That night, the market bustled, music and laughter (and light! Cheerfully burning torches guiding prospective buyers and curious window shoppers alike) wafted through the air, and my spirits lightened a bit. It was good to see some concrete positive change coming after Akkimu’s death. I was still troubled, but for a short while the success of the market’s opening let me have a measure of peace with what we had done.
It was also heartening to simply have accomplished something so down-to-earth as starting a marketplace. So much of what we do lately is warding from spirits, arguing with giants, and tangling with gods that it was nice to be able to do something for the people of the city that was so mundane.
Speaking of gods, Hatellus decided to make an appearance that night. This should not have been entirely surprising; he is, after all, a god of commerce, more or less, in Champoor, so that opening of a marketplace makes sense for him to attend. He stated he was not there in any sort of ‘official’ (godly?) capacity, but the merchants certainly seemed to appreciate his being there, and he did offer them blessings, if they asked.
I have never known someone whose mere presence caused me so many…. Feelings. I felt elated. I felt dismayed. I felt joyful. I felt nervous. I felt a deep sense of calm. I felt a deep sense of guilt. All in the moment I saw him. It is a curious thing to be so intensely influenced just by someone entering my view.
We walked together among the stalls for a while, my emotions fluctuating between the flattery of his having come to see me, and the tidal wash of the fear that his strolling beside me might be imperiling him. My actions caused him to have to flee his city. Mine. I know he would never blame me, but I’m not sure I could handle being the cause of danger for him again.
After a while, I took him aside, unable to contain this feeling any longer. I confessed my fears to him, tearfully. He, responding to my obvious distress, took both my hands in his to reassure me. He believes in what we, the Rising Sun House, are doing. He seemed so certain that it was worth the possibility of danger in order to provide us with support and aid.
I may have broken down a bit at this point, quite embarrassingly, which seemed to bewilder him, though he took having a blubbering girl in front of him fairly well. It was not until much later that night that I remembered to feel the rush of excitement at the memory of his hands in mine.
- * *
Today the temple of Kadu held a public hearing in order to discuss the information that had come to light about their god as per the information Mauk bellowed to Broken Walls. I am not sure exactly what I was expecting to hear, as there would have to be much repairing of reputations if the public were to trust Kadu again, but it was bound to be a bit of a tense situation.
We arrived at the advertised temple, the courtyard already crowded with concerned citizens. Piper seemed to be staring with unusual intensity at a few otherwise uninteresting areas of the yard, and soon slipped away from the other four of us; Piper’s ability to notice those things which I would never even have contemplated is quite remarkable, so I was not terribly concerned about this following of other interests. The rest of us moved closer to the front of the crowd, and a priest took the pulpit to address us all.
His beginning statements were bland enough, a valiant attempt to soothe the populace that everything was as it was before, and nothing to be alarmed about. But then Broken Walls began to question him.
I have never before heard such command in questioning, nor seen such compliance of the questioned to answer. Broken Walls had become one that would be granted answer, and the poor, suddenly much meeker looking priest could do nothing by acquiesce. Words he seemed never to have intended to speak spilled from his lips regarding Kadu’s intentions for the city, fear pityingly filling his eyes as he blathered. Guards nearest him began to move towards him, clearly intending to silence his truth-speaking, but I knew this act of honesty would be what was best both for him and for Champoor, so I raised my own Voice to them, imploring them to let him continue. At my request, obviously moved by my ardor and shine, they demurred, and helplessly listened as he continued.
When Broken Walls had finished his interrogation, he realized that the priest, Sailing Dawn Defiant, would now be in peril, and offered our sanctuary. He literally lept at the prospect, and we began to make our way to the safety of the Rising Sun Compound.
More guards of Kadu, quite agitated by this display of disrespect towards their god, made as if to threaten us, but a few of my impassioned words allowed them to see the error of their ways. They were so moved by them that a few of them even followed us to the compound, clearly understanding that what they thought of as their god before was no longer worthy of their service.
It is a strange thing, my Voice. Broken Walls asked me about it later, and I was not entirely sure how to answer him. I think I understand that it is somehow enhanced when I pour my light into it. It’s like having this light infuse my speech allows others to see what I am saying more clearly, enlightening them as well. Their words made it seem as though Broken Walls and Piper feared that it was somehow overtaking the wills of those I speak to, but I do not believe this is the case. The guards who followed me, who we have now taken into our numbers, I do not believe do so because they are somehow supernaturally forced to. They have simply gained a great respect for me, based on what I said, and how I said it, recognizing my light, and the fact that they wish to follow it. It is as if they were before sitting in a dark room at night, seeing by the little illumination the stars and moon give through cracks in the windows, and believing that this was adequate. All my voice is doing is lighting a fire.
Piper engaged me at length, later on after we had completed some dance lessons, on the subject of what it means to be a Solar. I have pondered it for some time, and I think I may have some thoughts that I would like to commit to paper:
-We are beings of light; whether that means we are happiest being surrounded by the sun, or banishing the darkness; we need to shine. Plainly, I believe we have some drive, some need to banish the ills from the world, and to seek out those things we think of as its evils.
-We are, and continue to become, immensely powerful; ours is not the domain of mortals, even if we wish it to be. We may yearn for those days when things were simple, and our concerns were mundane, but we are no longer capable of normal lives, in spite of whether or not we believe this to be true.
This second thing is something conflicting in me. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I’m just a girl, happy and dancing, and looking at clothes, and dreaming of romance and laughing with my friends.
And then I remember. I am a being of light. My voice will one day pull the stars from the sky. No, I am a star. Light, and warmth that shines and burns and even the gods will fear me.
And… I fear me.