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.

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