Tiamaht stands at the water’s edge in the deepest, darkest part of the valley and she waits. Moon wanes and thickest fog slides slowly down from the top of the mountain. The blind oracle waits there patiently for hours.
She waits there, sheltered in the arms of the forest with only the sounds of the wind moving through the wood and the worms twisting under the skin of the earth to keep her company.
She stands there waiting with the hem of her dress trailing in the muddy water with her fingers curled tightly around the handle of her empty basket. She hears the odd sound that rises up and rises up from the deep, dark wet. Fearful, she trembles but Tiamaht hold her stance and she doesn’t falter.
A dreadful beast surges upward, its scaly head breaching the mirror-like surface. It drifts closer to the shore. It stills. Something soft and slippery licks at the tips of Tiamaht’s bare toes. Her throat constricts. A tiny whimper squeaks out. Frightened tears swell up into her sightless eyes, down her cheeks and onto her bosom.
She can feel the weight of the body that rises up out of the river. She senses that it stands on two feet and has the shape of a man. Tiamaht’s arms reach outward, basket raised in supplication. Wordless breath and light spills from his mouth. His unearthly offering fills her proffered vessel until it overflows. He steps away. He sinks back down into the river.
Tiamaht raises the basket to her lips and drinks the nectar. She swallows it down. It spills over and washes her tears away. The incandescent liquid slides down into her belly. It floods her body. It fills her bones. The light enters her eyes and alters her mind.