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Naime moves and the priest moves, blank mirror face to hers, and in the negative space I may enter, and I do.
Phila and Naime were cousins, but Phila and Martisset are fraternal twins.
Axia will stand second at Naime’s duel with the false face of the cult. She will carry the sledgehammer, but what posterity will not notice so much: she will play the flute. By that point in the ceremony the cameras are on Naime, spotlit under the sunlight from the oculus of the Shipwrights’ Chapel; the unearthly song of the flute echoes off the walls of the chapel, the structural members that once were part of the journey-ship. That song belongs to Martis-Mortis as much as to the Valley of Settlement. It echoes through past and future, mourns the dead of the bone-quarries and hails the travelers on the star-roads.
Character interview for the Shipwright cycle, which is set about 600 years before the time of Ship’s Heart. The speaker is Phila, cousin to Naime the Shipwright, who has just renamed herself Martisset (child of the god of war). This interview draws on collaboration with poet-scholar Lev Mirov, who provided questions from sociology of religion to help me understand the cult of Martis-Mortis, the war deity to whose cult Phila belongs.