steam rose in quiet swirls from the tea cup. the sky was cloudy, a faint hint of tea leaf in the air. it was almost 8am.

allyrie swung past the second ellipse and turned toward trudon high. in the depth of her manah, she saw licks of myriad hues, a gushing sound came closer. was there a flood of vyrka on trudon high again?

there was no time to ponder such things though, allyrie was on her way to the darkness. the journey would be long, for the darkness was many naxtras away, and erden had said to hurry. erden had heard a call from within it he was quite sure, though of course the grids didn’t believe that was possible. the grids had wisdom, they had the era on their side. they had come into being soon after the cravans exploded and naxtras spun to their birth. the grids knew what was and was not possible. erden was off the verity; they had told him to listen to other nidras, search the farther distance. yet, erden was sure there had been a transmission from the darkness.

allyrie leaned forward and let her wings lift and spread. soon their gauzy pink gossamer edges were touching the dome of the vehicle she rode. she wished the nax.v had a little more curvature, so she wouldn’t have to tuck her wings into the loop behind her deck all the time. there were mazlian beings with wings after all, when they designed the nax.v, why had no one thought of that?

up ahead, the zedan exit was coming into view, allyrie raised the nax.v’s energy to make the pass. she’d decided aztan and goran exits were veered away from the darkness, it might be a faster path via zedan. the nax.v surged ahead.

erden appeared on the viewing stage lodged in the dome.

“allyrie, argen!” he greeted her. his añga image, a perfect recreation of every outer visible speck of his being was mapped on the stage. the añ-rays were lucent. erden walked over to the edge of the stage.

argen! i’m taking zedan, as you can see,” allyrie replied.

“are you prepared for the gamsh, allyrie?” erden asked, the exit was simple from this side, but beyond it lay gamsh marize, the cloud, a dense billowy maze of fluid and myth particles.

jaknixda! don’t worry, erden!” allyrie smiled, “you’re such a worrier. i’ve asked the caurdion gale to stand by. zemash! all will be well!”

the caurdion gale was a posse of mazlian guards, adept at tackling gamsh marize. allyrie knew many of them well; as a van nax.finder, she was in and out of mazlian all the time, and the caurdion gale was stationed at several exits.

“the grids believe ahmzagantverta… i am opposing veracity,” erden said evenly.

“you could be. dakboranya… but you heard the call, didn’t you?” allyrie replied just as smoothly.

erden remained on the viewing stage though he said nothing.

“exiting now, ahvann!” allyrie reported.

erden lifted his hand and touched his forelock. it fell in a triangle to the centre of his forehead, and as his fingers made contact, a glimmer appeared where the tip of the lock came to rest. it was a circular point of pure light with a glow rimming around.

allyrie smiled. erden had just signaled that he had faith, she would return. ahmvertyvr.

allyrie flapped her wings twice, slowly, in acknowledgement. the nax.v picked up speed and headed toward zedan.


the distance glittered beyond. all around, and in between, were the nidras: vast, lightless, hypnotic.

arga lamin always warned them never to get distracted by the nidras while surfing the naxtramon. the vistas and challenges of the naxtramon were many. the nidras could call you away and you may never return. you had to know the tarma to approach the nidras, and the tarma came to you as you voyaged the eras, encountered every vyam, the most precise elements of time, and your zagan grew, your zimr was elevated… there were no short cuts, no bypasses, you had to accede, for without zagan and zimr, what were you.

allyrie arced through a whirl of amona. clusters of icicles flew on either side of her nax.v as she cruised. the scintillation made allyrie want to circle within the storm once more. but erden had said to hurry.

below, she could see naxtra ra, and further away naxtra zog drifting on the fumes of gamsh gadol, its fiery gamons circumambulating it in unison. allyrie knew mazlian was now beyond her vision, back in the distance, behind an array of nidras.

naxtra gonim blazed on her left, allyrie had been a van nax.finder long enough to understand what that meant. she swooped down and took a sharp right turn towards the darkness. a tryx of coiling vines came out of nowhere, she swung around it swiftly, a winding coil grazed her vehicle. a begula glided by, its gigantic eye indolently scanning the naxtramon. allyrie could hear the vernon graje now: the throng of minuscule naxtras that moved rapidly within their ellipse. they stirred the strands of myth and created a sound that traversed the vyam scape, never ceasing.

if she could hear the vernon grage, which her ancestor from a previous era, who was also a van nax.finder, had deciphered, then surely the darkness was imminent! allyrie’s wings flexed and tautened. the darkness. she was here.

with a concentrated surge of energy, allyrie advanced upwards. the darkness was there she knew. not all van nax.finders were taught to go to its realm. only a few. only those who had ushaas, arga lamin said. your ushaas was innate, you came into being with it. no one, not even the wisest grid, could give it to you.

allyrie felt the darkness even before it engulfed her and her vehicle; the light streams of her nax.v almost disappeared, faint and powerless before the darkness. she knew there was no time to dither, to cogitate. all uncertainty had to be eliminated. otherwise it would interfere with the navigation. the path was there, it was there in whichever direction she turned even if she couldn’t view it. vision was one plane of validation, but not the only one. she would perceive the path if her zagan was in clarity.

as she rode into the pale beyond light, allyrie had a strange sensation. it was of that very thing which was absent. light. her wings caught hint of dems… and durmles and arunds of light. they were here, not far, not farther, but here. she turned in a gentle curve around an unseeable ledge made of unknown particles. on the other side was more darkness.

was the light brightest before darkness? had the light been incalculably bright and so the darkness became unfathomable? where had the light gone? or was it still here? hidden from all perception? why couldn’t she hear anything? questions kept rushing through her zimr like those icicles of amona.

all around lay silence. had the grids been right? was it impossible to hear a call from the darkness? had erden been incorrect?

allyrie thought of erden standing on her viewing stage, the pure light glowing on his forelock. he wouldn’t send her into the darkness if he weren’t certain.

when she heard the shrill noise, she was not surprised.

it cut through the layers and eddies of silence and reached her. the nax.v monitors caught its shards and began deciphering instantly. the path sensors adjusted coordinates to veer towards the source of the noise. allyrie scanned the monitors. there was no recognition of the sound. it was coming from a source as yet not encountered.

the naxtramon had many beings and not all were familiar, nor all benign. allyrie stayed on course, she had come to find the source of the call erden had heard, she would ascertain it. that was her duty.

she almost missed the being. it was tiny amid the darkness, and the light streams of the nax.v were feeble. she would have not seen it at all had it not started to twirl and hop in an agitated, disjointed fashion as she approached following the sound. the being had no arms or legs or wings. it had a tube like structure, flat at one end, curved at the other. what it was made of allyrie couldn’t tell, but it had two oval glittering eyes. there was no mouth in evidence.

the being twirled frantically and an even louder noise shot out of it. why was it screaming? was it in pain? or perhaps it was lost. allyrie activated a vyrian arm of the nax.v. she had to encounter the being and see what ailed it. the vyrian arm reached out, its digits began to close around the being. allyrie gave the command to engage, the digits closed to a fist. the being though remained outside their grasp.

the digits had gone through the being.

allyrie realised the being was made of something you couldn’t hold… perhaps a gas, or some other matter. yet it had shape and it had sound. she decided to come out and take a closer look. the tiny thing began to hop again. when the dome opened and allyrie stood up, it leapt and started looping around the nax.v, spinning on its axis.

allyrie was beginning to find the being both irritating and intriguing. what made it so frantic? and how did it make that intense noise without a mouth? she leaned forward, letting her wings spread out, waving them to guide the being into the nax.v.

it came toward her and turned into erden.

erden stood in the darkness. small and bewildered. allyrie felt her wings flutter and retract.

erden had warned her about the gamsh marize. was this the gamsh? playing its tricks? allyrie squinted at the darkness and called on her zagan and zimr to guide her. she gave the being a name. glom.

the grids said, when you gave a name to a thing, you showed your first understanding of it. and if you had a first understanding, you could go farther, you could go to the verity, you could have a hold of it.

glom. allyrie whispered the name and looked at erden in the darkness. he turned back into the being.

allyrie couldn’t help but smile a little. she flapped her wings and before glom could go back to looping and spinning, swept it into the nax.v.

she sat back in her vehicle and commenced the voyage out of the darkness. glom lay twirling in a compartment, the shrill noise emanating intermittently. allyrie didn’t know who or what glom was or where glom came from. glom might even be a trick of gamsh marize, or an inhabitant of a naxtra not yet known to mazlian. once she was back, they’d find out more. the most significant thing was, erden had said he’d heard a call from the darkness and he had not been against the verity.

there was one other thing. she had entered the darkness, and she was now quite certain, the darkness was once light. perhaps, immense light. the dems and durmles and arunds of light were in the strands of the darkness even now. she had an important message for the grids.

allyrie dropped out of the darkness and headed towards naxtra mazlian.

the hot tea scalded her lips. she winced. the pain registered swiftly blotting everything else out. the nax.v passed by a begula and gamons whirled around naxtra zog as allyrie began to disappear. biting her lips, paromita closed her eyes trying to hold on. allyrie, erden, glom, the naxtramon, the darkness, everything was slipping away so quickly. dissolving, scattering, vanishing. paromita knew she had to let go. it was 2 minutes past 8, tuesday morning, time to get ready and leave for work. a heap of papers to be gone through, difficult negotiations in the afternoon. paromita opened her eyes and absentmindedly blew on the tea before taking the next sip. she wondered if allyrie had reached mazlian safely. if erden was happy to see her.

erden looked out at trudon high. the flood of vyrka was over and now there was smoke all around. but erden was staring at glinjerade rim beyond. he had seen something there, a being was trying to breach the rim and enter mazlian. it had struck the absolute surface of the naxtramon and there had been turbulence. had allyrie returned safely? this intrusion had to be contained. he must alert the grid, ahvann.


when our mind wanders, where does it go? and where it goes, is that mere fantasy? is it not there? or is it there in some reality? or maybe fantasy creates reality? and can you tell me what’s glinjerade? here’s to a hot cup of morning tea.

if you’d like to know a little about the unfamiliar words in the story, please click on the link below.

mazlian words and sounds: a glossary

indrani’s index