Now awake, I told my hellmare, and Kheba was quite right in her take: It was more than dream mixed with cream of dæmons. No, twas phantastical vision and that, with frightening precision. Through time and space, could Bast now slither and lace herself? Had she gained such power? Certainly not from her ill-fated tower! But how now? Kheba, daughter of Dyēus, one of the Tri-Mater, actually looked shaken! I’d been crooked into the isolated presence of Bast, who’d cast me into her unholy royal chamber … right out of the arms of Kheba and her protection from harm! Tears streamed down her light brown skin, but what could smear such beauty? Still, as she wrapped herself around me, bound me fast to take away the last of my terror, my heart broke for her — for Kheba — like a stroke to the inner core of my spirit, and I bore her burden with her without fully knowing the burden (and almost surely showing my ignorance.)
Smooth diorite walls and halls, finely intermixed with divinely decorative lapis lazuli surrounded us, with profoundly long, large tables of shining marble along the sides, strong but radiantly soft, holding aloft plants and flowers of myriad kind with their silent chant of life and peace and joy — nothing here to annoy — and the bed worthy of royalty said clearly we were more than welcome. The home of Metuşelah and Lemek was our home, as well (what was so easy to tell.) Yonder was silver pitcher of fine wine, another of clear cool water from courtyard pool, and two bejeweled goblets; bell to ring to tell servants to come from their rooms to resume their task of fulfilling our needs, basking in the glory of guest goddess. Refreshing breeze blew silently through our room, but darkness loomed, darker than the darkness of night … the blight of evil darkness … live-evil. And Kheba marked the dark as Bast, who’d cast her presence into this time and space, but showing her face only to me without her mother to see.
Kheba stared out one of the paired arched openings at the palms calmly dancing, swaying to and fro, back and forth with no lack of encouragement from the gentle wind to slightly bend their bodies in sightly beauty as if in answer to some divine duty. “Nothing here will change,” she practically whispered. “We cannot rearrange; Tariqah is still dead … her head severed by sword from horde of wild Watchers.” Kheba’s voice trailed off, but not before she nailed me with eyes. “She cannot alter history, nor must we falter in our reaching your soul and teaching you, for you are clay and we the potter — we the Tri-Mater — under watchful eye of Dyēus who does spy everything, but…” She looked away and brooked not the terrible subject for which she could confect no answer. Did her father know, yet never bother to show, or had God become so slow? “She got to you and I never knew she could reach so far and breach the barrier being the carrier of such evil… Bast has grown stronger in ability, has greater mobility, and certainly not less in hostility.”
I shivered despite the warm air of night and pressed in closer to the might of Kheba … but why? She would keep me safe, but could she? This was the question now, and I had to bow to the ruthless truth that Bast had quite possibly become as powerful as Kheba somehow. And now what of Maftet and Ma’at from whom I’d sought refuge? And Sélená so bright; could she smite Bast and cast her back to dungeon gloom, her own living tomb? Ah … what had transpired to mire us in such dire straights?
Oh Dyēus on high, fly swiftly to our side and stay ever-so nigh!