The Moon Pool HTML version

Chapter 32. "Your Love; Your Lives; Your Souls!"
LAKLA had taken no part in the talk since we had reached her bower. She had seated
herself close to the O'Keefe. Glancing at her I had seen steal over her face that brooding,
listening look that was hers whenever in that mysterious communion with the Three. It
vanished; swiftly she arose; interrupted the Irishman without ceremony.
"Larry darlin'," said the handmaiden. "The Silent Ones summon us!"
"When do we go?" I asked; Larry's face grew bright with interest.
"The time is now," she said--and hesitated. "Larry dear, put your arms about me," she
faltered, "for there is something cold that catches at my heart--and I am afraid."
At his exclamation she gathered herself together; gave a shaky little laugh.
"It's because I love you so that fear has power to plague me," she told him.
Without another word he bent and kissed her; in silence we passed on, his arm still about
her girdled waist, golden head and black close together. Soon we stood before the
crimson slab that was the door to the sanctuary of the Silent Ones. She poised uncertainly
before it; then with a defiant arching of the proud little head that sent all the
bronzeflecked curls flying, she pressed. It slipped aside and once more the opalescence
gushed out, flooding all about us.
Dazzled as before, I followed through the lambent cascades pouring from the high,
carved walls; paused, and my eyes clearing, looked up--straight into the faces of the
Three. The angled orbs centred upon the handmaiden; softened as I had seen them do
when first we had faced them. She smiled up; seemed to listen.
"Come closer," she commanded, "close to the feet of the Silent Ones."
We moved, pausing at the very base of the dais. The sparkling mists thinned; the great
heads bent slightly over us; through the veils I caught a glimpse of huge columnar necks,
enormous shoulders covered with draperies as of pale-blue fire.
I came back to attention with a start, for Lakla was answering a question only heard by
her, and, answering it aloud, I perceived for our benefit; for whatever was the mode of
communication between those whose handmaiden she was, and her, it was clearly
independent of speech.
"He has been told," she said, "even as you commanded."