(Continuing with the story of “The Garbage Man”. The title has changed as you can see, likely to change again and my two main characters have changed their names again, as you will also see later. I find that it’s becoming an intriguing story, and whoever is actually moving the writing is quite a bit of a romantic. I don’t mind it, actually, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the main story… whatever that’s going to be!!! Enjoy.)
“Let me go. I will put my sword away.”
Lotharic released her and she slowly, reluctantly, put away her sword. Then she faced him.
“You manipulated my thoughts, twisted my mind, made me act in unnatural ways I would not normally?”
“Incorrect. I did not force you to do anything against your own innate nature. I just gave that nature its freedom to act as it wanted, uninhibited by any social or other mores. I set you free to be yourself, giving you full freedom of choice. You still had the choice to refuse but you never questioned your nature nor my command to inflict the maximum possible pain upon another. I wanted you to experience that, to know yourself, not as what you think you are or what your upbringing and experiences made you, but as what you really are, deep in your human self.”
“I am evil…”
“Do you have any idea how much it hurts that you did that to me; that you made me look there?”
“Again, I only allowed your own innate self to override imposed restrictions and yes, I do know how much it hurts to find these things out. In my case it came in reverse. When I came here so long ago by earth time, I was a pure Allay *(pronounced Ally) without any evil within me. All of us soon realized we could not communicate our selves to your selves. You were evil, we were not. You could not see us as equals but wanted to worship us as angels or divinities. Or you wanted to own us, as your own private source of divine power to draw upon; to empower you in your manifold evil deeds. You could not come to us, we had to go to you. So we accepted your evil natures within ourselves, thinking that we would easily control their effects on our thoughts and deeds. It turned into a terrible, endless contest which two of us lost completely. The “surface” evil of this world, empowered and driven by its intelligent life, overwhelmed us, weakened us, separated us and overcame us.
“Understand our plight. We could not return “home” with this disease inside our minds and risk infecting our own worlds. So we pledged to cleanse ourselves of Earth evil. Two of our number chose to lie about it, pretending to follow through while actually strengthening themselves in that evil. Too late, we discovered the lie. I saved my life by using your world’s twisted murderous ways to escape. I fought like a madman to escape. I became more human than Allay in those days and suffered deeply for it in my heart. I thought I too had fallen until I discovered I could still operate with compassion; that I could control the human darkness within me. I became a desperate wanderer; desperate to survive and desperate to overcome the evil that ceaselessly battered at my mind to give in and poisoned me as it has poisoned all of you.”
“Do you see now? Understand what it means for you to become more powerful than a full-fledged Allaya?”
“Mentally, yes, I’m not stupid. But the means of blending my human nature with that of an Allaya to become something more, that I cannot fathom.”
“Neither can I. I trust in the process, in spiritual evolution, in creativity and ultimately in your own feminine wisdom. I shall do all in my power to assist you in your upcoming difficult choices but you will find me weak and ignorant in many aspects relating to your changes. The operative word for both of us is, this is all new. There is no template available for us to go by. Be prepared to make a great deal of serious mistakes, of backsliding, of inviting despair and hopelessness. You will often hate and despise yourself until you realize you did whatever you did because the situation gave you no other choice. First, we must survive; second, we must find a way to redirect whatever intelligent life we encounter. Finally, we are entering a time when all and sundry will turn against us and the only moments of pleasure we find will be in each other. Therefore it would be good if we committed to each other and bound ourselves to exist as one. Not today, but soon, when you are certain that is also what you desire.”
“How would you describe this binding?”
“Husband and wife; lovers; partners, mind sharers, inseparable regardless of circumstances. The safety of the “other” overrides all, even to violating the highest rules of the Allay. For as of the moment we create this union we will be walking between worlds, neither human nor Allay. Perhaps in time we will find a label that fits us but in the meantime there will be but you and I, us.”
“It seems logical and inevitable, plus you already know I love you in a very physical sense. I’ve wanted you and felt ignored by you for some time now. That has to change if we are to be together. I want to be intimate with you. I will walk away if all you want from me is a student or a fighting partner.”
“I’ve sensed that change in you since yesterday – was it only yesterday? I am ready for it also. Tonight then, let’s come together and bind, physically, mentally and spiritually.”
“Thank you, Lotharic. By the way, I don’t like that name. Would you mind very much if we returned to being Bea and Edgar? That was comfortable.”
“Not at all. I’ve had so many names! Lotharic is a very old name which no longer carries its meaning well. Edgar I am then. What else do you need?”
“A gold ring? … I’m only joking Edgar, what would I need a ring for?”
“Oh but you will need one, and so will I. These tokens are recognized easily and often respected. We must not only be married, but look married, newly married, of course, but still, married. A ring will give you more freedom in market places and streets and certainly among the guard if we find ourselves forced to join up. Have you ever been in the guard?”
“I was forced in once and complied long enough to find a way of escape. I was a guard for about six hours. You?”
“Many times. It was often the only way to travel safely from one city or town to another, or to board a ship to the mainland. Often I served on cruisers searching the coast for pirates.”
“Despite terrible training and poor quality arms we did manage to sink one pirate ship and capture another.”
“And the pirates?”
“They were all hanged, except for the captains who were chained and brought back to the nearest port and publicly burned alive on very slow braziers. They probably regretted the men they had killed and the women they had raped, then killed, and the children they had sold into slavery in those reflexive moments. Anyway, it’s high time we moved on.”
“I was thinking we should drive the sheep back over the tracks they made until we find what remnants there be of the shepherds or any search party should there be one.”
Even without dogs the sheep proved docile and easily driven. They probably sensed they were returning home and were eager to get there. That night, Beanna and Edgar took turns watching over the animals. There were wolves and wild dogs in those lands, Beanna well knew. While she watched over the sheep, her bow remained within an arm’s reach, with her usual count of three arrows loose upon the ground. With her skills and sense of smell she could probably kill or maim an attacker even in the dark. Earlier in the evening the endless cloud cover had finally cleared and the stars shone and twinkled in the clear winter night. There would be moving shadows even from the starlight and she watched for them. She heard the sheep move, getting restless. The sign of a nearby predator. She stood up, bow ready, arrow notched, seeking the telltale shadows. She saw one slowly moving towards a nervous ewe on the outside of the small herd.
Beanna could move like a shadow herself. The breeze brought her the scent of the predator: a wild dog, so there would be others and they would not fear her. She felt for her sword. Satisfied she continued forward, gauging the shadow’s movement, then suddenly, silently, letting the arrow find its target which it inerrantly did. A short, sharp yelp, then more movement from some low shrubs. The rest of the pack. She fired two more arrows in the pack, then with sword drawn, charged, letting out her practised cry of the berserker which always has a damping effect on any attacker. The pack turned towards her and charged also but were no match for the deadly sword. By the time Edgar, awakened by Beanna’s cry, became aware of the attack and joined her with his trusty staff, only a couple of wounded and whining dogs remained alive from a pack of eight. These were swiftly dispatched and the sheep rounded up again and calmed down. As if they knew the danger was past, they settled down to sleep or chew their cud once more.
“You’re making this look too easy, Bea. I guess it’s my turn now. Slip into my sleeping roll, it’s nice and warm. Wish I could join you in it. Maybe tomorrow night?” There was wistfulness in that question and Bea didn’t miss it. She smiled to herself.
“Tomorrow night then, husband.” It thrilled her to say it. Finally there was someone, a man, for her, just for her. However bleak the times, despite the horror of the previous day, this was all her heart could take of happiness at the moment. ‘There’s a time to kill and a time to give life.’ She would find the way for herself to give life. It seemed to her at that moment that someone was whispering in her mind. “Yes” is what she heard and with that, fell into a dreamless sleep.
Much too soon it seemed to Beanna, Edgar woke her up. She smelled wood smoke and heard a crackling fire. It made her feel warm and cosy, but was no help to get her out of her sleeping roll.
“Is all clear then?” She asked sleepily.
“Yes, all seems clear. The sheep are beginning to stir and look to foraging. I lit a fire for warmth before we head up into the hills. Are you getting up?”
“I don’t know. It’s so cosy in here, could you not join me, maybe for an hour? With the fire we can undress without freezing. I need you, Edgar. I need your closeness to tell me I’m not making a terrible mistake in this new direction my life is being pushed in. Give me, give us, one hour? My love for you is hurting me. I’ve never felt this before. I need a resolve.”
Edgar, standing a few feet away, was observing her as he leaned on his staff. He was faced with several responsibilities and he could not satisfy them all. Which was the most important? He realized the question was moot. Beanna’s desires and needs overrode the others. If the sheep wandered off some, they could be rounded up again, and really they weren’t entirely their responsibility. He carefully surveyed the land again to make sure they would not be surprised in their folly, then satisfied, he undressed himself. Beanna jumped out of the roll and running to the fire, did the same. Naked, throbbing with desire, they slipped into the sleeping roll and indulged themselves with complete abandon. Beanna cried loudly, once, then settled into Edgar’s muscular, light-skinned body. They smelled of road dust, sweat and sheep but neither minded. Their thoughts were completely taken by their mutual amazement at the pleasure they could give one-another. Thus truly began Beanna’s new life. As she lay against Edgar’s chest listening to his heartbeat, and as he gently fondled her breasts and twisted her nipples she knew this wasn’t just a moment of lust that needed sating. This was the coming together of two individuals into a powerful oneness. She understood in a form of thought unfamiliar to her that she had voluntarily entered into an eternal bonding. And, it felt totally right.
They made love once more, slower this time, more deliberately, taking time to feel each other. Then they got up to resume their wandering life, now as a real couple.
They ate a spare breakfast, careful of their food reserves not knowing what came next. The fire extinguished and the burned twigs scattered, they got the sheep moving again and walked behind them since they knew the way and were still eager to return home.
Beanna wandered over to Edgar and took his large hand in her tiny one. She leaned happily into him and let his strength hold her as they walked. She wanted to talk, to say a millions things, scattered and milling thoughts in her head like a swarm of black flies, but realized to her surprise that she felt suddenly shy. She walked along wondering about that strange feeling; she was not one to every feel shy about anything being a normally ebullient extrovert. She heard herself say, to no one in particular,
“I belong. I belong! I, Beanna, am needed, wanted and desired! I exist for another.”
“Yes you do, yes you are.” Edgar wrapped her in his arms, stopping for a few moments to enjoy her clinging. “I love you, Bea. I know I will always love you.”
She held on to him even tighter, looked up in his grey eyes and knew it was the same for her. Nothing, of earth, of the astral, of the universe, could ever separate them. She knew this though they had nothing to give each other but their naked selves. Naked bodies, naked minds, naked spirit.
The seriousness of the moment tugged at her heart. She felt unworthy, had a need to express, expose something of herself she feared.
“Yesterday, Edgar. You saw the real me. How can I reconcile that to what you’ve given me here and now?”
“Yesterday was no more than a lesson. It wasn’t the real you, Bea, just a part of you that lurks deeply hidden in the mind-heart of your species; a latent poison that comes forth through your adrenalin in times of sudden and disruptive crisis. Once it reaches into the emotions it stays awake and out of reach of your logical mind to control it and subdue it.
“Let me explain to you what really happened yesterday. It was a non-event. There were no bandits in that field, by that pool of water. The sheep had been scattered by the wild dog pack and this small herd had wandered by, smelled the water and stopped to drink and browse on whatever they could find. Lacking shepherds they could not decide what to do next, so they waited. What you experienced were your thoughts made visible. You acted within an illusion. You did not kill or torture anybody, but you certainly imagined quite a scenario and you did it to please and impress me. Your “obedience” to my request was in part to impress me, in part to seduce me. You desperately needed to be needed, and trusted to do, for me, whatever I asked of you.”
“But the blood, the screams, the bodies we buried, surely I didn’t imagine that?”
“From here on, you must make yourself aware of, and open to, the powers of the Allay and Allaya. Yes, what you saw and believed you did, was imagination made alive for you. I can do such things, and so will you, given time and training. You will learn, and I think very fast now because of your love for me. Your pride and impulsiveness will work in your favour during this learning time which will be much too short for my liking. You will develop your new powers and greater awareness quite rapidly.
“Sadly for both of us our honeymoon will be over too soon also. This world, Beanna, fears and hates us, but we cannot respond in kind, nor can we leave it. We carry a deadly poison that needs cleansing before we can separate ourselves from this world. I daresay it will be more difficult for you than for me. We will need to play more games I fear, to expose your deepest thoughts and imaginings, to bring out your insecurity, your longings, your fears and hates, in short, your humanity. We must do this quickly too. Soon the games will no longer work as your Allaya nature will be wise to all of them and sweep them aside. There will be great pain but our mutual darkness must be completely eradicated.
“You have begun: rejoice in that. We have our love, let us both rejoice in that. The rest, well, it will happen as it happens. We will face it event by event as wizards always must.”
So the day went, with brief interludes to drink and refill the water skins when water was made available; to nibble sparingly on some bread and cheese and to hug and kiss. It seemed to Beanna that she would never get enough of the feelings engendered by the kissing.
“How many girls have you had throughout your very long life, Edgar?”
“One. One of the Allaya was my wife and lover. When she died, there was no other woman in the world for me until I met you. So different, so unexpected and in looks, almost a reincarnation of Nah-La.”
“Your Allaya wife had Nipponese features also?”
“Yes, but she wasn’t from what you call the land of the rising sun. All twelve of us designed our bodies to fit the major races of this world hoping to make our presence less obtrusive and more acceptable. I chose a body of the white northern races.”
“Could you not change your designs at will?”
“No, not easily. I learned to make myself look younger or older but I couldn’t change my initially chosen gender, nor my racial profile. We play with shadows; with imaginings, but the physical reality is quite solid while it lasts. It’s like carvings in stone or wood. Once carved you can’t do much else with them without ruining them.”
“Hundreds of thousands of years, one wife, til death dost thee part… I love you Edgar. Crazy love you, is that good for you?”
“It is good for me. Maybe too good. I too feel I do not deserve this happiness, this deep joy your bring me. You will forgive me if at times I call you Nah-La?”
“You can call me Nah-La all the time and forever, Edgar even though “Bea” is easier.”
“We made it easy enough. She called me “Lo”(Low) and I called her “Nal”(Nawl). Lo and Nal, so simple.”
“I brought you sadness by my stupid question, I can sense it. I’m so, so sorry.”
“Do not be sorry. Our oneness must be explored, every nook and cranny of hidden thought, knowledge, awareness, imaginings, these we must expose to one another… Nal.”
Have you ever had those rare moments when you were sure your heart was going to explode from pure ecstasy? This was Beanna’s moment. She wanted to hear being called “Nal” over and over. She wanted it to be her name. That’s when she uncovered another small aspect of Allaya power: Nal was her name, it really was. And Edgar wasn’t Edgar, he was “Lo” – her husband Lo.
“Are you happy then, with your new name, and new choices, Nal?”
She couldn’t answer; she just burst into tears and loud sobbing. So much goodness in so short a time and for once she did not block it; did not insist that it was just another trick. For once she fully accepted it and through blinding tears, revelled in her joy.
End of Part IV –