Ri — Eye of the Ocean Book One 238
He had left his honor blade on the stone between the stands of reeds, the
trees a short distance now, and more real that close. The same stone near where
Cassa had waded in Li-Fu's tale. And carried a crystal gun in her roll, if the
Simic-priest could be believed. Probably she had carried it up the spiral with her,
not caring about such things past avoiding obvious trouble, and Temple Net, any
Temple Net, ignored her as much as it was able to, and if challenged, let her do
whatever she wanted.
“I can give you Ulanda,” he said as he strapped his blade sheath onto his leg.
“Cassa's death stopped the invasion of overpattern into the world-patterns, but
Ulanda could easily start it again. I'd say your greatest reassurance is that Cassa
has set this up to an end that almost certainly includes the survival of her
people. You'll get your sector Opening on her terms, not the loom-master’s…”
Sarkalt stopped. “Anga.”
He turned to face him. “He's on the Ladybug. And Ulanda. She's facing certain
death regardless, you might take some care in her handling. She's no fool… and
Cassa had a temper that didn't always take consequences into account.” What he
had to say didn't take long and he was glad of it. It wasn't any cooler here;
perhaps the trees would be better. Dusty things, they looked like green sheeting,
the edges frayed by the dry wind.
And the last: “Cassa said the girdle was hers. I understand why now.” The
second time, she had taken the girdle from a ward-sealed pouch in a Minik wolf-
ship. Salvage work she had said, and laughed, even cycling, she'd laughed.
Salvage by the time she was finished with it. They had been apart—one of the
longer times, several years—she had worked a few weeks at most at each job.
Pay was good leading a soft-entry team against raider ships and the time scale
fit her moods. He always found her.
“It's mine,” Cassa had whispered against his arm as he held her, feeling more
than the rancid sweat that rolled off her face, smelling the fear and the drugs
that helped keep her body alive while too much else of her reached out for a
place where nothing human could live. He had thought she was dying, seeing
something in her that he hadn't before: a surrendering. A weakness he had
The entire back of the girdle had been sunstones she eventually told him,
only the ties were still glass. There had been no way of knowing where the girdle
had been in the years since they had sold it, whose hands it had passed though.
No record existed on the Minik ship of where they had bought it, or stolen it
more likely; no mention that they even had it on board.
And the Spann? A Voice for one of the High Families had been involved in the