Category Archives: Romance

When I was Nineteen

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~ ]

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.
Everything seemed cut and dried.  Art and music were fine, but could they
explain anything?  Could they tell me why I was alive or what the world was
all about?  I didn’t think so.  And ever since, I’ve lived a compromise: I
wouldn’t try to kill myself, because there was always a chance something
would happen to explain everything.”  (Songs of Earth and Power – Greg Bear)

It is the end of another year, my seventy-second year, which isn’t bad considering I’d set my “best before” termination year at fifty. It seemed reasonable at the time, what could I possibly accomplish of anything worthwhile past fifty in a society that worships (fake) youth and gobbles its world as if it is a melting chocolate ice cream?

“When I was nineteen,” she said, “I thought about committing suicide.” So did I, definitely, but my reasoning was much more pathetic: my lover dumped me. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but each one brought its own degree of particular inescapable hurt.  It would be many years later, having survived (dig the maudlin self pity!) the many losses, that I realized these experiences in an otherwise sated and bloated consumerist society was how I manipulated reality to grow a bigger heart.

I began to sense that my personal pain was but one of endless extensions of this world’s pain. I began to look at ways I could use that sorrowful “me” to become a part of the rest; to make sorrow my bed partner. I learned to cry in the night and though the tears were mine, gradually they were no longer for me.

Unlike Greg Bear’s heroine in “Songs of Earth and Power” however, I did not hang around for the chance that something would happen to explain everything. I used my awareness as a key to that explanation. Since I am my awareness, my own mind, I would be the key that would open the door and allow the “something that would explain everything” to come into my life and claim me as its lover. Once more, I fell in love, this time with a very dangerous character, an actual terrorist, someone for whom there would be no secrets, the ultimate WikiLeaks.

If I desired to know, all I needed was ask and he took me upon secret paths, through mined fields, under electrified fences of razor wire, into secure, severely guarded places where explanations were taking place.  He made me listen in and I discovered that official secrets were constantly being made up with all seriousness.

The first time I saw this, I wanted to laugh out loud. Only my dangerous lover’s hand over my mouth saved me. We would leave those places, return to city traffic, lights, pedestrians, noises, smells and facades of endless body accomodations, find our own and talk through nights that became ever shorter.

“There is nothing new under the sun” he’d quote from Eclesiastes.

“But I still don’t understand” I protested. “How can there be secrets, then? How do we not know everything?”

“I will not lie to you. The truth is, there are no secrets. You’re a victim of gross mis-direction, all of the time. That is the System, how it controls you, makes you fear; makes you hope. Then it dashes your hopes, deliberately, and starts the whole thing all over again. Each time you are left drained, like losing a lover, and while you are in this heart-mind weakened state you are taken by something else, on the rebound. You don’t want to let go of that last thread of hope and the next lie weaves itself into your dying hope and pulls more out of you. This goes on until you die. Nothing is ever explained because there is nothing to explain – that’s the realization that made you want to laugh when in the vault of secrets: there are no secrets, just manufactured lies.”

“So, if I choose knowledge, what should I do?”

“Use your key. Use you. You are your own source of all the knowledge that exists; all you need do is free your mind. Trust your imagination and go along for the ride.”

“How will I know where I am going?”

“You won’t; you can’t. If you did, that would be another false path, another lie. Where is the freedom in following an already existing path? Obviously it wouldn’t be yours and if you can see it, someone designed it as a trap for you, to seduce you once again upon a way that isn’t yours and will prove disempowering and end in loss, again.”

“Why do the great teachers ask us to follow them? Their teachings?”

“Because they are lovers, not great teachers and their teachings are powerless to change anything.  Because they want you for themselves and have no intention of ever giving you anything of themselves.  Because they are liars.”

“So, no great teachers, and I know everything?”

“Yes, potentially. You need to trust yourself; believe in yourself. You need to realize you were meant to walk this path alone. In fact, there is no path, just endless choices, the best ones seemingly impossible but remember this: nothing is impossible.”

“What happens now?”

“Now I will leave you because you no longer need me. You are equipped to live your life as a self-empowered being. You not only possess the key to all knowledge, you are that key. Much of that knowledge does not pertain to this, your reality, so you must learn to choose wisely, what you keep in your pockets, in your pack, and what you leave behind for the time being.”

“I am scared to be so alone!”

“Fear is the mind killer. I will not fear, I will face my fear… do you remember that? You learned it because you already knew you would need it. Now is the time. You walk alone, you never look back, you never doubt yourself.  Goodbye, lover.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rethinking our Cosmology: more on Lucifer

Is it Time to rethink our Cosmology?  More on Lucifer
     [voice from the Other Side  ~burning woman~]
 
Seen on a bumper sticker:  “Eve was Framed”
 
Indeed.  And on that note I want to leave you with a thought I’ve broached before, if only to demonstrate that “history” can be re-written – and always is.
 
In “researching” the timeless files for my work on the *Stacked Worlds I’ve uncovered some interesting history available to us mostly through deductive reasoning.  The following is but a glimpse into what I have seen from my travels across space and time… and beyond!
 
How to begin such a tale?  In the beginning (only it wasn’t the beginning, of course, just a beginning which was subsequently, for political reasons dubbed the “only” beginning) when this universe was just coming together there already existed mighty entities who had the ability to cross the great energetic barriers erected between the various universes, for even though a universe can be nested within another, it wouldn’t do for the energies of one to intrude upon another and either crush it out of existence, suck it dry or overload it — and vice-versa.  So there are set “boundaries” that universes may not, or cannot, cross.
 
But these mighty beings could cross.  As in all things, these beings were possessed of both good and evil natures, to use a common terminology.  But they liked to think of themselves as perfect, so whatever they did, they called good.  And who would gainsay them?
 
I jump now into this universe at a later time.  The beings I refer to, of course, are the Time Lords.  I have alluded to these before.  They “invented” time as a means of control over their share of creation.  Anyway, there was a group of Time Lords who made the area we observe from Earth as the constellation Orion their home worlds.  I shall refer to that particular group as the Jehovian Gods.  Even in their early days they were warlike and dreadful to their neighbours.  These Jehovians were, and note, male and “white” in how they perceived themselves.  (This information is crucial to understand what happened subsequently on Earth.)
 
The Jehovians do not need females to procreate for them.  For the most part they can “bring forth” (create!) their own offspring as they choose.  To put it bluntly, they can clone themselves over and over.  Thus are the great Divine Families multiplied to rule over their manifold conquered worlds.  It is also a trait of these male Gods, and note, that each ruling divinity likes to be seen as if it were the only Divinity extant in the cosmos.  This perception provides much political and psychological benefits among the conquered and (lesser) created.  So thus they insist their history be written.
 
What the Jehovians require for themselves of “man power” they either create or enslave neighbouring worlds where suitable exploitable life exists.  But they cannot escape the fact that creation is based on duality and they do need female companionship as sex slaves, concubines and for the rulers, as consorts. 
 
Long ago, but never lost in the mists of time, in their imperialistic wars of conquest, they came upon a group of very bright stars inhabited by “angels” — female beings who were, when seen from a physical perspective, black in coloration.  These females had no concept of war or defense and many of their worlds were quickly overrun by the Jehovians in search of spoils and pleasure.  Along with billions of these black angels they captured their leader who was named “Lucifer” which means “Morning Star.”  She was forcefully joined to the then ruling Jehovian Divinity to become his female slave and consort.  Lucifer was the personification of female perfection and considered of great prize.  Her beauty, intelligence and gentleness attracted competing Jehovian Divinities from other worlds.  Her presence engendered much jealousy among the great Jehovian houses for which she was blamed.  Civil wars were fought over her for which she was also blamed.  (You can trace this pattern down to the Helen of Troy story)
 
Lucifer pondered the state of affairs in “Heaven” and after much talk (telepathic conversation) with her enslaved sisters, she decided to confront the God and ask that she and her people be released from their bondage and be given their worlds back.  As is to be expected her pleas fell on ever-deaf ears.  The God was not about to let himself be swayed by a slave.  His final reply to her was this:  “If you can defeat me in war, you can go free.”  It was an inane statement but Lucifer considered it.  There were some odds in her favour, namely that a number of the “Sons of God” of the lesser members of the Jehovian group had fallen in love with the beautiful angels and let it be known that if it came to a war they would side with the angels. 
 
Desperate times call for desperate measures.  There was “war” in Heaven, only it was a war of nerves.  Lucifer declared universal satyagraha or peaceful non-cooperation towards the conquering Jehovians.  The angels refused to serve the Gods and Lucifer was no longer seen to adorn at the left hand of God when he mounted his throne.  She refused summon after summon.  On the conquered angel worlds the same thing happened.  There was widespread non-cooperation.  The angels took whatever punishment was meted to them and waited for many long, dark years. 
 
The situation in Heaven became untenable, pointless, even idiotic.  Neither side would give in.  So the great Heavenly Advisor Michael proposed that the angels with Lucifer as their leader be exiled, along with all Jehovians who had sided with them.  They would not be allowed to return to their home worlds but would be “dumped” upon a small solar system that was still unformed.  All the angelic slaves of Heaven as well as all those who could be found on other worlds were rounded up and forcefully taken to the new solar system and an energy shield was placed upon it, effectively cutting it off from the rest of the galaxy and universe.  From Sol as we called it the angels could see the far-off stars twinkling in space but they could not return to them, at least not as long as the Orion Jehovian Time Lords ruled or they themselves developed the means to defeat the energy shield.
 
Lucifer called her people together along with the faithful Sons and pointed to the chaos of Sol.  If we must live here she said, and we must, then let us make this place into a veritable paradise for ourselves and all the life we are going to bring forth here.  Let us make this our home.  And so it came to pass.  The creative works of Lucifer are the seven days of creation as depicted briefly in the first chapter of Genesis, the Bible.
 
Lucifer chose the planet Tiamat as her home world.  Tiamat was a large water world, a “super earth” that possessed much potential for new life.  However there were spies among Lucifer’s people, among the Sons, and these sent reports of all that was taking place within Sol.  The jealous Jehovians decided to destroy Tiamat by sending another planet now known as Nibiru-Marduk to “attack” Lucifer’s world.  It took two attacks over a period of 3600 Earth years but Tiamat was successfully destroyed as the ancient Sumerian writings attest.  It was split approximately in half, one half shattered and became the asteroid belt (the hammered bracelet) and the other became Earth.  And so it came to pass that Lucifer indeed was “cast to Earth” as it is written.   But even then she would be persecuted and endlessly demonized.  Her people would be called demons.  Earthian females and black skinned peoples would be oppressed, enslaved, repressed and killed without due process over the millennia.  For you see, one of the Jehovian Divinities was allotted Sol as his ruling domain.  Part of the plan was to prevent Lucifer from re-creating in Sol the kind of worlds she once ruled before the Jehovian onslaught.  The other was simply pillaging and raping, a process that continues to this day.
 
Some interesting anecdotes: 
 
–As already mentioned, misogyny is common on planet Earth yet cannot be logically explained.
 
–Black skinned peoples are “naturally” seen as less human than lighter skinned ones and have been used as slave labour for millennia.  Though some things have changed on the surface the pattern remains and will in all likelihood re-assert itself in the future, if indeed the truly black races have any future. 
 
Throughout the planet ancient peoples have worshiped a Black Goddess or Black Madonna.
 
The (then and perhaps still) oldest human skeleton ever found was in Africa.  It was a female skeleton and they called her “Lucy” (short form of Lucifer).  Is it safe to assume this “Lucy” was black?
 
In the Biblical book called “Song of Song” – a love song attributed to Solomon – the woman says: “Dark am I yet lovely, [] dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. [Tents were woven from black goats’ hair]  “Do not stare at me because I am dark.”

(Question: why would people “stare” at her because she is black if there were no stigma attached to her skin colour?)
 
And now ponder this:  Over the thousands of years that Earthians have existed on Earth and evolved so-so, they have been unable to change their behaviour even when it is abundantly clear that such behaviour is anti-life, counter-productive if not utterly insane.  Are Earthians mentally defective in some irredeemable way?  Not at all.  There’s a much simpler explanation for their insanity.  As is stated in ancient books, and particularly in Jewish literature (and more than hinted at in the Bible) Earthians are given a “soul” at conception.  This is the gift of the ruling Jehovian God to every Earthian.  This soul is an implant that overrides the natural programming of mind-body and replaces it with Jehovian patterns.  Thus is “man” ever and anon created “in the image of God” and helpless to correct his “sinful” nature.  Thus can the ruling Deity make promise after promise of salvation and redemption from a “corrupt” human nature for those who are “chosen” according to the will of the Deity.  But although all are chosen at conception not all willy-nilly follow the divine patterning.  Some remember a time before Eden; before “Adam and Eve” — before the coming of the Jehovian male Deity; a time of fullness, peace, simplicity and comfort.  A time when there was no fear of man or animals; when there was no predator and no prey; when there was no death on this world; when all, human and animals, lived in harmony. Some do remember the Lemurian age before it too was destroyed.
 
Would we end war, oppression, greed, moral corruption, racial hatred and fear on planet Earth?  Would we substitute compassion and love for the evils we continue to cling to as if there was no choice?  Perhaps now as never before we have the chance to re-think our cosmology, our Earthian heritage and the crucial “Why?” reasoning behind the blind trust we repeatedly put in our rulers and deities despite all evidence that they are our worst predators. 
 
“Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil principle and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and godlike. To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honour that can befall a sensitive being; to be base and vicious, as many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more abject than that of the blind mole or harmless worm. For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased and I turned away with disgust and loathing.” (Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley)

*Stacked Worlds is an Altarian theory on how and why certain universal or cosmic patterns, usually of the negative kind, keep repeating even after it would seem all their energies have been drained. ‘Stacked Worlds’ is  the theory I used behind the futuristic, dystopian sci-fi novel, “The Antierra Manifesto” which may yet see the light of day. 

“La Danseuse”

*You’ve read it in English as “An Unending Story” and now I offer it in the original French. I know that some of you will probably appreciate it more in this format. *

UNE HISTOIRE D’AMOUR À L’INFINI
                  [de Sha’Tara]

Ecoutez-moi bien, je vais vous raconter une histoire à l’infini. Cest une histoire d’amour, bien sûr, mais c’est beacoup plus. C’est une histoire de vie sans fin.

Je l’ai vue un soir dans un cabaret. Elle dansait éperdument, apparament sans aucun souci. Je me suis assis aussi proche que possible du plancher de danse et, comme tous les autres homme dans cet établissement, je me suis laissé ensorceler par ses mouvements.

Comme elle était belle, je vous l’assure. Quand elle passait ses grands yeux bleus-verts sur moi, je voyais une forêt vierge et un grand océan qui s’étandait à l’infini comme le désir de mon coeur. Elle dansait avec une camarade, et finalement, seule. 

C’est alors que je prends mon courage et je m’invite à danser avec elle.

Elle m’accepte, et tout change: nous devenons amoureux. On vit ensemble après seulement un mois, et on ne peut s’imaginer vivre séparément. Tous les weekends, on va danser, elle aime tellement ça, la danse. “Je me sens si libre quand je danse.” Elle continue, naturellement, à attirer les hommes et elle danse librement avec ceux qui lui demande permission.

Suis-je jaloux? Certainement, c’est naturel, mais pas nécessaire. Après tout, elle m’aime. Elle n’a qu’à me le chuchoter dans l’oreille et je n’ai aucune raison de la douter. Elle est si bonne pour moi, et quand on marche tous les deux le soir, sous les lumières de notre ville, on est heureux, complètement.

Et puis le désastre: le cancer au genoux droit. Il faut qu’on lui enlève presque toute la jambe. Pour quelque temps, elle pleure. Puis elle accepte. “Je ne peux plus danser, je vais chanter,” elle me dit. Alors elle chante, dans notre apartement, dans la rue même, et puis elle fait du karaoke dans les cabarets. Et on s’aime, peut-être plus que jamais auparavant. Je l’adore cette fille, cette femme si incroyable.

Mais le cancer ne s’arrête pas. Elle perd un sein. Elle est dévastée pendant quelque temps et il n’y a plus de chansons. Mais un soir, elle me donne un de ses sourires  d’auparavant et demande que je la pousse dans sa chaise roulante dans la rue en      allant à notre restaurant favori. Alors que je pousse elle jase et fait des commentaires sur les couleurs, sur les sons, sur les craquements du trottoire qui font sauter la chaise roulante. Elle rit, et je trouve le courage de rire avec elle et pour ce moment la terreur du cancer nous laisse en paix. Elle mange comme un oiseau en ces jours. Elle maigrit toujours…

Finalement, le coup de grâce: cancer dans la gorge et elle perd sa voix et doit rester à l’hôpital.

Ce sont les derniers jours, j’en suis certain. Elle lève la main faiblement et j’approche mon oreille de sa bouche. Elle soupire et me chuchotte ceci: “Écoute-moi bien, mon cher Paul. Je te quitte mais je ne regrette bien. Je suis désolée, mais c’est seulement pour quelque temps. Pour nous, ce n’est pas finit. Écoute, tu n’e resteras pas seul.” 

Promets-moi que tu retourneras à notre cabaret. Là, attends encore la danseuse. Demande-lui si tu peux danser avec elle et quand elle sourit et te dis ‘oui’ danse, danse avec elle come un fou! Car tu vois, c’est moi qui sera là, dans son corps et dans son coeur. Je reviendrai, ne t’en fais pas, je ne te laisse que pour un moment.’ 

Et comme ça, elle est partie.

Vous voulez savoir comment elle finit, cette histoire? Vous voyez, je la croiyais complètement quand elle m’a dit qu’elle reviendrait. Je suis retourné à notre cabaret. Je me suis assis tout près du plancher de danse. J’ai pris une bière ou deux en attendant, jour après jour. Environ deux semaines d’attente et la danseuse est venue. 

Et tout a recommencé. 

An Unending Story

[short story by Sha’Tara – translated from my original French story]

Listen carefully to what I have to say, I’m going to tell you an infinite story. It’s a love story, of course, but it is much more. It is a story of a life that does not end.

I saw her one night in a cabaret. She was dancing, utterly absorbed in her moves and apparently without any other concern. I sat as close as possible to the dance floor and like all the other men in the place, I allowed myself to be bewitched by her undulating body.

Beautiful she was, I assure you. When she passed her blue-green eyes over me I saw the green of a virgin forest; an open blue ocean that stretched to infinity. Just like the desire in my heart. She danced with a girl friend, then alone.

That’s when I gather up my courage and invite myself to dance with her.

She accepts and everything changes: we become lovers. After only a month, we move in together and we can no longer imagine living apart. Every weekend we go dancing, she loves it so much, the dancing. “I feel totally free when I dance.” Naturally she continues to attract many men and she freely dances with any of them who ask her permission.

Am I jealous? Certainly, that’s natural, but not necessary. After all, she loves me. She only needs to whisper it in my ear and I have no reason to doubt her feelings. She is so good for me, and when we walk together in the street at night, under the city lights, we are happy, utterly.

Then total disaster: cancer strikes her in the right knee. Her leg has to be amputated above the knee. For a while she cries. Then she accepts. “If I can’t dance, I will sing,” she says to me. So she begins to sing, first in our apartment, then even on the street, then she does karaoke in the pubs and cabarets. And we love each other perhaps even more than previously. I adore this incredible girl, this woman sharing her life with me.

But the cancer doesn’t stop. They take away her left breast. She is devastated for some time and there is no more singing. But one night she gives me one of her old smiles and asks that I push her in her wheelchair down the street to our favourite restaurant. As I push her along she talks freely of little things and comments on the colours, the sounds and the shaking of the wheelchair as it bumps over the cracks in the sidewalk. She laughs and I find the courage to laugh with her and for the moment the terror of the cancer leaves us be. Still she eats very little and loses more weight…

Finally, the death blow. The cancer manifests in her throat and she loses her voice. She has to stay in the hospital.

It’s the last day, of that I’m sure. She feebly raises her hand and I bring my ear to her mouth. She gives a sigh and whispers these words: listen to me well, my dear Paul. I am abandoning you and I regret it terribly. I am grieved to cause you so much pain, but it’s only for a short time. For us, this is not the end. Listen, you will not remain single (alone).

Promise me that you will return to our cabaret. There, wait once again for the dancer. Ask her if you may dance with her and when she smiles and says, ‘yes’ dance, dance with her like a fool! For you see, that will be me there, in her body and in her heart. I am returning, do not worry about that. I’m leaving you but for a moment.

Just like that, she was gone.

You want to know how it ends, this story? Well you see, I believed in her implicitly when she told me she would be coming back to me. I went back to our cabaret. I sat as close as possible to the dance floor. I had a beer or two and I waited, day after day. About two weeks of waiting and the dancer came.

It all began again.

A Very Long Walk

[a short story by Sha’Tara]

It was another cool, crisp and clear late Autumn afternoon, the kind Krista loved to go walking in. She followed the riding trail down to the edge of the Maskua river as it meandered through the low lying lands of this agricultural community. As she walked she noticed the oaks and maples had less leaves on them and the colours were reluctantly fading. Denuded tops allowed lopsided windows into a pale, clear, blue sky.

Many thoughts flowed through her mind. She knew she had it good as her home-based business only required a few hours a day to keep going and she enjoyed it. The two children, Toby, now thirteen, was in Middle school and Trina was finishing her high school. Both children were quiet as a rule and caused her little problems. Both were somewhat introverted and had few close friends, something she did not mind at all.

Her thoughts turned to her husband Dan on his last year of duty in Afghanistan. One short moment of trepidation, then she reasserted herself. He would be coming back, of that she was certain. She had vowed to herself never to dwell on the possibility that he could become a casualty of war. ‘Not in my reality’ she said often with total conviction. ‘Do you still love him?’ a small, nasty little inner voice taunted. ‘With all my heart and soul’ she replied truthfully. Krista, though still very attractive and not without admirers and opportunities, was the completely faithful partner. She would never stray.

She carefully skirted the muddy pools that remained in the trail all winter in the shadier spots and kept walking. She heard crows cawing but not using the excited voices when discovering a sleepy great horned owl or a red-tailed hawk. She heard ducks and geese on the river but could not sight the stream yet. There was much brush where she passed and one more little rise before she could see the meandering river reflecting the blue sky from shore to shore.

She saw a page from a note book crumpled and stuck in some blackberry brambles. She thought of reaching for it but decided against it. ‘Whatever is written on there, none of my business,’ she said to herself and kept walking. You could say she was observant but not overly curious.

She saw something else in another tangle, a grey and blue baseball cap. ‘That’s a team cap from Trina’s high school! Must have flown off a rider’s head or been brushed off by a low-lying branch and the owner chose not to come back for it. Oh well… her or his loss. Maybe they’ll come back for it later.’

She had topped the rise then and saw the river. She stopped to admire it – her favourite place in the entire walk. She had had many a good mother to daughter talk with Trina on this spot. The current was sluggish now and reflections of dark spruce and bare poplars cast mesmerizing shadows in the waters of the far bank. She moved her head slowly to the movements of the inverted tree dance trying to find a tune in her head to go with it.

Something unusual brought her to look closer to her side of the river. There was a piece of cloth floating down there, of blue and white coloration. It looked like it was caught on a branch. This time her curiosity was aroused and she worked her way to the edge of the water for a better look.

That’s when she realized she wasn’t looking at a piece of cloth but at the body of a drowned person. She saw long hair floating off from the submerged head and a white hand bobbing in and out from the surface. She gave a gasp, but instead of screaming as she wanted to do, she plunged into the stream and waded in the freezing water that came to her breasts by the time she reached the body of a young woman.

She tugged and pulled and finally untangled the body and dragged it to the shore, turning it over to look into its face…

“Oh God, Trina! What have you done? I told you he wasn’t worth it! You promised me it was over.”

The Tale of King Demarth

A short story,  by Sha’Tara

The old woman looked intently at the young girl at her knee as she sat by the smoldering fire of the hearth. Outside the wind blew and scraped branches against the stone of the cottage.

“Did I ever tell you the story of King Demarth of Ulmn?”

“No, you have not.”

“It is a very good story. Now I have to think for a minute or two, just to remember some of the details. You see, it’s an old story, handed down many generations in our family. So many generations…” she goes silent and sighs.

“Yes, now I can begin:

“Once upon a time, in a land far away there was a king called Demarth who lived in a mighty castle. He had many men-at-arms and over the years his father and he conquered the surrounding kingdoms and added them to their domain called Ulmn.

The king, therefore, becamd powerful and very rich. He was also a man who loved adventure. Often he’d go out into the countryside with only a couple of retainers, and sometimes he’d even go alone.

On one of his lonely rides one day he strayed farther than usual and found himself in a strange part of the land. He was no longer certain if this part belonged to his kingdom or not. As he pondered which way to go, his horse, a tall black war-horse, snorted and angled his ears forward toward what looked like an orchard. The king urged the horse forward and was suddenly hit in the head with a well-aimed green apple.

“Ho,” he cried. “Who is it dares to throw apples at the king?”

A young woman climbed down from a loaded apple tree and stared at the king and his horse. Then she slipped to her knees and bent her head.

“My lord – I thought thieves were in our land again. I have grievously offended you, take my life.”

The king bade her rise and he looked her over. She was indeed very beautiful, though dressed almost in rags and her red hair was unkempt and wild about her head.

“What is your name, girl?”

“Alnya” my lord, she replied.

“Do you have parents?” he asked her.

“My father was killed in the king’s wars before I was born. My mother lives in our cottage. I have two brothers much older than I. They work in the fields.”

“Take me to your mother, then – how far is it?”

“About a mile, my lord.”

He brought the great war horse near her, grabbed her and swept her in front of him on the horse. She gasped as they galloped to the cottage. Once there, the king asked for water, drank, then gave the peasant woman a purse filled with gold coins in exchange for her hospitality and her daughter to take back to the castle.

For you see the king had fallen madly in love with the beautiful and daring peasant girl and had decided to make her his bride. This he confided to her as they rode back to the castle beyond the great stone wall. She wept at the news but he did not understand nor did he enquire of the reason. Tears are affairs of women he’d been taught – best left alone.

I won’t bore you with the details of making this peasant girl into a courtesan, but she learned fast. She had her brothers brought to the castle to train for knighthood, and her mother came to live there as well. The farm was rented and kept in the family by the king’s law.

The gist of the story, my girl, is that Alnya had a lover before she met the king. She tried to forget him but one day he came even to the castle looking for her. They saw each other and she contrived to meet him. They swore love to each other and she promised to find a way to be reunited with him. Then she made him leave so that, should things turn sour, he would not be discovered. Despite their love, great was the fear in each of them.

Alnya decided to risk all. She went to the king and declared that she had a lover and wanted to return to him to be married to him, despite the certainty of poverty, or worse.

The king became very angry. You see, he too loved Alnya. And he had the power of his law to force her to marry him. He could even have the peasant lover thrown into his dungeons for life, or killed. He ordered Alnya away to her chambers and took his great horse out for a ride.

As he rode, he made a point of noticing everything that moved. The birds, animals and the people at their work or children at play. He stopped on a high, bare hill, dismounted and thought about his situation. His anger was abated now. He watched an eagle soaring high in the sky, then come down, lower and lower, suddenly swooping into tall grass and coming back up with a rodent in its talons.

How like that eagle I am, thought the mighty king. How easy it is for me, so high, to pounce down and just take what I want. Perhaps too easy. Perhaps I must suffer shame and defeat again, as I did when my wife the queen died in childbirth and I was left alone. Perhaps the happiness of others is of more importance to the mighty than their own. What is our purpose but to ensure the weaker are protected from injustice as well as from physical harm? How much the more from any injustice I myself would inflict upon them?

The great king mounted his horse and rode through the forest in silence, coming upon Alnya’s village. He enquired after a young apprentice smith he was interested in for the castle forge, so he said. He found the boy at the forge, working the bellows.

“Ah, my lord the king,” said the smith. “Please come in. Is there something wrong with your horse, a loose or missing shoe perhaps?”

“No my good man,” said the king. “I wish a word with your apprentice, Garthain.”

So the king walked a ways with Garthain, Alnya’s lover. Suddenly the king turned upon Garthain and pulling his long double handed knight’s sword from its diamond-studded sheath, said, “Kneel, knave, for you crave the king’s own betrothed and I must challenge you.”

Trembling, the young man kneeled. But he looked the king in the eyes and said, “I love Alnya. I always have. We were lovers when you took her away. You took my heart and desire to live when you took her then. So take that sword in your hand and strike me dead. May my head be the trophy you bring to her wedding bed.”

The king help up the sword and brought it down… gently upon Garthain’s shoulder.

“I knight thee in the name of God and the Kingdom. If it suits you now, find a horse and ride back with me to the castle. Indeed there will be a wedding this week, and indeed it will be that of the fair Alnya. But let it be said by all that she marries, not of duress or fear, but of love. When you are married, you may choose to live here in the village – with my blessings and gold for help, or you may join my knights at the castle, though I warn you it is a harsh life there.”

And so it came to pass that the king rose to be mighty and had peace in his land for as long as he lived. And though he did not have a love of his own, he had the love of an entire kingdom, to his dying day, and he was mourned greatly for he had been the best king anyone had ever known.

And thus, it was said long ago, should all the mighty behave towards those over whom they reign or rule.

And now this story is yours and in turn you must tell it to your children. Do not forget it, ever.

Little Beaver

A short story, by Sha’Tara
(Part 2 – with last paragraph from part 1 to make the link)

They followed her until she came to the edge of a small lake. She made several signs in the water with her fingers, then stood facing the sun, not moving a muscle for a long time. It was as if she was asleep they said later. They approached stealthily, as trained hunters can do, two from one side, two from another and one from behind. When the one behind her was close enough to grab her, he stretched out his arm to put his hand around her throat. As he did so, she turned and let out a blood-curdling screech. Her right arm shot out and at the end, what seemed like huge talons, locked around the man’s neck and snapped it as if it was a dry twig. Still screeching, she unfolded huge wings and flew away to the west, over the trees.

The four men brought back the body of their dead comrade to the village and told their story.

At first no one believed them, but they saw the marks on the dead man’s neck and the story became more and more believable. I was confused. I thought I knew your mother quite well. I knew she was strong, but she was not a beast. I also knew she was a healer, not a killer. Your mother would not have killed the man, just beat him down and made sport of him, taunting him for being weaker than a mere woman. Then she would have challenged the other four men to try their skills against hers. She would have beaten them, as easily as an eagle takes a rabbit. I know this about your mother.

My son, sometimes people think they know the truth. Sometimes they believe that they saw what they say was there. I believe that there are others, like your mother, out there. Some are not like her in spirit. Perhaps these young fools thought they followed your mother, but I know she was a master at disappearing from any stalker. In fact that is the only time anyone was ever able to claim to have crept up on her unnoticed. I believe, to this day, that the creature they encountered was another one, perhaps a spirit which resembled her. I know it wasn’t your mother.

When she returned to the village after three suns she was smiling and happy. She showed unbelief when she heard the story, and would speak to no one. It was as if she was hurt by their willingness to believe such things of her. The story became a part of her legacy, nevertheless. She became restless again. You were three summers when she exuded that strange scent again, and I went with her to a hut in the forest. We made your sister that time. I will tell you about your sister, but for now, let me finish this part. I decided to return to the place where she had made the hut, after two suns had passed. There was no hut, not a single sign that anyone had ever been there. I know it was the right place. I had broken a twig to mark the place, and scuffed the earth in one spot. The broken twig was there, and the mark of my moccasin in the earth, but nothing else. No scent and no flowers. I was saddened and apprehensive.

When your mother began to show signs of being pregnant, I rejoiced. She had told me it was a girl child this time. It didn’t matter to me. You were so beautiful already, and slightly different than the other young children. You were already taller than all the others, and your eyes were of a yellow hue. Your hair, though thinner than mine, was longer and had the same strange waves in it. I knew by observing you that you would become a great hunter and chief in your time. I dreamt also of having a daughter who would be as strong and intelligent as your mother; a true Shaman, who would belong to the tribe, and not to the wilderness. We are too small a village to hire and keep our own Shaman. We need one born among us, one with the great powers of your mother, so the people from the other villages will respect us and come to us in their time of need. You see, as long as She-ya-neh, your mother, lived among us, we had no disease and we were never attacked or raided.

About four moons after we had been in the hut, your mother came to me at dusk. It was a beautiful evening after a sunset filled with the fire of the Great Spirit. It meant well for the fishing…

The man stopped here. He reached down and poked the embers of their small fire. The boy ran into the bushes then came back and wrapped a warm beaded blanket around his slim figure.

“Please continue, Father. When I am chief, I will need to know all about my mother, so I won’t have to listen to stories made up to make her look bad and discredit my place among the elders.”

“You are wise, my son, far beyond your summers. Your mother did not take her gifts away when she left. I believe that soon, you will find within your hands, great powers, my son. You will be the Shaman we have been asking for. Chief and Shaman. No one has had such honour among us before. Yet I know this is to be…

“So that evening, your mother knelt before me in our house. In her large eyes, I saw tears. She seldom showed tears. Her face was sad, yet I felt a deep excitement in her. She spoke into my mind as she always did when she expressed deep feelings.

“I am going away tonight. I will not be returning, ever. Our son is well. Nothing will happen to him now. Our daughter will be with me, and well taken care of. Some day, you will meet her. I cannot say more. Now let me go, and do not come after me, or even look at me as I go. Put your love in our son, and when I am gone, find him a suitable mother and wife to cook for you and to comfort you at night when it is cold. I must return to the place where I come from. Here, take this talisman I wore in my hair all these years, and when our son is old enough, put it on his head. It is a living thing, a gift of the Great Spirit for the great travelers. Do not forget. Yo nah la! Aheya noha!”

With these strange words, she crossed her arms in front of her face, closed her fingers gently then turned and walked away. I heard her footsteps for a short time, then nothing. I stepped outside our house, holding you in my arms. The night suddenly became very still. The coyotes quieted down and the owls stopped hooting. Even the frogs became still, and the breeze died down. After some time, I saw a great fire in the forest. It lit up the sky, even the underside of the clouds. Then I heard a great waterfall roaring, after which the fire rose up and soon there was just a thin trail in the sky, above the village. Then, like the shooting stars, it was gone. I never saw your mother again.

My son, look up there. See that small star village? Often your mother pointed there and sighed. She said she felt something being sent to her from those stars. She also said that the spirits who travel the trails of the stars must obey their own seasons. Stars wander all over, and sometimes they are close enough to each other to send visitors there. The visitor must then wait until the star returns at that same place to return to his own village. Your mother’s people travel the paths of the stars, my son. They come once, then are gone. Sometimes, they can return, and sometimes not. It takes much power to follow the paths of the stars, and you must also be a true friend of the Great Spirit if you do not want to lose yourself in that great blackness between the star villages.

Listen to me, my son, if one day a tall grey-eyed woman appears to you, or wanders into your village, or meets you on the shore of a far-away lake, do not look upon her as a man looks upon a woman. That woman will be your sister. Remember that. When you marry, you shall marry one of our kind, one born in a village within this valley. That is how it must be.”

“Thank you father.” The boy yawned and leaned against the man. Overhead, it seemed to the man that one star twinkled brighter and faster than any other. He pointed at it with his finger but the son had fallen asleep on his lap. The man rolled himself off the log and wrapped in their warm blankets, they both slept peacefully as the moon was hid by a bank of black clouds rolling in slowly from the far mountains.