August 21, 2008

Let the Word Take Me p.21

heard, this was the place to be.

"The High Elder is first to receive the sacred Word," Allayo said, laying long, delicate, claw-tipped fingers on his arm. "Stay here quiet until the Word comes to you." She cocked her head and blinked her huge eyes in a gesture of amusement. "Try very hard, David." She disappeared into the murmuring crowd.

Soon a gong sounded. David sat down where the woven wicker pressed into his back. The House hushed, and other sounds became audible: the gurgle of flowing water, a rustling in the sun-struck leaves overhead, and the strange high humming of the Mouth, rising and falling with the winds upon the mountain.

A dull-scaled male Gariniki stepped onto a high rock at the center of the House, bearing a staff of twisted wood, and made a keening sound that gradually rose in pitch to match the windy hum.

"O-ohhhhh! Let the sacred Word take me!"

"High Elder Sarinu-mudi is taken by the sacred Word!" The reply was enormous, a simultaneous chorus from every throat in the hall that thrummed in the wall at David's back. Father looked startled, and Officer Monroe, who had barely settled, almost jumped to her feet.

The Elder rapped the heel of his staff on the rock. "On the mountainside the Mouth opens," he cried. "Singing, singing in the winds, and the People bow down at the birthplace of the Word, and

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