Nigel guides Flex and Renyke through a complex maze of tunnels and labyrinths.
The passages are hand carved in beautiful and ornate patterns with gargoyles, freakish nymphs and gnome-like forms. The time and effort spent on the creation of the tunnels gives them a sense of eternal existence, here where no sun enters and no winds breathe.
'Bye flex!' A flurry of echoing whispers follows them.
Bye Bye Rnyke, come back soon!'
'We love you......'
There is excitement and giggling from little congregations of freaks.
Voices call and trail off as they pass chamber entrances.
Renyke looks ahead avoiding eye contact.
'Bye ladies, and gents.....' Flex waves and smiles, only imagining the events of the party and merriment from the night before. He had had a great time but the experience only remained in colour memories, musical rhythms, waves of erotic sensual emotions and a feeling of great peace. Something assured, solid, and framed in faith had occurred, of that he was certain.
And then there is light, a stark reminder that here the real world exists with its hard truths and fatal consequence.
'Gentlemen, we have reached the gates,' said Nigel. 'It was a pleasure to have been your assistant these past hours. I am to deliver an open invitation from the Empress Sheila herself that you are elevated to the most honorable position of Seed Givers.'
Renyke muffles a sigh.
'We most graciously accept little friend...' answeres Flex, smacking Nigel's back a little harder than he meant and putting him off balance.
'Whoops,' laughed Nigel staring longingly up at Flex.
'I'm really going to miss you guys,' he said, looking forlorn.
'Erm, we should get going,' Renyke interrupts as the emotion of the farewell becomes awkward for him.
'Yes, of course, farewell good gentlemen....may your journey be safe,' said Nigel with a little bow.
Renyke and Flex wave as Nigel re-enters the tunnels and the weight of the unknown marks a shift in mood.
Renyke checks if the POS is active but it does not respond.
Beyond the tunnels is an open sun-drenched space flanked with beautiful trees. it is hot. After the *Warmings even winter days in northern Europe were hot.
Renyke is feeling heady, the natural light and fresh open air lift his spirits and there are new smells to take in with his new senses.
Very soon they come to a gateway and a fresh path.
'Like the ship,' said Renyke, looking quizzically at Flex who seems to know much more than he has ever let on.
'Ah, yes,' replies Flex, 'the ship of sirens, it is indeed.'
’You said they were dangerous.’ said Renyke, quizzically.
‘Not strictly-strictly brother, I just said not to look at them, they get funny 'bout that shitsylook stuff.’
Renyke manages to connect to the POS.
How far to Redact?
According to my data there are several entrances, north south east and west. I believe this to be the southerly gateway but there is urch oral mythology, possibly fictional but probably based on living memory experience, of a trap nearby that presents a hostile situation. I am also receiving scrambled information due to a rogue intercepting satellite. The trap may be two yards ahead.
Can you be more specific?
There is a 50% chance of serious harm either through the gateway or straight ahead.
Renyke thinks carefully, then asks Flex.
'I am unable to make a calculated decision my friend. I ask that you help me decide?'
'This is one you have to do alone,' said Flex. 'What does your gut say?'
Renyke thinks for a moment and Maybeline runs up to his shoulder and kisses his cheek.
And yet he was still unable to make a decision based on his feelings. The imagery of the path beyond the gates was ethereal, captivating even. But the sirens had been terrifying in the boat.
The ground beyond the gates looked blue, shimmery, catching the light on falling diaphanous leaves. Perhaps he just imagined it.