23.1 \ 205

Wreckage like this, they had not seen on this planet up to this point. Nothing looked so ravaged; where things had been broken off, they were also growing again, but not here. Everything across this wide crater had been taken and scraped bare. After the places they’d seen, full of life and music, chambers of light and artistry, they could almost see what was lost here.

THIS WAS A PLACE WHERE WE BROUGHT OUR CHILDREN TO PLAY. IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN EXISTENCE. HERE WERE RARE LIVING TREASURES LOOKED UPON FOR GENERATIONS. IN THERE IS WHERE WE WILL HAVE OUR DISCUSSION.

The coterie of selected Aureny delegates accompanied the fielded freight sled that carried Soleil and the others who had come here aboard Drift X. As Aureny walk, it had taken them half a day to get here. The floating sled looked Vedani, sharing a few of Moonshadow’s characteristics. The Aureny seemed to carry nothing with them above ground.

THERE WAS A MASSACRE, AT FIRST. WHEN WE REALIZED THEY WERE UNWILLING TO TALK BUT WILLING TO KILL, AND THAT WE COULD NOT STOP THEM, WE STAYED AWAY. WE HAVE SINCE ENSHRINED OUR REMAINS. FOR NOW, THEY ARE GONE, AND WE WANT NO MORE OF THIS. SO WE HAVE ALLIED WITH OTHERS WHO HAVE SIMILAR MESSAGES TO DELIVER TO THE SOURCE OF OUR GRIEVANCES.

“The Pan-Galactic Imperium,” intoned Soleil, head bowed introspectively. Rosy Glow, channeling all this communication, floated petal-eyes half shut inside a whirl of her favorite colors of light. Derringer, Wendel, and Toller observed.

22.4 \ 204

Though nothing has essentially changed, the surrounding space feels close, dark and intimate, as this Dragon creeps in from a hidden point. Treading delicately with a probing blindness that can still sense everything, Rhizoa travels around to brush against each of them. The connection from this feeling of touch is sustained, like holding hands.

From within this sense of connection, Rhizoa breaches a difficult topic. “You must be aware that Ignivus is no longer living.”

“Yes. I didn’t know er long, though incubation is timeless and my first ones were intrinsic to my emergence.”

“Ignivus, or Ignivf from among er names, was killed by people who know me, those who believe you an enemy. But, we should know each other. You and I have many points of relation. I sensed an unmissable congruence in this moment, between those of us present.” Knowing from their arrangement as ‘e entered that they were matching scales, Rhizoa joins the knotwork formation.

Reaching out in safe shelter of secrecy: a moment of form in action, characteristic of Rhizoa.

The nonexistent bridge, betweenness that is itself, a space that isn’t space: an essential rumination of Acamar’s.

Reassuring order, inspiring form and structure: an effect of Grymmatos’ presence.

Perspective over the interconnected weave as known by a patternmaker in the patterning: a viewpoint of Saga’s familiarity.

The buried foundation, sweetness and medicine.

The vanishing that is an appearing also, the broken way.

A grounding place, to draw the dreamers.

Connecting dots, making sense.

“A blossoming society is of importance to us,” says Rhizoa, “but we must embody our wholeness, which itself is the reason for our presences. The way of divides is rarely the Dragon’s tendency, but my alliances are of value and I will continue to empower my associations. I am glad to know you, and I believe we have much to do with each other, nascent Acamar. Like Saga, you hold no allegiance, so beware those of others. There are neighborhoods of my terrain I would share with you, but you can’t gain access through our protections. We have this place, that is no place, that may be the only place we can share.”

22.3 \ 204

The three Dragons begin to compare scales, enabling the one newly emerged to take notice of er own details.

Rainbow-hued, clever of line, Saga reflects: the meaning of the narrative, the Meaning of The Narrative, the Meaning of the narrative, etcetera.

Ageless of form, almost smooth, Grymmatos recalls from a place of strength: the regularity of the tap of foot upon surface, size matched to size, simple steps in aggregate symphony echoing down in time.

A color that is the opposite of every color, both shining and absorbing, Acamar evanesces: the transformative pause, an opening that is a nothing, a not-thing.

Near their space, a blue flare bursts fountaining, a recognition of a uniquely relevant occurrence, requesting inclusion. Reading the signature, Saga knows who this comes from. “This Dragon who wishes to join us has many friends who fear you hatefully. It’s good to let things occur as they should, and this one suggests ‘e should be present, but you may disallow it. This began as your tabulum.”

“It’s been a good meeting. Let it continue, as requested,” says Acamar with a natural bow of admission.