But for a reason I wouldn’t be able to name until years after—years stretching between us like clouds unrolling beneath chariot wheels—I was silent; I was silenced and could not demur. I let him, could not quite pull away, show me how to coax the flame and bring order that it did not need. I let him teach me what I already understood.
Startled, Tau lost her grip on her paddle. Before she had the chance to reform her thoughts, she had to quickly strip off and dive in to retrieve it. A smile a shade more cynical than expected greeted her as she heaved herself back over the edge of the oka, spluttering and cursing. Nhia quit her rearward rescue-paddling and held her own dripping paddle firmly in her lap.