Wednesday, December 15, 2010


This is a couple of scenes which would occur in the book between the final full chapter and the epilogue.

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)


Nastere 591

It was a clear Roku night, and Pyosz had persuaded Maar out to Dudor for a game of gongtong. They didn't last all the way through one round before Maar's full breasts made her want to get home and feed Lawoj, or at least check up on her sleeping before expressing milk. Uli and Qoj left with them, having also left their one-year-old Qiel at home with Dodd.

It was a full and dark moon night, a rare celestial configuration that always stirred Pyosz's blood. As they rode the long deserted stretch, she began singing the Coming Home song that was beloved of pilots everywhere.

Your breath rises from the waves
And pulls me back to island holm
The love we make is daily grain
The song we sing is emma's milk

I will never leave you (never)
I'll find a way to hover near
I'll join the others in the flow
And make a wall to keep you warm

Coming, coming, we are coming
Breaking right against your shore
Listen and you'll hear us always
We are Skene forevermore

Uli's alto came in on the counterpoints, while Qoj went up an octave on "never" and "coming". Maar reached out a hand to take Pyosz's as they swept the slow curve past the sugar beets. Pyosz remembered when she was five or so being told by Mill that these fields produced almost all the sugar used in both Pya and Skene, and how Mill had laughed when Pyosz had replied "Of course. Everything in Pya is sweet."

As they found slots for their bikes in the municipal rack, they heard a voice call out "Hey, you're back early." It was Thleen and Ziri, walking from the student cafe opposite the Poly.

"My nipples are soaking through my shati" said Maar, who glanced at them a second time to say "Where is Thiri?"

"Abba Yoj insisted we leave her on Saya, she said the music we wanted to hear was too much for her ears" said Ziri a little defensively. Thleen added "I didn't want to go out at all but Ziri said an hour away would do us good", which added to the irritation on Ziri's face.

Pyosz said "She's quite right, babies are notorious for playing hob with balance. And I'm sure Prl and the abbas have fussed over the little ones no end." She kissed Qoj and Uli goodbye, saying to Uli "We'll meet you right after lunch." Uli had decided it was time to tell Poth's family the full story of her death, and Pyosz had offered to be there with them. Nioma was going as well.

As the four walked up the path from Saya's dock, a heavy scent of roses hit them. Pyosz pulled a couple of petals to crush and rub behind her lobes, a treat for Maar to find later. A candle was burning on the table of the outdoor kitchen, but Su was not in evidence. They heard giggles from inside the cabin, and Maar sighed as she stopped to blow out the candle.

Halling was on the porch with Qala and Lawa. She said "They're all in bed, and Yoj is up in your room with the babies." Ziri grabbed a chair and, after a pause, Thleen joined her.

The upstairs hall was dark but their bedroom door was cracked, showing a buttercup wedge of light on the gleaming floor. Pyosz entered her room silently. Yoj had turned the velvet chair to face the window and dragged the cradle to where she could rock it with a foot. Thiri was sound asleep in the cradle. Lawoj had her eyes shut but they flew open when Yoj whispered "Hi, there." Maar took Lawoj and curled on top the quilt with her, Lawoj's sucking loud in the room, almost in tempo with the creak of the cradle.

Pyosz sat on the arm of the chair, her eyes on the night sky as she whispered the game's eddy and flow to Yoj. She stopped and gave a small cry as a meteor streaked brief green before burning itself out, and Yoj said "I saw it too! You take the wish, I want whatever you want."

Pyosz always wished for the same thing, Maar's survival. She leaned over to kiss Yoj's white frizz, now very fine and spare, and said "Did your headache go away?"

"Not really" said Yoj. "It vanishes with sleep but mounts as the day progresses. Halling says if I don't tell Briel, she's going to."

"She will, too" said Pyosz neutrally, adding in her own head Or I will. Yoj, the ultimate caretaker, had trouble looking after herself.

She could tell from the sound of Lawoj's breathing behind them that she was now fully asleep, but Maar was not -- no doubt watching her face intently. Qala said Y babies were often frailer than X's until they were a year or two in age, and Lawoj would turn out to be as vigorous as Thleen. Briel said that was old island superstition, but Pyosz listened to Qala when it came to children.

Yoj said "Thiri ate all the milk Ziri had in the coldbox. She'll wake them up in a couple of hours wanting more." After a minute, she added "That's one thing I never got to experience, feeding a child from my own body."

"Why didn't you aggie one of your children, then, abba?" asked Pyosz, loosing her gilet.

"Ah, I didn't actually want to carry a baby inside, I just wanted to know what it felt like to nurse" said Yoj, rubbing one temple. "Plus I'm infertile, as it turns out."

Pyosz was shocked. "How? I mean, I don't intend to pry -- "

"Not prying from you, Pyosz, not ever. I have an unusual assembly of chromosomes. Prl can explain it better than me, but the short version is that I have something like the usual X and Y plus an extra X. Which you'd think would make me an advanced egg producer, yet not so, it throws the whole system out of whack" said Yoj with humor in her voice. She had no regret about her biology, not now.

Pyosz glanced down at Thiri, who carried as much of Maar's genetic code as their own children. She said "I remember taking naps in that cradle when I'd come visit at your Manage."

"Do you now? That's a very early memory for you to have" said Yoj.

"It always smelled good, and that shape carved inside the foot was interesting" said Pyosz. "Those creatures with the single horn sticking out of their forehead, those didn't actually exist even on Yereth, right?"

"They were apparently mythical" agreed Yoj. "And Bux added some of Halling's lilac essence to our furniture oil, that's the aroma, I bet." She shifted feet to continue rocking. "I wish I knew who carved it, or how my family came by the coin to buy a cradle of actual wood, back before Pya was even dreamed about."

"Were you the first baby in this cradle, then?" Pyosz tried to imagine Yoj as a newborn and failed.

"No, my emma Rosz slept in it. I think it was Dodoj who acquired it, around the time they all moved to Isola Fling." Yoj sighed. "At least there are two Manages on Isola now, not just one."

"So Rosz, you, emma and her sibs, me, our babies, and now Thiri -- that's six generations who have found peace in it" said Pyosz. hugging herself. She made a note to write that down, for whoever was settling babies inside its warm wood six generations from now.

Yoj said almost to herself "Bux, we owe it all to Bux. All these children...I wish I could tell her how grateful I am."

"Oh, abba, she knew it, she was extremely sure of herself and your love" said Pyosz.

"Eventually" agreed Yoj, rubbing her other temple. "But she had to go looking for reassurance at one point."

Pyosz felt a tingle in her arms. It was Maar behind them who asked "What do you mean?"

Yoj shifted to look at her consideringly. "Well, not to be repeated to anyone outside this Manage, but...Bux had an affair. Claimed to have fallen in love with the next-door neighbor."

"What?" Pyosz's voice was so sharp she clapped a hand over her own mouth. Thiri never stirred.

"Yes. I nearly left her for it, until other folks shook some sense into me. Veida, mostly. Veida, we owe an incalculable debt to her and Qen for keeping this family together" said Yoj. Pyosz smelled more to this story. However, Maar kept her from pursuing it by saying, in a stricken voice "So was she in love with someone else?"

"Ah, I can't say for sure. She was manipulated, that much is clear." Yoj fixed her brown eyes, now with a grey cast to them, on Pyosz. "It was Ried who seduced her." Pyosz heard Maar's intake of breath. "I hated her, and I am glad she's dead now. For many reasons. but chiefly for Bux."

"Abba...I just cannot imagine..." Pyosz licked her dry lips. "Did emma know? When was this?"

Yoj told them most of the story. Pyosz laid her arms around Yoj's shoulders, to anchor herself as much as to comfort her abba. Yoj looked tired afterward, and stopped rocking the cradle. Pyosz said "Let me go make you some tea."

Yoj replied "I'll do it myself, collect Halling for bed." She stood slowly, steadying herself on Pyosz. "I'll send the teenagers up to resume being emmas."

"Thank you, abba. For sharing, as well as the babysitting" said Pyosz, standing to kiss her and walk her to the door. As Pyosz began pulling off her clothing, Maar said "I'd ask you to never put me through that, but if it could happen to them, seems like nothing is certain."

Pyosz grinned at her. "I was born sure of myself, and ready to love you once I found you. We're sleeping alone in our bed tonight, by the way."

Maar sat up and began unbuckling her kalsongers.

Copyright 2010 Maggie Jochild.

1 comment:

Blue said...


Good stuff, and a nice trip back into Pya.