Sunday, January 11, 2009

What a Time for the Getaway Ship to Malfunction!

And the cloudbanks were breaking apart and revealing all about them massive and triangular formations that were the edge of several of the huge and mounting vessels of the Xakhpàlqe peoples, and the living ships themselves were massive strongholds and the clouds were disappating before the turrets and horns of the vessels, the great and terrible lràxakhel Xeriiqèyejikh that were veering right towards where the rainbrella vessel was deteriorating were all fashioned out of billions upon billions of antlers spinning about each other, and the tips of the horns were opening outwards and out were come pouring endless clouds of spores and raiding vessels, so that from a distance it almost looked like the cityships were great forests all abloom, and that they were shedding leaves and seeds and the cycle of life was continuing anew sólhringur nychthemeron, but these were warships and they were twisting their cannons about and firing against each other, and so massive were these constructs that they were crashing right through each other, and the tens of thousands of Traîkhiim were fluttering outwards through the lancing and burning heavens and were screaming all the while, even as Xhnófho prepared the small Qlùfhem vessel for departure and yanked upon the wheels of the khètroro nerve cluster khush-dukal, and Euqliîna and Qìtien were swaying from side to side upon the back of the flying lwúnìqte. Puîyus stood upwards and pointed unto the ginormous vessel brobdingnagionsome flowing right towards them, and the great fountains of plasma bursting up from the walls, and he tugged upon Fhèrkifher’s sleeves a few times in order to get his attention.
– I’m just saying the Merchant Caste must have been desparite to make you a Prince of the Poploe – Qìtien chanted. – No wonder the economy collapsed. And all I can say about making this Qhíng a Fhwàja camptâ, a xša·yārša, Þe ruler of heroes, is that oftentides the Qhíng pick someone who is just supposed to be the perfect Qhóng but who isn’t supposed to have an actual talents or qualitifications whatsoever. But then again, now with the War upon us, perhaps it would be best to have someone of the martial classes. –
– Hic! Hic! – hiccoughed Euqliîna.
– Next you’ll be telling me that this goofball is a prince also. –
– Euqliîna? – laughed Fhèrkifher. – No, he’s just a wastrel. No secrets there. A wastrel who keeps steeling Xhnófho’s and my ship and getting it ruined. –
– Hic! – hiccoughed Euqliîna.
– Mew mew mew! – Puîyus tugged upon Fhèrkifher’s sleeve and pointed towards the massive living ships that were just about to engulf all of these regions of the sky.
I think that someone should be listening unto Crown Prince Puîyos about now, came the shadowy voice of Grandfather Pátifhar. I rather have the feeling that something big and dangerous is falling upon you all, but that he’s noticed it from afar and everyone else is too busy bickering to notice.
– Are you a prince also, Qìtien? Or just completely annoying? – Euqliîna asked. – Hic! –
– I was just a jhonífhye, a clanless war orphan taken in by the sylvan priests and fed and educated, iļiappak, nepalan, woorumullumbuk – chanted Qìtien.
– Mew mew mew! – Puîyus pointed unto the sky fortresses about to burst right upon them all. Princess Éfhelìnye was looking around and trying to discern what to do. Ixhúja was asleep and leaning upon some barrels and about them lay some length of floral rope, and Éfhelìnye ran out and drew a loop about Ixhúja and then about herself and then ran up to Puîyus and started to gird him thuswise.
Is anyone paying attention to the Children now? asked the smoke of Grandfather Pátifhar.
– Oh, this had better be a cookie emergency! – muttered Fhèrkifher. He leaned o'er and poked his finger through the smoke and chanted – What do you want? We’re trying to escape! –
Don’t ask me, I’m not even here! gasped the smoke of Grandfather Pátifhar. I’m just a memory, just a sophisticated schamiz, really just a smoke form of khrìrta, recorded phonographic wax disks, I can’t actually give you any new information.
– Well, a great deal of help you are! – Fhèrkifher chanted. He looked around and saw that Princess Éfhelìnye was running around and trying to loop some ropes about his arms, and she skipped up to Xhnófho and tried to tie up a few of his tentacles, and then she set one loop about one of Aîya’s heads and now about her arms again for good measure. The Qamélon pirate turned around and saw that Puîyus’ eyen were still intent upon something appearing above them, and as Puîyus drew his twin green glass swords and looked upwards, Fhèrkifher’s eyen followed his, and saw the vast fortresses of the Xeriîqe arising and boiling away the clouds.
– Lwa! – gasped Fhèrkifher. – Grandfather Thiêfhilos, you should have warned us about this! –
I’m not even here, how was I supposed to know about the gargantuan living ships arising and just on the verbal verge of crushing and incinerating you all! gasped the smoke of Grandfather Pátifhar. And let me add, if anything at all happens unto the future Emperor and Empress I shall personally hold both of you pirates responsible, I shall have you captured and dragged and beaten in public, I shall deliver you into the hands of all your enemies, flogged and bleeding and humbled! The smoke was arising, and Grandfather Pátifhar’s imagine was breaking apart a little the Xeriîqe shadow fell upon them all.
– Get us out of here! – cried Fhèrkifher.
– I’m trying! – shouted Xhnófho. – The idiot Qlùfhem build idiot living ships with lots of idiot parts, it just doesn’t work right! These vessels have a complicated system of livers which regulate the power flow and … –
– Spare me the details, we need to leave NOW! – shouted Fhèrkifher.
If the Xeriîqe touch the Children, if the Land die because of you, continued the smoke of Grandfather Pátifhar, in our last hour before extinction, I shall have everyone know that it was you twain who took the famed Syísyi, the Syìplet gold, I expose all of your plundering and smuggling and dark deals, everyone shall know that you twain were smuggling for the Khan of Khnìntha, they shall know that Emperor Kàrijoi attempted to have you both bled alive in his forge and made into weapons for …
– Please be quiet, Grandfather! – Fhèrkifher was yanking at the ropes and trying to tie himself and Princess Ixhúja all the tighter. – You’re not helping! –
– I don’t suppose anyone here has any advanced knowledge on how Aûm mechanics work, oh? – asked Xhnófho. – It’s like they grew this ship backwards, and they combined elements of tree and plantimal and wheel altogether. Can anyone figure this out? –
– Don’t ask me! – cried Fhèrkifher. – Grandfather, any clew? –
I’m just a recording, I don’t know the biomechanics of Aûm vessels! gasped the smoke Grandfather Pátifhar. We have a preponderance of priests and pirates in this party, and not enough artists.
– Mew! – cried Puîyus, for he knew one artist.
It’s worth a try, chanted the smoke of Grandfather Pátifhar.
Puîyus untangled himself a little from the ropes and pulled out Princess Éfhelìnye and holding her up a little pointed unto her, for he thought she was the smartest person he knew and could probably figure out any puzzle at all, and as he carried her up unto the nerve cluster where Xhnófho was struggling to regain control of the ship, Éfhelìnye’s face glowed with a soft roseate hew and she chanted – Puey, you’re being immodest, I don’t know very much at all about the complexities of Aûm clockwork and biomechanics aside from the basics known unto all men. The Aûm delight in merging different types of creatures and machines, in fact many times they actually grow wheels and try to create a synthesis of orrery and organs together, but really, I have no idea how this works. –
– Mew mew mew! – Puîyus chanted as he yanked open some of the casing and revealed the pulsating insides of the nerve cluster. He and Éfhelìnye crawled in together, and Xhnófho took down a painted lanthorn and shook it above their heads so that they could see the twisting of the organs and the rolling pipes within.
Let me remind you that I shall have both of you crucified if anything harms the children, Grandfather Pátifhar’s smoke told Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho. And don’t think I shall stay mine hand at the last moment, no, you both shall be humiliated in public, your names disgraced, I shall have own Ancestors deny you entrance unto the Nethergloom! Are you listening to me?
– Which is more annoying, Grandfather Thiêfhilos actually here with us or just as a recording? – Fhèrkifher wondered as a thousand raiding living ships came splashing out right towards them, and the Xakhpàlqe vessels were filling up all of the heavens with wroth flame. – May I remind everyone that this vessel was not of our own choosing, that Khiêro threw us into it? –
I thought that the Qlùfhem ship may have some special properties useful to you, spake the voice in the smoke. Khiêro was just obedient unto me, a trait which I hope you both will learn to emulate.
– Good word, emulate – chanted Qìtien.
– Yes, sùqwe, suîqwe, it has a very good sound to it – chanted Princess Éfhelìnye from inside the casement. Puîyus was crawling in the darkness after her, and he took up Xhnófho’s lantern when they came too far away from the edge, and all about them came crawling bits of wheel and claw connected unto clockwork. Puîyus growled a little when some of the clockwork began to crawl about the Princess and touch her face and hair, and he yanked some of it away and punched it a few times and had yet another reason to distruct clockweyth all the more. At last Princess Éfhelìnye came beneath a pulsating dome in the center of the nerves and squealed – Oh, look at this! –
Have you found something, Princess? asked the smoke of Grandfather Pátifhar, the voice a faint whisper within the machinery.
– I think I might have discovered the problem. Back in Jaràqtu the Qlùfhem were experimenting with aumàfhruse, with emergent spectral technology, the very fractalization of stories and worlds, and it seems that this ship has a very simple prototype motor within it. That would explain how Uncle Xhnófho was able to slip and fold this vessel right into this war zone without getting blasted into pieces. The aumàfhruse is still very experimental of course, and finicky, so it’s been set out of line. I need to adjust the clocks within. –
I believe that the Aûm were developing this art without the permission of the Emperor, the smoke of Grandfather Pátifhar chanted. In fact they were only able to make this wakrubaya by steeling some of honored Kàrijoi’s nightmares.
– With the shredding of time, it’s difficult to set this aright – Éfhelìnye chanted as she took some tools from her belt and began to adjust the wheels of the gnoma, and she drew upwards the disques that represented clouds and sunset and storm, for the motors were trying in vain to align themselves unto the heavens.
If anyone can temporarly get the aumàfhruse to function, perhaps you can, Princess, the smoke of Grandfather Pátifhar chanted. In the meantime, Fhèrkifher, Xhnófho, prepare to fight and sell your lives dearly. Qìtien and Euqliîna, you both will of course die with the children.
– It will be our honor – chanted Qìtien.
– Hic! Hic! – hiccoughed Captain Euqliîna.
– It will be his honor also. –
– Say, is anyone else noticing that, even though the old Sorcerer is just a shadow memory that he seems to be able to interact with us? Hic! Hic! Hic! How can that be so? –
– He’s Grandfather Thiêfhilos, the Peróqhi Regent, the Sorcerer of the Forest – chanted Qìtien. – That is what he is, fhúyetlhalepìxhopa! –
– I think I know what to do! – cried Princess Éfhelìnye as she bewriggled himself beneath the pulsating dome and fiddled with the filaments and flowing wheels. – Puey, I want you to press upon these sundials, be as gentle with them as you would a newlyborn kitten, and I want you to keep turning all of the dials unto midnight. That way the vessel will be able to align itself unto the present. I’m going to open these small eyen, the aumàfhruse just needs to see and breathe a little. –
Puîyus nodded and slid down beneath the flowing sàlru gnoma according to Éfhelìnye’s word, and he kept twisting all of the wheels through the seven hours of the day unto the final tide of gloam, and the sundials fought against him a little and tried to return unto shredded time, and as he held the dials, the clockwork spun and began twining about his fingers, and slowly long insectoid feelers all of metal and pistons were reaching outwards untowards him and unfolding, and the wheels were drawing themselves closer and closer to his face, and several machines were blossoming open and drooling down upon him splashes of oil and touching their cold and insensate machinery against his living flesh.
– !! – Puîyus gasped.
Éfhelìnye was using a small sqorikhìpwu, a screwdriver key that she kept at her belt, and was tightening up some of the organs brELgevd that were quaverous in this motor. – This really is quite a marvelous design, albeit it rather experimental. Perhaps I shall be able to incorporate some of this into some of my new inventions, I was thinking of a way to combine a stove and toasting tong, the only problem is that in my drawings it kept exploding, but that’s just a minor setback for me. –
Puîyus could feel that several long and twining tounges all of rouage were dripping down about him, the oil pitty pat splitty splat right upon his brow, and the twining wheels of the tounge were licking his face now, as mechanical feelers began to crawl right upon his cheek. He struggled to keep the sundials in place and cried out – Mew! – again, as the machinery was slowly coming into life.
Éfhelìnye adjusted a few more wheels and chanted – I think the machinery is just being friendly to you, just like when a platypous licks your face. –
Pulsating beating and soulless the machinery was reaching outwards and beginning to swamp about Puîyus, several long and flexing tentacles were spinning about his arms, and opening all about him were jaws that were beating against the disques and pyramids of some great and wakening engine. All at once the sundials were coughing out steam, and several tounges lashed against his body, and long clockwork feelers were reaching outwards and began playing with the lengths of Puîyus’ jacinth and melancholy blue hair.
– Mew mew mew! – Puîyus coughed.
Éfhelìnye looked upwards. – I think we’re almost done, the aumàfhruse should be fractalizing soon. –
– MEW! – Puîyus cried out, as the machinery grabbed his tresses and began to lick and rub and coil them a little, and Puîyus had to keep yanking himself out of the gnawing wheelers and feelers, for no one at all was permitted to touch his beautiful hair, save Princess Éfhelìnye, and most certainly not some horrid machine fell and foul coming back to life and gnawing against the face of time. Puîyus reached out unto the sundials and was about to start punching them one by one, the wheels were rolling about him, long and coiling tentacles lashing and grabbing at him as all of the clocks were spinning into laugh and tick tick tick tocking all about him. Several times he was about to start smashing the machine into little bits, to rip apart piston and cog and wheel, to revel in the destruction of this equipment and howl in glee in the triumph of nature and life o'er cold and precious iron, and yet he kept staying his hand, it did not bother him too much to destroy their own ship and be left vulnerable to die in glorious battle and be left unto an uncertain future with his Ancestors, but he was far more concerned with ruining the work of Princess Éfhelìnye’s hand, disturbing what was rapidly becoming not just the cold calculations of the Qlùfhem bioscientists but the art and bliss of the Princess, and he would rather suffer a thousand deaths than disappoint her so. Éfhelìnye set aside her screwdriver key and scrambling about top of the motor she reached unto the takhtekhtíngtèngqor mainsprings and dashed them about, and all of the motor was glowing even as it licked against Puîyus and dumped oil within his luxurious and glowing tresses.
– RRRRRR! – Puîyus growled in wrath, and he yanked himself away from sundials and was just about to rip out the entire engine and smash it a great squid bear hug, but he grit his teeth and squeezed his eyen shut and flung oil from his hair, and suffered the touch of the mechanical tentacles flowing about him and slapping him in the face a little.
– I think we missing something – Éfhelìnye chanted as she took a step back and admired her handiwork, for now all of the engine was glowing with a soft pink and orange light, and sputtering out from it came pipes that were glowing with a nascent red, and bubbles were flowing upwards and bobbling up and buoying upwards some of the spheres and ovoids that regulated the flow of the oils and plasmas. – Ah! I think I know, it just needs a catalyst, a slip of harmony to keep it in wise proportion. Puey, you’re the most musical person I know and can probably figure out any puzzle at all, do you see those bead coins flowing in a crown about the highest coin? I think if you just tap them gently, tyéjhing tyéjhing tyéjhing, and set the coins ringing to music, then all of the ship was awaken and fold is out of danger. –
Puîyus nodded, and already the ship was shaking from side to side as the myriad Xeriîqe bombs were exploding unto all sides of them, waves of golden light and energy erupting in many differing directions at once. Outside they could hear the cries of Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho as they were taking up weapons and slashing against any of the fireworks and torpedoes that came too close unto them, and so knowing that no longer had they any time at all, Puîyus bound up high into the nerve cluster, twisting organelles and filaments and wheels twisting all about him, and arising before him came the floating bead coins, and several elevens of biomechanical tentacles reached outwards and began to lick his face and cheek and drip machine chrism right into his hair, and his teeth chattered with the horror of it all and so many lifeless machines brushing up against him, and he slipped upwards unto the floating coins and listened to their silence, the music of jhún yên·tĩnh jhún sacānta jhún d̀ubuŋ̃, and then breathing upon the coins he conceived of a melody in his head, and then played it backwards, and tried to think of something enigmatic and yet like a mirror and yet also reminding him a little of Princess Éfhelìnye, and whistling out some symmetries of music he tapped the bead coins one by one and they rang out tyéjhing tyéjhing tyéjhing, and now all of the motor began to glow, and the Aumàfhruse began to fractalize at its core.
Puîyus slipped down untowards Éfhelìnye and bowed unto her, even as all of the vessel was glowing and coming to life, and Éfhelìnye gazed upon the machine and chanted – Isn’t it just wonderous to behold such art and watch its coming unto life? – She looked to Puîyus and saw that he was shaking alittle, and she wiped the oil from his tresses íngìkhma blue, and taking his hands squeezed them, for she did not wish for him to fear any machine at all, especially one which she had altered and redesigned, even if just a little. The motor was glowing, all of the bead coins springing upwards, and all of the clocks spinning out unto the seventh hour of the day, and the pendula and the organs were pumping, and together hand in hand the children skipped out of these quarters and taking up the painted lanthorn crawled out through the esophagous leading back out of the nerve cluster and coming out unto the deck beheld that the very skies were transforming about them.
For the first thing that the children noticed, as Puîyus and Éfhelìnye dashed out unto the deck of the Qlùfhem vessel, was that it was sparkling with bright light and already the solar sails were folding down upon themselves in bright origamic patterns, the air shimmering and contracting, the ship preparing to translate itself in streams of light even more fantastic than the children had witnessed afore when Xhnófho had sailed the vessel through the screaming regions of the battle. The second thing they noticed was that Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho were poking against the smoke that kept forming the face of Grandfather Pátifhar, but the smoke kept being whiffed out by the flame winds of the battle, and Pátifhar’s voice was growing softer and lost in the winds.
– Is this lwúnìqte wobbling or am I? Hic! Hic! –Euqliîna the Fhlùltekh pirate was half swaying and half leaning upon Qìtien the Acolyte and the atsáya rooster raptors and the fantabulous bagpipe creatures and accordions come to life. He reached into a pocket and gobbled up some candies within and hiccoughed all the more.
– We won’t let anything at all happen to the children, we promise! – cried Fhèrkifher. – Will you just trust us? –
When you start proving yourself to me, then I shall trust you! gasped the some of Grandfather Pátifhar. Just return the children to us safely and …
– I am so tired of your doubting me, Master, just because I made a few mistakes in Seminary … –
You used to set the altar on fire, you used to replace the candles with fireworks!
– That was funny. –
And how you used to sneak off to see all those young maidens, I still have not discovered, Grandfather Pátifhar’s recording chanted. I don’t think I punished you enough for that, now that I consider it.
– You’ll never discover how I did it, perhaps I’ll just tell Puîyos the secret when he gets older, and then you won’t be able to control him either! –
– Should we be concerned about the bombs about to fall on us? – asked Xhnófho.
– Oh hush, this is getting good – chanted Qìtien as he leaned against the gills of the lwúnìqte.
Captain Euqliîna picked up a couple of atsáya orthrobóas and juggling them in his four limbs chanted – So I guess this is fairwell to you and your family for now, little Emperor Puîyos and Empress Éfhelìnye and Princess Ixhúja. What an interesting family. I along with my siblings used to go to the taîyena tanner every morning, my brother or sister and I, and we watch all of the chickens dancing in the yards. The sylvan priests used to gather there and throw bits of bark and food and scran at the chickens to find out the future, khmùswa divination they called it, all pecking and sacred the chickens. Have I told you that story yet? –
– That’s it, I’m tired of listening to you now – Fhèrkifher chanted. – You have go to be the most annoying smoke recording I have e'er heard, and certainly the loudest and most crotetchy! – Fhèrkifher slipped upwards and yanked up the edge of the smoke and dangled it o'er the side of the ship even as it was becoming fractals and light.
Stop! I command it! came Grandfather Pátifhar’s voice. How dare you mistreat your Elder this way!
Fhèrkifher grinned, puffed on his cigar and blew the smoke of it right unto Grandfather Pátifhar’s memory, and the congealing smoke all coughed together and grumbled in annoyance. Fhèrkifher stomped through the smoke and then puffed it all o'er the side of the ship, and Pátifhar grouchy voice broke apart and began to fade away.
– Oops! My mistake! – cried Fhèrkifher. – I didn’t mean to do that! –
– Puey and I fixed the motors of the Aumàfhruse emergent art – Princess Éfhelìnye chimed.
– Say, Emperor Puîyos, have I told you about the time there was a dance for the Xheûsyim Thanksgiving – Captain Euqliîna began – and we were all going to take someone to dance and I wanted to take a Qhányika Vestal Virgin of the Sun, you know, one of the Emperor’s courtesans, I didn’t think Kàrijoi would even miss her, he has a few thousand or hundred of them or something, oh she was just gorgeous, or as pretty as one of your kind can be, I think she was your kind, my memory she is not what is used to, she had these pretty little gills and three eyen right on top of each other, and by the Ancestors could she sing, why one time when the tutors were, haven’t I told you this story before? –
– Good riddance, Grandfather Pátifhar – Fhèrkifher dusted his hands off.
– I think we’re about to be whisked away at any moment now – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted.
– Good. The bomb’s about to hit us! – cried Xhnófho.
– Lwa! – gasped Fhèrkifher. – Nobody mentioned anything about a bomb! –
Puîyus drew the flaming Eilwiyàrstyai sword and held it above them and prepared to slice through the flame and explosion if need be, and just as the bomb was about to fall upon them, everything began to shift and change and merge all at once.
To say that the experimental emergent technology was unusual was a blush of modesty, for the pirates and children felt like their insides were being wrenched out and then being put back together again, but to say that it was perfected yet was truly false, for the ship, folding and unfolding itself, came lurching through splashes of thought and flame and endless leagues of the great cælestial battle about the sgeirs and cliffsides and marges of northron Syapàkhya. The bombs that were about to struck them disappeared as the ship appeared and disappeared every few leagues or so, it was like a stone that was being tossed unto the surface of a placid lake, and everytime the stone touched the water for a moment ripples of realities came flowing out from it as the ship reässembled itself again and became solidic and the pirates and children found themselves in a different portion of the battle, but they did not remain there very long at all, and soon were spinning away and bouncing unto new fluidic realities, as they came spinning about the living ships flowing unto all sides of them. For in the skipping through the regions and qlùmlufhe plains and jhùngta paces and khleîl hol leagues, in the appearing and translating and disappearing of the experimental Qlùfhem vessel, the one wherein Khiêro had tossed the pirates twain when they were complaining about what sort of vessel would be most appropriate for them to take and to use in finding and smuggling the children out of the warzones of the North, the ship came veering very far away and skipping through the muinsgith, and as Puîyus and Éfhelìnye ran out unto the gunwail and gaze at the changing and fractalization of realities, they could see that Captain Euqliîna and Qìtien the Acolyte were lost unto them in the mist, and the children were very sad to see the parting, along with the fantastic lwúnìqte and the bagpipe creatures and the zoëtick accordions. And the Children did not mind that Euqliîna was sometimes silly and oftentimes hyper and not the most skilled of pirates, and Puîyus did not even think of the time when Qìtien had disciplined him with flog and glass to teach the child how to become a honorable young man worthy to be Eîl Pwér Khlìmepa Qírenat Swaqírenat Talamaswaqírenat the cælestial Emperor of all of the Land of Story, but rather they just missed the men who had done their best to take care of them in some of the difficult and dying øde wastelands of the Imperium, and they already longed for the lwúnìqte mörkö and the other fantastic wihts. Xhnófho came rolling outwards now that the ship was functioning, and certainly working better than it had at any time of his use of it, and slithering right up unto the nervous system he grabbed the rudder and brought the ship bursting upwards through the banbks of mist. Spinning about them came tens of thousands of Traîkhiim all spinning about fluttering from side to side and avoiding the gigantic cloudbursts of the Xakhpàlqen vessels doing war one against the other, and Xhnófho’s tentacles were spinning about the rudder and drawing the ship apart as best he could, even though the heavens were filled with flames unto all directions of them, and the translation of the vessel no matter how marvelous it was, could only let them skip about for a few leagues in a battle spreading out many thousands.
It was an image that Princess Éfhelìnye would remember for the rest of her life, and indeed the night after the escape from the Xakhpàlqe she drew some sketches of it, and in later years she crafted several paintings of the scene. And it was of the experimental and glistening Qlùfhem vessel, flames and fractals bursting outwards from the wings and tendrils of it, while the heavens were burning, gigantic living ships bursting upwards and tens of myriads of Traîkhiim were fleeing outwards in all directions, their jhojhopaûxa butterfly wings a blur of color, the Traîkhiim skriking and squawking all the while. The image had several different versions and transformations, but in many version sof them Puîyus and Fhèrkifher were fighting back to back, while Fhèrkifher was jabbing with sword and fan in the kámfhurl style of his people, skipping all about and jabbing at any of the bombs and plasma and streaks that came too close unto them, and Puîyus was swinging around the dracontine Eilwiyusàrtyai sword that Emperor Kàrijoi had placed into his hand, and Puîyus was leaping up and cutting against the bombs and sliding down and parrying against the waves of heat blossoming about them, and so it was that the lad and the pirate master fought as the bombs continued to unfold, and Xhnófho was navigating and drawing the ship around in greater and greater spirals away from the heart of the flame battle.
– Everyone hold onto the ropes and each other, this is going to be some fancy and bumpy flying! – Xhnófho cried out as he spun the rudder about. – And to think that Great-Uncle Kàrnaka used to think that I was a wreckless sailor, just because I kept wrecking his living ships! Khei kheinanináni kheinanináni houd vast houd vast houd vast khnáni! –
Puîyus and Éfhelìnye held onto each other and looking down saw that Princess Ixhúja was fast asleep and all tied up in the ropes. The Children came up unto her and drew a few more ropes about her and themselves, and Aîya came snuggling up among them and poking up her three heads and blinking her large white eyen asked – Is there any reason why you two spend your time in the company of rogues and criminals or is that just a silly question to ask? I mean, surely one can see a detriment to entrusting the future Emperor and Empress to some crazy pirates, that’s all I we they are saying. –
– Puey’s a pirate – Éfhelìnye chanted. – Puey, make your piraty face. –
– Grrr! – Puîyus grinned.
– Make your plundering face. –
– Rrrrr! –
– Now make your, I’m pillaging all your cookies face. –
– Rrrrr! –
– Looks just like his plundering face – Aîya blinked a few times.
– It’s slightly different – Éfhelìnye chanted.
The ship buckled and rolled from side to side as several raiding vessels came spinning right beside it, and Aîya buried herself closer to Ixhúja and the ropes were spinning all about as the Qlùfhem vessel came spinning upwards against a growing bubble of light, and the Traîkhiim cried out – Everything far quieter less exciting when one three sevenths dead! Hope the tushed Qhaôtriim right about you two! The Immortals truly are becrazied! –
– Perhaps the sòthwa stance, the khwìju worldview of the Immortals etaingi zexdohyt kösöm is just so great and vast and harmoniously expansive that we cannot liken it unto anything else save an enlightened daftness – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted.
– Oh to be that last four sevenths dead, than everything make more sense! – Aîya cried.
Fhèrkifher came running outwards and pointed unto the flaming horizon where massive Xakhpàlqe living ships were arising, they were like living mælstroms and bursts of light were spinning around them. The Qamélon King, once student unto Grandfather Thiêfhilos pointed unto the minishing regions where the sqòqhi vessel had been takbekEgedm and the remnants of the diases and wheels and coils of the once mighty rainbrella ship were all exploding in brilliant prisms of light. For a moment the last of the ship was silhouetted against the huge and volcanic battle that was being waged throughout these sky leagues, and Fhèrkifher just turned and yanked his brunescent mustachios and shook his fist and cried out – Euqliîna! Euqliîna of Eilasaîyanor you do this every time, you steal our ship and then get it ruined, and this time you just had to have it destroyed in the most dramatic method possible, didn’t you? Imagine, having it glare and pop like that! Reducing it all unto dust and ambient noise! Oh oh oh oh oh! –
The massive Xakhpàlqe vessels were crowding upwards throughout the elements of the heavens, their turrets were as large as cities and spinning around were releasing their horrid flames in all directions, and clouds were boiling away in waves before the advent of these vessels. Bursting up from the shells and antlers were come thousands of raiders, and Xhnófho was yanking upon the steering gyres of the Qlùfhem vessel and spinning it all around.
– My larvaling imperous, I don’t suppose when you were fidgeting with the engine that you discovered in any weapons we can use against our persuers? –
– … – chanted Puîyus.
– No – chanted Éfhelìnye.
– No – chanted one of Aîya’s heads.
– … – chanted Puîyus.
– Not at all – chanted Éfhelìnye.
– Not a one – chanted another of Aîya’s heads.
– … – chanted Puîyus.
– No weapons at all – chanted Éfhelìnye.
– Maybe one – chanted Aîya.
– I’m afraid we didn’t find anything at all – chanted Éfhelìnye.
– Just one weapon? – asked Aîya. – Not even an hair curling apparatus? –
– Fine. Fun – growled Xhnófho. – Prepare to translate again. Stupid Qlùfhem! Foolish Qlùfhem! Jobbernowl Qlùfhem! Noddy tonma tonto suf nigaude Qlùfhem! – Xhnófho shouted as he spun the wheel about and turned the vessel spinning around into a dive right towards the coming of some raiders, and the raiders were firing in all directions. – Vavalang, amadáinín daurrusus mong mugatån kšǔ lap’a Qlùfhem! Remind me never never never never never to steal a Qlùfhem ship again! They’re little better than boats! –
– We’ll remind you, honored Uncle – chanted Princess Éfhelìnye.
– She’ll remind you – chanted Aîya. – I forget. –
– In fact, let’s just paint a note of it and affix it to my sleeves, shan’t we? – Xhnófho growled. – Let’s write down, Never never never trust the Aûm! Stupid Aûm! Who builds a ship with experimental telekinetic oneiromancy and neglects to set cannons within it? Never trust the Qlùfhem or the Thùlwu, my maggotlings! Oh! Those fatuous Aûm! –
– Mew mew mew? – Puîyus asked as he set some more ropes about Princess Éfhelìnye.
– Puey wants to know whether we can trust umquhile Jeûr’s family, since the Kuqùlkhe phatry most amgidalusffol were very hospitable when they took me and Puey within and made us their guest-friends. –
– Yes, sure, you can trust the kuqùlkhe phatry mügdals! – Xhnófho growled. – But don’t trust the rest of the Aûm, not as far as you can hurl them aside. –
– Mew mew mew? – Puîyus tied some ropes about Ixhúja and some of Aîya’s struggling heads.
– May we trust the twin Duchesses Pereluyàsqa and Khosyaràsqa though? – Princess Éfhelìnye asked. – They have proven themselves to be instrumental allies in aiding Puîyus’ people the spear-Jaràqtuns, although they did use their weapons against your own people, the most excellent Kèlor Qhíng. –
– Hiss! Hiss! Hiss, the Qhíng! – hissed Aîya.
– Fine, great, wonderous, trust the Duchesses! – cried Xhnófho as he caused the ship to spin around and around and all of the solar sails folded up upon themselves. – Trust all of the Aûm that you like, just don’t trust them too much! How does one build a ship without cannons! The Qlùfhem made this vessel intending to ram it against the enemy, that’s why it’s so fast and fleet and utterly uncannonical almost defenseless! Okay larvæ, watch out, we’re changing gravities here! –
– Still don’t like the Qhíng – chanted Aîya. – Like the Aûm no more, just as bad. Don’t like the Xeriîqe. So many slaving races out there. –
Fhèrkifher was yanking upon the ropes that held up some of the canopy shields and saying – If Grandfather Thiêfhilos asks tell him that this was a daring rescue indeed and how brave and loyal Xhnófho and I were in it, but don’t make it too dangerous because then he’ll think that we’re being far more reckless than we should be. –
– Prepare for the jhètse jets! – gasped Xhnófho. – And by jhètse I mean those right in front of us! – And his antennæ twitched outwards untowards one of the massive and gathering warships boiling away continents of cloud.
– Oh, we really are wreckless, aren’t we – chanted Fhèrkifher. – Children would you mind closing your eyen for a moment? Just in case Grandfather Thiêfhilos asks, I don’t want you to be witness to this particular manouever. –
Puîyus clasped his hands o'er Éfhelìnye’s eyen, and she in turn set her hands o'er his, and Aîya reached outwards and buried two of her heads into Ixhúja’s golden tresses, although Qìfhte and a few of the clockweyth insects poked out among the locks and blinked their compound eyen and gasped, and Aîya’s third head looked out and her beak shook in fear.
– Pirates really are crazy! – gasped Aîya.
– Just don’t watch! – chanted Fhèrkifher. – And, on a completely different subject, if anyone wants to start praying very quickly and very hard, DO IT NOW! –
– WATCH OUT! – cried Xhnófho.
– We’re all going to need a few drinks if we survive this … – Fhèrkifher gasped.
Puîyus and Éfhelìnye were sitting together next to slumbering Ixhúja, and they held each others’ hands and squeezed them and could feel all of the air become as of living flame. Aîya’s voice arose unto a skriking call, and the children could hear the sound of Xhnófho’s pulling the levers on the fractalization motor even as everything was becoming fire.
– I hope this works – muttered Xhnófho.
– Great. Famous last words – hissed Fhèrkifher.
– Fhwa! –
– Lwa! –
Xhnófho the Warrior, the greatest Jhenínófho Khyixhefhífheqor, Pirate Über-Suzerain Speaker of the Qhíng, being of course the only Pirate who had been elevated to the rank of Camptâ, performed the most ridiculous and daring maneouver that one could imagine in a defenseless and experiment alien vessel, but it was the best idea he had on how to keep them translating in greater and greater distances away from the battle, for he sailed the vessel about in tighter and tighter loops until finding a massive warship whose jhètse jets were quieting down a little, he drew his ship right into the jets in the moment when the fires fell silent, and as the warship was spinning around, the Qlùfhem vessel became part of that gravitational surge, and as the jets began to light up and prepared to blast off a mile of volcanic spume, Xhnófho drew on the fractalization motors, for he wished to use both the gravitational pull of the waship and the mounting plasma to burst their ship outwards. For a moment jets breathed out fires. The Qlùfhem vessel was becoming light and fractals again. Suddenly oceans of energy were arising. The Qlùfhem ship was spinning around and around. The warship was choking a little as the parasite drew out rivers of light, and as the fractalization continued, about a third of the warship began to change, and began to become glass and crystals and light, the very walls and chambers and machinery of the Xeriîqe changing into rolls of wavering light.
The Qlùfhem vessel disappeared in splashes of energy and came skipping through the edge of reality, a faster and hotter pebble dancing upon the waters. And suddenly about an hundred leagues away the ship rematerialized and burning right off of its lambent wings and deck all spinning in vast gyroscopic patterns were the burning sides of the jets and machinery and wall of the Xeriîqe cadlong whose energy they had just plundered.
– Did it work? – Fhèrkifher whispered.
– Did we survive? – asked Xhnófho.
Fhèrkifher looked around. – No Chthonic Tlhùsqe to render judgement unto me, Khlúlu is not waiting, I suppose I’m not dead yet. It’s a wonder. –
– Then it worked. –
– And we’re still in a warzone! How big are these vessels! –
– May we open our eyen yet? – asked Princess Éfhelìnye.
– DON’T LOOK! – cried Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho at once.
Huge and attacking cruisers were ducking downwards and turning their cannons towards the heavens now crowded with bombs and raiders, and Xhnófho was drawing their fleeing vessel up and higher and trying to duck and spin around the evergrowing explosions. The wreckage was so great that they were forming their own torquations of asteroids and metal and wheel crashing about each other. Xhnófho watched as raiding vessels were spinning around in unison, and he was dodging the spinning stone and the enemy flames. Some of the Xeriîqe vessels were arising and synchronous machines were reaching upwards and grabbing stone and hurling them right towards the pirates and children, and not for the last time did Xhnófho wish that they had even a single firework to hurl against the energy. All of the Qlùfhem vessel was rocking with terrible violence. Xhnófho yanked upon the levels for the fractalization to occur again, even as phalanxes of torpedoes were spinning right towards them and swerving all in unison. It was fortunate that the Xakhpàlqe were more concerned with fighting each other rather than at swatting at fly, for otherwise the pirates and children would have been lost, but at it was Xhnófho had to avoid the growing spheres of flame from the colliding vessels, and he came spinning around a huge and burning tower of a continental ship and had to spin a far away through contracting nets of light. Everything was become a burning mælstrom. Xhnófho sent the vessel skimming across the surface of a growing cloud of heat as the towers of some passing battleships came spinning about them. Fhèrkifher was growling since the burning rubble kept crashing against the edge of their vessel, and he held up canopy and shield and did his best to deflect the flame and metal that was spinning all about them. Soon Fhèrkifher had to come leaping upwards, he was scrambing up the ropes and spinning about the folded solar sails of the ship and the burbling gyroscopes and muttering – Experimental artistry! Bah! Just get us out of here, that’s all I can say! –
– Here we go! – Xhnófho cried, and the ship broke apart in a swirl and became fractals and light for a few moments before reassembling itself. And all at once, in the passage of an hundred leagues, everything was grown far quieter, and just a few splashes of plasma were dripping downwards from the heavens. Several massive shadows were flexing themselves in the distance, but all of the battle was fading away and glistening high above the froth and sgeir of the shore. Fhèrkifher slipped down the ropes and solar sail, and he and Xhnófho breathed out a great sigh of relief.
– May we look now? – asked Princess Éfhelìnye.
Fhèrkifher reached int a pocket and drew out some crystalline khmèjhan matches and lit up his cigar and chanted – Sure, bairnlings, go ahead and take a look. I think we’re out of danger now. – Fhèrkifher puffed on his cigar a few times, and behind him, in the twining
Puîyus and Éfhelìnye removed their hands from each others’ eyen and gazed outwards and could see the massive shadows of the battle beyond, the in the crashing waves the falling of raiding living ships and the explosions of the skerries and the flicker of bombs flowing all about. Puîyus’ eyen peered a little and he could see that several tens of thousands of Traîkhiim were escaping from the glowgrowing flame mælestrom and reaching out untowards the crags and mounts beyond. Aîya lifted up her heads from sleeping Ixhúja and leaned next to the children and sighed with her triple lungs, but then Puîyus’ eyen bulged and he pointed unto several great shadows forming right before and beneath them.
– That’s it! I quit! – gasped Aîya. – Get me outta this story! –
Puîyus pointed and cried out – !! !! !! –
Fhèrkifher puffed on his cigar and Xhnófho’s antennæ twitched a couple of times as Puîyus pointed unto something massive and unfolding appearing right behind them. At once Puîyus dashed upwards and yanked upon the levers of the nerve cluster and began the process of oneiric fractalization once again.
– Whatever you do! – gasped Princess Éfhelìnye, her eyen large with fear, as she saw the growing horror mounting behind Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho. – Don’t look behind you! –
– Oh dear! – gasped Xhnófho.
Fhèrkifher sputtered and almost coughed out his cigar. Already the Qlùfhem vessel was shifting and transforming itself, already it was fading away, and for a split second the pirates and the children and shivering Aîya and the clockweyth insects crawling within sleeping Ixhúja’s tresses could see that right beneath them several gigantic living ships were crashing together, and in the vast eruptions spilling upwards and consuming the air, the living ships were not just folding into each other but lava was spuming outwards and just about to forswamp them all. But Puîyus had grabbed the controls just in time, and the ship became light and fractals streaming outwards fraktaali frattele fraktal fraktál fractale fraktální xhuxhupáxhu fhàmlu syìjhipan besparkling geometric and repeating and replicating larger and smaller irregular and yet successfully smaller and larger and similar and the same ecfractalling all the while, and the ship folded itself up in origamic patterns and disappeared within the lava spumes, and when the ship rematerialized Puîyus was leaning against the gunwale and swinging his swords from side to side and hurling the last of the flames away, for burning bits of of the warships had been plucked away in the telekinesis and were crumbling down about them. And now the cælestial battle was far away, and the Qlùfhem ship was still spinning about, and Fhèrkifher finished coughing out his cigar.
– We knew that was there the entire time, whatever it was – Xhnófho chanted.
– Hic! – coughed Fhèrkifher.
– We were just testing you all – Xhnófho added.
– Hic! –
– We just want to make you as reckless and peiratical as possible, these will be important skills to have when you become Emperor and Empress, there will be so many times you’ll need to hide and escape and plunder from your enemies. –
– Hic! Oh, I think I’m going to be sick! Someone please tell me we’re out of danger now! – gasped Fhèrkifher.
– As out of danger as we e'er get! – laughed Xhnófho and he slipped up unto the help and pulled upon a few of the wheels and cried out – Full speed ahead and not a moment too soon, we’re running out of energy and neither I nor Grandfather Thiêfhilos or anyone else seem to know how this Qlùfhem monstrosity of an experiment is supposed to work. So, off to the fjords and the rest of your family, eh? – And Xhnófho burst out in a peal of deep and rumbling laughter that began somewhere in the pit of his heart-stomache and burst ouf his beak and flowed about his quetzal feather beard, his plumage blue and green and red.
Fhèrkifher for his part staggered away from the gunwale and plopping himself down before the children shivered and wrapped his arms about himself and wrinkled his fulvous mustache and puffed on his cigar. – Divine Emperor, empyrean Empress, let’s not mention any of this at all to Grandfather Thiêfhilos, alright, he tends to worry a bit and telling him we almost got blasted and crushed and devoured from ginormous growling vessels, that’s just the type of thing to concern him. –
– We don’t want to upset Grandpa – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted.
– Good, good, good – chanted Fhèrkifher. He cradled his head in his brow. The children were beginning to laugh, and when Fhèrkifher opened his eyen he could see that they were pointing unto a tiny flickering shape rising and bobbing a little, almost in an ichthyian fashion swaying in the winds, and Éfhelìnye was clapping and Puîyus was making a sound a little like khmàryor khmàryor khmàryor, and all could see that the grand lwúnìqte was sailing high within the starstrewn welkin and that Euqliîna and Qìtien and the fantastic rooster raptors and bagpipes and accordions were dangling off from it, and both of the Fhlùltekh were laughing all the while.
– Great, they get to have fun while the rest of us barely avoided getting incinerated – chanted Fhèrkifher. – Next time we ride the lwúnìqte ban-yip and they can sail on the experiment. –
– We need this mongrel, though – Xhnófho chanted. – It will be the only way to return to Grandfather Thiêfhilos in time. Anyway, it was his hest we’re following. –
The Qlùfhem vessel was swaying from side to side, it was finally making its way from the waves of flame, but Xhnófho remained at the helm while Fhèrkifher slipped downwards to ensure that the Children were fine, and he helped Puîyus and Éfhelìnye untie themselves from each other and from Ixhúja and the various coils that had managed to loop about Aîya’s triple heads, and brushing the rope away, the ship still spinning from side to side as it made its way unto the whispering mountains of the North Fhèrkifher chanted – It looks like the little golditressed Princess here has the right idea, both of you and your pet Traîkhiim khmeîs narāmun xabs I’m sending straight to bed after all this excitement. We have just a single chore to do first though. – Fhèrkifher was picking Aîya up and shaking some of the ropes right off from her and setting her down upon the deck and he added – We have some very basic although Qlùfheman accommodations within, I just hope you like sleeping on fhúkh tables and iekusyaqhàsqilo futons because that’s all we have. –
– We thank you, Uncle Fhèrkifher, for your guestkindliness, lazaerts gastameco khyòkhpi xenia – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted.
Fhèrkifher drew some of the ropes away from Puîyus and, puffing upon his cigar a little added – So, Master Puîyos, Íngìkhmar’s Son, Pirate Prince, tell me, you have another Princess don’t you! Puîyos, how many Princesses do you know, do we even have numbers that reach that high, perhaps base eleven scientific notation was invented just to enumerate such a sum. A better question, though, is how many Princess sweethearts do you have, my lad, kumārī acushla, etelletum jilöfäbils, rubātum dolĉulinoj Ynknyvu rud’u, lwòthyos lwénenàrja? –
Puîyus turned his face away from Fhèrkifher but not before a few sparkling blushes began to flow upon the side of the lad’s face, glistening reddening blysċan flowing outwards in waves rubescent, and he was trying to tell Fhèrkifher that this was Princess Ixhúja, Éfhelìnye’s cousin and most certainly not a lyaêrs at all karulino, but the blush was too hot for him to think of the right mews and quacks and purrs in the language of Qtheûnte the speech of wild creatures. Fhèrkifher just chuckled and blue out some slight blue and blewgrew smoke from his clove swìxa and scratched the back of his neck and thought YbikEd about all of the troubles the new Dynasty of the Sun was liable to have.
The empyreal battle was now several leagues away and Xhnófho was keeping the ship on a swift and fleet course away from it and o'er a few of the reefs and cliffs and winding fractal shorelines of the realms of Syapàkhya, and explosions continued to dance and wrack through the regions of the heavens, and looking down from the steering xermoâthe, stray and sparkling explosions arising all about them, and he looked down and chanted – Now that we’re out of immediate danger we must have needs to contact the Holy Grandfather. We told him we’d contact him the very moment we had the children. I think escaping from battle was a good excuse to put that off, but now we most certainly hav e time. –
– Yes yes yes – Fhèrkifher threw up his arms in surrender. – I can hardly believe that we just got finished talking to Grandfather Thiêfhilos’ shadow phonograph and now we actually have to talk to the honored geron himself. We’d better start, who knows whether the device will actually be able to echo through such a distance of energy and time. – Fhèrkifher drew out a couple of barrels and set them upon the center of the deck and laying a board upon it made a slight table, and he arranged other boxes and crates around it and gestured for the children to sit down. – I don’t know how long you’ll have to speak with him, he may just flicker into being and say, Good? Safe? And then disappear. Master Puîyos, Emperor of Tomorrow, I trust you still have the pàjhe apparatus on you, right? If you would please pull upon the silver key, than we shall see and sense what the honored Pápo has for us. –
Puîyus made sure that Éfhelìnye was seated and comfortable before he drew out the contraption and drew and pulled upon the silvern key, and the device began to flutter into life, light was sparkling about the orbs and ridges of it. Xhnófho looked up from the helm and was watching the explosions of battle, and making a few slight corrections in their heading he came slipping downwards and watched as the pàjhe spun around, and flowing out of it came images of moons waxing and crescent and waning, and a sea of milk white wherein seas and hills and heavens were reflected. Xhnófho and Fhèrkifher were leaning close together and watching as the light became halos bursting upwards.
– I can’t even gues how many spells are wrapped up in that thing, tqèlu xhmàfhromorn qhoârtya besparkling – Fhèrkifher whispered.
The apparatus spun and tick tock tick tocked a few times, and now bursting out from it arose waves of light crystallizing into growing stalagmites mounting upwards. The moonpatterns were all twisting and merging one into the other, white and gold dripping downwards and beaming in waves. Puîyus and Éfhelìnye were themselves sparkling in wonder, Puîyus thought the texture and saturation of the colors were very interesting and was curious as to the properties of the light, and felt inspired unto song, while Éfhelìnye began wonder about how the device itself functioned, the lenses and crystals within somehow focusing upon a point and drawing out images from afar, and little twining celia within humming like harp teudan and creating their own sound. It was a jhìntram forming before the children, a selenegram transmitted by moonlight, and slowly a white and diaphanous image formed before the children, the outline of face and ghostly spectacles. Within the lunascription flowing before their gaze came the face and shoulders of Grandfather Pátifhar, and a slight outline of the rest of his body and a sword lying upon the ground, and the old priest was kneeling upon a jhetlhoqoâxei prayer mat mkeka, and his entire body appeared formed out of moonmilk and white light, and boiling hisses arose from his whispy hair and sword, and behind Grandfather Pátifhar were passing a few Kháfha swordsmasters arising and flickering and then fading away. Behind the Sorcerer were several plenilunes bright and glowing, and the children could just barely see the outline of an open window and the movement of living ships rising and falling within the clouds.
Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho leaned towards the device and the jhìntram selenegram and speaking at the same time chanted – We have the Children. –
The Ancient One did not open his eyen but remained still in his meditation save for the smile creeping across his lips. – Thank the Holy Ása – came the voice of Grandfather Pátifhar, and the selenegram flickered a little, his words not quite matching his lips, so that sometimes the imagine sparkled and had to reform itself, and the voice was small and tinny as it came from the vibrations of the celia and coils within the device. – You will meet me at the coordinates where the Suns are setting at the fjords of Syapàkhya. You must reach there before the Caste Elders of the Qhíng or the Aûm Biomages arrive, for I am afraid that none of our alliest are completely worthy of trust. –
Grandfather Pátifhar’s eyen opened, they were flickering milk pools here in the light of the lunascription, and sometimes they just became a blur and then swirls of light dripping downwards, as the apparatus created and converted images from afar, a little like an imperial tyimpau drawing up sound and forming it back into words. Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho were peering down from one side, and Puîyus and Éfhelìnye from another and all were wondering at the motion of moons and light. From Grandfather Pátifhar’s side of the prayer mat ugakyk YknaⁿnabE the pirates and the children appeared as tiny dolls fashioned out of the movement of sand and dust, in fact they were more textures that images at all, so that Pátifhar felt that he could reach out and bat against them and communicate in more of an haptic fashion rather than by speaking words, and leaning towards the light he whispered – I am afraid that the Children are in extreme danger at the moment, and they will not be safe until they are either with me or with Sieur Íngìkhmar. –
– Honored Xhrenípole Mentor and revered Peróqhi Regent – Fhèrkifher began. – Captain Euqliîna, a friend of mine, and the acolyte Qìtien were taking care of the children, along with their rather excellent crew of pirates. They deserve all the honor. –
– I shall reward them all – came the vibrating and elegant voice of Grandfather Pátifhar, the words outpacing the milch image, the dreams of the picture flickering from side to side. – How soon can you return unto me? –
Xhnófho looked around and saw that the waves of the sky battle were drifting out closer untowards them all, the undulating war living ships approaching each other and beginning a new round of battle several leagues behind them o'er the screaming coral ruins of the seas. – Holy Man, we have a slight problem – the Qhíng warrior chanted. – There’s a bit of a battle consuming a big portion of these shores and threatening to draw us back into it, and our ship is already a bit overheated from so many translation and fractalization. Does anyone even know who these giant forces are? –
– I am afraid that … – Grandfather Pátifhar’s voice faded away along with his image and then returned and added – … no knowledge yet to these creatures. We know they are not the Frost Giants, who are surely extinct by now … nameless and vast … –
– Mew mew mew? – Puîyus asked, for he thought that they had to be the tribes of the Xakhpàlqe, and Princess Éfhelìnye nodded in agreement. Grandfather Pátifhar lifted up his fingers and made a few mudras and fading back chanted – Whatever the … my Sons, you must resolve this Problem. Hurry, for the future existence of the Land depends upon it. Here, the moonlight is fading away … see the children closer … – chanted Pátifhar as he leaned forwards, and became a growing orb of crystal light and white, and Puîyus and Éfhelìnye leaned forwards to see him better and be seen better. Pátifhar’s voice faded away and when it returned chanted – …. Very good to see you … no time at all. The blizzard is coming, and you must fleet. Puîyus, your Sisters are safe and in the company of the twin Duchesses … – Pátifhar’s face faded away but his words remained and chanted – … and you rFather is in battle with the Qhíng, just a few leagues away from me … first Ancestor … the Khlitsaîyart … – But already the moon transcriptions were breaking apart and becoming craters and light and wave gealach loergann maSwov trembling outwards. The Children leaned forwards all the closer and just longed to be reunited with their beloved Grandfather, to see his actual face face to face, to hear his real voice rather than echoes of it within string and metal. Princess Éfhelìnye was reaching outwards towards the bursting blossom of the selenegram, her fingers were twining within the light, the tremble of milk and moon. She reached out unto the jhìntram while all of the moons became eclipse behind the old Sorcerer and he added – … lo, weyr sign … Dragons attacking … – but already the moonlight faded away, and the device folded itself back up again, and its silvern keys slunk back into its sphere and rolled back, and everything was silent once again, and Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho arose to keep the ship spinning away and veering away as far away from the Xakhpàlqe battle as possible.
Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho arose, and Xhnófho drew out his sleeves so as to keep his tentacles a little bit warmer and clad, and Fhèrkifher blew upon his hands and slipped some threadbare gloves about his fingers, gloves that were completely open at his cudullen cudilen, and the pirates arose, and Xhnófho picked up Ixhúja and carried her down the ramps that lead into the storerooms of the vessel, while Fhèrkifher picked up Aîya and lead the children downwards. And they came into the inner rooms, and within the thrawn Aûm architecture where wall and ceiling and floor were all merged together, and the tables were crawling around in the center and cushions sprouting up legs and licking out blankets about them. – I don’t think any these were intended as beds for the children of Xhámi – Fhèrkifher chanted. – In fact, I don’t even think this quick ship was even finished before the War of Heaven began, the edges of wheels of it seem just too frayed and undone, but this shall be suitable unto you. –
Xhnófho set Princess Ixhúja down on a table and drew a blanket about her. – Stupid Qlùfhem! Idiot Qlùfhem! Can’t even make a proper bed, a proper wthaîthwu bath-bed for maggots. Ye all are still young enough to sleep in water, right? You don’t sleep on solid ground yet, do you? –
– They’ll adapt – chanted Fhèrkifher.
– Mew mew mew? – asked Puîyus.
– Puey wants to know whether he should stay up and stand on watch to protect us all – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted.
– No, Xhnófho and I shall stay on guard –Fhèrkifher chanted. He pressed his hand upon Ixhúja’s brow to bless her, and Xhnófho arose and bowed down a few times towards her, for now that the urgency of battle was fading away, the Pirates were made aware that they were only servants to the Crystalline Throne and Starburst Crown, and it would be best for them to remember to bow before the children.
Éfhelìnye set Aîya down upon a table and looking around in the cabin drew up some pipes and phials and chanted – I think I shall be able to perform a few experiments in here. –
Fhèrkifher and Xhnófho fell upon their faces and began to crawl away from the children, and Fhèrkifher chanted – Do as you will, but you must get some rest, oh Empress of tomorrow. Your servants depart now to sail this ship. Blessed and creative be the names of Puîyos and Éfhelìnye, the twin scion of the new House of the Sun. –
– Oh hope, oh salt, oh wave, oh moonlight of the Qhóng! – gasped Xhnófho. – Forgive the meager attempts at service which are all that the Àrkelor Àrqhing Àrqhong can offer ye-unto-de. – And the two pirates continued to crawl backwards in their ritual kowtowing and soon came slipping out through the doors, and drifting down about the lintels came webs and growing filaments, and the pirates returned unto the deck and before the great spangle of the dight Stars, and they watched the turning of the smaragd constellations and the place where the Suns set at the edge of Syapàkhya.
And so Puîyus gathered up the blankets and drew a few of them o'er Ixhúja, and she rolled o'er a little and purrrrrred a little in her sleep and scratched and reached for cushions and leaves which only existed in the dreams dancing in her head, and drew out other blankets for the rest of the tables in order to prepare a place for Princess Éfhelìnye. He lay down and set his eyen half closed to watch her, for Éfhelìnye was bouncing around and did not appear ready for sleep right now, but rather was gathering all of the bowls and dishes she could find and was playing with the equipment and drawing out lenses and focusing. She took out the phial from her pocket and setting it down before the glassen eyen tried to analyse the blue Unicorn saliva that she had collected. – I may have to wait for some rather more sophisticated equipment so that I can see the liquids and helical structures within. – She took out a small needle and opening up the phial set the needle within and drew out some of the monocerous spittle upon a fresh dish and examining it chanted – The Xeriîqe were doing something with the ytrapped Traîkhiim souls, and it had to be more than just using them as a power source, for surely that is not the most efficient way to utilize photonic energy. There must be other qualities within the souls that they needed. Plus the unicorns were themselves interesting, the Fhàjhati were forming themselves out of squares and rectangles floating upwards. The Xeriîqe were geniuses datuväls gwUvu qhèniel, what were they actually attempting? –
Puîyus watched Éfhelìnye as she fiddled with her experiments for about an hour or so, and after a time, drawing no closer to the secrets of the Xeriîqe Pwénejhis she set the disques and lenses aside and drew out some sheets of paper and pencil and crayons, and sketched out the outline of the spinning Qlùfhem experiment in the midst of the crashing boms, and Puîyus and Fhèrkifher were fighting back to back, their swords an arcing blue, the bombs seeking to capture them, and Xhnófho navigating out of the trice-dimensional flame clouds. Éfhelìnye sketched out several different versions of the battle in pencil and colored in a few of them, and then made a more detailed version in pen, and after a time she yawned and fluttered her eyelids and began to lean forwards evein the middle of her drawings. The pictures of the thousand cityships crashing together was the same as the blur of battle from the windows of the chamber. And as Princess Éfhelìnye leaned o'er and fell asleep, Puîyus got up and set her down upon an unfolding fhukhùnthe and set Aîya down beside her and drew blankets about them all so that they could sleep and dream of pirates and the thousand cityships crashing together here within the midnight of the worlds. And Puîyus watched them in their sleep for a time and crept up unto the deck and watched the dissipation of the clouds and the growing expanse of violet and black, and the Stars spread out cold and balletic throughout the whispering mountains of Syapàkhya and the ruins of once great nations that had dwelt there.

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