216. Ri — Eye of the Ocean Book One 214
Then the rest of Temple faded at the double strike. Everything was Net and a
window where a drama unfolded, played in the murmuring echo of the fall of
allipalli stems and in colors seen as through a dark glass.
- 38 -
Quin'tat looked around with distaste. Boxes and mounds of furniture had been
moved out of the room they were in but the musty smell remained. The wooden
shutters—plain wood, not reeds—were opened to the late afternoon sun, the
walls glowed in a blaze of green silk. That much was the same. Not the floor
though, this one was laid with narrow strips of dark wood. And there hadn't been
any rugs or a bird drawn in silver thread on the wall.
Several attendants waited in the processional outside, only he, Pida and
Sarkalt were inside the room. Sarkalt had insisted on seeing it in person. The
spin analysis of the dreams had finally given them this, without Dal'itin. They
just didn’t know what it meant. Priests had been over and over this room and
found nothing, less than nothing. There was no feeling in these rooms for people
ever having been here.
The surrounding rooms were as empty of life as this one, a large area in the
Imperial Suite blocked as though it didn't exist. “Not much of a prize,” he said.
Sweat dampened tendrils of curls reached to Sarkalt's waist, his hair tie
undone and unnoticed. Pida had done his best with Sarkalt and that had been
better than anyone had expected. The wonder of his survival was on the
tass'altin's thin face along with the exhaustion and the remains of the stimulants
that kept him awake but which made his movements disjointed and jerky.
“It's here,” Sarkalt said, his eyes on Quin'tat. “I want the portal found.”
“You'll know as soon as anything shows up.”
“She's here.” Sarkalt looked back at the wall, tracing the outline of a bird with
his eyes as another would use their fingers. “We're just not looking for her in the
right way. I wondered that I hadn't the extent of dreams the others have, only
the fish and the pond, the dark ocean. Perhaps dreams aren't necessary between
When it didn't look like Sarkalt's legs would hold him, Pida helped him to the
floor. “The Phoenix has contained the focus of Change into that one place,”
Sarkalt added, barely moving the air with his words. He still stared at the wall.
Wood the color of amber bordered Simic-green silk. Vertical lines showed in the
fabric when the light hit at an angle. “All possibilities are in there.”
Dal'itin's death had given them what the dreams couldn't: overpattern in
fragments, each fragment