She still ached but Mirella crawled to the corner where the Blue Bottle was firmly held in place.
As she made her way, the noise from the other bottles became deafening. She concentrated on the drum of the rain until she reached the corner.
The face inside had noted her approach and had stopped crying, but was eyeing her warily.
“Who are you?” he asked. His voice lacked the high whine of the other bottles. Even so, she watched his left disappear.
“Mirella, servant of the Queen,” she replied. “The basket yonder. The Prince lies within. I was taking him to the Shautu when Faw Shandy kidnapped me.”
“The Shautu,” echoed Bridon and his lower lip trembled.
‘Please, don’t cry! You’ll disappear!’ Warily, Mirella watched his other ear. “You are Bridon, yes?”
“Yes, but I’m no traitor!”
At his denial, shouts of traitor, betrayer, hypocrite rang in the air. Bridon squeezed his eyes shut as if to block out the sound; nonetheless, tears ran down his cheeks.
“Pay them no mind,” Mirella said, “They’re nothing but slaves of the Dark who will soon enter the Void.”
Sudden silence, then Death spoke, “I won’t.”
He sounded quite happy.
“Listen carefully, Bridon,” Mirella said, “I can see your face, at least most of it and I think that means–“
“What?” asked Bridon.
“I’m not sure exactly,” All sorts of thoughts were swirling in her brain, yet she couldn’t articulate a single one. “What it means to me is that you’re not like them. And that means we have a chance.”
Bridon said nothing, though hope was slowly coming into his eyes.
“Can you still turn into a falcon?” she asked.
“Yes,” he answered. “The bird is still inside. How did you know–“
“I am from the Shivelite camp. I’ve watched the Spring Callings since I was a girl. I have seen the Shautu . . . and you as well.”
Bridon almost laughed.
“Does the Hunter know about this?”
Mirella did laugh, a strange sound in the air rent with animosity. “He does now. But enough about Oren. Here is what we will do.”
She pressed close against his remaining ear and began whispering.
The bottles ranted and roared, but her whispers were heard.
“A sound idea,” said Bridon. He nodded into a chest that was no longer visible. “I believe it will work. But we must be quick, while I am still sound.”
His words were not lost on the others. They wailed like banshees but the rain drummed down, shuttering their cries as Faw Shandy drove into the rain, thinking of gold.