The Realm of Possibility/Forever Never

Ar’tine’s Lament Forever Never/The Dawn of the Dream by Cheryl Pennington copyright all content 2016 Realm of Possibility “Why don’t you just let it go, Sister? You could end it all for them and bring their souls back. You could … Continue reading The Realm of Possibility/Forever Never

Passion’s Dream/Forever Never

A flash of dark, delicate skin and long black hair ran flashed through her mind, accusing black eyes filled with pain. Guilt crept into Naofa’s conscience but was quickly dissolved by waves of ecstasy. They moved in a dance of desire, moved just as the lovers in the woods had in her vision of pain. How she had longed to be that female.

Continue reading Passion’s Dream/Forever Never

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

Naofa’s Reprieve/Forever Never

hibiscus aug 2015 025.NEF

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”

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.

Continue reading “A Beginning/Forever Never”