Author Archives: Sha'Tara

About Sha'Tara

Reticence rules. I don't like talking about myself. Cosmic in awareness, I live for challenges to everything I believe, or think I know. I suppose my main focus is on the philosophy of social issues. I think that every problem is an invitation to all of us to work out the solution, and I believe that no problem exists that does not contain a solution within itself. All we are asked to do is unravel it. Life is like a Rubik's Cube. There is a solution, it's just a willingness to work at it until it emerges. On another note to all who read this, and read my posts: if you find anything there that you find interesting, or useful, feel free to copy, paste and use in your own works. Nothing is copyrighted, by choice. Ideas must be free or man is doomed to remain a slave forever.

The Sea, The Individual

[voice from the Other Side – Sha’Tara]

It is difficult to express a new thought about the sea. The sea has
fascinated mankind since… when? Since “man” became aware and realized the
sea was where he’d evolved from? Or since the day the created human stood
beside it and saw his first storm and his first sunset? I don’t want to
enter into a creation/evolution debate here but the fact remains: most
people are still fascinated by the sea.

I am fascinated by the sea.

The sea is a living being, as alive as you and me. And you can count on her
changing moods. She is charged with emotions. From the standpoint of a
single human life, she is an ancient being. But she remains very much in a
primitive state, for such an entity. She is young, often angry and quite
intolerant of other life forms. If you would exist within her, or on her,
you have to have adapted well to her ways — she does not adapt to yours.
There are no individual drops of water in the sea.

What I find most fascinating about her is her soliloquy. She talks to
herself all the time and one is easily mesmerized by her voice if one
learns to still the internal dialogue and listen. She murmurs, groans,
thunders, roars and rumbles. Rarely does she remain silent. Is there some
special message in that cacophony? Or is it just the discordant cries of
loss and despair from countless drops of water absorbed and disenfranchised
within the tidal flows of that great monster?

There is another sea I tend to sit and listen to, equally frightening,
equally sad. Equally fascinating.

The human sea. The sounds of the great collectives that crash
against one-another, grinding each other, never understanding. Equally as
brutal as the great waves crashing onto the ancient rocks, inexorably eating
away at them. Individuals ground between these monsters seldom realize
themselves as entities that matter or can make a difference. The human
conundrum. They are victims of movements beyond their control, beyond their
strength to move out of their way, let alone master.

Or so they believe because that is how they are programmed to believe.

I read a comment on one of my essays which stated: “I feel so guilty when I
realize what is being done. I wish I was more involved and would do
more…” The implied notion is that this dis-empowered person cannot do
anything, or much. And of course, within the sea that is true. The sea
does not allow individual drops of water to be empowered. She swallows it
all into her great hungering maw, her absorbing oneness. Not for the
benefit of the individuals thus swallowed, but to sate her own blind,
primitive need: mindless power.

From the visions of *Al’Tara:
There will come a time in your future when those of you who remain alive
here (Future lives? Future generations of your loins? Matters not) will
learn the ultimate lesson of the *ISSA being. You will repudiate all of your
institutions, your collectives, your global madness. You will come as
rag-tag individuals, staggering out of the sea to establish your own
personal little place upon the planet. You will see your neighbours’
campfires and you will greet them with only one thought: “Is there something
of mine I could share with you to help you?” All of your desires will be to
help your neighbour, and to bless and honour the world you walk upon.

You will have no laws, no government, no religion, no rich or poor, no
injustice. You will no longer seek to form power groups. Not even families
will matter. Children will roam freely from house to house, learn freely,
mate freely, create new homes freely. Old people will be revered for their
knowledge, wisdom and experience. They will belong to all, your ultimate
riches temporarily held in their frail and failing bodies. When one of them
smiles upon you and your efforts you will know you are being blessed.

There will be, in this distant future, constant rejoicing upon this world.
And man will live at peace with all of nature.

Two things you will no longer experience: guilt and shame. You will know,
individually, through your own awareness and your ability to know yourself
that even though you choose to bear responsibility for everything that
touches you and you should fail in some way, your efforts in the process
are impeccable. Any failure will not carry blame because your desires are
aligned to the greater good, not to personal gain.

It is not what you accomplish that matters but the state of mind you are in
as you seek to do the greater things. The state of mind you are in as you
contemplate your dream, your vision, your quest, the path you have chosen as
an individual, to walk upon. In self-empowerment. In complete detachment.
In compassion.

Let those who claim to have wisdom understand the true meaning of this
vision:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first
earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” [Revelation 21:1
– The Bible]

(*Al’Tara: Mind sharer; alter ego; astral and cosmic traveler)
(*ISSA: intelligent, sentient, self aware)

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The Sword, the Bow and the Staff – Part IV

(Continuing with the story of  “The Garbage Man”.  The title has changed as you can see, likely to change again and my two main characters have changed their names again, as you will also see later.  I find that it’s becoming an intriguing story, and whoever is actually moving the writing is quite a bit of a romantic.  I don’t mind it, actually, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the main story… whatever that’s going to be!!!  Enjoy.)


“Let me go. I will put my sword away.”

Lotharic released her and she slowly, reluctantly, put away her sword. Then she faced him.

“You manipulated my thoughts, twisted my mind, made me act in unnatural ways I would not normally?”

“Incorrect. I did not force you to do anything against your own innate nature. I just gave that nature its freedom to act as it wanted, uninhibited by any social or other mores. I set you free to be yourself, giving you full freedom of choice. You still had the choice to refuse but you never questioned your nature nor my command to inflict the maximum possible pain upon another. I wanted you to experience that, to know yourself, not as what you think you are or what your upbringing and experiences made you, but as what you really are, deep in your human self.”

“I am evil…”

“Yes.

“Do you have any idea how much it hurts that you did that to me; that you made me look there?”

“Again, I only allowed your own innate self to override imposed restrictions and yes, I do know how much it hurts to find these things out. In my case it came in reverse. When I came here so long ago by earth time, I was a pure Allay *(pronounced Ally) without any evil within me. All of us soon realized we could not communicate our selves to your selves. You were evil, we were not. You could not see us as equals but wanted to worship us as angels or divinities. Or you wanted to own us, as your own private source of divine power to draw upon; to empower you in your manifold evil deeds. You could not come to us, we had to go to you. So we accepted your evil natures within ourselves, thinking that we would easily control their effects on our thoughts and deeds. It turned into a terrible, endless contest which two of us lost completely. The “surface” evil of this world, empowered and driven by its intelligent life, overwhelmed us, weakened us, separated us and overcame us.

“Understand our plight. We could not return “home” with this disease inside our minds and risk infecting our own worlds. So we pledged to cleanse ourselves of Earth evil. Two of our number chose to lie about it, pretending to follow through while actually strengthening themselves in that evil. Too late, we discovered the lie. I saved my life by using your world’s twisted murderous ways to escape. I fought like a madman to escape. I became more human than Allay in those days and suffered deeply for it in my heart. I thought I too had fallen until I discovered I could still operate with compassion; that I could control the human darkness within me. I became a desperate wanderer; desperate to survive and desperate to overcome the evil that ceaselessly battered at my mind to give in and poisoned me as it has poisoned all of you.”

“Do you see now? Understand what it means for you to become more powerful than a full-fledged Allaya?”

“Mentally, yes, I’m not stupid. But the means of blending my human nature with that of an Allaya to become something more, that I cannot fathom.”

“Neither can I. I trust in the process, in spiritual evolution, in creativity and ultimately in your own feminine wisdom. I shall do all in my power to assist you in your upcoming difficult choices but you will find me weak and ignorant in many aspects relating to your changes. The operative word for both of us is, this is all new. There is no template available for us to go by. Be prepared to make a great deal of serious mistakes, of backsliding, of inviting despair and hopelessness. You will often hate and despise yourself until you realize you did whatever you did because the situation gave you no other choice. First, we must survive; second, we must find a way to redirect whatever intelligent life we encounter. Finally, we are entering a time when all and sundry will turn against us and the only moments of pleasure we find will be in each other. Therefore it would be good if we committed to each other and bound ourselves to exist as one. Not today, but soon, when you are certain that is also what you desire.”

“How would you describe this binding?”

“Husband and wife; lovers; partners, mind sharers, inseparable regardless of circumstances. The safety of the “other” overrides all, even to violating the highest rules of the Allay. For as of the moment we create this union we will be walking between worlds, neither human nor Allay. Perhaps in time we will find a label that fits us but in the meantime there will be but you and I, us.”

“It seems logical and inevitable, plus you already know I love you in a very physical sense. I’ve wanted you and felt ignored by you for some time now. That has to change if we are to be together. I want to be intimate with you. I will walk away if all you want from me is a student or a fighting partner.”

“I’ve sensed that change in you since yesterday – was it only yesterday? I am ready for it also. Tonight then, let’s come together and bind, physically, mentally and spiritually.”

“Thank you, Lotharic. By the way, I don’t like that name. Would you mind very much if we returned to being Bea and Edgar? That was comfortable.”

“Not at all. I’ve had so many names! Lotharic is a very old name which no longer carries its meaning well. Edgar I am then. What else do you need?”

“A gold ring? … I’m only joking Edgar, what would I need a ring for?”

“Oh but you will need one, and so will I. These tokens are recognized easily and often respected. We must not only be married, but look married, newly married, of course, but still, married. A ring will give you more freedom in market places and streets and certainly among the guard if we find ourselves forced to join up. Have you ever been in the guard?”

“I was forced in once and complied long enough to find a way of escape. I was a guard for about six hours. You?”

“Many times. It was often the only way to travel safely from one city or town to another, or to board a ship to the mainland. Often I served on cruisers searching the coast for pirates.”

“Oh? And?”

“Despite terrible training and poor quality arms we did manage to sink one pirate ship and capture another.”

“And the pirates?”

“They were all hanged, except for the captains who were chained and brought back to the nearest port and publicly burned alive on very slow braziers. They probably regretted the men they had killed and the women they had raped, then killed, and the children they had sold into slavery in those reflexive moments. Anyway, it’s high time we moved on.”

“I was thinking we should drive the sheep back over the tracks they made until we find what remnants there be of the shepherds or any search party should there be one.”

Even without dogs the sheep proved docile and easily driven. They probably sensed they were returning home and were eager to get there. That night, Beanna and Edgar took turns watching over the animals. There were wolves and wild dogs in those lands, Beanna well knew. While she watched over the sheep, her bow remained within an arm’s reach, with her usual count of three arrows loose upon the ground. With her skills and sense of smell she could probably kill or maim an attacker even in the dark. Earlier in the evening the endless cloud cover had finally cleared and the stars shone and twinkled in the clear winter night. There would be moving shadows even from the starlight and she watched for them. She heard the sheep move, getting restless. The sign of a nearby predator. She stood up, bow ready, arrow notched, seeking the telltale shadows. She saw one slowly moving towards a nervous ewe on the outside of the small herd.

Beanna could move like a shadow herself. The breeze brought her the scent of the predator: a wild dog, so there would be others and they would not fear her. She felt for her sword. Satisfied she continued forward, gauging the shadow’s movement, then suddenly, silently, letting the arrow find its target which it inerrantly did. A short, sharp yelp, then more movement from some low shrubs. The rest of the pack. She fired two more arrows in the pack, then with sword drawn, charged, letting out her practised cry of the berserker which always has a damping effect on any attacker. The pack turned towards her and charged also but were no match for the deadly sword. By the time Edgar, awakened by Beanna’s cry, became aware of the attack and joined her with his trusty staff, only a couple of wounded and whining dogs remained alive from a pack of eight. These were swiftly dispatched and the sheep rounded up again and calmed down. As if they knew the danger was past, they settled down to sleep or chew their cud once more.

“You’re making this look too easy, Bea. I guess it’s my turn now. Slip into my sleeping roll, it’s nice and warm. Wish I could join you in it. Maybe tomorrow night?” There was wistfulness in that question and Bea didn’t miss it. She smiled to herself.

“Tomorrow night then, husband.” It thrilled her to say it. Finally there was someone, a man, for her, just for her. However bleak the times, despite the horror of the previous day, this was all her heart could take of happiness at the moment. ‘There’s a time to kill and a time to give life.’ She would find the way for herself to give life. It seemed to her at that moment that someone was whispering in her mind. “Yes” is what she heard and with that, fell into a dreamless sleep.

Much too soon it seemed to Beanna, Edgar woke her up. She smelled wood smoke and heard a crackling fire. It made her feel warm and cosy, but was no help to get her out of her sleeping roll.

“Is all clear then?” She asked sleepily.

“Yes, all seems clear. The sheep are beginning to stir and look to foraging. I lit a fire for warmth before we head up into the hills. Are you getting up?”

“I don’t know. It’s so cosy in here, could you not join me, maybe for an hour? With the fire we can undress without freezing. I need you, Edgar. I need your closeness to tell me I’m not making a terrible mistake in this new direction my life is being pushed in. Give me, give us, one hour? My love for you is hurting me. I’ve never felt this before. I need a resolve.”

Edgar, standing a few feet away, was observing her as he leaned on his staff. He was faced with several responsibilities and he could not satisfy them all. Which was the most important? He realized the question was moot. Beanna’s desires and needs overrode the others. If the sheep wandered off some, they could be rounded up again, and really they weren’t entirely their responsibility. He carefully surveyed the land again to make sure they would not be surprised in their folly, then satisfied, he undressed himself. Beanna jumped out of the roll and running to the fire, did the same. Naked, throbbing with desire, they slipped into the sleeping roll and indulged themselves with complete abandon. Beanna cried loudly, once, then settled into Edgar’s muscular, light-skinned body. They smelled of road dust, sweat and sheep but neither minded. Their thoughts were completely taken by their mutual amazement at the pleasure they could give one-another. Thus truly began Beanna’s new life. As she lay against Edgar’s chest listening to his heartbeat, and as he gently fondled her breasts and twisted her nipples she knew this wasn’t just a moment of lust that needed sating. This was the coming together of two individuals into a powerful oneness. She understood in a form of thought unfamiliar to her that she had voluntarily entered into an eternal bonding. And, it felt totally right.

They made love once more, slower this time, more deliberately, taking time to feel each other. Then they got up to resume their wandering life, now as a real couple.

They ate a spare breakfast, careful of their food reserves not knowing what came next. The fire extinguished and the burned twigs scattered, they got the sheep moving again and walked behind them since they knew the way and were still eager to return home.

Beanna wandered over to Edgar and took his large hand in her tiny one. She leaned happily into him and let his strength hold her as they walked. She wanted to talk, to say a millions things, scattered and milling thoughts in her head like a swarm of black flies, but realized to her surprise that she felt suddenly shy. She walked along wondering about that strange feeling; she was not one to every feel shy about anything being a normally ebullient extrovert. She heard herself say, to no one in particular,

“I belong. I belong! I, Beanna, am needed, wanted and desired! I exist for another.”

“Yes you do, yes you are.” Edgar wrapped her in his arms, stopping for a few moments to enjoy her clinging. “I love you, Bea. I know I will always love you.”

She held on to him even tighter, looked up in his grey eyes and knew it was the same for her. Nothing, of earth, of the astral, of the universe, could ever separate them. She knew this though they had nothing to give each other but their naked selves. Naked bodies, naked minds, naked spirit.

The seriousness of the moment tugged at her heart. She felt unworthy, had a need to express, expose something of herself she feared.

“Yesterday, Edgar. You saw the real me. How can I reconcile that to what you’ve given me here and now?”

“Yesterday was no more than a lesson. It wasn’t the real you, Bea, just a part of you that lurks deeply hidden in the mind-heart of your species; a latent poison that comes forth through your adrenalin in times of sudden and disruptive crisis. Once it reaches into the emotions it stays awake and out of reach of your logical mind to control it and subdue it.

“Let me explain to you what really happened yesterday. It was a non-event. There were no bandits in that field, by that pool of water. The sheep had been scattered by the wild dog pack and this small herd had wandered by, smelled the water and stopped to drink and browse on whatever they could find. Lacking shepherds they could not decide what to do next, so they waited. What you experienced were your thoughts made visible. You acted within an illusion. You did not kill or torture anybody, but you certainly imagined quite a scenario and you did it to please and impress me. Your “obedience” to my request was in part to impress me, in part to seduce me. You desperately needed to be needed, and trusted to do, for me, whatever I asked of you.”

“But the blood, the screams, the bodies we buried, surely I didn’t imagine that?”

“From here on, you must make yourself aware of, and open to, the powers of the Allay and Allaya. Yes, what you saw and believed you did, was imagination made alive for you. I can do such things, and so will you, given time and training. You will learn, and I think very fast now because of your love for me. Your pride and impulsiveness will work in your favour during this learning time which will be much too short for my liking. You will develop your new powers and greater awareness quite rapidly.

“Sadly for both of us our honeymoon will be over too soon also. This world, Beanna, fears and hates us, but we cannot respond in kind, nor can we leave it. We carry a deadly poison that needs cleansing before we can separate ourselves from this world. I daresay it will be more difficult for you than for me. We will need to play more games I fear, to expose your deepest thoughts and imaginings, to bring out your insecurity, your longings, your fears and hates, in short, your humanity. We must do this quickly too. Soon the games will no longer work as your Allaya nature will be wise to all of them and sweep them aside. There will be great pain but our mutual darkness must be completely eradicated.

“You have begun: rejoice in that. We have our love, let us both rejoice in that. The rest, well, it will happen as it happens. We will face it event by event as wizards always must.”

So the day went, with brief interludes to drink and refill the water skins when water was made available; to nibble sparingly on some bread and cheese and to hug and kiss. It seemed to Beanna that she would never get enough of the feelings engendered by the kissing.

“How many girls have you had throughout your very long life, Edgar?”

“One. One of the Allaya was my wife and lover. When she died, there was no other woman in the world for me until I met you. So different, so unexpected and in looks, almost a reincarnation of Nah-La.”

“Your Allaya wife had Nipponese features also?”

“Yes, but she wasn’t from what you call the land of the rising sun. All twelve of us designed our bodies to fit the major races of this world hoping to make our presence less obtrusive and more acceptable. I chose a body of the white northern races.”

“Could you not change your designs at will?”

“No, not easily. I learned to make myself look younger or older but I couldn’t change my initially chosen gender, nor my racial profile. We play with shadows; with imaginings, but the physical reality is quite solid while it lasts. It’s like carvings in stone or wood. Once carved you can’t do much else with them without ruining them.”

“Hundreds of thousands of years, one wife, til death dost thee part… I love you Edgar. Crazy love you, is that good for you?”

“It is good for me. Maybe too good. I too feel I do not deserve this happiness, this deep joy your bring me. You will forgive me if at times I call you Nah-La?”

“You can call me Nah-La all the time and forever, Edgar even though “Bea” is easier.”

“We made it easy enough. She called me “Lo”(Low) and I called her “Nal”(Nawl). Lo and Nal, so simple.”

“I brought you sadness by my stupid question, I can sense it. I’m so, so sorry.”

“Do not be sorry. Our oneness must be explored, every nook and cranny of hidden thought, knowledge, awareness, imaginings, these we must expose to one another… Nal.”

Have you ever had those rare moments when you were sure your heart was going to explode from pure ecstasy? This was Beanna’s moment. She wanted to hear being called “Nal” over and over. She wanted it to be her name. That’s when she uncovered another small aspect of Allaya power: Nal was her name, it really was. And Edgar wasn’t Edgar, he was “Lo” – her husband Lo.

“Are you happy then, with your new name, and new choices, Nal?”

She couldn’t answer; she just burst into tears and loud sobbing. So much goodness in so short a time and for once she did not block it; did not insist that it was just another trick. For once she fully accepted it and through blinding tears, revelled in her joy.

End of Part IV –

The Garbage Man – Part III

Continuing with the story, “The Garbage Man”.  What was to be a short story has taken off on me and is well on its way to becoming another fantasy novel.  No idea where it is going either.  I hope you do enjoy it.  The title will eventually change and Lotharic, you will discover, will return to his earlier name, Edgar, not only by popular request but because Beanna prefers it.  Oh, and the name, Allay is pronounced “Ally.”  And typos may be lurking where least expected… Otherwise, let’s see what dreams may come.

{start of part III}

“I feel so terribly cold…”

Lotharic brought Beanna out of the transition trance and explained: “I took you between worlds and it was your body that felt the cold of abandonment. We cannot travel thus physically. Whenever we enter the astral worlds we must leave our physical bodies behind.”

“So, my question about why we simply do not slip into the astral when confronted with dangerous enemies is answered isn’t it? They would simply kill us in the physical and we could never return and never leave the astral, forever stuck between worlds?”

“Yes, that’s explains it, for now, but there is more to it.”

“Fine, now I’m an Allaya, why don’t I feel or look any different?”

“Allaya in title, not in fact. I must begin your training now, at least as far as I can. You will need a full Allaya to complete it.”

“You said none are left alive here.”

“That is correct, but “here” is not the only meeting place. There is the astral. We will deal with that when the time comes.”

Gradually a grey line appeared on the eastern horizon and details of the landscape began to emerge. They encountered a dry creek bed and followed it, thus somewhat hidden from distant prying eyes.

“This bed has moisture in it, we should find a pool soon. I’m terribly thirsty… You know we are heading into the high country?”

“Are you sure, Bea?”

“This is my country now, Loth. We will have to cross some high hills, then if we continue north-east we will come to the sea, and a sizeable port. Much opportunity there for people like us.”

“I am curious. What are ‘people like us’ to you?”

“You know, warriors and entertainers. Men are always fascinated by me and love to make outrageous bets against the chances a small woman like myself has against a burly sailor or soldier, or an agile shepherd. Even if some get seriously damaged, it’s their own stupidity to blame, and I make good money at it. The trick is to escape with that money. But now there’s the two of us, and you are pretty handy with that staff. We pair up, we’re un-defeatable, well, within reason. We can easily handle the four on two. There’s always very high odds on that game. Sometimes it’s to the death but beggars can’t always choose, huh?”

“You sound eager to engage such combats, Bea?”

“It’s what has kept me training, and consequently, alive. A young girl, alone, in this land has no chance at all but to end up in a brothel or put on a ship to be sold as a slave on the mainland. To survive she has to have something going for her, and she has to make that happen on her own. The men don’t care what becomes of me after taking their pleasure and profit, so I don’t care if I kill them to get my own pleasure and profit. Tit for tat, my friend. And really Loth, don’t you see I’m still the victim even if I win? I can never be free to be myself, they won’t let me.”

“Interesting. What would it mean to be yourself? Who would you be?”

“I would care. I would love. I would protect, heal, and feed. If I were myself, I’d be a giver, never a taker. I would most certainly not go about armed. What keeps me going is hopelessness; the knowing that things cannot change, and the hate I nurture against such a world and what it forces me to be. I cannot love. My mother did and it killed her. I don’t wish to die a victim if there is a chance I can fight and defeat those who would destroy me. I smell water. Let’s be alert: pools attract animals, including the two legged kind.”

Lotharic pulled his staff, gripped it and shook it, loosening his arm muscles. Bea unslung her bow, strung it and pulled three arrows from the quiver, placing one lightly on the string, pulling and sighting in a sweeping arc. They approached the source of water slowly, quietly.

Voices. A sudden bit of breeze brought the strong smell of sheep. Shepherds or poachers? They stepped up out of the creek bed and in the growing daylight they counted four men and about two dozen sheep. Bea and Lotharic crept up to hear their conversation. Soon they knew these were poachers. They had killed two sheherds to steal what sheep they could before the main herd ran off. They were discussing how to sell their stolen goods without getting hanged in the process.

“We go west. There’s a town down there, maybe a day away driving these stupid animals.”

“Is there a guard there?”

“Yes, but they are easily bribed. They don’t much care what goes on in the countryside.”

“How do you know this?”

“I lived there for a time, hauling stones. There’s a girl there too I wouldn’t mind seeing again. The town’s the place to go being closest, or all this is for naught.”

Lotharic nudged Bea and whispered: “We have to take them down, they’re murderers and they will kill more people if we don’t stop them. This is bow work. Do it!”

The short but powerful bow twanged and one of the bandits fell, an arrow through the heart. It twanged again and another screamed and fell with an arrow through the left eye. The other two threw themselves on the ground using their fallen comrades as shields. An arm with a sword came up, the bow twanged and the arm had an arrow through the wrist. Another blood curdling scream followed. Lotharic slid down from their hiding place and ran to the last bandit who jumped up with a staff of his own and stood ready.

“Hold Bea, this one is mine. What’s your name, fellow?” He casually parried a thrust from the bandit’s staff, who then backed away a step to prepare a new attack. “I said, what’s your name? You tell me that, and the story about these stolen animals and who knows, you die quickly, painlessly. You say nothing and this girl coming down the embankment there has ways to make men talk. You can’t begin to imagine the pain she is about to inflict on you. She’s a real artist about it. Know this, that either way, you are a dead man.”

Another attack, just as easily parried, then a blow from Lotharic so swift the bandit has no time to parry and his left arm is broken. Another scream, of pain and impotent rage. Lotharic disarms him as if it was the most casual thing in the world for anyone to do. The bandit falls to the ground, sitting and grimacing while holding his broken arm. Meanwhile Bea has pulled out a short dagger from inside her boot and dispatched her winged bandit cleanly and has already begun going through their belongings for anything of value.

The last surviving bandit is trussed up, none too gently and amidst screams of pain, against a sturdy thorn bush growing from the stream bank, the inch-long thorns doing their own work to prevent much thrashing. The broken arm is left dangling, a useful incentive in an interrogation.

“Let’s give him some time to think things over, Loth. I’m going to have a long drink, then there’s some decent food in these packs and I’m hungry. We didn’t have any breakfast and small bodies are inconvenient in that they don’t go far on empty stomachs. What did you think of my bow work?”

“Not bad, but I’ve seen better.” He winked at her to diffuse her immediate rising anger. She knew her skills in archery were second to none, having won enough trophies to prove it. He would speak to her later about her pride and again, her impulsiveness. The Allaya training must begin but he must let her be herself for awhile yet so she can later compare her own nature to that of a fully empowered Allaya. It would be a long and difficult transformation, he feared.

After sating themselves, making sure the sheep were settled, eating and resting a bit, they turned their attention to the suffering bandit, a scruffy, weathered character of indeterminate age, with a prominent scar across the face and long scraggly hair. No past, no future. A human derelict surviving on the labour and blood of others.

“I’ve created a rather baleful reputation to this man for you Bea. If I leave him to you, you won’t disappoint me, will you? I, we, need crucial information from him, so he has to live long enough to give it and frankly I don’t care how you get it, just get it. We need to know where these sheep come from, and where the shepherds’ bodies are and how long ago this dastardly deed was committed. Have at it, artist.”

We, of our comfortable ways, with our laws and police, may be somewhat disappointed that our heroes would turn out to be such cold blooded individuals that they could horribly torture another for information. But before we carry our judgment too far, let’s remember the times, the places, the circumstances delineating how the people of that land interacted with one another. Internecine warfare was endemic. Gangs of bandits roamed the countryside, most of them formed by dispossessed individuals who had themselves seen family, children, lovers, friends, decimated, tortured, raped and enslaved by conquerors. In these times, you gave an inch, you died, seldom painlessly. I’m writing this down to remind the reader not to carry judgment of actions taken here based on her or his current reality. Although things never really change, there are cycles when overt violence dwindles for a time, or simply moves to another action theatre, for earth is a place of much bloody drama. If you are of those now living in a land that is experiencing a lessening of violence, just be thankful but remember, it’s a cycle. What was, will be.

“What’s your name?” It was Bea’s turn to ask. Instead of replying he tried to spit in her face.

“Sorry, incorrect response. For each incorrect response I must perform a reminder.” She grabbed the broken arm and bent it backward, trying to avoid being deafened by the following scream.

“Good. Your name is ‘Scream.’ An appropriate name. So, Scream, tell me, when did you and your dead friends kill the sheep’s shepherds?” Only deep breathing and silence answered.

“Another inappropriate response. If I have to change your name from Scream to Silence, that will only count against you. Silence is inadmissible. So, what comes next? Cutting? Yes, I think that cutting would be an incentive. Let’s start with the clothes, they get in the way of seeing what one is accomplishing, don’t you think? Oh, I forgot, you’re Silence now. Fine.

With Lotharic watching, she proceeded to cut open shirt and trousers, and pulled his shoes off. More screaming as she roughly pulled off the shirt’s sleeve off the broken arm. Then she removed the rest of his clothing and looked at his pathetic nakedness.

“It’s ugly, but there is much to choose from here. Shall I perform a castration? You know, I saw that done on a few occasions in public squares on poor blokes less guilty of crimes than you. So I won’t feel any regrets here.”

She grabbed the man’s genitals and penis and dragged the cold blade of her dagger across the skin as she pulled outwardly. The man groaned, then uttered a guttural, “NO!”

“It’s a miracle. It talks! Silence talks. I guess we go back to Scream then, hey? Scream is so much more fun. She yanked on his package, squeezed, and was given a healthy scream.

“Good. It’s working. Now where do I start cutting? Let’s see. Snip the balls, slowly, one after the other. That’s how I remember it being done.” She makes a bloody cut across the base of the scrotum. More screams.

“I don’t care for screams, Scream. I want some simple information. When did you steal the sheep? Why won’t you tell me? You have nothing to lose and much to gain. You’re going to die by my own hands, either swiftly and painlessly, or in long, long, very painful moments. My next cut is going to open your sack and I’m going to slice off your balls. It’s traditional to stuff them in your mouth but I can’t do that, seeing as I need you to be able to speak, so maybe I’ll cook them and if you get hungry…huh?”

The bandit retched and tossed against the thorn. Blood appeared where the spines did their work.

“I… No!”

“Ah! so you are protecting others. I thought so. Well, let’s see what they’re worth to you.”

She sliced off his genitals and placed them on a flat stone where he could look at them. Then she returned to the shaking body and made tiny cuts in the skin wherever she dragged the razor-sharp dagger’s tip, all the while maintaining a soliloquy.

“I’m not done down there yet, but I’m saving the penis for later. Now I’m trying to find a piece of skin to remove that would cause extreme pain. Maybe a breast, what do you say, Scream? I’m sure it will make you live up to your name. Once more: when did you kill the shepherds and take their sheep? A simple question. It’s not that we couldn’t figure it out but this is better, giving you a chance to redeem a bit of yourself before you shake hands with Old Grim. He’s going to be your master for eternity you know. OK, I’m cutting now.”

Amid the twisting and screaming, the breast and associated skin came slowly off, blood running freely down the body. Bea then poked the dagger in the bloody hole, eliciting even more excruciatingly unbearable pain.

“I just want some answers, Scream. You are the one in charge here. You can avoid all this rather unpleasant business by telling me what I want to know. Think about it while I prepare the next little surprise. She walked to a pack and brought out a shirt. Cutting off some of the fabric, she rolled in some dry leaves and tied it to the man’s penis. Then she made a small torch and lit it in the poachers’ fire. She waved it in the man’s face and showed him what she was about to do.

“That’s right. I’m going to light up your joy stick. That should make you want to dance. Once more, how long ago did you kill those shepherds and steal their sheep? No? OK, I can be patient, but not all in a row. Besides, I’m eager to see how my little torchlight ceremony works as I’ve never seen that done. Ready?”

“No!”

“Wrong answer.”

She lit up the dangling torch and was rewarded with some truly offensive cursing and screams. Then suddenly, silence. Total, complete silence, as the fire kept burning and spreading a smell of cooking flesh. She looked up and saw that the man had passed out. She couldn’t work out in her mind whether she was disappointed, or relieved.

“He’s passed out. I need some water to throw on him, bring him back.”

Lotharic, who had been wandering about for a while now, checking the landscape, watching for anyone approaching, came to inspect the inert body. He moved his hand expertly over the heart, neck and throat.

“Your man’s dead, Bea. There’s things a body, even a healthy one, can’t take. The heart stopped.”

“We didn’t get any information.” Matter of fact voice.

“We never needed any, Bea. I was testing your resolve, and comparing your current state of mind to that of a full fledged Allaya. I am going to explain something deep and terrible to you later. For now we have to bury these bodies. There’s an old talus slope over there. The rocks are loose enough we can stack the bodies inside a cavity and cause a rock slide over them.”

They dragged the bodies to the cavity and buried them under rock and dirt. Bea then cleaned herself up, re-stacked her arrows with great care, unstrung her bow and slipped it in its holder next to the quiver. It was only when she bent down to scoop some water to drink and wash her hands that she noticed they were shaking violently. She rushed away from the pool and threw up. Only then did she become fully aware of what she had done.

“Are you sick, Bea?”

“Yes… No. I’m filled with hate and disgust at myself and this world. Right now I want to commit seppuku.” As she was talking, she pulled the short sword from its scabbard and flexed it. Lotharic came up quietly behind her and held her, pinning her sword arm.

“Put the sword away, Beanna. What happened here, none of it was your fault, or even your doing. I manipulated your thoughts and feelings to expose your darkest side. It was necessary. Now, together, we will work on bringing out the compassionate, caring, loving Allaya. We will transform you. But again, let me emphasize: you needed to see for yourself; to experience, the depth of evil you are capable of as a human being. What you saw and did today is true for your entire race, or species. It is who and what you are. Some of you, particularly women and children hide it well from themselves, but the “good” among you are the exceptions and your goodness is always artificially produced. You are not naturally good, but rather always bend towards evil. Soon you will understand and fully accept that. The Allay and Allaya knew this fact about Earthians before they agreed to come here. We thought we understood the risks of course.”

{End of Part III – 180113}

Is the Owl Calling my Name?

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

Moon and stars vie for splendor
in a night sky of long ago.
It was the open prairies then,
icy snow glistening for miles around
echoing the cold crackles of ice sheets
sinking under relentless cold.

Out by the frozen pond
a skeletal cottonwood stands,
stark against the wan moonlight,
the great horned owl on a top branch
repeating his “Who? Who-who? Who!
keeping the answer to himself.

Smoke lazily rises, then settles
losing heat, mantling a straw stack
where the cattle have burrowed
to find their proximate warmth
knowing the late morning sun
will have none to give.

Far away, on the coulee trestle
the coal-fired NAR train rumbles
then lets out its eerie call:
a dinosaur knowing its time
is past and its death near,
a couple of coyotes join in,
“Yap, yap-yap-yap, Aoooo!”

These memories of mine,
what stirs them tonight?
What does my mind know
that it feels so restless?
Is the owl calling my name
beyond the woods, the river
this night? “Who, who-who?”

Is the answer: it is I?
And if it is, is the call
A welcome one? A reprieve?
All those days I have wondered,
Are they coming to their end
As things of earth must?
Do I long for such an end?

 

(NAR: Northern Alberta Railway)
(There is a belief among the central coast people of British Columbia who call themselves the ‘Kwakwaka’wakw nation, that there is a time when you can hear the owl call your name. When that happens, you are about to die. Margaret Craven wrote a fiction novel, “I Heard the Owl Call my Name” on this belief in the 1960’s – Wikepedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Heard_the_Owl_Call_My_Name)

 

Follow up to that Anti US-MIC List

[today’s thoughts – Sha’Tara]

When I came home tonight I was, I felt, tired. The strange thing is, the more tired I feel, the more I “feel” what goes on around me, and that is by most standards, a pretty wide area. Also not so unusual, I began focusing more directly on my personal chosen life purposes and goals. Which quite naturally led me to once again, to think about the concepts of compassion, and empathy.

That brought me to mentally review the recent post comparing US military incursions in other countries, versus the same of Iran and North Korea. I chose those two because, according to the MIC (military industrial complex) these two nations are the bane of the planet. Statistics, though not always totally reliable, prove otherwise; that the nation most likely to drag the world into nuclear conflict, and most likely to cause maximum harm to essentially unarmed nations and their millions of helpless civilians is none other than the US of A. Not that this hasn’t been known by most people in this world for many endless decades.

Now to write about the purpose for posting this comparison list. I’m not going to claim that I would never post such statistics out of hate of the US MIC. If there was a stronger word than hate, I would certainly use it. But that wasn’t the reason I posted that list. I posted it to remind myself that people, as a general rule, are not empathetic. That they will always put their favourite “system” – however evil, however corrupt – ahead of any concern for how that evil and corruption destroys people’s livelihood and lives.

I got my answer, though not many responded. As I experienced when I did “church” those people within the ranks who perhaps one-on-one would question some aspects of their institution, immediately closed ranks when that institution was openly and statistically challenged for being utterly hypocritical; when it’s leaders were called on the carpet for their lifestyles diametrically opposite to their teachings.

Patriotism is, of course, a form of religion. It is a belief system that does not require proof, just faith. The people who responded to the list predictably demonstrated this faith. There were no actual proof given to contradict the list, but a defensive stance was taken simply by saying, well, the US were NOT THE ONLY BAD GUYS, or NOT THE WORST OF THE BAD GUYS.

The argument was changed, as it always is when one’s faith is challenged and there is no real come back. Always the same: if you’re going to make my “god” look bad, I’m going to say that their “god” is as bad, or worse, thereby hoping for some sort of balance and my acquiescence.

What I was looking for, and found, was that all those lives lost, all those millions (!) of victims of the US MIC since World War II, didn’t matter in the least. They weren’t felt at all in the responses. Systems matter, individuals don’t. No empathy. The chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals was quoted as saying, “I was shocked to realize that these men are devoid of any empathy.”

Sadly, that is basically the case for Earthians. Overall but for exceptions, they really have no empathy. Sure they can talk miles about it, and they love to point to certain “do gooders” along the way who demonstrate both, empathy and compassion. But that’s really good enough. Heaven forbid that all of them should decide to become compassionate, and allow themselves to develop empathy as a way of life. Hell’s bells, that would simply bring the whole crappy, murderous, corrupt, greedy, insane predatory capitalistic system to its knees and then what good would any sort of faith and patriotism be? Can’t have that.

So now I know: defending the establishment is de rigueur. When it comes to choice between separating oneself from a criminal system and siding with its victims, or finding some way, any way, to justify that system’s crimes, the Earthian will support the establishment and justify the deaths of millions in the process.

Earthians, even the best meaning ones; even the ones who believe themselves to be “good” people (as opposed to evil doers) have no empathy. They have never defined the term for themselves so as to live with its actual meaning.

Seven and a half billions of Earthians now crowd a small planet of finite resources and space with no options left but to learn to coexist in peace and harmony through compassion and empathy.

Compassion empowers sharing and empathy ensures that “I” will never, not ever, cause “YOU” any kind of avoidable harm. In fact it will ensure that rather than cause “YOU” harm, I will choose to give up my own life as the proper and correct response in such a situation.

Too drastic? Too utopian? Let me tell you this, and I got it from non-Earthian sources: you (and I) are way past the critical point when we were expected to develop full compassion and empathy. Nothing is ever too late, but before that can be implemented now, there must be great suffering in our immediate future. That “great suffering” was completely avoidable, but for faith in obsolete systems. I gave up that faith years ago and thus I know it is quite possible to live without it. Ask me to take sides; as me to join any sort of collective, see what happens.

 

 

 

 

The Garbage Man – PART II

(Continuing then, with the story of the Garbage Man.)

A half mile and two rolling hills later Beanna and Edgar sighted the town. It wasn’t terribly fortified, having a combination of a low rock wall with an opening for the road, some part of the outer perimeter protected by a sluggish river and the rest a simple wooden palisade. At the gate stood two watchmen awaiting the arrival of this unknown pair.

They were questioned after a fashion, made to open their packs, instructed on the curfew and directed towards the town’s only inn, the Windward Sailor. After thanking and bribing the guards, they proceeded on to the Inn. Beanna chuckled as they passed the forge and its fires were banked, the smith having left for the day, either gone home or to the inn. Edgar gave her a closed-lipped smile. The inn welcomed them with a blast of warm air from its huge fireplace. Sure enough, it was burning coal, and a very large coal shuttle stood by half full.

Coal” was all the “ward” whispered and stuck her elbow in Edgar’s ribs. From here on, the ward would be silent as “he” was mute. The boy was ogled by all the men as if somehow they suspected the subterfuge but no one challenged them. Perhaps the sight of the iron tipped staves, the strange sword and short bow of unusual design on the ward’s back spoke loudly enough to the fact that a challenge may not bring about the expected results.

The meal, eaten on a bench with their backs to the wall, was coarse but filling and Edgar paid without complaining. Then he asked about a room. They were shown a small garret room on the third level. Cold and not very comfortable with its low ceiling and it’s one and only bed, but it had a good view of the road coming in and passing through the town. Acceptable for two very tired travellers. The price was settled upon and breakfast was ordered and prepaid also.

Only after they were certain no one else was on that level did Beanna speak, and that very low. “I won the wager, O Master,” she lightly mocked.

He whispered back, “So you did Bean, although the forge had been active earlier and we can’t be sure it was inn smoke and not forge smoke you smelled, can we. It should be a draw but I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Now, if you insist on full payment I must warn you that your life is about to change in ways you cannot even begin to imagine.”

How so?” she replied, eying the bed. He could see how totally exhausted she was. He grabbed her and lifting her as if she’d been a feather, laid her on the bed, covering her with the heavy hide that passed for a blanket.

Sleep now. We must up and away before dawn and you must be fully rested. Here, let me pull your boots.”

She didn’t struggle but let him, mumbling, “What about breakfast?”

Misdirection. They will not expect us to leave without our paid breakfast and won’t come up to wake us until sometimes after dawn by which time we will be into the hills again.”

If it must be so” … she replied and promptly fell into a deep sleep.

The man then covered over the small window with another hide. He pulled a small globe from his pack and held it in his right hand, closing his hand over it, facing down. He held his left hand open, palm out in a kind of greeting gesture. Gradually his right hand began to emit a dull reddish glow as the object lit up inside his fist. He sighed but did not move. Several minutes went by. Suddenly the light winked out. He opened his hand and placed the small object back in his pack. Then he took the hide down, surveyed the sleeping town for any untoward movement. Seeing none and obviously satisfied with his experience with the glowing ball, stretched himself silently upon the hard wooden floor, pulled the hide over himself and he too went to sleep, his staff cradled in his left arm.

Sometime in the night Beanna was gently awakened and told to get up. She rubbed her eyes but saw nothing in the room’s pitch dark. She felt a draft and looked to the window. It was wide open and in the night’s glow could see a rope over the sill.

What…?…”

Shhh. Quiet. There’s a passing guard detail below. When all clear you will descend the rope to the street and tug it twice to let me know you’re secure and safe. Then I will come down with our gear.”

I would rather take my own pack,” she whispered.

Very well. Just don’t accidentally bang on anything, especially a window. And watch the street. Keep your ears opened, breathe lightly and regularly. Go!”

The agile girl made the street in record time and signalled. Edgar followed after a fashion, first dropping the rope then closing the window then scampering across the inn roof, down a weather vane pole, a stable roof, a gable and lightly falling to the street. He gave a short whistle that brought Beanna, though she had her sword out and ready to use.

Come. Put your sword away and we’re off. Did you bring the rope?”

She handed him the rope and they headed back the way they had entered the town, running lightly and silently. At the entrance to the wall they found one female sentry sound asleep. Taking her key they opened the gate, replaced the key, closed the gate behind themselves and vanished in the night. They walked out from the town across country, then turned and resumed the direction they had been on the previous day.

They won’t imagine we’d leave the way we came. If they feel alarmed they’ll send a guard detail to the northeast and they’ll be on the road, so we’ll be able to see them before they spot us. They’ll be intent on scanning the road ahead, not the fields. Smell anything, Bea?” He asked, wondering if his change of nickname would please her more. It did and she commented on it.

Ah, I like that name better. Yes, I could be a bee, your bee! Bees make honey, is that what you were thinking? And no, I don’t smell anything but earth and plants breathing the night air. It’s cold though…”

We keep on at this pace, we should be fine. When we find a cottage, we’ll try to buy some food and maybe find a straw stack to finish our sleep in. You need more sleep than you’ve been getting of late.”

We have a bargain to conclude, Edgar. You owe me a wager.”

Are you certain you won’t consider it a draw?”

Not now. I’m confused about you and I hate being confused. Why didn’t you sleep with me last night? Don’t you like me that way? You indicated yesterday that you might be interested…”

Oh Bea, and that’s spelled ‘Bea’ not ‘bee’ – that’s not it at all. My problem is, I like you in too many ways, in every possible way. You’ve put a young woman’s spell on me and it is very pleasant, perhaps too much so. I should never have allowed myself to be where you’ve put me. But last night, well, you were much too tired and I knew our sleep would be short. I had some thinking and planning to do as well. I’ll tell you this, there was not one moment I wasn’t aware of your presence, your form on the bed, that I couldn’t smell you and that I couldn’t hear your breathing, even your heartbeat. Everything changed for us last night, Bea. You entered into my doom and now the only way you can extricate yourself, if you do it quickly, is to walk away from me deliberately, willingly, never looking back and forgetting you ever met me. “

Your doom, Edgar? Oh, that sounds so dramatic. Now I absolutely need to know what that is all about. Leave you now that I’ve put my spell on you? Never. You be mine, my very first to be sure but no matter, I’ll be yours and love will make a nest in our hearts. Is that romantic enough for you?” She smiled in the dark but he sensed it though he could not see her face.

Sadly, I cannot be as light hearted about this as you are, Beanna, and what I am about to tell you is going to change your life much more than you’ve already changed mine. Do you believe in fate?”

Oh, well sure. I believe that I must make my own fate, create my own magic, otherwise what’s a life for? I believe that the gods give us a life as a free gift. Fate is what we make of their gift. I also believe, as my mother taught me, that the gods demand an accounting for their gift when we die. It’s not to judge or condemn but to determine where they must send us as we continue. I believe a great many things I learned from my mother that your world knows nothing about. Did you know that the stars aren’t pinpricks in a heavenly fabric but more suns, more worlds like this one? That our world is a sphere spinning through space; that our sun is a small star and the moon is alight when it shows because it reflects the light of the sun? Funny ideas, aren’t they. But I believe them.”

I thought so.” Edgar seemed to be talking more to himself than to Beanna. Louder, “Yes, I thought so. In fact I knew you were aware of truths hidden to the people of these lands. That makes it a bit easier then, because you have an open mind. To the wager then? No turning back.”

Yes! Please!”

Many ages ago, those you call the gods decided this world needed shepherding. They sent special people, those that became known as wizards, with special powers. There were twelve sent here, to earth, six men, six women. The men called themselves the Allay, the women, the Allaya. Their role was to instruct in the arts of peace-making; to calm, to reassure and when necessary, to protect. They were often known simply as the Watchers, those who provided a bridge between men and the gods…”

And you are one of those, Edgar?” Her voice sounded meek and wistful.

Will you believe me if I answered ‘yes’ to your question?”

I believe you, but why do I feel frightened by what I’ve just heard?”

I’ve made you glimpse inside a different dimension than your normal Earthian one. It’s the only way I can tell you my story and not have to fight with your natural rejection. Your earth self cannot accept what I am revealing to you, and when I am finished, you will no longer be an ordinary earth girl. You will have become something else, something I cannot completely explain that you must discover for yourself in time. Your mind is about to undergo a great transformation. Even now you can no longer back away, you are caught in a reality stream from which only complete acceptance can free you. You are now between worlds, functioning as an earth being and as a shadow of an Allaya.”

I feel lost. Where are we, Edgar?”

My name is not Edgar, it is Lotharic. Of the twelve that we were, only three remain of which I am one. The other two remaining have gone rogue, being corrupted in their flesh by earthly power. They now serve as advisers to kings and emperors. Instead of being peace bringers they are now war engineers.”

What happened to the others, the Allaya?”

They were trapped, tortured and when they refused to serve the war makers, they were killed. As were the other Allay.”

You know this for sure, Lotharic?”

Yes. We have our ways to communicate and share information. My two greatest adversaries and myself, we share information. Or rather, misinformation and disinformation. If I locate them, I must track and kill them. If they find me, they will certainly kill me. They already know they cannot turn me.”

I feel strange. Where are we now?”

We are in between worlds. What you seem to be standing on is a non-place. Nowhere. I brought us here for your transformation. In the mind conversion stray thoughts can escape and be picked up by our enemies, for they are just as much your enemies as mine now. They will soon be aware of the appearance of another Allaya and they will hunt you with more intensity than they do me.”

Why me? What would they want from me, sex?”

In a sense. Much more than sex as you understand it. They want your Allaya energy. Your power to put down conflict and calm chaos; to open the hearts of combatants and make them see each other as lovers. They also want your healing skills.”

I don’t have any healing skills!”

You do now, and you will soon realize how powerful those are at disrupting disease and death.”

{end of part II}