“Okay,” Alan got out. “You know the rukh… the butterflies. What they look like. What they feel like. What you want to do is kind of… pattern what you feel, closer to them. Like – matching a tune you don’t know on the radio. Kind of hum along with it, until it comes in clear?”
“It whispers.” Sarah’s face wasn’t clear through the tank, but he could see her shudder of disgust. “It’s – not all friendly.”
No; with a bunch of slavers and magoi-drainers lairing here, it wouldn’t be. “Stay away from the dark stuff,” Alan said firmly. “Think happy thoughts. Quiet. Like sunrise.”
That’s not going to be enough. Not in a place this dark.
He still wasn’t sure of all the ways Aladdin had changed the rukh in those long centuries of sleep. But based on what he’d seen so far, and what he’d seen in the past with Hakuryuu-
Dark rukh is still from dark emotions. Hate. Despair. Something gone terribly wrong.
It was awful and agonizing and tried to drag you down, like an anchor into the deepest ocean – but deep down, dark rukh was a cry for help. A demand to be heard.
Alan lifted his head, and stared back at fluttering darkness. I can hear you.
It was like wading into sizzling acid. The lava-rush of anger, the electric shock of betrayal, the slow agony of souls crumbling in utter despair….
‘I’ll see you burn in hell, Shays!’
‘Leagued with the devil all along, y’ bloody sassenach? We trusted you – I trusted you-!’
‘I want to go home! Mama! Papa! Mama!’
Ancient voices. Modern voices. Accents of Guatemala and Ireland; of London’s ancient poorhouses, and all the back streets of Boston. Anywhere, everywhere, lost souls might vanish, and never be missed.
The voices were horrible enough. The memories-
Fading every day in the darkness, too tired to eat even as he starved.
Yanking at chains until wrists tore and bled; it couldn’t end this way, it couldn’t-!
Screaming at violating hands; three held her down while a fourth lurked in the shadows, drawing in fluttering power–
‘We hate them,’ the rukh hissed. ‘We hate them, we hate them, we HATE THEM!’
I know, Alan tried to whisper back. I’m going to stop them.
Disbelief. Mocking laughter, in a shiver of black wings; did he even believe he could save himself?
Yes. I do. Alan blinked, letting the tears slip free. I’m not alone. I will get us out of here.