A sneak peek at the next thrilling Lore of the Underlings episode,
which I’m writing as we speak (Episode 4 ~ Preview 13)
A thin stream of blue, one last lingering moonbeam, seemed locked upon the young woman’s face. As if from another world it spilled to show her in some form of sleep. She sat on edge of a tiny platform — a place just big enough for one — back straight, palms up, legs crossed and tucked, pilgrim-style like those who quest for blessing, her eyes wide open yet all but missing. They were a blur as though submerged and fading off into a distance. In fact her whole shape looked drowned under water, submersed in a small oval pool around her. She floated below the surface of it. It rippled, distorting her form.
Still, she stirred not. She made no wake.
The vines, though, went to wag like a hundred tongues talking — a chorus commemorating the scene. Or ten tens tellers of a tale, whispering words such as these as they swung:
Astride like a knight rides in the day
This prince of light our treasured sun
So charming in his starry armor
Chasing the gray girl’s blues away
A golden kiss upon those lips
The purple of sleepy beauty
Then just as the moody blue was gone, she blinked and her handsome friend could see a pair of emeralds, lucent green, rising from the liquid deep. She broke the surface with a shudder and uttered the slightest sigh.
The young man looked caringly in her eyes. “I’m sorry,” he mouthed, moving near to her.
She drank in the air then exhaled long and slow, as if she’d been holding her breath forever.
“It’s alright,” she said to reassure him.
The shape-shifting pool had receded behind her, although a trace of it remained. The hint of a faint gray glow.
John Cap’s eyes said he had more to say. He started, “I missed…” but stopped himself there.
He saw that Vaam’s thoughts were still elsewhere. A distant lost home. A time slipped away.
In mindless motion she reached for her throat and clutched at something her high collar hid. She smiled when her fingers found it. And a calm washed over her flawless face in a way that drained her cares away and revealed how very innocent and young she really was.
Then Vaam gently drew from her hiding place a most unusual necklace, and her calm overcame the room.
It was a pendant about the size of an eye, a glossy object of reddest rosewood, mounted on a cord of hide from the side of an animal skinned and dyed. The icon was smooth looking worn from time in the palms of many possessed. The cord was crude against her skin.
To the naked eye the strange figurine mocked the shape of a priestly being — behooded, kneeling, arms concealed — like a sacred relic from holier times or hallowed jewel baptized in blood, so ruby-enrobed it was. But who could tell with so much wear…
Vaam herself left no room for doubt. She cradled the thing in her slender hand and felt it with her fingertips. It looked like she hoped to coax magic from it or perhaps just reminders of the past. What came out was a mingling of them both, here and now spellbound in her grasp.
Maid of mirage she was. Shy by trials yet untold. Still statuesque even as she sat.
… to be continued. Stay tuned!
Previous previews of Episode 4:
1 ~ The watchman
2 ~ Dreams
3 ~ Halo
4 ~ Netherworld
5 ~ Semperor
6 ~ Halcyon days
7 ~ Punch
8 ~ Enshadowed
9 ~ Pale ghost
10 ~ Needle
11 ~ New light
12 ~ Something looms…