The sound of the WhiteŌne surrounded Ellen in the phosphorescent dimness of the Cryptal tunnel. She listened, wondering what the lilt of the song meant and puzzling about the mode of communication practiced by Cryptals. It occurred to her that the Cryptals, so powerful in their own right on Si’Empra, would be utterly destroyed should the modern world, with its thrust for scientific understanding of everything, be allowed to study them. She imagined machines being inserted into the tunnels to record the WhiteŌne’s Song; scientific papers being written about the music of the Song; cameras placed to trace the movements of the Cryptals; Cryptals being dissected. Ellen shook her head. Surely these wonderful creatures must be protected from such a fate.
“I don’t understand you or your ways, but I somehow understand that you exist on a knife-edge in this modern time,” Ellen whispered. Her brows drew together in a frown. “Did you put all those thoughts and images into my head?” she asked.
The Song lilted on. Yes, Ellen came to understand.
Ellen drew in a deep breath and closed her eyes. “I can only think that you put all of those thoughts into my head because you want me to somehow protect you. BlackŌne’s beard. What has got into everyone? You’ve all gone mad. I can’t even look after myself,” she murmured. “And I’m so tired I can’t even laugh at how ludicrous this situation is. You’d better tell me about the RedŌne.”
The WhiteŌne’s Song shifted almost imperceptibly: “The RedŌne is yours until our deaths.”
“What do you mean by ‘our’?” Ellen muttered but, somehow, she knew exactly what the WhiteŌne meant.
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