Efilioe made a grand wetcar: her eksetyk to open the left rock face seemed less like a door-opening procedure than like and epic parting of the seas, her entourage’s triumphant appearance being a crossing of a threshold, her visage married to magic ancient spells.
Her face is a deception. Focus is drawn to an overgrown pixie nose with a peculiar bridge crossing to come-hither lips whose words seduce obedience. It is dangerous to look into her blue eyes. Even her staff won’t look up.
She brought with her the Canaries, the cashusaqata, a force of forty-five. There was a loud din of chatter, and they spread out between the Glicrex Icqu and us like twittering birds in the leaves of uncertainty. But they certainly kept up a loud high-pitched banter among themselves.
Like Court Jesters, they were known to be outrageous. They wore yellow feather boas around their necks and swung the long ends like soft pendulums in a windward flighty song, chirruping like cherubs due attentions.
“What is all that noise?” asked Zawmb’yee.
I said, “That’s their job.”
Libikzi said, “Yes, Amznre, that’s right. The cashusaqata will warn us if anything goes wrong…”
“Oh,” said Zawmb’yee in an exaggerated sing-song voice, “what could go wrong in the spirit of tiglekso, huh?”
“Um, well?” said Libikzi.
“A little gallows humor, Pevfexo,” I said.
“Oh yes, of course, Amznre. Shall I explain?”
“Yes, please,” said Zawmb’yee.
“Do tell,” said Doug.
“They will draw the leufrescaxzm to themselves if necessary — just long enough for us to escape.”
Doug said, “How are we going to know if that happens?”
“Well…” said Libikzi.
“Well what?” said Zawmb’yee.
“Um, so, in that unlikely event, the cashusaqata will initially go silent.”
Doug said, “Oh, a moment of silence…”
“Ubemuwx. Um, well, then they will hold their heads in pain from the leufrescaxzm attack.”
Doug asked, “And then they fight it off?”
“No. As soon as they lose consciousness, and fall to the ground, we must leave.”
Zawmb’yee said, “After we leave what happens to them?”
“Often they die…”
“What?” said Doug. “Why would they do that for us?”
“They do it like the taste testers used to do for a King who thought he might be poisoned. Most of the time they got to eat and … but anyway, ours are patriotic volunteers who have made progress in cashusaqadut and surviving. They are fiercely loyal to Efilioe and they will cashusaqar for her.”
“Hmm,” said Zawmb’yee, “I’ve always suspected that gossip could be deadly.”
“Well,” said Doug, “in this case, let’s pray that their din continues.”