Mirrored from Sythyry.
Lithia, Sapling-Eyes, Dorze, and Saza went through the middle door. Now, the other two doors were identical, silk-covered things, but the middle door was heavier, and all of wood with heavy iron (iron!) fittings and pink silk trim, and seven standard symbols of Mircannis painted upon it. Unlocked — none of the doors of Heaven seem to be locked. So there was a certain amount of feeling that this was particularly serious — hence sending Saza that way.
The corridor behind the door was more serious than the corridor to the Elfimel in their orchard, too. It was all stone (stone!), and perfectly round in cross-section, and some fifteen feet high. A delicate crystal walkway floated in the exact center of the tunnel, barely wide enough for one person at a time. It rang with the sound of ethereal bells as the three bipeds walked along it. The walls of the tunnel were painted with fantastical fishes, with glass beads for eyes, and the glass beads glowed enough to illuminate the tunnel.
After some time — two-thirds of an hour, making the walk about two miles or more — the explorers came to another heavy iron-bound door. They did not have Grinwipey’s sensibilities, and simply opened it, and by that means came to what we guess is the center of Heaven. A very big chamber, lit from above and all sides by a thousand tall and evidently perpetual candles, over a floor of red parquet.
Fifteen doors leave the center of Heaven. Nine of them are heavy iron-bound things, and the primes took great care to record which of the nine they had come in by. Of the others:
- One is marked with several orthodox symbols of Mircannis, and a few obsolete ones.
- One is marked with a phallus in the Rassimel style, and smelled somewhat of decay.
- One is marked with a pair of footprints, and a sign of a lifted fluffy tail and exposed rump. We conjectured that it was an Elfimel tail (for by this time the first group had met the Elfimel, and we had of course told the others.)
- One was marked by seven concentric circles, and had a gurgling sound from behind it.
- One was marked with a pair of eyes, crying.
- One was marked with a multitude of symbols in three bands. The top band held the symbols of Lenhirrik. The other two bands were not recognized.
Saza: “The second door is surely reserved for Sythyry, and I suppose the fifth for Vae, because she cries all the time. I, myself, shall try the first.”
Dorze: “You have affan in exploring, then, Saza?”
Saza: “I suppose I might as well. In any case, have you a better idea of where to go or what to do?”
So they entered the first door, the one marked with the symbols of the nicest of our creator gods. Behind it was a very simple spiral staircase, up-up-up through what seemed to be a block of glass behind which twinkling lights spun, and, after a significant walk, came to a respectable round room where a thousand people could stand or sprawl comfortably. A dished room with benches in concentric circles — a theatre. Instead of the stage was an altar, and such an altar as I have never seen: an altar in gaudy bright magenta and purple with lime-green highlights, glowing from within as from a half-dozen light spells. On top of it were three small bone chalices, in gaudy red, blue, and purple.
Saza: “A temple of Mircannis.”
Dorze: “Really? The one back home in Oorah Thrassen is much more sedate and dignified.”
Saza: “I’m quite sure. Those chalices on the table are her Glories. It’s not a thing one can mistake too easily really.”
Sapling-Eyes: “Dorze, can you sniff around and see if anyone has been here lately?”
Dorze: “I can, I will, I am … I … not for several days. There was someone here perhaps a week ago.”
Lithia: “Perhaps several people? Phaniet says that the natives, the Elfimel, all smell the same.” (Lithia, wearing magical Strayway livery, had been chatting with the rest of us. She explained the matter to Dorze and all.)
Dorze: “It could certainly have been that.”
And they investigated as best they could in various ways, and concluded this: it was a temple to Mircannis, used occasionally by about a thousand Elfimel, for the purpose of worship and not magic (or not much magic and not recent).
Saza: “You should try consecrating an enchantment in here.”
Saza: “You don’t often get to take a temple’s virginity!”
Me: “And you took mine, so you’re suggesting I get another one back?”
Saza: Giggles and assorted protests of innocence.
And after a third of an hour of investigation, there was nothing more to investigate. The temple had no closets, no side rooms, no secret doors that anyone could find: it was just a room.