Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Excerpt From Rainbow Stories

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
A yellow-skinned Zheien in a fancy uniform, fancier than a diplomat’s, came to me. “Molly, I am Cevit Ion. Ry’nao sent me to you.” He gave a bow, but trembled as he came up.
I pushed him gently into a chair, and sat by him as I made it into a soft sofa. Didn’t use my office much, so I barely remembered how to do that. “How is he? It’s been forever since we heard from him, or had any communication from the Yeff Unwell Colony—“
His twin fingered hand trembled as he held it up. “There is much I cannot reveal to you, Molly, or to any of my fine diplomats. Ry’nao needs to know if you have contact with Councilors. Do you? Know you of civilizations above our tech level?”
I shook my head. A noise behind me startled both of us!
Cevit Ion paled when Herdy’s huge body zipped into my little yellow office. He drooped his huge limbs and dragged all six, the six fingers like smooth octopus tentacles! “I no harm I healer old healer friendly healer!” His high-pitched screeching came almost too fast for me to understand until I thought about it. Poor Cevit Ion’s headache got worse.
“You are a healer, my friend?”
Herdy reached a long finger to him. “No fear me. I help, I help. Many cry! Ry’nao is frightened, Molly!”
Before I could try to stop him, he touched the Diplomatic Link in both of us, that telepathic link that Ry’nao used as Emperor to take reports from diplomats. I saw people from Ye~ in a mine, wearing gray slave tunics!
“You must nae! Both of you die if you—“ Cevit Ion screamed!
I pulled at Herdy’s arm. “No, Herdy! Stop it! You’re hurting him—“
“I no hurt help help Ry’nao hurting! Ilios hurts Ry’nao and all the diplomats all diplomats!”
Through my link, I heard the cries of diplomats, and healers who tried to figure out what made ‘em sick! I sang healing and sent it up my link. Touched the minds of healers all over Fhiah and begged ‘em to help! In Fhiah, Lut knew more healers on other planets and got them! Like a wildfire, we touched minds of healers on Zhea~, every Zheien colony—there are ten thousand of those—every healer colony!! Every healer in Rainbow sang, and people touched their arms to give energy. Usually, if I felt tired, I could reach into my Link and take a bit from healthy people. I couldn’t find one healthy one. I kept searching. Found a lot of unconscious people. Our healing revived some.
Cevit Ion tried to push us away, but Herdy held him. He turned gray. Dripped sweat. I held him. Suddenly, he passed out, and it all stopped. The Diplomatic Link went dead. I fell on him.

Herdy held us. So did Mia. “Molly! What did you? How did you try to send so much healing, and where?” Her yellow eyes filled.
I sat up. Cevit Ion groaned in my lap. “Herdy—“
“He cannot have more damage him damage him he Emperor now Emperor I loyal, Cevit Ion, I loyal to your Reign.” Herdy stroked his gray face and scraped clouds of green sweat-powder off him.
Slowly, the blue eyes opened, and turned black.
“Herdy won’t hurt you, Sir! Did we help Ry’nao?”
Mia gasped. “You can nae help—“
Cevit Ion took her hand, and mine. Cried. “Berto! He was trading, in Fhiah—“
A portal whooshed, and a big Elshar in a deep red DS uniform stepped out. He staggered, and Herdy caught him. “Habis ha!” His blue eyes turned black. Five fingered hands pried at the huge arm that held him. He struggled in Herdy’s grip.
“I no hurt no harm I Molly’s healer Molly’s healer! Help Cevit Ion help him he need you!” A finger shoved the large man close to Cevit Ion, who hugged him.
Berto returned the hug. “Minister, what can I do for you? Should I negotiate your release?”
Through his tears, he chuckled. “We are nae prisoners! Apparently Queen Molly knows how to charm Zbbat, as Ryonne~ charmed the Esteerrians! O, Berto, Ry’nao is dead!” He sobbed. One hand stroked Berto’s dark curls in back. An older fella, by the wrinkles. Elshars go dark where we go gray.
I cried, too. I loved the old Emperor. He gave me the Diplomatic Link, and I helped him take reports from injured diplomats. They get sick if they can’t report. So much I didn’t understand.

Cevit Ion waved up bitter bread, like Ben ate with Fa when he felt sad, or at our wedding. “Wish you to share Remembrance with me?”
“Eae, Sir.” I reached for a triangle of the flat bread, but he stopped me. Tried to stop Berto, but he ate one. The bitter taste didn’t make him flinch.
I assigned Contact Teams while Merritt took his respite. Then, I waved up a TS Inspector. Bisillipia has more than a man can count, but this one had the most decorations I’d seen. “Berto, there are many reports of Yeff traded to slaves. Some are seen in Marilla. The Marilla Ji Mine. Wish you to inspect?”
I thought our conversation would never end. Me? But, all of the other Assignment Specs were busy, and I represented Merritt in his absence. “I will go.”
Activity at the mine appeared normal. Hours, I walked in the tunnels and watched broken men. Interviewed many legal slaves. They saw Zheien in many groups. One by one, I brought men to carry the Zheien and Thordes out. A Zheien saw me and begged to speak, so I rushed to him. “You wear DS.” He sobbed. “C~spea, Master Trader of Ye~. His body is there!” A feeble hand pointed.
I took him in my arms and ran with him. A large chamber held bodies, thousands of bodies, but this man knew where to look. Soon, I saw the old Zheien. I traded with this man often, because he was fair, and had great skills. He often had items pleasing to an Elshar of Prov One, and sometimes, even items from the Elshar Motherworld. Oh, it hurt, to see him in this place! Very thin. I knew his people were in bad condition if they were with him. All the bodies were thin.
Men with me carried the body of C~spea, in stasis. The man I carried witnessed the slide that buried him. “King Ryonne~ himself held him! He asked for Yetza, to have Remembrance. My group helped dig for men buried. Many of us offered to work that they might earn freedom. They did. Do you know where went they? Are they found?”
I promised to help, and spoke to many slaves. Few were not legal, but I filed TS complaints, as many as I could! Then, I spoke to Bisillips and Wafs in the Marilla Colony. Witnesses saw slaves taken to an apartment by a Bisillip man who watched the mine entrance. Records showed the offices of a Waf trader, who had a TS complaint against him, and slavers took him. They took his staff. The apartment was empty, but I found traces of Yeff blood there. They were here, a short walk from our DS Offices! Oh, I wish I knew sooner! I gathered all the information I could, but slavers hide. I traced the ship to a slaver named Ilios. Merritt returned, and sent me on my respite early because he said it wastes time to track dead men! If he knew Ry’nao was among the slaves, would he show such rudeness to me for my efforts, then?

Berto stroked Cevit Ion’s light brown hair. Short, straight hair. He trembled. Wiped tears off his red face. Then, wiped yellow tear-powder mixed with green sweat-powder off Cevit Ion’s face. Rubbed his fingers together where Cevit Ion saw. The Zheien’s gray skin turned a bit lighter, and so did his blue eyes. “Berto, I hope to replace Merritt someday. I will speak with him. Your skills far exceed his, as I oft told ‘Ao, and your Teams survive more well.” He sobbed. “How did you fare, my friend? Are you harmed?”
I put my hands on the dark curls. “I’m a healer. May I take a look—wow—you have a lot of links!”
“You must not!” He slapped a meaty hand on mine, on his head. Just hitting myself that hard would give me a headache!
I sang a headache remedy, but didn’t push it. This man doesn’t let anybody much heal him. His fear for me shocked me! Maybe it’s the links.
Cevit Ion looked at me, and smiled. “Berto, Molly has unusual skills. You should let her heal you, my friend. Her Zbbat can help—“
“Cev, I am well enough. I felt healing through the link, so I did not fall. All around me, diplomats traded from Fhiah and other worlds. Some fell, and some did not.” He looked down.
“Did they recover, my son?”
His voice broke. “About half of the ones I saw ported to stasis, Cev. I can’t touch my diplomats. Any of them.”
Slowly, Cevit Ion looked past us, and flinched.
I put my hands on his head, but he pulled ‘em off. “You must nae, Molly.”
“You’ve got a bad headache! Let me—“
“I am nae injured, after your healing, merely shocked. The loss of these links, suddenly, is a great shock. Your healers are weary. You are weary. I fear to let you harm yourself. Remembrance is healing.” He ate a triangle of the bitter bread.
I went with ‘Ao to Tch’Zbbatr to negotiate a treaty. He wished to convince Zbbat to let healers take dying slaves to healer colonies. They would offer healing in return. We tried many times with my dear friend Butres Nu of Ea~, who had great skills with Zbbat, as did Ryonne~ and his fa Eanne~, and Butres’ successor Tesaca Of Ea~, now Eighth Galaxy Minister, who accompanied us.
We gave arguments for hours suggesting their slaves might produce more after healing, but nae convinced them.
On ‘Ao’s ship, we collapsed. Even with careful preparation, all of us had regen. We woke well.
He laughed. “Ah, my friends, we tried. Perhaps after 20 or so journeys with you, we convince them!” His red-violet eyes held the weights of the ages. I noticed new lines in his face. My friend is old, very old, and I concerned that these difficult missions aged him even more since the end of War.
Tesaca spoke first. “My liege, I heard stray thoughts of a new slaver net. Zbbat and Aryllans speak, and Ty’nirrhans offer tech.”
His eyes opened very wide. I gasped. Ty’nirrhans have tech nae of our level. “Ty’nirrhans are forbidden from this! They lost their position in the Council because of sharing tech with lower levels. So did Bisillipia, and Aryll lost membership in the Alliance for a time because of experiments that changed their genetics. If Aryll and Ctral join forces, Zbbat may become more of a threat. I will speak to King Lyyyrah.”
Slowly, Tesaca shook his head. His green skin turned light. “King Lyyyrah visited me, two weeks past, and I did discuss. He says he uses his strength to protect the Yeff, and there are too many slavers for even his people. The Zbbat take many Esteerrians slaves and make slavers of them. For the first time, Lyyyrah sees mind control tech that can sever an Esteerrian from his nest. Slaves are usually severed by the Nest for refusal to conform to the group, but tech that can sever a man despite the collective strength of quadrillions of minds must be powerful.”
We discussed much, that I can nae share with you, but changes are coming in our space that concern all.
“Changes, Cev? In the Alliance? The Unified?” His eyes turned even blacker.
“Berto, ‘Ao prepared me twenty years for this day, which we thought nae came. I must take the Reign, of 13 Galaxies, and I am much frightened for all in our tech level, members or nae. Slavers gain footholds daily more than diplomats can loosen. There are resources in the Thirteen that other galaxies crave, other galaxies with higher tech. The Council was created to preserve the Thirteen, and a few additional galaxies, for a later time. When I spoke last to Ry’nao, he nae mentioned the spread of the New Healing. He said that most of the Council rose to the higher tech level, and those who remain are unknown to him. There was War, in the Council, Berto. Members fight among themselves, about the fate of the Yeff, about the fate of all in their stewardship! Several members wish to take resources and start a new Council. ‘Ao witnessed the formation of this one somewhat, and there was contention then, but nae enough to cause the death of a member. Eriganh, the Councilor who started the War, tried to take territory, but it was expected. War ended as the Council predicted, with One to have temporary power, and with their combined strength, he was killed. But, the Council did nae expect another member to try to fight them all! Another member is dead, with terrible losses. The Council is without power while it gathers strength. We are without protection. ‘Ao and the Yeff tried to negotiate protection. Ryonne~’s son was trying to negotiate it, even in slavery. Now that ‘Ao is dead, we must assume the worst. Slavers may operate without restraint, and perhaps, aided by the Councilor who tries to take us. It is my hope that the level above the Council interferes.” He looked down at his twin-fingered hands, shaking in his lap.
Berto took them. “This is how MarKu was taken?”
“’Ao thought so, even at the time. I went to Sghan Mas to ask assistance and they are nae allowed to interfere. King Marel’vanrah sent me to Biehshah for help, and they refuse. They fear the Council interferes with them! Habir is an Elder, but he has less knowledge than ‘Ao had. I was nae ever an Elder, Berto! All ‘Ao sent me to see have nae help for us.”
I rubbed the back of his head. “We have plenty of ships from Ea~, before it Failed. Maybe I should get an army—“
“Molly, armed ships and men can nae fight slavers without harming innocent slaves! Slavers nae come with weapons. On MarKu, Zbbat merely snatched up people and used telepathy to shock them.”
“We’ve got Herdy—“
He moaned. “I was slave they powerful powerful I old weak one weak one they have me.”
I always thought Alb Seer was safe! But, if slavers could take MarKu, and it was bigger than here, maybe not. “Well, Cevit Ion, I’m just a healer. If our Tessite mine or ships or anything I can give will help, it’s yours. Should we stop trading with slavers to get patients?”
His blue eyes opened past wide! “You trade with slavers? Why?”
“We buy slaves so we can heal ‘em and they can go home! The Piee Sahrrat still has lots of contacts, even though they’re run by Hurtors Of The Slave Trade, and we get lots of slaves to heal. They like our Tessite.” I sighed. “Although, I don’t think Hurtors is really hurting the slave trade. They steal a lot of ships, and we buy a lot of ships from them, but most of ‘em are old junkers and you can’t let a Zheien ride on one without killing him. So, we trade a lot of their ships for Zheien-built ships, then Fhiah Science Council upgrades ‘em so Zheien don’t get hurt, even injured. I haven’t seen any good ships or valuable slaves come through them. If we have somebody who used to be a Galactic Minister or diplomats working on important treaties, it’s usually because the slaver we got ‘em from didn’t know they had ‘em. Cog and Habir are on their way to us from Ilhanhsa, and Cog, a Zheien healer, broke into their security system and let the Thordes liberate it. Because of the info she gave to the Thordes, Req in Fhiah—he’s their Master Server Instructor for the whole planet—was able to decode the database in Nes Vah’s shoulder recorder and match records. Now, when we get ships from Ilhanhsa, we can identify most of the people in comas. Or, if a person had terminals, we can match the info in the terminals to figure out who they are if they can’t tell us, most of the time.”
Cevit Ion gasped. “You have Nes Vah? My dear friend! May I see him?”
I shook my head. “He’s in bad shape. They tortured him so bad, if he sees someone in uniform, he throws himself on the floor and waits for torture and thinks he’s there! He lives in the hospice, my main building, and works as a healer helper. When he’s not scared, he enjoys talking to people. His friend V~as Das tries to help him. They had terminals removed when Anda came from Ye~ Unwell Colony. That was—“ I waved up a calendar. Gasped. “This can’t be right! Six years ago? Zheien computers don’t work!” I shook my head. Every time I checked the date, it’s a shock.
Cevit Ion hugged me. “Molly, space-time is disrupted. All worlds of Zheiea complain that time estimates for travel are off more than usual. You look on Earthan time, but did you know Zhee time is similar? Zhea~ passes around his sun at about the same rate of Earth and Sol. All worlds of Zheiea measure time by Zhee calendars as well as local and Hub Standard times. But, fear nae. We age at the rate of the world on which we spend the most time. Those who travel much age less, as your Einstein predicted. But he nae predicted the effect of drives which can vary environs to carry with them. Travel time is affected by so many variables, one who pilots can nae estimate arrival accurately, except for the most routine journeys. This is further affected by slavers who watch busy worlds with much travel and try to take ships with containments. If a pilot escapes or avoids a slaver, he might arrive days early or late. Trade is much affected by time, especially in the past 21 Zhee years. We know nae why, but we suspect activity of tech above our level from that time. You have V~as Das also?” He named off a bunch of missing men. We had a few.
After a while, he got quiet. “Molly, may I move here, permanently? I can nae return to Ye~ where I lived with ‘Ao, or to Vohl, where slavers surely seek me. I must have rest before I assume my title.” His blue eyes stayed black.
“I’d like that, Cevit Ion. Our room’s just out in the hospice. Ben likes to have company—“ I took his hand.
“Molly, I can nae stay with marrieds! I have many who serve me—they are missing, but perhaps—if I stay here, you may find them among the slaves.” He sighed.
I smiled. “If you want a room alone, there’s the green hall off the hospice, or I’ll build you a house wherever. Plenty of room in Rainbow. As long as you keep a sleeping buddy. Zheien can’t sleep alone when they’re unwell—“
He laughed. “I am nae—“
I held up his gray hand, twin fingers dripping green sweat-stars on the yellow sofa. “Sir, you need nae to be alone. Sleep with us tonight. Berto, you’re welcome to join us! When you’re nae sweating, then we’ll talk. Ron! Bring a buddy to carry Berto, will you?”
Cevit Ion startled. So did Berto! The Elshar nodded furiously. “I can walk! A man can’t show weakness or he never trades in the Traders Circle again!”
The Emperor laughed. “We can hide ourselves, Berto! Think of what we learn as operatives for a few days, among unwell.” He waved, and they both wore long, white tunics with white socks to the knees.
“I can’t—Cev—maybe I shouldn’t call you that now.” The big Elshar looked down.
“You are yet my friend, Berto. These are difficult times. Molly, will Binneas assume unwell, because of our titles? Berto sent him on missions. I took him with me several times as Seventh Galaxy Minister, the title I leave.”
I smiled. “Ben’ll be happy to see old friends. Oh, Ron, Fubret, here’s Cevit Ion and Berto.”
“Minister Cevit Ion!” Fubret started to bow, but the Emperor’s twin-fingered hand carefully pulled at his purple wrist.
“Fubret? My son, nae bow. I am here as Molly’s guest. Were you harmed today? Need you healing?”
His purple eyes opened wide, and his blonde eyebrows shot up. “Do I look sick to you? I am not harmed, or Molly would not let me carry you. Are you sick? Your skin is gray instead of yellow.” Gently, he stroked the twin fingers. Fubret’s purple skin looked gray when he had been nice and lavender.
“You are pale, my friend. Perhaps you should let another carry.”
Fubret gently lifted him, with a smile. “I am happy to serve you, Minister. Where shall I take you?”
I directed him, and Ron carried Berto, who was very uncomfortable with the attention.
Ben looked up with tears in his yellow eyes. Eap sat holding him. Poor Eap looked terrible, too. He saw who they carried in, and I grabbed his arm to keep him on the bed. “They’re here to rest, not to watch ya bow. Cevit Ion wants to live here now, and I’m happy!”
“Cevit Ion? O, Minister, where are you?” Ben waved a hand, and the new emperor took it as Fubret put him on a leiwege.
“Binneas, my son, can you rest with me here by you?” His eyes turned even blacker.
My husband pulled his head against his chest. “Eae vah! O, you have such mind pain! Molly—“
“He’s had all he can stand, Ben. Eap, let me see you—“
The young king of Fhiah held my hands down. “You must rest! I heard the healing you poured into the links, healing you asked Lut to draw from all kingdoms of Zheiea! I touched the minds of Ahstam, Master Healer Of Zheiea, and King Marel’vanrah Of Zheiea~, and you saved them! You saved our new emperor! Thank you, dear friend!” He sobbed.
I cried, too, even after all that Remembrance. Eap heard all of it.
Cevit Ion’s hand took Eap’s, and he fell asleep. Berto turned over, pushed his back against the Elshar Zheien’s, and wept quietly.
Fubret got onto the bed and stayed by the newcomers. Ron came back with Lut! “O, my sons, let me see you—“
The former minister startled awake. “Nae, Lut. Without Ahstam, I have nae healing, more than Molly already gave. Can you hear Ahstam’s mind? Eap?”
They wept, and I felt awful. Eap saw Ahstam with Ry’nao, in that mine with Ilios! I saw what slavers did to Forsay, who was that old, Master Healer Of Fhiah! He taught me to be a healer, that girl of 15 on a slaver ship, trying to save 525 slaves from Ilhanhsa. I wished we could do something, anything, for the poor Yeff! I cried.
Then, Hersa carried in a shivering Zheien. He was gray. “Molly, here is Mau Ta, Stationed Diplomat Of Ye~.”
“Give him to me, Ba.” Cevit Ion held up shaking arms.
The young man stayed curled up as Hersa gently put him in them. “Min-iss-terr.”
“Mau Ta, you were Ry’nao’s. Taste this Remembrance, for you are now mine. O, I am sorry!” A wave, and a triangle of Yetza floated into the diplomat’s mouth. He shuddered.
I put a warm blanket on them. Berto rolled over and put a hand on Mau Ta’s forehead.
The man shoved a rolled hand along Berto’s arm. Gently, the Assignment Specialist moved a hand to the back of the diplomat’s light curls. “I am sorry, my son. Rest with us. We are all friends in our sorrow tonight. Your fa served us well, and I wish he could be here with you.”
“Ea yeo.”
Ben took a triangle of Yetza. “Let me share my last visit to Ye~. Molly, help me?”
We’d been talking about that. I tried to revive Indoe, from MarKu and Fenig, an Earthan, and couldn’t. They’re here, in stasis. Ben met her outside the Trade Office in Fhiah.
She ran to him. Bowed. “Diplomat Binneas, I am Healer Fenig, and Ry’nao sends me with you to Ye~. My love comes there soon from Ishah. He is injured.”
I bowed. “Healer Fenig, I am happy to transport you. Molly, who is my courted, told me of your courtship with Indoe. I am happy for you both. His mission on Esteerr went badly, then? I grieve.”
“He signed his treaty, and added a provision with J’hanntur to send slaves here to Rainbow. We hope for many of MarKu.” She shook all over.
I gave her my arm, and we walked to my ship. “I go to Ye~ for negotiations with the Noh, then to Ceaceadis.”
“Will you teach me? Neither of us need to think beyond the work for a time, eae?”
“Eae vah!” I remained quiet as we reached my ship, a red pyramid.
“That’s an interesting ship, to be shaped like a giant herb terminal!”
I laughed loudly. “Herb terminals are yellow!”
“You nae ever pulled one from a friend’s pocket, and it was red?” Red ones mean hidden problems, maybe health problems deleted from a diplomat’s healer’s record so he can still work as a diplomat. Her thought made me shudder. Mine is red, now.
We entered, and spoke long, as we traveled. She asked me of the Noh, who live in a colony next Ye~, and I taught her. Once, a trader of Aurel~a came and could nae speak to Noh in his language, because nae could understand it! He knew Areonian, and was very surprised when Bekshay told him it was Aurelonan! The trader refused to trade with any but Yeff. First Prince Goes of MarKu was visiting at the time, and convinced him to trade Noh wares, supplies the Noh needed, to him. Then, he traded them to the Noh. Bekshay was very pleased, and asked for Goes oft. Goes asked me to learn of the Noh so I would have opportunity to help the Yeff. All of Zheiea wishes to help the Yeff, for they are of Ye~ Prov, where the Kings Of Zheiea dwell. Of all kingdoms of Zheiea, the S’ai, and the Yeff, are chosen to rise to the new trade level. We nae know when, so we wish to show them every honor until they leave us.” Binneas rubbed a yellow eye.
“Rise to the next trade level? Will all of Zheiea rise?”
“Nae can tell us. When we are to know, there will be signs. One was the end of the War. Another is great healing, on Ye~, although we could take Rainbow’s miracles as another sign, but nae knows what it is a sign foretelling. The level above us has rules we nae know. They give us the Prophecies, warnings of things to come, but we must wait for more signs. We hope for the end of slavery in large networks. The fall of MarKu was unexpected, and some say tech from the Council is the cause of this rise in slavery. If it is, surely the Council will end it.”
She frowned. “What are the Prophecies? Is that like revelation from Heavenly Father?”
“Nae! Many dislike the term Prophecies because it implies religion and nae a general plan of the tech level above us for us. Councilors are men, as we are, simply in possession of higher tech, and there are many councils of higher tech. Sghan Mas serves levels above and levels nae as advanced. These levels are temporal, nae those of Father Of All. Our loving Father has His plans for those of all levels, whether they believe in Him or nae.”
We came to Ye~, and Fenig had upset, so few Yeff walked on the Commons. Pas came to her, and inquired of Indoe, and Healer Via told her he died, and they could nae find his body! But, little Yea~ Vadia came to her and told her he lived, and was sent on a ship to Ye~, and that they would marry! As I pondered this advice from a smallchild, she looked up at me. Vadia had large orange eyes, and red curls. “You and Molly will have great happiness, for this is your last mission, Binneas. She will make you King of Rainbow Unwell Colony.”

Cevit Ion startled. “Vadia told you this, and before Ceaceadis? How old was she then?”
Ben smiled. “Only 7 years. But, there is more.” My husband lost the smile.
Vadia found me after intense trading. I was weary. She touched me between the eyes and gave me strong healing. I had few thoughts. “Come with me, my friend. Rest yourself.”
I blinked, and sat in a chamber with golden walls and flooring. A beautiful place. Vadia stood before me, and there were tapestries. Thoughts came to me. “Are these the Depictions?”
“Ea. I can tell you much. Friends teach me. Ry’nao likes them. He gave them to Fa W~Via when he earned Most High Diplomat. But, you must remember them well. When you are King, Cevit Ion will come to you and Queen Molly. He will ask if you have contact with Councilors. Show him the Depictions and remind him that there is hope. Will you do this? Wslarc teaches me.”
I agreed, and she taught me much. I felt much awe, for these tapestries were created in a time when Fereshah and Deesamor were great places of learning, and Sghan Mas was new. Ad Beni taught us about these, but he never saw them. I looked on them, and Vadia told me about them, with memories nae her own.
The First had many panels showing the Destroyed Stars. ‘Ao looked at it with his red-violet eyes wide and gray eyebrows up His wispy curls bobbed with his breaths. “The main panel shows the entire Thirteen, but this large second panel shows Deesamor. Two hundred Standard Years.”
Deesamor was a beautiful place. Buildings had fine carvings. Many children ran about with happy faces on one side of the tapestry. Aryllans with gray skin, Bisillipians with green, and Zheien, and Elshars lived in peace. Crowded walks with happy faces. And, some of the Bisillipians held hands with Aryllans, shared looks of love.
Another panel showed many white-robed healers. Ahstam, Master Healer Of Zheiea showed in it. This must be Fereshah, that multi-level place of healers! Kajarians attacked it.

Pas, old master healer of Ye~, sat on the commons with Laura, the Earthan healer who saved Ryonne~, their king. “Many will weep for Jog Sa, but many will also weep for Pie, and for too many others to name! We live in a time of madness when slavers can take an entire world of people in evil. Ne since Deesamor, and Ahstam speaks of that in whispers.”
“Deesamor, Pas?” Laura cocked her head, and auburn hair fell in her eyes.
“A world of healers, scientists, and great beauty. Aryllans were like Zheien then, and we traded, fathers of Zheiea traded. But, a group of Bisillips wanted to feel as Aryllans and Zheien, and did experiments. Aryllans found they could feel more, and secretly worked until they changed themselves. They found pleasure, insane pleasure, through pain. When they preyed on other Aryllans, their blood changed the genetics of those innocents, and they became lustful for pleasures. All of Aryll and her colonies changed. Now any Zheien or Elshar looks on an Aryllan with dread! Deesamor had 20 decillion people, and most died because of the Aryllan plague. If an Aryllan touches one, he rarely survives to see his healer.” Pas shuddered. “I am sure that slavers who came to MarKu had help from Aryll. Ahstam told me, if an Aryllan is careful with an Elshar, he ne dies, but can be controlled. He suspects all Elshar slavers have Aryllan masters. Their tech is ne of this level. Aryll and Bisillipia lost their status and came to our level because of similar experiments. Aryll trades much with Esteerr and Tch’Zbbatr because many like slavery.” I thought of the panel on the tapestry which showed Deesamor. Shuddered. Deesamor had 20 decillion. MarKu had 70 decillion.
Laura frowned. “I hope none of them come here! I tried to heal an Elshar with a cut on his wrist that came from that monster’s fingernails. Nobody can heal it. Healer Asha offered him an aandat and said that might help, but he said it’d interfere with his religion, to take a parasite. The man’s got a high fever and we can’t get rid of the infection.” She shook her head.
“None of us can heal an Aryllan! When one comes, we port him to the Aryllan Colony on Esferyll. They can bear such porting, to another galaxy. We ported three, in forty years. Ahstam taught me.”
“Is Aryll in the Alliance?”
“Ea. We trade with him oft. I see any trader who must display such rudeness in my chamber at least a day, after! C~spea seems to be the only trader of us who can bear them well. Trade is automated. Their methods for herbs help many here. We also have healing for Aryllan slaver terminals because C~spea dared to trade for it! He is a brave man. Aryllans threaten much as they trade, and project vile memories to frighten one.” He shivered, and Laura put a hot blanket on him.
“I think we’d better talk about something else! I feel creepy enough when people come in screaming after attacks by Esteerrians or Zbbat.”
A smaller panel with Sghan Mas. A peaceful scene, except for two—were they Elshars?—dragging a Zheien between them. A man stopped them. There were some tiny scenes like this on the other two, Fereshah and Deesamor also. Did we learn anything over these centuries?

Cevit Ion frowned. “That was Ryonne~! He was taken from Sghan Mas by slavers. That scene is the Festival of Twenty, in the Twenty Colony.”
My husband’s yellow eyes opened very wide. “But, he wore the uniform of a Sixth Year—“
“Many of Ye~ went to Sghan Mas for advanced training, to meet with Councilors.”
Not much of this made sense to me! A tapestry 2000 years old that had people of today in it?
Ry’nao moved to the Second, which showed Eriganh, former Emperor of the Six, in a chamber hewn from rock, with people carrying trays, hammering at the wall far behind him, and near him, people of many species lying on tables. He wore a white robe, and reached for the glowing red cube in the dust and loose rock of the gray floor. “This happened before the War, so the Prophecies were not given at the same times. They are believed by historians to be out of order. But, they were given in the first ten years of the Council, between Zhea~ 5712-5722. Zhea~ already had MarKu, Ea~, Jovia, Siar, Ryon and Vasye.” Another panel showed a woman with five-fingered hands holding the Red Cube over a Zheien who was half-Aryllan. Vadia told me this was Su Sian, deep in the Ninth Galaxy.
‘Ao turned his redviolet eyes to the 3rd as his tears bounced like white crystals on the golden floor. A servant gathered them. An xchou custom, the Gift Of Tears. The third showed Adia Rayaline as she raised the White Cube, facing Eriganh. Clearly, Laura’s house showed in the background, and Ryonne~’s agonized face behind her, dressed in blue jeans and a T-shirt. Laura, holding Ryonne~. The explosion, as White Cube and Red made purple light over them. Laura’s Earthan home, a white Victorian in Atlanta, Georgia, United States Of America.

“I saw that on the news! How did that get put into a tapestry that old, Cevit Ion?” I looked at him, barely awake, and wished I hadn’t interrupted my husband. Mau Ta slept, and Lut held him.
But, the new emperor smiled at me. “I nae know, Molly. Let us listen. Perhaps these memories teach us. Eae pas, Binneas?” He held my husband’s head against his chest.
“I am well, Minister.”
“Call me Cev, as friends do. We share secrets, eae? Molly, you may also call me Cev. ‘Ao loved both of you. So I do.”
“Thank you, Cev.”

In the 4th Tapestry, Ryee stood in a purple chamber full of healers. There must have been hundreds of them.
"Here before you is Ryonne~, of Ye~.” Ahstam explained his problems, and his progress. “He wishes to learn the Healer's Art, to the point of Decision. I wish, once his training reaches this point, to delay his Decision. Do you agree with me, that he receive skills to distract himself from misery?"
The vote was unanimous.
I trembled. The room, filled with healers, Ryee, unrecognizably thin in his white healer’s robes! I had seen this in the fourth tapestry of the Depictions, in the Gathering Hall. Another of the Prophecies is now true. Ahstam heard my loud thoughts, and his blue eyes opened impossibly wide!
Vadia explained the memories of her mea, and Ahstam himself saw this tapestry.
Then, she shared a memory of her father’s, of the 5th, which showed Ea~, green-skinned Zheien thin and fainting as Zbbat and Esteerrian ships landed. “King Tomasian knew Ea~ was near Failure when he last visited us. O, Ay! But, there is a difference in this panel. I see ne Zbbat clutching Zheien. Ea ne! This woman, in the back of the panel, meets with J’hanntur, on Esteerr! She is Ean?”
‘Ao walked in and stood by my parents. “Ryee, she is Queen Ferra, who pretended to be queen of a slaver empire to save her people! You see her in her guise as Tes. But, a Zheien woman can ne do this for long. As we speak, Zhea~ moves to declare Failure.” He sighed.
“Ea~ is Failed?” Fa wept.
He also wept, and an xchou servant collected his tears, which bounced like tiny diamonds on the golden floor. “Ryee, Ea~ is Failed, but there is more. Slavers used Tos to command Piee Sahrrat, and Ferra found him. In her guise as Tes, she took the Piee Sahrrat! Ships fly from Ea~ now with everyone left, and they will occupy Lemah Prov of Zhea~. Ne enough healers wished to migrate to Ea~ Prov, which holds mostly farmers. Lemah has cavernous healers’ chambers, and trains many healers, in our 6th Galaxy Center. Ea vah, we will mourn, but few Eans died of slavers. Fevers decimated whole provs. There were too few workers to tend the fields, for foods. Zhea~’s Science Council tells me perhaps the genetic mods were too great, for life in such a watery environment. Hurtors Of The Slave Trade now hold Piee Sahrrat, and free slaves. They will use Ea~ as their home, a home they never had before King Tomasian offered them space in return for food. Most of them are Elshars, and can live well there. We will not lose herb trade, or aandat trade, which they can do.” He sighed.
His servant sat on the floor at ‘Ao’s feet, and pressed the clear pyramid into his hands, filled with the crystal-like tears. “Where shall I send your grief, Liege?”
‘Ao sighed again, and held the trembling hands of the aged man around the soft pyramid. “To Zhea~, Lemah, for Tos. For Ferra.”
He nodded, and took the pyramid out.
“Another panel shows Siar, and when MarKu was taken, around a hundred were taken from Fisdint, which is shown.” ‘Ao pointed to the scene, which showed a white-robed healer walking with an unwell surprised by a Zbbat carrying two orange-skinned Zheien and a green-skinned. One fourfingered hand gently touched the green one in a diplomat’s uniform. “Anjer, of Ea~.” He sighed.

Cev startled. “Anjer? Ejis! He was one of Butres Nu’s closest aides, and he was taken on Siar?”
Laura eagerly listened to Prince Goes’ memories of MarKuan musicians as Meae and Fae brought me to Mea, with my busbus dangling. “Mea! Aunt Laura! Fa! Uncle Jo!” Then, I reached for Goes, and he took me.
“Ah, little Vadia! I am happy to meet you.” He kissed my forehead. Touched the soft little toys on my headdress and they changed. “Here is a feripas, soft and white. He will bring you a dream tonight. His friends are suna mor, tuns and pite. All friends together as is right.” As he sang the song in English, he made the animals in the song. I sang with him. That made the prince startle, but he kept singing. I sang all the verses, a very long song about the adventures of the friends while watching over the sleeping baby. Real animals of Fig, MarKu. Fa sang the words in Yeff, and Laura in English. J~oie’s part repeated the names of the animals. Fa’s had what they did, in Yeff. Mea’s was harmony with Laura, but she also sang it in Yeff. Goes’ bass voice rang on the commons, and our people swayed with it.
After they finished, I hugged Goes’ head and stroked his soft, dark curls. “Uncle Goe! You be king while Herda lives, two kings for MarKu! Two kings! Fa and Fae, two kings. Herda and Goe, two kings! Two kings and two queens!”
Goes sighed. “I have nae wife, little Sa. You speak well. How old are you?”
“One.” I frowned, and my red curls bounced as I looked at them. “Yeffyear. One Yeffyear, Uncle Goe.”
He gasped. “How is your speech so well, at a year? At a year, Indoe barely spoke unless he called for Mea or Fa!”
I giggled. “Goe, Mea and Fa teach! Fae and Meae teach! Well teach, Goe! Sing, Goe. Sing love songs. Per-sen-non.”
Goes nearly dropped me! “Persennon? How does an infant know of Persennon??” He smiled. “Eae, for you, Vadia! Persennon!” A tune came, then beautiful words, filled with emotion. The Prince Of MarKu looked towards the white Temple, where the suns nearly met the horizon and our pink sky became purple and redviolet around them.

Colors of sunset make sense of love
And love has endless colors to shine
Ever more brightly in the hearts
Of like minds.
Eyes that glow as stars
Revealed in night’s promise
The glance of feet
Lovely in golden sands
Golden as Tessite, and as costly
But the trade
Is worth the travel, and the struggle, and the night of the great trade.
For, what is a night compared to eternity?
Father Of All smiles
Whenever love glows
In the sunset.

People all around us wept. But, I held Goes’ face in my little hands. “Ea. Great trade, Goe. Queen has great trade. King has great trade. Happiness comes in sunset. Great happiness. Now is dawn, Goe.”
His brown eyes blinked, and he waved at the sunset. “Now is nae dawn, Vadia. It is—“
Again, I pulled his face to me. “Think Per-Per-sen-on. Dawn.”
“Dawn?” Another song came to him, and tears came to his huge brown eyes. Laura heard it and sucked her breath in with awe of the beauty of this music, in what she would call a ‘minor key’.
It is the dawn, and I must leave, must fly my ship far
I am young, but tomorrow I must grow old, must work very hard
And, in my work, I wear the lines that mark, the silver of age
Soon, I wear the silver, and is my love come?
When my legs nae dance to the tune of my mind
When my mind is weary and slow, when the work is finished, for me
When others fly my ship and take my work far
I will sit in the sands and enjoy my silver
And perhaps, a maiden, yet maiden in her weary mind
Shall show me her silver, and I will share mine
In the sands. In the sands. Our minds shall dance
And our feet, slowed with work now past
Shall touch, there in the sands
In the sands of sunset.
Only in the colors of sunset
Can love truly begin.

Goes wiped a tear from his face, and imagined a hand, an Earthan hand, to touch his finger. Ne face or voice to go with it, but just an impression that made a cloud in a sunset that was MarKu. A single orange sun, and a sky red on the horizon that paled to light green as he looked up. He held his hand out towards the white Temple for a moment, and Laura finished her harmony.
The whole commons was silent.
I nodded. “Ea, Goe, but people will sing joy when you are king. Joy and great sorrow. Your queen will leave with you, Goe. In the sunset. Your cloak will have rainbows on it. MarKu rises again.”
“Again? Why do you say again?” Goes looked from me to Fa to Mea. How I should know this poetry, when Fa never mentioned Persennon or any other poet? Fae and Meae also looked very surprised. Fae frowned at Fa, that he neglected to recite poetry to Mea.
I reached for Mea, so she took me. “Mea, Uncle Goe has mind pain.”
He trembled, and his skin shone in the fading light of suns. Our people yearned to hear more songs of MarKu, but let us pass without complaint. Fa led Goes by the hand. “I think my friend should see more of our home, ea, Ay? The Gathering Hall.”.
We walked across the Commons and Mea put her hand in the lock. The huge doors moved slowly. First, the huge rings lifted as if giant hands pulled. Then, Rae~ and T~o ran to push at them. After we passed through, they pulled at indentations inside the doors to swing them shut. Always, they smiled at one another and obviously enjoyed their task.
Once inside, to our left was the Sharing Chamber, which Mea thought of as our parlor. To the right was the Gathering Hall, a huge hall that made a semicircle to the Commons, with another set of small doors that slid open, for when one married or courted. The line of dancers began here for the courting or married couples, and others joined in as they pleased.
Along the golden walls, the third tapestry showed Mea as she raised the White Cube, facing Eriganh.
Goe stared at that one. Fa shared memories. “Goe, sit. Will you take nesfa?”
He sighed and took out a leaf. “Eae, my friend. These are beautiful! Which are yet to pass?”
The fourth showed Zhea~, the huge purple chamber decorated with many tapestries and the roomful of healers where Ryonne~ first put on white robes. My fa explained with a smooth flow of quick memories. He stood with Ahstam.
Then, the fifth had a frightening scene of a light green sky filled with ships, people running, and destroyed buildings! The people were orange-skinned, and Zheien. But, a panel showed the same commons, the same buildings, and some of the same faces. These people smiled, but had thin bodies. Many wore long, white tunics to where an Earthan’s ankles lay, as we dressed unwell in our healer colony. Many healers stood with these, or bathed them in white sands.
Goes stood and put both hands on the tapestry. “Eae fae vah! Here, this is Fig, my home in Para! Zbbat and Esteerrian ships—some are Aryllan—Zbbat hold 6 at one! But, this place, I nae know it.” His right hand traced buildings that looked much like Oshfah around a large green building, then an outer ring of metal ones with beautiful scenes inlaid in bright colors. “Buildings of Islay. White sands? Look, this is Fhiah, Fhai Prov, the Trade Office and King’s Home clearly show, and the white Temple. But, people of Islay nae dress as this! Islay has orange sands, nae white! Fhiah has white, and many marshes for bathing. This ship. This man is nae Fa, but much older than I, in the deep blue, in our family color. But, his cloak, with these rainbows! Vadia spoke of rainbows in the sunset, and there is sunset on Alb Seer!” A finger delicately indicated an orange sun in a blue sky. And, holding the king’s hand was a lady in a deep blue dress, with golden hair and blue eyes, filled with love. They smiled at one another. Goes gently touched their heads. “When I am old? I shall nae even share my silver, for there is nae. She is young! An Elshar maiden, perhaps? Or Earthan? Ryee, do I think nonsense? These are old, very old.”
Ry’nao came in and hugged Goes. “My friend, sit. Rest. Do you know you have moisture on you?”
“My emperor! Can you explain the Depictions to me? Is this MarKu’s future? Or Deesamor, in our past?”
His redviolet eyes looked at the 5th tapestry, and he shuddered. “I gave these to W~Via, as a Gift. Until today, and I have seen them many times, I did nae ever think of MarKu! Deesamor had a blue sky. Many herbs grown there were blue, and so colored it, with blue deserts and blue polar regions. But, I assumed this was a Depiction of War, perhaps the fall of—but, they are Zheien—nae large Zheien colony ever fell in the War. Small ones. Many, many small ones.” Quickly, he took a bit of pink from his pocket and tucked it in Goes’ mouth. “My friend, rest.”
Slowly, he smiled, and sweat dried on him. ‘Ao took him off his feet. “My emperor. Should I report to you?”
“Nae, my son. Rest. You must have rest. Ryee, would you like him to sleep in your chamber? You must ne ever take him into this hall, or show him this! I fear for MarKu. J’hanntur is dishonest, and will ne give up his Piee Sahhrat easily.”
Another panel showed Zbbat on the commons of Ye~, with purple sands, six great arms curled about orange-skinned Zheien like us. Quickly, Mea turned away, and we went with ‘Ao to our chamber.
Cevit Ion nodded. “The Zbbat War, on Ye~. Much of Ye~ was lost, then.” Tears filled his black, black eyes.
“Eae, and my visit was nae long after it.” Ben sighed.
“Where do we go, Ry’nao? I nae understand. Which mission is it?” Goes’ brown eyes stared up at him, and nearly closed.
“My son, it is a festival, on Ye~. You need to be rested before your mission to Gowa, eae? Close your eyes, and rest.”
“But, it is nae late, is it? O, it must be late. Sleep pulls. Is it well, I sleep on my feet?”
Fa trembled as ‘Ao put him on our bed. “Ne fear for him. I gave him siar. It is an xchou herb that eases reportage, but also to take the memory of a shock. He must be undistracted for Gowa. Goe will ne remember this day, Ryee. After sleep, you must offer an explanation which helps him. He had severe mind pain. Let him think that his nesfa made him sleepy. Goe, you took nesfa, for mind pain, and fell asleep with us. Feel nae shame, my son. You were weary with mind pain. Sleep, and rest very well. Ryee, siar gives well rest, especially to one who has little. Goe cannot sleep well, for years, after an Elshar attacked him on Elshar Mashai. This Elshar struck him in the back of his head. He carried his friend Kirfa, who was unwell. With his friend in his arms, he knocked down 5 Elshars and gave manual calcs for MarKu! Pie showed me his memories, and his shock, of boarding Goes’ ship expecting to find him grieving his friend, for Kirfa did die within that year of his unwell heart. Instead, he found Kirfa mostly well, and Goes crying for fear his friend lay injured! Pie wept. Kirfa gave him nesfa, but such exertion caused him to miss regen. From that time, he had unwell sleep.”
Fa held Goes and wept.
His friend looked up. “Nae weep. Are you unwell, Ryee? Such mind pain! Rest with me.” Gently, he pulled my fa over his chest, and kept his head.
‘Ao put a hand on Goes’ head. Slowly, brown eyes looked up at him. “Remember, my son. You had mind pain, and took nesfa. Ryee invited you to his chamber. Do nae fear when you wake in Ryee’s chamber. He is your friend, and you nae concern for yesterday. You had mind pain, and you had nesfa, and slept. Before pain was severe, you attended the festival, did much trading, and sang with Healer Laura, J~oie, Ryee, and Adia.” He asked Fa to share those memories, but had him leave out my words to him also. Only his songs remained in the memory.
For two more days, we enjoyed the company of Prince Goes. I did ne say any more to him about MarKu, but begged him to carry me as we walked in festivals, or shared memories. Fae and Meae also stayed near him, and he enjoyed their company. When he had to leave, I cried in his arms. Kissed his forehead. “Vadia, I will return soon for another visit. Nae cry so! Here is your fa.” Gently, he hugged me and gave me to Fa, who also hugged him.
“Dear friend, I am happy you stayed with us these 5 days! Father Who Watches will bless your work, on Gowa.”
His brown eyes filled. “Eae, dear friend, and I pray He watches over your health, and your kingdom!”
Laura held out her arms, and he hugged her. “Be careful, Buddy.”
Goes laughed. “What means buddy?”
“Another word for friend, pal, or adopted brother! A girl can’t have too many bae, now, can she?” Her green eyes winked at Ryee.
J~oie giggled, then hugged Goes. “I am happy to be your friend, Goes. When you return, perhaps I have a tapestry for you.”
“O, I will be eager to see it! Eae yeo.” Gently, the prince rubbed J~oie’s auburn curls.
Mea also hugged him. “When you go to Jasen, be careful.”
His brown eyes opened very wide. “This will be after my next respite, nae soon. I will see home again, eae?”
“You will.” Mea felt what I felt, ea.
With great sadness, we watched our friend leave, and I clung to my fa’s neck. As he boarded his deep blue ship, and it lifted, I cried loudly.
“Vadia, ne this grief—“
“Uncle Goe ne returns to us, Fa, ne again!”

Cev sighed, and it rumbled on us. “Jasen Prov of Gowa is where slavers took him. I sent many to watch, for I knew he had danger, but when MarKu fell, so did all from MarKu, in the shock! All my diplomats heard the screams of minds, and fell. Most of Ry’nao’s operatives on Gowa were MarKuan. The ones who were nae had to try to rescue many. We lost many fine diplomats that day.”
That was the year before my family adopted former slaves. “I didn’t know, Cev. I feel bad.”
He hugged me, and so did Ben. “Molly, few on Earth knew, for Earth had nae many of MarKu but diplomats and traders. They would nae visit you without a purpose. How could you know?”
“I had to watch the news, for school. They must’ve said something about it!” I shook my head, and my red curls bounced.
Ben kissed my forehead. “Ceserae, you were young, and MarKu is in the 8th Galaxy. He is far from us, in the First. Listen.” His mind opened again. I had to give him more help this time. Telepathy wears him out fast, after all this upset. I nodded.

‘Ao shook his head. Stared at the panel with the buildings of Islay. “Rainbow is small now, and there are only 25 beds of MarKuans. I see many more buildings than just MarKu, here! Perhaps this Depiction covers many years, like the First.”
Another panel of the 5th tapestry shows Zhea~. King Marel’vanrah and Prince Ishmarel declared a huge festival even as all of Zhea~ boarded ships—

Cevit Ion gasped. “This happened yesterday!”

Ry’nao looked at the 5th tapestry again. “I am frightened also, Adia! This one looks like Ea~, and that one, like Escet Vu.” Gently, ‘Ao pulled Fa and Mea against him. “King Tomasian is very unwell. His son is expected to take the Reign when he returns from Ceaceadis. On Ea~, Hurtors Of The Slave Trade bring more slaves from invaded mines than there are healers to care for them, or foods! Slavers often wish revenge when their slaves are stolen. My diplomats ask them to transport the slaves to healer colonies. Hasait is near, and expanding. But, they recruit many who are ill to help liberate more mines. They capture more ships than they have pilots to bring them to healer colonies. Many are retaken from Ea~. The group has no organized leadership, and does not take advice from Tomasian or his Council. I fear we see this one happen soon. Escet Vu is remote, and an easy target for Piee Sahhrat. I fear—“
Another servant came quickly to us. “Lieges, a ship! Unwell come from Zhea~ to us. Many healers come also.”

“Escet Vu is very frightened now. I fear that with Zhea~ fleeing slavers, all smallcolonies will be made targets.” Cev sighed, and it rumbled on us. “We lose many Escet Vuans on Earth, and they have the most health to bear Earthan environs.”

Vadia pointed to the complicated panels of the 6th Tapestry, which showed the Gathering. Her mea’s mind spoke:
After three Gatherings, I wondered when would be the next. In the main panel, I plainly saw me with the White Cube, J~oie with the Purple Cube, ‘Ao with the Gray Cube. But, there were others in a rainbow of colors. A gray-skinned man held the Blue, with long, saber-like fingernails! The Blue Cube’s Host had a blurred appearance, perhaps like Oeket and Wslarc appeared, with ever-changing features. Another Cube had a different color on each face, and that host was like the Blue Cube’s. “What species holds the Blue, and the Cube of Many Colors?”
‘Ao tensed. “Aryllans. The gray one. Ty’nirrhans. Their features change like our Councilors, but they lost their position in the Council’s Level and are provisional. Their Councilors yet hold Cubes. These faces are not familiar to me.”
I frowned at him. “If their features change constantly, how would you know one from another, ‘Ao?”
He laughed. “To some species, we all look alike, and they can ne tell us apart! There are differences. Even in a tapestry, which has ne motion, there are differences which would identify people I knew.” His face grew tense. “After this passage of time, there is probably another Host of the Red Cube, but we can hope that the Council will not put a Cube in an Aryllan’s hand, or a Ty’nirrhan’s! They were expunged after the Council formed, and helped form the Alliance. At the beginning of the Council, Aryllans, Bisillipians, and Elshars were members. Ty’nirrhans were on the Third Level then, and had responsibility for Deesamor. Aryllans and Bisillipians experimented to try to give more sensations to Bisillipians, but their experiments destroyed Deesamor, and turned the Aryllan species violent. They feel physical pleasure from pain. Once, they were peaceful as Zheien, and well trading partners. Before their terrible change, Aryllans joined with Bisillipians and Elshars to form the Alliance. Bisillipians lost their position on the Council because they refused to give up slavery. Their Alliance allowed it, and yet allows it, centuries later. Ty’nirrhans also lost their positions, from the Third Level because of Deesamor, and previously, from the Second Level over slavery. A civilization can be advanced and savage at the same time.” His color paled to dark pink.
Ryee frowned. “How well can we trust the Council, then?”
‘Ao shook his head. “Trade is based on trust, is it ne? Councilors are a blend of many species. All must work together for trade to flourish. As the Alliance grows, as the Unified grows, the Council grows. If trade were unfair, the Council would take slaves. Slavery is forbidden on all levels above ours. Because I can know of Council trade, ne much, I can see its health. Time is slower among Council worlds, and if there was a change, it would give many signs. Sghan Mas trades on many levels besides our own. If there was trouble, Sghan Mas would know of it, and I have contact with many there who monitor, through my Diplomatic Link, which works because I hold the Gray Cube. The Gray Cube gathers information and stores it for the Council, and it is the only function I have. I cannot give Gifts as you can, Adia. I cannot heal through it, although I can send the healing an xchou can send, and draw energy from my healthy men to do this so I gain ne harm. Most of my work as Emperor, I do through the Links, and manipulation of the Links was taught me by the Council. My body was specially prepared to take many links. But, without my links, I am an ordinary man.”
Ryee laughed. “My friend, you are ne ordinary! I could ne make the well decisions you do, and so many.”
He smiled, and rubbed an eye with a fourfingered hand. “Ryee, you are my friend, and know me well. But, I have held this position long. There have been other Emperors who served in a Unified capacity, secretly, to represent us to other levels. One man cannot do what I do. Every decision I make is based on the work of my many diplomats, operatives, and even healers! My position is practice for the work of a Councilor, but the xchou have not earned the privilege, so I may remain an Elder for the rest of my life. Elders are given Gifts, but what I have is not enough to do the work of a Councilor. There is much I do ne know, Ryee. I have never helped in this work, to prepare a people to leave one Level and rise to another. I am learning, as you are, Adia. My Councilor only appears in the Gathering.”
Again, I looked at the tapestry. I did not see Wslarc, or Oeket, or other Councilors in the faded picture. Our faces did not look happy, and stared at one another, not at the others with Cubes. We were in the foreground, and others, in the shadow. Other panels showed scenes too faded to make out. One showed a woman suspended in red and white light, and she looked like me. The background was red-violet. I shuddered.
‘Ao put his arms around us. “Let us turn our minds from this. The Council does ne work in our time. Perhaps it will be years before we are Gathered again! In the crosstime, there are many to heal, and healers to train, and we will spread the New Healing as far as we can across 13 galaxies! Even with Ishah to supply us, it is many lifetimes of work, Friends. First, let us enjoy our respites. I go to Vchsan.”
Ryee frowned. “Must you work during your respite, ‘Ao?”
He laughed loudly. “I go to trade, ne to work! A DS man loves to trade, ea? Ket gave me a list of herbs he needs, but most of my trading will relax me. Our people are ne rude. I think I shall bring many flowers for my home, for your ea yho projects. Your scientists think we can grow them in the Tunnels.”
“Ea?” Ryee smiled, and his excitement tingled on me. ‘Ao briefly shared a walk in a beautiful garden, where he found several cousins sleeping in thick flowers. Carefully, he laid down beside them, and the scents of the brightly-colored flowers relaxed him for sleep. He woke as the first light of dawn colored the sky red as a rose-colored moon grew large over the horizon. The garden was on a hill, so he watched at a comfortable angle as the orange sun came up and the pink moon set. Flowers covered the ground between five log houses with intricate carvings, beautifully polished logs, and each house had a different color of flowering tree, but all the trunks glowed light blue. As the sun rose, scents from the flowers became stronger. “I will bring a variety of plants, and perhaps a hardy animal or two, before Pirasu rises again! They are easy trades in Foriru, my home. Laura would laugh, if she knew Esperanto! Foriru means, ‘go away’. But, in our language, it means flower. We have one language for trading, and many, for our families. I wish I had more left. I have sons who died in their work. My wife died when my enemies found her. I am too old, Ryee, too old to seek another wife. I am very happy you have your Adia.” Gently, he hugged us both, then went out.
Ryee watched him. Sighed. “Diplomats expect to be alone, Ay. I am happy, that we are together, and I wish all diplomats had wives or husbands to cheer them as I have you!” Gently, he held handfuls of my hair and kissed my forehead.

Others held Cubes in a rainbow of colors. Clearly now, Vadia held a White Cube. Ryee held the Redviolet Cube, as he had to fight Eriganh’s rogues! Erigan, the Master Healer of the Sixth Galaxy, stood beside them, holding an orange Cube. Young. Strong. He wore his red hair straight. Eriganh wore braids under a thin redmetal headcovering molded over his braids, a Kajarian custom of war. Both men, Host and Councilor, had gray skin and beady black eyes. But, Eriganh, who held the Red Cube of Fire, was absent; an Earthan or Elshar appearing woman held it, with a kind face, an expression that seemed timid or fearful, as if she was unsure of what she did in this place. A gray-skinned Aryllan Host held the Blue, with long, saber-like fingernails; she and he locked gazes! The Blue Cube’s Councilor had a blurred appearance, perhaps like Oeket and Wslarc appeared, with ever-changing features. Another Cube had a different color on each face, and that Ty’nirrhan host was like the Blue Cube’s. His name whispered to me. Rentappenen. And, at his side, I saw little W’Vie. That sight took breath from me! Rentappenen held out a terminal to Opseh Wenh Cet, Greg’s father, the slaver. The woman with the Red Cube held a hand towards W’Vie, as if to beckon him to come with her instead. White light glowed in W’Vie’s hands, and he frowned at Rentappenen. Clearly, W~Via stood in formals as Ryee wears when we speak to our people, behind Ryee, with both hands tenderly on the back of his head! Ryee looked exhausted, perhaps near collapse, and the white light of healing illuminated his head where the young man’s hands rested. Sudden peace came to me in the last dream. Ryee worried for the amount of silver in his hair. Even now, not as much as showed on him in this tapestry. Must we have more trials?
Then, I looked carefully at the 7th tapestry. Sad refugees came off ships onto a world with fountains that had bathing sand, and healers for every person, who tenderly cared for them. The 8th had white sand, colorful groups of buildings, and again, healers to take sad-looking people off them and care for them. There to greet them, the king who declared the festival on Zhea~ in the 4th tapestry! No, he is the prince, for the king stands at his side, and both cry. Many familiar faces show to me in this now.
Panels of that 8th tapestry had scenes of cloning, Burial Chambers, and Hubs, the huge servers that give tech to worlds. Again, I see familiar faces.
And then, I remembered something Vadia told me, in a festival. W’Vie learned to bounce on his toes, and I put thoughts of the tapestries aside, and she spoke. Vadia hugged me. “Mea, you will hold W~Via, and he will be King. W’Vie will be a great healer! Our trials will ne stop us, Mea. The Change brings happiness to many besides our people. What is taken will be restored. MarKu rises again, and many other kingdoms.”
I did hold W~Via as I bathed my son in the sands, and he will be King!
I startled awake, and W~Via, my weary son, laid with his head in my arms!
Laura smiled. “I made him lie down, and he didn’t rest until I put his head on you. Sorry to startle you—“
Gently, I stroked the dark curls. “Oh, Laura, I am happy, to hold my son! Vadia said I would hold my son, and here, in my arms, is my dear son!” Tears of joy left much powder on my cheeks.
“Vadia did say that, didn’t she?” Laura laughed.
Father came near, and I shared the memory. He and Mother enjoyed it, and held my son’s hands, as he peacefully slept.

But, then, I looked at the 6th Tapestry, with a small panel which showed the Councilors of Gh’osstlee. Rej, Uon, and the rest had blurred faces, not the unchanging ones of the false Council. The same scene shared with me by those here on Columbia. My eyes were drawn to the other panel, where they held Cubes. Rentappenen, and his Cube of Many Colors. That Ty’nirrhan host was like the Blue Cube’s. Rentappenen. And, at his side, little W’Vie, as he appears now. Rentappenen held out a terminal to Opseh Wenh Cet, Greg’s father, the slaver. The woman with the Red Cube held a hand towards W’Vie, as if to beckon him to come with her instead. White light glowed in W’Vie’s hands, and he frowned at Rentappenen. White connected him to W~Via, and Rentappenen was not looking towards it. Clearly, W~Via stood in formals behind Ryee, with both hands tenderly on the back of his silvercurled head! Ryee looked exhausted, perhaps near collapse, and the white light of healing illuminated his head where the young man’s hands rested. Sudden peace came to me again, as in the last dreams. Ryee had more silver now, but, not as much as showed on him in this tapestry. Behind us all was the rocky wall of a mine! In our group, I recognized many, including Marc and Cornelia, Martel, Koh, Petro, Healer Petro, their wives, Luc’vel, Maura, and Belle, our newest members.
I looked carefully at the 7th tapestry. Sad refugees came off ships onto a world with fountains that had bathing sand, and healers for every person, who tenderly cared for them. Many faces looked familiar, this time. Is this the world Sghan Mas prepared for us, to hide us? The purple sky looked familiar, the two moons, and orange sand all around. As if a mixture of Zhea~ and Ye~.

Then, Vadia pointed to the 8th: A view of ships landing on white sand, with many colorful groups of buildings. One panel showed a green obsidian chamber with beds of clones and people lying on top of them.

Cevit Ion gasped. “Recloning? Here? Do you know of such a chamber, Binneas?”
“Please, call me Bin, as my friend. Cev, there are tunnels, and—“ His mind opened again. The 8th tapestry showed Rainbow, with a lot more subcolonies, and they had buildings from home. Ben’s head nodded, and I caught it. His meds cycled.
The Emperor cried.
“He’s okay. Ben, go to sleep, cesarae. I’ll be here when you wake up.” I kissed my husband’s forehead, and his yellow eyes closed.
Cev held his head against his chest. “I traded for safety for Zhea~. But, I nae saw the world. The 7th tapestry shows that some of Zhea~ is there, and Ye~ will come there also. Did you see Ry’nao, Friends? Ryonne~, and Adia, and King Marel’vanrah, and Prince Ishmarel, they will be safe, and have many healers.” His eyes closed.
Everyone on the bed slept except for me. I thought about all this and didn’t know what to think! I’m just a healer, and I can’t comprehend all these prophecies and things. Other people will do what they will do, and I can’t affect it or change it or bring it about. All I can do is heal people.
But, I thought about that 8th tapestry. That’s here. That’s our future, if all the tapestries are going to come true. We’ll find the lost royalty of MarKu! Prince Goes will be king! Pie’s already here, and Jog Sa. But, what’s recloning? I waved up Req, with a prog to keep it quiet around all these sleeping bodies! “Req, are there any labs in the Tunnels?”

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