A door opens in the side of the eel statue, two women emerge. One is an acolyte in light, flexible armor. One is Iryien. The new Iryien glances at the decapitated bodies on the floor, then gazes hard at Xoe before turning to address Iryien.
She hardly acknowledges Saladin at all.
"Playing rough again, Mother? I know you can hardly be held responsible for your actions nowadays, but Aefeul was a good priestess, and most dedicated to the Program. We do allow you your dalliances," she fixed Saladin with what would be considered a look, "but it is time to consecrate a new batch of your daughters. The delegation from Rachhakka Kuunka is here and would like you to join them for the ceremony. Let us go below and get you into something more... appropriate."
Iryien, Saladin then Xoe were ushered into the stairwell behind the Other Iryien by the acolyte, and they wound down a long spiral staircase that is only intermittently lit by the occasional torch.
When they reached the bottom, the stairs opened into a wide, well-lit hallway, decorated in gaudy tapestries, forking in two directions. The Other Iryien heads to the right, and as Saladin emerges from the stairwell, he notices that the acolyte, not Xoe, is directly behind him.