Even Zhanna wasn't moving, rot her. I had to move, finally, so I rearranged my legs and tried again to get comfortable. Now my numb left leg began to come back to life; it felt like it was being stabbed by several hundred tiny needles. I leaned forward, suppressing a groan, and flexed my foot inside my boot. Breathe . I wondered if Tamar had actually entered the open, receptive state that I suspected was supposed to be our goal here. Probably.
Time pa.s.sed. I watched the play of sun and shadow inside my eyelids, and tried to s.h.i.+ft position often enough that my limbs didn't fall asleep and my knees didn't ache. I clenched my hands into fists and rubbed my thumbs against my fingers. An insect landed on my shoulder and I twitched it off. I wondered if Zhanna was going to make us sit here like this all afternoon.
Then I heard something new: a snort. No, a snore. Then, closer, a giggle. I opened my eyes and saw that Tamar had fallen asleep; Zhanna was laughing at Tamar, and at me.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," she said, prodding Tamar. Tamar's eyes flew open and darted back and forth between me and Zhanna.
"I didn't-" Tamar said.
"I can't believe you got comfortable enough to fall asleep," I muttered.
"I was more like Lauria," Zhanna said cheerfully. "Twitching around like a headless chicken. I figured it was worth a try. There are people who can enter the shamanic trance just by meditating. I can do it, very occasionally. It's the easiest way, if it's a path that's open to you. Clearly it's not going to work for either of you, so let's talk about what might work."
"Jaran dances," Tamar said. "The shaman back at... where Lauria and I used to live. He had me drum for him."
Zhanna nodded. "That's one way to do it. Drumming itself is another way. What moves you? What takes your soul to another place?"
Riding my horse, I thought, thinking of Zhade.
"Not dancing," Tamar said.
"All right, not dancing. Drumming?"
"I don't know."
"What about you, Lauria?"
"Riding," I said, because I hadn't come up with anything else.
"Well, that's not a very practical way to enter a state where you can invite the djinn. But if physical things work well for you, maybe you can try dancing."
"We'll bring a drum along next time," Zhanna said.
"You're teaching us how to talk to the djinn," Tamar said. "What if the djinn decide on their own to talk to us?"
"Well, that happens sometimes, of course," Zhanna said. "Sometimes djinni possess people who didn't invite them. Has that ever happened to either of you?"
We shook our heads.
"Djinni who possess the unwilling are sometimes very angry; more often, they're just trying to cause trouble. They seem to find it amusing. According to
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