Prologue - 009
Parson and Sizemore talked and drank into the afternoon. Maggie's participation, and in fact her consciousness, seemed to waver in and out. At times she sat up and made perfectly lucid contributions to the conversation. But then she would ask for the wineskin, and that began about a fifteen minute countdown to another giggle fit and brief catnap.
At one point, she sat bolt upright with a confused look on her face. Then she relaxed, breathed out heavily and said, "Turns' end."
A horn from the other tower sounded with a flatulent braaap. Some of the Archons fired off titanium-white flares of light, and many of the dwagons roared. A nearby blue breathed a lightning bolt that arced over their heads with a boom.
Parson nodded. He was having a damned fine time. He'd learned a lot already, about many of the questions which had nagged at him. Movement, magic, the little details of daily life. He felt like he had millions more questions, but also plenty to digest.
Maggie was still sitting up, with a glazed and wandering gaze. "You arright, Maggie?" said Parson. "You with us?"
"Yes," she said, too suddenly. "Where is my helmet?"
Parson and Sizemore looked at one another. "On your head," Parson said.
Maggie nodded with great seriousness. "That is well. That is precisely where I left it, and precisely where I expect it, and precisely where it ought to be. It serves well." She lay back down on the blanket, her helmet resting on the stone. "It is no pillow," she said, conversationally, as if now addressing the sky. "But it can so serve, when called upon. It is good. It is useful. ...Lord Parson."
Parson had been watching her with a bemused grin. "Yes, Maggie?"
"You claim... You claim you are from a place...where the sky is stationary, but the whooole of the world spins beneath it."
"I think..." she looked, gazing wide-eyed up at the sunlit heavens, "I can see it now. I can see very clearly what it must be like to be on a world that spins. Excuse me."
In a swift, single motion she rolled over, whipped off the helmet and buried her face in it.
A few difficult moments later, she lifted up her head. She turned around and sat up almost gracefully, placing the upturned helmet on the stone floor behind her, out of the view of her companions. Parson and Sizemore looked at her with concern, but she wiped her mouth on a napkin, and smiled politely.
"Poor helmet," she said. "Not..." She hiccupped once, softly. "Not at all how it would choose to serve."
Guest art by Nathan.