Leutherion and legs-of-the-gong were able to pull the rest of us to safety. We all clung to the top of the foundation where there was a narrow ledge before the white-washed wall rose upward. Pincus stared about in awe, Osmio simply closed his eyes and rested, while Leutherion’s three remaining men — Finnric, Usall and Ironpants — kept their weapons ready.
“We’re not assaulting anything today, boys,” I said. “They’re going to have to come fetch us out.”
With some good-natured grumbling, the guards stood down. Children gathered in the river and along the roof of a low structure just across the channel, hooting at us and laughing. It was some time before a man dropped out of the air on a springy rope, dangled before us and asked us our business. He was nearly naked save for a sort of leather jock, and a matching mask which covered his entire face down to the neck, leaving openings only for his eyes and mouth.
“Take us to your Queen Electra,” I said, tired of protocol and the strangenesses of rulers.
Then, by the stars, the eunuch rang his gong. Every bird in the city leapt screaming into the sky at that, a colored rain streaming toward the sun.