A girl with dark yellow skin and dark brown hair, that is Mrokitar, just as she appeared back at the otherworldly school. Except her eyes and face look alive, more human. There’s not much I can do to safeguard myself from a god at such short notice, so I bow and hail her by several of her titles. She indicates I should sit. So I go sit in the chair behind Sarton’s desk and wait for her to explain just what Evana has asked her to do to me.
She contemplates me with a smile for several minutes before saying, “Now that I understand you better, it’s so amusing to see how your facial expressions and posture indicate your state of mind. My thanks.”
I have no idea where this is going. “You’re welcome. I did what?”
“Gave me insight into humans. I even thought of coming here in your eidolon. I’ve been using it elsewhere.” She sighs. “But I thought that would confuse you. You humans are so easily confused.”
I nod to that. Still no idea what she’s up to. Guess I’m one of those confused humans.
Mrokitar sighs. “It doesn’t last, though. Gods are gods, and humans are humans. After a while, I’ll gradually cease to empathize with you humans, and you’ll become curiosities, instead of beings I understand. Take this one, the woman whose shape I’ve taken. I knew her three hundred years ago. Her influence only lasted thirty years. So I imagine yours will, too.”
“You could find another human to temporarily absorb every thirty years,” I point out.
“But why would I?” she replies. And then, after a long pause, she goes on. “Still, I feel I owe you something for this experience. So I have done what you humans call a good deed.”
This has nothing to do with Evana. It’s all Mrokitar’s own idea. I’m not sure whether to be relieved or even more worried.
“You loved your sister, Jallia. Her body had to die so that Ovedisca could be driven from the realities where he is not allowed. But her soul did not have to die. So I transplanted it.”
Mrokitar has my interest. She has my interest. “Go on,” I urge her.
“It is easiest to implant a soul in a new person. So I went and found one. And just to make it most appropriate, I implanted it in a new person related to you.” Mrokitar has a big smile on her face.
New person. What would a god mean by that? “One of my siblings is having a child?”
Mrokitar shakes her head. She’s still smiling. “No. But you’re close.”
“My step-mother is carrying a child?” I would think her too old now, but I could be wrong.
“Getting colder, Tollon.”
Who is more closely related to me than my siblings? And would be having a child? I start mentally searching through my family tree. And another part of my mind wonders where Sarton is. We still need to settle what to do about Lady Gwella . . .
Oh, no! OH, NO!!
I try to think how to put the devastation in my soul in polite terms to Mrokitar. Trying desperately to keep my voice steady (and failing), I ask, “My child by Lady Gwella?”
Mrokitar claps her hands. “Yes!”
And then I catch at a straw. “But that’s impossible. That child was engendered while Jallia was still alive.”
Mrokitar laughs. “The child was also engendered on a different world from the one Jallia died on. So what? Am I not a god?”
Well, you got me there, Mrokitar. And I have another dreadful thought. “That child is going to be a girl, isn’t it?”
Mrokitar says, “Why, yes. Does it matter?”
Maybe not to you, but to me, it definitely does. And probably to Jallia as well. I have to sum this up out loud. “My daughter is going to have my sister’s soul?”
I have no idea what this will actually mean. That Jallia will live on in some form, that I’m happy about, at least. That she’s Lady Gwella’s daughter, that is going to be nothing but trouble. And of course this changes what has to be done about Lady Gwella. I can’t have her tortured or executed. I need to talk to Sarton.
“You wouldn’t happen to know where Sarton is, would you?” I ask Mrokitar.
She cocks her head. “He’s currently meeting with the king of this kingdom.”
And trying to convince the king to execute Lady Gwella. I have to get to them before Sarton succeeds. “Mrokitar, I need . . .” and I stop.
Mrokitar is gone. I don’t know where Sarton and the king are, apart from being in the palace. But if I don’t find them soon, my sister Jallia dies again. And I don’t think another god will be coming along to fix the problem.