Goddess Tithe (Tales of Goldstone Wood) by Stengl Anne Elisabeth

Goddess Tithe (Tales of Goldstone Wood) by Stengl Anne Elisabeth

Author:Stengl, Anne Elisabeth [Stengl, Anne Elisabeth]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Rooglewood Press
Published: 2013-11-14T00:00:00+00:00

“You’re a monkey!” Munny cried. “A big, ugly monkey!”

Leonard laughed as well. Then he made the face again. Munny, still laughing, tried to copy him, but his eyes hurt, and he could not do it right. So instead he began to make squeaking sounds like the monkeys he had heard at the fair upon occasion. Leonard mimicked these noises, adding yet another level of hilarity to his expression. “Monkey!” Munny cried.

Leonard licked his lips. Then grimacing a little, he attempted the word himself. “Mon—key?”

But he could not manage the pronunciation. Instead of the Chhayan word for “monkey,” he succeeded in saying “saucepan.” This sent Munny into another fit of giggles. Encouraged, Leonard smiled hugely and said, “Saucepan! Saucepan! Saucepan! Oooo, oooo, eeeeeek!”

He puffed out his cheeks and scratched himself, and Munny laughed until his sides ached. Their world, however briefly, became one full of mirth where sorrows and hardship could not penetrate.

But then, the Kulap Kanya tilted.

Just as it had that time when they climbed to the lookout and the whole ship moved against the gentle pulse of the ocean; again, on this clear, calm night, the Kulap Kanya suddenly tilted so severely that men below were tossed from their hammocks, and Munny and Leonard fell over on their sides, grappling for a hold on the casks to steady themselves.

A wave rose up. Or not so much a wave as a column fountaining in an enormous plume of dark sea water and moonlight-touched foam. Munny looked up, and for half a moment—or perhaps half a lifetime—he thought he saw a face in that water.

A woman’s face. An angry face.

Then the ocean slapped down hard upon the Kulap Kanya. Munny lost his grip on the cask and felt himself tumbling across the deck. He could not think, but the terror of being washed out to sea filled him without thought. He flailed his hands, his feet, seeking some purchase, some hold.

He struck the aft railing with his shoulder, and his scrawny limbs wrapped around it with such force that surely a hurricane could not have pulled him from it.

The wave swept across the ship, passing to the other side and on.

The ocean leveled out. The Kulap Kanya stood tall once more.

Munny, clutching the rail, found Leonard beside him, similarly attached, terror leaping in his eyes. “What was that?” the stowaway cried.

Bells rang, and sailors stormed the deck. From somewhere amid the din, Munny heard the Captain’s voice rising above all others. “Silence! Silence, men of Noorhitam! Are you all such frightened kittens, here on your own sea?”

Then he called up to the lookout swiftly descending the mast, “What news, Uka? What did you see?”

But the poor sailor, falling at last upon the deck, could only gasp, “Risafeth! Risafeth! She demands her tithe!”

Only later did Munny learn that all the casks of Milden’s Vineyard had been washed away, never to be recovered.


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