The Secrets Bible

In the center lay a square box draped in gold cloth. A gift maybe.

We people, individual persons really, surrounded this box at a distance. Our numbers crowded deep into the dark corners where the braziers couldn’t reach. Each man and each woman arranged themselves such that they could see the box. We packed ourselves shoulder to shoulder and front to back. Each knew if their neighbor wore rough linen or smooth silk. Where four pillars stood, our desire to see that box cast a shadow of humanity.

The spice of the men and the fruit or flower of the women warmed the air but dissipated with the fires’ smoke and the cave cool of the carved stone walls. Hidden vents replaced the clean human smells with unused outside air.

Only the shuffle of a slipper or the scuff of a boot created an occasional murmur in a room void of spoken words. And, despite a marble ceiling the tallest among us could touch with his fingertips, the room remained hush.

None of we knew what our box held. None of we wished to not know.

The last person, a woman, stepped into the perfectly filled room. All eyes drifted from the box to momentarily light on her. She was unremarkable.


We felt the sound in our feet more than heard it in our ears.


Someone gasped—not near me—all the others remained silent but looked one to the other. Each person’s face mirrored the others: eyes wide and mouths drawing breath to ask an unfinished question.

A delicate steady drum-pat surrounded we. A distant flute began and did not stop.

For no obvious reason all faces refocused on that box. It rested in the center of a sunken square of the floor two steps down where the lucky first few to enter sat comfortably while most of we stood. The gold cloth marked the sharp corners of the box; four ridges sloped outward and downward to merge with the stone plain. We could see the dark red box through the cloth. It was larger than I’d first supposed.

A faster moreinsistent drum quickened the pace of the music and strings imparted an invigorating rhythm and melody. I blinked my eyes to clear a mote and the box shimmered and rose to it’s bare feet. Our angular box transformed into a curvaceous woman in gold.

She swept a bow into dancing.

412 words on day 564

A Year on the Drenfennelen

Follow all of Kraite and Duoroo’s adventures using the ‘qwain‘ tag.

Duoroo climbed out of the cool forest and into the open clearing.  She felt her irises tighten from the light.  A rush of movement through the air above her turned into an explosive crack in the dry river bed ahead of her.  She dropped to a crouch but got nicked above her right eye anyway.  A careful but expressive huff of breath followed the original sharp echo in her ears as she stood but before she could identify what struck first.  A large close thing blocked the once deep clearing.

“Monk,” the bulky thing stated from just above her.

Its tone didn’t seem threatening, but when Duroo heard its bare feet shift on the rock and its right arm close in on her left side she prepared to fit her movement with its.  She let it place a hand on her shoulder so she could gauge its size and heft.  Once connected, she felt the weight of its arm sag.  She raised both her hands—one on the outside and one on the inside—trapping the arm.  She paced her crouch to be just ahead of its dropping weight and turned some.  She felt it unbalance for a moment then immediately regain that balance without apparent movement.  Strange.

“You’re blind?” the thing asked.  Duoroo didn’t respond out loud, instead she analyzed the bemused voice.  His accent put him off-planet but still of Qwain.

And then I had to go to dinner…

Day 315

Outside Into the Cold Cold Air

Xannajhandra-tha drifted nearer the surface.

The vent-heated lake warmed his naked body and gave his mind comfort. Inside the water he felt purposeful and distinct. He allowed his tail to uncoil and sink into the hotter layers nearer this last vent on the downstream end of the lake. As it dropped his awareness of place increased. The heat differential between his head and tail fed a sense he couldn’t feel outside–on the ground. For Xannajhandra-tha the contrast made decisions easier. He wanted to have one last memory from one final facile decision.

He lulled to one side and pushed the opposite eye outside into the cold air. The surface tension tickled at the base of his eye as he lightly bobbed in the still water.

Outside, the lake steamed. Very few fliers and no walkers would be able to see him depart the safety of the water. He slipped out making no more noise than necessary and none that wouldn’t be mistaken for the sound of the lake water overflowing into the stream nearby.

Next, he changed shape.

Word count: 185
Day 207