At that moment a sort of stillness overcame the ship's lounge. The atmosphere had grown steadily quieter as the hours dragged on; the novice poets and muses had stopped humming their novelties for one another, leaving only the hushed tones of the elders and the occasional clink of a posset bowl. The gay tones of the ubiquitous murals that encrusted every corner of the Zelúkwía
had seen better days, lending yet more to the tiredness of the celebration.
Íora rolled her eyes at the silence, her attention slow, lugubrious. She had spent the morning defending her latest literary innovation to her editor, who was utterly opposed to printing it. This time, it had not resulted in any perforated wings, but she was still sore, both in body and mind.
She swilled her bowl about, reflecting on this, and other conflicts of opinion. Checking the bottom of her drink was another personal habit—she had once swallowed a lump of ergot that someone had spat into her bowl the morning after a wild party, and the experience had never quite stopped haunting her. […]