We were seen, of course. Firstly by a couple of people who’d been thrown on their backs by the earthquake then by anyone who looked at the falling tower. Should I have gotten back to solid masonry faster? Probably, but I’d never walked on air before.
Then they threw me in the cell the temple has just in case we ever actually have a demon spawn prisoner. A little experimentation convinced me that I could walk straight out, if I wished. For the time being, I didn’t wish. For one thing I had no desire to lay all my cards on the table at once – if things didn’t go well I’d like to have some unexpected tricks up my sleeve.
They also had the courtesy to tell me what they were planning, although they may have considered that a threat. Essentially, they were going to ask our divine patron who my father was. They acted as if I was putting them to tremendous expense and perhaps it would cost them more than they would have preferred in god debt and mana. That would explain why they hadn’t done it before but I did wonder why they didn’t try asking me. Did they think that I wouldn’t know or did they think that I might lie?
“Erima?” It was Tulie, another of the drudges. She was sweeping the floor and talking to me under cover of the action. All the drudges could do it. Some of the priests and warriors thought that we shouldn’t talk while we worked. Some of them occasionally needed reminding that we aren’t slaves. “They don’t know what to make of you. You’re not Our Master’s child but you saved someone. They don’t know whether you’re demon spawn who can be bound to service or something else. They’ve sent for someone who can tell with out having to consult Him. Thris had to leave the room while they were still talking so we don’t know who.” The priests and the warriors also tend to treat the drudges like furniture and talk straight over the top of us. Collectively, we know almost everything there is to know in the temple.
“Thank you.” I was as quiet as she had been and the guard watching her didn’t seem to notice anything. Mind you, most of them aren’t stupid and they probably know almost as much as we do.
I spent three nights in that cell. Most of the time I was alone. No-one came to see me on their own, apparently they were afraid I might be able control someone’s mind. Maybe I could, I’d never tried.
It was about lunchtime after the third night when I had a new visitor. New in that I’d never seen him before. Never seen anyone like him before.
I heard him first though. “I’d rather get this over with as quickly as possible,” came from the other side of the door in a voice I didn’t know. “I do have to get back to Inyarn as soon as possible.” A pause while another voice spoke, then, “I hope to be on the road again almost straight after lunch. We have to hold the Yarn Wall.” Then the door opened and he came in.
His teeth glinted and his eyes gleamed. He had a face and body that made maidens dream. Potentials wrapped him like a cloak. The sunlight gleamed on his hair and we were two floors underground and nowhere near a light shaft. This was what my mother had been trying to produce when she had me, a godsson. I stood.
He bowed. Deeply. Then turned to the senior priests and priestesses of our temple who were clustered as close to him as moths could come to a flame and asked in a mild, puzzled voice, “Why is she locked up?”
There was a buzz of responses. About half of them said “Demon spawn,” while the rest of them blended into a general ‘rhubarb’ noise. The Master of Novices’ voice cut through all of that with a knuckle-rapping, “Why shouldn’t she be?”
“She’s a First Born,” he bowed to me again, “Elder Cousin.” Then to them, “I don’t know whose she is but,” he rubbed his head in a problem confronting tell, “She does out rank me.”