Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Unwelcome Rumor

Several leagues away the weyrs of the whales were rising and falling through the cloudbanks, and Princess Éfhelìnye was holding onto the head of the elder whale and gazing outwards and seeing something which only she had forseen before, as the crippled and broken vessels of the Qhíng and the Aûm were all firing at the same heartbeat, and Puîyus was somehow able to fight high within the burning boreal winds and ride upon the edge of the fire and smite the Dragons. For long ago, when she was all alone within the Hidden Gardens Pwátlhu, and had to occupy her imagination with drawing and in the creation of her own words, and had to create a language all for herself to express only what she could see, she had drawn Puîyus battling high within the septentrional streams, fires licking upwards about him in loops and tounges, the Dragons swooping all about him, a few strands of his hair slipping from side to side in wild delight, his face smudged, blossoms of orange and red and black leaping about him, and the Dragons kept turning their faces away from him as if afraid to look into his eyen. It was this last detail which made her the most curious, especially after all the times when she herself had almost fallen into the memorial pools which were the Dragon’s eyen and when she herself had had to warn Puîyus and save him from falling into the derk gaze, for Puîyus’ eyen she found to be beautiful and innocent ad only even rarely filled with mischief, his eyen were oceans of blue, waves and sky and ice tumbling together, she found his eyen pinpilinpauxa delightful, she liked to watch the movement of the blue, the very variety of it all, sometimes the blue changed even as she was gazing upon it, as if little storms and blue grasses and brilliant gardens themselves were blossoming somewhere deep within. She often thought, even before she had actually met Puîyus incarnate, the boy of his dreams, when in comet light he had come crashing down into the Gardens dragonswept and flameguarded where she had dwelt for most of her life, that she would be quite content indeed just to gaze upon his wonderous face and to sink into his marvelous eyen and to guess whatever it was that he was thinking, what mystery, what memory, what music lay within, yes sometimes she thought that his eyen were part of song itself and she could just lie back and float in the marvel of it all. How strange it must be, then, for a creature as mighty as a Dragon to be afraid of eyen so beautiful and so full of life?
– But he’s still not conquering – Princess Éfhelìnye chanted unto the whales rising and falling through the clouds. – He’s driving a few away, he’s wounding them, but the Dragons still remain, and if we nothing eventually they will be able to fall upon the soldiers and burst into Jaràqtu. There must be something else which we can do. – The pollen multicolored continued to fall, some of it was swirling about her tresses in great loops, some of it was falling upon the whale’s head and as she brushed it from side to side flickers of reds and blues were drifting upwards and were become dancing shadows. One of her fingers reached out unto the rainbow necklace about her throat, the rainbow, the pollen, the Dragons, the rainbow steps that lead up unto the Crystalline Throne, all of them were somehow connected to fertility and life and the House of the Sun. She looked upwards through the winds and was not at all sure whence the pollen was originating, it seemed a little strange that none of the soldiers nor Dragons nor wild beasts nor Puîyus himself were at all curious as to the endless cascades of pollen which was filling everything in the winds and sticking almost unto everything save burning flame and her own person. The whales were having to beat their tails from side to side all the harder so as to keep pathways pollenless free for the whales behind them, and indeed the elders at the front of the pod were cresting upwards and plowing so as to help the smaller and the younger. Éfhelìnye sniffled a little when she inhaled some pollen and sneezing it out started a few of the young whales who began spinning upon their backs and paddling upside down. Éfhelìnye looked upwards as she wrinkled her nose and saw that a single streak of light was descending just a few miles away from them, and bursting out from it came both fire and feathers, and so unusual was it that she could not wrench her eyen away from it.
– Do you know what that is? – she asked the whales. – I did not think that long-haired comets should be so tiny and so ifeathered, so it must be something else, dancing and plummeting in the winds. –
The whales were all shrugging and wondering one to another, the moans of their song arising into an interrogative register, but the whales were not about to wait and ask to be commanded, and the elders made their slow way sideways and began to bubble and arise through the streams of the pollen, their tails rising and falling and kicking the dust outwards in sparkles of aurora borealis, and all about them in ripples of blue and green light the sky was burning, as the whales began to turn away from where Puîyus and Prince Kherènxhuqhe were grappling one against the other, and the fireworks were glaring and opening, and stray ripples of flame came bursting outwards. A few of the smaller and sleeker whales broke apart from the flock and came trickling upwards and were following the long descent of the feathers, it was a small crystalline object and rippling away from it were flicks of flayed egg and bone. As the whales began to near it, and Éfhelìnye grew all the more curious, she arose from the head of the bull and came running down his length and landed upon the back of the next high-finned whale, and looking around saw the passage of some smaller whales spinning about her, and jumping upwards she slipped upon the tail of the next whale and drew herself upwards up its length and found that the crystal ovoid was rushing down right up towards them, and she ran out and leaned out upon the very tip of her toes in a position which only a ballerina could keep without tumbling o'er into the windy abyss, and spreading out the tips of her fingers as far as she could she caught in her hands the egg of glass, and the clouds of feathers burst all about her, and she drew the egg close unto herself and embraced it, for it was cold to the touch even though it had been turning and burning throughout the cold chaos of the Northwind.
She slipped up upon the dome of the whale and sitting taylor style began to examine the ovoid, it was like a seed she thought, at least in the general shape, enridged and engrooved like one at any rate, although the texture of it was soft and covered in cobwebs and a living woven glass such as she had seen before in the khyitsèrkhwu chrysalis cocoons which the the Traîkhiim folk weave from time to time and which she had seen in a great sea in the caverns of the Qhíng mandate, the Traîkhiim whom long ago the Emperor her Father had lulled into a deep sleep and who had come back to life when she had snuck within to investigate, and Puîyus had come trapsing after her to protect her from herself. The seed was reminding her more and more of such cocoons, and indeed as she held it, it began to grow larger and was pulsating with doubled heartbeats. It was as if someone had designed a seed which would have some of the properties of a chrysalis, or even perhaps the memories of what the chrysales used to be, a mixture composite ŝellō’mazzāl of seed and glass. She brushed her hands all about it, the heartbeat was growing all the more rapid, the chrysalis a little larger, and the outer webs were dissolving and become feathers her in her grasp, and as she plucked up the feathers and examined them they looked just like Traîkhiim ones. At once she reached to her belt and took out a small box and began to scrape some of the feathers away, she wanted a mixture of the larger already shed ones and the medium ones which were still growing and the tiny fluffy down still of glass, she could examine this later and make conclusions about what this object could be. It was growing warmer, and the chrysalis kicked against her. She hugged it again. Then it occurred to her how happy Puîyus would be if indeed this ended up being a khyitsèkhwin and a Traîkhiim came fluttering outwards, for she knew that the small Triîm folk held a special place in his heart, the mansuete and balletic Traîkhiim Triîm Tlhiîmen Lwíkhlim Lyíkham Xhlúnakh Khìxhis Qíperis Pèqlor. She reached out and kissed the seed, and within came the red glow of bone and coral and the movement of wings.
The seed began to split, and at once Éfhelìnye set it down so as to give the creature enough room. She wanted to help it, but she did not wish to frighten what lay within, she knew that her Father had already removed all fertility from the Land, so no trees were blooming, all flowers were dead, and no wild beasts were reproducing, no eggs were hatching, and so the shivering and crackling of this seed glass was not a proper birth at all, but still was quite marvelous to her sight. She pulled away at some of the webs, and some of the smaller pieces she wrapped about her fingers and placed in folds of papyrus to preserve them for future studies, perhaps she’ll be able to learn all sorts of secrets from whatever this seed ended up being, and then later she could rebuild the wind up toys from memory and then draw some more pictures of this sky battle and then later on write it all out as some marvelous story to share with Puîyus. But for now, the seed broke apart, and shafts of white light came spilling out from it, and a couple of hand-feet were crawling out of the breaking eaves of it and struggling to grasp upon something.
Two strouthian heads came drawing upwards and were each blinking a large and single eye. One head was soft green and was blinking a large black eye and trying to focus, and slowly in droopsdrips and coils feathers were descending about the head, and the other head was ducking outwards and opening a large white eye with pink pupils within, and red feathers were flowing downwards.
– Were just dead question? – Fhólus asked.
– Having no idea – Aîya whispered. – Ancestors dancing unto all sides. Lots of song. Very merry. –
– Your heads stuck in my wings. –
– Your wings stuck in my heads. –
– We’re all stuck together. –
– Making us khórlkhi, water siblings supposing. –
Slowly two more of Aîya’s heads began to draw out of the cracks of the chrysalis seed, and Fhólus’ wings began to unfold about his water sibling, and as the webs of the seed began to shatter, twice three heads slowly began to turn upon their serpentile roots, and Fhólus and Aîya looked around and saw that Princess Éfhelìnye was lying down next to them and smiling and watching the hatching.
– Ah! A little privacy please! – Fhólus cried out. – Private matter, family only! –
– Don’t we know you? – asked Aîya.
– Spying on us all the time, probably want to lick our wings and eat the shell … –
– Are you our parent? –
– No, parents the ones we eat, the ones who hatch us are uncle aunt cousin. –
– Are you our uncle aunt cousin? –
– What a silly question. Does she look Traîkhiim? –
– Well? –
– Having no idea, can’t remember so well. –
– You do look familiar, no? –
Fhólus’ three heads and Aîya’s three heads turned around and regarded each other, and suddenly, as their eyen flashed with rememberance, they wrapped their wings about each other and cried – It’s she the one the she she she she! How do we look? Probably all gooey and eggy! Oh, we’re all dirty before her! –
– I don’t mind, really, please don’t make a fuss for me – Éfhelìnye chanted, and she reached out and drew her arms about Fhólus and Aîya and drew them out of the seed goop, and the chrysalis shattered into webs of glass ice and began disintergrating.
– She’s touching us! She’s touching us! – Fhólus squeaked.
– Be nonchallent,suave. So, she Empress, but no panic – Aîya hissed.
– Oh Theá, Dea, Ais, Eis! –
– Oh Nǚshén Megami, oh Cælestial one! –
– What’s her name? –
– Can’t remember! Probablem with being dead or half dead or partially dead, awakening from the dream, remembering the remember of remember! –
– Just call her Empress! –
– What type of name is that! –
– My name is Éfhelìnye – the Princess chanted.
– Excuse us, having a discussion here – Aîya chanted.
– A little privacy please! – Fhólus gasped.
– Sorry – Éfhelìnye chanted.
– Remember, she going to be Empress of all the worlds! Number One Head, she running all the igluit and fungal farms – Fhólus whispered.
– The new holy mother of the nests – Aîya nodded. – Do you think she’ll notice the blood and egg on us? –
– We’ll just pretend it’s normal. Do you think she knows we’re only slaves? –
– Let’s not mention it. Maybe she’ll forgot. –
– Ixney on the Aveslay Ebellionray. –
– Eh? –
– Let’s not mention that whole slave rebellion fiasco. –
– Won’t mention a thing! Been too busy fluttering about other Triîm and Unicorns et all! –
– Unicorns! Other Traîkhiiim! Marvelous! – Fhólus giggled.
Éfhelìnye was gathering up the rest of the chrysalis and salvaging what she could. She was glad to have both Fhólus and Aîya back, she thought that the Traîkhiim were quite an adorable if scatterbrained folk. She was folding up some bits of crystal when Aîya chanted – We were all dead and trapped by the Xeriîqe, they feeding off of our soul energies! –
– Horrible – coughed Fhólus.
– But the Empress resurrected us! –
– It’s good to keep her around, she can be quite useful. – Fhólus fluttered his wings about and began to arise into the air, and was helping Aîya up to her feet and helping her to begin her volitation. – Alwas useful to have an Empress on our side. Very pretty, very smart, a lot like her Mother but in a smaller prettier package. – Éfhelìnye’s face was turning a slight pink shade, she was not sure how she should respond when others compared her to her Mother, and sometimes compliments made her a little uncomfortable. She tried to fit the pieces of glass together in her hands, but glancing around she could see that Fhólus was definitely in the cycle of being tsenatriîmoxha male, for his eyen were dark and his feathers were triangular and sharp, while Aîya was most certainly soft and triîmexhil female, her eyen pink and white, her three necks and triple wings graceful, and she sighed to see the way that they were helping each other to flutter upwards and were wrapping their legs about each other, and almost flying as of a single reach.
– Oh yes quite an advanture Empress and I were having with the monsters and the fractal maze – Aîya chanted. – Plus there was battle high in the air, and we Traîkhiim ate an entire pirate ship, and there were pirates all o'er the place, and we came fluttering outwards in an egg, and I asked Puîyos to marry me because he very cute, and then the Dragons attacked and were burning everything, but I was the only one not scared. –
– Really? – asked Fhólus.
– Oh quite yes see Puîyos all weepy and crying and the Empress was terrified but I chanted, Oh don’t fret I’ll fight the Dragon and I did and we won and that’s how we got here. –
– And we got into a single egg? –
– I must have been asleep at the time. –
Éfhelìnye was struggling to insert the glass pieces into each others’ joints, now that the chrysalis was shattered it was not quite hooking together in vines as it once did. She glanced up at Fhólus as she worked with this labyrinth puzzle of glass and chanted – Now I haven’t seen you since we fled from my Father’s throne room and were taken away in the fleet of the most honored Aûm. What have you been doing Fhólus. –
– Nothing – chanted Fhólus.
– Nothing at all? –
– Eating and sleeping. Does that count? –
– Did you see any battle? Any brave heroes? Beautiful princesses? Any stories to tell? –
– Mostly I been hanging around with Puîyos’ other wife. –
Éfhelìnye accidently slit her wrist open and dropped the glass pieces, and they came slipping right out of her grasp and shattered in a brilliant array. At once Fhólus and Aîya darted backwards in their flight, and the Dragon that was holding their reared up a little.
– Are you okay, Empress? – asked Fhólus.
– Nasty cut! – gasped Aîya.
– I’m so sorry, I don’t think I heard you right – Éfhelìnye whispered through clenched teeth. She grew out a bit of hankerchief and began wrapping it about her wrist, but still the blood was coming. Few things in life she found as annoying as when she was cut or worse still had accidently cut herself, for sometimes her blood had difficulty in stopping and forming qhutyóyis clots. She considered herself fortunate to be graceful enough to to bring too many accidents down upon herself, but still sometimes the blade or ice or glass would slip. Her free hand grasped her bleeding wrist, but soon both hands were being coveredin blood. – Would you please tell me again what you chanted? –
– Nasty cut! – gasped Aîya.
– Are you okay, Empress? – asked Fhólus.
– What did you say before that? – asked Éfhelìnye.
– A little privacy, please! – chanted Fhólus.
– Let’s not mention that whole slave rebellion fiasco – Aîya offered.
– What did you say about Puey? – Éfhelìnye asked.
– Nothing! – chanted Fhólus. – Haven’t seen him in long time. –
– Yeah, I be with Puîyos, he cute. I want to eat him up – chanted Aîya.
– I been hanging with Puîyos’ other wife, that’s all – Fhólus chanted.
Éfhelìnye was beginning to pant. Her head was throbbing. Suddenly she found it difficult to breathe. She pressed one hand to her brow, she was not even paying attention to the blood flowing down freely, so that a smear of red was now forming upon her face. She tried to take a few steps forwards but felt light on her feet.
– Not looking so good! – gasped Aîya.
– Carry her up! – cried Fhólus.
The Traîkhiim at once rushed forwards and wrapped their limbs about Éfhelìnye’s shoulders, and none too soon because she was already stumbling downwards. Their wings kept her from falling down, and slowly the Traîkhiim began to draw her downwards so that she could sit down, and Fhólus leaned against her to proper her upwards, and Aîya licked the Princess’ face and tried to keep her comfortable.
– You not well, you should rest for a time – Aîya chanted.
– Yeah, when last time you smoke the holy weed? – asked Fhólus. – Nothing clear the mind like a good pipe smoke. –
– She too young for that. Look at her, she still a baby. –
– Really? She a big baby, bigger than we! –
– To her kind, still little. We have to take care of her. –
– Maybe Puîyos’ other wife can take care of her a little. She very nice to Fhólus. –
– That good, we should find her for the Empress – Aîya whispered.
– Still bleeding, that ungood. –
Éfhelìnye cradled her face in her hands, she was biting her lips and swaying from side to side and telling herself, I shall not cry I refuse to cry I will no cry I forbid myself to cry, and she choked down her sobs and tried to think about Fhólus’ revelation with a rational mind, after all she had been instructed by a xhraulairíta, a scholar of Khrumaîna, one of the most talented and clever of his generation, the skol’ami Jhakúpa Khrunàlto Khreûyeil Tònxhiin whom as a tiny child she had hight Great-Uncle Táto, at the very least she could try to think in the logical manner he had instructed her. Fhólus was an alien and not only any alien but a Traîkhiim, his thoughts and words did not quite correspond to the Færie and moreover he sometimes confused age and gender and estate of the Færie, he was just as likely to confuse Puîyus with anyone else, and what did a Traîkhiim even mean by wife, the Traîkhiim marry in their deaths and ritually feast upon each other, they did not even have the concept of matrimony that others have. See, isn’t it better to think of things in a logical manner? Fhermáta would have wanted me to remain calm and adult. I’ll find Siêthiyal and Karuláta, they’ll tell me the truth of the situation. And if I have to take vengeful justice, they’ll help me do what I must do to keep Puey mine for ever. They’ll like my Sisters, they have to help me. And Ixhúja … she will not hesitate for an unpleasant task.
Éfhelìnye shuddered, she was glad she was forbidding herself to weep, she wanted to hear what Fhólus had to say. She looked down and saw that for some reason both of her wrists were bleeding. The pain was probably excruxiating, but she was not actually feeling it right now, with calm hands she began to reset the bandages about her and willed her mind to calm its seas of doubt.
– Are you sure you okay, Empress? – Aîya asked.
– I’m quite well, thank you – Éfhelìnye chanted.
– You don’t look so well. Sleep now? You took care of me and Fhólus when sleeping, we take care of you now. –
– Puey is fighting, my Puey, my Puey alone for ever and mine, and I must help him, I must find aw ay to save him, my beautiful and precious and wonderous Puey mine mine mine mine. I will stay awake now. –
– Yes, of course, Empress. – Aîya fluttered away from Fhólus, she nodded an head towards him, and both of them began to back away and falling upon their knees began kowtowing before Éfhelìnye all the while and became as small and meek as they could.
– We your slaves, oh Empress – Fhólus and Aîya chanted together.
– I need to talk to you, Fhólus – Éfhelìnye. – I would like to have a little discussion with you. –
Fhólus and Aîya each opened a single eye and looking to each other blinked and whispered – Don’t remember which one of us is Fhólus! Maybe we both Fhólus! –
– I will speak to the male Traîkhiim – Éfhelìnye.
– Don’t remember which one of us the Namer! – Fhólus and Aîya whispered to each other.
– The … the green one … – Éfhelìnye offered.
– Don’t remember which one the … –
Éfhelìnye burst out into tears. She couldn’t help it, she could only remain xhmajémpikh rational for so long, especially when she was thinking about Puîyus, until her heart started quivering with love, and part of her just went crazy. She did not wish to cry in front of the Traîkhiim, and she tried to stop and hide her face again, but Fhólus and Aîya both drew up their faces and were gaping in fear and wonder to see the future Empress so upset. At once Fhólus and Aîya started nudging each other with their wings.
– You say something! –
– No you say something! –
– I? –
– I? –
– You chanted something! –
– No you chanted something. –
– She upset, the Empress. –
– She very upset. –
– She crying, the Empress. –
– Big tears, very crying. –
– Someone cried her. –
– Must be some non Traîkhiim Triîmaxúng upset her. –
– Or a Qhíng. –
– Stupid Qhíng. –
The tears that were falling from Éfhelìnye’s face were bright and crystalline, they were trickling between her fingers and spilling down her hands and mixing with her hands which were still bleeding from her accident. She tumbled down unto her side and and continued weeping all the louder and moaned out – Oh Puey! What is happening! How can this be? –
Fhólus and Aîya looked to each other in alarum, the Elders had warned Fhólus to find the new Empress and to learn wisdom at the hand-feet of the new Emperor, and Aîya had heard about the old Pèqloran prophecies that children would lead them unto freedom and from the bondage of the Qhíng and the Aûm, but neither of them were prepared for tears. Aîya whispered – Are we supposed to do something? – but Fhólus just wriggled his wings. She came trotting up to Éfhelìnye and started licking her fingers, but Éfhelìnye just curved up into a little tight coil and was shivering a little, and if Puîyus were not so busy in fighting the Dragons above, she would have called out his name and asked him to hold and comfort her.
– Fhólus? – whispered Éfhelìnye.
– Who? – asked Fhólus.
– Come here. Let me hold you. –
– Okay, but I’m not falling or broken. – He trotted up to her, and Éfhelìnye swept him up into her arms and held him tight, and just rocked a little and let her tears fall upon him.
– It will be alrightsome, oh Empress – Aîya chanted. – You probably just have an ache in your gizzard. How’s your gizzard feeling? Got a good gizzard pumping in there? Can’t pump your xhepánga citrus without a good gizzard. –
– Maybe she no have an heart-gizzard – Fhólus wondered.
– That’s the grossest thing I’ve e'er heard – chanted Aîya. – Next you’ll be saying no coral in her bones! –
– Fhólus? – whispered Éfhelìnye.
– Is that I me us them? – asked Fhólus.
– What’s she like? –
– Pardon? –
– Who is she? –
Fhólus spun his heads about and one of his wings jabbed to the left. – Aîya, she nice and pretty, good wings, lovely sense of humor, like to flutter on the ice flats, couldn’t think of a better person in whose seed to be reborn. –
– Oh, so kind – chanted Aîya. – But very true, I’m gorgeous I am. –
– No, not she – chanted Éfhelìnye. – Tell me about Puîyos’ other wife. –
– Puîyos has another wife? – asked Fhólus. – When did this happen? – Puîyus bent his heads down in consideration and was sucking on his teeth, his longer finger feathers tapping together. For a moment Éfhelìnye’s heart was stilling, she was gaining control again, she did not feel as sick as she did before, perhaps everything was fine. Sometimes the Traîkhiim just managed to confuse themselves in quite a wild array, or they tended to confuse their stories, or their point of view was so altogether muddied that who could hope to understand them, why they thought about dancing all the time, perhaps they were thinking about one of Puîyus’ Sisters, but who can say? – As far as I know, Puîyos just have the two wives, you the Empress and the other damsel – chanted Fhólus. – Does he have a third? –
Éfhelìnye’s eyen snapped open. A few streaks of Dragon fire were mounting high behind her, as the Qhíng and Aûm were aiming their bombs right untowards Puîyus, as he offered themselves as sacrifice unto the Dragon tribes. She reached outwards and grabbed one of Fhólus’ heads between her two hands and squeezing it a little whispered – I want to know everything about this damsel who you claim to be Puey’s other wife. Tell me now! –
– Ah … – Fhólus considered for a moment. – Remembering a little difficult. –
– Who is she! –
– Aîya! –
– The other maiden! Concentrate! –
– It hurts … –
– Tell me now! –
– She very pretty and very warm, she like Fhólus a lot. Oh, long golden hair, and I’ve bitten her hair and chewed it even though she doesn’t want me to I kept messing it up. See I was in her room and sleeping in her sheets and the room was really cold the Qlùfhem masters kept it cold they like the cold I like the cold you like the cold your hands are cold and it hurts me I wandered away but the old reptilian Mad Scientist found me and hurt me too and it was cold until I found Aîya. But the other wife was warm and beautiful. Pretty. Younger than you, I think. –
– Is that so? –
– Ur … thinking so … –
– Tell me more about her. Why do you claim she’s Puey’s wife! When did this happen, I’ve been with Puey all this time, we’ve had to go through my Mother’s Cenotaph, through a war zone with insane pirates and crashing clockwork pyramids, we’ve endured Dragons and horrors, how dare you claim that some other virgin has any right to him, do you have any idea what you’re saying! –
– It hurts, you squeeze! –
– Tell me more! Was there a betrothal rite! –
– I don’t know! –
– How can you not know! –
– Please, Empress, divine one … don’t understand you aliens. There were big elders and they’re all big and scary and I was afraid, so I usually spend time with the Sisters, they very nice. The one let me play with her toys and rest in her lap, and the other one had candy hidden in her pockets and gave some to me. Very nice and warm. But the Elders are all, We have these big plans and big dance and you have to dance to our rhythm, and other other Elders saying, No we have new rhythm new dance and you can dance only one or the other. And I say, we can all dance together, and then we have peace! –
– That’s what I say – Aîya nodded.
– Are you saying that the Elders were arranging a marriage? – asked Éfhelìnye.
– Um … don’t know. There was fire and whooping and whooshing and whirling. And food. And then the Dragon came swooping down, and soldiers scattering, but I very brave I stayed the whole time and not scared at all only just a little. –
– Tell me about her. –
– About Aîya? –
– Tell me about Puey’s other wife! –
– This really hurts! – Fhólus squealed. His three wings were beating back and forth so hard that they were almost slapping against Éfhelìnye, and his other two heads were gasping for air all the while and struggling. – I don’t know anything at all! All a blur, a dream! I think at some point a writ from the Ptètqiikh. Pages, papers, charts. All very Qhíng speak. No? –
– Tell me her name! –
– Aîya? –
– The bride’s name! Not Aîya, Puey’s other bride! –
– Don’t remember! –
– When will you remember! –
– Don’t know! I was dead or asleep or … plus have mercy on me! –
– Tell me what you know! –
– She loves him very much! She used to hold me and rock me and tell me … –
– Puey is mine! I love him and no one else may! E'er! No one! He belongs to me! –
– I’m sorry Empress I don’t know what to say! I’m all squeezed! – Fhólus began to weep now with all three of his heads, and Éfhelìnye was shaking back and forth in uncontrollable lamentation, her vision was so blurred by tears that Fhólus’ faces were all breaking apart in prisms of water. Aîya drew herself upwards and rested herself in Éfhelìnye’s lap. Éfhelìnye wiped her tears away and found that she was almost choking Fhólus, and she just burst out into deeper tears and gathered him up into her arms and fell downwards and wept. Fhólus recovered in a moment, he was more scared than hurt, and was afraid to offend the one who would bring peace to his people, but he had no idea what he had done which had upset the new Empress so. He and Aîya crawled up to Éfhelìnye and licked her fingers and hands and found them salty, and they wiped her face clear with their tounges, and at last the Princess began to have her fill of weeping, and Fhólus and Aîya wriggled up next to her and snuggled closer and wrapped their wings about her.
– We apologuise for angering you, oh Empress – Fhólus whispered. – We just stupid tnoaqteûpa slaves, don’t know anything, don’t even have proper brains. –
– Yes, we very stupid and not too tasty at all – Aîya chanted. – You should beat us. –
– Yes, beat us and kick us and call us stupid. –
– And rotten funguses. And stinky. –
– We’re very stinky. –
– I still have egg on my wings. –
– You’re not stupid – Éfhelìnye chanted and she hugged both of the Traîkhiim close to herself. – I find the Traîkhiim to have amazing resources of strength and wit and wisdom. –
– Notice she didn’t deny that we’re stinky – chanted Fhólus.
– Plus egg on our wings – Aîya nodded.
– I we they humble and sorry and beg to be forgiven – chanted Fhólus.
– We don’t know they I we know what chanted wrong – chanted Aîya.
– It’s nothing – chanted Éfhelìnye. – I’m just afraid. –
– Oh wait! Remembering! Remembering! – chanted Fhólus. – In the back of my brains! Aîya, hit my heads! –
– Noggin beating commencing – Aîya chanted.
– Hit me us them! –
– Take that! –
– Ow ow ow ow ow! –
– This looks painful – chanted Éfhelìnye grimacing.
– Oh, I’m not hurt at all – Aîya chanted as her three wings beat against Fhólus’ heads.
– I meant painful for Fhólus – Éfhelìnye chanted.
– Ow ow ow ow ow! –
– Just trying to crack his egg brains open and scoop out the knowledge – chanted Aîya. – Harmless stuff, really. –
– Oh this hurt far more than it looks! – Fhólus moaned.
– This is really not necessary … – Éfhelìnye shuttered.
– Got it got it got it got it! – Fhólus cried.
– Got it? – asked Aîya.
– For more strikes for good luck. –
– Okay. –
– Ow! Ooh, that smarts. –
– Sorry. –
– Permanent brain damage. Okay. Anything to serve the new Empress. – Fhólus spun his triple dizzied and slightly bruised heads around, a few loose feathers tumbling down his brow, his eyen wild and dizzy, his whisp-ears in a disarray, and looking up to Éfhelìnye he blinked a few times and chanted – Aloha! Do I know you? –
– My name is Éfhelìnye – the Princess chimed.
– That my name too! – Fhólus gasped. – Amazing coincidence. Maybe twins, no? –
– I don’t think it worked – chanted Aîya.
– Wait wait! Remembering! Remembering. Something. A little privacy, please! – chanted Fhólus.
– As long as no one mention the whole slave rebellion scandal we all fine – Aîya chanted
– Let’s see, battle at the quays, lots of big elders, stinky Qhíng, scary Aûm, some cannons firing –Fhólus was murmuring unto himself. – And I hanging around with Puîyos’ younger and prettier wife. Ah, that’s it! I remember her name. –
– Aîya? – asked Aîya.
– No. At least don’t think so. Hight for flower. Siêthiyal! Yes. Pink flower. That’s her name – Fhólus nodded all three of his heads and grinned with large white teeth.
Éfhelìnye sighed in relief. Her heart was stilling. She smiled. – Why that’s the name of Puey’s Sister, you’ve been staying with her, haven’t you? You don’t understand the way that families work among us Færie. Just because she is a being of about Puey’s same age and of the opposite sex doesn’t make her his wife, they were born of the same parents. –
– Aîya and I born together, in the same seed – chanted Fhólus. – Does that make us Siblings? –
– No no no, you had differenet parents – chanted Éfhelìnye. – That’s why the Elders commanded you two to be sweethearts. –
– No me – chanted Aîya. –Puîyos is cute beautiful I want to marry him. Fhólus, pack your feathers and go. I got me a real Traîkhiim with Puîyos. –
– That’s not quite how it works – chanted Éfhelìnye.
– Isn’t Puîyos the one who have twin who not a twin and who not even related to his own female parent? –
– It’s a little complicated. –
Fhólus was sucking on his teeth and chanted – I know I spent lots of time with Siêthiyal. Cute and pink. Very nice to me, she fed me beneath the table and gave me errands to run and paid me in candy and threats and blackmail. –
Éfhelìnye rubbed her face against Fhólus and although she was no longer upset began crying again. – I’m so sorry I was squeezing you, I didn’t mean to hurt you, I promise I didn’t. –
– That okay, Empress never need to apologuise to us dirt slaves – chanted Fhólus.
– We us them honored to be strangled – chanted Aîya.
– I get strangled three times a day. –
– Sometimes four for me. –
– If I do become Empress I’ll still apologuise to my servants, I should have been more careful and taken better care of you – Éfhelìnye chanted. – I just get nervous sometimes when I think about my Puey. I don’t know what comes o'er me sometimes. –
– You be united with Puîyos and his family and his aníta àqaqhe pàxhmo nestlings, right, balu jytu znaft! – Aîya cooed.
– Yes, I can’t wait to see Siêthiyal and Karuláta again – chanted Éfhelìnye. – They should just be beyond the Northwind in Jaràqtu. –
– That’s it! Remembering her name, Puîyos’ other wife! – gasped Fhólus. – Her name Fhólus! I man Éfha! I mean … no, wrong names. Akhlísa! That’s it! All in white and gold. Maze. Flowers. The crowds intoning her name. A-khlí-sa! A-khlí-sa! A-khlí-sa! I think they also chanting for me when I not looking Fhó-lus! Fhó-lus! Fhó-lus! But still have to be modest! –
– Oh you silly little snowflake, Akhlísa is the name of Puey’s foster Sister – Éfhelìnye chanted. – You’ve just very confused, you were staying with Siêthiyal and Karuláta, weren’t you? –
– Who Karuláta? – asked Fhólus.
– That’s one of her other names – Éfhelìnye chanted. – Her foster Father couldn’t quite decide and just gave her as many names as he could invent. People her own age tend to call her Karuláta or Kàrula and then people who are older or in a more formal setting tend to call her Akhlísa, it’s just like how I call him Puey but the elders in his family call him Puîyus and strangers call him Puîyos. –
– So many names, so confusion – chanted Fhólus.
– You were just staying with Puey’s two Sisters the whole time, weren’t you? –
– Yeah … yeah that I was. They very friendly. I sleep in their bed and they beat me up with their pillows sometimes, and when they fought I had to hide under the bed until they coaxed me out with a broom. –
Éfhelìnye hugged Fhólus in a gentle embrace and kissed his three heads, and she gathered up Aîya unto herself and kissed her many times and chanted – I was just so scared for a moment. Perhaps if you had told me that Puey had a new Sister I should have been concerned, but you were just staying with his family. You’ll have to tell me all about it as soon as we enter Jaràqtu. – She kissed Fhólus a few more times and then set him and Aîya down, and they came fluttering about them. The pod of whales was drifting upwards, for Puîyus was still fighting against the Dragons and forcing bombs right upon them. Éfhelìnye examined her hands and wrists and found that she was no longer breathing, and counted it as another blessing granted unto her. The whales were shaking from side to side, it would be best to leave stories for another time, especially those which had to be analyzed through the web of the Traîkhiim mind frought with Qíperakh gibberish. She clutched her throat and heart and for a moment thought that in her panick she had been thinking about finding this other wife and striking her across her face, in fact she had been thinking of far worse things like slitting her throat and tying her up and finding some good and quiet and loyal soldier who would do her bidding without question, why she would just ask Ixhúja to do it, she could endure almost anything, Ixhúja could take the other maiden and do something utterly unspeakable unto her, perhaps remove the bride’s pretty little hair and pretty little skin and drag what was left of the not so pretty insides and dump them in some quag where the monsters within would make sport of the remains. Oh, such horrible thoughts, Éfhelìnye knew that her face was flushing with anger and excitement and relief all at once, to her shame she realized she was barely even thinking about the sky battle above her or even paying attention to the whales, no, her thoughts were too consumed with what she would have done to the foolish maiden who tried to keep her from her Puîyus. She looked upwards. Puîyus was punching against several different Dragons at once, and huge wreathes of fire were eminating from them all.
– You still okay, divine Empress? – asked Fhólus.
– Still look icey pale and icey sick – chanted Aîya. – Tired, no? –
– I’m fine … I’m just thinking … – Éfhelìnye watched the Dragons as they were arising and darting. – Those Dragons up there? –
– Big scary firey – chanted Fhólus.
– Probably eat Traîkhiim, roast us on tip of talons. Little snack. Dragon munch – Aîya chanted.
– Those Dragons are trying to separate me from my Puey, aren’t they? –
Fhólus and Aîya looked to each other and fluttered backwards. – Oh woe unto anyone … try to separate you from new Emperor – chanted Fhólus.
– E'er mention I want you to together and unseparated? – asked Aîya. – I been in favor of that long time. Haven’t I we always told you? –
– Always telling – chanted Fhólus. – Old opinion, long held. –
– I don’t like anything that keeps me away from my Puey, not the Monsters that my Father breathed out in his blizzard, not the quantum dæmons in my Mother’s cenotraph, not the crazy pirates and automata and blue unicorns, and most certainly not those Dragons! – Éfhelìnye was making a fist with one hand and suddenly pointed with her other hand to the dragons spinning around Puîyus. – In fact, those Dragons trying to hurt me are angering me so much! –
– Yeah … Dragons bad – chanted Fhólus.
– Never liked them – chanted Aîya.
– Always trying to anger the Empress … –
– E'er mention I want Empress and Puîyos together always and nothing between them? –
Éfhelìnye’s eyen lit up. – I have an idea. Let’s go Dragon hunting! Everything that stands in my way, be it Dæmon or Dragon or some other maiden, anything or anyone who tries to stop me, I say we topple it o'er and burn it and scatter the ashes with holy salt! Puey is mine mine and only mine, and those Dragons will feel my wrath! –
Fhólus began fluttering away from the Princess and chanted – Think I’m late for appointment, Akhlísa calling me, she need help with corset. –
Aîya was fluttering in the opposite direction and saying – Think the Ancestors calling for me what is that ancestors you need to see me at once I’d better go don’t want to be rude. –
Éfhelìnye plucked both of the Traîkhiim by the tips of their wings and drew them closer to her and chanted – This will be fun! Let’s Dragon hunt! –
– I feel sick – whimpered Fhólus.
– Wishing were dead for again time – Aîya muttered.
– You we they saying it. –
– Life easier dead. Hard the labor of guarding the new Moon Empress, the life the sweetness the hope of all the Dreamtime. –

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