The time came for Majeska to go. The Brothers were to send her in their traditional way to the Void. They didn’t explain how they could do this without a Catalyst Block, but Majeska was to stand outside in their courtyard, face west, close her eyes and meditate. After a gracious farewell, she had once again been asked not to speak. She hugged the decoy book and thought of the other book she was leaving behind.
She felt a subtle shift as she was transported—a slight difference of quality to the air as she opened her eyes to the familiar open plain of the Void. There was no apparent change in the light. The noonday sun of the desert gave way to the forever-noon and open expanse of grass in this timeless, in-between place. She absently pushed the remaining booklet inside her tunic.
It’s intriguing that the Brothers have a link here. It’s said they’re charged to remove the bodies of the many men who perish on their journeys from Underneath. And it would be a problem if they were just left here, but how do they know they’re here, and why aren’t they charged to remove them before they die? So many questions and so few answers. I really thought I was going to get direction from the desert colony, not just sent to the land of the lost. With a sigh, she hoped they would call on her very soon.
Majeska turned toward the only visible feature interrupting the green of the grass and blue of the sky—the mountains. As she walked toward them and came over a small rise, the massive Catalyst Block appeared and grew before her as she continued forward. She became anxious at the greeting she would receive from Gabrell at her return. No doubt he would scold her for putting herself in danger and for leaving him alone. Of course he would be relieved, but she knew only too well the agitation that mounting worry created, and she knew she would be the target of its release before he could relax and embrace her. By the time she reached the enormous dark mass, she was sweating and parched with thirst. The booklet chafed against her skin—not so soft as the other had been. Majeska leaned against the Block and hesitated there. The life-like warmth of the Catalyst’s surface soothed her, quieting her mind.
Yes, of course, there is an order to all things. I’m glad it’s not all up to me. I wish that I was returning with the answers, but I guess I’m returning with new hope.
Excerpt by Kennedy J. Quinn Published with permission