Even as she was pushed along, Sifani stared flatly at Lorin over her shoulder. “This had better not be a joke, Lorin. After the scare we just had, the last thing I need is you creeping about behind me in the hallways.”
They came to the door of her and Namiss’ room, and Lorin guided Sifani inside.
“Maybe we should be scared,” he mumbled as he shut the door behind them.
Sifani wished he were joking, then. She and Lorin had been through much together, and fear was not something he usually had on his emotional repertoire. “What are you going on about, you big lummox?” she groused.
Instead of answering, Lorin crossed the room in three long strides, and peered between the filmy blue curtains framing the lone window. Apparently satisfied with what he saw outside, he tugged them closed. Dusky greyness fell over the room.
“Lorin.” Sifani snapped.
“Those monsters appeared when they did for a reason,” Lorin began without introduction. He distractedly pushed a stray dark curl from his forehead. “They appeared right after you reconstituted those leaves into water and dust. That was amazing, by the way. I would’ve congratulated you then, if I hadn’t been too busy fighting off evil, red-eyed dog-monsters with claws the size of Ileniel’s ego.” He flashed her that boyishly charming smile of his.
Now that was more like Lorin. Sifani felt some tension ebb from her shoulders. “Whose ego?” she muttered wryly.
“Now don’t interrupt – it’s rude,” Lorin continued to tease her, tweaking her nose like a child to her great irritation. However, the pacing that followed the teasing highlighted the fact that he was still deep in thought. “As I was saying, you showed an extraordinary amount of power when you reconstituted those leaves. I think that…well, why don’t I just ask you? How did you do it, Sifani?”
“I…” Sifani furrowed her brow, remembering. The most immediate thing that she recalled was that her actions had been new. She had seen those paint-like dots…and she had used those dots to break down the object, as always. Yet, to make water, she knew she had done more than just take something apart.
“I broke the leaves into all their pieces,” Sifani struggled to explain, chin propped on her hand as she stared into nothingness. “But then…Deities.” Sifani shook her head, hair swinging. “I put the pieces back together into something different. I made something. Deities!” she swore again, feeling sudden alarm. As she turned to Lorin, she knew her eyes were wide, perhaps a bit mad-looking, but she didn’t care. “Lorin, please tell me I couldn’t have – I didn’t – create something. It wouldn’t make sense! We both know that only – What I’m saying is, there’s no way that anyone…normal…could – By Donis, Lorin, what are you trying to say? What am I trying to say?” Sifani sat down hard on the edge of her bed.
Lorin came over and joined her. He had cast off his unnerving gravity and replaced it with a casualness that was almost hyperbolic. “You did create something, Sifani, and right after you did, the monsters appeared. They were created to counter you, and they went after you. Whoever made them did so in response to you.”
“Whoever made them?” Why put off the inevitable?, Sifani asked herself, and yet continued hedging anyway. It was all strange, much too strange. It opened too many doors that had been long-closed and locked. It’s a shame, really. The epheria has been such a sanctuary to me. I should’ve known that one day I’d have to ask why.
“You know what I’m getting at,” Lorin insisted. “The only ones who can create are –“
“Was that an oath, Sifani, or were you finishing my sentence?”
“Well, then, yes.”
Sifani folded her arms and called up as much sarcasm as she could manage. Maybe it would make this all feel less earth-shaking. “So you’re saying that a Deity is trying to kill me?”
“Preeeetty much.” Lorin inhaled deeply and lay back on the bed with his hands behind his head. He might’ve been watching cloud shapes float by for all he showed on his face. “So, Sifani a-vinna Leyone, that leaves me with one final question.” He raised his head and turned to look at her. “If only Deities can create, then who the hell are you?”
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