Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
by Cheryl Pennington
The tale continues….
On Domhan, something has invaded the peace and serenity of Foirfeachta, stealing in as the inhabitants lie sleeping soundly, and calls forth the Daughter of Domhan, leading her into a web of deception that she is too confused and hopeful to perceive. One other has been watching from afar; and although she calls to the female M’na, the longing within the lonely mother’s bosom drowns out her cries into the mists. Frantically the Sorceress continues to call to the Realm, begging the goddess mother to intervene and to help the Garden Family and its unwitting guests…..
“Mother Bandia, there is something terribly wrong in Foirfeachta. He-It-has gone there.” Her voice rose in desperation as she grasped for the words to make her mother understand. “I don’t know how He plans to harm M’na’s family; but He has taken on the form of Mother Inion. I saw him transform. There is great deception for your children there!”
“Ar’tine is on Domhan Eile, my child. He is preparing for the chance to create once more, as soon as Mor will allow it..” Pulled from her thoughts, Naofa struggled to speak in a more rational tone, even as she fought the urge to scream in the goddess’s face. “I…saw...his dark form…outside M’na and Fireann’s home…and watched as he lead her into the inner Garden.” She told herself to breathe…just breathe…oh, how could she make her mother understand? But the goddess was catching up rapidly.
Now it was Bandia’s turn to panic. “What did he do there? Did her harm M’na? Where was Fireann?”
“I did my best…I called to M’na, plead with her to hear me. Again and again, I cried out to her with all my soul; but she was as one without thought, without ears. She was under his control, I know it! After I watched her enter the sacred Garden, I decided to turn my energy to you-anyone within the Realm to help me-to help her!”
“Go to Foirfeachta and help in whatever way you can. I am going to Ar’tine. I will know what his mischief has been before another cycle passes on Domhan!”
The fire began to crackle loudly as an intense heat began rising from the flames. Lowering her hands, the distraught female looked at the place where there had been only small flickers and smoldering embers before. Within the stone fire pit blazed a full glow of brilliance, a light so bright she could scarcely look at it. She lifted her arm to shield her eyes against the burning essence.
Suddenly the fire was smoldering and the room began to fill with gray smoke. The Sorceress, although not afraid, thought surely she would choke being enveloped in the fire’s breath; but, miraculously, she was not overcome. Curiously she stared at the gray cloud that began to slowly circle her body; and she became transfixed as it begin to take form. Rising from the ashes of the fire to stand high above her was an indistinguishable gray bird; but as the smoke faded, what now peered down into her awed face was undeniably the sacred bird of cleansing. It was they who feasted on the flesh of the dead and they, who sat patiently waiting for their next meal, never killing, never stealing as the other predators did. These glorious birds worked to keep Domhan clean; and all of its living things marveled at their ability to glide endlessly upon the winds. Seeing them circle was like watching a ceremony in the skies.
The Sorceress’s mouth fell open at the sight of the enormous creature looming over her. She could feel its breath and hear its heartbeat reverberating all around her. As the smoke receded she could see it clearly; and, somehow, she was not surprised when the bird began to speak. Naofa could not hear its words with her ears and saw no movement from its face. Instead, she seemed to simply feel them inside her head. It was as if her entire body was alive with its thought; and when Mor spoke to Naofa every fiber of her being responded.
Noafa did as she was told. She closed her eyes and released her fear. All of that which was in her heart and her mind became as the emptiness. As soon as the last conscious thought faded from her mind, her entire being became energized. Warm Light surrounded her and she trembled. Tiny bumps rippled across her flesh. She felt so full and happy in that moment with Spirit that she began to weep uncontrollably. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she felt the vastness of Eternity within her bosom; and the Creator spoke again.
“Remember this Love; take it with you; and in all things you shall be victorious in the way of Spirit.”
It was the last thing she comprehended from Mor as the morning slipped into midday. She opened her eyes to the small, flickering flames in her fire as they had been before. Gone was the bird, the smoke, and the burning heat.. But not gone was the feeling of Unconditional Love and knowing. She now understood her purpose. Her name took on new meaning within her mind.
Immediately Naofa began gathering her things to head for the Garden. M’na would soon be in need of her gifts. Of this much she was certain. Within the stillness of her heart, she whispered fervent thanks to Spiorad Mor. Never again would she doubt Its greatness; and she would always be accompanied by Vulture in her travels. It winged its way ahead of her by day and nested in the trees near her place of rest at night. The bird became her reminder of Mor’s promise in Spirit and was her familiar and friend in the physical world.