Iylaine goes down

May 31, 1085



A deep voice came down from the sky. For a moment, Iylaine believed it was God. For a moment, she believed the Lord or an angel of the Lord was calling out to save her from some sin.

'Iylaina!  This is not Vash!'

“Iylaina! This is not Vash!”

The angel had no wings, but he stood high on the rock, black against the sky, larger than any man she had ever seen.

“Hurry!” Vash whispered. “He can’t reach us in the water.”

His hand closed over hers.

There was such reassurance in his whisper that she was ready to go into the water if only to flee the wingless stranger. But then his hand closed over hers.

It was cold, but not like the soothing coolness of Vash’s hand. Its cold was the chill of water dripping from the ceilings of undiscovered caves. Its cold was the icy blood of sightless fish who swam where the sun had never shone. Its cold was the stark loneliness of the unloved and forgotten.

She had once touched such a hand. Now she remembered what had struck her about his cheek.

The strange voice bellowed from the high rock, “Iylaina!” And then, “Dru!”

'Come quietly and your baby won't be hurt.'

“Come quietly and your baby won’t be hurt,” Vash whispered harshly.

She heard a splash behind him near the opposite bank, followed by another at the base of the high rock. Vash snarled like a wolf, and the third splash was her own body as he wrenched her arm and flung her into the water.

Her body twisted itself as she fell so that she would land on her back, instinctively protecting her baby even to the point of disregarding her head. Her head and shoulders skimmed beneath the surface, and the drag of her hair tipped back her head.

In the confusion of her limbs, she could not tell whether her face was pointing up or down. When she tried to scream she breathed not air but water. Her face was pointing down. She was going down.

She was going down.