Something white flashed across the flickering firelight, and the air around them smelled of lavender as the white dove flew up over their heads and disappeared into the night. A warmth greater than the fire filled them, the warmth of a love they had forgotten since their nightmare began. Eagna would have wept to see Eolas smiling again… Continue reading The Meek Shall Lead/Forever Never
Ella glanced down, stroked the downy head of Eagna’s daughter, and looked back at Naofa, her eyes glistening with tears. “Love is greater than all of these things.” Continue reading Moving Toward Miracles/Forever Never
‘Dear Mother, no,’ she prayed. The infant so close to missing life, so recently saved from death, and now cruelly returned to Eternity’s bosom? Naofa could wait no longer. She took a few tentative steps towards them and called gently to Eolas through the blinding sheets of the rain. Continue reading In the Land of Sorrows/Forever Never
She couldn’t bear to feel the thing against her skin-so cold, so wet and pulsating, one side slipping between her legs as the other half flicked around her neck, tightening and closing off her airway. Naofa’s eyes bulged in terror, knowing it meant to squeeze the life out of her in one final crushing pulse. Continue reading A Formidable Team/Forever Never
Eolas saw everything in slow motion-his eyes, his mind, his heart memorizing every molecule of existence in the moments that followed. He watched the head of the great She-Creature as it turned away from Naofa and trained its gaze on his treasure chest. Continue reading Face to Face/Forever Never
Eagna gently moved his hand from her face and placed it on his daughter’s soft head. She looked serene in an unnatural way, drawing him into her soul as she gazed up into his eyes and answered. “This night I have looked death in the face and seen it surrender, returning our daughter to us. There is nothing I fear above this.” She smiled radiantly and broke his heart. Continue reading Terror in the Skies/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.
Mna went straight to Ella, embracing her warmly, and kissed her gently on the cheek. When their bodies touched, the life within Ella leapt as if in greeting to the child Mna carried. A tiny gasp of understanding escaped Mna’s lips as she withdrew and looked into the eyes of their friend’s new companion. Within the dark depths of Ella’s gaze she recognized hesitation and realized this was still the mother’s secret. She smiled at Ella, but a furrow of question creased her soft brow. She turned to Laoch and reached up to give him a squeeze, always stunned by how broad his shoulders were, how strong his arms felt as he hugged her gently in return. Continue reading Back to the Garden/Warrior and Huntress/Forever Never
Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
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
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
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…….
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.
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.
“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.