Valparaíso, Chile, November 1997
Cillian Mc Gaughran was finding that dying was longer than he expected. Since Fidelma’s death, twenty years from now, he would have vouched pain would get him on the other side quickly. But it was as if every object his wife had touched was letting him know of her presence. Perhaps they were holding him here…
He couldn’t wait to be reunited with his dear wife. Sixty six year-old wasn’t old enough to die for many people, but it was enough for him. The world was changing too fast. He decided he had to let go of all these objects. By and by, he had released every one of them… But one.
Of all of them, this one was very dear to him. An old family artifact that was handed down in the family for as long as he could remember. It was said to have been the property of a famous dancer during the Gold rush period and was rumoured to bring good luck… Lord knows how it came into the family…
It was dear to him because he had given it to Fidelma when she was having her chemotherapy, battling the blood cancer she had been diagnosed with. It looked wonderful on her delicate features. The wig had not aged since all these years.
It would surely finish him off to release that last object.
Cillian had heard some exuberant stories of a new company named eBargey where things were auctioned on the Internet. New technology he was finding a bit hard to follow the progress though he was not ignorant of it due to his years spent as a high rank officer in the US Army.
That could be a great way to release the wig. Auction it off, and see how high and how far away it could sell… Perhaps it would find a perfect match.
Chris Bronkelhampton had always loved to cross-dress since he was a child. He was a fine collector of wigs and had many lined up in his secret closet.
He had just managed to do a risqué plastic surgery operation on a kingpin that would grant him all he had ever dreamt of. He leaned comfortably on his chair, rubbing his hands gleefully.
Something on the computer screen caught his eye. On the newly auctioned items there was something that he wouldn’t have dreamt of acquiring in his wildest dreams.
It had been real hard since Momma and Poppa weren’t around no more. Twilight was four when they got shot dead, and she could hardly remember their faces now. Sometimes she had memories come to mind, this real pretty woman, brushing her hair at night. One hundred strokes, she would say, make your hair real pretty. It made her feel sad because she wished it were true.
Her brother Jo, he was only ten when they got killed. He was the one found them. They’d been shot. Jo, he took it real hard. Sometimes he’d get this far away and sad look and Twilight knew he was remembering. She wanted to hug him, but he’d be all shut off.
Anyways it was real hard to keep the ranch going after that. Her brother Elroy, he was the oldest. He was fifteen when Momma and Poppa died. So he took on being the man of the house. Sometimes he would try and boss Jo and her round, and Twilight would give him a real hard time. She was just jesting though, she knew he was just doing his best to keep the El Disperso Ranch running and she was real proud of him.
It was real hard though. Winter had been hard. They all were fearing they might have to sell the blue bull just to keep the wolves from the door next winter. Elroy, he was right pig headed though about that bull. Jo would say to Elroy “we have to sell that bull, Elroy” and Elroy would get mad and say “no ways we selling that bull Jo”. One day they nearly came to blows over that bull.
It was the only time Twilight seen Elroy get real mad with Jo. They were real close those two. They were all close really. They had to keep together when Momma and Poppa died. Uncle Bart turned up at the news of their folks dying, wanted to take the ranch, but Elroy , well he got Poppa’s rifle and chased Uncle Bart away. Elroy said he would have shot Uncle Bart had he tried any harder to take the ranch. Twilight would look in his eyes when he told the story and she knew he weren’t jesting. A few others tried to interfere also. Somehow they all stayed together and kept the ranch.
Elroy won that blue bull. It was real rare and very fine and people would pay plenty for a bull like that bull. Elroy said he won it anyhow. He turned up with it one day, and he was real quiet. Twilight saw him whispering to Jo, and Jo looked real concerned. She thought it best not to ask too many questions and so she kept what she seen to herself. But she couldn’t help but be wondering.
Twilight wanted to help take the load off her brothers so she got herself a job dancing in the saloon in town. She liked to call it performing though. Sounded more high class. She watched the other dancers till she taught herself to do it. She would hide in the saloon and watch them. That was one good thing about not having a Momma and a Poppa. She could pretty well do what she wanted. She liked dancing and she knew she were real good at it and pretty soon she was the dancer everyone wanted to see. She’d rather have a Momma and Poppa though, truth be told.
One of the other girls, Anna, she was real pretty too, got jealous and tried to get Twilight kicked out, said she was too young to be dancing . Anyhow Anna had a soft spot for Jo and so he soon sweet talked her round. Jo and Elroy were real good looking boys, and plenty of girls liked them so Twilight was pretty lucky to have them look out for her. ( Elroy said she should wear a blond wig for her dancing, like a disguise, and Twilight thought this was real funny. But she wore it anyway.) Anna got pregnant, and she said Jo was the daddy, but everyone in town knew she slept with plenty of fellows, and Jo weren’t having a bar of it. Anna got real fat with the baby and had to stop dancing and now she lived with some old fellow who was always drunk and would eye up Twilight when she was dancing. Sometimes Twilight would tease Jo about the baby and call him “daddio” and he would get real mad with her. But could be his, that’s the truth. Poor little baby but she were glad Jo weren’t stuck with that Anna.
Twilight knew the men looked at her. She knew what they were thinking and she didn’t mind. She weren’t no fool though. She had plans. She was going to be somebody, not laid up with some damn sprog like that Anna. Some of the money she earned she’d give to Elroy, some of it she put in a tin can she kept hidden.
Last night some fellow from out of town came in. A sheriff. She heard the girls whispering and giggling about him. Sheriff Ted Marshall was his name. He was real fine looking and all the girls were in a flutter hoping he would look at them. Twilight wondered what he was doing in town. She hoped it were nothing to do with that bull of Elroys.
Oörlaith was picking star-thistles buds that were growing on the ruins in the Marshes. She had always felt attracted by the putrid Marshes, for many reasons.
There was something in her own demeanour that made creatures and people comfortable around her, and she had always felt in herself that natural balancing and accepting qualities that makes a good Healer.
But it was a complex matter, and her choices of explorations had always stirred much incomprehension in the various people she had met over her life. And she had met lots.
Of course, the first ones where her own parents. They were opulent burgomasters of one of the major towns of Cromash Tur, and from the date of her birth, Oörlaith was destined to marry one of the Warlords of these regions. Something that was sound and portent of good fortune, as her parents kept saying. Warlords were always in need of fundings for their expeditions, and in exchange would be providing a modicum of security for the commerce and other activities. It was thus all good for everybody. Good exchange of practices.
But very early in life she had known her path was not that one.
Nothing as plain and simple… and boring! one must admit. Her parents would have not, though.
As far as she remembered, she first had a living proof of her potentials when she healed a small bird back to life. A miracle, for the poor thing had been maimed by an rabid chipmog pillaging birds nests for eggs, and throwing the little hatched bird off the branches. Chipmogs were no more evil than the bird she knew that, and their show-offy nature was even a blessing in disguise, as she had been quickly alerted of the incident.
She was four year-old.
Only later did she became aware of how she could best learn to develop her magical potentials. Her parents wouldn’t have let her know about such things as how to become a Grand Sorceress, for they did not really know much about it, and also for it was considered unfitting to her rank. “Simpletons”, she couldn’t help but think.
But the day she became aware of the legendary Island of Mörk, she instantly set her goal to be counted among the best of their Learned Ones, whatever the price for her.
And notwithstanding her relatively young age, she got by her own to the Island, and was trained there too… But then again, it was not as easy, as she rebelled against some of the Laws of Magic passed down by the Teachers, Laws that were thick and dry as a century old grimorium full of abstruse formulæ.
Hopefully, she ended up with misfits as much she was, her dear sisters Roselÿn and Malvina.
When it was time for them to part on their own adventures, she again surprised many (but not her dear sisters) by stating that she would settle near the Marshes. The legends surrounding this place, as well as the huge potential for practicing healing in one of the most difficult environments were immense incentives for her.
The Teachers had warned her of the immense energy that filtered in these lands, as it was a coordinate point where things had already gone awry in the past. She had almost laughed at them. Of course she was aware, that was all about that. Definitely not for the faint of hearts.
Her companion Andarión, who was in his/her preferred shape a majestic water dragon, as wise as it was a crackpot at times, had been aware of her intentions as soon as they had first met. They had chosen each other quite purposefully, though she was not entirely aware of her role in these discoveries. But undoubtedly he was an asset.JibParticipant
His senses were now hightened and he could feel the multi-layered energy patterns of the cave created by Leörmn. He could feel the connections with Leörmn and that they were part of him as he was part of them too. His foffing aspect just rippled inside the cave and for a few seconds added a green hue in the energy of the cave, rendering it smoother and a green flourishing moss began appearing in some hidden places.
— There is different probable paths for us to follow. Different qualities and different probabilities to emerge
She smiled, looking at him observing her energy. Their energy fields were merged as often when they were together. Their colors were blending, adding new qualities to their expressed focuses in this dimension.
— We are following all of them, beloved, she said grinning. I don’t want to actualize in this particular focus the quickest though I want to lof a little before.
He was seeing Salome’s energy intertwined and blended with all the energy of this dimension. Some more present, some lighter and not so focused in this particular area… she was observing him observing the blueprints also, they were fascinating… a bit different from what he was remembering from his last visit. They had changed them… well he also had changed them. It was a new exploration. From this particular interest in the new qualities added he felt he was creating new focuses to explore these and also new essences decided to fragment and explore differently, again changing the vibrational tone of the dimension… it was a continuous and wondrous process.
— You are the one who introduced them in this dimension, he smiggled cunningly, I feel others are coming now. They find it quite fun and welcoming here.
They both laughed and She grinned slyly.
— Well I’m a Path Opener, you know..
Leo jumped on her right shoulder and wrapped his tail around her neck possessively. He did that little squick she was so fond of.
— Well this way then my precious :>
She saw him shift his attention sideway a little and his energy hue changed, becoming a bit more mustard, the tunnels around them were becoming translucent and he walked through the rocky mount in the direction of the sky blue energy of their beloved friend Malvina.
— You know they are disappearing on this island of Tikfijikoo where I was just before. I think they found the invasion of their habitat by humans no longer funny. Lots of them have already popped into another reality for their kind… It takes some adjustment to refocus and reconfigure the energy, but it seems to go smoothly, as Leo being here is proof.
— Yes, as lots of old species on Earth ware doing. The relocation process is a bit energetically crowded, in a manner of speaking…
Georges was finding usage of words in that dimension a bit uneasy. That ware was such an example of how language needed rearrangement when they talked about simultaneous events in both past and present. At least, he knew Salome was understanding beyond the words.
Salome smiled and envisioned Georges and herself bathed into a field of fluid mulberry jelly colour, and around them some of the particles floating haphazardly around started to gather orbiting in rippling circles around them.
Salome was remembering an undulating shape too that she could use as a tuning fork, and she added it inside the central circle.
— Oh, you’re right…
« the translation device ! » they both said simultaneously, bursting into laughter.
— I always tend to forget about that funny toy Malvina once explained to me. And you know how much I love to play with it… when I remember it, of course…
Leo started to applaud frantically at the new light quality of the energy.
Arona, my dear, I have a gift for you. A story.
Oh, I don’t think I have time for stories, but thanks anyway, said Arona, anxious to get going.
Once there were several people standing around a lake in which the full moon was reflected. They discussed the reflection. One person said it was an egg, another said “No, someone must have drowned, it is a bald head”. “Rubbish” said another, “clearly it is a balloon in the water.” One thought the moon was yellow, another thought the reflection of the moon was very emotional. Someone else thought it was soft. Why they had quite a discussion about the reflection of the moon and each one had a separate and disparate view of things. Of course they did, they were looking at it from different perspectives. All were looking at the reflection and not the the moon itself shining in the sky.
Lucille, undeterred, continued; That’s the best any of us can do, is offer our own perspective. But it is just a point of view. Don’t you worry about who others think you are, unless that’s what you choose also. You be free. You trust yourself Arona and you will shine brightly like the moon.
I understand, said Arona, as the flork cried out again, with incredible and stunning synchronistic timing. And she did, although she really did think Lucille had got a bit garbled in the telling of it, yet she did get the gist of the unusual little story. And after all, she realised, her own perception of Lucille had changed rather dramatically since that first encounter. Why, now she seemed like quite a sweetie, and really quite profound, in a complicated way. How very odd
About time you woke up, came a familiar grumpy voice from behind a pile of logs. Mandrake emerged. And I don’t have fur balls, he added, haughtily.
Mandrake, thank God! Arona had been a little concerned that , given the amount of time presumably had passed, Mandrake may no longer be with them. Tactfully she kept this to herself, given Mandrake’s especially truculent mood.
Please tell me what happened now, she said to Vincentius. I think I am ready to hear.
Vincentius looked uncertain, sighed , but agreed to tell her the tale. Afterwards, Arona was silent for quite some time. She stared thoughtfully at the fire, mesmerised by the dancing flames, gently stroking Mandrakes silky black coat.
Oh bugger, she said eventually and stood up decisively. I really think I have to go and see that old lizardy croney woman, and without delay.
I wish you wouldn’t, but I do understand, said Vincentius sadly.
I don’t understand, said Mandrake crossly, twitching his tail impatiently and narrowing his green eyes
Thank you so much for caring for him, she said to Vincentius and gave him a huge hug.
On the way out of the cave she ran into Leormn.
Oh, she said, Vincentius said you allowed us to use the room. Thank you so much. And she kissed Leormn on what she thought would be his cheek, however, a little unsure of Dragon anatomy, it may have been technically a snout or something.
Arona walked rapidly for several hours, trying to concentrate on the directions given to her by Vincentius and hoping that she was headed in the right direction. Eventually she started to tire and her determination faded. She sat down on a rock and closed her eyes. Her shoulders slumped in weariness and she despondently wished she was back in the cave with the others. She felt deeply sad.
And is this something you really must face? asked a kindly voice in her head.
I have no idea really, she answered despairingly. I don’t know. I mean I thought I knew. I thought if I didn’t then I would always be in fear. When I looked into the flames of the fire it all seemed clear. I needed to understand and face it, I thought anyway….
hmmm, said the voice. Well the best advice I can give you is to trust yourself.
Arona opened her eyes and saw, to her surprise, a small cottage in the distance. Why, I don’t remember that cottage being there a moment ago, she thought. It looks just as Vincentius described. How remarkable. I was closer than I thought! Her spirits rose.
Outside the cottage the old crone was bent over, digging in a small vegetable plot. A basket of cabbages sat by her side. She stood up at Arona’s approach, wiping the dirt from her gnarly hands on her apron.
I have come to get some answers from you, said Arona, firmly crossing her arms and ignoring the outstretched hand.
Alright little one, Lucille said soflty. Why don’t you go and wait in the orchard. I will go and fix us a nice, cool drink of lemonade.
The orchard was full of old fruit trees, their twisted trunks reminded Arona of Lucille herself. From one of the trees hung an old swing. Arona sat on it, holding the rope, and gently rocked herself back and forwards, thinking. She had to admit, she was, quite frankly puzzled. The visit so far wasn’t going as expected.
She kept rocking, faster now.
She hit her heels into the hard earth again and again.
I don’t know. She tried to dig these words into the earth with her heels.
Then she sidestepped her feet in crab-like movements in diminishing circles. The ropes of the swing twisted tighter and tighter.
Arona leant backwards and stuck her legs out straight in front of her. The ropes unwound and sent her spinning. weeeeeeeeeeee hoooooooooooooooo!
She looked up into the sky. Blue sky through the trees with racing spinning clouds. She felt dizzy.
She stood up and braced herself against the seat of the swing. She held onto the ropes and pushed hard against the seat beneath her. She bent her knees under the swing. She kicked her feet forwards.
She wanted to go higher. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them outwards. She stretched her body backwards and arched her back.
I don’t know, she whispered.
She sat upright. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them as hard as she could. She leant her body backwards. She stretched as far as she could. On the rebound her heels hit the ground hard, but still she wanted to keep going higher and higher.
I DON’T KNOW! she shouted, as loudly as she could.
Lucille returned with the lemonade.
How do I know if it is safe to drink this? Arona asked. You have cast one spell on me, how am I to know this is not another?
Okay, well that makes good sense, thought Arona, gratefully drinking the lemonade.
November 9 th
For Yurick, or perhaps shall we say, The Artist Formerly Known As Quintin this sequence of sequence of 911 has the signification of a reminder to be paying attention to self, and being present to himself.
The last few days have been, in appearance, quite devoid of exciting new installments of the story, yet, we nudge him not to judge this lack of activity on his part as categorically as he has been used to do. It was a time of self-retreat, a time we have shared with many other essences, as all is connected.
A very fine point which has been brought forth by Elias a few days ago (in Yurick’s perception of time) has been that you want to appreciate the process. His illustration was that of a beautiful flower bud that you hold, and that you don’t want to tear open, but rather let itself reveal its splendor, and also, its surprises.
It has prompted Yurick to remember something, which had lots of meaning to him.
Some years ago, when he was in Kyoto’s forests, he picked up an acorn, as he liked to have seeds or tree corns in his pockets. Back from his trip, in his home, there was this big pot of earth were an old plant had died from the summer heat, and he planted the acorn in it.
And he waited. Till he had to move, some months later, having renounced to have the acorn grow at all, as the soil’s surface was remaining desperately flat. Perhaps it had rotten altogether. Before leaving the apartment, Yurick started to rummage with his bare hands into the soil, to look for the remains of the acorn he believed had rotten, only to find it perfectly healthy. And even more, it had grown lots of long roots.
So he took it back home, where it was planted and still continues to grow at a rapid rate.
Looking at the now big sapling reminds Yurick how that process of growing roots was important for the plant, as they were essential for the oak to be able to survive the winters colds and the summers heats.
Such is the importance of these moments were inspiration seem to be scarce, or away. It is ever present, growing its roots very carefully inside the soil of your being, and expanding your connexions, redefining some, bringing new nourishments to yourself… The effects are not always immediately visible, but things never cease to move.
Be prepared to be amazed by the colors of the flowers and leaves your seed produces, for as Yurick’s oak was an unusual kind of oak (a chestnut oak ), the very seeds that are in your pockets or waiting in the soils of your dream gardens may reveal their own surprises…
Crap luxury yacht link, F, can’t click on it!
just kidding! I love it! Can I float down with you, I may need to remember this myself over the coming fortnight
Dory stuck three nicotine patches in a neat row along her thigh, and rubbed them to make sure they were properly stuck. She would be glad when the era of medical suggestibility was over. I really must remember to practice out of body travel, she thought, as she always thought when she had to travel by conventional means.
The sight of white ferret streaking through the airport lounge interrupted her grumbling.
— The legend of Mævel — (Part VII)
Today was the Day of the Forgotten. Mævel had slept well, nestled into the soft and warm depth of her dreams, her head resting on the short blue fur of the fox.
In sharp contrast with the lovely night, she awoke strangely irritated. Even the birds songs were like noise to her ears, and every sound of the forest she heard with acute intensity and a sense of being submerged by many sensory inputs.
Hopefully, the blue fox voice was still very comforting, and she started to wonder how they could come across a Forgotten One in need.
— I think I know where we can find some Forgotten One in need.
— Where? asked Mævel
The fox paused, then answered her question:
— Near your human parents’ home.
Mævel was surprised. She trusted the fox, and never had really questioned him, because more than that she trusted her own feelings, but now her feelings were telling her that there was something the fox had not told her. Or had told her partially. She was silent, pondering the unseen implications.
— Mæ, I’ll try my best to answer your questions, but remember I cannot tell you everything. I can help you remember some things, but there are things that my curse does not allow me to reveal. You have to find them by your own, in order to free us…
— Free us? I thought you were the one Cursed?…
— Yes I am, and…
— How do you know my parent’s home? How much do you know about me?
— I know you since you are a baby actually. And even before…
— Before? I don’t understand a thing… I feel there are some unseen links, that I cannot decipher, yet they are so close to…
— You’re right, there are links, links that are important, and that I cannot reveal.
— Why can’t you reveal them?
— Let’s go to your human parent’s home…
— Why do you always say my human parents?
The fox blew in front of him, creating a wobbling sound into the air in the form of a ring large enough for them to go through it. And he hopped inside, disappearing in mid-air.
Mævel was perplexed, but did not hesitate. She hopped too into the watery ring in front of her and found herself falling into a void, to reemerge on a bed of dry leaves in front of her parent’s home. Blohmrik the blue fox was seated in front of her, observing a shadowy form at a distance in front of them.
— Is that the Forgotten One we will help?
— Why do you need me? You could help her, couldn’t you?
— She wouldn’t see me, Forgotten Ones are usually obsessed by a few people, those who they feel can remember them, and don’t usually see other people. Their perception is quite different than ours.
— Hang on a minute… Why do you think she will see me?
— We are linked.
It was more an affirmation than a question.
Mævel wondered who that shadowy figure was. When she focused on her, the form was getting more solid, and she could catch glimpses of how she looked like. And she was surprised. She was about her age, with long blond hair as hers.
Mævel’s voice was broken:
— My parents had told me I was about to die when I was a baby, then by a sort of miracle, I became healthy… Was that true?… I mean… Was that a gentle way of telling me that I had a twin who died or…
— No, Mæ. She is not you. She is not linked to you by blood. You can talk to her, she will listen to you.
So Mævel went to see the shadowy figure. She had stopped wandering and trying to find an opening around the house, for there were none for spirits: all openings were locked by stripes of red cloth hung onto the doors and windows.
Mævel felt the pain of the Forgotten One as she approached her.
— Who are you? she suddenly asked Mævel, raising her head at her approach.
— I am Mævel.
— Mævel… It means marvel of Maÿ… I was born in Maÿ…
— What are you doing here?
— This is my parents’ home.
— How is that possible?
— Twenty one year ago, I was taken away from them, given to Shaint Lejüs in place of a fairy princess. But Shaint Lejüs was no fool, he had sent his apprentice to spy on the fairy king.
— Yes, Blohmrik… But Blohmrik disobeyed the Elder God, and when he saw the exchange that was about to happen, he let it happen. He wanted to protect the fairy princess from his master. Because Shaint Lejüs wanted the princess as a bride. Ahahaha, how disappointed Lejüs was when he saw that I could not perform the most basic magic spells. I was good at nothing, so he let me go wandering into his Realm. He’d just thought the half-fairy princess had inherited no magic from her father.
— How do you know all that?
— I told her, the blue fox said. I was hoping to bring her relief. But she started to look for her parents, and Lejüs discovered the truth… Because she was not looking for a fairy king. She was heading here, year after year.
— That’s the reason of your curse, is it?
— Yes. She can’t see me because I was Forgotten too, in that form of a blue fox. But as Forgotten Ones don’t forget, I didn’t forget. I couldn’t tell her, because she couldn’t see me.
— So, I am that fairy princess you are talking about… that strange idea was starting to dawn on Mævel.
— Yes. When Lejüs discovered who you were, he wasn’t interested in you any longer, because he thought your magical potential had been irremediably damaged by all those years spent in human company.
— Who are you talking to? the shadowy figure asked, bemused.
— Blohmrik, he is here. But it’s untrue, Mævel said, there is magic in me.
— Yes there is, answered the blue fox, and you can undo what has been done with it.
Mævel remembered the useless key she had manifested when she had tried to go out of her human parents’ house. She had not even looked at it closely.
— You can manifest it again Mæ, said the fox. It is with you. You are its lock.
And no sooner had Mævel thought of the big rusted key, than it appeared in her hand again. But this time the rust on it was crackled, and it started to disintegrate, and a brilliant shiny metal started to show beneath it.
Scratching what was left of the rust, Mævel started to look at the beautiful key, it was shaped as a musical note, and it had some word written on it, in an ancient language she didn’t know how to read. But she knew the sound when she ran her finger on the surface of the word.
« Araoni »
That was her. She was remembering, and everything started to change.
The wedding of the God Blohmrik, son of Mirÿnda, Goddess of Mirth and of Bälias, God of the Sparkles with Araoni, daughter of the Fairy Queen Theÿa and the Fairy King Aldurion was pronounced on a bright day of Maÿ, in a beautiful orchard in the presence of Araoni’s human parents and sisters and brothers.
Even Lejüs had been invited, even though he would have preferred to be Forgotten…
And so my story ends… said Captain Bone to Tomkin.
— And was the shadow remembered by her true parents? had asked Tomkin.
— Oh, yes she was… Of course. She just didn’t want to steal the limelight from Mævel, you see. Her parents were happy of course to find back their true daughter.
— You didn’t tell me the name of the true daughter, did you?
— No, I didn’t, said Captain Bone with a wink.
Finn felt the time had come to call a meeting.
She closed her eyes and waited to see which of the others would appear.
Yuni1 arrived first. Yuni had first arrived in her meditations about a year ago, a playful, mischievous character, gnomelike, who nonetheless had always given her very wise and practical advise. Armelle the wise Owl appeared next, silently, her loving energy enveloping Finn. The Indian also appeared. Finn did not know the Indian’s name, she called him White Feather and she was pleased to see him there, having not seen him for some time. A playful Lemur came bounding over. There were several other energies present and Finn knew they would make their identity known if needed, but she could feel their support.
I have been feeling quite heavy for several months now and it has been becoming more intense. I am tired of it. It’s as though I am wearing the cloak of heaviness again. I don’t understand it, and I don’t know how to take it off, Finn announced to the assembled group.
I want to know if you can help me?
White Feather had been whittling a piece of wood. He handed it to Finn. It was a staff. This symbolises powerful magic, he told her.
Finn felt herself withdraw, not wanting to cause offense and reject the gift, yet not feeling worthy.
This is your decision, said White Feather
Do you remember the boxes you made as a child? asked Armelle
Finn nodded. It was one of the games she had loved to play with her older sister, transforming old cardboard boxes into designer rooms. They would painstakingly and lovingly decorate the interiors to create new worlds. Once the rooms were created they may play with them for a few minutes, but would pretty soon be onto the next one, it was the creating they loved.
Cast your mind back a few years, Armelle said. What were the things you wanted then?
Finn cast her mind back.
You have it all don’t you, said Armelle gently.
Yes I do, said Finn. Everything I wanted I have in my life.
You have created powerfully Finn.
Why do I feel so heavy? I suppose because what I thought I wanted has changed and I am trying to still keep it the same. Finn wanted to cry.
I don’t really know what I want anymore though.
What do you know? asked Armelle
I know how I want to feel.
Finn was on a raft, floating downstream. She closed her eyes and decided to let the river take her where it will.
1Finn had tried to spell Yuni’s name as Uni initially, interpreting him to be symbolic of one of the “faeries of the Universe”, however Yuni had been adamant that was not the correct spelling. When Finn looked up Yuni only meaning she could find was “man from Iunu”.
2 The “Faith Document” was like a legal document Yuni gave Finn to sign, indicating that whatever happened she would keep trusting. Finn was surprised to note when she looked up in her records that this was November 1 st, exactly a year ago.
Mmmm, Captain,… isn’t that legend a bit long-winded? Tomkin had asked to Captain Bone.
It had been six nights now that the Captain had told bits of that legend to Tomkin, and even if it was entertaining, Tomkin was more and more impatient to get back to meatier stuff, like galleons full of ancient magical treasures, corsairs from the Warring Kingdoms coasts, strange unknown races from far-off lands… that would be more mouth-watering than this endless legend…
Captain Bone had laughed.
— Aaaaah, Tomkin… of course you know I like to tell long stories, and make them longer each time I recall them, but you see, there is also a point in all of that adventure. Mævel’s story is also the story of all of us in a way. Of course, I could tell you how it ends, but in a way it never really ends. More important is for you to see it unfold and that you appreciate the unfolding. The ending is not important in a way. Each and every time this story is recalled, it is different, because it adapts to what is happening right now. Do you see?
— So what is the point of telling me that story? It was supposed to tell me something about this strange knotted object, but I don’t see any link.
— Ahahahaha, the point is precisely that Tomkin. I am telling you my story, but this object makes you hear your own story through my words.
Now, Tomkin Sharple was squatting on the sand near the bonfire lit by Badul’s crew, and he was recalling the words from the Captain. At that time, when he didn’t know a thing about that strange magical object, he had not understood a thing of what the Captain had said.
But now, it started to make sense, some sense at least. Each time the Captain had told him bits of the legend, Tomkin had been fidgeting the strange object, making the Captain smile. Perhaps the object’s magic was not only acting as a translation device…
There was something more about it. He was no longer sure that the Captain’s story had been what he was recalling. Perhaps it was completely different, and he had translated it…
Still, the object had apparently helped him understand what Badul and his men wanted, so it was translating truthfully. But what was a faithful translation?
Then, a flash came into Tomkin’s mind. The Captain had given the object to him. He’d said it was about connections. Being connected.
Till then, Tomkin had been the only one to touch it. He had not even revealed the source of his gift to Badul.
But in the Captain’s case, both of them had been touching it. In sharing that link, they had extended trust to each other, and somehow, they had been mirrors for each other. Perhaps that was what Captain Bone meant when he said that Tomkin was hearing his own story through the Captain’s words.
Tomkin laid down on the warm sand, looking at the clear starry night.
— The legend of Mævel — (Part VI)
Inside the warm burrow, Mævel found a bed of dry leaves and tender moss. She could see some light from the moon, coming through holes in the ground, which were bringing in some fresh air too. Cuddling comfortably into the makeshift bed, she started to sleep peacefully, waiting for her friend the blue fox to come back.
Half-asleep on the beach, Tomkin was wondering… What had happened the next morning… This was fuzzy in this memory, as if the events were moving and reorganising themselves. All that he remember was that Mævel had met the blue fox, but there were myriads of possible events, and all of them were possible, dancing now in front of him.
He could chose any of them… But, would that make the story the same?
Then he recalled that it was his own story… So why make it difficult then…
The voice of Captain Bone was resounding in his ear “You find value in hardships, and value is important to you and our kind. In these lands full of magic, we could just do anything, but somehow you’ll find that rare are the people who constantly use magic. Because when magic is used to make things happen instantaneously, it shifts everything around it to accommodate the changes asked by the summoner of the magic. And it can be overwhelming when too big are the differences between the too states, as we are accustomed to live within a continuity. That’s why I tell you to enjoy the ride of that legend.
Think of it… You could be Emperor of all Lands if you knew how to use magic for such a feat. But would you do that instantaneously? Slim chances. You wouldn’t know how to behave as an Emperor, and on top of that, you probably would find the new aspect of you who is an Emperor to be overwhelming to your present aspect of little Tomkin.”
— Oh, really? Mævel was saying
— Yes, I was a bit of a fool… the blue fox was telling her. But, the silver lining is that there is a way to counteract the curse. But I will need your help again, if you want.
— I want to help you.
— Fine. You know about Shaint Lejüs Festival?
— Mmm, yes, my parents told me about that. It’s the Day of the Forgotten, isn’t it?
— and of the Accursed Ones.
— That special day of the year, the Gates of Lejüs’ Realm are opened and Forgotten and Accursed Ones are given a chance to be Remembered or Graced.
— Every year? Why then aren’t all of them Remembered?
— Mostly because the Living Ones dread this day. They are the only ones to be able to free the Demanders, and they quickly felt haunted by the Demanders. So they did rituals to keep the Demanders away from them, as certainly your human parents did.
— Yes, I remember now…
— There is another reason actually. Forgotten Ones can only be Remembered when they recover their true name, and only a strong bond like love or some potent magic can force it out of Lejüs’ graps.
— And Accursed Ones?
— For them to be Graced, they need to do one pure act of altruism.
— A simple act?
— Don’t be fooled, it’s not as simple as it seems. See, I tried to rescue a woman who was drowning herself into the river, but that hunter thought I was attacking her… The fact was that she was willing to be Forgotten, and that my act was not purely altruistic.
— How so? You probably saved her life?
— Yes, but that was not what she wanted, and when she cried that I let go of her, I only wanted her out of the waters, because of me…
— I understand. And how can I help?
— One altruistic act for me would be to help a Forgotten One to be Remembered. That’s what they ask for, but it’s difficult for them to get past the barriers of the Living Ones.
— Shaint Lejüs Festival is tomorrow…
— Yes, have as much rest as you need, Mæ. We will see tomorrow what will occur…
On Mount Elok’ram, the old abbot Hrih Chokyam Lin’potshee was gardening.
Despite his old age, and his being at the head of the Monastery, Hrih Chokyam was always doing his hour of gardening with great application and talent, as was asked to everyone, from the youngest to the oldest monks studying here.
The Monastery was a place of healing and teaching, dedicated to Margilonia, the Elder Goddess thought to have created the Earths. As a matter of fact, gardening was the simplest —yet most effective— way to fully appreciate the grandness and the interconnectedness of the whole of creation.
Hrih Chokyam remembered when he was a little child in the vast fertile plateaus in the Eastern part of Dam Adbor, bordering the high mountains. He had always loved the mountains, better than the plains, or the towns where the wars and plots were fomented endlessly. So he was wandering many times in the mountains, to collect herbs and also just for the fun and exhilaration of climbing higher and higher, and seeing the world as a small thing that could be placed into his hands.
His parents had wanted him to become a farmer, but some wealthy neighbours had thought he was showing signs of being able to do much better, and even proposed to have him pursue a career in the administration of Dam Adbor’s capital.
Young Hrih had considered the proposition for some time, and one day, went deep into the mountains to make his decision.
There he’d got this powerful connection with an enveloping warm manifestation of Margilonia, who prompted him to go higher than anyone had ever been on the top of the mountains, were a natural point of great potential magical energy was. Here, she had conveyed to him, he would have a monastery built, a perfectly clear channel for this yet untaped magical energy.
Ninety nine years ago that was.
Hrih had been higher than any human had ever been, in the search of this point, knowing he would feel it resonate with him. The mountains, he had learned were not as empty as humans had thought, and there were many other kinds of sentient beings living here, far from the wars below.
Interestingly, assisted by these magical sentient creatures and Margilonia’s energies, building the structure had been easy. He had never thought harnessing magic would be that easy, perhaps just because the traveling magicians coming at times in the village to do some healing or just funfair exhibitions were making that very difficult, and requiring lots of training.
The truth was, magic was everywhere, only people had become blind to it, or just lazy to use it. But old Hrih, even if his eyes were not as sharp as they used to be, could see it clear as day. Magic was in everything. Especially in one’s own very existence.
That was the first of the things people coming to learn in the monastery had to understand. Deceptively simple, yet the most difficult lesson for many of them. He had to admit, he had struggled quite a bit with it too, during the endless wandering into the vast mountains. But there had always been a root to eat, or some fresh mushrooms or eggs apparently left here just for him… He laughed now, thinking of it.
Hrih’s life had been so fulfilling. He knew he was weak now, and would not see the springing season, and he was thinking he had to choose someone to take care of the monastery. Few people went to stay here, for as they had learned and applied what was to learn, their own passion was coming back to them, and they would not need to stay any longer.
But a few days ago, a young one had come, announced to old Hrih by a singing rosy finch.
As usual, all was provided when things were ready for it.
Hrih had no doubt that the hesitant young man would be the next one to hold the title of Lin’potshee, or “Precious Elder”.JibParticipant
The mummy was having some difficulties to see through the bandages… and the dim light wasn’t helping either… the colors were weird too.. the quality of the air seemed different too… everything seemed different.
Who was she? Was she a she? She had difficulties to remember too.
November, 1 st 2057
Sean took another glass of scotch to give him some courage to call.
— It’s your twelfth now, that’s supposed to give you courage
— Oh, Maggie, my live is such a mess…
— It’s not, and you know it. Look at all our beautiful children, and Becky who went through so much just out of love for you…
Sean didn’t know whether he was actually seeing the ghost of his deceased wife, or a projection of her, still alive in another part of the Universe, but she always had been a comforting presence.
He had started to see her a few months after her disappearance.
Yes, during that T.R.A.P. expedition, yeah, “live-changing experience” they had said… True, too true… Perhaps the electromagnetic field had messed up with his brains, but now he could see her clear as day.
That had been a bit freaky in the beginning, and when they made love with Becky, he was a bit anxious to see her appear not invited. But Margaret had been discrete, well mostly. At times, he wondered if she had not sneaked into the bedroom and merged her energies with Becky’s, just to be closer to him… Becky’s acts did not always make sense anyway, so that was hardly a criterion to judge of that.
All his live had been like that. A jumble of incoherent stuff. Oh, he had enjoyed it, especially at the beginning. His father Lord Wrick was obsessed with the Shift, and had found some ancient knowledge in his youth. Mostly rubbish by nowadays standards, bunches of rotten books of prophecies handed down to a few chosen ones, who were supposed to be forewarned of doom to come. Now, they knew that they were only a wake up call, but at that time, it was another thing altogether.
Of course, the wealth accumulated over the centuries by the Wrick family had been helpful to access these precious archaeological documents. A few of them had played a key role.
For instance, the in-extenso Life and Deeds of Lord Gustard Willoughby Fergusson, a rare version of the diary of Lord Fergusson, annotated by his daughter, Illi, was telling an account of history much different than the one romanced after his death by his wife Floribunda von Grott.
Thanks to it, Lord Wrick had been able to acquire some inkling as to ancient treasures. Old fool…
It had killed his wife, Artemisia, devastated by the madness of her husband, and it had alienated the other part of the family too.
But all that counted was to make the discoveries, and perhaps enlight the masses.
Sean had never really forgave his father that he wanted to utilise Margaret and have her fit into his plans of grandeur. Of course, his father had willingly accepted the union, and despite all appearances (for the sake of those rapacious journalists) he had even pushed Sean to do it quickly. But all he was really interested in was her precious discoveries.
— Oh, but I was not innocent, Sean
— I know Maggie, you were obsessed by what we could offer to you, especially when you read about the botanical experiments in the deserts, which were related in that old book. But still…
— We all had grown up through that, you know…
— Yes, and what showed me that, was that I was concerned that the old vampire would suck my own children into his web, but Peregrine was too free for that, and Guinevere preferred to live her live outside of this madness too.
— Becky had a good influence. Do me a favour, be kind to her.
— You know what?… Yes of course you’d know,… but let me tell you, so that we can laugh together… I found myself really happy and free when I stole the two magical books out of the Old Fool’s clutch. God knows how he acquired them, but one thing was sure, he was obsessed with them. I couldn’t get the mummy, but the books were a great take.
— And a funny idea to give them to your cousin…
— Yes, Dorean was the perfect person. I couldn’t leave them anywhere, my father would have found them again. At least he wasn’t in good terms with his brother and sister-in-law, so they were safe in their care. And at least, they were more grounded than my father, the perfect keepers for the books… I’m wondering what happened to them…
— That will upset you, but Perry’s twins got them.
— Oh really?
— Yes, and they are having fun with them, as was intended.
— That’s fine then, and we are less obsessed now than we were before, so I guess my father isn’t as much as a pain in the butt as he was…
— You father meant good
— Yes, like everyone, but why can’t we leave people alone at times? People can sort out their issues without the commiseration, and the good intentions… It’s poison even worse… Like I can drink and still be healthy, and nice, and…
Sean started to sob.
— I know, darling, but you’re as much of a sore as your father was… You focus so much on what’s not going right, and you don’t even appreciate that you can talk with your departed wife… That was nothing as easy in the old days.
— Do you think my father talks with mum to?
— I think he would be too proud to admit he is sorry… That may hinder the communication… But Arty wouldn’t bear grudge now. When we let go of the physical, things become so clear, we can only be accepting of everything. Perhaps you prefer to wait for your father to cross over? I can tell you something, that won’t be easier. That much I know.
— You’re right. It’s just that I don’t know how to start…
— Be yourself, talk about what you enjoy, where is your passion now… Perhaps that is the problem. You’re drowning your passion in your scotch.
— You’re right… I’ll tell him Léan will have a baby.
— Oh, he’ll love it!
— How time flies… sighed Sean, I still remember the little sweetie as a blue-eyed laughing baby herself, with Oliver and Illana. She was the only one of the triplet to have inherited her mother’s dark complexion. She’s so beautiful…
— Let’s call your father darling
— Yes, let’s call him.
Lord Wrick had not expected to received that call. Well, he had renounced it so long ago.
He had been a bit shaken, but also relieved. He had proposed, on an impulse, to invite that whole part of the family he barely knew, Sean’s new partner, and all their children for next Christmas in the castle. Sean had told him they would probably come with Becky but that the children were now having their own lives, and it would have to be for another time.
That probably would come perfectly, as ever, as the Lord could tell India Louise loved to spend time with the painter. Perhaps she would become an artist too…
George laughed pleasantly and said, But of course, I understand! Just be remembering, he added with a twinkle, That I am always available. And I have the ‘whole book’ in my carpet bag.
She also wondered if she should get changed before she met the others. Al had said he liked her new dress and then winked at her. What did that mean? Winks always made her a bit uneasy. They were so ambiguous.
Oh that’s right, she could configure it anyway she chose she remembered. So she spent a few happy minutes remembering how fantastic she looked, like a supermodel actually.
She would give the gift voucher to Sam for his birthday now Becky didn’t need it, she decided. No matter his birthday was months ago, she was always late with birthday gifts and preferred to do things on impluse. Not that Sam had any hair issues that she knew of, she just thought he would enjoy meeting Hari.
She thought how great life was. Really it was all just about having fun. She felt so much easier with the play they were writing too, no longer concerned she could not follow the plots, plots? what a funny word to use, of the others, content just to follow her own unique path.
— The legend of Mævel — (Part III)
When the blue fox had disappeared, deep into the woods, Mævel was left wondering if all of that had only been a dream. Perhaps it was just a dream, and something that would make her parents raise their shoulders in dismay.
Especially since she had lost their gift carelessly they would say, the little pearl white ribbon…
She picked up the clothes that were left hanging to dry up in the wind, and came back to the little house.
Of course, her father Jorg noticed that she was not wearing the ribbon, but he was not much of a question asker, and things were or were not, and analyzing them was unnecessary for him. But of course, Ilga noticed it too, and she felt sad for poor Jorg who had endured so many sacrifices to buy the little ribbon that Mævel was no longer wearing. She wanted an explanation! Was it no longer to Mævel’s tastes, had Mævel lost it?
So Mævel, who could not lie to anybody, told them her encounter with Blohmrik, the cursed god in the woods, in the shape of a wounded blue fox… and at each of her words, was seeing their faces more and more disconcerted.
Their poor girl, who was already so different, had completely lost it,… ribbon and all that was left of common sense in her.
So they locked her up in the bedroom, that she was now occupying alone, as all of her brothers and sisters had left. Just to save her from herself, and see if that would help her gain some more solid sense of reality.
Mævel understood her parents, but she was deeply contrite that they could not understand what she had lived. Mævel was still doubting the reality of her meeting the blue fox, so she asked for some sign from the Gods before going to sleep, to see clearly.
That night, Mævel dreamt of a dark-haired young man with a white diadem1 around his head, dressed in a cerulean blue tunic and wearing a sword. He was enshrouded in a warm light and as she took the hand he was extending, they were carried away by a springing scented wind into a meadow of multicoloured flowers, some of which she had not even known could exist. She had felt at home.
When she woke up, in the middle of the night, Mævel was transfixed by the beautiful soothing dream. She could not remember much more, but he had told her something. That there was deep magic in her, and it would help her find her true home, but that she would have to gain back her true name from the Elder God who had took it from her.
She quickly took her decision. She knew she had to search for the blue fox in the forest. But how could she escape the locked bedroom? She was starting to feel desperate again, but she remembered that there was some magic in her, and how she had felt it deeply true in her dream.
As she was focusing on the warm expanding feeling of her dream, an old rusty key materialized in her hand.
1diadem: [ ˈdī-ə-ˌdem (dəm) ] from Greek diadēma, from diadein to bind around; akin to Sanskrit dāman rope — was originally a white ribbon, ending in a knot and two strips that were placed often on the shoulders, that surrounded the head of the king to denote his authority.
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