Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
by Cheryl Pennington
copyright word and images
As the females in Espera get acquainted with the Warrior and Hunter, Naofa makes preparations to journey to the land where mysterious cave dwellers have been toiling since their birth, working at the express instruction given them by strange images left on their walls…and what of the stones they collect and store? She is determined to find answers….
The Cave of Mysteries
“I cannot let you go alone, Sister,” argued Eagna. “These little men are so..strange.” She looked furtively over Naofa’s shoulder, lest one of them be near enough to hear her words. Seeing the look of consternation cross Naofa’s face, she continued, “I know, they seem to have the best intentions; but you must admit they can be a bit…volatile.” She nodded towards Carraig who sat on the porch, outside the window, absent mindedly fiddling with some twine that Eagna had given him to fasten around herb bundles for her.
Naofa waved a hand as if to dispel all of Eagna’s concerns. “Do you not think I am both physically and mentally prepared to deal with whatever arises on Domhan? I know I do not display all of my...talents...regularly; but I live in solitude, quite alone to explore my gifts and prepare for all possibilities. I am accustomed to walking alone; and besides that, you cannot make the trip now. You need to rest, take care of yourself..and the child.” Her voice dropped to a barely audible whisper as she gripped Eagna’s hand in her own. “There is much at stake, remember?” Her gray eyes flashed deep azure for a second and Eagna was pulled into their depths.
Seeking a sign of acknowledgement from Eagna, Naofa squeezed her hand. Of course the mother to be understood her cryptic words and the sense of urgency behind them. This infant was indeed the new hope of all who lived on Domhan, for it would be the culmination of the healing process of a damaged soul and its return to the world of the living. This was nearly as significant as the birth of Amhain with the hope of completion within his soul. Eagna had no choice but to concede, for it was her greatest desire to bring (she guarded her thoughts carefully) this soul safely into existence on Domhan.
“But why couldn’t you just get the…,” she began, but a firm finger to her lips from Naofa’s own hand silenced her, as the Sorceress implored her to understand, “I want to see this wall of instruction that came from their Creators and to try to experience their world from within their place on it.” She was rolling her blanket and fastening her bundles quickly and efficiently as she talked. “Beside that, I need to see the stone and rock they have been collecting and storing. I feel they somehow play a role in our future. Their work must be significant if indeed the Creators placed them on this path. I’ll only be gone a few cycles each way; and I shall have company!”
She pointed to the window. Eagna’s breath caught in her throat at the sight of the mighty beast sitting stately on its haunches beneath her favorite Willow tree, night breezes stirring the fur around its mouth, it’s long, silky tail flipping nonchalantly back and forth upon the ground in delicate thuds. The creature turned to look at Eagna as if on cue and blinked sleepily before stretching its muscular body out across the cool grass and lolling in the lengthening shadows of evening. Its fur looked like fire with the last rays of sunlight striking it through the branches of the willow.
“So you will be traveling as a pair then?” Eagna began to feel a sense of comfort for all of their sakes.
“Yes,” replied the Sorceress. “Now that our little friends have seen this particular talent of mine, there is no need to try to hide it from them. Nothing will threaten us on our journey to their lands. And my friend there will gladly help to carry the supplies.” Naofa nodded toward the beast beneath the tree and it looked at her, blinking its acknowledgment before dozing off. She smiled, got to her feet and walked to the door. “Now, I must inform Rith and Carraig so that they don’t fear my friend-or worse yet- consider killing it. Oh! Speaking of our overly exuberant new friends, would you be so kind as to bundle up as much travel worthy food as you can spare for us? I’m afraid Carraig has quite the bottomless stomach.” She grinned as she headed out the doorway onto the porch where the males were fully engaged in a lively conversation about who was the more expert fisherman. Ahhh, to be concerned with such trivial matters, thought Naofa.
“Gentle Cave Dwellers, me must leave on the rising of the sun. I will be accompanying you back to your homeland. And a special friend shall be joining us…”
Eagna did not hear the gasps of breath and impressed whistles as the males peered around the corner of the dwelling to gawk at the beast lying in the fading light. Neither did she hear Naofa explain her plan to travel with them-and why. She did not notice the dove as it alighted gently on an overhanging limb just above the yellow beast. She noticed none of these things; for her mind had gone to be with Eolas-wondering, hoping, and praying all would be well for him and Laoch as they ventured into the lands of smoke and secrets. But her heart listened as the dove cooed, calling to its mate, and reminding her soul to rest assured that her beloved was as well as she. She had faith in the promises of her Mothers. She lovingly laid her hand across her belly as she envisioned life with their beautiful daughter.
In the Realm
It was true that M’na was Ar’tine’s favorite. It was true that he loved to watch her move through the Garden she knew as home. He gazed with envy and longing, drawn into his dark lake of visions, where he imagined a life for himself such as that of her unworthy companion, Fireann. Why the Dark creation had deemed the human male unworthy was unknown, even to Ar’tine himself. Perhaps it was because M’na seemed so much more powerful than this male. Perhaps it was because he had often envisioned himself as her companion. Ar’tine marveled at how lovely she was and how she now glowed with the condition of carrying another child. His unborn child. At least in the manner that mattered most to him. His own A’sme would be in her arms and life soon enough. It was this thought that made him feel so much more connected to the Mother of Humankind, and thus so very possessive of her. He felt it would be an endless wait for his As’me to be reborn. He watched M’na preparing the evening meal, saw her wave to Amhain and his Father as they returned from their work, hands full of the goodness of Domhan. How he wished this had been his own world, his own children.
Fireann slipped his arm around M’na’s waist and let his hand caress her stomach. She turned her head upward to receive his gentle kiss as shards of broken imaginings were splintered throughout the darkness that strangled Ar’tine’s soul. He cried out in anger and protest, “Nooooo!!!! You are unworthy to be Father to my As’me!” He quickly regained control of himself, for he wanted none to see his weakness-this weakness of caring. He was not weak, after all. He was stronger than all of them. One day they would see this. And know.
The Thought of Mor in that moment was one of great sorrow. For Its children, for Its faltering Creation and for the absence of Love within this God-another of Its very own children. The Love of Great Spirit continued to flow forth from Its core. Domhan was now well, but for how long?
Mac found his twin. “Sister, have you been watching?” he asked tenderly.
“Of course,” came her reply. “My children are ever in my heart. Bandia has been close and brings me news of the progress among humankind on my world. The time is near for the joining of the tribes, the sharing of knowledge and the collective awareness of their existence. It is both promising and sad…don’t you think?”
Mac did indeed understand her new sensations.
Inion spoke softly, wistfully. “I watched my Daughter, M’na, as she helped her young son to stand upon his legs and felt her pain at having to let him go, not knowing if he would fall or stand. I felt her loneliness as he ran off with Fireann, leaving her by herself after so long in the company of his constant love and joy. I am understanding now much more of that feeling with each cycle that passes, causing the veil to become so thick between Eternity and Domhan. We have to let them go, stand or fall. But we must assure them we are always here. We can only hope they do not forget the ways of communion, seeing the signs, and remembering we hear and answer-always.” Inion fell silent.
Mac considered these things and joined his Twin in her bittersweet new sensations. “We need to call Bandia home to gather our energies together. Tomorrow is the ceremony for your tribes to join. Our presence will be anticipated and necessary. Will you be ready, Inion?”
Inion loved her Twin now more than ever. “I am always ready, Mac. Will you be able to keep your dark Son under control?”
Mac considered this for only a moment before answering. “He is mine. I will see to his containment.” Inion called Bandia to return to the Realm so that they could strengthen their energy before answering the call to ceremony.
to be continued……
Thank you for reading. I welcome thoughts, comments, suggestions….anything.
Love and Light always,