The music grew louder, skirling with strange harmonies that wove in and out of each other, and I knew then it couldn't be Nanny, though I did not recognize the instruments. I emerged from the artificial forest to stand behind my brother and sister. An elegant divan covered in striped cream and blue silk was faintly visible out of the corner of my eye. I crossed my arms over my chest as though I could protect myself. "Where is this?"
Shaken, I reach for her arm as though to pull her back, and feel rough skin under the robes: old scars, burns, long healed. For some reason I am reminded of another traveller, long ago, a little girl fleeing a burning house, running out into our pilgrim-train. She would have become a priestess when she grew up, I think. It is not impossible. Tekel, the woman had said before she died, and I wonder what she shares with my son.