The Hatchlings/Forever Never

. Palabra stared, a cry frozen on her lips, in horrified awe as she peered into the depths, a place endlessly dark and vast in its emptiness. It was painfully cold within and yet she sensed a burning fire at its core. “Where is its gift?” thought Palabra, and leaned over to take a closer look. Continue reading The Hatchlings/Forever Never

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A Crowded House/Forever Never

“He is very fine, Mna,” whispered Eagna. “I hope I will be as blessed with such devotion and love with our child.” She stroked her stomach and then reached out to touch Mna’s rounded belly. At the same moment Mna moved to stroke her friend’s stomach; and when they touched one another simultaneously, the life within them kicked happily. They both laughed uncontrollably for a few seconds, giddy with the sensation. “Already they are friends,” smiled Mna. Continue reading A Crowded House/Forever Never

Naofa’s Reprieve/Forever Never

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Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion

Cheryl Pennington

copyright all content 2015

As the tribes of Jinetes and Espera revel in their union and all of Domhan awakens to the gift of Creation, the Sorceress awakens to the truth of her own desire, her sense of failure and the need for a new direction.  Heading to the home of her friend,  hungers for peaceful respite….

Naofa’s Reprieve
Naofa slept soundly, plagued by no dreams, no visions and no visitors, thanks to her Mothers’ watchful eye. By the time she awoke in the morning, the sun was rising high in the cloudless sky.  For a moment she was anxious about how much daylight had been lost to her while she slumbered; but comprehension was swift as the mists in her mind receded and she recalled the events that had brought her to be camping at the edge of a wood, facing a new dawn. The Sorceress heaved a labored sigh and drew her arm across her head, shielding her eyes from the cruel sun. The unsympathetic sun. (She smiled to think of her folly.) The warm sun. The gloriously rich and friendly sun. The sun that welcomed a new cycle, a new chance to live, and finally an end to loneliness for the humans she was bound to serve. She lowered her arm and opened her eyes to embrace such a sun. The Light reached into her soul, reigniting her resolve to continue on. What may have happened in the land of smoke and mystery the previous night was unknown to her-and she was glad of it. She would not allow her mind to drift toward thoughts of the tribes and there joining-of their ceremony-the first celebration she had not been able to facilitate. The glorious celebration that brought together eager companions, ready to add to the life and prosperity of their world,  must have been magnificent. Naofa pushed the images from her mind and could not, would not, allow her thoughts to return to the disturbing images of the strange beauty and the Warrior, could not let it even form his name, although she whispered prayers to the Eternal Realm for the happiness of all who lived-and loved-on Domhan.

Naofa sat up and grabbed at the wild strands of hair that fell willfully across her face and around her shoulders, gathering them on top of her head and twisting them into a knot there. She crossed her legs, resting her hands on her bare knees and closed her eyes, taking deep breaths-in, out, in, out-until she was floating in peaceful meditation.  There was no need to burn herbs in the open meadow, for the smell of fresh jasmine and evergreen was all around her, hanging on the breeze that drifted from the woods.  All of Domhan was buzzing, calling her to join their song of gratitude, which she did with a sincere heart.

How long she sat in meditation was uncertain.  The Sorceress only knew that when she opened her eyes again, the world looked very different from the one she tried to shut out with bitter tears the night before.  She slowly rose to her feet and gathered those few things that she called her own.  Plans change,  and her new plan was to journey to the home of Eagna and Eolas; and for the Sorceress, this was a most comforting thought.  Being in her friend’s company would do her weary soul immeasurable good as well ease the concern she felt for Eagna’s well being during the absence of the Hunter. It would be good to talk freely again, although she knew there need not even be words to pass between them,  so connected were they that thought alone seemed to pass for perfect communication very often.

Naofa closed her eyes, already basking in the warmth of the sun as it drifted through Eagna’s small window where they would sit drinking tea and nibbling dried fruits. A sigh akin to a sorrowful moan startled her and she wondered where it had come from, then laughed softly when she realized it was her own impatient voice,  expressing its desire to be on the move again.

(She was yet unaware of the others that also made their way to the land of the Hunter and Eagna-a happy family that was experiencing their first journey outside of the safety of their garden.  As with all events on Domhan, their progress and purpose was being etched upon the walls in the Cave of Knowledge and written on the scroll of the Word.)

It took the rest of daylight to reach her destination although she moved swiftly; and Naofa reached the edge of Eolas’ land as the sun fell behind the jagged mountains, their peaks like grinning teeth glinting against the twilight. Although still only a faint silhouette against the sunset sky, Eagna’s home in the distance was a comforting and familiar sight. A single light shone from the shadow building, blinking now and then as though winking at the Sorceress; and it felt as a soothing balm to her wounded Spirit. She could smell the fragrance of bubbling herbs, a small pot always simmering over her friend’s fire. The Sorceress could contain her joy no longer as a soft whistle flowed up from her throat and squeezed through her lips.  With sheer abandon she sprinted across the field that was all which remained to separate her from solace and repose.\

Eagna looked up from her stitching expectantly, a feeling of excitement rising in her soul, something which stirred from deep within. Was that a voice? Cocking her head to the side, she sat perfectly still, straining  to discover the source of the faint sound, but heard nothing save the buzz of night bugs and the call of the evening doves. After a moment she returned her attention to the tunic she was making for herself. The child was fast growing within her and she would soon outgrow the one she wore. She tugged at the leather, thinking that it was already becoming quite snug. She smiled to herself thinking how lovely this daugh..this child…would be. And oh how loved.

Her thoughts were disrupted again, her keen intuition awakened. The sound had returned, reaching her ears with certainty now.  Oddly, it sounded like a morning bird, sending up its first call to daylight; but she knew well it wasn’t daybreak-and this was no morning bird. Part of her felt delight in the sound; but the grappling fingers of darkness reached into her heart, trying to awaken fear.  Of course there was no need to fear and she turned away from it. Eagna arose from her stool and walked to the door, leaning against the cool wood and stared into the now darkened sky that spread like a blanket across the field.  She heard no strange noises, saw no impending danger, and so stepped onto the porch and drank in the cool air, heavy with the scent of honeysuckle and lavender.  Eagna’s face, turned to the heavens, admired the stars sprinkled across its face. The faint glow of fading sunlight lay across the field behind her home, casting eerie shadows that crept out from beneath the porch to slither across the grass.

Eagna caressed her belly tenderly as she turned to go back inside, but seeing a movement from the corner of her eye stopped her short. It was no more than a flash of light, a flicker, really. Perhaps it was merely the twinkling of the moon, so brilliantly bright, glimmering off a pool of water. She squinted, waiting for another glimmer, but there was nothing…Eagna held her breath. The moments seemed endless as she waited.  There!  She saw it again. It was a very definite flash of white, like a bird in flight, but so much larger. She leaned over the railing to watch it more closely, the flashes increasing-a flock of birds?   They were getting closer now; and Eagna was fascinated by the way the light seemed to come and go, darting from side to side, then up and down, in such a fluid movement. Suddenly she identified that movement.  It wasn’t an insect and it was no bird, or flock of birds.  No, it was more like that of a beast..oh my Gods! Her mind raced, telling her to get back inside; but she was stuck to the spot, her eyes trained on the rapidly approaching mystery that grew larger and brighter with every movement in her direction.  Suddenly the white light began to change as it moved, becoming a shape-a shape that leapt and raced directly towards her with increasing speed.  Although Eagna’s heart pounded like Eolas’ drum she stood transfixed, her fingers wrapped so tightly around the rail that her knuckles became as white as the form she watched. By the time it was close enough to identify, that indeed this was a beast, it was too late to dash inside and close the heavy door, bolting it behind her. Something within held her there, whispered there was nothing for her to fear, and she realized there was something distinctly familiar about this particular beast.  The new dawning drove fear back into the depths to make way for a bright anticipation. Could it be? Her heart soared at the thought!

Just as the beast was fully discernible and reached leaping distance of the porch, it stood up on its hind legs; and in that moment Eagna’s heart leapt for joy, knowing now with certainty she would no longer be alone.

Blessed Mother! It really was Naofa! Eagna’s heart wept as her soul sang. Oh the comfort in seeing a friend again. It had seemed so long since she heard another human voice. She watched in familiar amazement as the miracle of transformation was complete, the Sorceress becoming human in the blink of an eye, her clawed feet elongating into pink flesh, the white fur falling away from her tall, curved figure.  Naofa reached the porch in long strides, leaping over the steps, tossing her bundles hastily aside and unabashedly embracing Eagna. They stood, hugging, feeling comforted in each other’s arms for a few moments.  Naofa’s shoulders shook as she wept with relief and Eagna felt warm tears falling on her shoulder; but she, herself, was too happy to weep. Once they parted, Naofa wiped her face, grabbed her things, and followed her friend inside.

Naofa dropped her belongings on a corner chair and  sat on the floor before the fire, its glow lighting her skin, bringing back the image of the white tiger.  Eagna brought her a cup of chamomile tea, laced with a bit of special herb, noticing how tired the Sorceress looked. Naofa inhaled the steaming brew, sensing its call to peaceful rest and sipped, thoughtfully silent for a long while. Neither female had uttered a word since she arrived, but as Naofa relaxed, the lock on the clasp of her heart fell open. There was no one else on Domhan she would have bared her soul to but this friend, she who could see into her very essence at any moment.  Without reserve the Sorceress recounted the events that had occurred since they parted in the land of Laoch’s caves.  Eagna sat quietly beside her on a low stool, her face in her hands, mesmerized by the telling, trying to envision the gentle folk of the cliffs and their life there. She gasped when the Sorceress related the horror of being pulled into Ar’tine’s dark world, standing naked before his jeering countenance, and was pulled to sorrow by the visions that Naofa had experienced, awakening emotions which caused her true heartbreak.  Naofa spoke without emotion, her eyes fixed on the red embers of the fire; and when she finished her tale, Eagna put her hand gently on her friend’s back.  Naofa sat quietly, pulling her knees tightly to her chest, her arms clutching them, her chin resting on her hands as she continued gazing into the firelight as though there were answers there-or perhaps redemption. There always seemed to be a comfort in letting one’s mind drift with the dancing colors of a fire…

Eagna finally broke the spell of hypnotic comfort, compelling the Sorceress to return to herself. “Sister Naofa,” she whispered, “It is a wonder to me that you are able to do all that you do and remain so strong, so immovable and yet so…loving.” Naofa turned her head in amazement, taken a aback by her friend’s words. She had hoped for forgiveness for own her poor judgment, but she had not expected such a generous assessment of herself. Her quizzical expression was met by a tender smile from Eagna and more words of comfort. “Do you not see that it is always your unselfish love which drives you to near madness over those you care for? There is no fault in that.” Eagna brushed an unruly lock of hair from Naofa’s face, tucking it behind her ear as she continued, “Even in your haste-that urge which rises above your sense of reason-you harbor no thought for your own safety.  Your fierce devotion drives you fearlessly into whatever danger may lie ahead. That is a true act of Love.”

Naofa’s heart longed to bask in the glow of forgiveness but her own dark place would not allow it. Burying her face in her knees, she clasped her hands over her head, overcome by doubt, pain and loneliness. The tears flowed quietly but freely as Eagna ran her fingers through her friend’s tangled hair. When there were no more tears to shed, Naofa softly whispered the words that had been crying out in her mind ever since her Mother left her in the woods.  “It was my own selfish desire which lead me to nearly destroy the happiness of the very one I..I..” She looked at Eagna, her eyes glistening and red.  “Do I really love him, Sister? What is this kind of love which can cause destruction and pain, and why has it been brought upon us? What have we done by awakening our desire to create life within our world?” She instantly felt remorse for her words in the face of Eagna’s precious condition. (the dark space grows deeper) She added quickly, “Of course, Eagna, I don’t mean to…”

Eagna placed a finger over her lips. “Stop hurting yourself. It does none in the Realm or on Domhan any good for you to suffer this way.” She paused, gathering her thoughts and searching for the words to ease her friend’s pain. “That which is but a thought can be changed.  And once changed, the original thought must be forgiven. Then it no longer exists. Yet, know this, my friend. Whatever you do and whatever the choices you make while in this dream, you must remember that your Creators are always with you. They may not always be able to come to you as Mother Bandia did; for truly the veil grows heavier with the cycles that pass and new life increases upon our world. This is going to be our greatest challenge. We must remember our eternal home and teach those who are coming to join us. This is our quest, our gift and our curse. I do not claim to understand the physical state of love which flows between us as humans, so fresh and new; but I am certain in my understanding of the Unconditional Love of our Creators. You are always understood, always loved and never cast out. I am coming to understand that in this physical form, the best we can do is to love ourselves without judgment. We come from Spirit and are at one with the Essence of Eternity. It is in loving ourselves that we receive the perfect gift of love from Eternity.”

Naofa’s body relaxed into weary submission beneath her friend’s touch, the sound of her voice. Night had closed in around them as they sat together, and Eagna was  feeling very tired. She took the empty cup from Naofa, stood and bid her friend goodnight, more than ready for peaceful sleep, the first night she would not be alone in many cycles.  Both females were silent as Naofa purged the dark debris from her conscience and Eagna closed the door, washed her face, and lay down on her bed.  She looked at the Sorceress, her lanky body now stretched prostrate on the floor in front of the flickering fire.
“Others are looking to us for guidance, my friend. If all we ever show them is perfection, how will they know how to accept their own imperfection? It will be how we deal with our own human nature that will be the telling of the story for them.”  Eagna rolled over and looked through the window at the moon. It still glowed full and bright but was no longer red and hungry.  She smiled to think of Eolas sharing this moment with her, wherever he was.

“And do get up off the floor and into the bed, Sister. You are no longer the great white cat who sleeps in the woods.”  Her broke, revealing her teasing tone.  Naofa was cheered in spite of her serious mood. She did as she was told, rising to wash the journey from her skin, slipping off her tunic, and lay upon the bed. All too soon she drifted off into a deep, but peaceful sleep; and when she awoke the sun was striking the floor next to her bed in bright shards.  Throwing her legs over the bed’s edge, she stepped lightly into its glow, her toes curling over the smooth, warm surface of the wood. The smell of bubbling grains and fresh tea crept into her nostrils; and her stomach grumbled, reminding her that her last meal was long behind her.

“Do I have time for a dip in the creek before we eat, Eagna?” Her friend turned from the cooking and smiled at her.

“You look rested. I would say yes but for when last you wandered off into the creek…” She laughed out loud remembering the look of her drenched, naked friend as she shivered before the little cave dwellers. Naofa flushed for a moment then tossed her head back and laughed too. It felt so wonderful to laugh. “Okay,” she said. “The swim can wait.”

Eagna nodded.  “There, by the table, is a fresh bowl of water that you can wash up with. I heard your stomach begging for food even as you slept.”

Naofa was too hungry to be embarrassed by this and nodded eagerly as she began to clean up. When she finished, Eagna was just placing the food on the table. It had been so dark, and she was so distraught the night before, that  Naofa scarcely looked at her friend fully.  Now she was amazed to see how Eagna’s belly had increased in size. The early morning light complimented the lovely glow on her face as well.   This brought Naofa a great deal of joy. They ate, sharing stories and insights, and deftly avoiding the previous night’s topic.

Eagna eventually spoke of Eolas, her eyes misting over with loneliness. They had proven a perfect match and connected on a very deep level. Naofa wondered if this sort of connection would ever be in her future. She quickly replaced this thought with another. A brilliant idea that could perhaps help to ease her friend’s loneliness.

“Eagna, do you feel up to a bit of a journey?” A look of mild apprehension crossed the other’s face, but Naofa assured her, “Oh, not a long one to be certain. But I thought perhaps a visit to your own homeland might do your heart good. And your unborn child would be introduced to its Mother’s place of birth.”

New excitement shone in Eagna’s eyes at the thought. How she missed her waters, her lands, the mystical lake of her visions. Even in the arms of Eolas there was a sense of loneliness for the place of her birth. She hesitated only a moment before replying enthusiastically, “Oh, my yes! I hadn’t thought of it. I would never go alone. But with you, with company, it would truly be possible-wouldn’t it?” Naofa nodded emphatically as they made plans to leave the very next morning. This would be a cycle for preparation and resting.

And that dip in the water, thought Naofa…

Continue reading “Naofa’s Reprieve/Forever Never”

Beneath the Blood Moon/Forever Never

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Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion

Cheryl Pennington

copyright all content 2015

So long they have waited, so faithful to the word, as they lived and worked for this night.  The Jinetes make their way to Espera to fulfill the prophecy, to fulfill their greatest desires…..

Beneath the Blood Moon

Poised to accept their invitation to join the ceremony, the Creators waited with eager anticipation for what was soon to be a most memorable occasion on Domhan; and they would be called to another ceremony under the blood moon. When their visit to Espera was over, they would be called to the sleepy hollow where the Cave Dwellers toiled and made their home. Inion, Mac and Bandia would be very welcome…and very busy.

Very busy, indeed.  Ar’tine was only mildly wounded that he had not been asked to join the others from the Realm as they shared in these special events. Apparently they had no trust left for him. Where, oh where, was the blessed forgiveness they promised to all?  And yet so little for him.  Always his thoughts were of his own need, his own deprivation and desire.  It was merely a detail for him anyway; for nothing could really keep him from joining them-by his own devices, of course. After all, he had his dark lake of visions from which to observe all that happened on the world of his Father’s Twin. What truly cut him to the core was that his abandonment now included the goddess Bandia, she who had always seemed his support. This was indeed painful. But he welcomed the pain. It added to his self pity, the delusion of betrayal,  and urged his need to feel bitterness and separation. The darkness rose within him like a surging wave and washed over his soul, drowning the flecks of light that flickered there, small and struggling. “I will enjoy this ceremony as much as they will,”  he thought. “even more, because I know how to enjoy it.”   It added to his pleasure to think that his own time of reunion was nearing. Soon he would see and know his As’me once more. He unconsciously let out a long, low moan that sent dark things scurrying into the mists far from his long arms of desperate irritation.  How slowly things moved in the physical world, he commiserated..

The Horsemen of Jinetes spotted flickering lights through the sparse line of trees and realized they had reached the edge of Espera.  Their hearts thundered in their chests, yet they continued making music as they drew ever nearer to the door of possibility, stopping just beyond the edge of the forest.  The males filed into the clearing and spread out in a single, ceased their playing, and lowered their instruments. The females seated at the long table looked their visitors up and down with brazen appreciation.  It was an awkward moment for both tribes, finally sharing the same space,  looking at one another with anticipation and a new hunger.

La Palabra rose from her seat and the others at the table followed her lead, standing with their backs to the table as she came  to stand in front of them. In her hands was an empty bowl, delicately carved from the finest wood of the forest.  She held her arms out and Eolas approached, instinctively knowing what the vessel was for and so pulled his bundle from his back, reaching inside to retrieve the precious gift he carried all the way from Foirfeachta. Golden firelight danced across the smooth skin of the fruit as he placed it gently inside the hollow. It was a perfect fit. Of course it was, he thought, carved just as the drawing in the scroll had depicted. So long ago it had been made and left near the edge of the clearing, just as the bows, arrows and tools had been given in the earliest cycles of the females’ life on Domhan. La Palabra kept it safely hidden until this very night, this most perfect moment.  At last it, as all things do eventually, would know its purpose.

Palabra smiled at the Hunter and returned to the table, placing the bowl and fruit in the center. She could feel Ella’s breath on her arm, coming in short bursts, as she leaned over the female, the fruit passing just in front of her face. La Palabra whispered to her favorite of the females, “Do not forget to breathe, my child, lest you lose consciousness and miss him altogether.”  She gave Ella a quick glance and a wink and found her place, standing behind the others. After what seemed an endless moment to those present, La Palabra raised her medicine rattle high and beckoned the males of Jinetes.

Worthy companions of Jinetes, who have shared our land and waited along with us for the patient hand of Eternity to bless us with the knowledge of Creation.  Come, share our food, drink our teas, and raise love’s song so that your soul’s desire may answer!  From this moment of recognition you shall no longer walk alone.  Your hearts, your hope, your celebration will be shared as you continue this journey of life as one!” La Palabra closed her eyes, lowered her arms and the females waited with bowed heads and eyes closed, knowing the blood moon was meant to awaken the non visual senses.  There was silence but for the soft sound of the river flowing beyond the trees.

The wind caressed their flushed cheeks while a soft, low whistle began, the notes clear and sharp as it hung in the air between male and female. A lilting strain had been lifted and then allowed to fall away. A long pause followed, the moment suspended as a delicate strand, until the first female stepped forward and, with eyes still closed, lifted her face to the light of the moon.  Quietly she began to sing the same notes that had come from the instrument of her beloved. It was glorious to watch, as natural a dance of companionship as all other of Creation’s rituals. Her voice clear and perfect, once the singing ceased, they opened their eyes to gaze at one another and the male approached, extending his hand.  She placed her own hand within his and they returned to sit at the table. Again and again, the ritual played out as each male played his own song and waited to have it returned to him by the voice of his chosen companion. Before long the table was filled with couples, bodies warm with excitement and sheer delight on their faces.

At last there remained a single couple, still and quiet-waiting, wondering.  With eyes closed, Ella had no way of knowing who had been thus far paired,  for not a word had been spoken; and she fought back the invasive tendrils of fear that threatened to taint the precious moment.  Still, she held the vision of her beloved in her mind as she waited for his call. Would it be as she prayed?  Her heart was a wild beast against her breast, waiting, her ears aching to hear the song again-his song, her body poised to join him at the table, her soul longing to be connected.

“How long will he torture me this way!,” her mind cried.

When at last he lifted the clay instrument to his mouth, the Warrior could scarcely play, so fearful was he that he would not be able to duplicate the melody, so certain that even though no other female remained, that surely this would prove a mistake-Ella would flee the table, frightened of him, wanting him to be someone else. He remembered the stones he held close to his body, reminding him he was not alone.  He glanced at Eolas. A quick nod from his friend relieved him of his fear and stilled his heart. His mouth seemed too dry to open but he managed to wrap his lips around the clay and began slowly blowing the notes, shakily at first, and barely audible. He watched Ella standing patiently, her hair caressed by the night breeze; and his body took over, accomplishing what his fearful mind seemed unable to do. From deep within him the necessary breath came and the song was played, almost as though independent of his will; and with every note, the music  grew stronger, louder and clearer-over and over the melody drifted across the clearing to pierce the ears of she who longed to hear it. Ella swayed, her knees nearly buckling under her.  Loach froze, unable to play. He moved to go to her but  Eolas and Palabra lifted a hand of warning to the  to the Warrior to remain where he was.  He was confused.  Was he to do nothing?  How could he watch her fall?  He waited, wondering why she was in distress, uncertain if it was disappointment or fear which paralyzed her.  Ella’s chest rose and fell, again and again as she steadied herself.  Her lips were full and soft in the red glow of the blood moon; and as they finally parted, the lilting tone of her voice drifted over the clearing to a very grateful Warrior. She returned every note of his song perfectly as he stood, mesmerized, in her presence. He thought he could stand there forever, if only she would keep singing to him.

Suddenly she stopped and the world fell silent. Ella knew she would have to open her eyes, so what was she afraid of? She recognized his song, had returned it, had known in her heart that Spirit would bless her life, and still….. Slowly she forced her eyelids to obey, opening them to the beautiful sight of her Warrior, Loach, standing with outstretched arm and open hand. If only she could get her legs to work without stumbling she would go to him, would run to him if she could. Instead, she raised her hand as he stepped forward and gently grasped it within his. Her knees betrayed her at last, buckling even as she needed to be strong; but Laoch pressed against her body, becoming her legs with his weight until she could stand on her own.  He smiled gently as they moved to the table of ceremony and took their places there. She wondered how a single moment could move her from independent, fierce Huntress to an immobile, speechless creature; but it felt wonderful, so she pushed the thought away.

Palabra motioned to Eolas to join her. The Hunter marveled at the new ritual he had witnessed, amazed by the perfection in it.  Not only had there been a perfect match of the males to females, but the addition of Loach to the group had not thrown the number out of balance. How was it possible? It was yet another wonder to accept without question, as seemed to be the case more and more within their unfolding lives.

La Palabra motioned for the essence bowls to be lit as she filled the pipe of Celebration for she and Eolas to share; and they shared heartily, soon laughing and finding much to talk about. The others chatted softly to each other, at first in uncertain tones; but soon the sound of excited voices filled the night sky above Espera as they grew more familiar.. They sipped the teas, brewed specially for the occasion, and were soon feeling giddy from it, having fasted since the previous night’s meal.

Eolas spoke to La Palabra about the new writing he was creating for recording all events on their world so that they could keep the word of Eternity for generations to come. The wise female was impressed but not surprised, for after all,.  that was as it should be.  She admired the Hunter very much. There was a calm certainty about him, and she inquired about his life companion. He was thrilled to speak of Eagna; however, a deep pang pierced his chest at the mention of her name, a reminder of how much he missed her in that moment with other souls coming together on their world. He looked around at the new bonds forming between the lovely humans he had come to know, and his words were caught in his throat.

“Mother Palabra, my beloved-my Eagna-waits for me back in our land. It was too far a journey for one in her new condition. But she would have loved to be here, of this I am certain.  I am missing her very much tonight.” He looked at his cup of tea, thinking that Eagna would have been the one to brew it had she been with them for the ceremony. It was suddenly so difficult for him to concentrate on anything else.

“But why should you have to miss her?” Palabra asked. Eolas brows knitted in confusion, bringing a burst of gentle laughter from his host. She was amused yet saddened to think how often humans had to be reminded of Eternity’s miracles.  Her gifts of intuition were keen; and the herbs in the pipe only served to enhance it.  She smiled at Eolas and touched his hand . “What I mean to say, my new friend, is that you should invite your companion to join you here, right now. This night is for all companions on Domhan, not just for those who are in the state of new discovery.” When she could not discern if the look on the Hunter’s face revealed doubt in her mental stability or sheer curiosity, Palabra tossed her head back and laughed out loud, then turned to him and demanded, “Do you doubt the power of Spirit?” It was a direct question and there was only one way the Hunter could answer.
“Absolutely not,” came his reply. And he lifted his cup to his lips, downing the remaining drops. “You will help me to bring her here?” La Palabra nodded and squeezed his hand.

She stood and motioned for the females to stoke the smudge pots, raised her arms, palms up, and began to chant, her voice rising through the darkness to the crimson moon over their heads. After a few moments,every voice at the table joined her, the females first, followed by their male guests. The chant became a chorus, pulling Eolas to join the call, as he felt his heart open completely to trust, holding the vision of Eagna standing beside him-with him. He had not forgotten a single line of her body- the curve of her chin, the turn of her head,  the sound of her laughter; and soon he felt her energy there beside him, moving through him.  Like a watery dream she stood near the table, naked beneath the blood moon, with arms outstretched, just as La Palabra. Just like his Eagna. Naked?   He wondered as he reveled in the perfect moment.

La Palabra’s chanting ceased as she began calling to the Realm,  the rest at table falling silent.  “Blessed Mother, you who breathed life into our bodies,  must hear us now.  We call to you from your world, the face of Domhan,  as was decided at the moment of our Creation. In the name of Great Spirit we have followed your instruction and come to you in ceremony that the union of our tribes will be blessed with Light, with love and much fertility. May each soul recognize its purpose in this dream-your vision of love through us, your Children. We ask that you join us now, that we might be sanctified before we lie together, blessed and full of the Light of Eternity.” Again she raised her voice in song.

The fire pits that had crackled softly moments before suddenly blazed, reaching higher and higher until the orange tips licked the low hanging branches at the forest’s edge, lighting the gnarled faces of those silent.  They all gasped anxiously;  but Palabra motioned for them to join the call to Eternity. All around the table, with clasped hands, they raised their voices, raising the song higher and stronger, sending a prayer of hope to the blood moon. Within moments they heard a soft fluttering, distant at first, but growing louder, ever more intense as they chanted, until the clearing became alive with the sound. It seemed as though every winged creature on Domhan had joined them.

But there were no birds. The fire blazed against the starlit black sky, a dance both hypnotic and alluring, finally parting like tall grasses for the beasts that roam; and in the black wedge of night that remained there, the glowing embers danced and popped, taking shape as figures hovering over the fire. As they became more distinct, the familiar forms of those known as the family of Creators were instantly recognizable. The great plumed  bird, the wide-eyed night owl and the gently sloping form the of the mourning dove. None present was surprised by this, although each would keep the vision as a miracle within their heart.

They were with their children at last; but Mac, Inion and Bandia, knew their energy on the physical world was fragile and the moments fleeting.  Wisdom dictated they be expedient; and so they spoke all as one voice, reaching into the minds of the celebrants.

“Our precious Leanai, you have brought pleasure to the Realm on this night of the blood moon, proving your faith, strength and fierce dedication to the prophecy. If it is our blessing that you seek through this ceremony, you may tarry no more. Take the vision of Eternity’s Light with you when you lie together, remembering that our love is ever with you, even when you can no longer see us this way. Carry our essence within your souls, for it is there that we truly exist.  We are but a small part of the All That Is, and through your creation you increase the measure of existence.”  Scarlet flames lapped at their bodies as the fire threatened to swallow them up but receded, allowing them a final word.

“Call upon the name of Light whenever you need us. There is always enough love for even the least of our creations. Do not run from darkness if it visits your dwelling. Invite it inside in the name of Love and accept its role in your being; for the more you resist its presence,  the more you work destroy or deny it, the greater will be its desire to be known by you, to be accepted. You must never walk in fear. For there is no fear in Perfect Love, our Children. There is no fear in Perfect Love..” In a flash of brilliant embers they were gone, leaving those at the table to wonder in amazed reverence. There were no other words heard from those who had dreamed them into being. The fire roared up into the darkness then fell silent as though a mighty breath had blown it out. Once more the embers crackled quietly, flames flickering gently in the night breeze.

La Palabra drew in a deep breath of damp air, heavy with the perfume of the flowers that lay, languid on the tables and hung from the trees surrounding the village. Indeed, Servia had outdone herself. Indeed, all of her Daughters had proven themselves worthy of this celebration. She hoped their efforts would be as noble in the playing out of their lives in their world-this walk no longer to be taken alone. She raised her arms and shouted, “Thanks be to Spirit!” There was complete silence for a single moment before a collective answer rang out, “Thanks be to Spirit!”, followed by much shouting and laughter as the food was passed and the drink poured freely until the tea pots were completely emptied  and every belly was full. The words flowed, the smiles were abundant, and many tender and private secrets would be revealed between the couples before the morning sun began their new life.

“We have done well, my friend,” Mother Palabra leaned towards Eolas, who was stuffing his last bite of meat into his mouth, savoring it as he thought of his next meal with Eagna.  He shook his head emphatically in agreement as he swallowed the food.  He knew what was left to be done.  Quietly La Palabra signaled for the remains of the feast to cleared, the chosen females tossing the remains into the forest for their friends within it.  There was one very important event which remained.  All eyes were soon fixed on the fruit nestled in its wooden cradle, waiting patiently for its performance. They knew of the tree in the Garden-the tree of Fertility, of Life. They were more than ready to have their creative spirit awakened. Some shifted nervously on their stools.  More than a few giggles were heard; but a stern glance from La Palabra in their direction reminded them that this was a sanctification and a solemn time. Still….a smile wiggled at the corners of her own mouth; for she knew what longings the fruit would awaken withing their villages that night.

She took the gift  and placed it before Eolas. He nodded, took out his stone knife and began to cut it into small chunks, returning them to the bowl. Syrupy dew dripped through the holes in the bowl and ran in sticky rivulets across the table. Soon, there was a golden mound before him and he rose, taking it to the far end of the table.  He passed the bowl to each couple, all taking a small piece in turn; but none put it to their lips. Not until Palabra gave the word. When he reached the last couple, Laoch and Ella, he looked at his dear, giant friend and gripped his muscular shoulder. He felt his friend’s quickened pulse through is skin. What a genuine soul, Eolas thought. And how lucky for this female to have found him. Eolas returned to his place beside Palabra, whose face was glowing with perspiration in the dim light of the fire yet shadowed by something else. For a fleeting moment she seemed crestfallen, overwhelmed by some unspoken sadness. Eolas opened his mouth to inquire; but as quickly as it had appeared, the look faded and she smiled, giving the word they were waiting for.

“With great Love were you created. In greater Love are you joined here this night. May all that you bring forth into Domhan be an increase of that Love. Eat, my children. May your love be expressed throughout all your lives..”

Some devoured the fruit whole while others nibbled the flesh slowly, savoring it like nothing they had known or would know again. Some fed their pieces to their companions, allowing them to lick the sticky dew from glistening fingertips. But none hesitated. Laoch gave his portion of the precious fruit to Ella, for he had already been awakened what seemed so long ago and far away in the light of the future unfolding for him.  This experience would never be matched. It was decided that half the newly formed tribe would inhabit the dwellings that stood in Espera, while the other half would go back to Jinetes. The arrangement would likely bring sadness and tears for those females who would be leaving their friends behind,  but tonight they knew only one sensation, one emotion; and it drove them from the safe haven of their homes and into strange and tantalizing new adventure.  After everyone left for their rooms, only a few remained to clear the remains of the sticky, sweet memory. Ella fetched a bowl of water while Laoch damped the  fires, leaving only small pits to burn through the night, as was their custom. Eolas and Palabra sat with heads together, sharing their hopes for the future of Domhan and their deep concern for the new unions that were being forged in this place and elsewhere on their world.

Ella, finished with cleaning, approached La Palabra to say her farewells. It felt like something so much larger than goodnight; and she was filled with mixed emotion.  Her heart felt the overwhelming sorrow of leaving behind some kind of innocence, some part of herself that would never return; but her desire was stronger to move forward with the Warrior, to retire to the mystery of union.  She had remained busy so as not to allow her heart the freedom to express itself, for surely it would have burst from the fullness of it all; but now there was nothing left to do but move on. Palabra took Ella’s hand in her own and looked into the female’s dark eyes.

“My daughter, you have made me proud ever since we came into being. Tonight has been most glorious.. The song you raised to heaven could tease the very stars from the sky above.” Ella flushed. What would Laoch think of this praise? Her question was  answered when she felt his strong arm gently slip around her waist from behind, his hand cupping her hip.

“Thank you Mother Palabra. My only wish is to never fail you-or Spirit. Truly this is the greatest moment any of us may know in the dream walk that we share. May we now…”

La Palabra released her hand and laughed, “Go, go, go now! Be true to the fruit. Your labor will come later. And labor you shall.” She laughed again. Ella wasn’t quite sure what to make of the declaration, but she didn’t care to ponder it in that moment. There was so much more she desired of the night. Soon La Palabra would be very far from her thoughts. Just the nearness of Laoch had begun to stir sensations that were both intoxicating and alarming to Ella. As they stepped into the quiet dark of her home, the anxiety began to grow. Who was this male she was about to submit to completely? What did she know of him really? How well would they live together? She wondered why these thoughts suddenly plagued her.

Laoch felt strangely exposed in Ella’s home. There were no rock walls or floor as in his caves.  There was no male companionship, and no open sky above his head as in Jinetes.   Had his emotional desire overcome his sense of reason? His mind chattered, but the smell of her body as she stepped in front of him, the feel of her hair as it brushed across his skin, silenced the voice of doubt in his comfortably numb head.   He was intoxicated by her presence.  Or was it the fruit? Or the tea. Or all of it?  He didn’t care. He looked around at the room. In his home there were only necessities.  Tools. Weapons.  And his instruments for celebration. His clay flute, his drum. Now his eyes fell to the animal skin that lay across her bed. It was beautiful and yet how he did not even know how she came to own it.  Small clay pots cradled burning incense, and there was a low table with some small boxes on top. How could he ever make her happy in his homeland? In his stark cave… Would she even want to leave this place? His thoughts were ended abruptly as his skin was seared-her hand on his cheek.

“Where are you now, my companion?” Her voice was soft and inviting. He felt he could lay his soul before her and know it was safe. Still, he found it difficult to speak from his heart just yet. He hoped this would change soon. Then he remembered something. The gift! He had been working on it since before the sunrise. He pulled his pouch from his shoulder,  and laid it on the bed atop the soft animal skin-he definitely wanted to know the story behind this hide-and sitting down he hastily emptied its contents. The Warrior was not expecting to see the lovely stones-Naofa’s gift- that tumbled onto the bed of his new companion. Their bright colors cut accusingly into his heart like a knife, but he was not certain why. He quickly swept them back inside the pouch and out of sight, and withdrew the object he sought. A small, flat bag of woven  grass was what he held in his hand. It looked so insignificant there to him; and he briefly thought perhaps he had been too hasty in the selection of the gift. Ella let out a small excited gasp at the thought of a gift from her companion, and he could not now disappoint her.  This was all the encouragement he needed to stand and take her hand, placing the treasure within it.

“Laoch, it is so beautiful.” She spoke his name. It felt like rain upon dry hard ground to his soul and filled him with new enthusiasm. He laughed nervously.

“This is only the cover. The gift is within.” And he gently helped her to lift the edge of the small bag and spill its contents into her other hand. Out tumbled two wooden hoops, one larger than the other. They had obviously been carefully selected from wood limbs, cut and smoothed.  Lovely as they were, she did not understand what they were.  She looked quizzically at Laoch as she lifted the delicate circles from her hand. He smiled at her uncertainty for it made the gift seem much more fine to him then. He took the grass pouch, laid it on her table and turned to Ella, taking the smaller hoop in his own fingers. He hoped he had calculated well. Taking her left hand, he spread her fingers slightly and proceeded to slip the hoop around the one next to the last.  He held his breath as he slid it gently but firmly down the length of her finger, hoping it would be a perfect fit. Another tiny gasp from Ella sent his heart into manic rhythms. He had to find his words now-it was so important.

“Ella, I do not say that all knowledge is mine. Often I feel I am without knowledge or wisdom.   Your people believe we are great. Truly all that is created is great; but my friends and I have been given a task, as Light Bringers, to keep the vision of Love alive on Domhan. Still, we are humans, just as you are. I would like to promise that our life together will be all that we envision it to be. But there are forces beyond our understanding, even in the Eternal Realm. What I can tell you now is that I vow to keep you safe, and my desire is to give you all that I can without forgetting my purpose.  No matter what happens in the cycles ahead, you must remember that at this moment, my heart and soul is yours. The hoop is an eternal thing, you see? No beginning and no end. This is why I chose it as my gift to you.  I hope you remember my words every time you look at it.”

His eyes were so full of truth that Ella could scarcely breathe. Pulling herself from their depths at last, she smiled and looked down at the remaining hoop, now understanding what to do with it. She took it up, gently grabbed the Warrior’s hand and spread his fingers, just as he had done hers. It slid into place as easily as if it knew where it belonged. Ella always had a way with words but at this moment her tongue seemed glued to the inside of her mouth, and her brain was fuzzy with emotion.

“I will make you a promise, Laoch. I will go with you wherever this dream walk may take us, will make a home from rock and earth, will prepare your food, go with you in the hunt, and warm your bed at night. All I ask is that you be ever truthful with me. If we have nothing else perfect between us, let it be that we live our lives as the truest of companions.”  Tears pooled in her dark eyes as she spoke, soon spilling onto her cheeks. Seeing the furrows crease the Warrior’s brow she quickly assured him. “Joyful spilling of tears is common among us here in Espera, I am afraid.” She laughed softly as he wiped them away with clumsy thumbs. “You must know that the others will want similar gifts to exchange.” She smiled and touched her hoop, pulling away from him. She turned, taking him by the hand, and led him over to the bed where they sat together in silence for a moment. Loach lifted her hand and began to trace a soft, slow line from the edge of the ring gently, deliberately down her wrist and back up her arm.  Ripples of pleasure flooded her skin as he continued the path across her shoulder and down to the place where the beating of her heart was centered. His slight brush against her breast as he passed over set her insides to flame. He put his free arm around her shoulder as he pressed his wrist to her chest, so that now she felt his own heartbeat along with hers. Together they felt like drums in the night, beating a chant of private celebration. She leaned into him and lifted her face to his as she took his hand and moved it to where the ache called to her, beckoned him.

The blood moon was huge in the night sky that soon was filled with the cries of all living things on Domhan, joining in creation across the world. Ella arose to put out the single fire that still burned; and when she returned to the bed, she removed her tunic, exposing all that she was to the Warrior. Shadows enhanced the curves of her body in the dim light and  Loach could not believe he was so blessed. His body silhouetted against the open window enticed her; and, just as in Naofa’s vision, she climbed on top of him, tossing back her head as he explored every soft curve of her skin.  She hummed softly, the lilting  song of the ceremony, as they danced beneath the stars of Domhan wildly, passionately, adding their own voices to the cacophony of union that was newly awakened in the world. Lost in the free fall of desire, neither noticed the stones that again tumbled from the safety of Laoch’s pouch now lay strewn across the of the table. They didn’t notice the glow of the red one as it pulsed with their movement; nor did they hear the low snarl of the dark furry form lurking outside their dwelling watching, waiting….feeling.
The blood was draining from the moon at last, leaving it a soft pink. But it glowed red in the eyes of the Watcher who dipped a pale and wasted finger beneath the surface ot its dark, watery window of visions.  It longed to feel the warmth of union, for the sensations that he was feeling were only second hand remnants, after all. “Alas, it is better than nothing,” mused the dark god. And in those moments there was enough second hand ecstasy for Ar’tine to pretend it was real.

to be continued…..
I dedicate this Chapter to my friend Peter.  You have waited a long time for this one.
I appreciate any and all comments, thoughts, ideas.  Thanks as always to those of you who have been sharing my story.
Love and Light,
Cheryl

Continue reading “Beneath the Blood Moon/Forever Never”

Juntos/Forever Never/Excitement Grows

As they continued to work, they began to hum softly, soon affecting the entire group as every female joined in their gentle music, each adding her voice to the soft melody until soon it became a chorus-a lilting sound that rose above their heads and danced on the breeze blowing over the dense woods and into the village of Jinetes.

Continue reading Juntos/Forever Never/Excitement Grows

The Desperate Journey: Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion Chapter One

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Now, at this time, I am urged to pick up the pieces of my humble story and try to present it again.  If it touches even one heart, it will have been worthy of the work.

 

Why are we here?  Where is Eternity?  What is the plan? Is there even a purpose to all that we know of as a life? How do we win the struggle between Good and Evil? These very legitimate questions have plagued humankind ever  it came into existence, erasing the knowing of the All That Is and propelling into the perceived journey “home”.  What I have come to understand for myself may seem astounding to some, familiar to others and perhaps crazy to many.  I only know I have found comfort in realizing the duality of our nature through seeing the ultimate way that everything is connected within the All That Is, and accepting that there must be an inevitable end to the illusion we like to call “life“.  Still, there remain many unanswered questions, and I submit to you that this quest, this journey, the unanswered questions are indeed our reason for continuing the journey.

What of  God, that elusive being known by many names and yet understood by so few?  And what about the Creator’s grand ‘Plan’?  What if there were no plan at all? What if existence was nothing more than an experiment-a grand dream, a hope that was born of a simple desire? What if all that truly exists is Love-an immeasurable, unconditional love that wants only to perpetuate Its own existence?  Life thus was born of Love’s ultimate need to know itself and be loved in the way in which It was capable of loving, Its legacy continuing on in the human race as the created bear children whom they love unconditionally while basking in the glow of such love returned to those who created them, on and on with each new generation of Creators.

What if Eternity is not somewhere “up” or “out” there?  I submit that it exists around and within us, but we have lost our memory of how to connect with it as we once did, our former clear, crisp perception now dulled to a faint whisper,  too often dulled by the voice of fear and deception that plagues our fractured souls. This fracture was but a tiny crack as it was born; but soon fed by conscious thought, it grew into a gaping chasm that threatened to envelope the reason and hope of its host.

Good and Evil?  What if this ancient struggle is not one that takes place in our outer world? What if there are no “good” or “bad” beings? I have come to accept the duality of my own nature, that within my soul lie the seeds of darkness that are eager to cloud my perceptions, to feed my fear of being without love, and to use that hunger to control my actions and reactions.

We spend so much of our lives running from our darkness, denying its existence and begging to be rescued by the Light, when all we need to do is to allow our inner Light to illuminate the dark recesses of our own souls, accept that we are not perfect within our human bodies, and know that in the eyes of The Creator we are perfect-now and always.  Always, always,  we are perfectly loved.

Will this knowledge repair humanity’s collectively diseased soul? Likely not.  But would not the Unconditional Love of the Universe rejoice in the healing of even one soul? It takes but one flicker to light the darkness?

My work is not intended to refute, undermine or replace any religious doctrine.  It is merely my own perception of Creation, my personal vision,  as I weave my way along this path of illusion called life.

This chapter is the beginning of my book, but by no means the beginning of the story, for within infinity there is no beginning or end.  This is but one legend as told from the perspective of its characters.  I hope you find some bit of truth in the telling.

“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.  Herein lies the peace of God.”   From A Course In Miracles.

 

The names of characters and places are derived mostly of Latin or Irish origination but all races came from one thought.

Forever Never/The Dawn of the Dream

by Cheryl Pennington

copyright words and images 2017

 

Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion

 

The Traveler

 

 

The morning sun peeked relentlessly over the horizon as dawn approached and the world of Dohman blinked the night shadows from its heavy eyelids.  A soft breeze skipped over the hillside with airy fingers that stirred the sea of grass and vine, beckoning all of life to join the illusion once more.Although light was still a shadowy thought away, the dark magic was already casting its spell over the waking life of the world, responding to the murmurs of that voice which had cast the cruel oblivion over it. Whispering, it seemed to call from within the morning mists; and in response to the powerful command from the ether, two of its most beloved stirred.
Their awakening was always the same. As her eyes fluttered open, the first breath of morning crossed her face, cool and fresh, and her confused mine groped for conscious thought. Lifting her face to the hint of sunrise, she blinked; and in that twinkling, she could recall everything.  She understood all that had gone before and felt a flood of relief in the knowing.  In that blinding moment of perception, the memory was so vivid, yet so mercurial.  She let out a quiet gasp of comprehension as hope found her heart and anguish permeated her being, drawing the veil of darkness over her thoughts once more,  obliterating her beautiful glimpse of truth. The gasp became a yawn as she opened her eyes to a new dawning of The Forgotten, denying the lucid moment the chance to become a memory in the dark recesses of her mind.
At the very same moment another was stirred by morning’s approach; and the callous hand of sorcery repeated its wicked performance. The smell of lavender on the early breezes nudged the sleeping male’s senses awake, urging him to feel her presence and embrace the moment..  With every sunrise and the brief union his soul was filled with peace, comfort and the kind of love only she could give him. As the earliest slivers of light struck the moldy ground beneath him, the weary Traveler summoned the familiar vision to his mind, thus weaving his own magic. How faintly the outline seemed this morning, even though he had traced it there with every rising sun since she disappeared from his world.  Loveliness defined her as she moved through the recesses of his memory, a shadowy reminder of the innocent he used to be, of the trust he once knew, and the hope that now drove him onward. Yes…through the mists he could see long, dark curls of hair that seemed to have a life of their own when she moved. Her hand was delicate and soft as she touched his cheek and looked into his eyes with dark and  tunnels of pure adoration.
The young male’s loving memory drew images of fragrant blossoms and joyful laughter. Their laughter. But now there was only he-alone with what was left of the perfect place he had known as home. Their most beloved Foirfeachta. Floating like a cloud in his mind drifted the faded image of a garden, hung low with vines and lush green foliage, where he had once known contentment; and completing this memory was her- the perfect form of femininity-and he trailing behind her, appreciating every thing about her-the color of her tunic, her head as she turned from him to wave at another! His eyes moved to the object of her gesture; and this was where his deepest pain began. He could only bear this part of the conjuring for an instant before dimming his mind to the memory. The pain cut like a dagger into his soul, threatening to tear him apart; but her presence found him again, hanging like damp air around his drowsy senses, calming him, urging him to keep hope alive.
“Hurry!” she whispered. I wait..”  She must be near! How could she not be when he could feel her and hear her very thoughts?

The young traveler struggled to create her face within his mind again as he fought the fog pulled her into the shadows.  She looked so radiant as her lips parted to speak, to share a thought and a word of comfort. He could see her mouth form his name and waited hopefully to hear the music flow from within those red lips, his young heart beating wildly.  But, as always, the fog faded to black nothingness that enveloped her face completely and smothering the sound that would have strengthened his lonely heart. In silence it cried. Then, creeping through the dark veil came the light, the harsh light that signaled a new morning. It was always the same. He marveled that he had never become accustomed to it nor been able to stop the painful, euphoric, devastating moment at the start of all his mornings, although he willed it so again and again.

The young Traveler lifted himself onto one elbow, gazing at his horse, now stirring in the morning light and thought, “Only Eternity knows what dreams such creatures have.”  As he shielded his eyes from the glare of dawn he wondered how long it would be before the sun simply forgot to rise over their world, leaving them in darkness forever.

Snorting sounds as only a wild boar might make brought an end to the Traveler’s musing as, startled, he remembered his still sleeping companion. A few feet away lay the bulky form of the grumbling Cave Dweller who had now become his friend in these long days of searching.  Disturbed by his own snoring, the stout one tossed on the bedroll where he lay and thrust his chubby fists into the air, swatting at the newly awakened gnats busily combing his bristly chin for abandoned crumbs.

The Traveler stifled a chuckle and reached for a nearby stone which he lightly tossed at his friend. It hit the restless male squarely on the chest before thudding to the ground where it rolled into a thicket of dry brush. The small giant jumped and yelped as he began swinging wildly at an unknown attacker, frightening away the gnats in a frenzied flurry. Now the Traveler was laughing heartily, finding relief from his sorrow, even if it had been at the expense of his riding companion.

“What, in the name of Mor, is so funny?” growled the Cave Dweller, rubbing his eyes and scratching at infinitesimal bites. His chubby hands were stained and his nails blackened from so long digging in the recesses of the caves. “Was that your idea of a ‘Good morning’?  Rude…this is not how I am normally awakened.  Now, my beloved Oth..”
The Traveler laughed harder now as he interrupted. “Ahhh…so it’s tenderness you prefer. I’m sorry my fat friend, but I have no desire to stir you with a morning kiss, such as your chosen one might. I can barely stand to sleep on the same hillside with you since you see fit to bathe only with the rise of a full moon.”

A loud grunt of indignation escaped the throat of the stout one, but he had no sharp retort for his tall friend while still in such a clouded state.

The Traveler had been exaggerating about the bathing but couldn’t resist the urge to goad his touchy friend. In truth, he was hoping to ease a bit of the other one’s loneliness with his teasing.  It had been for the sake of his own best friend back in the land of the caves that this one had agreed to be a part of the search. The two Cave Dwellers had been inseparable from the beginning; and the one who remained back in their homeland-well-it was pitiable what had become of his mind since the Devastation. His beloved companion had disappeared over a bleak horizon, leaving her grieving partner with a new infant to care for, armed only with a broken heart and a handful of charred rock.

The Cave Dweller didn’t find the Traveler’s morning humor entertaining and shot the him a glance of warning, advising his friend that his own foul mood would remain until he had been properly fed.

‘Fine, then’, thought the Traveler as he gathered his tools, leaving the other to do his morning business.  There were certainly fish to be caught; so he grabbed his line and clicked his tongue at the white mare now standing patiently near the edge of the trees, waiting to be led down to the river. She approached her master gently, nudging his hand with her warm, wet nose, and gladly accepted the piece of fruit he held out to her.
Precious treasure, he thought, as he surrendered the sweet treat to his loyal four-legged friend. If his traveling companion had seen this, he would have lost his head-and his temper. Giving food to a beast when he was ‘starving’! The Traveler rolled his eyes to think of it.  It was of no consequence anyway, for he fully intended to bring back a nice string of fish to hang over the fire. This would at least ease the hunger pains of his friend. Sadly, there was nothing he could do for the male’s aching soul. Not until they found her, he told himself. If only…

Continue reading “The Desperate Journey: Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion Chapter One”

Naofa’s Lament/Forever Never

Suddenly, she stopped and turned, determined to face her tormentor. ‘Of course’, she thought bitterly. Naofa felt a manic laugh rising in her chest but terror squelched it before it escaped her lips. There in the shadow of a gnarled, lifeless tree, stood the wolf, its red eyes glaring back at Naofa like burning embers-cruel embers that threatened to sear her soul this night. The visage bared its yellowed teeth and continued to laugh. Continue reading Naofa’s Lament/Forever Never