This document is part of the Ocean Girl Archive — Last update: 2008-07-26 — sourcemeta

Author:Judith “Stormdance” Kenyon
Copyright:Archiving permitted by author

Lapis Dreams: To The Stars

Neri’s home spread out around her, blue-green with light from far above and darkness below. Fish as long as her arms occasionally came around the edges of her sight as silver shadows, but mostly she was alone here. (Where?) she called to Charley.

(Here. Farther.) the whale sang back.

(All right. I go tell Jason.) Neri replied, and turned up towards the light.

Jason was following them in a boat; when Neri told him she was going to look at something Charley had found, he refused to be left behind. He was looking at the boat’s location computer when Neri came up next to the boat. “Jason!”

“Hi!” he yelled back, and turned off the engine so they could hear each other, “Are we there yet? The coast is straight ahead, just out of sight.”

“Not there yet, but soon. Charley just found it. A kilometer more.” Neri added with uncertainty, since she’d just learned distances and wasn’t at all sure of them.

“All right, I’ll go that far and wait for you. Does Charley have any clues what we’re looking for?”

“Yes, but I do not understand them. It is a building or a ship, left by my people. He says it has power.”

“Has to be important… But we’ll learn more when we can see it.” Jason started the motor again and Neri dove under.

Mera smiled, “If the Oracles say we will have all three treasures tonight I will believe them. Sara-Kate…”

“No.” Sara-Kate said firmly, “Shersheba is not a bad person, she wants to help the Lapis people as much as we do. Besides, she’s got the Healer treasure. I’ll either convince her to come with me or take the treasure and come alone. Don’t worry, I can do it.”

Mera nodded, accepting her reasoning. Diana didn’t, but kept her mouth shut. Michael just nodded and went back to talking with Rinelle as Sara-Kate went back to meet Shersheba.

To everyone’s surprise Rinelle was leaving too, with a final promise to bring the treasure to them. The strange girl just said goodbye and melted into the crowd. Diana had to give her brain a minute to catch up. “Why does she want to stay here? It’s crowded, noisy, touristy, all sorts of bad things-y.”

Michael shrugged, “I dunno. Maybe Rinnelle gets to see things differently because she lives here. Anyway she wanted to stay, even when I told her about going back to Lapis.”

“Man I hope that works out.” Diana said, “This is all so crazy…”

Mera gave her a smile, “And it’ll only get more crazy. So let’s go home.”

It was hidden in an almost-cave where sand had worn away leaving an overhang of coral and rock. And it was large, the size of a two-story house but more streamlined. A pyramid with green glass windows reflecting in the beam of Jason’s flashlight.

Neri darted through the water to the door and hung there, not needing weights to stay down. She touched her hand to a circle beside the door, it lit up and opened. Neri grabbed Jason’s hand and pulled him in. They went through an airlock and into the main room.

“Oh wow.” Jason said, looking around. The pyramid was all one room, and seemed to have been grown from crystal. From inside the walls were transparent and cast their own light outside. What had to be banks of controls stood around the walls but they looked ornamental rather than useful. In the center of the room was a small three-sided pyramid with a precisely cut hole in each of the sides. Neri walked around it. “Yes. This is here for the treasures, to signal my people. One who puts the treasures in their places here passes the test.”

Jason looked at her over the pyramid, “That has to be you, right?”

“Me, Shersheba, another with strong Gift. It would work for any I think.”

“What about all those controls, do they do anything?”

“Nothing is lit up… I do not know how to work it anyway unless it speaks like HELEN.”

Jason laughed and they both turned to look around some more. There was a little pile of debris in one corner: broken crystal and scraps of something metallic with writing on it, nothing interesting. The floor was also green glass, it curved the light strangely so it was more shadowy inside than outside, despite the central pyramid’s light.

Neri was looking up at one of the walls. There was a carving there, of a woman wearing a strange crown that dangled ropes of pearls. The woman held her hands out in offering. It was carved into the wall, only visible when the light cut the right way. “It means that all who have magic… must give to the people. The more good a person can do, the less choice they have.”