Vrin Ten Mortal Gods(5)

By: John Michael Hileman


“What did you do?” I said, feeling shocked and somewhat thankful for my own experience.

“I did not know what to do! Then this man who I thought was my friend announced, ‘BEHOLD, THE GODDESS KI' JANU!’ I swear the whole arena shook from the laughter. I struggled to my feet in the slippery mess, wiping the crud from my arms, and looked behind me. I had slid down a slide covered with what I think was grease and human waste! Into a pool of manure!”

“You must have been livid!”

“Oh I was! And my anger must have ignited something because all of a sudden the room went dark and all of the voices fell silent-- except Rath's, he laughed louder! But then I noticed that my hands were glowing orange! Now I had to laugh because I thought, I am a genie! But I was so humiliated and hurt and angry! I opened my arms and currents of electricity shot out toward him.”

“Did you get him?”

“Yes. But he fell to the floor and just kept laughing, saying, ‘Is that the best you can do?’” She gave me an exasperated look. “But then the room filled with the blue strings and somehow I knew they were reacting to my thoughts. I thought about the flying carpet and there it was. So I jumped onto it and took off like a flash.” She raised her chin in defiance. “I never looked back.”

“Wow!” I said, shaking my head. “Did you ever manage to get him back for that?”

“I have tried a few times.” She shrugged. “But he is extremely smart. He usually finds some way to twist things around to his advantage.”

“Why do you think he’s he so cruel?”

“I do not... I honestly do not think he understands he is being cruel. He is like a spoiled child.”

“Do you know what happened when he first arrived?”

“No, I have never thought to find out.”

“--Maybe he had a really bad experience.”

“Maybe-- Hmm. How could we find...” She put her hand to her chin and looked thoughtful. “Oh!” She looked back at me. Moota!”

I gave her a sideways glance. “Moota? What’s a Moota?”

“He is a sky searcher.” She smiled.

“--Oh, o-kay.” I returned her smile. “That helps.”

She shook her head. “Let me explain. A sky searcher,” she annunciated the words, “searches the sky for fragments of the past, which were put there by what is called... Hold on. I will let him explain. Her eyes dimmed and her head tilted slightly to the side. After a short moment she looked up. “I called him. He is on his way.”

I squinted at her. “What did you just do?”

“I have a strand attached to those I keep in contact with the most. It allows me to speak to them.”

“Oh. --You’ll have to teach me that trick.”

She smiled. “It is easy. Just bring up the web and break a strand with your fingers.” I did as she said. “Good. Now touch one end to my neck just below my ear.” I reached out and placed my finger under her ear. Her skin was soft, I could feel her warmth. “Now attach the other end to yourself and close your eyes. There. Now to establish a link all you need to do is picture me in your mind. Good. Now no matter where we go we can always communicate with one another. And if for any reason you do not wish to talk with me all you need to do is detach the strand from yourself.”

“This is fantastic!" As I pictured her my thought turned to vibration and traveled to her through the strand. My thoughts were energy now, as were hers. “I can think of no one else I’d rather be attached to.”

I heard a giggle inside.

“Really.” I opened my eyes. “I want to thank you for helping me. I’ve been feeling pretty lost,” I said aloud.

She opened her eyes and gave a tender smile. “We are both lost, but perhaps we can find the way together.”

“I’d like that,” I said, reaching out to put my hand on hers.

“And in so doing...” She stood and turned toward the door, “may we fix the damage caused by our own. --He approaches.”

The doors opened and a tiny man entered. I stood and suppressed a smile. He looked more like a gnome than a man; stout and sturdy, with a green shirt, tan vest, soft pointy shoes. And upon his face (which showed the wrinkles of many years) a pair of shiny glasses straddled his fat little nose. Yet despite his appearance he had a look of intelligence about him, like a scientist-- granted, a very short scientist.

Kitaya giggled.

“Um,” I whispered out of the corner of my mouth. “how do I drop our connection?” “Blank out your mind,” she whispered back in like fashion. I did as she suggested and felt her presence push from my mind.

“You called for me, precious one?” The little man swept low in a courtly bow.

“Yes, we have need of your talents. But first allow me to introduce you. Moota, this is Sam’ Dejal. Sam, this is Moota.”

“It is a great pleasure to meet you, lord.” He bowed again.

“Likewise,” I mused.

“Did you bring your event cells?” Kitaya asked.

“Right here in my bag, great lady.”

“What is an event cell?” I asked.

The little man looked at me with aged and somewhat bloodshot eyes. “It is a device which allows a person to relive the past. You see around our world we have a layer of gas called the cognosphere.” He gazed up as if through the ceiling. “The cognosphere acts as a mirror to what was. In it is the imprint of our entire history. Unfortunately, however, the information is scattered and the only way to access it is with an event cell.” He paused. “Shall I continue, lord?”

“Please. How does it work?”

He examined me briefly, then continued. “When placed at an event, the cell sends out a pulse which marks the cognosphere. Then later, that same device, tuned to its own harmonic, can search the cognosphere for the same pulse. The cell finds all the pieces of the original pulse and combines them into one. When a mind enters the cell it encounters the reflection of the event and is able to interact with it.

“Interesting," I said, intrigued. "What if I were to enter an event cell which had never been used?”

“Oh, very bad, very bad,” he said shaking his head.

“Why?”

“Imagine this planet’s entire history fed into your mind without any cohesion, it would be like... like drinking water from the base of a waterfall. What it would do to a god we do not know, but to a mortal man...” He shuddered at the thought. "With all due respect, lord, I do not care to speak of such horrors in the presence of a lady." He turned back to Kitaya. “What do you wish of me Ki’ Janu?”

She smiled and nodded. “Thank you, Moota. We would like to hear of Rath’s arrival and witness the event you recently acquired.”

“You heard about that,” he said, sounding like a mouse caught in a trap.

“I have never forbidden any of you from pursuing that which pleases you. You are an inquisitive old sot. I like that about you.”

“Thank you, your holiness." He bowed so low I thought his nose would scrape the ground.

Kitaya sat, brought her knees to her chest, and wrapped her arms around them. She gestured for me to sit then turned back to the little man. “Alright, Moota, teach us.”

He thought for a moment, then spoke. “When at first he arrived, Rath, known as the god of fire was seen only occasionally, always in the same manner, walking aimlessly through a town late at night, apparently drunk out of his mind.” As the old man talked he used elaborate hand movements and animated facial gestures. “And he was always babbling to himself. At first we thought he was talking to the other gods, but soon it became clear that he was delusional; the conversations were erratic and broken. As you can imagine the spectacle was quite unnerving for the local residents. Sometimes people would muster up the courage to come out of their homes and greet him, but he would usually look right through them and keep on his way, if they were lucky. Sometimes he would fly into a rage. So most people avoided him completely.

“Strangely however, the children loved him. Anytime there were children around he would become coherent and quite amiable. He seemed to truly enjoy their company; his eyes would light up as he handed out treats and gifts he'd created. In fact his affinity toward children was so great that he decided to visit hundreds of orphanages around the world. Some children were scared of him, but most were captivated by his kindness and interest in them. He promised to care for them and allow them to do whatever they wished if they joined him. For most it was an offer they could not refuse. Countless children responded. But after awhile he became restless. That’s when he seized control of the country of Pagnia. He walked straight into the royal castle, declared himself ruler, and stated that all who challenged him would be extinguished. Those brave enough to stand forth were silenced in horrible ways.”

Moota looked about then came in close. “Of course-- he told the people of Pagnia-- that the royal family had been relocated-- to another kingdom on the other side of the world. But we know that was not the case. Our informants tell us he had his child army go in and remove all the residents of the castle by force, save for members of the royal family, who were locked in the dungeon to perish along with their home. I recently acquired the event cell placed at Mount Dastra. It shows what was to be the pinnacle of the incursion.” He reached for his pouch and pulled out a dark glass square with smoothly sanded edges. “This is the event cell.” He tapped the cell with a hairy finger. “It will allow you to interact with the reflection that was marked. Which one of you would like to go first?”