Kyan felt the last of his desperate, last hope spell disintegrate as he bowed before the Candace in her throneroom. He couldn’t help the backlash washing through him and he went from his normal brown to a pasty grey.
“Kyan,” Amani-shakete reached out her hand to him as he stood up. “Are you all right, my High Priest?”
He swallowed heavily, once, twice, and lied. “I think… I think the sorcerer who attacked your family has just tried again, oh Divine.”
“Call my circle. Kyan, please sit. We have been attacked over and over and over again and the Goddess herself is writhing in rage and pain.”
“Candace, Divine…” He managed another small bow. “I need… please excuse me!” He backed out of the room, holding his head, pressing his hand over his mouth as if nauseated and they let him go, the disturbed murmur of the whole court following like a kicked beehive. He nearly tripped over another cat that darted between his feet on the stairs, clutched at the railing and sat down instead of grabbing the asp wound around it. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? TRYING TO KILL ME?”
“SSSSSS… both cat and snake answered and he shook his head and fled into his rooms. His blood circle were not yet bleeding and he floundered to a stop trying to find the cats messing in his rooms. They could at least be useful when he took their heads off, but there were no cats anywhere to be seen and no snakes either. Even the rats were gone. The lotus pool shimmered and he slashed a finger to put a drop of blood in the water. He had to see where the girl was!
His storm should have kept her and that blasted ushera tied up for at least another few days to give his circle time to begin bleeding and give him the power he needed to stop her coming home!
The water stilled after the red droplet splashed and then disappeared into the water. He sat next to it and stared, willing there to be something to see and for a long moment there was nothing. He added his breath and when the water stilled a second time a picture began to float up out of the bottom.
Clouds, from above. White, gleaming as though polished with deep inky wells going down into blue-grey shadows with flickers of brown and the occasional flash of sun from above, as the storm disintegrated into grey and white and rainbow flashes of droplets lit by the sun. Shadow of wings against cloud tops.
The wings of an enormous creature. A creature with more than one head and a trailing, lashing tail. But he couldn’t see the chimera itself, just its shadow flickering over the clouds and the Nile below.
He threw his hands over his face. They were already over a village that he knew. Papatas. If they were flying so fast they would be here the next day, even if they stopped to sleep this night!
“Amun help me!” He cried and then startled as a falcon cried outside his balcony.