Part 2 – Message from Tara

(Time being of the essence today, without preamble, here’s part 2 of the message from the future.)

To continue, then. Those who fail to contribute the necessary data they are capable of are measured on their performance and can have their corporeality revoked since it is not functioning according to the contract made with the City. These then become free minds seeking and sharing information based on their mental abilities. They  function fully as individuals but can no longer perform physical tasks, nor experience the material world except vicariously. Since they are not taking up material resources, no one bothers them as long as they do not go rogue and commit serious infractions, for example by telling lies or using corporeal entities to commit crimes.

They cannot seek to return to corporeality unless they apply for residence on newly terra-formed worlds, or re-activated worlds where their basic skills may be of value and where no current corporeal entity wishes to exercise such function or is available. They are then given a vacated body, or one is cloned to their specifications (function needs apply). I cannot tell you how this works here, partly because it’s not my area of expertise and partly because that information is privileged to our time.

Back to my day: When the agency calls, it gives me all the information I need to carry out my function – what to wear, where to go and how much time I am to function at the place.  For example, I query “wear” and am told to wear, say #5 – a simple short translucent dress that wears as comfortably as a second skin, very appealing, both for the wearer and those who are inclined to look. I query “weather” and am told it’s light drizzle and to wear # 12 – a light, transparent cape with a large, comfortable hood where my naturally grown very thick and long wavy auburn hair can be tucked in without messing it up.  Query “transportation” and I’m advised that walking is good exercise today. Most people choose to walk barefoot now.  Body enhancements have made wearing shoes an affectation that is discouraged as it adds to waste and body odour. Synthetic deodorants, though still available on the open market, are frowned upon. As are most items of make-up.

Except for the morphs (temp or permanent) it is considered socially unacceptable and akin to lying, to hide one’s body. Part of our social evolution has made us proud of our bodies and we take good, natural care of them. There are no “ugly” or “turn off” bodies any longer. The more we accept one another, the more beautiful we become to each other. Beautiful minds are naturally reflected in beautiful bodies.

I don’t carry a bag or purse or other personal luggage of basic essentials. The agency arranges all details of client personal preferences in hygiene needs and those are sent directly to the client and await me in a sealed container. For I.D., implants, through my torc, communicate my status, function and purpose to the checker at the entrance to the client’s residence. If the checker is a male he will usually escort me to the client’s apartment. Knowing I am a provider and if he is interested, he can be as personal with my body as he wishes while we travel together. If he interests me I can reciprocate the pleasure. If he is more interested in information sharing which is usually the case, he will seek out new information from my mind and likewise I will query him. Any information not yet available on the infonet, usually gathered from my clientele, is highly prized and when I provide such I’m guaranteed future first class service wherever he (or friends of his) may be functioning. Word gets around.

Believe me when I say this: being “informed” (even if only theoretically) is rated the highest goal. Information and understanding can eventually get you off the planet and unto other worlds. That’s our dream, our passion: to create and experience the future. Imagine yourself being able to do that; how you could fulfill your greatest dreams instead of living in the dread of coming disaster, totally at the mercy of madmen and psychopaths as is the case for you in your time. (More on that)

Any new information can be traded or “sold” for future consideration. This is not stealing – it is encouraged. The more known and demanded you are, the better your chances are of not only retaining your right to your corporeality, but of moving ever higher into the strata of society. Not that you want this to lord it over others – it’s the opposite. The “higher” strata are those who possess greater awareness and openness thus able to receive more information. They also carry the greatest responsibility.

The highest echelons one can reach are engineering in planetary development, space travel, communication, bionics and bio-genetics as well as mind-enhancement. To your day, such things sound scary – Brave New World sort of thing. To us, it means greater acceptance by other humans and means of advancement beyond earth. As I said before, we now readily and consciously sacrifice what we have if there’s a chance we may gain what we desire. We have become “upwardly mobile spacers” in our thinking. We are no longer “arriving” – we are forever “leaving”.

Our great plan is to develop a fleet of transports that can take the entire remaining human population of earth out into space, beyond this galaxy, perhaps (and likely) never to return. We envision an earth devoid of human life – except for a few observers, anthropologists and non-biological self-maintaining androids and monitors – its life left to re-develop as the planet sees fit, without any pressure from any other mind but its own.

We are in the process of re-programming surface inter-species behaviour on the planet to a totally non-predator/prey relationship. When this is complete, probably in a hundred years or so, it will be interesting to see how planetary life finds its own balance again.  Many predict the “wildness” will eventually choke on itself and the planet become barren of life. I totally disagree with that assessment.

I think that a great intelligence which we still refer to as “Gaia” lies within earth. That is what we have not yet learned to communicate with properly (on the basis of equality). I personally believe, and have said so in many meetings, that when we leave for the stars this world will surprise everyone – or just itself if no one is here to see it. So often we judge “others” (including non-human entities) on the basis of our own follies, foibles and limits.

Explanation of the torc: I must back off a bit. There is one item, apart from implants and function-wear that everyone wears practically all the time, often even in sleep. It is a multi-purpose torc (look up torque for your day) that can be disguised in many ways, collar, necklace, scarf – my choice is the choker. My choker has a small diamond shaped attachment equipped with several micro-chips in constant communication with my implants. The purpose of this torc is to be able, for example, to communicate thought-forms in symbols or images – a personal short-hand we call picting – so that large numbers of people can “speak” simultaneously without interfering with the conversations of others, breaking the silence or interfering with music or verbal communications, as during a dramatic performance.

The torc also serves as a flood light if I find myself in some darkened building or need to temporarily blind a potential attacker (sadly, that can still happen). It also detects warm-up of any inimical laser activity and can diffuse the most powerful beams of personal laser weapons. I have yet to see this – and I hope never – but it does happen that non-corporeal rogues “escape” and by manipulating a bodied entity, attempt to steal bodies by attacking corporeal entities, or (extremely rare) throwback deviants and aberrants attack and a woman to rape her.

Not a perfect world, but: So, as I said, not a perfect world. But remember this: no one is exploited, oppressed or kept in prison (except as noted above regarding discorporate deviants). No one is tortured, no one lacks basic necessities. No one is without help from the community. You will appreciate this: no one knowingly dies of preventable causes – and that should make you feel validated.  We have no poor, no homeless, no addicts, no habitual criminals. Any such entities, if they refuse treatment or fail to realize the necessity of change, are sent to memory storage and their corporeal parts re-cycled or passed on to someone who can exercise proper responsibility for physical expression and can perform a needed function.

If I seem to make much of corporeality, it’s simply because we have only so much space and so many resources that can accommodate corporeal entities. We have reached our current limits to physical growth and we must recycle even ourselves as physical beings.

We are currently attempting many new ways to increase body availability for those in mind space. Tiny bodies is one way; several minds inside one body is another. Human minds in androids, another.

Another idea being experimented with that stems from your times though without any proof of having ever been done successfully is called “breatharianism” or the ability of a body to exist normally and healthily strictly by breathing. It’s always made sense to me that we can do this but so far, no success. This would not help in the matter of space but would go a long way in alleviating food availability.

The ‘no private property’, ‘no hoarding’ and ‘instant sharing’ has helped to alleviate resource restrictions but no more normal size living bodies can be added to our population. I would say that perhaps fifty percent of our supracity population exists in mind-space. That, to me, is neither a good nor acceptable situation. However much vaunted our parity and equality, mind beings retain an aura of second class citizenry – another point I have brought up often. The point is now recognized: we just need to find a solution to this glaring problem. So far, that solution means space: we need to find, or create, more space!

From your viewpoint I suppose there is callousness about this approach. But think of the alternative. Look at your world and project yourself 200 to 300 years into your future. “See” the Great Death swallow up an entire planet, destroying most life and not just human life.  Sense the horror of from five to seven billion pseudo-humans and countless billions of other life-forms as they die, some in excruciating pain, some of horror, some from despair, most from lack of sustaining necessities of food, shelter and protection against elements, including a complete break-down of medical intervention. See in your mind simple diseases decimating entire cities and nothing to stop them.

That is what the vaunted “freedoms” of your time managed to accomplish. Only by turning away from those lies did we manage, if barely, to survive and re-build – with help from our galactic friends.

Back to my day: When I’m ready, I palm my way out of my apartment and into a grav-well (what you would call an elevator) that drops me down the 35 floors in seconds without giving my body any discomfort. The non-cabin adjusts automatically for g-pull, maintaining a constant 1-g. I step out on a street that is bright (even in rain) and silent.  Traffic slips by unobtrusively. It too moves at high speeds and like the grav-wells, compensates for change in g-force.

Grav-wells or gravity wells are force fields contained by traction beams that you can step into and stand – in what appears to be emptiness, yet holds you more securely than any physical object ever could. It is, of course, frictionless. A gift from the stars – very handy.

As I walk I put my face into the light misty rain. We have weather control and clouds are engineered for maximum efficiency. Storms are controlled and electrical discharges are funnelled automatically into our energy grids. Today the clouds are almost translucent. You can see the solar disc through them. The rain is warm and soft. I like the feel of the pavement on my bare feet and the rain running off my cape onto my thighs and down my legs feels alive. You can feel the cleanness of the water and the air. Try to imagine this: I am breathing pure, clean, natural air – no man-made pollutants in it!

I pass many places of business with clear unbreakable plazed windows that absorb reflections while providing light and heat for the building, revealing all that is contained in the interior of the shops.  Throngs fill the streets yet we never feel crowded. Our implants are ever scanning any presence and automatically compensate our movements to the available space. No one is accidentally bumped or shoved. This may put you in mind of your current obsession with self-driving cars, a silly, pointless invention, one of so many useless and wasteful technological foolishness of your times that was used to blind us to what was happening behind the scenes.

Of those who walk past me, some, male or female(!) eye me appreciatively (remember I’m wearing translucent skin covering, or what you call clothes) and smile, picting hellos or more suggestive greetings. All know my function by my dress and torc signature. I smile back and activate my torc in response. A man picts a symbol for “encounter” and I reply with the symbol for the agency. He thanks me, giving me an image of an oversized cartoon smile as he slips gracefully into a grav-transport.

I chose my purpose and function so well, I believe. It fulfills the physical me.

End of Part 2


Message from Tara

[as transcribed by Sha’Tara]

{For the blog reader: the following I call a “letter from the future” as I received it from my future alter ego some time back. I had to think about it before I offered it for public reading – and had to remove some of the more personal aspects of the “letter”. I offer this missive from future “Tara” in 3 installments.      This is part 1} 

Introduction: Well, here goes and I hope I can write this to express what it meant to me when I received it.  This is not a story but an actual message from “me” – as Tara from approximately a thousand years into my future.  This is not “science fiction’; it’s what my future; earth’s probable future, looks like a thousand years from today.

The information I am sharing here was downloaded to my mind in thought-forms which I had to translate, like opening a zipped file to be manually reconfigured. I had to trust my memory to record what I was being told in a way that could make sense to anyone else reading this in this particular time. I realize that not all of what is in this “message in a bottle” from the future is acceptable to the antiquated mindset that rules this day and age but I’m willing to take a chance on the feedback.

I’ve often wondered how it would affect the run-of-the-mill human mind if it was ever brought face-to-face with a probable, or very likely, future. If it could be convinced that such a future is in fact an inescapable reality if nothing of what is currently determining that future is substantially changed.

This tiny increment of a future I am sharing with you is the most likely unless the direction indicated by our historical past, and our inconvenient present as we are shaping it, isn’t seriously nudged to one side or the other. Simply put, continue with “this” recipe and “that” is what you will bring out of the oven.

Message from Tara – greeting and authentication:

Hello to you. This communication is being pulsed from approximately 1000 years in your future. My name is Tara and my code name is “Tess” – from our initials, as I have continued to use the title “Earth Star” in our name.  Therefore Tara Earth Star – TES or “Tess”.  That is the name my function uses (explained later).

I have attached a code to this message to authenticate it to be me as future you by the feelings (felt as a tingling) which it will cause in your head. You will hear yourself say, “I know this.”  That’s how we authenticate time communications here. It’s like a spoor, or scent. You just know. If it doesn’t carry the code your acceptance implant blanks out the message – no, not yours, mine.  Sorry if I confuse you at the beginning: you don’t have any implants as yet. I remember well that we, that is you, had the wisdom to cancel out the brainwashing soul implant in your current time. That move has served us well in coming incarnations.

I am “you” or “us” and you can think of me as yourself in a future a thousand years from your now time. It is my hope this message will be received by you in the spirit it is being sent: as encouragement for you at a critical point in life choices and also as a glimpse into who we are, how we live and how we see ourselves as Earthians to the rest of the worlds we have come to know; perhaps more importantly, how we got from your time, to what I am about to reveal to you.

Since you will be unable to reply to this message, I will attempt to anticipate some of your questions and answer them in a way that should make sense to you. I know that after you decipher this you will have at least two obvious questions.

One, are we happy?

Two, in leaving the old ways, have we lost too much in relation to what we have gained?

I will leave these here for now and go on with my message. Perhaps the questions will answer themselves, and if not, I will attempt an explanation at the end.

Residency: I reside in the supracity of Angeles, Independent Territory California (ITC for short). You will recognize this as the city of Los Angeles, California, United States of America of your day. There are no longer political units you know as nations.  We use “region” or “territory” to describe our primary residency, but mostly we are known by the megalopolis we reside in. Angeles is the only city in the territory. This is where people live. Those who do not live in the city are in small enclaves of specialists and bio-engineers with their phalanx of helpers working with the environment – on soil, water, plants, animals as well as weather control.

No one just “lives” out there, whether on land or on water, who is not performing a function deemed necessary to the polis – the sum-total of all of us (exceptions noted and explained later). Their other, more critical function, is to repair the damage done to the earth by previous generations.

I am going to tell you about me by touching on parts of my day-to-day life, and supply whatever information needed so you will understand a bit of how we live; what we are up to. Many things I can’t explain – have no idea how they work, only that they do – amazingly and unbelievably well – and many of our technological abilities we simply cannot, and will not, share with the past. Your world would destroy itself completely if it were permitted to access and back-engineer many of our technology. I know only too well you do not possess the evolutionary or experiential maturity required to function on our intellectual and technological level.

I remember your time, not only as past lives memories but from scanning the data memory records of our many passages on this world.  There is a gap during the Great Death where we were on one of the stacked worlds doing what we’ve always done best –  and it worked.  We now have gender parity without need for legal enforcement. The misogynist patriarchy is dead and gone. We made it – we’ve got the world we dreamed of, well, almost.

After all, you’ll remember how you insisted that perfection was unattainable in the created order. You were right. So we no longer strive for things like perfection or freedom or love. We know they exist as absolutes and we know that the totality of a good thing destroys it. We strive for balance. However we are not “moderates” – far from it. We are full of passion but ours is of a new kind – almost frightening even to us.

We are much more understanding and accepting now and these are truly exciting times to live in.

Personal: I live on the 35th floor of a downtown apartment square.  You’d like it, it’s bright, clean, basic simplicity. I live alone – friends or visitors are not permitted here. Music awakens me at 6:00 AM. (We still use that same day time) and I’m prodded to get up and do my basic exercises. I speak to the agency (what you’d call an employer) or rather the agency speaks to me, while this is going on.  We don’t use phones – the apartment talks to you, wherever you are in it.

A built-in medi-scanner scans my body for any signs of stress, lack of rest, detects and makes notes for repairs needed for any minor imperfections found. Minor repairs and enhancement upgrades are done in situ by “the machine” – a sophisticated but unobtrusive auto-surgeon installed and programmed by the agency. The medi-scanner provides me information for changes I must make to diet, times spent exercising, studying, functioning (what you call work), morphing issues (explained later) and rest. I shower, then make my own breakfast. Not that I need to do this normally, but my city-defined function requires I practice this obsolete skill – more of an art actually. I enjoy it! (More on that later.)

My basic function as a corporeal entity:  I’m part of what you would call an escort service – though my function bears no resemblance to what would come to your mind.  By choice, I’m a provider. Such a function is now extremely important in a world that is less intimately earth-natural, though more challenging as we probe ever deeper into possibilities of corporeally reaching worlds beyond our solar system. To gain the greater it is necessary to sacrifice the lesser – but know that any sacrifice is from choice. We are evolving at a much faster rate than in your day. We welcome, we long for, the future; we do not fear it for it is drawing us.

In our heady plunge towards galactic and possible inter-galactic travel many old ways had to be abandoned. They were never practical anyway. Monogamous relationships, the nuclear family, these no longer exist.  Utterly impractical and full of old feelings that could easily drag us back into your dark ages through atavism. Adults with corporeal functions can have children – are encouraged to do so – and a child can have any number of parents, of either gender, depending on what “function” is desired of the child. Minds and bodies as well as personal genealogical history are probed, the results given to the prospective parents and details are sorted out.  From the results, a living mind is engendered and trained. When it reaches the age of self-sufficiency it is (usually, not always) given a body grown for its purpose.

The body may be perfectly human in shape, or not, again, depending on what the grown child has chosen as a function which could be other than what the parents initially chose. Those who choose non-human shapes are usually referred to as “neo-morphs.”  They would look very strange to you but are not thought of as being strange here.  After all, to us what matters is the mind.  In mind we are all human, or strive to be. A typical neo-morph could be a tiny human with several arms and elongated fingers or toes to move among computer terminals and service them, or install upgrades. It would be designed to be unaffected by electrical charges, yet it would be human, not android or cyborg, although these, as the neo-morphs, are a necessary and accepted part of our society and hold the same rights as any typical human.

The cooking thing – and other old-fashioned performances: Some agency clients practice old-fashioned tastes and expect their hired provider to cook.  Home cooking however quaint and decidedly wasteful is part of the pleasure I give to men who have no female partners by choice or necessity.  Sex isn’t the ultimate experience that people still seek from it in your time.  Now it’s the transient overall pleasure of present, corporeal femaleness that males, and also many females, seek.  Sometimes even children are supplied to create the illusion of a family.  These are not original beings, of course, but “partials” (morphed) supplied by an original in search of new experiences.  Then I become a “mom” to the child as well as “wife” to the man.  I enjoy that role but it’s a dangerous game. My feelings get aroused and mixed up. Amazing how quickly one can become attached to a human child or to a particular man! After say, a week (usually that is the extent of the “gig” as you’d call it – beyond that it gets prohibitively expensive for the client and emotionally draining for the provider) I need deep cleansing to release residual emotions. Deep cleansing is done at the agency and can take as long as twenty four hours to complete. It isn’t wasted time: it is turned into a time of study and exercise.

Please note here that I can only speak from a female perspective. The same role of providers are taken on by men. The agency probably has as many males “on call” as they do females. You could call it parity. The other thing to remember, it’s actually important for you to note this, is that some of us, like myself, have chosen our purpose for life. We are considered “permanents.” If I want to change my status, I have to earn the change or conversely I can do something unbelievably stupid to lose my position. For example, stealing something of value from a client, or resorting to cold, ignorant, abusive performance or refusing to comply to a demand that is clearly stipulated in the contract between client and agency.

There are many providers who choose to do this part-time, usually otherwise too occupied to engage even temp personal relationships, or who return from orbit on extended furloughs. There is choice; there is flexibility, yet there is control to prevent chaos.  All providers, permanents or temps, are registered with an agency, for convenience in making contacts and protection.

I am in demand because there aren’t as many “available” females as in your day.  Many who would normally be female choose to transgender to ease the problems of loneliness in off-world exchanges on alien ships or long-term orbiting station maintenance.  We have become waste-conscious and practical to a fault. Androgyny is common and trend is for hermaphrodite bodies now. Personally I chose a normal-bodied humanoid heterosexual female. I chose (past tense here) that form with the specific intent of using it to provide physical pleasure to equally “normal” heterosexual humanoid males who still have the same basic needs for full contact with females as they do in your day.  That male attribute, so twisted and denigrated in your day is now considered a great boon! My choice however is often overridden by the agency if a female wishes to have me for company.

I certainly do enjoy my function in society. I know I get at least as much from these energy sharing as do the clients. It may surprise you to know that often the sharing expected by men is of an intellectual and mental nature – problems that elude solutions are brought into the gentle intimacy of the temp relationship and I look at it from an individual female’s point of view – and feelings. There are episodes when “sex” does not come into play as we can become absorbed working with mind-images.

Socially, as females we are no longer underpaid corporate slaves or indentured “wives” tied to monogamous (monotonous!) relationships. We think of them as terribly unsatisfactory, oppressive and limiting, particularly for the women of your times and before. Women no longer bear children except in certain preserves or enclaves which are like your “native” reserves or wildlife zoos.  For example, there remain socially insignificant reactionary religious communities that are frozen in the old ways prevalent at the time of the Death. These are permitted to exist outside the City but not allowed to exceed a quota of procreation. Their activities are strictly monitored. We don’t care what they believe, or believe in but we certainly do care what they do. At this time the discussion is whether to sterilize them since their way of life is not only obsolete but no longer in accord with the aims of the City regarding earth.

There are isolated islands in the oceans where people live natural lives, growing their food right off the land and building shelters from raw natural materials.  These perpetuate humanoid mammalian behaviour for seed pools should something terrible happen (not as likely now) and for anthropological studies conducted from and by other *ISSA worlds.

In all of these “preserves” we have established safe stations where anyone who is abused or wishes to leave can escape to.  Once the safe station is entered, it locks and rises about one K and hovers until the occupant is removed by a shuttle.  The station then returns to stand-by on the ground.  We do not have permanent police on the preserves or islands; we only monitor, but any resident of such places who steps outside delineated boundaries is taken into custody and brought to a city’s evaluator to determine the cause and seriousness of the infraction and what is to be done. Serious infraction results in violators relegated to city memory; lesser ones may result in some limited mind purging and permission given to return to the preserve, particularly if they have attachments to a biological family.

Even though we have quantum technology and some limited faster-than-light transportation, many off-worlders still frown on us and limit our access to space beyond our solar system – they fear us.  So they study us, in great depth and with circumspection.  And so they should – always that danger of recidivism or atavism lurking on this world.  The history of earth as recorded on some worlds and seen through their eyes makes one cringe.  We have a joke about those who come here to study us: “Don’t worry, they won’t take you for a pet.  They know our bite is poisonous.”

For what it’s worth to you, let me assure you that as a species we have left a less than enviable track record for other ISSA beings to study. For many galactic ISSA species we remain persona non grata; dangerous, untrustworthy, murderous. Let me repeat it for you: we certainly did everything in our power, through our murderous and intransigent ways, to earn the fear and distrust of our galactic neighbours: not something to be proud of. It is of record that our termination as a sentient species was discussed and considered several times. Remind anyone with ears to hear of this for it is a reality of your times!

Back to my day: As I said, my apartment is clean, bright and basic. Every item here belongs to the agency.  Every piece of clothing or jewelry (if any is asked of me to wear in public) is categorized and identifiable by scan code from an implant. All my needs are met as they arise. Mere wants for physical objects are discouraged. If, without pre-authorization I bring home an item of no specific or immediate use, it is removed (you’d call it vaporized, it disappears) – recycled. Nothing of what I have belongs to me, not even my body. So you learn to not waste valuable energy uselessly, not to become dependent on gadgetry or even relationships that you own or that have the potential to own you.

They even scan your thoughts – not to keep you from thinking, but to the contrary – to evaluate and demonstrate how much “space” you are wasting in your memory and how you can improve it by not filling in the blanks with useless thought-junk. Yes, thoughts are energy and negative thoughts or lazy thoughts, are entropic. We can no longer afford that path.

Thinking progressively is what matters, not what you think about. New ways to improve your own performance greatly encouraged. Interaction with city facilitating, planning and design expected (the only kind of government we now have) and your input is logged into a special file within a mega department for the improvement of corporeal residencies and overall function.  Working out ways of making yourself more appealing, more understanding, more aware of your client’s needs and desires, this is good too.

You are expected to contribute meaningfully any talent you have to education, the arts, facilitating (governing) and general engineering. Your involvement determines your suitability when applying for your next performance level. It is also expected that I, as a provider, visit those non-corporeal mind-beings “stored” or held in City data for serious infractions. Such visits allow the incarcerated to be in proximity to a corporeal provider from whom they can derive a certain amount of vicarious pleasure and with whom they can share information.  Thus you provide up-to-date information for them to work with – think of it like bringing books or newspapers in a prison – and they feel less like *prisoners. If you are wondering what percentage of the mind population exists in storage, it is less than one percent and dwindling as atavism and recidivism is on the decline. I am hoping that with time, say a couple hundred years(?) we can do away with City data storage altogether.

I must point out here, or make it clear, that discorporate minds not in City data are free to go about wherever without any restrictions on their movements. Do we have a “mind police” should one of these is reported to have gone rogue? Yes, we do. Unfortunately, they are still needed and busy.

The other question you probably have is, how can you separate “minds” from “corporate entities”? With alien help we were taught how to separate minds from bodies. Much of it has to do with a new type of deep meditation. For rule-breakers who must lose their bodies, brainwashing and drugs are used to create the separation since it would never be done voluntarily.

Even our most die-hard materialists had to finally admit that a “mind” is not part of a physical body but is that which uses the body for its own purposes and ends. Thus we learned, when interacting with others, to address their minds, not their bodies. I do not own my body, it belongs to the agency, first of all, then to the City and by extension, to the world I live on.

What I am is a mind. My mind is me, always will be me, a recognizable individual with or without a body, living eternally unless for whatever reason, I choose annihilation in which case that which is ‘me’ and ‘I’ would no longer exist at all.

Why should we object to being minds without bodies? After all, we have been without bodies uncountable numbers of times between incarnations. We existed as individuals in non-physical astral realms and none the worst for it. It’s just that with bodies we can experience sensations and that is huge!

Are you wondering “who” it is does the monitoring, judging, expecting?  Well, we do – as a thought unit. We have become quite a body, and like a body, where we itch, we scratch. Sorry – bad joke.  Just call it species empathy. We inform ourselves, we feel, we experience, ergo, we know. Knowledge after all, is simply made up of two things: information and experience brought together. That tells you why minds so eagerly seek to join with a body: for sensual experiences.

End Part 1 of 3

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff

[Time for another chapter of the novel. Enjoy!]

Part I    –   The Calling

Chapter 19   –   Meeting the priest; all is set for the wedding

To Lo and Nal, it wasn’t much of a ‘town’ but to Deanna it was unbelievable. Not only the large kirk that sat imposingly in the centre of the main town but the shops, so many shops, and people walking everywhere. There were even people on horseback, and horse-drawn carts hauling various merchandise. At an open air butcher shop several women were haggling with a portly butcher over the cut meat and the hanging geese and chicken. After each left with a purchase, she was replaced by another just as eager to haggle over the prices.

Children ran wildly through the filthy streets, yelled at by the adults they splattered when their bare feet slapped into puddles of stagnant and stinking water.

As Ian and his group walked on deeper into the town, most people stopped doing whatever they were doing and stared. The men were particularly attracted to the three young women, the two tall imposing light-haired ones and the short, small dark one. On the faces you could read the question: who are these well-armed people and what do they want here?

Then some recognized MacGruder and greetings were exchanged. Women came forth to greet lady Jen MacGruder and their daughter they did not recognized so grown up she was. They were introduced to Lo whom they openly admired, and the two other young women, Genti and Deanna. Ian ventured the news that they intended to have a wedding here in Glowmere between the two travellers who were friends of the MacGruders from the south. He announced that Nal and Lo, whom he singled out, were to be united in holy matrimony at the kirk if the priest was in agreement.

The news was greeted with a loud cheer that spread up and down the main street and brought the curious street urchins forth. Soon items went missing here and there from the shops and stalls as the cries of “Thief, stop him!” or “That miserable scoundrel, stop her!” followed by some useless chase that only left a shop or stall open to more pilfering.

“An where does one find the priest?” ask Ian. An urchin offered to lead them to the priest, for a price. Contrary to his usual parsimonious nature, Ian good-naturally accepted and paid the rascal. They intercepted the priest as he was stepping out of the kirk and getting ready to bar, bolt and lock the door.

“Wouldn’t want yer God er his saints t’ run off come night eh Father? Keep ‘em locked up, that’s the sure way.” said Ian with a large smile.

The priest, a tall, stringy sort of creature in a fading black cassock eyed MacGruder with a frown and asked, “An what do ye be wantin’ fro’ me, mon?”

“Well Father, ‘tis not what I want, ‘tis what these young un’s here be needin’ – an’ that’d be a proper weddin’ t’would be, if ye be amenable to it?”

The priest cast a haughty look over the group trying to figure out which of them were to be the victims. Unable to decide, he turned to MacGruder and said, “They be proper Church people then? Baptized and knowing their catechism?”

“Aye of that I’m sure Father. Might not hurt ‘em just the same to have a confession afore the ceremony?”

“That is mandatory mon, and may I know whom I be addressin’ and whom the intended’s be?”

“I be Ian MacGruder, perhaps ye’ve heard of us from up t’ cottage? An’ here are the two ‘intendeds’ as ye put it: Lo ‘n Nal. Don’t know if there be any family names attached to ‘em, I reckon not.”

“Well, I’ll need such particulars for the book ye understand. We keep decent records here, not like the old pagan days thankfully gone from here, praise God.”

“We’ll get ye the names Father.” MacGruder’s voice had grown somewhat harsher and definitely colder as he prepared to haggle prices with the priest.

Having heard their names mentioned, Nal and Lo came forward and introduced themselves to the priest. Again he gave his haughty look, equally met and brought down forcefully by both Nal and Lo who would not tolerate such from a pawn of the Church. For a moment the priest sensed something that scared him and was of a mind to refuse the ceremony, then thought of the money and held his tongue. On top of the incentive of good gold, there were those deadly looking swords, bows and staffs to reckon with. It might not do to upset these and seemed more prudent to let the moment have its way.

‘I can deal with any sorcery and paganism afterwards and I certainly will.’

All three, Nal, Deanna and Lo, had been mind-focusing on the priest and heard his thoughts. Here was another dangerous enemy, certainly for Genti and the MacGruders. This priest would have to be dealt with after they settled with the Betrayers and before they carried on to further adventures, such certain to come about as a result of Nal’s vows and Deanna’s need to return to Torglynn.

As there was overt thoughts of violence and murder in the priest’s heart, Lo felt no qualm about disposing of the creature come the right time. This work might well fall to wolf and his mate he reckoned. Both Nal and Deanna agreed though Nal who had some personal scores to settle with the Church insisted she’d be involved in the priest’s demise. They left it at the stage where the priest would be killed but not who would do the honours.

Meanwhile, let the hypocrisy reign supreme.

“Any o’ these others gettin’ married also, Ian?” Asked the priest, trying hard to sound innocent, caring, and friendly but inwardly licking his greedy lips thinking of the gold a double or triple wedding would bring, winter being financially remarkable only from the increase in burials.

“Hasn’t been mentioned Father. Must be waitin’ for spring, t’other ones eh? So then to business, time and cost? Ye’d be needin’ gold yea?”

“Gold, yea. Five ounces, weighed on the scale at the kirk. As to time, does next Saturday suit ye, Ian?”

Ian called his group together and after consulting with Jen asked them, “Does next Saturday suit ye all for the weddin’ t’ take place or ye havin’ second thoughts now? Last chance ‘fore I put down the money.”

Nal and Lo smiled broadly at one another then burst out laughing while a spark of hope flashed through young Giles’ heart only to be extinguished in the same moment when Nal said, “Saturday is perfect for us ‘n the sooner t’ better to get it done. Can’t wait! An’ Father if ye be wantin’ our clan names, I be a McBanish, n’ Lo here, he be a MacDunit.”

“Interestin’ names. Can’t say I ever heard o’ those clans, interestin’ indeed. Saturday then, ten o’ the mornin’?”

“Aye that’ll suit us fine, that will, Father,” quickly answered Ian.

They left the skeletal priest standing there like a patiently expectant vulture on his favourite dead tree perch and Ian declared they all deserved a drink at the Wild Horse Inn, a good place, he added.

Once out of the priest’s hearing they all burst out laughing until the tears were running down their faces. Ian had to lean on a hitching post to keep himself upright.

Only Deanna failed to join, finally asking what the sudden hilarity was all about.

“Dinae hear girl? McBanish, MacDunit? Who ever heard o’ such nonsense? That was good that, truly magnificent, gal, and he slapped Nal on the back, making her jump.

Ian didn’t give his charges too much time to develop introspective moroseness that would demand another round and declared it was getting late and they had a fair walk ahead of ‘em yet.

As they were crossing the small drawbridge, Lo stayed behind to speak to the guard detail. He gave them each enough coin for a couple of rounds at the inn and was rewarded with some slaps on the back and cheers. Then in a vibrant voice he wished them a wonderful end of the day and a safe, healthy, prosperous and long life. They received his words as if they had been gifts, realizing that there was more than words in the blessing. They waved sheepishly then, thinking this was no ordinary man. They all sensed that their entire lives ahead of them had been magically blessed and the words would prove true.

Entering his speed lope he soon caught up to the group and immediately noticed that Deanna was gone and Nal was carrying her clothes.

“So she’s gone back to her wolf then? How did she manage to take off her clothes without upsetting the group?”

“We slipped into the ‘by woods to do that. She’ll inner nudge me when she needs ‘em again.”

“Let me strap those to my pack then, Nal, so you keep your hands free. It may seem silly here but remember that ultimately we are always alone, working singly, and must always think thus. Never rely on anyone else to take the point, or protect. Let them if they want to but don’t ask it nor expect it and I repeat, never rely on it.

“Keep your hands, arms and legs free at all times and your weapons handy.”

“Truly sorry, I temporarily forgot. Too much on m’mind an’ don’t push me, MacDunit.”

“Indeed I’ll endeavour not to, Miss McBanish.”

They laughed, hugged fiercely and kissed again.

Don’t look at me like that and I heard that snort. Look, I’m just writing it the way I see it. And remember, they’ve been apart for thousands of years, how do you think you would act if you suddenly found yourself back in the arms and love of a lover you knew was dead and you hadn’t seen for, say, twenty thousand years? Would you say,

“What? You again?” or

“I really wasn’t expecting you back this soon.” or

“I hadn’t planned on this; I have a life now.” or

“Things getting too boring for you, decided to come back?”

Right, I didn’t think so. More likely there would be sparks, maybe a flame, and hugging and kissing would just be the breeze that sets everything on fire. So put up with the hugging and kissing and let me go on with the story, which by the way is turning out pretty good, in my opinion, if I’m allowed to have one.


Grabber the Cancer Cell

[a short story by ~burning woman~ ]

When little Grabber Gulp was born, he was adored by all. Some even said he was the cutest little Cancer cell they had ever seen. He was a jolly little cell who enjoyed his food immensely. Momma Gulp was so very proud of her little Cancer she took him everywhere to show him to everyone she knew.

These were good times for Grabber. That was some time ago.

Grabber grew and became aware of his world, or “host” as his fellow Cancers called it and as his teachers insisted he labeled it. As he learned Cancer history, Grabber Gulp became introspective and tried to understand his species versus the one his “host” consisted of. He explored some of the more populated parts of the host in his neighbourhood. It began to dawn on him that there were simply too many Cancers upon it and inside it. He began to feel the unease, then the pain, Cancers caused the host. This troubled him though he could not be sure why.

The Gulps were quite well-off, as Cancers consider such, so Grabber was encouraged to further his education. Being quite bright for a Cancer, they sent him to the best Cancer universities. Grabber learned quickly. He soon understood how everything in his civilization was interconnected and designed strictly for exponential growth. He grasped the concept that if his civilization ever sought to balance itself; to stop expanding and change to a *steady state of non material growth, it would die.

What Grabber also came to realize was that the opposite was equally true: that if his species continued to expand exponentially at the expense of its host, it would simply overwhelm the host’s ability to maintain itself in a state that would feed and support his species. The host, he reasoned from his studies and personal observations, was actually dying and it was the Cancers that were the cause of it.

Further studies showed that many scientists all over the host were aware of the problem but were not allowed to talk about it. They were charged with finding solutions to the threatened end of the Cancers should something terrible happen to the host.

Some were attempting to discover means whereby the Cancers could be propelled across space into a new host. Others believed that the Cancer civilization could be balanced; that a substantial population of Cancers, ideally the current one, could survive on the current host if certain areas of the host’s anatomy were declared reserves, or preserves, just enough so the host wouldn’t die.

Grabber wasn’t impressed with any of that.

“The problem we’re faced with,” said Grabber Gulp to a group of students he had become spokesperson for, “is that too many Cancers believe the host’s resources are practically infinite and capable of accommodating a lot more Cancer population. Too many believe that if we dig deeper, literally or not; if we develop more esoteric technology we can extract more resources in places our species had never even known existed. We can feed all the Cancers on this host and much, much more. We’re the intelligent species here, and we rule the host.

This hubris, people, is going to be the end of our civilization, and of ourselves. When our host dies, we die.”

That sort of talk didn’t go well at all in Grabber’s world. Predictably he lost his tenure at the university where he’d begun teaching. As he was leaving he was warned by the president to watch what he said from now on.

Until now grabber had spent his entire life on an area of the host called the “Left-Breast.” It was an affluent area of the host and Grabber realized no one was going to support him in his crusade to make Cancers understand the danger they were in as long as things continued reasonably well. He decided to emigrate to a much more crowded and poorer area of the host called the “Right Thigh.”

On his very arrival the conditions he observed there totally shocked him. There was mass starvation as the area had been overcrowded and stripped of resources for some time. Cancers were dying everywhere but that wasn’t the worst of it. The entire Right Thigh was itself dying. The blood was so badly infected that many Cancers were dying of thirst and a host of diseases they didn’t even have names for. The smell of death was everywhere.

Grabber realized that what was happening on and in the Right Thigh was soon going to happen to his home area. Unable to do anything to alleviate conditions in the Right Thigh he returned to his home, determined to prevent a complete physical collapse and death of the Left Breast. He began a series of lectures, showing videos and documentaries he had smuggled out of the Right Thigh along with his own pictures of hundreds, even thousands, of dead and dying Cancers along the blood vessels.

One night as he pondered his next speech in a hotel room, the door was forced open and a dozen police Cancers pounced on him, threw a black bag over his head and dragged him downstairs and into a waiting vehicle. He was taken to an interrogation center where he was tortured and drugged. In his torpor he signed a document stating that everything he’d claimed to have seen was lies; that his documentaries and videos were the fabrications of Right Thigh terrorists who wanted to destroy the economy of the Left Breast.

After he signed the document, Grabber was thrown head first into an incinerator.

(For some thoughts on “steady state economy” see


The Day After


[a poem by   ~burning woman~]

It was a day long after
what happened didn’t happen:
denial was in full force then,
it made everything work,
and work was the order of the day.

There were warnings,
there always are warnings.
The planet was upset
sending signs of distress
in skies and seas and lands.

Birds, bees and butterflies
were less to be seen.
Fish left rotting carcasses
strewn across sandy beaches;
floating among the flotsam.

Violent storms, deadly droughts
succeeded chemtrails
and incessant burning of trees.
Smoke filled the valleys;
children choked in gun-smoke.

It would come, of course:
everybody knew it, everybody.
But promises and hope ruled the day
Larger bandaids were handed out
with flu shots and plastic smiles.

The day came, it was inevitable:
everybody had known the truth of it,
the inescapability of it.
Oh, it would have been a day
to be remembered.

Had there been anyone
to remember.




[thoughts of chivalry by Airin WilloWitch]

From the bowels of the Universe I was brought forth;
from the abode of those who carved the living stone
was I extracted from my ten billion year old bed.

Long before the story ever knew of sun or moon,
I travelled under the everlasting stars.
To the realms of the Great Elves I was taken;
there wrought, shaped and tempered.
There the blue flame of Altarïe was blended in my steel;
my hilt moulded of the purest gold.
No metal nor stone nor bone my edge could dull,
the hardest substances I absorbed unto myself.

Only the strongest grip could hold my hilt;
only the strongest shoulder could hold my weight;
only the strongest arm could wield my blade.

Where the great sword of Altarïe flashed,
the tide of battle swung and victory was gained:
did it matter to me who won? Who lost?
Many a nation has bowed to the conqueror
proudly holding his gauntleted hand upon my hilt;
raising my flashing blade before the charge.

Many a good man dead;
many a widow made;
many an innocent never saw the light of day
where my blade shimmered at the centre of the fray.

Many a city defended; many an attacker killed;
many an orphan protected and a virgin saved:
’tis not of me came evil or justice,
but of he who wielded my substance aloft.

Great cycles of years passed, kingdoms crushed
since sun and moon came to rule the earthen skies.
He casting his fiery light upon the high mountains,
filling the evening skies as with blood upon the seas.
She shyly staring at fields as covered with snow,
forever unsure of her place,
forever hiding only to return,
blushing pale under his fiery gaze.

I’ve known all the names
of man’s heroic sword wielders,
of Mesopotamia, of Greece,
Of Rome and the Kashmir;
of Arthur, of Roland, of Joan,
all came under my spell.

The last hero has fallen;
my light is extinguished.
I lie among rotting bones and crumbling mortar
yet always must I find my way out into the world

Though the great light of Altarïe may no longer shine,
for such hands as could strike fire in the likes of me
have long left this decaying and dying world,
here I do I remain.
More than a mere memory; potently waiting
for the heart that fills with desire;
the eyes that are sharp and far-seeing;
the self-empowered hands that grasp;
for the believer in chivalry
willing to challenge fate and change her world.

Hear me calling: I could be yours today.

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff -Part I – Chapter 18

 I was going to reblog a couple of worthy posts I have read the last couple of days but, like rush hour traffic, it seems that blogs can only accommodate so much. So I’m being selfish and posting my own stuff today. I know there are some people reading this developing tale with interest and I don’t want to make them wait any longer than necessary. Enjoy this chapter. More to come!

The gold rings; Deanna spies on the Betrayers some more

A dark cloud soon rose again over Giles’ innocent hopes. Ian MacGruder called a general meeting after their noonday meal to discuss Nal and Lo’s upcoming wedding in Glowmere kirk. Then with a twinkle in his eye, he brought out two small blue linen pouches and gave them to Lo.

“Well open ‘em mon, open ‘em!”

The assembly cheered when they saw two smooth, plain, gleaming gold rings, a man’s and another so small it would fit a small girl’s finger. The rings fit perfectly and Nal wondered how they’d managed to get her size without her knowledge. She looked at Lo and he winked.

“Old trick Nal. I twisted a grass stem around your finger to size it while you were sleeping and gave the grass ring to Ian. We did the same for my finger, then in the following adventures I forgot all about the rings. Now Ian, what do we owe ye for such beautiful rings?”

“I fear the cost is quite high Lo. I demand the right to walk this lass down the aisle in exchange for the rings.”

“Oh Ian, you wonderful, wonderful man,” exclaimed Nal throwing her arms as far as they could reach around the large man’s midriff, “ye do me such an honour… such an honour…” and once again she found herself crying freely, unashamed, tears flowing from her eyes and running down her face. “Such friends, such good friends I have met here; I will be so loathe to leave.”

“Come lass, we won’t speak o’ leavin’ yet, one day havin’ enough trouble of its own. Now lydies o’ the house, this girl is in need of some sort of weddin’ accoutrements as I heard such called by an English gentleman when I was tradin’ in the south. No girl is so pretty that she can’t be made even prettier an’ a weddin’s the time for that. Jen ‘n I are agreed to  take care o’ the costs, so have at it lydies, have at it.”

Poor Giles was devastated on hearing about the wedding. Though he knew it had been mentioned before there was always the hope that Nal would choose him over Lo, him a property man and all. What did Lo have to offer her? But then, thinking of himself as of the truly noble sort, he squared his boyish shoulders and entered a realm of lofty thoughts befitting a true knight.

‘I shall become a knight and I shall go with her as her champion, though never mine yet always in my sight. I shall give myself to the worship of her and save her from her enemies, that I shall and my eternally broken heart shall be the token of my love for her.’

He went about his chores imagining scenes of mortal combat where he charged into the fray on a big white war horse, slashed through the enemy as blow after blow fell upon his helmet, his armour, his shield. He saw himself fighting and holding off the evil knight who had unhorsed her and would have taken her, and giving him the mortal blow. Bending down, he grabbed her and swung her across the war horse in front of his saddle, once more slashing his way through the press of men at arms and screaming wounded horses, his sword awash with the blood of the enemy…

The chores were completed in record time but his daydream, that was just beginning.

The next day, Nal having been measured for her wedding ‘accoutrements’ and having had quite enough of the fussing and comments on her diminutive size, her unusual tone and satiny smoothness of skin, her straight black hair and almond eyes, it was decided by MacGruder that he, his woman Jen, their grown daughter Genti, Nal, and Lo would walk down to Glowmere, visit with the priest and arrange for the time of the wedding ceremony and settle the costs.

“I thought o’ invitin’ the priest to the cottage to perform the ceremony but then I thought better of it. We’ll have the proper ceremony the Church demands, aye, but we’ll return here to our own an’ then we’ll have our ceremony as performed by our ancestors. We are goin’ t’ have a full pagan weddin’ ceremony right here with our own daughter priestess o’ the clans presidin’ an we don’t want any meddlin’ crow from the Church in it. The walk back from the Glowmere ceremony ‘ll do us all good, put some appetite in us by t’gods! What do ye all say to that?”

Lo spoke first,

“I like the idea immensely.”

Nal added,

“Yes that is a famous idea. Let us be pagan; let us experience the wild abandon of the old traditions!”

They set out from the cottage with a proper retinue of
“arms-men.” These consisted of the shepherds, Giles whom wild horses could not have kept out of this, Lil’ Cos and the the head man Cedric – all of whom were readily available as the sheep were safely in their pens and the two pit bulls on duty.

Guy was chosen to remain at the cottage to finish some needed chores, help the women in whatever they needed done in preparations for the coming ceremony and to pacify the nervous pit bulls who had been smelling the presence of both wolf and werewolf.

As they were crossing the lower field taking the usual shortcut to the village road, Deanna emerged from the woods, properly dressed though flushed with excitement and her hair in a toss of wild disarray.

She and Nal threw themselves in each others’ arms, kissed shamelessly under the intrigued but approving gaze of MacGruder and his male armed retinue and Deanna said,

“If I may join in? Wolf and I got your message Lo. Wolf will escort us as well, just in case, but we’re quite certain there is no danger. We tracked a couple of poachers yesterday but took care of putting the fear of Satan in them. We left them alive, they were not the murderous or raping kind, just beggar thieves, but they won’t be seen in these parts ever again, and the stories they tell will ensure none should venture this way at least for the duration of winter. In case anyone wonders, we did hunt down some hares to give them so they wouldn’t starve in the woods.”

“Well done Deanna,” replied MacGruder with a raised fist for emphasis. “On we go then.” With Giles close by and nurturing a pain-filled jealousy, Ian took Nal’s hand and led her over the ladder built into the fence and down the path to the village. Holding back, Lo and Deanna engaged a long and serious talk using strictly the inner language.

‘I taught wolf to speak the human tongue Lo. At first he could only do it in his werewolf form but now he can manage it any time. Very difficult for him but a very effective tool for deception. He can also project severe abdominal pain to an enemy without being seen so when the enemy is doubled over, he can pounce on him. We tried it on the poachers and yes, it works. My own power of projection has grown too. With one hand in Wolf’s mane I can project a force that can topple over a cliff if I so desired. We tested that effect far from here in a wilderness where the collapse would not cause hardship to those we stand guard for. I can collapse defences, walls, buildings and also set fires from at least a quarter mile distance. I could demonstrate when we reach the village if you want to see.’

‘Oh, no thank you Deanna, that won’t be necessary, I believe you.’

He wondered how far she’d gone from human now that she saw nothing amiss about setting some house on fire or destroying fortifications “as a demonstration” just when their group was entering the village.

‘Cause and effect, Deanna: can you see how such activities would turn the whole village against us? That we would be immediately blamed for the events and labelled sorcerers?’

‘It would? Ah, yes, of course I suppose it would. What about Nal? Has she demonstrated new powers to use against our enemies?’

‘Nal has been busy in many ways. She has taught some swordsmanship to our armed guard here and I’ve done some sparring with the staffs with her myself. She is greatly improving but remembering her full Alaya self is taking its toll. She still gets tired easily, requiring almost five or six hours of sleep every night. She is still much too human but growing and remembering. How long can you remain shape-shifted into the she-wolf before you can no longer change back, or is there a limit?’

‘I think there might be a limit unless I develop some other method of shape-shifting. It was very difficult to leave this time and putting clothes on, why I could hardly remember how to do it. All I remembered was Nal insisting I do it, so I did. At first I was almost blind and when I tried to stand, I fell against wolf to gain my balance. Walking on two legs is so irritatingly clumsy and energy consuming! Good thing I did not know about any of what I do now when I was growing up in Torglynn or I would have gone insane with longing and frustration.’

‘Critical point, can you use your combined Human, Elven, Alaya powers when you are shape-shifted into the she-wolf? Can you be the powerful wizard in any shape, or state of mind, Deanna?’

‘I know I can project the tear-up and fire energy, using my nose and ears to focus and I can sense unusual forces from great distances. I have been guardedly following the movements of our enemies to the south in, what did you call that land?’

‘I figured you meant the land of France.’

‘Yes, that land beyond a narrow sea? They’ve been involved in wars and there has been problems between the sorcerers, they ended up on opposite sides and there’s a stalemate in a main battle involving a large castle. There were canons brought to bear but your Tel’Madan wizard knows how to muzzle them and cause them to explode when fired. If we could be there now, we would take them individually and destroy them!’

‘Beware, Deanna. It’s a trick. They know someone’s been tracking them and this is a very complex but obvious trap. They want whomever to fall for their apparent disunity. That would never happen, particularly knowing of the rise of one or more Alaya in the world. They’re baiting while recouping their energies and planning.

‘Good that you tracked them in your she-wolf form rather than your human one. If they can sense that, they will be confused and wary. Any confusion will weaken them, not knowing what to expect. They must be aware now that their long years of unopposed evil are ending and they are going to have to fight to hold on to their power. They don’t have any problem sending hundreds of thousands to their death in their endlessly manufactured power wars but it’s been a long time since they had to personally fight against an enemy.

‘Long ago they killed nine of us, including their own wives because these refused to join in their evil deeds and plans for this world. After that, except for my rather pathetic ventures and overtures to them they’ve had no one of consequence to worry about. That is all about to change.’

Deanna continued with the inner language conversation,

‘But since you and Nal are mates from before, why go through this human wedding ceremony? I don’t see a point to it.’

‘There are good reasons. One is to defuse some of the suspicions that may arise from the local representatives of the Church. They are sure to sense that not everything is as it seems with us. We do this also for the people, to let them know that we are with them, though we be different. The other is to demonstrate to Nal’s previous close male friends and hopefuls that she is indeed in a marriage relationship, thus preventing at least some heartbreaks and possible hotheaded challenges.

‘But the greatest reason is, I sense an alignment taking place, an ordained shuffling of forces, a great alliance never before seen to bring men, women, Elves, Alaya, Alay and the wolf clans together to destroy a great evil. We have more, much more to organize and bring about before we engage the final part of our mutual quest, but the pieces are coming together. Soon the board will be set and the game will begin in earnest.’

‘Will we have to cross that sea to challenge the sorcerers, or will they come to us on this land?’

‘We must find a way to bring them here and ensnare them. They have built too much of a force on the mainland; too many blinded and willing to die for them. We neither can take so many on, nor do we want this to turn into a long drawn-out bloodbath. We don’t want a war so we must endeavour to keep the numbers small on both sides and settle it quickly, ideally in a day or two. We will guardedly thought-touch them and dare them to meet us in the wilds to the south of here.’

Thus they exchanged information and finally reached the outskirts of Glowmere. They were challenged by a rag-tag but suspicious retinue of a dozen guards. Ian and his lady greeted them loudly and being recognized as neighbours and allies, they and their following were allowed to enter the fortified town.