A Beginning/Forever Never

flowers and beasts april 2015 118.NEF

Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion

Cheryl Pennington

copyright all content 2015

The tribes of Jinetes and Espera prepare for their ceremony-prepare their hearts, minds and souls for the thing they have longed for as they move to fulfill the prophecy of Creation…….


A slight smile played at the corners of Palabra’s mouth. ‘What could be amusing her at such a moment, through such bleak prospects?’, thought Ella.

But the smile disappeared as quickly as it had appeared as La Palabra continued solemnly. “And so, Ella, even if you feel mired in Darkness, if you have allowed it to consume your Essence, you are forever a child of Light. Mor never turns It’s face from you, so you should never seek to hide from Spirit, even in moments of anger or shame. It is foolish to think you can hide from the Light, for It shines within you even as you cower in shadow. There is nothing to do but to turn your face into the warmth of its embrace and healing. Do you understand these things Daughter?”

Ella nodded and tried to speak, but only a squeak managed to escape her quivering lips. “Y.y..yes…I do.”

Mother Palabra closed her eyes and quietly continued her meditation. Ella sat with her in silence, uncertain if she were being dismissed and acutely aware that her feet were tingling with the numbness of sitting too long. She was hesitant to interrupt but eventually broke the silence, her voice erupting like the volcano of emotion that had risen in her chest.

“Mother, why do you tell me these things on the very day of our greatest joy? I cannot imagine Darkness any closer to us during this celebration than at any other moment we have lived before now. How could it dare to intrude in the face of so much love here under the blood moon…”

Mother Palabra broke into a low cackle. This took Ella by surprise as she wondered what could be amusing about her most earnest question.  Palabra’s next words would be forever burned into Ella’s soul, for they would echo throughout her heart and mind as long as she lived.  Her voice dropped so low it was nearly inaudible, tinged by a coarseness not at all like herself; and in the moments that followed were etched into her memory forever.

The aura around her Mother, which was usually the color of field grass and wild morning flower, began to glow iridescent, resplendent with the colors of the rainbow-and beyond. There were colors she had never seen on Domhan and did not fully understand.  There was sound that made no sound, the blending of all sound everywhere at once, filling the space of the room, making it seem smaller and infinitesimal at once.. Suddenly the room and everything about it seemed strange-a mere reflection of what it was only moments before, and the curious female at La Palabra’s feet could scarcely breathe…then the vision spoke.

“Foolish and tender female. Do not mistake the aching in your loins for anything other than an expression of desire. It is a powerful expression, to be certain; but it is a human emotion, and one far removed from the state of Unconditional Love that defines our origins, our reason for existing. In this moment you think that Union is the answer to your emptiness, that together your lonely bodies will become complete, ending this loneliness.  I assure you that true unity lies within yourself; and unless you remember this you will be on an endless journey that leads only to pain, fear and deeper emptiness. The choice to share life’s path with another, as friend and comforter, to raise one another up and work together, living and creating in joy, is a gift of possibility-but this gift will become a burden if you consider yourself but half of a whole. Emptiness is a bitter cup that can never be filled by something outside of yourself. The Creators share all of your experience, both joy and pain, Light and Dark; and their desire is that you know only Love.  Creation through union is their gift to you. The road of pain is one you will call down upon yourself if you do not understand this gift of Love, and only you will be able to control your vision. Remember that you may call on the name of Love at any moment. It is always there for you; but you must keep an open portal for it to enter. We are never far from you and will never abandon you. All we ask is that you remember us. Go now and be blessed in your ceremony. Your happiness is felt throughout Eternity.”

Her head lolled back, with only the whites of her eyes showing, and La Palabra fell silent. Ella watched her Essence slowly return to normal as she closed her eyes and continued to meditate, as though the vision-the voice-had been but a dream that Ella alone experienced. Her words-or the words that were spoken through her-were etched into Ella’s soul; but her heart and mind would soon forget them as she dove eagerly into the great pool of emotion that defined a life, especially a life lived within the newly awakened arena of desire.  Palabra did not move, seemingly oblivious to the message delivered through her to her faithful servant; so Ella rubbed her numb feet, stood quietly, and slipped out, pulling the door closed behind her. It suddenly felt very heavy and she took a last glance over her shoulder, admiring again its beautifully carved images. The sun glinted across the face carved there, creating shadows in the deep cuts. The images danced on the wood, as though alive, and she touched them with new appreciation. She turned and jumped to the ground, kicking up small clouds of cool, soft dirt; and it was with a hopeful heart that she made her way to her dwelling.

“I have to get ready for Laoch,” she whispered. Yes, she could now give her desire a name.

The setting sun cast its filtered light over the inhabitants of Jinetes and Espera as they bathed in the cool river water, whispering words of encouragement, prayers of hope, and dreams of their new shared lives. Their voices caught on the winds of Domhan and spiraled their way to the Eternal Creators.

Ar’tine bristled at all the damned Light. It was too hopeful, too bright, too..too...promising. And he knew there was no promise in it. Hope brought only disappointment. When would these infernal humans realize the glorious freedom of pure Power the way that he had? There were no expectations, no waiting for approval or permission. He was free from need, wanting and waiting.  His world and everything on it belonged to Him alone. He ignored the hollow echo of the word “alone” as it hit the dark, cold silence of his dying soul.  He still could not see the dismal atmosphere of his world, could not smell the dank, lifeless air that would suffocate any human that tried to live there. He saw only the lovely shadows where he could hide, dark corners where he could conceal himself from his Father, the unfaithful Goddess and all else in Eternity.

“Not concealed from All…” reminded Mor.

“Mac, am I doing what is best for my Children?”

“What do you mean, Sister?” came his reply.

“They have a deep longing to lie together and know Union, but with each new generation of life created our connection to them will weaken. Perhaps we should wait..”

“It is too late for that, Mother.” Bandia was solemn. “There would be no stopping them now, for it would be a bitter disappointment to their heart’s desire were they to be suddenly denied. You remember the state of impatience, do you not?” Bandia’s impertinent implication hurt Inion but she could not deny the truth in it.

There was a long moment of silence before all spoke at once. “All of us do.” It was tinged with bittersweet memory.

“You do realize that soon the destiny of your physical world will be heavily in the hands of your Creations, Sister?” Mac was genuinely concerned for Inion’s happiness.

“And so it must be,” replied Inion. “But I will never allow anything to destroy my Original Thought.  Shall we join them tonight in their celebration-all of us?”

“Of course, Sister. The Light Ones will help the others to make ceremony, teach them to make the call and open the portal for us.  Even now Eolas is creating a way to keep their speech, so that those who follow will know the way of opening the door to Eternity.”

Inion was encouraged.  “Is it true then, Brother? Perhaps this will be a glorious world after all. If we fill it with Light, if they remember to honor that from whence they came, if they never forget the face of Mor…”

“Only this moment is real, Mother Inion,” Bandia broke in. “Too much thought for the moments ahead will rob us all of our joy in the present.”

They reflected on this in silence as they awaited the call from Domhan-their cue to join the humans in their celebration of life.

Eolas spent the last moments of preparation going over his headdress, tightening loose feathers, strengthening knots, and finally rubbing animal fat into the leather band to keep it soft. It was a fine decoration and one of his most creative works. Inspired by the vision of his Father’s Essence, it held his soul within the intricate pattern. Guia  assured the Hunter that all ceremonial herbs and teas would be ready in Espera, as the prophecy called for. Eolas marveled at the nature of the prophecy, its completeness in detail yet with an ever evolving landscape. When would it finally cease to be written for the inhabitants of the world and begin to be written by them? He felt this night was a key to the future of such things. Somehow these awakenings within the humans on their world was leading to independence from the Gods and Goddesses they knew as their Creators; but Eolas was uncertain how he felt about this shift in power. The Creators had not interfered with them so far, and life on Domhan had been full and happy. But when darkness threatened they had stepped in to guard their children. With this new transition of control,  would it also translate to their ultimate responsibility for everything that happened on their world? These were the questions that had begun to plague his thoughts. All he could do was to focus on the task at hand. Many souls were looking to the Light Ones for guidance and assurance; and they would have to find the way to deliver both.

Eolas knelt below the window of his room and prayed to his Father, Mac, for the strength and wisdom to complete the task ahead, making the Creator very proud of his Son.  He rose to his feet and crossed the room to where Laoch was readying himself.  Eolas could only imagine the weight his friend must be feeling at that moment, having to be both facilitator and participant in the ceremony.  He shared his friend’s nervous excitement.
Oh, how he missed his beloved Eagna! To feel her fingers touching his face, hear her whisper his name in the morning light, and to feel her breath on his skin as she slept were what made his life complete. These were his treasures. And soon she would be bringing a new life into their world. He had not allowed himself to dwell on his feelings since they left for the journey; but instead of pushing these thoughts aside again, on this night he would carry them with him into the ceremony, carry her face in his mind, the thought of their child in his heart, for surely their own lives needed the blessing of Eternity as well as those just beginning a life together. It would be his way of having his female with him.

Laoch looked up as Eolas approached where he sat on the floor, making hos own final preparations.  He made certain his pipe had no cracks, his instrument was clean, then pulled his thick fingers through his matted hair.  After bathing in the river, his scalp was still wet with its dew.  The breeze through the window and and long shadows across the floor told them that the sun was descending rapidly.  Laoch verbalized his concerns.  “Everything needs to be perfect for the ceremony. There is much to be gained…or lost.”  Eolas stood quietly in front of him and the Warrior continued, looking nervously around.  “I just need to get my pouch..and instrument. Then we will join the others.”

Eolas admired his friend’s freshly painted face and thought how striking he looked in his Warrior’s tunic and decoration. “I have a gift for you, my friend,” he said, and Laoch looked up, plainly curious. Reaching into his own pouch, Eolas withdrew a simple band of leather strung with leather cords at each end. Attached to the side was a pair of bright feathers. Laoch recognized them as similar to the ones in Eolas’s headdress.

“I know the things you are feeling at this time, my friend, something greater than those mountains.” He pointed to the silhouette of now darkened peaks framed within the window of their room.  “I also know that your joy will increase once you have made promise with your companion. I tried to think of a gift that would reflect my deep respect for what you are beginning, that would show my-our, Eagna’s and mine-hope for happiness in your new life. So, well, this is what Spirit revealed to me.”

Eolas extended the gift to Laoch, and the latter rose to his feet. It was with true humble gratitude and surprise that he accepted it, turning it carefully over in his rugged hands, awed by the symbols burned into the leather, symbols of their life-the Sun, the Moon and the Rain. Beneath these central symbols, all around the bottom edge of the band were other strange symbols-some straight, some curved, connected-disconnected, grouped and singular. Laoch remembered that Eolas was devising a method of recording speech and asked, curious,  “Could this be your new word?” Eolas nodded, a hint of pride curving at the corners of his mouth. “What does it say then?” urged the Warrior.

Eolas touched each symbol as he slowly recited the newly formed words written across the gift. “In Light were you created. In Sunlight may you walk. Beneath the  Moonlight will you lie together. In Eternity’s Light  may your Spirit increase.”  Laoch turned the treasure over in his hand, feeling overwhelmed by the beauty of it.  He lightly touched the feathers, feeling the downy newness of them, a stark white plume and the other black as night.  He looked at Eolas with another question on his lips; but his friend answered before he spoke the words. “The feathers are as our souls, split into halves that are forever trying to become whole again. They are the Light and Dark that live inside of every living thing.  Both of you must be aware of the dark and light within yourselves before you can join together as a symbol of Unity for your children. These feathers should be worn proudly as a sign of your acceptance of the dual nature of your own Soul. I..hoped it would ease the burden of trying to feel perfect for your mate. You must know that you are already perfect in the Thought of Great Spirit.” Eolas nodded. Both were silent for a moment.

Laoch lifted the band to his head, tying the cords in back while the feathers rose high to the side.  He stood proudly before his friend, thankful for the gift and the blessing that came with it. He reached out to shake hands with the Hunter and Eolas gripped his broad hand tightly, reaching his free hand to slap his friend on the shoulder. “It looks to be a perfect fit.”  They finished their preparations in silence,  then moved to the doorway just as Guia approached.

“Hello, my friends. Are you ready to make the walk to Espera? The moon is just showing its face. The woods will be dark soon.” There was an eerie red glow creeping across the fading light blue sky already.  They both nodded at once and Eolas stepped outside. Laoch started to follow,  but stopped short and turned back. In his haste he almost forgot his pouch.  He grabbed it up, thankful he remembered;  for inside was his real treasure, that gift which had been given to him by Naofa-the powerful stones which had sustained him through his fearful moments. It was imperative that they be a part of the ceremony since the Sorceress could not be there with them. With all things precious in hand he rejoined his companions and they headed to the group of restless males gathering at the edge of the woods.

The tribe was led by Guia and Eolas, with Laoch behind, heading up the remainder of the tribe. All of them had their instruments in hand, fresh decorations painted on their skin, and various adornments on their bodies. It was an impressive array of feather, paint, leather and stone. From the edge of twilight, the tribe of Jinetes looked like a flock of birds heading into the dark mouth of the forest.

They exited the clearing into the forest in pairs then spread across the path as many as the width would allow. Eolas noticed the contrasting shadows cast by the setting bronzed sun and the rising blood moon. They created a dance of light and dark figures on the forest floor while the breezes whispering through the trees caused them to sway back and forth-slowly, seductively. The travelers murmured in low, deep voices. Once they were farther along the wooded passage, Guia put his instrument to his mouth and began to blow soft, low notes into the night air. Each in turn, the others followed suit, softly playing his own melody, rising and falling until there was a chorus of sound rising into the wind. Not only did they look like a flock of confused birds, but now they began to sound like one as well. It was uniquely lovely to the eyes of Creation that blinked against the glare of the setting sun. They continued their slow march as they played their instruments, the sun slipping behind the crest of the mountains and the crimson moon seeking a place high in the darkened sky. Soon they would reach the clearing.

Others watched this unfolding as well, not from the Eternal Realm but from another corner of Domhan. Eagna longed for her beloved so desperately and wished she were back at her Lake of Visions, to call forth its power, enabling her to see her beloved and his companions. Still, she was at one with the world on which she lived, mind and body sharing its pulse. Instead of sinking beneath her loneliness, she stepped outside and stood beneath the glow of the magnificently bright blood moon. Focusing on the energy of her loved one, she called to the moon’s energy to illumine her eyes to its vision of her world, as it saw her companion, so that she might share a glimpse of him as well.  The night was filled with flickering light bugs that soon swarmed around Eagna, slowly circling her form and swirling upward into the night, then down again. The soft light illuminated her body as she stood there, arms outstretched to the night.  With eyes closed she saw Eolas marching next to Laoch and watched the strange procession as it moved as one body, and wondered what it meant.  Thrilled to see the face of her beloved even from so far away, Eagna dropped her cloak and embraced his Essence with her own. It was the closest thing to actually being with him that she could manage. She only hoped he could feel her with him as she sent loving thoughts to the land of smoke spirals, wherever it may be.

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