Sunday, January 17, 2010


To begin reading this sci-fi novel or for background information, go to my Chapter One post here. To read about the background of the first novel, read my post here, which will also direct you to appendices.

For more detailed information, posted elsewhere on this blog are:

Pya Dictionary from Skenish to English (complete up to present chapter), with some cultural notes included
Pya Cast of Characters (complete up to present chapter)
Owl Manage on Saya Island, original plans
Saya Island Eastern End After Development
Map of Pya with Description of Each Island
Map of Skene (but not Pya)
Map of Saya Island and Environs When Pyosz First Arrived
Map of Saya Island, Teppe and Pea Pods Environs After Development
Skene Character Lineage at Midway Through Pya Novel
Skene, Chapter One (With Cultural Notes in Links)


Maar called Owl Manage every night after she got to the Chloddia jichang office, which was mornings post milk delivery in Pya. Pyosz would walk upstairs with the radio and return an hour later, flushed and singing. Qala suggested Pyosz get far ahead on her baking and fill the freezer with her loaves, which Pyosz decided was a good idea. She was far too distracted to pot, anyhow.

She told Vants about having kissed Maar. Vants looked startled and said "What, you mean you hadn't before?" She also called Prl and told her she was in love with Maar. Being on the radio allowed Prl to keep from laughing in Pyosz's face. Otherwise, except for Qala and Lawa, she kept the news to herself: She didn't want to jinx it.

Qala discovered there were afternoon instructions in swimming and water rescue at the reservoir just east of Koldok. She signed up herself and Thleen for a week of these, and bought them the recommended swim attire which Pyosz found very entertaining. Lawa got a second fishing pole for Thleen, and created a little flagpole on The Saya where various pennants and messages could be run up during adventures. They laid in kitemaking supplies, watercolors, knitting yarn, and some new puzzles.

The huolon returned on Moja late afternoon. Vants gallantly took Pyosz's milking so Pyosz could be part of the crowd at the jichang meeting the young immigrant. Mill had arranged a dinner and party at the Lofthall canteen. Ziri was openly envious of the real pilot's scarf Mill tied around Thleen's neck. There was music and some dancing after the meal, which Vants was able to join. Finally at 9:00 the various Pea Podders began ferrying home.

Pyosz was on fire, and had mostly avoided Maar because she wasn't convinced she could exercise self-control while in close proximity.

Thleen had not slept on the huolon home and had ingested several desserts, so she was, as Lawa put it, more tightly reeled than a ferry cable. She balked at a bath, breaking into furious tears that she "just wanted to play with Clicker because she'd missed her so bad". Maar used steely patience to suggest they go to her room, then, change into schmattas and bring a ball of yarn to make Clicker happy. Kitten and child finally crashed together at 10:00, and Maar locked Pyosz's bedroom door against already banished Curds and Ember.

Pyosz would ever after remember that first night with Maar in flashes of pure sensation, not in clear chronological order. The most vivid was opening her eyes to the light of a half full moon silvering the wood floors around her bare iron bed, pooling through her generous Dvareka-facing windows. She was ravenously exploring Maar's melt with her wide mouth and vigorous tongue, but even the flood of her own pleasure could not keep her from looking to watch Maar's surrender. Maar's knees were bent so she could lift herself to Pyosz's demand -- as if that was necessary -- and cords of muscle in her thick thighs were visible in Pyosz's periphery. Her head was arched back to the mattress, her mouth open for one shrieking moan after another. Through Maar's red thatch, Pyosz could see that Maar had hands clenching the iron rails of the headboard for traction.

Later, they guessed this is how the headboard weld was rattled loose from the bedframe.

Pyosz's second most intense memory was when the bed fell. She was on her knees, Maar behind her and in her, thrusting with a throaty yell at each push. Suddenly Pyosz was pitched forward at an acute angle, and she put her palms flat against the wall to hold herself back from it. She barely registered the crash, though later she would mourn the deep gouges left in her precious floor from the bedframe edge. She gasped only "Don't stop."

Maar closed the brief gap between her and Pyosz, and continued with measured abandon, trusting Pyosz's powerful arms to keep them both on the sloping mattress. When they both reached temporary release, they climbed out of their crevasse, laughing hysterically, and pulled the mattress flat onto the floor before flinging themselves back onto it, now flat but drenched in sweat.

Qala and Lawa downstairs and at the other end of the house, however, were awakened instantly by the crash. Lawa said "'Did a tree come down?" Qala pulled on pants as Lawa rushed past four curious katts to the front porch. Before she'd crossed the main hall, she heard the thumping from above and returned, scarlet-faced, to tell Qala "It was them" with a jerk of her head upwards. They decided to make tea and toast, talking over the intermittent sounds from Pyosz's part of the house. Clicker the kitten begged for a treat and Qala gave her a sliver of cheese as she remarked "She'll do the milking, nothing stops her from that, but they'll be worthless otherwise tomorrow."

"Not just tomorrow" agreed Lawa, grinning. "Good thing Maar has the day off."

"Remember that night in my little room off the Lofthall office?" reminisced Qala. "I fell off my cot more than once."

Giggling, they returned to bed for a few more hours' sleep.

When Pyosz's alarm rang, she and Maar had dozed off in a tangle of limbs only 15 minutes earlier. She struggled upright, then turned to meet Maar's kiss. "I'm going with you" said Maar hoarsely.

"You don't have to, my darling, you can sleep until -- " began Pyosz. But Maar was trying to find her otos, and Pyosz realized they could not separate, not right now.

Because of Maar's help, despite the heavy milk yield and the new lovers' easy distraction into passionate clinches, they were done before full light. As Pyosz led the swollen herd and frolicking kids to pasture, she turned to Maar and said "I've always wondered why this is called a kissing gate." They found a place to lean safe from Molars' reach, though not Killer's bewildered scrutiny. By the time they were done, the sun was over the horizon.

Pushing her cart down the streets of Koldok side by side with Maar was a thrill for Pyosz. Kolm took one glance at them and began laughing. "Finally" she said. They took extra cheese and butter with them, and stopped at the grocery only to deliver bread, no shopping. Still, it was enough time for Gitta and another customer to grin at each other knowingly about the new couple.

Qala was in the tillage when they climbed up from the dock. She called out "There's oatmeal and sausage on the aga." Lawa and Thleen were fishing to Thleen's narrative about kickball camp. Pyosz and Maar ate heaping plates but did not linger to even rinse them afterward. Qala had to scrub the oatmeal pot half an hour after lunch to get it clean. Her grumbling was mild.

The failure of Maar and Pyosz to appear for a midday meal was explained to Thleen by Lawa. "They, um, well you know how they care rather a lot for each other" she began.

"Siba said on the flight here that they had been best friends but now they were in love and would be lovers" offered Thleen. "Abbo said a bad word, two bad words really, and siba said the same word when she told her to shut up. So I didn't get to ask what being lovers meant."

Qala's giggling didn't help Lawa's composure. "It means, aahh, that they are sleeping together and, uh, kissing, and doing grown-up things together."

"Like sex, you mean?"

"Skene curriculum must be advanced from when I was in school" Lawa said to Qala.

"No, I heard about sex from Adon and Su and their friends" said Thleen. "Plus Ziri. So siba and Pyosz, they're doing things like that?"

"I don't know what things you mean and there's no guessing if Ziri is one of your informants" said Lawa a little severely. "I think questions about -- particulars -- will be easiest answered by Maar. Or Dodd. The point is, Maar and Pyosz are kinda silly about each other for right now, so we'll all need to carry on and have fun without them always being with us."

"Okay" said Thleen, "what fun are we going to have right now?"

They headed off to the reservoir, leaving a note on the table. Maar and Pyosz did not hear the front door shut below them because at that instant Pyosz was saying "Roll over, I need to suck you some more...Let me all the way in...I can't wait, darling, I need to keep going, is it too much?"

"Nooo...yessss" said Maar, which Pyosz was able to translate perfectly.

They got up in time to scrub hands and faces and help with the salad for dinner. Lawa had taken the camera to record Qala and Thleen learning to swim, and she used it now to document the swollen, languid joy on Maar and Pyosz's faces, Thleen shoving happily between them at the table, and even caught Clicker's crazed leap for the fish platter before dashing upstairs with half a filet, chased by a high-tailed Curds.

Mill sagely put Maar on short hauls around Pya her first day back at work, with lots of loading and unloading, and a long lunch break. Qala refused to allow Pyosz time to catch up on sleep without Maar, instead enlisting her help with Thleen. The new lovers still went to bed early but actually slept for four hours at a stretch between lovemaking. Thleen seemed to be fine with sleeping alone; she had Clicker, and she had story-telling plus a cuddle as she dropped off. The instant she woke up, she raced downstairs to hug Qala and Lawa in the kitchen, asking "What are we doing today?"

Their second dinner together, Thleen said through a mouth full of beets "Can I call you abba?" It wasn't clear who she was addressing, since her gaze shifted between Lawa and Qala. but Qala answered "Well. we're actually Pyosz's abbas, so if you'd rather, you could call us habibi. Whichever you like better."

Thleen's face lit up. "I've never had a habibi before!" After a loud slurp of milk. she said "And Tu and Pank?"

"I call them cousin, so you can say that or sibemma" said Pyosz.

"And Dodd can be my s'bemma, too, not just my leraar?"

"Absolutely. Dodd, Briel, Mill, Oby, lots of sibemmas for you" said Pyosz.

Thleen regarded her thoughtfully. "So, if you're with siba now, I guess that makes you my s'bemma, too."

"If you like. I'm certainly your Pyosz."

Thleen waved her spoon at Pyosz. " emma. I mean, I have two emmas but you're kind of like a new one..."

Pyosz wiped her eyes with the heel of her hand and said "I'd be honored to be your new emma."

"That way I'll have three, like Ziri" said Thleen competitively. They laughed, and Thleen swiftly asked if they could have dessert tonight.

"No, not till Roku."

Market Day was raucous. Thleen hopped on Moasi's cart to ride with her, which distracted Moasi's driving even more than usual. but people had already learned to dodge her path. After Maar joined them briefly for a stall lunch, Pyosz went with Qala, Lawa and Thleen to the reservoir for swimming, accompanied by the Heaps, Vants, and Moasi. Moasi stripped down to knickers and maillot, and leaning on Vants' arm, waded into the shallow end where she floated and paddled with much giggling. Pyosz took more photographs, knowing her letters home this week might entirely rely on images for substance.

The Heaps children had a sleepover, but dinner and singing afterward were on Teppe, where Lehen had brought her Talaba sibiyas. Only the newborns were missing from the pack of children roaming Teppe from end to end. At bedtime, Koben and Meamea were put into the old cabin bed next door to Thleen and Ziri, while Maar and Pyosz hastily retreated to their room. Maar took special pleasure in unlacing Pyosz's gilet and reaching under her shati to heft her breasts in either palm.

"I still haven't talked to Taamsas about getting my -- our bed repaired" said Pyosz. Maar pushed her back on the mattress and said "Right now, having this on the floor has been handy, if you know what I mean." Pyosz's further utterances were gasps.

On Sju. Maar loaded the pieces of the iron bedframe in her small sinner on her way to do a single run. Pyosz played goat tag with the children in the pasture until 10:00, when Thleen went home with the Heaps for several hours. Maar met Pyosz back in their bedroom, emerging for a late lunch.

After some hints from Lawa, Maar did four loads of laundry, Pyosz made sauces and vinegars, they both swept and washed floors, and Thleen's bed got disassembled for repainting in the color Thleen had chosen, grass green. Because Shmonah was forecast to be rainy, a dropcloth was spread in an empty room upstairs, and after dinner, Thleen painted her bed with Pyosz and Maar assisting. They finished the day with stargazing and singing on the porch, Thleen migrating from lap to lap. Clicker spent the next day with green daubs on her fur.

Later that week, Mill called Maar into her office and closed the door. Not looking directly at Maar, she said "I happened to be taking a jaunt over to Mti yesterday and I flew over your hot springs not long after lunch." Maar's face turned crimson.

Mill cleared her throat and continued "I'm happy as pie that you're in love with my sibiya, but I don't want to again have to witness you putting it to her in a public area. Nor do I want my pilots watching for it -- Dekkan would crash in a heartbeat. So, contain your ardor."

"Yes, Sheng Zhang,"

At the dance that weekend, the young pair partnered only with each other until Thleen threw a tantrum and Maar swept her into a reel. Uli, now out of her cast, seized the opportunity to quickly work up a sweat with Pyosz. "I'm out of shape" she finally said, asking they sit down before it was over.

"How are you doing?" Pyosz leaned in to ask her.

"Much better. In all regards. I owe you forever" said Uli. She grinned at Maar and Thleen, adding "So that's what she looks like when she gives her heart away. I gather you're going to partner."

"Yes, but no date set. We haven't exactly rushed things so far" said Pyosz.

On Shmonah, Vants asked to speak with Pyosz and Maar privately. "I need your objective advice, if you can give it" she said. "Everyone else in the family will have an overriding agenda. Pava wrote me and asked me to take her on as an apprentice capriste, give her room and board for at least two years, until she can get taken on full-time in the ejida system. I think we could use a third capriste in the pipeline -- once my herd builds up, it'll be three times yours, Pyosz. And Lehen and I both have an emma feeling for Pava. But I want to know what you think."

"Pava's a legal adult now, she can live where she wants" said Pyosz. Vants' expression was a little exasperated as she said "She still needs help, she's asking for family, not just a roof over her head."

"Thava will probably never forgive you" said Maar more thoughtfully. "Even if it turns out this is the best thing for Pava and her emma eventually recognizes it, you'll still be the means by which her child left her."

"Yeah, that's what I think, too" said Vants somberly. "Will Pya public opinion be for this or against it, you think?"

"For it" Maar and Pyosz said simultaneously. Maar added "But it will split Pava from her sibs, and they seriously need her."

"So Lehen knows?" asked Pyosz. "What about Moasi?"

"I shared the letter with them both. Moasi wants her to come as well. All right, I guess I'll take it to Pank and Tu, Mill and Oby now. Thanks for listening" said Vants.

On Moja Maar returned the repaired bed, which she'd had nickel-plated at a plant in Cogio. They only had time to reassemble it before Maar had to leave again, but Pyosz kept finding excuses to go upstairs and look at its gleaming splendor.

That night at dinner, Thleen announced she and Ziri were going to pool their miniscule savings and buy a sailboat, a "real one", they could use to knock about the Pea Pods. Maar said "You most certainly are not."

"We'll get lessons, and it's morrie vaseo -- " began Thleen.

"You will never sail unchained boats on any ocean waters of Pya, morrie vaseo or not, as long as you live under my care" said Maar. "Which means until you are 16. No exceptions."

Thleen blew up. Her face was contorted as she literally screamed "You can't push me around like that, you're NOT my emma!" Maar was gobsmacked. Thleen shoved away from the table, knocking her chair over, and yelled "You're mean to me all the time, I'm sick of how mean you are! I can't stand this any more!" She thundered upstairs, and the slamming of her door rattled the framed pictures in the dining room.

Maar whispered "What the lev?" She stood uncertainly, asking Pyosz "Is this because I've been neglecting her? I guess I should go -- "

Lawa stood and said "No, let me. You need to not take this on." She buckled her broeks and went upstairs.

Qala motioned Maar to resume her seat and said "Congratulations. She just became secure enough to get mad at you. I bet she's never done that before."

Maar shook her head, her face still very pale.

"She's not really blaming you. You're just who got her to safety, is all, so in her child's mind you must be responsible for everything. She'll sort it out, don't get confused with her. Welcome to the world of full-time emmahood." Qala sliced a sliver of cheese to melt in her leek soup.

"Wow" said Maar, staring at Pyosz.

"I guess I'll be next" said Pyosz.

"If you're doing things right" said Qala. "I bet Ziri got the same ultimatum with her emmas. They'll compare notes tomorrow, talk about how stupid you all are, and move on to the next challenge."

"Wow" repeated Maar, looking thoroughly rattled. Pyosz wished Prl were here so she could apologize to her for any number of things.

The following day, a massive leviathan slipped furtively into the bottom of the sinning net deployed on Skene. Its weight stopped the lift and threw the grappled sinners off balance. Before they could release, the levi rolled in the mesh and dove. All four sinners plunged into the water. Two pilots were saved by lighters with parachute hooks, though one pilot was severely injured. The other two pilots, who also ejected in time, were swallowed alive in full view of the horrified lighters. One of them was Abbo's lover.

Maar brought them the news at lunch, after her own sinning run. She said there was to be a community meeting at the Lofthall that night. Lawa pointed her head at Thleen and said "Not everybody's going to attend, right?"

Thleen was opening her mouth to protest when Maar said "Anyone who's in a Lofthall family should be there. We have to face this together." She kisse them each, wrapped a sandwich and a handful of cherries in a napkin, and returned to the Lofthall.

Copyright 2010 Maggie Jochild.

No comments: