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from Aradia's Diaspora by Susan Woerner

Copyright © 2018–2020 Susan Woerner

Scene 42

Chalcedony. Chalcedony. Where do I know that word from?

We were walking along in the dark, my hand gripping the hand of one of the interpreters walking in front of me. Fortunately, the floor of the massive structure we’d entered was smooth and the way flat. As long as I held on to the woman in front of me with one hand and kept touching the wall with the other, I felt pretty sure of my steps - even if I couldn’t see ahead of us, or around us, or behind us. Now I understood what pitch-black really meant, not something I would have encountered in my world - a world full of light pollution. But it didn’t feel claustrophobic doing this, which surprised me since I could sense that the ceiling was quite low. If I were as tall as Isobeau, I could probably reach up and touch it.

The tug on my hand from the woman in front of me suddenly slackened and I bumped into her, part of a chain reaction that likely began at the front of the line.

“We are now at the cave’s entrance,” said Beryl, or maybe it was Galena, I couldn’t be sure since I’d only heard them the one or two times outside, “you will need to make a small leap across the gap and then you’ll see the light of the crystals.”

I could hear the interpreters for the Kyr whispering in what - Kyrish? - I suppose. What I’d seen of the Aurochs’ interactions, there was a lot of body language, so I wasn’t sure how the communication was going since they couldn’t see each other.

“A small gap?” I asked no one in particular.

“Yes, just a little leap,” said the other sister this time, &l...

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