And do not let the eunuch say, “Look! I am a dry tree!”
For thus says Yahweh, “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
and choose that in which I delight,
and who keep hold of my covenant.
And I will give them a monument and a name in my house and within my walls,
better than sons and daughters;
I will give him an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.”
She did not know why she read this passage to them. Usually she chose something about water or deserts. Things the Monotooth understood. Thirst they knew. One night she thought she had made some headway when she read about ‘rain’ to them and one asked her what it was. She had told the youngling, it was usually the younglings that still had some natural curiosity left, about water she had seen falling from the sky in the Western Pasturelands. How it caused plants to grow. How it gathered in rivers and pools. How green everything was. The child had asked what “green” was but an elder ‘tooth had gathered it up and whisked it off when they were full. Nine nights it had been the same. They came, they ate, they left. And only one or two innocent questions to show the words had touched them at all. Tonight appeared to be no different. In fact, they seemed uneasy again, like they had been the first night, wary, afraid, expecting a trap. Positively in a hurry to be gone. And there were no youngling about this night.
“You are few in number tonight.” They went on slurping through their tooths. “Where is the kin who came with you before?” Sucking noises. The corpses were nearly empty husks. She repeated the question. They ignored her. She repeated it again. One broke from their rank, not done but done and fled over the dunes and into the night. The others became more agitated. Another broke and ran. Then another. She caught the last straggler by the arm. It lashed at her and she took the blow on the side of the head but did not release it.
“Where are they? Where are your kin?”
*afraid*, it cast at her and clawed at her hand.
“Why? Why afraid?”
*!!FEAR!!*, it threw her back, it cast so hard Ch’loi nearly wretched but she held on, there was a snapping noise, a tingling in the air and on her skin and the sinew beneath her hand went slack. When she opened her eyes the Monotooth she had held was limp in her grip, alive but stunned and
No! Nonononono! She knew now. She had seen in the cast, she had seen everything. Lord Counselor Amisbhake and the merchant were coming toward her. IT was coming toward them all! As violently as the Monotooth had cast at her, she now opened her mouth and shrieked at Amisbhake and Kurga, “RUN!!!”