Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chapter 20

Ony'a finds herself in a dream vision. She is inside the temple and is floating towards a body on a table. It appears unmoving, dead, but the appearance is deceptive because the eyes suddenly fly wide open. She wakes in shock and realizes that she had seen the face of the dictator Kotygal who was thought to be dead. She shares the vision with her brother Lagos who takes it to be a warning. They plan to leave the sanctuary before Kotygal can send any troops.

An excerpt:

A room. Large and imposing. She does not recognize it. She’s never seen it before. Its floors are hard and polished; its walls, cold. There are things on the walls: banners, flags, hangings. Maybe signs, Maybe messages. Maybe just broken fragments. There is light: a soft white light. Candles. Candles everywhere. They jut from the walls. They sit on tiny tables, crevasses in the wall, on the ends of sticks short and tall. They float. The ceiling: she does not see the ceiling, only a grayness that disappears into darkness. No stars. No closing of the space within. A glimpse of forever.

There are people in the room. They are silent. They are huddled together. They stand around a large table. Their heads are bowed. They stare at the table. They move and sway to no sound except the wind: the wind from above. It sings to them a hushed mournful wail. The people move in its rhythmless tempo, but they do not really hear it. They feel it. It comes from beyond the ceiling and plays with the furniture. It runs along the walls until it finds no where else to go and dies.

She decides to move. Her feet are in stride, but she does not touch the floor. The floor: it is no more solid than the ceiling. It is more like a cloud that struggles to define above and below. It looks like it could envelop a sanctuary. The building would simply and softly float down into it. It would sway a bit, but there would be no resistance. Its colors would just be washed away until they were wiped clean of existence. But is does not swallow anything now. Maybe it is not hungry. Maybe it is sleeping.

She moves across the room towards the table. The people surrounding it make no movement to confirm they recognize her. They do not turn toward her, yet they move aside. They make room for her. She steps into the space. There is a figure on the table, a body. It is a man, an important man. His clothes tell you so. They are ornate, decorated in colors that dare you to challenge his pomposity. They scream “laugh well, it shall be your last.”

She comes closer. She looks at the face. It is locked in pain, frozen in anguish. His face holds on to its past, but he sees nothing of the present. That face. She knows this man. She has seen him maybe just a few times, maybe as a child. He brings pain. He brings fire from the empty sky. He kills the fighters of the battle of glory, but knows no honor. He is feared. He is hated. Those about him do not worship, do not praise. They are workers dispensing fear to assuage their own. They are drones repeating his words and spreading his policies so that they do not fall victim to them. They stare at him in dread for the possibility that they may lose their shadow from a burning sun.

She moves even closer.