THE GAME IS UP
"Prahnum!" Zholybet whispered. "Look at that!"
It had been only two days since they had shown Monwyrt how to play beazhat. At the time, he had appeared to be only casually interested, even though he demonstrated a natural ability for the game. He succeeded in catching the bea twice in succession, a remarkable feat for a new player and one which amazed the two Laizuvries, and then, apparently bored with it, pushed the game aside and walked away, which amazed them even further.
Now, Nuzhunpa gasped in disbelief.
Monwyrt was dropping the bea into the rocking bowl and catching it as it popped up the other side, and doing it with such ease and panache that they were stunned. He might have been asleep, for all the attention he seemed to be paying the game. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Nuzhunpa was dazzled by the smooth rapidity of his motions. The bea rolled unhindered in the zhat, and the other hit the rocking lip perfectly and leaped out again every time.
"Is there more to this game?" Monwyrt asked, without missing a beat of his rhythm.
"More?" Zholybet stuttered.
Nuzhunpa walked over to the table. "Well," he said hesitatingly, "it can be made more difficult, but - "
"Show me!" Monwyrt demanded.
Silently Nuzhunpa stopped the zhat from rocking, then set it in motion with a rolling spin. "There," he said to Monwyrt. "Start the bea in that."
Monwyrt studied the motion of the zhat for a moment, then deftly tossed the bea into the bottom where it immediately went into its circling path. Then, without even hesitating an instant, he fell right into his rhythm again, catching every drop like it was the simplest thing imaginable.
Zholybet gaped at her prahnum. "How can he do that?" she whispered. "I can't do that! How can he do it?"
"I don't know," Nuzhunpa admitted, just as impressed as she was. He went to a shelf and found the spare beas, and went back to Monwyrt. "Here," he said, handing one to the Traeppedelfere. "Try spinning two in the zhat."
Monwyrt shrugged as if he thought it really wouldn't make any difference, but accepted the challenge. Soon, they were listening to the louder whizzing sound of the two beas, and Monwyrt was back into his form, catching the dropped beas one after another. "This is a popular thing, dacoar?" he asked as if he found it hard to believe, and set the game aside.
"Monwyrt," Zholybet said, "Laizuvries play that game all their lives, and very few ever become skilled enough to spin two beas. I've never seen anything like what you've just done!"
"She's right, Monwyrt," Nuzhunpa added. "You may be the greatest beazhatter ever born!"
Monwyrt didn't understand their praise. Nothing could be easier than this silly game; timing and coordination, that was the whole thing. Any hunter, he was certain, could do it. "Really?" he asked, but his expression as much as said, "So what?"
When the ums had gone out to the shoz, Zholybet went down to the quays. Monwyrt had been complaining lately, not loudly, to be sure, but more of a grumble to himself, about their meals. He seemed to be missing something called "meat," which she was unacquainted with, but which Nuzhunpa had rather uncertainly tried to explain to her as pieces of a wild beast which lived in Monwyrt's homeland.
This had disturbed her. Her plans for the domestication of Monwyrt had not allowed for a difference in diet, and she had just assumed he would be happy with the same simple fare the Laizuvries ate. She had given him oofs, the food which came closest to fitting the description of "meat" that she could think of, and he had turned them down. But, there was one other food which could be thought of as a "piece of a beast," and she was going to try that today: sahvahn.
She had not forgotten Monwyrt's aversion to the idea of eating sahvahn on the float back from the Ealdlazay Fair. She hoped, though, that that aversion had been caused by his yet uneasy stomachs, or his slow recovery from the beckyrev, or something; and that he would feel differently when presented with a steaming, savory plate of stewed and seasoned sahvahn. She knew her prahnum would appreciate it, at any rate, and she was looking forward to the meal, herself. Zholybet smiled contentedly to herself as she approached the sahvahnuhrs.
Some of the Laizuvries at the docks cast her dark glances. "There's the Zhonoy's pt!" they whispered. But Zholybet's pleasant mood was not to be shaken by mere rudeness. She was used to it already. It would have bothered her a great deal had her future not been so clearly laid out before her. But it was, so it didn't.
Not all of those present were immune to the inconsiderate display. Feeshare and Anyogatoh, making their way together along the quay, overheard the remarks and bridled. "Poor Zholybet!" Feeshare sympathized. "These ums don't even know her!"
"I'm not saying she didn't bring it on herself," said Anyogatoh. "But Nuzhunpa, at least, should have known better than to bring that Zhonoy to Todymody. I feel sorry for her, too. She had a hard enough time of it before, but never complained. And look at her now!" Zholybet was smiling serenely, oblivious to the cutting remarks and the disgusted leers.
"We ought to do something," said Feeshare.
Anyogatoh looked at all the indignant, almost angry, faces. "What do you mean?"
"I don't know - something to show her she still has friends," Feeshare thought aloud. "And something to show these wicked ums that she still has friends, too!" Her pretty eyes were on fire. She was not afraid to stand up to any um!
Anyogatoh was not as sure of herself as Feeshare was of herself. There was a line, somewhere, between defending Zholybet and defending Zholybet's Zhonoy that she did not want to cross. While she deplored the way Zholybet was treated, she could not sympathize with keeping that slow beast in their midst, and she hesitated to be seen apparently condoning it.
But Feeshare was determined. "Come on!" she declared, leading Anyogatoh by the arm toward Zholybet, "we can at least go talk to her!"
"All right," Anyogatoh agreed reluctantly, thinking, "I guess that sounds reasonable."
But Feeshare was making bigger plans. "I know!" she exclaimed brightly, as they hurried past the docks. "We'll invite Zholybet and Nuzhunpa to visit!"
Anyogatoh stopped short. "Wait a moment!" she said, worried. "Do you think they would bring the Zhonoy?"
"Of course not! They're not stupid!"
"I don't like it, Feeshare. What if the Zhonoy would get loose while they were away?"
Feeshare's face clouded as she considered this possibility. "That's true," she admitted, "that could happen, couldn't it? Perhaps they can't leave it alone. I never thought of that. How awful! They are as much its prisoner as it is theirs!"
Anyogatoh brightened with a sudden thought. "Of course they can't leave it alone! She would never be able to come because of it: but Feeshare, she might really appreciate the invitation even more!"
"Let's go ask her, then!" Feeshare smiled at once. Actually, it wouldn't really matter to her if Zholybet and Nuzhunpa would bring the Zhonoy. She had heard so much about it the last few days: its untiring strength, its mute compliance to Nuzhunpa's commands, its humble tolerance of the taunts and gestures of the Laizuvries; as well as its rumored night-time frenzies, its spell of goety over Nuzhunpa (and, incredibly, Paisohnprahn!), its ability to see in the dark, and all the old superstitions and legends about the Zhonoys which had been recently revived and embellished; that Feeshare was frankly curious and eager to see it again, as long as Nuzhunpa was present to keep it under control. But then, if Zholybet turned her invitation down, which seemed likely, it might at least make her feel a little less an outcast. "Zholybet!" she called, somewhat breathlessly. "Wait a moment!"
Zholybet was surprised and delighted. She had not been approached outside her shainu since they had returned, and she was always happy to see Feeshare. She greeted Anyogatoh warmly, too, and the three numpas were soon talking gaily (if trivially at first), to the slight discomfiture of Zholybet's detracters. It was difficult, for most of the ums, to connect the repulsive and storied Zholybet with the attractive and well-liked Feeshare, and their imaginations were strained at the sight of the two of them together.
After the initial pleasantries, Anyogatoh brought up a question. "Why doesn't the Zhonoy talk? Everyone in the vaisohs heard him, but here we are told it can't speak Laizuvrian. Why is that?"
Zholybet hushed her instantly. "That's supposed to be a secret, Anyogatoh!" she hissed. "I don't exactly understand the reason for it myself, but prahnum says it will make it easier for Monwyrt."
"Why make it easier for a Zhonoy?" Anyogatoh thought dourly, but she said nothing.
"But if they knew it could understand them," Feeshare said, "Laizuvries wouldn't taunt and jeer it so. How does that make it easier? This way, it has to listen to all that is said."
"That's true," said Zholybet, "but everyone knows that I understand them, and I still hear plenty of taunts and jeers." The two others were silent a moment, a little embarassed. Feeshare soon remembered her mission, though.
"Zholybet, I wondered whether you and your old um would like to come to my hut this evening, just to get out. We could talk more, then," she looked around at the staring faces, "or play beazhat, or something. I could invite some others, too, if you want. What do you say?"
Zholybet was thrilled. Suddenly she realized how long it had been since she had had any kind of social life; it had been many hand-days, and in a passing ripple of mourning she felt how much she had missed it. Now, she was asked to pay a visit, and it was almost too much to be believed. And Feeshare's reference to her "old um" - how thoughtful! She closed her eyes and stood a moment, just relishing the thought.
Anyogatoh, misinterpreting her expression, waited patiently for the expected regrets.
"Oh, Feeshare!" Zholybet finally gushed. "Thank you! It will be wonderful to see you tonight. It's funny you should mention beazhat - he's been practicing it lately and he's really getting good at it! I'd love to see him play someone who could give him a good game!"
Anyogatoh's eyes fairly popped. Feeshare, however, smiled broadly. Nuzhunpa must be terribly bored at home, she thought, to begin practicing beazhat again at his age. It would do him good to get away, too. She completely forgot about the Zhonoy for a moment. "Well," she said happily, "then perhaps I'll ask a couple of beazhatters over, too, and we'll all watch them play. I may even take him on, myself; I'm pretty good at it, you know!"
"Feeshare!" Anyogatoh said urgently, "what about - you know!"
"Oh, dacoar," Feeshare remembered. "Zholybet, er, what about, er, what about Monwyrt?" She wanted to put it as gently as she could, but couldn't think of any other way of saying it less awkwardly.
Zholybet breezily waved off their concern. "Oh, don't worry about him," she said. "He'll be just fine!"
"You won't be, well, worried?" Anyogatoh inquired.
"Not at all," Zholybet assured them.
"Good!" Feeshare stated, definitely. "I'll see the two of you tonight, then!"
"Dacoar," agreed Zholybet, her face slightly dimming at a sudden thought, "as long as my prahnum doesn't already have other plans."
"All right, then," said Feeshare. "I'll look for you."
They watched Zholybet walk happily toward the alleys. When she was out of earshot, Anyogatoh spat bitterly, "Let's hope Nuzhunpa has other plans!"
"You don't have to be there!" Feeshare reminded her angrily. "This apparently means a lot to Zholybet, and her prahnum has done a lot for us through the seasons, too. It won't hurt to show them a little kindness."
Anyogatoh wasn't so sure.
"Mmmm!" Nuzhunpa sighed when he stepped through the door to the hut. "Aaaah!"
They had been out in the shoz all afternoon. Monwyrt's endurance was simply unbelievable, and Nuzhunpa had been inspired by it to such an extent that he could not sit idly by watching the Zhonoy work any longer, and had got his hands dirty, too. He was very tired, but he was smiling: they had actually finished cultivating the shoz already, to the astonishment and envy of the Laizuvries in the neighboring fields. And now, to finish off the day in glory, he returns to the aroma of his favorite meal filling the hut. Life is good!
Monwyrt followed a few steps behind, carrying the seayohnuhr. Nuzhunpa had told him that they were done with the shoz for a while, and that had lifted his spirits a good deal, too. He had never quite understood why all that muddling around in the dirt was important, but he could see that all the Laizuvries were doing it, so he had gone along with Nuzhunpa's directions. The business of covering the shoz with the vashlymoss moc was sublimely incomprehensible to him; if he hadn't had to do it with his own hands, he wouldn't have believed it, yet. But, it was all over with now, at least for a while, to the best of his understanding.
When he stepped through the door the aroma announced itself to his senses like boiling water thrown in his face. He was totally unprepared for the assault. He reeled, choking, back out into the alley, trying to catch his breath, and the worst of it was that, although the scent was strangely familiar to him, he could not immediately place it.
The experience of not recognizing a scent or taste is, to a Traeppedelferean hunter, roughly the equivalent of being lost in the mines. It just doesn't happen. Except in the raw inexperience of a cild, they immediately knew what it was they tasted if they had ever tasted it before. Monwyrt had tasted this before, somewhere; but he didn't know where. He could not be mistaken about that: the savor was quite distinctive. Not being able to identify it now was absolutely disorienting, and he stood outside the door in a kind of daze.
He watched Zholybet's back, as she bent over the steaming pot, and he could see Nuzhunpa sit down at the table wearily. They suddenly looked different to him, as though seeing them through the frame of the doorway allowed him to see them with cleansed eyes. They were tall! he was surprised to notice; and so dark - he looked down at his own skin. Um, he was dark, too; but they were much darker.
Nuzhunpa was gesturing to him from the table. "Come in, Monwyrt! Come in and eat!"
"Come in and eat!" echoed Zholybet, turning from the pot, carrying a large zhat of, of something.
Monwyrt clutched at his head. Why was this all so familiar? Where had he done this before? It was almost dream-like. He knew what he was going to do next, and he really felt like doing it, too, for some unknown reason: run away screaming, through the driving rain, just run, run, until at last he would fall, exhausted and afraid, only to awaken to see...
He jumped with a start when Zholybet gently pulled him by the arm toward the hut. He hadn't even seen her come out, but now she was right in front of him. She had a steaming piece of something in her hand, and was offering it to him to try... he tasted it automatically, and was surprised: it was good! Slowly he looked up at her face, and he gasped as if he were seeing it for the first time. That face! It was Zholybet, but that face - where had he seen it? Oh, it would drive him gemaed! Zholybet's face was familiar to him, of course; but this face, which just happened to be Zholybet's, he had seen somewhere before - he had smelled that scent and tasted that flavor somewhere before. And he was overcome with a sudden feeling of anticipation that he would soon awaken to see... what? Moc! he couldn't remember.
"Monwyrt?" Nuzhunpa spoke. "Are you all right? Monwyrt?"
Monwyrt shook his head and returned from his daze. It was only Nuzhunpa. He looked up at the sky wonderingly. "It's not raining!" he exclaimed, as Zholybet led him inside. She looked worriedly at her prahnum.
"Maybe I worked him too hard today," he hazarded. "I know I'm exhausted. And maybe," he looked at his daughter, "he is not eating everything he needs."
"I'm trying everything I can think of!" she cried. "That's why we're eating sahvahn tonight! I wanted - "
"Sahvahn!" Monwyrt interrupted explosively. "Is that what that scent is? I won't touch it! Give me some pahnbatohn - I'll eat it outside! I can't breathe in here!"
"But you like it!" Zholybet pleaded. "You just tried a piece a moment ago. Come, eat with us, Monwyrt."
"Impossible!" Monwyrt cried. "A Traeppedelfere could never eat truhthalig - never!" He scooped up a handful of pahnbatohn and stomped out the door. Zholybet stepped to go after him, but Nuzhunpa stopped her with his hand.
"Let him go, Zholy," he said. "I have an idea which will make him happier, I think, but I must talk it over with you first. We will call him in after we eat. All right?"
"Dacoar," she said disconcertedly, watching Monwyrt sit in the growing shadow across the alley. "I wonder what happened. Why would he think it was raining?"
"I don't know, Zholy," he said quietly.
They ate the sahvahn in silence. It made a good meal, and when they were finished Nuzhunpa, relaxed after his strenuous afternoon, was comfortable. "Zholy," he said, "before we call Monwyrt in again, I want to ask you something. What would you say if I told Monwyrt he could eat one of the vashlymoss?"
She was utterly shocked at the question, and was thankful that he had waited until after they had finished eating to bring it up. "Prahnum!" she admonished. "How disgusting! Whatever gave you such a revolting idea?"
"Monwyrt himself asked about it a few days ago," he informed her. "My first reaction was the same as yours, but I have been thinking about it for a while now, and I'm not so sure our first reaction is right. We have been feeding him as if he were a Laizuvry, but Zholy, he isn't; he is a Zhonoy, and apparently they eat entirely different things."
Zholybet grimaced. This was too much! "What about our oofs?" she argued. "If Monwyrt - oh, I can hardly say it! If Monwyrt eats our vashlymoss, where will we get oofs? He eats more pahnbatohn than two ums, already!"
"But he does the work of four! You wouldn't believe how he can work, Zholy; he just doesn't get tired! If he keeps it up, we will have more than enough to trade for as many vashlymoss as he wants!"
"Oh, prahnum," she whined sickly. "Would I have to prepare it? How - oh, I can't stand to think about it!"
"I would imagine that Monwyrt could take care of all that himself. He is, after all, used to living outdoors on his own for hand-days at a time. We can talk to him about the details. Do you agree to let him try it? He may not end up liking vashlymoss, either, you know."
Zholybet answered by going to the door and calling to Monwyrt, who came in obediently, tasting the air, testing the waning strength of the scent of sahvahn.
Nuzhunpa appraised him of his idea, and Monwyrt enthusiastically embraced it with shining eyes. He nearly made the Laizuvries sick with the flow of his ideas on how best to skin, butcher, roast, and dry the beast, until Zholybet finally succeeded in convincing him that there was no need to exlain it all to them; they were not planning on sharing it with him, the vashlymoss would definitely be all his to, er, enjoy.
This restored Monwyrt's good humor completely, and it was a contented little shainu that soon found Nuzhunpa dozing solidly before the grate, and Zholybet glowingly telling Monwyrt of their exciting invitation.
Some time later, Nuzhunpa woke with a start to find himself alone in a dark hut and someone knocking on his door.
"Salu, Nuzhunpa," said Runahr, as the former opened the door. "I wondered whether you would be going or not. I was just on my way there and passing by, and I thought I'd knock and see."
"Going?" said Nuzhunpa a little fuzzily, still half asleep and feeling very stiff. "Going where? What are you talking about?"
"To Feeshare's hut. We're going to play beazhat, I hear. You know; Feeshare spoke to Zholybet about it this morning, I guess." Runahr poked his head into the dark hut and lowered his voice. "I see you have already got the - got Monwyrt, that is, asleep. Good! Are you ready to leave? We'll walk together."
Nuzhunpa tried to gather his thoughts. "Fo, fo - I have to do a few things here first. You go on ahead; I'll be along shortly."
"All right!" said Runahr cheerily, "I'll meet you there!" He turned and strutted away jauntily.
Nuzhunpa hastily searched the hut. Shyay! they were gone! He racked his mind to imagine what was going on. Runahr had obviously thought Monwyrt was staying behind, but here he had found himself alone. And not only alone, but uninformed of the whole thing! What was Zholybet up to? What was she thinking? Beazhat at Feeshare's hut?! He suddenly made up his mind as to what he had to do, and rushed out of the hut as fast as his old aching legs would carry him.
"Salu, Zholybet!" said Feeshare warmly upon finding her at the door. "And salu, Nuzh- oh! Monwyrt!" She gasped and backed into the hut as they entered. Zholybet beamed and grasped Feeshare's hand closely.
"Thank you again for inviting us over, Feeshare!" she gushed. "I have been so worried that Monwyrt would not be taken in by Todymody! You have no idea what a relief it was to realize my fears had been so silly!"
Anyogatoh jumped up from her stool in the corner, astonished and afraid. "Where's Nuzhunpa?" she blurted.
Zholybet looked surprised at her reaction. "Why, he's at home, of course!"
"Then that's where I'll be!" Anyogatoh huffed, making a line to the door. "At home!" She marched off into the dark.
"What's wrong with her?" Zholybet asked Feeshare.
"What's going on here, Feeshare?" demanded Faaloh, watching Monwyrt suspiciously. He and Kunahr were already rocking the zhat, and he resented the interruption.
"Feeshare invited us here to play beazhat tonight," Zholybet explained insistantly. "Right, Feeshare?"
"Is that all?" Faaloh grunted, to Feeshare's relief. Monwyrt grinned. He liked Faaloh. "Come on," Faaloh said to Kunahr. "Your turn."
Some time later, Burfohn was preparing for sleep. He'd had a hard day. His prahnumpa had been particularly difficult to please, and had gone to her cot early after berating him soundly for no reason that he could find. Before that, one of his vashlymoss had somehow got into the wrong pen, and he had spent half the day arguing about it with a numpa who had fed it half her shoam. Now, he was not very happy to hear someone pounding on his door. He knocked over a stool and sent it clattering across the floor in his haste to answer the door before his prahnumpa woke up.
"Burfohn!" shouted an out-of-breath Rokay. "Come with me!"
"Ssssh! you'll wake my - "
"Burfey," moaned Matann, "who is there in the middle of the night?"
"It's not the middle of the night, prahnumpa," sighed Burfohn. "It's Rokay."
"What does he want?"
"What do you want?" Burfohn hissed with extreme irritation.
"You've got to come!" Rokay was under the influence of some strong emotion. He grabbed Burfohn by the arm as soon as the door was opened enough to allow it. "We need you!" he added mysteriously.
"What does he want, Burfey?"
"What's going on?" Burfohn demanded, tearing his arm away from Rokay's grip. "And this had better be important!"
"You've got to come play beazhat, Burfohn!"
"What?" screamed Burfohn.
"What?" asked Matann from her cot.
"It's the Zhonoy, Burfohn!" Rokay blurted. "You wouldn't believe it! That slow is killing us!"
"I knew it!" shrieked Matann, jumping out of her cot. "Where's my fo? Let's get it!"
"What?" yelled Burfohn at his prahnumpa.
"Fo, Matann," said Rokay soothingly. "It's playing beazhat - it's killing us at beazhat!"
"What?" shouted Burfohn, turning back to Rokay.
"I have to admit it," said Rokay, "the Zhonoy is a great beazhatter! It's beaten all the best players in Todymody. It just sits there like it's bored, and runs up kosh after kosh after kosh! You've got to come! You're the only one who can beat it."
"If you get beat by a Zhonoy," warned Matann, "I'll kick you out!"
"What?!" cried Burfohn at his prahnumpa.
"Go!" she commanded, pushing him from behind.
"Come!" pleaded Rokay, pulling on his arm.
Before Burfohn knew what had happened, he was sitting across from that stinking Zhonoy, playing a game he had sworn to himself he would never play again. He looked around Feeshare's hut and blinked.
The hut was packed to the rafters with noisy Laizuvries, nearly all of them looking at him with pitiful, pleading faces. They had seen this, this beast make a mockery of their favorite pastime, absolutely embarassing every opponent they presented him with. They had tried everything: distraction, abuse, threats; but Monwyrt's concentration, what little he apparently needed, never wavered. A few of those who had known Monwyrt from the vaisohs actively supported him, to the loud protests of the rest. As to Monwyrt himself, he kept up the ruse of not understanding the name-calling, and mutely mowed them down.
Feeshare was beside herself with anxiety. "What's going to happen?" she nervously asked Zholybet. She was the wrong one to ask.
"Monwyrt will win, of course!" she beamed. She couldn't be happier, and was completely blind to the possibility that Monwyrt's current popularity would be eradicated should he continue winning.
Feeshare had darker visions. She anxiously looked around her hut. Some of the ums were looking very angry, and she realized with dread that something terrible could happen unless the tension in the place was somehow eased. But she had fo idea how to ease it.
Monwyrt had flawlessly completed his turn. "Uh!" he grunted (to the delight of all those in on his secret), nodding to Burfohn. Burfohn warmed his fingers and began.
It was the ultimate competition. Both players performed to perfection. Burfohn would finish his run with a flourish, to great cheers all around, only to see Monwyrt mimic his motions to the last gesture, and his few backers would have their turn to revel. On they played into the night. It had long been quite warm in the hut - no one noticed it, players or spectators. They mopped their brows with dripping hands and continued staring at the impossible game.
Eventually, it really was the middle of the night. Three hands of long, hotly contested games had been played, every one of them a draw, and the three-hands-and-one game was drawing to a close with Burfohn pausing a moment in the middle of his final turn to dry his fingers, when Monwyrt saw Nuzhunpa hobble in through the open door.
Nuzhunpa had run out of his hut, as fast as he could, to Paisohnprahn. He remembered his counsellor's admonition to keep Monwyrt from doing anything to draw attention to himself, and if anything would draw attention to him in Todymody it would be his newly-discovered skill at beazhat. Paisohnprahn had immediately agreed that it was a dangerous situation, and they had set out together toward Feeshare's hut right away.
But Paisohnprahn walked agonizingly slowly. Nuzhunpa gritted his teeth and sweat in anxious frustration as the old um pottered along. He was desperately afraid that some violence would ensue at this ill-begotten game and they would be too late to stop it, but Paisohnprahn could not be rushed. Finally, as they neared the game, Nuzhunpa could stand it no longer, and ran ahead to see how the situation stood.
It was with a great sigh of relief, then, that he saw Monwyrt sitting calmly at the table, surrounded by boisterous Laizuvries, but apparently intact. A moment later, when Paisohnprahn appeared in the doorway, the crowd hushed in deference, and the game was momentarily suspended.
"Paisohnprahn!" they whispered in astonishment. This was as unprecedented as a game with a Zhonoy.
"Paisohnprahn!" mumbled Burfohn, rising from his stool.
"Paisohnprahn!" Feeshare almost cried, so relieved was she at his appearance.
Monwyrt heard the whispers and looked up from the table again. He had heard of this Paisohnprahn, and he was curious to see what such a great Mocwalwian looked like. But he was not ready for the shock it would be to him.
As soon as the old um entered, still moving at his inexorable pace, Monwyrt cried out, his dazedness at meal-time rushing back over him. Again, he saw something which he recognized from somewhere, but with an icy, knifing chill, this time he knew immediately where he had seen it, and what it was. With lips almost numb from the ordeal of having his consciousness wrenched from Todymody to the Haunted Lands and back again in the blink of an eye, he brokenly muttered his race's name for the apparition: