Bastyn was spilling pools of blood in the cabin trying to keep his consciousness while the alien tongue was forming words: “Kursikahn be damned”. The voice was barely audible therefore Zalyanitha had to put her face very closely the gross view to be able to understand.
“Is there a way to come to Unmandin?”, asked deva to the severed ear which luckily wasn’t needed to be attached to poor Bastyn unlike the tongue.
“Whose voice I hear?”
“I am Zalyanitha”
“Your name means nothing to me, who are you?”
“I am Zalyanitha, one of the awakened devas.”
Bastyn ‘s voice with the alien tongue stopped for a moment and replied:
“I see, Kursikahn got what he wanted”, the tongue then made some strange noise that could be interpreted as laughter.
Zalyanitha asks to fetch her some wine and food which is given for Bastyn. The immortal gets no satisfaction of that as he surrenders to violent cough of blood. Rakshavyada strengthens the grip around Bastyn ’s body to keep him sit. Hence this tiny gesture satisfied the tongue.
“Give me more, give me honey. I want honey”
Aturn was first to react and brought some honey from his personal chambers from the amber box and spoon. It was very disturbing view to see as the tongue energetically enjoyed the honey while the body seemed to be barely alive.
“I want more, I want to taste a body of woman”
“Would that be enough to answer all of mine questions?”, asked Zalyanitha in return
“I deserve that, I deserve it all after what I’ve done for Kursikahn"
Zalyanitha took the severed ear in her hands and confirmed that she is touching it.
“Do not try to fool me. I waited so long, I can wait more, yet your time is fading”
Zalyanitha starts gently stroke the ear with just the tips of her fingers. Bastyn starts gurgle with his mouth full of blood. Finally he finishes and Bastyn says with the alien tongue.
“Good, but I will need more, more, more”
Zalyanitha carefully starts to stroke the earlobe as lightly as the deva can do.
“More… more, more”, voice hisses from Bastyn
Zalyanitha continues her play with fingers and mildly asks various questions about getting to Unmandin
“Do we need some kind of ritual to get there?”
“You do not need any ritual, you need to obey some rules… let me guess, you know that no-one returns from there alive… Oh I waited so long…”
Zalyanitha carefully licks the severed ear just with her tip of the tongue. The view was especially shocking for Aturn and Esteva . However the voice demands more and more. Finally it says:
“The things I can say will be unexpected, give me what I want and I will reveal it all”
Zalyanitha realizes that the tongue have knowledge that is completely different from what she expects and the tongue knows that it gets nothing after it reveals it. The tongue continues:
“I know the way you have to go and you will not find the way without me”
“I can give you more but I need to receive more. I need to like it what you say, I need to find that useful. You will be rewarded after useful pieces of information I require”, Zalyanitha ‘s voice sounded as mild as gentle as it was strong when you feel yourself not in a place to argue back. Unsurprisingly the tongue gave up: “It will be as you wish”. Zalyanitha turns to the rest in the cabin and explains that the tongue wants to taste a woman and the view here might be very disturbing, she advised everyone that they might rather prefer to wait outside. Esteva was about to say something but the prince shut here up and dragged out of the cabin. Rakshavyada remained with the grin on his face.
Driving with her fingers Zalyanitha moved the alien tongue closer and closer to her. No matter how gross it looked with all the blood, nearly collapsing Bastyn supported by Rakshavyada.
“Why did you stopped?” – hissed the tongue in Batyn ’s mouth – “I want more”
Zalyanitha ’s emotions was surprisingly very well controlled: “First some answers”
“Those who are immortal may not lose the way”
Zalyanitha rewarded the tongue with a bit more of her.
“You will sail the river that has one bank ruled by the Wild One and the other for the Mad One. You must always keep in the middle”, the tongue whispered.
“Do we need to know something more?”
“You will be constantly lured by either of the sides. Fall under none of the spells, always keep yourself in the river and you will reach the goal. Keep in the middle of the river and you reach the goal”
Zalyanitha asked if Rakshavyada had any questions. To which deva of the hunt replied negative releasing Zalyanitha of her sacrifice. Deva of the justice spend no other moment to stay in the room. Rakshavyada then asked the severed ear whether it wants to go to Wild One or Mad One?
“Who are you” replied tongue in Bastyn ’s mouth.
“I am the one that can bring you an eternal pain”
“You know nothing, I have done my task and my brother will do his”
“Who is your brother? What task?”
“Are you immortal as well?”, – tongue seemed to be slower and even more harder to hear.
“Yes I am”
“That just proves that immortality does not go hand in hand wisdom”, – tongue seemed to be slower and even more harder to hear.
Rakshavyada understood that it is not that simple to intimidate something that has only immortal tongue and ear remaining and decided to approach in different strategy: “I have swallowed the seed of Wild One am I in danger there?”
“The place you go belongs to none of those two you will find all the answers there.” – the tongue seemed to be more and more faded, it added – “If you have no other question, I beg you let me rest”
“You may rest”
The tongue collapses right away. Rakshavyada immediately jumps out of the cabin just to summon Padme for immediate medical assistance for Bastyn and completely ignoring all of the questions written on Esteva ’s and Aturn ’s faces without words. By the time he closed the door after Padme he could hear Esteva ’s question about Bastyn ’s health which was completely ignored. Padme swiftly attaches original tongue of the Bastyn filling him with enough alcohol. After some time Esteva brings a goblet for Bastyn, which she claims is everything she could find that could help him to recover. Regardless Bastyn spends his time of recovery to dig his memory for the name he heard – Kursikahn .
Rakshavyada goes to wash himself after all he seen. He then passes through Aturn and Esteve, who seemed to solved all their arguments, and he finds a calm place to try hardly meditate out all he saw.
Padme spends some time on deck and soon she goes back to Bastyn just to drive him off her cabin and clean all the mess there.
Zalyanitha after calming herself down and washing she finds now friendly prince and Esteva to pass all the knowledge she heard from the tongue. That they have to keep in the middle of the river and under no circumstances approach any of the banks and that will be enough to reach an island which will be their goal. Princes mood seems to be raised by the news as he recalled that the tree he is searching for is under the hill in the island. Then he starts giving commands for the crew to advance forward with the ship. Zalyanitha left alone looks around the people working there and then remembers Guntur. She finds him playing with a figure of Padme. Deva of justice invites him to follow her. The boy seemed to have his spirit up as he finally can be somehow useful for them. Finally having some action. and adventure.
“Do you like women?” – Zalyanitha just asks. This naturally confused Guntur for a moment and as he replied positively Zalyanitha immediately took advance of him as a male, trying to forget her all gross experience and trying to squeeze as much pleasure as possible for herself. While Guntur performed far from perfect but it made its task. It helped to forget the bloody tongue.
The ship advanced and dived into the fog. The surroundings were as dull and monotonous as it is possible, nothing seemed to be changing. The time itself gave an illusion to stop. There was no possibility to determine if an hour passed or it was four. Bastyn now looking quite well providing that he had his tongue removed and returned back looked quite well. Crew at least believed or at least pretended to believe that nothing happened to him. The immortal merchant reached the front of the ship to meet Vestur there who was all in to scrolls and books. It looked that only that kept him up in this dulling environment. The scholar tried to inquire Bastyn if he knows where they are heading. To which no answer was returned. Bastyn just sat to meditate on this question. Who is Kursikahn.
After some time Padme receives a visit from the prince to her cabin. She asks her to come to her apartments where he shows Esteva which sits in the corner and looked somehow uncertain. Prince pleads for help from Padme as she is the only person able to help.
“No-one can help me know, this is a price we all pay” – Esteva replies
“What is wrong with you, Esteva?” – asks Padme
“I no longer can see. My eyes can see as much as well can see. Please don’t worry it was miracle enough that was able to see while having no eyes"
Padme realizes that this is beyond of her ability just gave a few encouraging words that maybe it would be better in the future. Esteva simply replied that she is no longer sure what waits them in the future. Padme then takes the prince outside asking him to be gentle and supporting for the lady as this is the moment that is the hardest for her and helping hand is needed like never else. And then Padme hurries out before any emotional conversation might start. First she visits Bastyn to take him out of trans.
“Esteva lost her sight, are you happy”.
Then she spotted Rakshavyada as next victim of her gossips.
“Rakshavyada, what can you see?”
“I don’t know it’s all grey around and the ship”, Rakshavyada seemed as calm as ever
“Hence it is much more then Esteva can see, as she now sees nothing”
And then she runs off, leaving deva of the hunt puzzled.
Zalyanitha shares the instructions of the banks of the river with the rest of the crew, who works very lazily. Bastyn and Rakshavyada both separately dives in the trans like condition of eternal boredom. Until immortal merchant is being waked up by one of the sailors showing him the east horizon where the moon was not shattered and the gates were whole. The shattered moon from the stories of many many years ago where devas ruled was whole again. Hence unfortunately it was only an illusion as the moon rised from east higher in the sky and it was finally clear that there was only the perfect reflection from the sea. Sailors still share their fears with their first mate Bastyn the this is unusual place for the moon. After some time the fog clears out to reveal that the ships sails through the sea so calm and so perfectly reflective. It looks tat they are sailing through the sea of moon-silver. Bastyn starts to do some preparations and ties the steering-wheel so no-one would try to sabotage and turn it to any of the banks of the river. The moon itself sets in the west and suddenly it becomes very dark from the clouds of the storm. Bastyn orders the crew to prepare for the incoming storm and summons Rakshavyada to guard the steering-wheel. Merchant himself climbs up to crow’s nest. There he notices another strange phenomena: the lightning in the sky reflects somehow differently from the water. He immediately shares this observation with Rakshavyada. At that time it begins to pour. The drops are heavy somehow painful. It is soon realized that this is no water – it is moon-silver. These drops falling on the surface of the sea are not instantly are absorbed by it. The drops falls and rolls as tiny little balls through the silver surface and just then fuses with it. Empty barrels where ordered to be brought out to collect as much moon-silver as possible.
The storm finally is over, fog is long gone too and then all the adventurers spots some exotic flowers floating on the sea. These flowers not only looked absolutely marvelous with the size and beautiful colors. They smell even more wonderful. The smell lured everyone to come out on the deck to observe the view. Even Esteva supported by the Aturn came out and listening with the smile as the prince described them. Suddenly someone screams from the crow’s nest that the shore can be seen.
They were approaching the mouth of the river looking as impressive as everything around. The east side was grey and with mysterious lights, while the west side was full of green jungles. They could see the light of the harbor in the left side of the river. Bastyn strictly ordered to keep a course and sail forward. The river begins to narrow a bit while they are sailing forward. Rakshavyada looked at the west side of the river. The sounds of the jungle life. The smell of freshness and blood. It boiled the blood of the hunter. He remembered that it was a long long ago since he had a good hunt. Yet… Rakshavyada couldn’t let his companions down, or at least not now.
The wind blew from the the east bringing whispering words for Bastyn. “Kursikahn, Kursikahn, Kursikahn”. Bastyn still couldn’t remember whose name it is. It looked so close yet he couldn’t remember why. The merchant tried to call himself Kursikahn trying to see if it fits him.
At night Zalyanitha is woken up by the sound of scraping at her door. She opens it just to hear someone running away with bare feet. Deva spots a piece of paper with some poem. While it was a poem with quite good devanagari, ergo the choice of words were below average even for the most talentless deva. She immediately realizes who’s work it is and as she heads back to her cabin she hears the laughter of the child. Zalyanitha come out to the deck to listen for more sounds brought by the wind. The voice of the child is inviting her to come she can even hers voice along with child’s. And it is a happy caring voice. Zalyanitha decides that this must be a lure of the Mad One and goes down to her cabin.
After fourth cycle of the moon a sailor from crow’s nest shout that he sees an island. Soon everyone sees the hill coming in the middle of the river. The hill is similar grey from the east and green with moss in the west. While they approach they could see that there is shipwreck around next to the place where the shore is good enough to board. As they got nearer to the island it was seen that there are some more shipwrecks around. Prince whispers silently to Esteva that soon she will be able to see. “If the tree can make someone immortal than it can bring back the eyesight”
It was decided that only immortals will board the island first. So all four Bastyn, Zalyanitha, Padme and Rakshavyada boarded the boat to reach the island. As soon as they landed they spot a camping sight a long time deserted as pots were long rusted. Rakshavyada found a pile of bone and got an idea that these are human bones, and it really seemed that they were grieved. One of the tents were still half standing and it was possible to see remains of someone. There was a ring on the hand of the skeleton that showed that these are remains of no ordinary person. The group decided to move around the island. A bit further they found a half-dug cave completely covered with very thick roots. As Bastyn accidentally touched the root he was overcome with emotions of sadness and joy. It took some time to recover from that. He couldn’t say why was he so effected. After brief discussion a group decided to split. Rakshavyada went up the hill to meditate. Zalyanitha and Padme decided to return to ship to report what they have found. And Bastyn returned to deserted camp. Finally when he saw the skeleton with the ring it somehow was very familiar to him.