It would be a waste attempting to explain to Bartholomea about boxes. I
would still be leaving her realm empty. She could not bear that. Neglect.
Failure of duty. I sat back and took a swallow of her brew. It was a tea
of mixed herbs which like her gem pillows never tasted exactly the same
yet always tasted good. It issued from no matrix in a box I reminded myself
and then said to Sem Partoldi, “What?”
“What what?” The ancient 1’s eyes crinkled over the rim of her tankard.
Her voice echoed mightily within its depths.
“You have something you wish to say to me.”
“There is no advantage to be gained by tiptoeing up to such a gambler as
“To see you tiptoe at any time would be of some interest, Sem Partoldi.”
Sem Partoldi laughed richly, “Ince, you please me more than adolescent
wunpaqs. And I think you could be more dangerous than they as well. I was
reminded of that last night seeing you as you listened to Alistir’s music.”
“You thought of adolescent wunpaqs?" Fencing.
I fenced, sought to slip away beyond her reach and pin and tag. It might
have seemed childish to her. She ignored it and the need for it.
“It called up something painful to you. Your eyes are strangely dark but
they are not opaque.”
“A pity. They have been. They should be.”
Sem Partoldi moved her heavy hand. “Not between us, Ince. Not between such
gamblers and travelers among the demarcations and in the maze of philosophy
and cosmogony. We have gone within each other’s minds and hearts.”