Into Espera/Forever Never


Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion

by Cheryl Pennington

copyright 2014

While Naofa and Eagna entertain the strangers from the Land of Caves, trying to make sense of Rith’s frightening dreams, Eolas and Laoch make their way into the land where mystery lives.  Even as they approach the village of Espera, the inhabitants within are excitedly preparing to greet their long awaited visitors….

Into Espera
Eolas and Laoch made their final approach toward the quiet village; but as they neared, they saw that their quest for answers was only just beginning. There was, indeed, a cloud of smoke billowing up into the sky; but this was not the enigma which had summoned them from their own lands.  Was this really all there was to the sign?   Neither of them was ready to accept such an idea; and their doubts were put to rest as they got nearer to the village.  Against the clear blue sky behind the the outline of buildings, rose the steady, continuous black curls of smoke that had urged them to make their journey.  But this smoke was obviously not coming from the village where,already, things were coming to life.
Someone in the village spotted the strangers making their way across the grasslands and the entrance was filling with busy figures, moving in lines, with an occasional stray that bustled around the others before getting back into place.  The entire scene reminded Loach of ants on a hill after it was poked with a stick.  Eolas couldn’t make out much detail at first glance; but as they got closer, the black ants morphed into human figures.  The fluid movement of their bodies, accompanied by the abundance of long, flowing hair, suggested there were many females in this village. Eolas and Loach exchanged a curious look, having shared the same thought.  They wondered where all the males were-out hunting?  Or hiding in the shadows, poised to protect their village.   Both scanned the horizon, looking in all directions, as they moved on with caution.  Their plan was to enter casually, lest they be thought a threat in some way. They had no idea what these humans knew of them or of anything outside of their own life in the village.
Laoch moved in slow circles as they continued their approach, scanning the line of trees that edged the grasslands. Eolas kept his eyes trained on the fringes of the village, and he detected no movement there or in the tall grasses that lay ahead.  “There is no way to know the thought of this tribe, so we will enter their homeland with friendship.” Eolas grasped his bow.  “And we must keep our weapons out of sight.”
The simple statement made sense to Laoch, although he would be sure to keep a firm grip on his bag of arrows, always at the ready for launching. Both of them shifted their bows to their backs and tried to look relaxed, ignoring the pounding of their pulses as they drew nearer this land of humans they had never met and knew nothing about.
Ella was beating on the Spirit Mother’s door with no concern for disturbing her as she normally would have felt. Cheers had gone up the instant the dark figures were spotted making their way over the grasses.  “Mother, They are coming! They are coming!” Ella’s heart was pounding, her excitement nearly too great to contain; and she lost all sense of reason in that moment.  Why did La Palabra not answer?  She raised her fists to pound on the door again when it opened, causing Ella to tumble, embarrassed, into the arms of a fully dressed and ready Palabra. She caught Ella by the arm and helped the female to steady herself.  The look of awe shining in Ella’s eyes amused La Palabra. She could never be cross with Ella. This one was special and her work with the young female was really only just beginning.
The Spirit Mother stepped through  the doorway, clothed in full celebration dress, clutching her incense pipe in one hand, along with the string of animal teeth she would shake to call forth the spirits of their land. Her drum was tucked under the other arm. Every soul who shared in the celebration would carry an instrument similar to hers or a whistling pipe made from hollowed wood or stone. Each participant would add their special sound to the chorus of song they would raise to Great Spirit. Mother was wearing her most serious look and any of the others wouldn’t have seen the corners of her mouth twitching in her attempt to hide the excitement she felt in her own heart on this occasion. But Ella  saw it and smiled warmly at her.
La Palabra made her way down the steps, her long, leather tunic dragging across the wood, making a soft, sweeping sound. Her raven locks had been braided and looped in rings on top of her head, fastened with hand-carved wooden picks. Lastly, she tucked in the ceremonial feathers, one from each bird represented by the Eternal Realm.  There was that of the pure white dove, another from the brown, spotted night bird, and the last in the plume was Ella’s very favorite. This magnificent feather had all the colors of the great arch in the sky, the shades of many birds all together, although no creature who bore such a feather had ever been seen by those in the tribe.  When Ella asked Mother where she found such a treasure her response had been merely a wink. Ella thought she may never understand the greatness of the Spirit Mother, but the mystery of her essence was what made the wise female so special to the young one.  As she descended the steps, the finely adorned female reminded Ella of a giant, bizarre bird herself.  Ella’s eyes were drawn to a soft leather strip tumbling down from the feather cluster and lying over one very ample breast.  Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of the large teeth which hung on the end, clicking against each other as La Palabra moved. These once belonged to a wolf that roamed the hills and grasslands near their village, hunting by night.  The call of night stalker could be heard drifting on the winds in the dusky evening after sunset; and all in the tribe were careful to return to the safety of their village before the beasts began to prowl.  No wolf had ever entered their village, but their hunting prowess was known and revered;  and the villagers had seen the spoils of their work.
Once, a female in the tribe stayed too long picking herbs and found herself many steps from the edge of the village with the sun quickly falling behind the black mountains. It was then that the dark wolf came to stand between her and the village, pacing and snarling at the tender child, streams of saliva slipping from the corners of its wide mouth in its desire to taste her sweet flesh.  In terror she dropped her basket of herbs and tried to scream; but when the hungry beast’s eyes met hers, it held her transfixed within its gaze. Later, she told her friends how the wolf’s eyes glowed like ember, then turned red and dark as blood! None of the others really believed her, but Mother Palabra did.  This frightened one told how she, knowing she was trapped and likely doomed, began to call out to Great Spirit to save her.  In her heart she plead, over and over.  Neither did it surprise Palabra when the young one told them how the great beast finally lowered its head and stepped aside, reluctantly allowing the desperate child to pass. But it never took its awful eyes off of her body. She was too frightened to turn her back on those eyes to run away.  Instead she crept to the village, backwards, keeping her eyes upon it with every step she took, watching it fade from view as she retreated. She heard the voices of its family in the distance, crying out for their share; but the leader of this pack was not to have Una Tonto for its meal, nor would they. The wolf crept behind her at a safe distance, sneering and growling as she backed away and into the safety of the village. The others watched as she approached, saw the wolf in the distance;  and as they closed in around to comfort her,  she slumped to the ground.  She would not sleep well for many nights.
When they asked their Mother why the Wolf spared Tonto, Palabra told them that the beast was just the physical form of dark spirit, that which hides within our souls. She warned that it stalks every soul, waiting for moments of fear and weakness, for that is when it would strike. She reminded them to be watchful and to never turn their backs on the stalking beast. In this way it would not be able to take them unawares. Still, she said, they must never despise the beast; for it would be a great ally when the time for stalking became necessary.  It was a sacred mystery that one must keep within control. Some in the tribe understood La Palabra’s wisdom, while others just whispered that she was out of her mind. Yet all would heed the warning to be inside the village before the black cloak of night closed in around it.
Afterward, Mother Palabra sent Ella with two of the best hunters in the tribe to hunt and kill one of the wolves, to remind them of their place on Domhan. What a celebration there had been that night!  They ate its flesh and drank the blood to know its Essence and be as one with its spirit. The beast’s skin was hung at the entrance to the village with a pair of bright red eyes splashed on its hide as a warning to dark Spirit. “We will be watching too,” it said.  Ella thought they shouldn’t have done the killing since Wolf had spared their foolish female.  She had to admit that no other beast had come anywhere near one of them since the hunt-and the warning.
She was pulled from her memories by Palabra’s voice, “Ella! Come!” Ella looked up to see the Mother quite a distance ahead of her, already motioning for the rest of the tribe to gather with her at the entrance to the village. The visitors were now merely a few paces away; and Palabra was thrilled to see the bright colors of Eolas’ headdress;  for it was an affirmation to her Shaman’s heart that the visions were real and the promise was true. The Light Ones had come at last to show them their place in this dream of life.
to be continued…..
Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate it. And I would love to know your thoughts, ideas or suggestions.
Love and Light,

8 thoughts on “Into Espera/Forever Never

  1. Some days the installments are too short. I was hoping to read about the reception given to Laoch and Eagna. There was a great anticipation in the land. I can only imagine.
    When you read this story do you feel what I feel? A sense of unequaled greatness. Of riches. I feel good in my heart when I read this. It is a feeling I cannot fake. And very few modern books rouse it in me.
    Your heroes are such cheerful, easy-going, warm personalities. La Palabra, Ella. I like Ella. Her character when she shot the beast contrasts sharply with her treatment of La Palabra. In the one she is fierce and devoted, a warrior, while in the other she is so tender and loving and wise. See how she supports La Palabra to regain her balance. See how she responds when summoned. She is a marvelous character.
    But I’ve been wondering at what you’re trying to pull. You are determined to make your readers fall in love with all these wonderful people, with Domhan, and then, when we have loved them absolutely, you’ll bring back that heartless monstrosity, Ar’tine, to ruin everything, annihilate everyone, and we’ll be left heartbroken. Because, if this epic tale traces the pristine origins of humanity up to about its present vile state, I can’t help foreseeing the nightmare awaiting the wonderful M’na, the cheerful, intelligent Naofa, Eagna, and the lot of them.
    And I’ve been thinking, what will they do if Artine launches his attack? I can’t see anyone of them so far deserving reproach. They are lovely. They are unguarded.
    In other words, there is a deep and profound suspense in this story that grips the heart and soul and waits to wrench them at once. I envision the future and I become terrified. I want to read, and at the same time, I don’t want. It is a sign of a great story.
    Artine terrifies me.
    Something else that this story has provoked me to reflect on concerns what is possible for us, as human beings, and what is. See the relationship between Naofa and Eagna, Eagna and M’na, Ella and La Palabra, Laoch and Eolas, Eolas and Fireann, Fireann and Am’hain. It is rich. It is wealthy. It is mutual. It is so good that I am in fact envious. This is what is possible for us. But what IS, aha! What we call reality! It is scary, dreadful. It is too poignant. It breaks my heart. Has broken my heart.
    In other words, a theme has developed in this story which I am not sure you intended. The fact of what we could have achieved. Compared with what we have achieved. It rouses an unbearable sense of loss. It draws tears. It is a subtle theme and requires reflection.
    This story has also made me to reflect on our interconnectedness. Aren’t we interconnected? Isn’t it why we like to please and feel lonely and dejected when friendless and beg for acceptance? That no matter who we claim to be, what we do or don’t do, somewhere deep in us we long to be at peace with all life? I feel this way. And this story magnifies the longing.

    You have touched me, my friend. You have. Without having to be here. Isn’t that the best thing? I think so.

    It is a beautiful work. The prose, the concept, the characters. Beautiful.


    1. And now you inderstand the entire reason I have brought this story to life. To show possibility, potential and original design. It has not been easy for my dear Peter, because it represents a lifetime of myown struggle to find understanding in confusion, hope in in despair and light in continual darkness. We all suffer in degrees, but suffer we do until we understand it comes from within. This is not to say there are not forces of darkness among us. They are very real. But when we torture ourselves with doubt, self laothing and balme we feed it just the same as if it rips our heart out. In fact it is more of a slow feed because the heart ripping would be over too quickly. If it can watch us torture ourselves, ehat a sweet victory. If you haven’t you need to read the story of Artine’s birth. These are only ideas of mine to help me accept the sorrow and pain in the world caused by darkness and to end my own need for hatred. I feel cleansed by it and I love these charcters like family now. They sustain me through my own times of darkness. And I will say one thing. Though darkness looms for Domhan you will be encouraged by many turns in the road. Real is real and darkness is real, but how we deal with it is our own choosing. May I use your comment as a sort of book review? Thank you so much for “getting it”. You have made my day, my week, and my heart is happy! 😄


      1. Sure, you can just use the comments however you like. It’s okay.

        And you are right about internal doubt, blame, loathing. It eats the heart like no acid can. When night falls and you wish morning will not come, that you’ll wake up and find the world gone, just gone, somewhere to far away to be found again, wherever, however. I have experienced it. I know it. Which is why, I think, I ask too many questions, seeking too many answers.

        Thanks to you as well for understanding.


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