And now, your Work In Progress excerpt:
As Niles rounded the final bend to the river he saw the assemblage of boats. Ten--no, fifteen in all, shallow-bottomed things that nevertheless had carried much equipment. From simple shovels like the one Niles had back at camp to saws, sledgehammers and other excavation gear, Mother Jaana had come prepared for anything.
“Niles, [my son], I’m glad to see you well and walking!”“Matre, I also rejoice to see you, and the party you bring. Frater +++NAME, is that you? Are you with Preservation now?”The tall, whipcord-wiry man extended a hand. “Acquisitions and Reliquaries, actually. Niles, frater, it’s good to see you.”“Such a team--what, thirty souls? This must have caught the attention of the monastery head.”“Oh, yes,” Mother Jaana said. “An intact cache, one that still defends itself, is rare almost beyond price. It is worth much effort and treasure to gain and bear back its secrets, its knowledge, for safekeeping.”“[So we believe,]” they all chorused.
As the group traveled, Niles and Mother Jaana spoke.
“She is talented beyond anyone I’ve ever seen use the Natural Forces, Matre. She is exceedingly intelligent, and has hidden her abilities from the rest of the Muurari, but this cannot last.”[As a dam before a threatening sea, so any child of woman conceals the Gift,] “Ut ante matris minis mare et alios concepit mulier abscondit donum,” Mother Jaana recited.
Off to bed to get my mental feet under me, and more to come tomorrow!