forget that anything else can exist. –
The doors to the cabin were shuffling a little and the fantabulous lwúnìqte was reaching its head within and blinking its large bulbous eyen and wondering, for it could sense the light of Éfhelìnye’s blossoming although fragile health even from cubits away. Behind the lwúnìqte came many wailing peiratical cries, the crew was crying out – Someone has stolen my bandana! Someone has stolen my pipe and cookies! What has the Emperor’s Sister done with our accordions! What type of pirates are we if our own concertinas keep getting stolen! – Ixhúja slipped up about the back and around the neck of the lwúnìqte, she was laughing to herself all the while and holding in her arms a great pile of accordions and pipes and cookies and bandanas. She started throwing aside the bandanas and pipes, they smelt a bit old to her, and she kicked the accordions aside and sent them wailing and retreating back unto their bagpipe cousins. She tossed the cookies into the air and caught them in her jaws and did feast upon them, crumbles were splashing about her mouth, and she had eaten about three sevenths lrilyúlwi xhweiyùtya, three sevenths of the cookies before she even noticed her cousin and twin, and she gobbled up a few more cookies and purred inquiring unto them, So do any of you want any cookies?
Puîyus shook his head in negation. Éfhelìnye just embraced Puîyus all the harder and delighted in being able to breathe air in her lungs and not her own blood bedrowning in it. Ixhúja sighed and licked a few cookies before munching on them. She licked one particularly scrumptious appearing uqhanàsta and holding it up asked, Share it, anyone? Won’t you eat one of the cookies that I prelicked? I usually lick my cookies er even thinking of giving it to someone else, that’s just prudent, too bad these pirates haven’t quite fathomed that, they should be prelicking all of their cookies just to discourage my saccharine predations against them, although I’m certain that were I in their place that I would not be trapped by the same shenanigans, it would not matter to me how many pirates or princesses even licked the kuchelin first if I want to eat a koekje it will take far more than just someone licking it to, are you sure you don’t want a single cookie, for some reason they’re all disappearing so quickly because I can’t stop gobbling them up, and at that Ixhúja was tossing the rest of the cookies into the air and gobbling them up, crumblinglettes spilling about the lwúnìqte and the floor of the cabin. She licked her fingers and wiped her lips, none too thoroughly though, and looking up and seeing that neither of her partially related relatives unto her were even caring about gobbling up the cookies, she jumped up unto the bed in an attempt to pry them away and get their attention.
Purr! Purr! Purr! Purr! cried Ixhúja.
– Yes, my precious cousin princess? – asked Éfhelìnye.
Ixhúja wrapped her arms about the two of them and tried to yank them apart, but that only caused Éfhelìnye to cling unto Puîyus all the harder. Ixhúja was muttering unto herself, and saying in a language mostly of confectionary and sugar clouds asking, Why don’t you want some cookies? Are you still fasting, my twin? Are you still sick, my cousin? Ixhúja growled to herself and marched away and taking up a bit of wood that lay stacked in the corner she crawled back to the bed and thrust it between Éfhelìnye’s arms, and slowly began to wedge her away from Puîyus. Ixhúja pulled herself aside, fhràqa levers were always so helpful so efficacious vekteds, whether part of the machinery of a forest or within some of the long and twining laboratories that are set deep within the caverns and folds of Khnìntha. After a few tugs she managed to yank Éfhelìnye aside. Ixhúja rolled off the bed. Éfhelìnye fell down. The xyloplank fell about them. Éfhelìnye bounced up and embraced Puîyus again. Ixhúja discovered that some stray crumbs were left upon upon her collar and blouse, and she began to pluck them up and lick them.
Hast thou any conception of what thy problem is, oh little princessly cousin, Ixhúja was asking as she bound back up to Éfhelìnye. If thou art not of the humor to respond, I shall continue thee to badger. You problem is that you and Puîyos really should be quarelling more often, rather than embracing, this harmony can be quite dull. And just think, you have so many issues of contention and you’re not even exploring them yet.
– No we don’t – chanted Éfhelìnye as she wrapped her arms about Puîyus all the tighter. – We are in complete harmony, we don’t have to argue at all. –
You like to get up many times in the night to write and explore ideas, you keep getting up before the darkness before the dawn to dance beneath the moonlight, you keep getting him involved in dangerous and ridiculous and illplanned schemes, you’re tempermental and flighty and a bit too artistic for anyone’s good. And my beloved Twin, at some point you will have to confront the fact that you have more potential sweethearts than can fill the giant beetles in a Qhíng battle ēored! There are only so many ways you can escape from them all, only so many ways you keep rescuing my cousin from her own exploding inventions and various speiratical schemes. Oh, and you like to play with spears and swords and other sharp objects, that can be a little dangerous too, especially with a Princess who already proves herself to be unsettled in the imagination of her heart. Are you twain even, why do I even ask? You never pay attention, you both! You’re just hugging again! So it was that Ixhúja was marveling and protesting xhréjar, even though Éfhelìnye did not wish to listen, and Puîyus was as silent as e'er, toxhyametèthya xhnir Qlùfhim.
– Pew? – Éfhelìnye asked.
– ?? – asked Puîyus.
– I’m feeling far better now. I especially feel better when we hold each other. –
– … –
Ixhúja picked up the loose bit of wood and spinning it around in her grasp tossed it into the air and then tried to smack it against the back of Princess Éfhelìnye, but at the last moment Puîyus lifted up an hand and caught the plank and yanked it above his head out of Ixhúja’s grasp, and when she bound up into the air to take it he threw it across the room. Ixhúja was soon scrambling after it, but the lwúnìqte extended its long legs, which were now become sharp and hooved, and stepping unto the edge of the plank kicked it away unto the deck and unto the pirates dancing all about. Ixhúja was just about to go running after the xylon, but then thought better of it, if she ran away from them she may forget why it was that she wanted to pry them apart in the first place.
– I think I know how I can be healed, it comes with the great changing dawning unto us all – Éfhelìnye told Puîyus. – It is all about breath and soul and wind and air and the word, it is part of the blood that makes up all of creation. I just wish to hear your talking, oh my Puey, your word, your language, your voice will strengthen me and make me hale again, or at least as healthy as I’ve e'er been. –
Puîyus murmured a little, he blinked his eyen, his teeth were chattering at the idea of his actually being asked to talk, and in fact, thinking of the complexities of language, of even having to breathe out a few words, he noticed just how close Éfhelìnye was unto him, the feel of her arms about his neck, and the proximity of her breath upon his. He pulled the Princess a little from himself, and she just leaned back against him to hold him again. He tried to set her aside. Éfhelìnye wrapped her arms about one of his and began kissing his torc and neck.
– !! – Puîyus gasped.
– I know you can talk, Puey. You just haven’t had a great deal of practice in talking, you’ve never had a teacher like me before, I can help you form phthóngoi and murmurs, I can help you string words together, it will be a new song. –
– … –
– You can begin with something small. I do not expect entire sentences, just a few syllables, some strings of meaningful sound, a few words dancing together embracing one another. –
Puîyus was shaking his head in negation, this was all sounding far too complicated for him. He wondered whether in fact she would be content to hear a song all of barks and growls and quacks, he could breathe out a symphony of all of the voices of the forest for her.
– If you can just say my name, I shall be content – Éfhelìnye chanted.
– … –
– You’ve chanted it before, it is alive upon your lips. –
Puîyus shook his head back and forth.
– Say my name and kiss it upon my lips. – Éfhelìnye leaned o'er towards Puîyus and began kissing his chin and neck. Puîyus’ entire face was burning hot, he lookd up and saw that the lwúnìqte and Ixhúja were staring at them and occasionally pointing at them with finger and trunk and then turning to each other and giggling all the more. Éfhelìnye kissed Puîyus’ face a few more times, and Ixhúja and the lwúnìqte burst out into a louder peal of guffaws. Puîyus set Éfhelìnye aside. She puckered up her lips and leaned unto him all the more. Puîyus felt his heart thundering within him. He looked around. Ixhúja was falling upon the ground and clutching her arms, she was beginning to roll with laughter. The wonderous lwúnìqte, ageless and dignified and still was doing his levelbest to remain as still as possible, although the feathers of his face were beginning to ruffle, his gills were beginning to glow with a soft pink light, and he was blinking a little, a couple of merry tears escaping from the folds of his eyen. Puîyus was turning, he was trying to stop Éfhelìnye’s inelectuable approach, and no matter how many times he tried to hold her back, still she managed to twist her arms about his shoulders or neck, although she was still weak with illness, somehow she was managing to overpower him, to draw her lips closer and closer for to conquer him. Suddenly a deep booming sound was come, and it was shaking the walls and windows and rafters of the small cabin, it sounded a little like two abrasive clouds rubbing against each other, or perhaps the sound that gloom and laughter make when one plucks them and scrapes them with sheans of melancholia luladäl ladälip pruddglwyf ntk·dqékt, and yet it contained within it slight umbrages of thalassal schortalations. Éfhelìnye rubbed her lips against Puîyus’ chin and neck, and he could feel his entire face burning. The melancholy laughter grew all the louder, and Puîyus could hear that it was the laughter of the great lwúnìqte as he tried to hide his face with his ears, his snout flowing outwards, his gillry all a blur of glee. Ixhúja was laughing so hard her entire face was pink, she was rolling about and clutching her choking side, she rolled against the lwúnìqte’s leg, and the fantastical beast, for its part, took several deep breaths, it was struggling to bite against its own snout in an attempt to steady itself, its eyen were rolling from side to side, is ears were all aflap, and it took felt the laughter bursting from the barrierlevees of its teeth jalabandhaH kävs, and the laughter arose free and wild from it. By now Éfhelìnye was winning, she was biting him now and kissing all of his face. The more Puîyus struggled against her, the more adamant she came in her kisses, she was tasting his cheek and brow and nose. Puîyus pulled against her. Éfhelìnye shoved him so hard that Puîyus fell off the stool whereon he was sitting and he crashed upon the floor, and before he knew what was happening, Éfhelìnye fell right on top of him and began chewing on one of his ears. And even Puîyus’ ears were blushing in embarrassment. With gentle hands he pulled the Princess from his ears, but Éfhelìnye was already attacking him with kisses.
– All you have to do – she told him as she showered his face and brow and ears and eyelashes and eyelids and nose and chin and cheek with kisses – all you must do – she told him as she began to kiss his lips again and again and again – is simply speak my name – and she kissed him several more times as she added – just say my name and kiss it upon my lips – and she kissed him several more times just in case he had forgotten what kisses were – and then I shall be well again. –
Puîyus yanked Éfhelìnye back with both of her arms and held her aside, he rather thought that she was recovering her strength quite sufficiently now, in fact she was almost as well as she had e'er been, but somehow she managed to slip about his limbs and entangle herself with him again and attack his lips with kisses most loving. By now the howls of laughter were so great that Puîyus could not pretend to ignore them. The lwúnìqte stumbled upon the ground and was rolling about a little, and Ixhúja was just spitting with laughter now, she was crawling upon the floor and gasping all the while and making her slow way up unto Puîyus and Éfhelìnye and just pointing unto them both, her face a roseate glow, and she burst out into higher peals of laughter. At any other time Puîyus might have been overjoyed to hear the sweet cry of her laughter, so rare and precious it was to come from her lips, from one who was so often silent and sad, but at this this moment Puîyus was blushing at quite a furious pace. He knew that he had to take control of this situation quickly, a battle can be lost with a moment’s hesitation. Too ofttides had Ixhúja beaten Puîyus in a contest or race of some sorts just because she leapt into foolish danger first, too oftenwhen had Éfhelìnye stolen kisses from Puîyus just because he was not paying attention, but this time, this tide indeed, Puîyus would be the victor, he would slip away from the wiles of these Princesses of the pure blood of the Pwéru sīð stund mæ̃l sæ̃l Þrāg fæc fyrst hwīl tīd. Puîyus spun around as swift as he could, and for the moment Éfhelìnye was loosened about his arms. He tried crawling away from her, but she just wrapped her arms about his back and began kissing his hair and nape. He wriggled out of her grasp a couple of times before she bounced up and tackled him back down to the floor and somehow managed to press her lips unto his. Finally though, through a long series of crawling and shaking and wriggling and stolen kisses, Puîyus managed to pick up Éfhelìnye and put her back into bed, and he tried to tell her in blinks and glances, Truly you should rest now, divine Starflower, you are still very well. I have to leave now. And Puîyus’ entire face was xefháki rozafingra. Puîyus turned around and Éfhelìnye bounced back into his arms and started smothering his lips with hers and asking – Where are you going? –
Puîyus reached unto his head and struggling against the Princess all the while slipped the captain hat off and blinked to say, For too long have I worn his hat, I must ask honored Captain Euqliîna whether he needs his hat back!
– Your lips are so tasty, Puey! – Éfhelìnye squealed. – You can give him the hat later! –
Puîyus realizing that what he had thought was a cunning hat returning plan had been dashed aside. He tried to think of another plan. Éfhelìnye’s lips were a victorious army taking his lips for her own and not at all concerned with the vanquished. She was wrapped her hands into his hair. He grasped her hands and pressing her thumbs and fingers a few times told her an haptic language, I need to speak unto the Acolyte Qìtien.
– Why? – Éfhelìnye asked between kisses.
So we can pray for you health.
– We can pray together – Éfhelìnye whispered as she touched his lips. – Betrothed couples learn to pray together so that their dreams may become one, at least that is what I read in the catachism. I like to think that our osculations are a form of prayer unto the Immortals, a celebration of the Sun and Moon together, the dynamism of the union of opposites. –
Ixhúja and the lwúnìqte were howling at the way that Puîyus was trying to avoid Éfhelìnye’s kisses, her innocent longing only made him all the more bashful. Ixhúja was punching the lwúnìqte a little and muttering unto it, Whoever heard of a bashful Emperor, isn’t Puîyos going to be the new Father of the Nations, he is not supposed to be married unto his divine Twin and beget children on her, and yet hugs kissesque emblush him so! Look at how horrorified he is become, he does not know whether to hide or flee, in battle I have seen his withstanding ten thousand foes rushing against him at once, and yet now, a single Princess, not even fully well, conquers him with her kisses!
One can barely even have an opinion on such matters, the lwúnìqte was whispering in a language of trunks and twining insectoid limbs and forblushing gills, but one would rather have as an Emperor a blushing boy than one whose heart was so fain of battle that he cannot even feel a single kiss.
Puîyus at last managed to wrap his arms about Éfhelìnye, he was partially wrestling her and partially holding her down as if taming a wild dinosaur and making it ready for the stead. For a moment she managed to trip him a little just in an effort to taste his lips a few more times, but in the end he dropped her back upon her bed and wrapped several layers of white sheets about her, and panting a little he blinked to her and told her, You should rest, Princess Éfhelìnye, you are still unwell. If Ixhúja and the fantastic lwúnìqte will look after you, perhaps I can leave and … for a moment Puîyus’ blinks faltered, he was not entirely sure how to express this in such a blinking medium, and at last added, I shall endeaver to practice talking so that I can say your name again.
– Yes, Puey, say my name and kiss it into my mouth! – Éfhelìnye squealed.
One finds language incredibly difficult, Puîyus blinked unto her.
– Just practice my name, and then we can pucker up and kiss! –
Perhaps just saying your name will be miracle enough, the act of vocation requires all of my skills, courage, and energies.
– And then we shall wrap our arms about each other and delight in kisses! –
Perhaps one can say your name and bow in courteous respect.
– And then we shall embrace and kiss for I’d say three or four hours. –
Perhaps it will be quite a formal bow of courtesy. Puîyus turned around, Ixhúja and the lwúnìqte were both pointing at him with hand and trunk and giggling at his attempts to escape. Ixhúja bound upon the back of the mörkö and cried out, Say Éfha, why don’t you just get a rope and tie him down, then you can kiss him to his heart’s content! Uh-oh, now he’s really blushing! His entire face is glowing apple bright! He’s like a volcano, like the thousand volcanoes that everblast within Khàqra the gossoon’s face is lighting up with flurries of red! Xá tsenalwúnìqte, just look at how he gloweth! Why, the next thing you know, perhaps they’ll be holding hands in front of all the rest of the pirates and making googly eyen one to another.
– So you can practice saying my name and then we kiss for four or five hours – Éfhelìnye chanted. – I like this plan, it’s almost like one I would have invented. –
Puîyus tapped his hands together and spelt out glyphs saying, First I say your name, then a few nice and distant formal bows.
– Followed by marathontides of kissing. –
Perhaps one can kiss you on your hand.
– Followed by generations and battles of kissing! –
I’ll kiss both of your hands, and that’s it.
– Followed by the tyaimiîxhakh, the pandimensional solar games of kissing! Puey, I am wondering something, whyever is it that in the most majestic tyaimiîxhakh dedicated to the glory of the Emperor that racing and chariots and various games of strength are played but there is no kissing contest, because I just know that you and I could win the contest for longest, sweetest, and best kisses e'er. In fact, the next time the solar tyaimiîxhakh games are held, I shall see to it that you and I are entered and that we win the laurel prize for superior philemata! –
The lwúnìqte burst out into laughter and bleated a little to say, One could hardly imagine Puîyos being able even to give her a kiss on the cheek in front of the long-bearded judges seated on their high daises, not to mention the stadia crowded with lords and viceroy kings and all manner of rulers of the Real People!
Princess Ixhúja shook with laughter and purred and added, Every dumbcluck knows that women may not compete in the solar tyaimiîxhakh, but if Puîyos and Éfhelìnye do become Emperor and Empress, I just know she’ll find a way to sneak within and kiss him in front of the gathered billions! Oh, his blush will light up several stadia indeed!
– Go practice speaking my name, Pew – Éfhelìnye chanted. – And the moment you think you can say it, return to me, and we’ll kiss for a few hours. –
Perhaps one can kiss you on your brow, Puîyus offered. He knew that as a warrior he was not permitted to negotiate, his was to fight and struggle and conquer, and he was growing painfully aware that he was not in charge of this situation, for Éfhelìnye added – And after you kiss my forehead, you and I shall kiss each others’ lips and not even stop to breathe! –
Puîyus bowed unto her in a signal to leave, and as he turned around he saw that the lwúnìqte and Ixhúja were bouncing upwards and leaning against each other and grinning mischieveous smiles and pretenting that they had not spent the last few moments mocking his embarrassment. Puîyus was about to sweep away from them all, but Éfhelìnye’s soft hand reached out to touch his sleeve and she chanted – Would you mind doing something for me? –
Puîyus bowed unto her, for he would gladly do anything for her. She made a motion to the bushels or baskets and chanted – May I have a small piece? I’m only a little bit hungry, but I just know that something beautiful shall happen today, a miracle indeed. –
Puîyus plucked a small and glistening apple, he shined it with his damasked sleeve, and then took a few small bites from it. He chewed a little and then sitting beside the pure white bed of the Princess he bent his lips to hers and kissed the food into her. He took a few more bites and repeated the process. By his third time, though, when he pressed his lips to hers, Éfhelìnye sucked out the apple and flung her arms about him and began attacking his lips with kisses, and in an attempt to escape from her, his limbs were flairing in panick, and he and Éfhelìnye struggled for a few moments until they managed to begin tipping the bed unto its side. Ixhúja and the lwúnìqte dashed up unto them just in time, for Puîyus and Éfhelìnye, still kissing and struggling all the while came crashing upon the floor and upon them fell sheets and pillows and the entire bed. Ixhúja picked up the bed and set it aside, and the lwúnìqte set its trunk about the children and drew them up, and its long insectoid feelers were forgathering up the sheets and tempted to beautify said bed. Ixhúja exaspergasped in exasperation and purred, In sooth, Puîyos, can’t you control your kissing desire just a little, you’re always stealing kisses from my princessly cousin all the time!
Yes, be careful you twian, the lwúnìqte bleated as it picked up Éfhelìnye and set her upon the bed and rolled sheets about her. Remember, you have to take care of each other, you’re going to be married for a long, long, long, long, long time.
– ?? – Puîyus wondered.
Long, long, long, long, long, long ages, the lwúnìqte bleated.
– ?? – Puîyus gasped.
Millions upon millions upon millions of years, the lwúnìqte told him.
– !! – Puîyus gasped.
And after death, you’ll be married for all eternity. Do you have any idea how long eternity is, oh mortal child, barely of eleven winters of age? Think of all of your life compounded before you, imagine that every flower you have seen is your lifetime, and that hills are made up of pebbles of lifetimes, imagine becoming your parents’ age, imagine becoming as old and rugose as Grandfather Thiêfhilos, imagine hills ground apart, dreamlands collapsing into flame and sea, landmasses fading away, worlds breaking apart, time and energy itself dreaming, imagine language itself become a dream, imagine for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.
Puîyus began biting upon his knuckles.
And throughout the eternity of eternities, the Princess will be able to kiss you anytime on your mouth for ever and ever and ever and …
Puîyus’ face was blushing at it had never blushed before, they were almost like unto fountains of roseate light flowing from his face, the lwúnìqte thought he could see blushing haloes flowing from the lad’s face, Ixhúja thought she could see blushes glowing upon blushes, as if rubescence could flush unto a deeper shade of red, such would have been Puîyus’ face, bright and glistring blyscan rougir rosir s’empourprer cramoisir sekimen seikimensuru bloos blozen erröten le’hasmyq arrossire krasnét’ ruborizarse enrojecerse sonrojarse. Puîyus was shaking, he tried to take a few steps backwards and almost tripped upon a chair.
The lwúnìqte was adjusting pillows and blankets about Éfhelìnye in an attempt to make her more comfortable. Puîyus was turning away from her, he was trying to hide his blushent face, and while Ixhúja and the mörkö were giggling and pointing at Puîyus all the while, while Ixhúja was bouncing upon the bed and blowing kisses at him all the while, and the lwúnìqte was pretending it was catching kisses and tossing them back, and while they were seeing the glow of red upon the gossoon’s face, Éfhelìnye saw something that the others could not. She struggled out of the sheets and pillows, and slipping about the trunk of the ban-yip called out to Puîyus and chanted – I’m very sorry, Puey, I did not mean to embarrass you. I just was carried away in my enthusiasm. I’d rather die than cause you pain. – The lwúnìqte and Ixhúja continued to guffaw for a few more moments before realizing that the entire mood of the situation had changed. The lwúnìqte sniffed. Ixhúja was making little kissie sounds in her palms and stopped at once. Éfhelìnye coughed into her hand a couple of time. – I’m so sorry, my Puey. –
Puîyus still kept his back to the princesses and magical creature. Ixhúja and the lwúnìqte were suddenly made aware that Puîyus had probably been on the verge of crying, for even those who are pure of heart can sometimes tease someone a bit too much, but Éfhelìnye had been the only one to notice. She coughed a few more times in her hands and saw some small blossomlings of blood. She whispered – If you could at least speak my name, oh my Puey, I know that I would feel better though. –
Puîyus could not quite bare to look at Éfhelìnye face to face, so great was his shame, but he could turn to her a little, and he kept both hands o'er his eyen for to hide them from her. Ixhúja and the fantabulous lwúnìqte looked down and were utterly silent. Puîyus began to hack and cough a little, it was a deep cutting abrasive language, one of pain and scraping, a language that sounded like the ripping of flesh from sinew and the flaying of skin, and told he unto Princess Éfhelìnye in sorrowing sounds, I. Cannot. Talk.
– Puey, I know you can, even it just a little. –
I. Cannot. Talk. In language. I never could. I never shall.
– I can help you. –
You do not understand. It is cold and alien unto me. I do not think as you think. My thoughts are music always. My lips make sounds like trees and brooks and dinosaurs and flowers. Language is a form of mathmatics my brain cannot grasp. I am not as intelligent as you are.
– Oh Puey! – Éfhelìnye slipped out of bed even though the lwúnìqte tried to stop her, and she ran into his arms and embraced him and chanted – Puey I will love you for ever even if you never speak another word. Your heart is all the language I need. –
I cannot talk either, the lwúnìqte bleated. I’ve managed to exist for a thousand generations without saying a word, I don’t quite understand what the conflict is.
Ixhúja made a dismissive motion with her hands and purred as if to say, Why some of the most intelligent people I know only purr and mew, they have no need for words when they scatter their enemies crushed before the feet. By ‘most intelligent people’ I really just meant Puîyos and I. Who needs language, we get alone fine without it.
Puîyus was shaking. Éfhelìnye held him all the tighter, and this time she could feel what could only be hot tears flowing from his face. He made some more scraping hacking sounds to tell her, I just cannot talk. I am not truly a mortal child of Pfhentókha, I am more akin to the dying beasts and flowers, a voice of song but without words.
– Puey, please forgive me for making you so sad, I truly did not mean that. Please don’t be sad around me. Here, I know something which will make you feel better – Éfhelìnye was saying as she approached the bed. She reached into the innermost white sheets and pulled out the violet dreamcape, the one wherein Puîyus had been wrapping her to keep her warm, it had been her only blanket for long, and now that she had a bed it was still the one closest to her, a rustling cape kethoneth paßim, and it was warm now and billowing with the springingtide dreams which had been uppermost in her mind. She unclasped the hooks and wrapped it beneath Puîyus’ torq and let the cape flow all about him. – Do you remember when your Father gave you the dreamcape, violet and honored sagum which he had worn in many a battle, do you remember how he gave it unto you when you and I began our journey to end the Emperor’s War? I don’t need it any long, I feel warm and better now. – Éfhelìnye leaned froward to embrace him, and Puîyus did not resist, and as they held each other the cape was sparkling in patterns of golds and reds and white, and flowing within it came images of dead asteroids and the khmìmu ghilan floating about the shadows, and dust billowing about them all.
– Puey, we don’t have to kiss at all – Éfhelìnye told him. – Since we’ll be married for quite a long time, we shall have the rest of our lives to kiss away from the prying eyen of my cousin and the fantastical creature. I don’t want you to be embarrassed anymore. From now on we shall just hug each other, and all shall be well with us. – Puîyus nodded to hear that, and his tears at the shame of his inability to talk were drying upon his face. Éfhelìnye wiped his face clean with the edge of her sleeve, and then they embraced each other for a time, and thought of nothing else but trying to serve the other. The lwúnìqte nudged Ixhúja a few times and pointed unto the twain afore them, and in whispering bleats and sighs told her, The puritas of their hearts sustain me and all the rest of lwúnìqte kind.
And after a time Puîyus drew himself away from Éfhelìnye. She resisted her impulse to start showering his face with kisses but just rather contented herself with gazing into his large cærulea eyen, they were like unto glacial pools and flowing digamma’d clouds, and endless whorlrains of jacinth upon indanthrene upon cobalt upon modheros upon sorm upon suŋauraaq glistening liquidic before him. She bit her lips and started counting prime numbers in an effort to control herself, for looking upon him then she realized that she had never wanted to kiss him so hard and so long as she did now. Puîyus clasped her hands and knelt down before her and kissing her palms mewed unto her to tell her, This day I shall speak thy name, even as a proper word of Khlìjha, the tounge of mortal men.
– You do not have to do anyting for me, Puey – Éfhelìnye told him.
If it would make you feel better, than I must. I would swim any ocean, climb any mountain, fight any horde, wage any war to save you, and I even defy honored Kàrijoi himself for your hand in betrothal and marriage. This day I shall swink and practice and speak your name.
– Please do not worry and fret yourself for my sake – she told him, but Puîyus kissed her hands a few more times and then swept away from her, his dreamcloak rustling about him and becoming patterns of reds and violets and blues, and he dashed unto the door of the cabin, and it rolled out before him, and he slipped out into the night. Éfhelìnye shook a little and coughed some. Ixhúja came up to her to take her by her shoulder and lead her back to bed, and the lwúnìqte slipped the sheets aside to help the Starflower Princess back within, and Ixhúja and the fantabulous ban-yip remained still and by her side.
Once Puîyus slipped outside and out the door, he felt all hope melting away from him. He covered his eyen and slid down the side of the wall and burying his face into his knees let himself cry a little, for so harsh and grasping and difficult was the entire idea of speaking in words of language, that he would rather just throw himself against an untold enemy and fight with his bare hands rather than try to frame a few words together. He heaved and panted for a time, and did not care at first when he heard the sound of some tripedal legs approaching him, and the gentle tap tap tap of sandles qùlta huk’uta. Long and fluent formal robes were scraping against the deck as the Fhlùltekh fell upon his triple knees and chanted – I humble myself before the august presence of the future Emperor, Lord of Earth and Sea and Sky. – Qìtien remained still for a few moments in his ritual kowtowing, and then slowly he arose and he approached Puîyus and kneeling down low and humble before him, he took out a slight kerchief from one of his sleeves and dabbed at Puîyus face to draw aside the fresh sadness of tears.
– The new Emperor has no need to be upset. Word has come to me of great fleets making their way unto the estuaries of Syapàkhya – so Qìtien was telling the lad. – Soon we shall be rejoining Grandfather Thiêfhilos, and he shall give you the care that a new Emperor and his Empress shall need, the guidance that a lowly acolyte cannot grant. I keep receiving jumbled rumors, slave living ships filled with Traîkhiim have been attacked and burnt, cities are crumbling into the waves, renagade factions among the Qhíng and Aûm keep turning against each other, and all the while the horizon twines of fire. But Grandfather Thiêfhilos will know what to do, he reared the last Emperor and Empress, he will mold you into whatever shape is necessary. –
Puîyus just sniffed in response. Qìtien bowed before him again and chanted – I sincerely hope you have not been quarelling with your future Bride, in the last generation, when blessed Kàrijoi was still permitting marriage, many times a young swain or a maiden would come running into the temple, the youth’s eyen glistening with tears and crying out, oh my betrothed love understands me naught! Surely there must be a way to speak unto him or her. Whatever troubleth you, my rising Sun, oh glory of the Land of Story, you and the new Empress shall come to the other side well and whole. Have you been quarelling with her cousin? Sometimes, especially in the first few years of the betrothal, it can be difficult for wives to find their place in the hierarchy of a family. –
Puîyus was in no mood to talk. He lifted up an hand and began spelling out some graceful, some elegant signs and told him, I cannot speak in language.
Qìtien the Acolyte did not wish to speak of the Uxèmatiit Rite when a child must prove himself to be a loquent and mortal creature or be offered up as a living burnt offering unto the Ása who cannot die, and besides, with Puîyus becoming the new Emperor the ceremony would no longer apply unto him. Rather Qìtien began to spell out signs in Taûsqo for it was a silent language known by some of the sylvan caste, and he told him, Speaking is not always the highest form of communication, dance and music and reading a story are also language albeit unspoken. Why iin some ways language is a barrier to understanding, how many times have I heard young men say, I cannot speak to maidens, or the maidens say, I do not understand young men? How many generations have been spent in debating the words of the Holy Writ and the intention of the prophecies of the Immortals? How much speaking used to be done in the Synod of Lords, er that the Qlùfhem destroyed it, back when the Noble Caste and the szlachcick loafkeepers debated and planned, and yet how much was actually accomplished? In many ways, oh blessed and glorious Emperor to be, you are honored among all men, for although your voice is silent, your heart is pure enough that the new Empress understands you, sometimes imperfectly, sometimes better than you know yourself, but to a degree beyond that of mere language. –
Puîyus kept his face away from the acolyte, he rested his head upon his knees while one hand spelt out, If I could just speak her name without a struggle, it would make Éfhelìnye very happy.
– I think that thrice-honored Éfhelìnye, the mother of the priestly classes will always be happy just to be around you. Now, let’s arise, great Prince, it is not dignified for the new Emperor to sit here sorrowing. We’re going to spend some time with the men, I know who can cheer you up. –
As pliant as docile as willing as a lambkin Puîyus arose, and Qìtien began to lead him away from the cabin. For a moment though Puîyus hesitated, and tugging upon the acolyte’s sleeve he wrote out a few signs in the gestures of pianißimo Taûsqo yên·tĩnh and he asked the acolyte, Please forgive my clumsy querry, but I was at thinking of the lessons that Grandfather Pátifhar was teaching me and Khrùkhtii and Paloîta Fhloêt and the other acolytes in the Abby of Saint Kàtriqan, and I remember when he was explaining the sacrament of marriage, and I am at wondering, is it true that marriage eternal is?
– Indeed – Qìtien quoda, and he spelt out with all four of his hands to say, Marriage endures for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever …
Puîyus looked back unto the cabin where Princess Éfhelìnye was lying sick abed, and he realized that he had no idea of what type of future lay before him, for he was being reared up without a Mother and was not entirely sure how marriage was supposed to function, especially since so many families were made extinct in the Great War and no new ones could be celebrated.
and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever, Qìtien continued to sign. One must remember the last ‘for ever,’ that’s the important one. Oh, and add one day to that, just in case one of the for evers breaks apart.
Puîyus was not given a moment to think about eternity and marriage and blushes, for Qìtien was leading him unto the middle deck of the sqòqhi vessel, and there a sweet melody was arising. First came the sound of the bagpipe folk, they were breathing out their music, they were stomping with their drones, they were spinning around and around and forming of themselves a dance, bucks and does spinning about each other, the music uplifting them all. Among them came the concertinas, they were walking upon their flowing billows and were chiming all the while even as they were swayent and dancing from side to side. And in the very center were the pirates and they were crying out as they danced their jig, the Khnenyènwa were skipping about upon their nervous legs, they were clapping and leaning about each other, their large eyen were blinking, and for once, in the midst of the sea dance, they actually looked slightly less neurotic. The Xhmaûmumum were buzzing from side to side, always aspin always amotion, they were hovering just slightly above the deck, and they were lifting up their wings to form bridges and archways for the other dancers to slide about them. The Kurkuîlo and the Fhlùltekh pirates were competing as to which species was the greater dancer. The Kurkuîlo were sharp and loud, they were tapping the deck with their many crustaceon legs, their claws were swinging from side to side and were snapping all the while, they were almost breathing out steam through their spiracles, and the Kurkuîlo were like chaotic waves of shell crashing against shellry. The Fhlùltekh however were swift and were all dancing in perfect unison, and they were making great use of their three legs and four arms, all of them were wriggling and spinning and slapping their four limbs in quite intricate contortions all at once, and they were whirling and hoping and spinning in fleet tripedal patterns. Qìtien found himself clapping with two sets of hands, so merry was the music, and he was praying that the tune might lighten Puîyus’ heart just a little. The acolyte slipped into the center, and declined the invitation of the fluttering Xhmaûmumum to spin with them in dance, and leading Puîyus all the way came up unto Captain Euqliîna and found him smoking a pipe and swiveling around in his own unique jig.
– Revered Captain, may I ask a word of you? – asked the acolyte Qìtien, and he motioned Puîyus to come untowards them.
Captain Euqliîna’s ears flapped a little, he held up an hand to one ear and chanted – Can’t hear you! Pirate jig! –
– Would you mind taking care of the young Emperor and cheering him up? –
Euqliîna frowned with both sets of mouths. – I can’t hear a word you’re saying! Only the nature Spirits know just how rowdy we pirates can get. Mee hearties, can you pipe down a little! –
– I think that Emperor Puîyos needs to spend some time with an older man, a Father figure, and to be perfectly frank, you and I are the only candidates at all. –
– Qeu! I’m sorry! Sky sailors, can we dance just a little quieter now, I’m trying to listen to the annoying Acolyte! Listen, Qìtien, I can’t hear a word you’re … you too, accordions! Rowrbazzle khwaet pát pát pát pátifhar! Can’t you see that the vexing Acolyte is trying to talk to me! You bagpipes, pipe down! Kaixhe hi-keeba! Fharkh wes ðu hāl! Don’t you see the silly Acolyte and the Emperor Lad have something to say! –
– Yes, I am sad to say you and I are as close to Fathers as we have on this ship – Qìtien sighed.
– Can you talk a little louder? – asked Captain Euqliîna. – Pipes! Silent! –
– Emperor Puîyos? Ah. Yes. The Emperor. On the ship, I haven’t forgotten! This doesn’t have anything to do with the jacinth lotos, does it, because, yes yes yes, because I’m surely not hiding any on this vessel, or maybe I gave it to someone for safe keeping, can’t remember who, everyone hesh up now! –
– I DON’T KNOW … this is ridiculous. I don’t know either! – Euqliîna looked around, he saw that all of the bagpipes and accordions had fallen silent, and all of the pirates were turning around, the Fhlùltekh were gaping at Puîyus with both of their mouths, the Kurkuîlo were scratching their carapaces, the Xhmaûmumum were hiding their wings behind their backs, and the Khnenyènwa were turning many different colors. Qìtien turned unto Puîyus and saw that the lad was hiding his face, and what of his face showed was glowing bright red. Puîyus was wondering whether now would be an appropriate time for him to rip out his own entrails, ritual suicide seemed preferable to all of the pirates hearing his problems shouted at the loudest voices of the acolyte and the captain.
– You didn’t have to be so loud! – Captain Euqliîna chanted with an harrumph as he crossed two sets of arms.
– You were the one having a wild celebration, oh that’s not important! Take the lad, spend some time with him, cheer up him, he’ll forget all of his princessly problems, does everyone have to be looking at us! – Qìtien cried out. – I don’t know anything about children myself, I just listened to the advice of the priests as they guided young couples! What do I know about blushing young crown Princes? –
Puîyus fell upon his knees. He felt quite ill. Qìtien knew he was not supposed to touch the sacred flesh of the Emperor, but under the circumstances he thought it best to take Puîyus by the shoulders and pick him up and dangle him before Euqliîna and chanted – Please make him feel better! –
– Um … so squabbling with the future wives, eh? – asked Euqliîna. – Oh I know all about women. I have eighteen sisters and five mothers, lots of women in the family. –
– Good! – Qìtien bowed unto Euqliîna a few times and then falling upon his face bowed before Puîyos, and at once all of the rest of the pirates began falling upon their claws and wings and hands, and the accordions and bagpipe volk tumbled upon the deck to fall in ritual humicubacioun. Then the acolyte sprang up and whispered to Euqliîna in a voice loud enough for all the pirates to hear saying – Just make sure Puîyos’ heart isn’t broken. In fact, teach him all he needs to know to keep his brides happy and unbickering? –
Puîyus was trying to sneak away, his face a roseate blush. Qìtien picked him up and dropped him again before the Pirate who muttered – Um … why me? –
– You’ll do fine – Qìtien chanted.
– I can’t do this khingapàyaxúng senípásìyaxúng … non-hyper. Is there a better way to say that? –
– Eiyingújan? –
– Ah. Yes. The lad’s yours. –
– No no no no wait! Wait! –
– Blessings on you all! – Qìtien began running away. The accordions and bagpipes came slipping way from him.
Captain Euqliîna slapped his face a few times and muttered – I don’t know anything about women at all. I’d better say something quickly. Oh, this is one time when I could really use some of that blue lotos. – Euqliîna plucked Puîyus up and chanted – Okay now, I’m about tell you everything you need to know to keep the princesses happy. –
Puîyus lifted up an hand and spelt out, One just need help learning how to say a word.
– Now, this is what you must know. –
One just wants to say the Starflower Princess’ name.
– Ahem. Let me just frame this right. This is what you have to know. –
Speaking can be very difficult.
– I don’t know anything about women or maidens or princesses at all. – Euqliîna yanked up the captain hat and thrust it o'er his first two eyen and lifting up his hands began screaming and running away from Puîyus and screaming all the louder. Puîyus looked around and sniffled a little more. The rest of the pirates looked away and pretended that they were not noticing Puîyus in his embarrassment most blushent.

And it gets even scarier

Alarums and excursions ensued. Puîyus looked up from his meditation. He held up his hand and the sword all of hardly rational numbers and solar flares, the sword which Emperor Kàrijoi had ycrafted of flame and lava and the halo coronæ of the Suns, the brand swept up and flew right into his hands. Puîyus swung the sword about, he was ready for battle, be it against the dead or fowl clockwork of monsters that fed off of the wanhope of those unremembered. Princess Ixhúja remained kneeling beside some of the fallen. One Kháfha was glaring at her with a skull half crushed, eyen dribbling out from their sockets, the blurs of their pupils bled upon the rest of their eyen. She saw some Qlùfhem brothers twisted about each other, their tentacles holding each other to the last, afraid to die alone, and she was reminded of the party of Qlùfhem warriors whom her Father the Ĥano of the Red Moons of Khnìntha had ordered her to torture and slay. Before her lay several Qhíng warriors, broken swords and impaling spears about her, she thought of the Qrìngqe Qhíng, the androgynous subrace of the Kèlor many of whom used to dwell in the colonies of Khnìntha before the rest of their Qhíng brethren hunted them down and slaughtered them to the last larva, she remembered seeing the tall and white and and squamous and beautiful Qrìngqe within the glass cities and upon the barges of the ice deserts and in the canalry, the Karyàngqa Qtathnòrpe Qrìngqe Khyìxhu Khyixhwèwesi, and she used to think that these nations Qhíng were the only nations in all of the Land, and when she had met the races of the Empire with their triple sexes and their bright colors, she thought that surely they had been the mutated ones, and to this day she thought of the über-Qhíng as the lost races that had once throve within her homemoons. She bent down and closed the bulbous eyen of the fallen soldier. The Khmìmu were just about to fall upon them all. The lwúnìqte was blaring khmàryor, khmàryor. Puîyus was chuckling unto himself in glee, it was always a joy to fight one’s enemies. Puîyus could not remember the last time he had laughed save in pleasure of combat, and Princess Ixhúja thought that the last time he had laughed surely must have been when his beloved Fhermáta was still alive and breathing within the life-giving dreamlands.
Puîyus began quite a simple, almost a classical attack against the Khmìmu ghūls. For the ghouls were splashing upwards about the dead, the ghouls were flowing with their long and arborescent tendrils, they were knocking o'er the head, smacking against their helms and war shields, they were ploughing through shattered bodies and swords, some of them were picking up the bodies and tossing them aside as they were heading untowards the mutil who had robbed them of the death dreams of the fallen. Puîyus was ready for them, he was spinning the flamescent sword around in a great arc, so eager was he that he did not even wait for the Monsters to reach him, but rather he jumped down into the midst of the breaking wall, he ripped his sword through the torso of one Khmìmu to his right, he hacked through the body of one to the left, he ran among them and was cutting them down as if harvesting them, just as they tempted to harvest the horror of the unlamented dead. Puîyus had to hasten his attack, natheless, for the Khmìmu were flooding against him in such great numbers that he despaired of being ablt to grapple against them. He arose in their midst, he spun the sword around as if it were the soîxhla vane of a great windmill and he slashed through the bodies of the ghūls unto all sides of him. As they fell they revealed themselves to be completely without substance, oozing out from them came puffs of dust and some slight murmurations which had once been the deaths of brave warriors, so that every Khmìmu which Puîyus slashed open, out from it came screaming the last breathes of Qhíng falling off of their burning vessels, and the battle hymns of Kháfha and the songs of the Qlùfhem Aûm and Thùlwu Aûm in their last moments. He cut through the shoulders and necks of several more Khmìmu and thundering up about him arose the screams of an entire battle, the sound that dinosaur mounts make when they are crushing the bodies of their enemies and are being impaled alive with thorn and hastarus, Puîyus only grew the angrier as he severed the Khmìmu and could witness a little the last moments of life for the fallen, for this time of life was private, when the iridescence of one’s souls were cut, when guardian Khweî Khrìqanai were released from one, when a Warrior was uplifted from this land and arose unto a dark river and a dark shore where the Ancestors waited. Puîyus was hewing to his right and left and the Khmìmu were falling, since they had no proper faces or heads he just hacked through the portion of their arboreal bodies that were most in the shape of trunks whence the tendrillar shadow branches were unfolding, and sometimes he sliced right through them in long and vertical hacks so that the portions dangled in weird plasmic gyrations before falling apart in splashes of dust, while others he cut through with swifter and more elegant cuts, he was having to jump more often now and higher in order to keep them from reaching him and lacerate him with their many tentacles, they were crowding about him in such tremendous numbers that he having to fly about them and to leap from trunk and tendril and shoulder as he cut, and all about the Dragon Sword was breathing out long plasmatic archs of fire, sometimes it was enough for some drips of flame to fall upon the Khmìmu to scald them and send them whimpering away, othertimes Puîyus had to cut right through their bodies and send them scurrying in fear, or elsewise open them up completely. And so inspired, so enraptured in the frenzy of battle, that Puîyus could not even feel it when the knife tentacles cut against his face and wrists and tried to drag him down by his ankles, all he could feel was the sound of the deathcries of the warriors and the Khmìmu ghilan falling unto all sides of him.
Why fightest thou against us, oh Íngìkhmar’s Son? We are merely conduits, we are like unto psychopomps, we merely guide the memories away to feast upon them, came the thoughts whispering in the back of Puîyus’ mind. He tried to ignore them, Monsters were seldom creatures that interested him in conversation, in fact he could think of few times when uilebheist had been able to speak with individual and intelligent voices. It was a mob that he felt somewhere in his brain. Puîyus hacked through the bodies of several Khmìmu before him and kicked through the shoulder of one trying to grab him by the legs, and even as the creature fell he jabbed the sword through its neck and used that to propel himself upwards and kick against the ghūls waddling behind him.
What crime, what impiety have we commited, oh Íngìkhmar’s Child? Is it so wrong to experience the deaths of these valiant warriors? We are not the ones to blaim for their being unburied and unmourned here, we just followed within the Winter darkness to try, to taste, so whispered the thoughts of the Khmìmu ghūls.
Puîyus ripped his sword through several more shoulders and began slicing through the forests of umbraged tentacles flowing up before him. He bounced up and began attacking a crumbling wall of ghouls arising about him, their branches jibbering snarling slashing all the while, his lava sword a blur in its fallng, and still the Khmìmu arose about him and were turning their faceless blanks unto him, and he could taste their thoughts upon the deadwings saying, Ours is but a service, we are part of the ecosystem of despair, just as hallowed carrion birds the ravens and crows and jays and blackbirds feast upon the bodies left here forgotten without proper funereal rites, we ensure that still living memories live on within us, just as bodies and flesh and earth grow again in spring, so too mush wanhope be given a time to blossom.
Puîyus hacked back and forth with such speed that all of the Khmìmu upon this particular hill were crumbled and blasted away from him in an instant, and he slashed aside the tentacles and kicked them and murmured unto them in a gruff and hewing tounge as if for to say, It is unholy to be harvesting such memories, the death of virtuous men. Puîyus was slightly irked with himself for even answering the swarmry of the Monsters, it was best not engage them in language or thought or riddle, and yet he could feel the wrath building up in him, and he blurted out in a language of growls saying, It reveals disrepect unto the Ancestors for the bodies of these men to lie uninterred like this, prey to Monsters such as yourself. Puîyus bound up upon a hill and spun around to kick through all of the Khmìmu arising about him, but already he knew he had made a grave mistake in speaking unto mumutzar. The slight murmur of laughter was arising about him. Puîyus just continued to fight. He was a warrior, such was his khnìxho, his gallantry. The laughter grew deeper. Perhaps, though, he should not be recalcitrant in speaking unto all such soulless Monsters, he was rather fond of tlhòqanu who walked and fluttered like great rainbrellas argumizio, and the lwúnìqte of course was a most fantastical creature although it also was a Monster dwelling just at the edge of sanelands.
Clouds of Khmìmu ghilan arose unto Puîyus and hissed, And dost thou imply, oh Íngìkhmar’s Son that thou honor’st the Ancestors? Puîyus arose and attacked this cloud and hacked right through all of the Khmìmu thereunto. Fens of the ghilan were arisen behind him, their tentacles were opening as moss and fern and miasma quaggrowing. We hear thy name upon the winds, upon the dust of sea and sky, so whispered the Khmìmu wights. We hear the lamentation of the Ancestors, they stomp their feet and shake their heads and grinding their teeth together to remember thy name, oh Íngìkhmar’s Son. They claim thou art Heir and yet no longer of them, they claim thou turnest thy face away from them and yet pay filial piety unto them. They claim thou hast two brides, one of the people trained and ready for you, and one of the enemy, a child of Death. Honor’st thou the Ancestors as much as you claim, oh Íngìkhmar’s Son?
Puîyus screamed in wrath, he dove right into the midst of the Khmìmu and began hewing through them in all directions as swift and ferocious as he could. No matter how many of the Khmìmu he was able to cut aside and kick down into the endless folds of the dead, still more were arising and their thoughts were tickling his. Perhaps in thy spleen and heart and souls, haply in thy spirit thou art not a Seqanèqwa a Spear-Jaràqtun, thou art not a Sèqhoxha Saqaîngtaxing a Son of Jaràqtu, but something far else. There is no shame no longer to be of thy people, oh child of Khiêro, surely one can chose of which poploe to be, especially as the War of Heaven rends through all things, we would feel no sadness if thou chose to be a merchant of Qamélo or an artisan of the Allied Viceroy kingdoms. What than canst thou be, if thou do not claim thine Ancestors and thine Ancestors thee adore not?
Puîyus growled, he was in no humor for whatever trickery these creatures hand in mind, in fact his only thoughts were unto ripping apart these creatures all the faster, and unto that end he was diving in the midst of the growing army seas of the Khmìmu and fighting many of them at the same time. He was able to kick against two different ones even in a backflip while his sword spun out and cut through the root legs of the ghilan about him, and in his descent he was already bounding aside and in the midst of fighting the hordes all the more, and yet they arose about him, and in their arising laughter were swarm up unto him and whispering deep within his ear and mind and imagination and saying, We think that thou art rather a Child of the Heresy, an Ifhrúrìpenga a qèjaot tnenátse antipodean, thou art descended of Ifhúri and not of Sweqhàngqu, thou art a mixture of war and reclusive devotion to the Emperor, thou art of the dark side of the family defying the Emperor and yet secreting away his love for yourself. Thou art the nexus of piety and rebellion, miljidawurru, thou art the qlantelingpengpiqhomènya the war storm of the south, oh Puîyos, who breakest the heart of thy beloved lady mother Khwofheîlya.
Puîyus blinked a few times. He decided that he would not, in fact, make a rash decision, he would not succumb unto ojufhongújo, the defeat of reason by emotion, rather, with all of her mental faculties calculating at their fullest, he sheathed the flaming sword, the brand of solar and dragon flairs, the fires that the Khmìmu feared. Puîyus let the Monsters drift closer towards him. The Monsters faceless thou they were, he could feel were still glaring at him, their bodies were opening upwards, their many treeheads bewobbling from side to side, and what could possibly be their shoulders and thews were all becoming the gaze of Puîyus’ own eyen, his glances and blinks, and the Khmìmu were chewing upon the air in joy as they imagined just what Puîyus’ last moments of life would be, some of them, drooling despair from their wound heads were imagining what it would be like for all of the swarms of Khmìmu to arise and crush the life out of this vexatious lad, or perhaps someone the Khmìmu could all turn at once, their tentacles hewing as so many scythes and harvest him at once, perhaps they could all reach out and choke his neck and crush his bones and drink out his horror in death, and the Khmìmu ghūlry could feast upon that for an entire age, and now that Puîyus had set aside the Emperor’s sword and the flames of day, there was nothing left for them to fear. Puîyus waited. The Khmìmu slipped a few tentative steps untowards him. His arms rested at their side, no motion did he make to knife or sword. At last the Khmìmu screamed and charged, they knew that the slaughter of this unarmed lad would be quiet a victorious betrothal banquet indeed.
Puîyus blinked again. He let the ghouls take him. And when they arose and tempted for to rend and jab and cut him, Puîyus, weaponless spun around and grabbed the first Khmìmuxing by his shoulder and smashed all of its head and torso together with his bare hands, and the creature exploded in a confluence of dust and ash and crackling particles. The xhajhyàkhmimu multiple were howling now as they fell upon Puîyus. He grabbed one by the smoke tendrils and ripped them out of the sockets and began to beat it with the edges of its own necroplasmic sherds, he grabbed several of the xatlhàkhmimu by their shoulders and just embraced them in a squid bear hug and crushed them, he grabbed other Khmìmu and beat them against the blood and soil streaked ground until they shattered, he was grabbing the ghouls left and right, he was hooking some of them about his fingers and smashing them against the others, some of them he was catching by their root legs and swinging around above his head and then releasing them against their brethren and so hurling many away at once, others he fell upon and pounced upon their heads and arms and broke them against his wooden shoon. And now Puîyus, Íngìkhmar’s only Son, was howlent in rage. Too late the swarms of the Khmìmu were realizing that it was not the Emperor’s fire sword that they should have been fearing, rather the terrible wrath of the child roaming about them and ripping about with naught but his hands all of the ghouls he could catch. The Khmìmu were screaming in desparation as they tried for to escape, some of them just fled and crushed others before them and left them but as heaps of dust and memories, others of the Khmìmu were tempting to leap upwards and so swirl out, but that only made them easier targets for Puîyus to pluck them down and grab them and choke all the energy out of them. Monsters never died for they were never truly alive, they were closer akin to the Spirit Volk than unto Plantimals and Men, but still the bodies they inhabited to could destroyed and their energy broken apart and sent shuffling back unto its source, and Puîyus was making good use of this fact, he was not trying to defeat all of the Khmìmu, just a few of them and throw them down against their brethren, he did not have to try to trap or kill them, just to frighten them so that he could catch them in their exodus, he did not have to think about what harm he was causing them, they were soulless they were monsters feeding upon death cries, and Puîyus grabbed them and begiggled and betickled some of them as he ripped of their hame and tossed their hame about and the monsters were disappating about him. Puîyus arose. He was punching his arms through the shoulders of several Khmìmu at once. He turned around. He could see that off in the distance Princess Ixhúja was punching aside several of the ghūls, and those that came too close unto her she slashed apart with her swords, one violet and one white, but she was making her way back unto the fantabulous lwúnìqte, for now that Puîyus was flowing right into the midst of the armies of the foes, now that the great guardian clouds of the ghilan were descending about them, she was hoping that the skies would open and the fantastic alary beast would be able to fly the children unto safety and to warn the pirates and Princess Éfhelìnye of this accursed battlefield. Puîyus for a moment thought that perhaψ he should be helping her, for surely warning Princess Éfhelìnye would be their primary duty, she who was the only child of Emperor Kàrijoi and the Virgin Empress whom no man may name, but the Khmìmu were arising about him in such numbers, and his mē̃̃nis was burning hot against them all. Puîyus roared and lept into the midst and let the battle joy overtake him.
Puîyus found himself defacing the untold Khmìmu. It began simply enough, he was punching through the heads of the Khmìmu one by one and ripping off the skin, sometimes with his fingers, and othertimes he bit the side of the broken skin and rend it apart and spat it out. What was left beneath the hame was just a shadow and oozing from it came the deathcries of thousands of warriors. But after Puîyus had done that a few times, the Khmìmu were floating up about him and hissing and whispering, Soulless Monster! Quantum Dæmon! Moon Dragon! Thou art the danger, thou art the one who feedest upon battle and wanhope, thou are the Khmìmu of Khmìmu, oh Íngìkhmar’s Son, forsaker and bane of the Ancestors! Puîyus just punched through several more heads. The Khmìmu were growing faces, a few of them were becoming simple skulls, and Puîyus punched right through them without any compunction at all, but some of the Khmìmu were growing the faces of the warriors who had died here, the Qhíng in their quetzal beards and the tall and stoic Kháfha, and the eyestalks of the Aûm, and Puîyus almost hesitated for a moment, it felt like defiling the dead, but still he ripped apart their faces one by one and scattered the dust and horror of the creatures. Others of the Khmìmu, more puissant and crafty were trying to grow unto themselves the faces of Puîyus’ ancestors, they were not entirely successful in that endeaver, natheless, they became the outline of Sweqhàngqu patriarchs and warriors, some sported the curls of Shield Maidens of long ago, some of the Khmìmu, Puîyus could sense, were trying to grow the faces of his grandparents, but since they had only caught a few glimpses of the grandsires in the whisper of the winds, they could only approximate, and Puîyus grew all the angrier at the Khmìmu and bit off their faces to reveal blinking inner faces within, and he punched through the inner snouts and eyen and broke them utterly apart. Thousands of the Khmìmu were arising and squawking like unto thìpfhitlhir ahool flittermice, and all of them were turning their featureless heads towards Puîyus and trying to grow his own face unto them, and this just inspired him to struggle all the harder. The Khmìmu were panicking, they did not think that Puîyus would actually punch through the reflection of his own nose and mouth, they did not understand that he did not mind crushing together heads that looked vaguely like his own, he grabbed a few of the Khmìmu by the nose and ripping off the skin crushed skull in his bare hands, he was punching and rending and snarling all the faster, he was ripping off the shine of skin and eye, he slashed off outer face and revealed smaller faces of bulbous eyen and jibbering skriking lips, shadow monstrocities screaming insensate against him. And everything was become red. Puîyus was screaming now in his defacing, he screamed at the dishonor of the bodies left here unwept and alone, he screamed at the memory of Ancestors and the heartbreak of filial piety, everything was tumbling about him in the blood frustration, he screamed to think that he still knew not where his Father and Sisters were, he howled to think that he had no conception of a way to defeat Emperor Kàrijoi from stoping the Winter Midnight that was bringing extinction unto all of the land, and as he broke apart swarms of Monsters and hurled their bodies down, gave he voice to a savage feral cry, his souls arising in frustration for the blood sickness that Éfhelìnye was feeling and for which he could possibly find no cure at all, and so he fought and fought and let the seas of the ghilan tumble about him, and he broke it utterly apart.
The sound of the flapping wings of the fantastic lwúnìqte came unto him. The swarmry of the Khmìmu were endless, Puîyus could have fought then without ceasing for moonphase, a month, a year perchance, but the sound of the ban-yip drew his thoughts to the present. Princess Ixhúja was swinging from side to side about the long and insectoid legs of the creature, the violet crescent sword of her Father she held and swung from side to side to hew down the Khmìmu that came too close unto her and the boonyip. She nodded unto Puîyus, he crashcrushed several more the ghilan just for fun, and let their shadow skulls writhe about his bare fingers for a few moments before launching himself high into the air and spinning around in a perfect backflip he landed upon the back of the mörkö of pure heart, and it arose and bleated several times in joy because oncee again it bore upon its humble back the lad who had traveled through the Forest of the Ancestors. Puîyus pointed unto the parting clouds, the Khmìmu were surging unto the battlefield, in their utter confusion some were still searching for the despair of the dead, the despair which Puîyus had removed by giving them the slightest of funereal rites, others were trying to reach downwards and grab the child, and the clouds were revealing a pathway of escape. Puîyus slipped unto the ban-yips ear and bleated unto it to tell it in Qtheûnte the Language of Plantimals saying, Now we can escape and protect the Starflower Princess Éfhelìnye and warn the pirates not to venture unto these blasted asteroids. We should hie, for we would not wish for the Princess to awaken and worry about our being gone.
The lwúnìqte nodded and its trunk unraveled and it blew out some long and sounding notes and flapped its ears and soon came soaring upwards. The clouds were still streaming with the Khmìmu, and Puîyus and Ixhúja both bound upwards and drew their swords and cut against the roots and tendrils that came too close to the alary beast and might have barred the way, but it only took a few cuts, and all of the heavens were springing open. Puîyus sheathed his sword and looked back, the sighing dreamlands of black and grey and brown beneath them were shimmering and shrinking, the oceans of Khmìmu ghouls sinking into the dust quag, at least the warriors would find some peace with their Ancestors, and he nodded to think of returning to Princess Éfhelìnye. Ixhúja kept her sword unsheathed for a few moments, even though the clouds burst apart into the brightest peals of sparks, and all at once battlefolds were gone. She set her sword in its place and snorted and huffed unto her.
I was right about you, my Twin, completely right, Ixhúja was muttering in Qtheûnte the tounge of beasts. All you do all day long is think about Princesses, or at least that one particular and only occasionally remarkable Princess, she is the khnúl the polaris of your thoughts, she must be the first thing in your thoughts as you awaken, you cannot even exault in victory against soulless minions without thinking about how it will affect her. Her! She! In your souls she has granted unto her the honor of her own tòngqa her own personal pronoun fUIs, for who else could she always and e'er be?
Puîyus looked to Ixhúja and blinked a few times to tell her, My beloved Twin delights in the arts of jhpuixanàjhwen of hyperbole. One always strikes, although seldom succeeds, in being gentle, curtious, valiant, chivalrous unto all maidens.
You only think about her, and you know it. It never even crosses your mind to worry about me, although of course I don’t need any succor at all, being superior to you not only in the martian arts but every other form of valiancy. Ah, yes, I shall have to tell Éfhelìnye as soon as I see her just how worried you are about her. Ixhúja and Puîyus both slumped about the neck of the lwúnìqte as it arose eb! through fhtá the luminiferous æther of the upper ær, flashes of burning stratosphere breaking apart as ribbon echelons and unraveling about the beast and the children riding upon it. Ixhúja kept poking Puîyus about his shoulders, she was not about to let him go without a bit more xhmàxhretlha, of the teasing the lads and lasses bejest unto each other. Puîyus tried to keep his eyen unto the rushing of the flame clouds, they reminded him of the painted lanthorns that used to hang upon the verandā of the crannog of his Fathers before the Qhíng had come and scorched all his homeland. Ixhúja poked him several more times and started laughing into her hands, and when he tried to ignore her, she took his hands and began to laugh in them. Puîyus still tried to ignore her, even as Ixhúja slipped up and set herself down right beside him, and Ixhúja tuggd upon the ears of the wondrous lwúnìqte and laughing unto it began to speak unto it in innocent Qtheûnte as if Puîyus were not sitting right beside there.
One can comment enough upon Puîyos’ extreme case of anassaphilia, it truly is a sickness which infests him with age, as the mneme tàqruil the nano-disease waxes in strength, it weakens Puîyos’ ability to make diseases, alas, it is a flaw which becomes far more noticible with age. I suppose that if we all survive this Shibboleth War, if the Emperor does not skewer us all and feast upon our despair as an khmoinálri a midnight snack, quite a tasty ghem it may be, the Emperor has so many good options on how to capture us, trap us, enhook us, drag us down into the evergrowing whorls of Winter Extinction, but that is a tale for another time, I suppose that in the end my cousin will trap and force you into marrying her. Ugh. Dwelling with her night and day, that may in fact be a fate worse than death, don’t you think, lwúnìqte? Imagine having to solve her linguistic puzzles in the middle of the night, imagine being awakened before dawnlight because she wants to dance beneath the purity of the moonlight, imagine having to put up with all of her unfunctioning inventions. One almost wishes to die in glorious battle, just to avoid all of that, don’t you think so, oh wonderous lwúnìqte?
The beast shook its great head and its rolling trunk giggled a little, but not too much, it did not wish to offend Puîyus whose utterly melancholy thoughts it could still taste. Ixhúja swung around the ears of the beast, as they all arose about some of the outer echelons of the asteroids, and she continued in the language of beasts and flowers saying, Oh yes, she already has plans for you, she’s figuring out dwellings and books and children of the future, and one need not even define who this particular pronoun chances to be, does one? Oh yes, you’ll be yoked together, a single mainspring winding both of your hearts, a single pulse to your clockbeat. When Éfhelìnye grows older though and becomes an honored Mother, she will probably have to become aware of the fact that her husband, and by that I mean you, will certainly spoil his princess daughters, although one could not possibly see your contravening any order she gives her household, as parents the two of you will always be close together anyway. However, the moment my cousin’s back is turned, your daughters, all of your nestlings will know that with only you in charge, they can probably get away with almost anything, and by that I mean pillaging, theft, burning, blackmailing, and piracy of all sorts. Don’t you think so, wondrous lwúnìqte?
– Khmàryor khmàryor khmàryor! – bleated the fantastic creature, as it arose in the cloudstrewn skies, and came skipping upwards towards the line of pirate vessels come to investigate the battle.
Now, can you imagine this, Ixhúja continued in the language of trees and ferns and dinosaurlings. Puîyos and my everprincessly cousin are dwelling together in some ramshackle hovel. A great fire is eminating from the kitchen, for one of Éfha’s inventions is gone hay wire, berserk, it is spewing smoke, it is bouncing around, it’s crazy just like all the rest of her handiwork and plans! Puîyos runs off to stop the fire, and while away he hears the sound of playing in the tea room and then the family room and then from the parlour hears he the sound of a vase’s breaking, ochon ochon! He puts out the fire, he dashes into the parlour, he sees twining bits of sherd which had once been the valuable vase, it was war booty I’m sure, perhaps the present from some powerful ring-giving king, and before the vase he sees his eleven daughters. The oldest one points to number two to blame her, and she nudges number three who pokes number four or steps on number five’s foot who yanked the braids of number six or grabs the ear of number seven who cries and points to number eight who does a dance around number nine who licks number ten who picks up eleven the youngest and points to her in blaim. And so there they are and there he is, a broken vase, and someone among the daughters has to be punished. Well does Puîyos remember, oh my feral twin, that when he was young all of his siblings were punished for the crimes of one, that is the custom after all, and the oldest is always responsible for those younger, it is the same for sons and for daughters. However, when Puîyus sees his daughters, with their innocent faces, adorable and sweet, flickers of his family and hers all mixed together, he knows he could not possibly punish them at this time. Ah, this time, we’ll forget about it, he’ll tell them with a gesture, I’ll just tell your mother that I broke the vase, but next time all eleven of you get punished! Obviously next time never comes. Spoilt children, spoilt princesses they will all be. Puîyos? Puîyos? Are you even paying attention to me?
– ?? – Puîyus asked her.
Ixhúja sighed and muttered in sighs saying, Are you even, why do I even ask? You never pay attention. You were dreaming about her, the Princess again, weren’t you?
The lwúnìqte came spinning upwards and before them were arising the skiffs and long boats that had arisen from the spinning rainbrella vessel, the Kurkuîlo and Xhmaûmumum and Khnenyènwa and Fhlùltekh arising and waving their arms and wings and claws. Captain Euqliîna was bouncing upwards and signaling unto the children, and the lwúnìqte burst upwards and drew itself up unto where the Captain was standing. Ixhúja reached up and picked up the captain hat and plunked it upon Puîyus head. Ixhúja and the lwúnìqte shook their heads in sadness. The Captain could see that Puîyus had a few cuts about his face, and flickers of melancholy dancing about his brow.
– What’s happening! What’s going on! – cried Captain Euqliîna. – This isn’t a cookie emergency, is it? Is it! Was there a battle? Were there any survivers? –
– … – Puîyus began.
– You didn’t find any blue lotos, did you? –
– ?? –
– Sweet, sweet tàmar lotos, if you should chance to find any, I’m sure that we can manage to keep it hidden from the middle eye of the pesky acolyte, if you know what I mean … you have no idea what I mean, do you? –
– … – Ixhúja began.
– Are you talking about cookies? – Captain Euqliîna asked. His three eyen began to blink in panick. – Oh what type of cookie emergency can it possibly be! –
Puîyus pointed into the distance and explained – Mew mew mew! –
Ixhúja nodded and elaborated – Purr purr purr! –
Captain Euqliîna pressed his four palms against the side of his lwiikhùwepas, his yagin digir, the side of his head between eye and ear. – I can’t understand a mew you both are barking! Just say it! –
– Mew! –
– Purr! –
– Khmàryor! Khmàryor! Khmàryor! –
–Why do I get the impression that we’ve had this conversation before? – Captain Euqliîna sighed.
Puîyus drew himself upwards, he took some of the dust from his cloak and scattered it into the winds, and Puîyus shook his head to let ash descend about him, and in doing so he drew his hands back and forth in vaguely undulous patterns. Captain Euqliîna considered for a moment, his upper mouth sucking upon his lips, his lower left arm scratching the blue feathers of his head. – So, are you saying that within the folds of these monopole asteroids a tremendous battle of hundreds of thousands of soldiers was waged as the warships of the Qhíng and Kháfha and Qlùfhem and Thùlwu converged, the first two forces aligned against the last two, and the Qhíng and Qlùfhem fell together as well as the Kháfha and the Thùlwu, and in the long and ensueing battle horror all of the soldiers were utterly destroyed to a man, and the bodies remained unmourned uninterred unremembered unsung unsepulchred without the proper funereal rites, but before the carrionfeasting ravens and crows and jays and blackbirds could descend to take their prize that ferocious khmìmu ghūls were drifting outwards and devouring the deathcries and dying knells and final despair of the warriors whose bodies were left to rot beyond the care of their families and who were ashamed to meet their ancestors, and so we must stay clear of these asteroids, is that what you are telling me then? –
Puîyus and Ixhúja looked to each other in surprise. The lwúnìqte blinked a few times. Captain Euqliîna giggled a little. One of his Kurkuîlo sailors looked up with snapping his claws wondered – Did the lad really say all that? –
Dumbstrook Puîyus nodded his head in affirmation. Ixhúja played with a few golden tresses drifting in the winds. The Kurkuîlo asked his Captain – How could you possibly understand that little mew? –
Captain Euqliîna cleared both of his throats and chanted – Perhaps all those years of inhaling tobacco and smoking the blue tàmar and gobbling all the cookies I can find have somehow affected my mind, rather to the better I hope. One can always hope, at least. – A few of the pirates were looking one to another and hiding their mouths with their hands and wings in an attempt not to laugh at their almost ay-hyper Captain, umialik auiriz ampar HoD, their kàpta kàtan ptètar trín fhìstal jhànta xhùfhta Captain, for the rest of his crew were almost completely certain that from a lifetime of his cookie piracy, in his sailing throughout all of the Eleven Seas, in his pillaging cookie and candies and baked goods, in his plundering all of the sugar contraband that was smuggled our from the clockwork worlds of Khnìntha, that their captain probably only had a single candle burning in his lwamfhòtyeu his heart-brain such as the Fhlùltekh els fhársyun have. The Kurkuîlo pyaîpa boatswain cleared his throat and tip tap tapped a few times back and forth upon his crustaceon legs and shot glances of warning unto the rest of the crew, and their giggling subsided a little.
– Mew – nodded Puîyus.
– Purr – agreed Ixhúja.
– Bleat! – cried the wonderous lwúnìqte.
– Yes, let’s get back to our ship where the stash of blue lotos is kept hidden from the acolyte – Captain Euqliîna muttered partially to himself but also the crew. He reached o'er and tossed the captain hat that Puîyus wearing and he grinned with his double sets of teeth. – That is what you were saying, right lad? It was surely close enough? Maybe we can heat up some of the lròyiru that I managed to smuggle out of the south-eastron dreamlands before they fell in the war of the Qhíng and Qlùfhem and all the other oferpowerful muckedy famous, khmaum khmaum, khnéje yummies, nothing like some good and scrumptioussome raw cookie dough to fire up the cockles of one’s heart-brain, eh? I tell you, there’s nothing like having a fast ship and sailing through the heavens with only the Stars to guide one and clumps of raw cookie dough in one’s four hands, it is the greatest happiness in all the worlds. –
Puîyus made sure that Ixhúja was seated safe next to the neck of the fantastic lwúnìqte for it was arising and accompanying the pirates back unto their whirlent rainbrella abode, and he was far too polite to tell good Captain Euqliîna that his pure actually had nothing to do with blue tàmar niilaabja giŝimmarum, rather he was asking whether it would be ready for them to return unto the sqòqhi rainbrella ship yet, for he wished to check upon Princess Éfhelìnye and if she be awake to tell her of what he had discovered. The living ships were arising unto all sides of them, the tàlkhi podships jetons and the jhuîxhyong long shuttlery, their bone oar and solar sails betwining around and they were slowly turning back unto the outer torquations of these asteroids and worlds. Princess Ixhúja yanked the captain hat up from Puîyus’ head and tossed it a few times into the air and catching it spun around and bowed unto the pirates and danced a jig in imitation of the dances she had seen them perform, and Captain Euqliîna and all of his Fhlùltekh and Khnenyènwa and Kurkuîlo and Xhmaûmumum brethren glee laughed and plaudited her with hand and claw and wing. And so it was that the pirates were arising and returning in glad spirits, and Ixhúja danced upwards and plopped the captain hat back upon Puîyus head and sate down next to him, and the ban-yip was opening up its great wings and soaring from side to side, and whispers of smoke grey and dead shimmered far behind them.
So, do you think that’s true, what the most excellent Captain just quod? Ixhúja purred unto Puîyus in a slow and sparkling language, serpentile and undulous and with hints of ice sand within it. The greatest joy in life is to be a Sky Pirate, to sail high and free beneath the balletic grand Dance of the Stars and to have a fresh supply of raw cookie dough in one’s paws? Ixhúja revealed an half smile to Puîyus. One doubts that is what you most enjoy in life.
One has not given it much thought, Puîyus mewed back to her in a similar language. He rubbed his face against the wonderous mörkö gills to ask it, Please tell us, most revered and miraculous lwúnìqte, what is the greatest joy that you find in life?
And the lwúnìqte laughed a deep and crystalline cry and bellowed a few times in the language of innocence to say, What most delights the lwúnìqte, monsters though we may be, is to experience the thoughts and memories and deeds of those who are pure of heart and to enjoy them for what they are. What delights you, oh Moon Princess of the warcrescents of Khnìntha Ixefhífhesii Siîn?
Princess Ixhúja hung about the antler crowns of the wonderous beast and wondering a little purred unto herself, and yet her sighs were like unto primal language to the imagination of the pure beast and Puîyus the Feral Lad. I most love to dwell in the forest, with tree and fungus and dragonfly and dinosaur, I love to roam beneath the moonlight, to migrate with great saurian herds in the shadows, I love to let the insects arise about me and sing their clockwork songs unto me, I love to race the Automata and birds and flying fishes and kine, I love to explore the ruins and inner worlds, and at the end of the day I love finding a nest for myself within the embrace of the trees and knowing that once again I’ve beaten my twin Puîyos in speed and lightning cunning. Ah, how I miss the forests, strong and thick and beautiful and good, the trees that once roamed wild and free upon the face and within the chasms of rubescent Khnìntha. And for a few moments Princess Ixhúja was lost in thought, the forests appearing within the imagination of her heart just as they once had before her Father the Ĥano had begun wasting all of the southron worlds. The lwúnìqte was spinning around some of the peiratical vessels, it dipped and spun around a little, it was like a ptíxi quetzallo’ pterodon drifting through water and cliffcrag and nest all the while. Ixhúja nudged Puîyus a few more times and purred unto him to say, Both the lwúnìqte and I have spoken of our heart’s paradisical desires, so now you must confess and wonder and tell us, so Ixhúja was saying, otherwise we’ll have to concoct our own story about how you too just want to get in a boat and sail away and burn the wharves and gather unto yourself a rich booty of cookies.
Puîyus considered for a moment, the joy of living for him was very difficult to frame into words, not only because he was unused to speaking them in Khlìjha the Babel Tounge, but they were just raw emotions which were difficult to squeeze into the gestalts and images that made up Qtheûnte the speech of Beasts and Plantimals. He clasped his hands together and tried to describe the sensation unto them, he did not want them to think it was an emotion, after all grown men were not permitted to reveal their emotions in public, especially not the highest aristocratic echelons of warriors, and since he wanted the Elders to afford honor unto his Father Íngìkhmar, Puîyus was trying to act as calm and stoic as he could. He closed his eyen and mewing all the while told them, Imagine that I am playing the harp, and music is all the air. Princess Éfhelìnye is beside me, she can be writing in her book or drawing a picture, she may be clapping to the music or dancing or just sleeping, her head lying upon my lap, it does not matter so long as she and I are togther. My Father is in the room, he is beaming with pride because I bring great honor unto our Clan, treasure and war trophies to give unto the Elders of the Land. My Sisters are with me, whatever they are doing I love it, they may be playing a game or baking a pie or tickling each other or running around in circles, whatever it is, their being with me gladdens my heart. I know that my Auntie Qtìmine is safe, that my cousins Xataríyona and Ìkhnos and Pàlron and Eirènwa are near and well, that Grandfather Pátifhar is well, and that all those whom I have met this day have peace in their hearts, mine Uncles Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho the best pirates in all the worlds, Fhólus my little alien friend, you my lost twin from the mirror worlds of Khnìntha, everyone everywhere. I play the music. Perhaps my kittens and ducklings and lambkins and dinosaurlings are listening. When the music finished, I go to the family hearth and light some incense before the image of my saintly Mother Khwofheîlya and my Grandparents and all mine Ancestors and honor them and ask for their blessing. And then I make sure that my Sisters and Éfhelìnye go to bed and are warm and safe, and I dream all the night about adventure and piracy and dragons. Yes, that is a good day, that is the very joy of life. At least that is what I think. So it was that Puîyus was trying to explain unto the lwúnìqte and Princess Ixhúja, but even as he painted the image before them he realized just how ridiculous it sounded.
The lwúnìqte bleated a few times and murmured unto them in growls and grunts as if to say, And yet are not both of you of the Warrior people of the Land of Story, surely the greatest feeling in life is to slaughter enemies and make piles of their skulls and die in glorious battle, at least that is the legacy that Khiêro’s children have left in the billion, billion worlds.
Neither Puîyus nor Ixhúja knew what to say, and they wondered whether they had given the wrong answer and should not have, in fact, mentioned how much they love smiting their enemies and making monuments unto their own glorious victories, and yet neither of them could think of a better response than what they had given. Ixhúja looked unto Puîyus and blinked at him a few times to say, At least your response didn’t involving kissing and wuving my princessly cousin, if you had chanted that I might have punched you across your candy lips.
Puîyus bowed unto Ixhúja and in sighs and glances told her, Whatever it is you do, mine Ixhúja, it gives me the greatest of pleasure. Thou art bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, even though your blood may be different, even if you were grown rather than born.
Ixhúja blinked to Puîyus a few times to say, Sometimes I think thou art far more of a Pwéru than Éfhelìnye is, dangerous and melancholy as thou art. She looked back, the winds were blasting against her golden hair, she felt as if she herself were flying rather than just riding upon the back of the pure lwúnìqte. Tell me, do you still approve of mine actions when I cause mine own ship to implode?
Thus I know to send mine humble vessel for to rescue you, Puîyus nodded unto her, his hands were opening up into most elegant and fluent gestures. And even should I living ships crash and explode in the darkness of midnight, still I am happy for you to be part of this tale.
Ixhúja raised a single violet eyebrow to say, The Story of Puey and the Princess? She turned back. Puîyus was bouncing up, for the lwúnìqte was already hovering up above the very edge of the sqòqhi gōpan vessel, and pirates were rushing up unto the deck and help the fantastic beast alight and to signal for the arrival of all of the rest of the errant vessels. Puîyus however was far too anxious to remain upon the mount, he slipped down the long snout of the beast and rolled out upon the deck and spun around the pirates and already was flying up through the air, the crennelations of the walls beshifting about him, and before him arose the cabin of the vessel, and shuffling away from it came the pirates who were guarding the Princess. He spun into the room, and the smell of the holy incense burning in the xèqtu timzaloz was thick and beautiful in the air. He tossed Euqliîna’s hat of captainsome authoritas aside. Puîyus slipped up unto Princess Éfhelìnye’s bed, it appeared unto him to be a shine all of white, the sheets were cascades of crystals and the pillows were starlight given form. He knelt down beside the bed. Éfhelìnye was stirring a little in her sleep. He leaned o'er a little, although his ears were perfectly attuned to the slightest of vibrations, and especially kean to the whispers of Éfhelìnye, and he almost thought that she was whispering something concerning mathematical conversations and bases in threes and sevens and elevens and all of the fun things that one can do with zero and arithmetic, and it sounded unto him like a strange form of music whose tune was utterly alien unto his ears, for he delighted in the song of freshlettes and mountain streams and luich and cloud, and not so much to the deeper music the buttressed the Creation of the Dreamtime. Her hands lay upon each other outside of the blanket, and he reached up to kiss her hands, and at once Éfhelìnye’s eyen blinking awoke and she gazed unto him for a few moments, and the only sound was the slight burning of incense and candles, and the distal sound of skiffs and shuttles landing upon the outerwharves of the mwavuli vessel, and the clatter of pirates landing and drawing line and setting their course far away from the blasted battlelands.
– Puey – Éfhelìnye whispered.
Puîyus made a motion to tell her to rest and not exurt herself. Éfhelìnye sate up in bed though, and she took his hands into his. – I’m fine, my young knightling, I’m much better. Here, sit with me. Let me take your hands. I don’t want you to be sad about what you saw, I see in your eyen that you witness’d something you would rather forget. You became part of a battle, of the ash and dust of what had once been fruitful here. Let it not weigh too heavily upon your souls, oh my precious princeling. –
Puîyus wanted to turn aside from her, he had come here to comfort her and inform her that they were bringing her far away from danger, and yet she was the one for to comfort him. She reached out unto his face, soft as petals, roseate rhododactylous, and when she touched it he blushed a little to feel her fingers.
– I do not know what path the Immortals, high and mighty and holy as they are, have set before our gaze, our step, oh my Puey – so Éfhelìnye was telling him. – I cannot guess the full horrors that you witnessed, the latest battle fought in Tlhexetsopwekùthuwo, the Shibboleth War, the Emperor’s Final War. But all that I can say is that I have waited mine entire life for you to come and rescue me from my blessed Father’s dragons, and just being with you makes life worth living. I do not know whether a Crown Prince is supposed to find doucer de vivre, swúla lwú xhreû in playing his harp and being with his family, but I do know that no one else honoreth the Ancestors as much as you do, and in turn all of the Ancestors shall bow down before you and give you homage. I think it only right that the new Emperor should enjoy hearth and home and only venture out unto war to defend the innocent, that his home should be warm with plantimals and pets and the love of his family rather than cold monuments to his glory. Accolades of conquest are only glorious when the warrior is one who protects the Real People of the Land of Story. – Princess Éfhelìnye, natheless, sky born, the only child of Kàrijoi and Khnoqwísi, felt weariness once again weighing heavy upon her. She had just enough strength to sit up a little and kiss Puîyus’ cheek, and then she lay down again. Puîyus adjusted the pillows and sheets about her. She closed her eyen. Puîyus reached unto his aurulent torq and took out the harp that he kept slung on silvern chains about his neck and he began to strum it a little. Éfhelìnye sighed and rolled o'er unto her side, her hands were beneath her head, her hair was billowing all about her in flowing rondures of sunset rubies, and her eyelids were heavy. Puîyus strummed out a few lines, the way he plucked the string was just as he plucked the line of the rare bows that sìngeka xhmársya sabonzio employ as they collect the feathers of brilliant œf. Soon came another music, that of the bleating of the wonderous lwúnìqte and the leaping of the Princess of Mars, and they slipped into the room and found Puîyus at his playing his kantele, and Éfhelìnye listening and being lulled back unto restive sleep, and the last thing that the Starflower Princess chanted before fading back into deeper dreams was – Indeed for me, just being with you Puey, this has been a perfect day, the best day of my life. – And she closed her eyen and fell into a febrile sleep, and Puîyus and Ixhúja and the lwúnìqte took turns in looking after her in the midnight darkness, as the pirates fled from the ash of the Emperor’s latest battle.