You sound more like a monk than a greatqueen! They have attained the purest spiritual existence any Daine can. I don't know how they do it, but they also long outlive most folk. I even met a monk once who was a child when Men first wandered into our lands from the West. I don't even know how long ago that was! Many ages I'm sure!Firebird766 wrote:Interestingly, the Empire That Calls The Sun also tends to favor women over men, for various reasons mostly relating to lifespan. "We are a rarity, yes. At the time of our ascendance, we were the only with the highest and most spiritually pure of all aspects. Were that not the case, we may have become a priest instead of the Sun-Caller.
Do you mean your whole realm calls to the Sun Queen? We call her back from her sojourns into the South Beyond at Yeol, when the Winter Queen is strongest. There's ancient stories told then, and all the warriors and the sheriffs of the Thriddings dance around a bonfire all night long, singing to the Sun Queen, until she arises on the morning after Longest Night. Then we await the coming of the armies of the Spring Queen.
Even Men know how to call the Sun Queen back from the South; but they've forgotten why. Now Nico's nose crinkles in disgust: They even sacrifice a youngster to some wild beasts to ensure the return of the Sun. Or so I've heard.
Who is that? Are you also a great warrior, that you might have gone after this Great Enemy?"Were that the case, my liege, perhaps you would be free to pursue the Great Enemy yourself instead of delegating down to your armies," interjects Ironproof.
"Perhaps. As for those of where we are from, there are Folk, there are animals, and there are a few rare others. The others are not like you- they have no wings, and they have no aspects of animals like Folk do.
I see. We have yemanggo, the plants, allemanggo, the animals and beasts and wûtqanggo, people, spirit beings and Powers.
Folk are most certainly people.
But how can they be true People if they are among the Wingless?
Nico!! Watch what you speak! Enca turns away from observing the strange folk gathered here, wondering what it is has brought them all to this curious place.
But it's true! Even Men themselves admit they are among the Fallen, that they've lost their true selves as people, that...
Enough! Enca takes Nico's face between the hands, says quietly: Some truths are enough simply to know. Especially in a place like this whose purpose we do not know! You speak with this boy-queen as if you're old chums, and yet obviously neither he nor his left-hand girl are Men nor certainly Daine nor even Teyorkind. And beyond are two Werehounds, who appear to be dressed like Auntimoanians. The only one of Mankind here is the girl at their table. Now, enough of this "true People" business! Do you understand me?
Nico's head bows slightly & nods slowly: Ya, I understand. It was wrong to speak so.
Nico's eyes widen at the mention of the black metal. Iron! That's very rare indeed! Iron touches some Daine that way. I've worked the black metal twice or thrice only. Da won't come near the stuff, and our little brothers are no better. I have to wrap my hands with cloth when working it, and even then they ache with cold for days after and my nails turn black. The grey scars disappear in a fortnight or so. It's funny: one time, I worked on a piece of black metal for days on end. My hands and forearms were all grey and numb with cold, but I couldn't stop working on it. People said I was acting strangely.The others- it varies, but occasionally one is as well. They lack wings or any other aspects, however, and we are still unsure what Daine may be. Can you tolerate iron?" No matter what animal they take after, there is not a single Folk that does not burn under the touch of that most treacherous metal. Some fear it more than fire.
You were delirious is what you were, Nico! You had no idea of time or place except with that horrible piece of iron in your hands. That iron is like a horrible old spider, luring you away and wrapping you in her webs! You terrified me, those days.
Yeah, I know -- but I couldn't help it either! I think I finished the work, though. Anyway, Ma said I stumbled out of our workshop, sweating and vomiting. Da said I looked like an old ash pit and if I kept at it for much longer, the black metal would have killed me.
I believe him! cried Enca. As it turned out, you slept nearly a month, wandering in far places where I couldn't reach you. It was all we could do to get a little water and flummery into you and hope that you'd wake up. No healer could help. They all said you'd just have to sweat the iron out and wander back from your distant dreaming as best you could.
Nico looked from Ironproof back to her greatqueen. So, what is it with the long feathers on your heads? You said some folk in your land "take after" some kind of animal or beast. Are these what you mean? Is that why you're interested in our wings?