Part twenty-seven of Misplaced Fire
Samira had arranged to meet Patani at Dinah’s castle. They stood in the same checkered garden where Patani had overwhelmed Isabelle and Jason. Samira had chosen the place so she could look at Dinah’s shrubs, the ones shaped like centaurs, fauns, and monopeds. Their pots weren’t immediately visible. The plants had grown over the edges and down to the ground, so that each shrub creature’s pot really formed the heel of one of its feet. Dinah had shaped them that way deliberately. The plants were all riddled with algae-like moss, a semi-sentient variety that used the plants as a host. Under favorable conditions the moss could wield its leafy frame the way a human or animal mind wields its body. The shrubs were exhibiting this ability as Samira and Patani looked on. The two sila ignored the presence of the stone on Samira’s wrist.
“So you and I are the only two of Harun’s olive oil children still standing,” Patani remarked. “That explains why none of them has challenged your claim to Harun’s throne.”
There was a subtle suggestion of something in his voice that only his sister would detect. She put the same subtle suggestion into hers. “You have much to learn about our current culture. The first should be that the throne I sit on is my own; I forged it myself out of the ashes of our people, and my claim to it is the battles I’ve led and the projects I’ve completed.”
She watched his head incline slightly, a restrained bow that signaled his present submission. She’d been prepared to draw his attention to the stone if he’d reacted differently. She allowed the subject to change by changing it. “When did you realize my daughter’s liogon wouldn’t be a suitable host?”
Patani smirked. “Not until I entered the Clements Children. Before their blunder I had no idea the animal I possessed was even a liogon. My capacity to think inside the stone was limited; I really only had an abstract sense of the outside world. Under those conditions I was unable to realize that certain untamed animals would lack the level of thought required for my plan. Of course, now that I have my full faculties back…”
Samira nodded, walking up to a plant. “Strange to think that the moss in these plants possesses a higher level on conciousness than something as powerful as a liogon.”
Patani didn’t see her remove a handful of moss and teleport it to Dinah’s lap. “Did you know Nesrin’s humans well?” he asked her.
“Better than they know themselves, in some ways. Not that we’ve interacted much, but I’ve an interest in them.”
Samira caught herself looking around her, waiting for Nesrin and Ceylan to appear. Nesrin might make her move at any time. Samira was ready, but she still didn’t like the uncertainty about when the moment would come.
Continued next week
Link to previous installments: https://anindeterminatenumberofnights.blog/category/misplaced-fire/