"The Nightmare!" the bull said as Sikaah was pulled off her feet once again.
"Shhh," she calmed him. "He is no more."
Art by Ian Jay
"But..." He trailed off, looking around the chamber. "But I saw him. Right before I--"
He gasped, putting her down quickly, looking at his own hands. "Right before I changed--" His voice caught in a sob, and Sikaah saw something no one had ever seen -- a Jinvon cry.
"Shhh," she tried again. "You're no longer changed! See yourself now!"
She held up her staff, and he peered at his reflection in the crystal.
He quieted, and she said, "Now, about that Nightmare..."
And so they talked about the Jinvon as they once were, and how they came to be as statues. The bull told her what she knew already -- that the Jinvon were a peaceful tribe living as one with the Jungle. And then he gave her more:
One day, a few Jinvon were out gathering food in the Jungle, out further than they usually roamed. These few came upon a vein of gray marble hidden beneath some sweet moss, and when they started looking, they found that the vein was quite large, and the marble was quite beautiful. They returned to the tribe and told of their find, and more Jinvon came to see the sight.
It was decided that, in honor of their upcoming harvest festival, that they were take some of this marble back to their homes and see what they could carve. These few people stayed with their marble for days, and when they finally unveiled their statues, it turned out they had carved them in their own likeness.
Other Jinvon were suddenly struck jealous, and wanted to do this for themselves as well -- and soon, it was the entire tribe. These statues were loved over, carved with simple tools, but seemingly able to take any shape desired by the carvers. When the statues were finished, the Jinvon spent time decorating them with flowers and other precious items they found in the Jungle. It was each for their own -- no Jinvon praised any statue higher than the one done in their likeness.
"We became selfish," the bull sighed. "We couldn't see the marble for what it was; a trick, part of something bigger."
Sikaah hung on every word; even in her exhaustion from the fight, she couldn't help but become intent on the story.
"Soon we wanted more. I helped build this temple, not a statue. We wanted a place where the Queen could be housed."
"The Harvest Queen?" Sikaah asked. She knew one existed, but no one had ever found her statue.
The bull nodded. "I was part of the elected ‘royal court.' Once, it was all for fun, but after the marble came, the Queen became our focus, and we became a real court to her. I was granted a relief in the temple, not a statue, because I was but a simple bodyguard. The statues you see here are tribal elders - the other reliefs are part of the court. And, of course, the Queen."
Sikaah felt a surge of curiosity, and turned back to the chamber more. "Which is she?"
He pointed her out, across the way. There stood a statue larger than any Jinvon statue she had ever seen; a grand female dragon, complete with a flowing mane of hair. Instead of the normal teal glow, her swirling markings were a faint pink.
"We haven't seen her since the Nightmare was contained." He paused. "The first time, I mean." He paused again, looking around. "I don't feel his energy any longer! You...purified this place."
He looked at Sikaah with wonder, falling silent. Sikaah stood, her legs firm under her now.
"Do you think your Queen would talk to me?" she asked, looking at the stately statue across the chamber.
"All of us will talk to you." His voice was reverent. "The Queen..." he trailed off, thinking. "The Queen may need some coaxing, though. She took the brunt of the original fight with the Nightmare; it affected her the most."
Sikaah nodded, and took a moment to collect herself. Growing on the inner walls of the temple were dark purple flowers with a bright yellow center; she was drawn to them, and gathered several in her arms. Laying them across the pedestal of the Queen's statue, she shed her dress, exposing her worn body to the refreshing cool of the temple.
Then the brave mouse settled herself down to concentrate.
Art by Sigil
Tomorrow: The Queen's Grand Finale
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Sorry, comments are closed for this article.
|Zeneth_Starr on May 20th, 2014 @ 03:22 PM|
Pretty, pendulous, purple points!
I accidentally skipped over this one so I already know who it is. I think this art will hold a special place in my collection.
Nezumi12 on May 18th, 2014 @ 12:59 PM
love this story. hope it ends up as another novel.
or maybe we'll get a compilation of short stories from the various Furoticon worlds. That would be awesome.
sirdan87 on May 18th, 2014 @ 12:07 AM
I'm so loving the story behind the Jinvon and the origin. Wonder how the interaction with the queen will be?
ezekiel_tyr on May 17th, 2014 @ 11:45 PM
dat facial expression in the first picture
Kaia_Cougar on May 17th, 2014 @ 07:38 PM
She is surprisingly alluring in that last drawing.
>.< Dammit Furoticon stop making me attracted to species that aren't cats.
BlueJay on May 17th, 2014 @ 07:22 PM
From the last pic, it looks like the Nightmare may find a new host through which to terrorize the land. Let's hope not.