Mak wrote:Back in his stateroom, Artie takes off his jacket and shoes and lays down. He's feeling too tired to change into his pyjamas, but he intends to shortly. All that excitement... and still, the mystery of the chanting head was unresolved. He closes his eyes and listens for the increasingly familiar deep voice...
Artie walked into the lounge. For a moment, the bright sunshine flooding the windows blinded him, but then his vision cleared and saw that the lounge was nearly vacant, all the furnishings having been removed. The carpet was spotless, without any trace of the blood of the previous night.
Then Artie realized he wasn't alone. A large man, broad shouldered and powerfully built, stood looking out over the forward rail where the night before the Captain's table had been. He wore a dark suit of fine material, but his deep blond hair was thick and wild. "Come in, forgotten son," he said without turning. "Look at what awaits you."
Artie walked forward, looking out at the view ahead. Morgana
was still over the ocean, but ahead lay a coastline. He could see broad valleys covered in grass and sparse trees, spread like a carpet between craggy brown mountains. Forested areas hugged the foothills of those mountains, and a wide river split the valley, draining into a large bay with several small but inviting-looking islands.
What Artie did not see was any sign of habitation. This was not England, nor the United States, so far as he could guess. Artie felt a strange, though unsupported, conviction that the ship was facing west.
Turning to the large man, Artie was startled to see that, rather than a man's face, he wore the visage of a lion. The large man smiled, at once friendly and fierce. "Yes, you are right," he replied to Artie's unasked question, "mine is one of the voices you have heard before."
"Is this the lost son?" came another voice, also deep, but harsh and strident, from behind Artie. "Truly the blood is weak."
Turning around, Artie saw a large man with dark skin, wearing the garb of an African warrior and the head of a bull. The lion-man replied, "You find him unsuitable?"
"He neither toils nor fights," replied the bull-man, contemptuously.
"He is a musician," replied the lion-man. "Such were not without honor among the People."
"Honor, perhaps," said the bull-man, unconvinced. "But honor alone will not serve him now."
"We shall see."
"Yes, brother, we shall."
Artie awoke with a start. It was all a dream?
he thought. Of course it was,
he tried to reassure himself.