The people from the little village tugged on the cord which, tied to the central column of the temple, made it yield amidst groaning and wheezing, until the resounding and dusty tumble. The thick wooden girders, supported on the other four corner columns, still secured the roof; but for how long? When the dust began to settle, someone looked at the ceiling, let out a scream muffled by their hand, and, pointing upwards, got everyone’s attention, who saw in terror the children perched on the beams: they wanted to view the titanic demolition, and undoubtedly that was the best place to watch. Quickly the general distress and panic of the parents turned to confusion, and little efficiency at a rescue attempt.
The collapse of those beams was imminent, along with the children, if nothing were done immediately. The same person who had first seen them gestured and shouted for them to come down. The eldest of the kids, now realising the danger, began to want to come down, but fear had already set in. Meanwhile, the men were making true climbs, using the recesses of the walls, the niches, and the stone statues, others brought ladders and scrambled up, and with everyone’s help, those little futures were brought to safety. Now, out of the temple, amidst whimpers of relief and severe reprimands, the atmosphere became calmer as the fright wore off.
This occurrence made them forget for a bit the reason for all that, and, as though through a collective awareness, they became silent, voices giving way to murmurs, until they were extinguished.
With eyes fixed on the building that stubbornly remained upright, one by one they moved away, leaving the square empty, except perhaps for a mouse, racing blindly to escape the dun cat that the brown dog did not like, and pursued, this after being indolently driven off by the ragged beggar, who had forever sat on the last step of the temple, from where he had never seen alms.
The person who had sounded the alarm, who had pointed out the danger, moved away without further delay as soon as the last child was placed on the ground. She was a mature woman who still bore a youthful appearance, with long hair that fell gently in wide, golden waves on her plump haunch. She walked hurried through the wide street lined with ancestral walls of stone. It was midday, and while one wall provided a perfect dark shadow, the other almost blinded her with the intense light of a blazing sun. On the ground, the dividing line between light and obscurity seemed to give her the inspiration for what she had to do. Her feet moved resolutely, she looked down and saw them, one foot in the dark, the other in the light, and again and again, ever more quickly until she had the feeling of almost not touching the ground.
At the end of that empty and neutral street, running perpendicularly, an enormous space opened up in front of her. The woman stopped and observed to her right the water garden with its various crystalline streams adorned with such delicate perennial plants, sheltered by the tall tops of the trees. In the middle of the garden, in a clearing, a white Orb clarified the spirituality of the space, and at its pole, a sundial made of stone reminded us that time serves for us to find ourselves and to lose ourselves. With his back turned, there was a man bent over one of the flower beds; he was carefully laying small stones around a dwarf tree which he had planted many years ago. She remembered that day with the same freshness as that of those waters…
‘It had been raining torrentially for several days and nights and she, still a little girl, was the concern of her guardians. Since the storm had started the nightmares had not ceased, and the poor child hardly slept at all. Tossing and turning during the night, she awoke drenched in sweat, frightened and screaming incomprehensible words.
The sun finally shone and, under the calm mantle of the moon, the nights became calmer. However, the problem still existed and, on the advice of the physician Imhotep, they took Aira to the presence of a “connective” young man in the Eastern region of Pan. They travelled up the large river in a vessel, which was not really for passengers, but for collecting tuns, docking often to unload empty ones and replace them with full ones. With patience already put to the test, at the end of a pastel-tinted afternoon, they finally sighted Petra. It was an imposing city and, as was said, “with very advanced ideas”. But, of all this, Aira only remembers that thin boy with the attractive face, his skin snow-white and smooth, his hair gently wavy, with a serene countenance and gentle and profound gaze. For some reason people naturally trusted him and his hopeful spirit. Thus, Dérop took the hand of little Aira and seated her gently in front of him, his eyes never leaving her, there was then silence in the songbirds, in the waters that stopped running, in the wind that ceased stirring, in their bodies that desisted from interfering and, with naked spirits already in absent time, they travelled cradled by the vertigo of the space between sweet musical notes. The nocturnal eyes of the young man carried a profound antiquity, and at the same time a disconcerting innocence. It was with this gaze that Dérop penetrated the mind of Aira, and was able to see her torment.
Like a butterfly net, the mind of Dérop threw itself on that lost, maladjusted memory, imprisoning it, and, with the right energy and concentration, the youth was able to take over it, and it easily revealed itself in a dream: Aira sees herself as a very young boy, warring among many others, against a great chief of the Cliffs of Blue Ice. Two clans fighting to the death… Aira sees herself inside a hut, the sound of the metal of the weapons is chilling, the screams and roars frighten her. Suddenly it is all over, she is cold, very cold, the heavy, gelid sword of the great chief had pierced through her abdomen, and the boy Aira fell lifeless on the stone floor. With eyes still open, he saw the battle that continued, but without a single sound, and like a sad Ophelia with his tears filled a river, which took him gently amidst torn flowers, back to the beginning to suffer everything anew.
Dérop continued to look at Aira, she was calm, only a fine tear had detached itself and rolled down the sweet face of the young girl. He watched it in the short and gracious route to the small, curvilinear chin, saw it become suspended above the abyss and, at the right moment, extended his hand in the form of a shell and caught the salty drop; Aira smiled and glowed at Dérop; he in turn brought his hand to his mouth and with the tip of the tongue absorbed the nectar.
Several summers passed, and in the most sublime of autumns they would be united for life, and in their intimacy they would be united forever. Three seasons ended, and in a powerful winter loaded with elements, whose energy came down, stopped and glided through the streets in multicoloured spectra, on a cold, sunny morning, Aira felt the first pangs of labour and, when the Sun marked noon on the clock of the white Orb, she gave birth to a fully healthy little boy, who made himself heard at the top of his lungs, making it unnecessary for the physician Imhotep to slap his little “bum”. This old friend with a paternal connection to Aira, who had also assisted at her birth, would likewise accompany her son throughout his life.
Dérop placed the child in the arms of Aira, then took them both in his arms and headed for his water garden with a pride and happiness capable of making him levitate. He seated them delicately on a marble bench, and just as carefully, picked up a miniature tree and planted it; he made a shell with his hands, took water from one of the canals, watered it and said:
“I name you ‘soul Vésper’”. Then he turned to his wife and son, and with his hand still wet, laid it lovingly on the head of the little boy: “I name you ‘Vésper Dérop Aira’ in spirit and in soul, for life and for memory.”
Aira watched him, overflowing with love. Dérop kissed her and their son, picked them up and they went back inside the house.’
The Illustrious learn what happened at the temple. Everybody has an opinion, and a truth. Ebúrneo feels lost.