Saku dreamed for many days. Sometimes his eyes were open and the whole world slipped away far below them. Sometimes, they were pressed tight against fire and pain and then the dreams would become colors and the whispers told him all about the Truth.
Always, the angel held him close. She sang to him while his mind burned away and flowered.
When he awoke, the Truth reflected back at him. He saw it, in the two black mirrors. He heard it in her whisperes. Saku, chosen one. My child. His throat had swollen. He tasted dry earth, dust and grit. His body came back to him, slowly, one aching limb at a time.
"What happened?" His voice sounded like an echo, distant, alien. "Where am I?"
You are with us, Saku. You are where you belong.
That seemed right. He'd died in fire and the angel had lifted him away. Now, however, he lay on a bed of leaves. He saw dark trunks in tight rows around him, and he heard the wind singing through fronds and vines.
The mirrors flickered and tilted to one side. Eyes. The angel's eyes. Saku sat up and the world spun around him, steaks of green and black and one bright flash of red, red, red.
Go easily, child. The Truth will make you dizzy in the beginning.
The Truth. He remembered it now. His hands groped along the ground, found vines to cling to while the spinning stilled. He sat in a clearing, deep in the jungle. The angel had delivered him here, but they still had a very long way to go.
"How long until we reach the city?"
A few more days.
Saku smiled for her. Her wings buzzed like a veil above them, stirring the trees and the night into a soft song. Her body was black as the sky, almost invisible. It shone, a hard exoskeleton around a heart-shaped head, a longer body segment where six, delicate but strong legs sprouted. Behind that, the soft, velvety fall of her abdomen, long and slender and red as blood.
The Truth declared them saviors. Her singing told him as much. They would come like angels from the north, from the city, and save his people from an old enemy, from an evil that was both ancient and terrible. They needed him, Saku, priest of the Truth. The mouth where there are no words.
It is good. The red velvet flexed and something black flashed behind her, the long dagger, the sharp sting of Truth. She tucked it away just as quickly. Her eyes shimmered and lowered to be nearer to his thoughts. It is good.
"Yes" He didn't need to taste the sting again. His leg still pulsed with it, the puncture burned, a memory of a hundred tiny stings before she found him. Before she used the Truth to set him free. Saku was reborn and he owed Angel everything he was.
He resisted the urge to rub his leg. She wouldn't like it. Somehow, he knew she'd find that gesture insulting, a sign that he rejected her gift. Instead, he shifted a little. He sat up straighter and stared into the unfamiliar jungle. "Where are we?"
Nothing but the city matters.
Of course. They only needed one goal. One small step at a time. Now she flew them toward the city. They'd only stopped to rest her wings. The city was the only thing that mattered. Get to the city, as soon as possible, before the wound heals... Saku frowned and stopped his hand from reaching for his thigh again.
Are you well?
"Yes." He shook his head and grabbed the vines again. He only needed to lie down some more. He needed to rest. A flash of red and shining black confirmed it. Rest, be still. Don't touch the wound. "I'm still a little tired."
Sleep then, little Saku. She buzzed and flashed, red and black. Pain and fire, singing. Rest and Remember the Truth.