Tag Archives: Relationships

In Love Again

[a poem, by Sha’Tara]

Did I really say
I’ll never fall in love again?
Never marry someone truly special?
Did I say that?
Oh but I lied didn’t I?
I didn’t know I was lying,
of course not.
I was sure,
I meant what I said that day
When I walked out of that office,
the lawyer had pronounced,
‘You are officially divorced.’
what did I feel
but an overwhelming a sense of relief
and we laughed in the restaurant
over a quiet dinner.

The years went swiftly by
afterwards,
in my big empty house.
I hardly noticed
the fading paint;
the heater making more noise.
Some lights burned out
I left them
I didn’t need them, did I?
There were so many other rooms
where the children had been:
I just needed to dust
and change the sheets
on one small bed.

But now I must confess
I’ve fallen in love again
and I’m going to marry.
This time I’m sure
it’s not a mistake.
This time I give up
everything;
this time I don’t look back;
this time
when I say, ’till death do us part’
I won’t be lying
my new lover,
and I do love him,
is death.

 

 

Advertisements

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

Something that puzzles me this morning. There are so many things that actually do puzzle me but this one, this one, takes the cake.

Balance. There is even an old Chinese symbol for it: the yin-yang.

 Yin-yang symb2
 As a general rule, at least for people who take a couple of minutes a day to actually think about something, balance is thought of as a good thing. Necessary.

Imagine a world not in balance we say, or a universe. We naturally assume we live within some kind of great see-saw which guarantees that we won’t get thrown off.

We assume that when ‘this’ happens over here, ‘that’ (being its opposite) happens over there and all’s well with the world.

Where did we ever get that idea from? Well, it has to do with belief systems and of course, brainwashing, a method of indoctrination that simply has no equal. Once brainwashed: addicted for life. Exceptions noted: they prove the rule.

Do we live in a balanced universe? Oh, never mind the universe, what do we know about that apart from nothing. What about this world? Is this an example of a balanced world?

Apart from the fact that through some freak of biology there is approximately the same ratio of males to females among the Earthian species, and if we don’t look too closely on how that little miracle is accomplished, what about the rest?

Balance in nature is achieved through a madness called predation. We call it that, what it calls itself is another story. Another approach dear to the heart is survival of the fittest. Through ripping apart, destroying, killing, murdering, we, or our world and us, achieve, so we are forced to believe, the wonderful state of balance.

Is there as much “good” as there is “evil” on this world, fact-wise? Could it be proven either way? No. So we look at whatever evidence is thrown our way and we see depending on the evidence we have access to and how we’re trained to believe.

While we’re focused on this see-saw, we do not see because we never saw. That’s the problem.

We don’t realize that we don’t have to believe in the see-saw.

Rather, using our own brains, or mind if we really are the daring sort, we can say, to hell with the see-saw. Balance is a joke, a lie. How can there be balance in any finite environment? Balance is an absolute, like love. You can’t have it, or do it, incrementally.

You can’t begin in unbalanced chaos, reach a state of balance, then lose it again in terminal chaos. That’s a fairy tale of gargantuan proportions. It’s a lie.

When we reach that elementary stage of reasoning we see it all crashing down, the yin-yang symbol becomes push-pull and tears apart, blood, guts and gore gushing everywhere.

We were lied to about balance? Oh surely no more than we were lied to about God, about politics, about economics. No more than we’re being lied to right now about everything.

Do we need balance? Should we be seeking balance? What are the benefits of balance, or who benefits from balance? I’m not going to dignify those questions with an answer because if you can’t see it, my answer would only cause anger. To a brainwashed person nothing is more insulting or threatening than a fact, or a truth, that exposes cherished beliefs as being carefully fabricated lies.

Imagine you’ve spent all of your born-again life dutifully paying for your favourite televangelist’s private jets and turning on the TV one Sunday morning he comes on and says, “Thanks a lot folks, but I’ve made enough money now and I regret to say I’m quitting: God is dead.” How could you possibly accept the fact that for once in his life your preacher was telling the truth?

The problem with balance is this: if I do good in the world, balance will demand… a balancing. The more good some people do, the more evil other people ‘must’ do. The conclusion is, do no good at all and no one else will have to do any evil at all. No good=no evil. That’s your perfect state of balance. That’s your wonderful *Brave New World.

I like to wake up in the morning with a great thought, a powerfully motivating thought, more important even than breakfast. This morning I had this thought. Knowing what I know now, if I were starting a family again, had my two sweet little daughters again, this is what I would tell them, each and every morning before they went to school:

“I want you to be nothing but kind, gentle, caring, accepting, loving, generous in praise and in offering help to all this day. Nothing else you do, or are told to do, is as important as this.”

When they came home and we had our time in the evening, I would ask them about their day, and how it all went. I’m sure they would have much to say about their experiences trying to live an alternative lifestyle! They might have even been subjected to mocking or to other indignities – all of which would prove my point about Earthians and their chuildren, but would go a long way to educate my own two children in the things that really matter.

But it does not end there. I would say to them, I have to be your example of the things I ask you to do, and to be. So when you see me failing, don’t let me get away with it. Call me up on it. Point it out. I am asking you to live the most dangerous life so you can be my teachers.

Forget balance, it’s a chimera.

(*Reference is to Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel)

 

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff

(Well, here goes another section of the fast growing novel. If you have been following and reading, then hopefully you will enjoy this next “installment”)

 

Part I The Calling

Start section 12 (twelve)

Lo said goodbye to Nal and Donna and refusing to eat any more of their remaining victuals, told them that he intended, by his “super” speed to gain the village before nightfall and conduct his business in the shortest of time. He’d be back, he said, in a couple of days, three at the most. If something went wrong he’d contact Nal and try to explain. And he added, only to be mocked, “If food runs out, you’ll have to do some hunting, Nal.”

“Oh really? O master, thank you, I would have never, being no more than a silly woman with a deadly bow, been able to think of such a brilliant solution to hunger! I abase myself before my lord.”

“Now that was a truly idiotic thing to say on my part wasn’t it. I apologize to you both for my patriarchal hubris.”

Like a ghost he disappeared down the side of the hill. They heard nothing more.

“Oh, Nal, what can I do now? I love Lo! I love him with all of my heart! What do I do when he returns? How can you even look at me and not hate me?”

“Donna, listen. I love Lo for eternity. I have eternity with him, you do not. You cannot hurt me by loving him. All women love Lo, Donna. It’s something in him that calls to them. All women want a Lo for a husband, and you, a nubile fourteen, how could you not? Of course you love him and desire him. I want you to love him. Give yourself to him while you can, be a gift to him to thank him for delivering you from Torglynn and other things you will some day realize. Come, let us hold each other and pretend we have him between us.”

So they did. So they also professed an undying love for one-another as only some women can do with each other and also some too-few men. Or the kind of women who truly share a common lover. The kind of love that, it bears mentioning, the Christian God who recently entered these lands, ostensibly abhors. And no wonder, for in such love there grow fields of acceptance, understanding and peace. No God of lightning, thunder, bloodshed and fiery condemnation could tolerate such weakness, nor wimpy followers and disciples who allowed it to be and turned a blind eye. ‘Death to them! Death to their corruption! Death to their families too! Death, death, death! And then hell for eternity!’

O, do you hear the thunder play across the darkened skies? Tremble!

“Are you ready to start learning swordplay, Donna?”

“How can we, there’s only one short sword for us.”

“Sorry girl, but that sword is never used for training! That sword is alive; it has a spirit in it that guides it. It is a killer sword. If I used it you would die instantly, even if I tried to hold the blow, I couldn’t. When I handle that sword for a fight, I become the sword, quite mindless, not human at all. I become a killing machine. No one has ever been able to beat me when I’ve used my sword, even in the two-on-one events when I am the ‘one.’ I always win. The same as with the bow, I cannot miss. When I use my own weapon I become the weapon, even with the dagger if I use it in a fight.”

“How do you keep them so sharp? I saw you pull your sword and pass a piece of cloth over it and the cloth parted so cleanly of its own weight, just by passing over the blade.”

“I have a stone tucked away in another part of the scabbard. I was shown how to use it properly, sparingly. That blade is made of a steel no longer in use on this world. It hardly ever needs touching and does not get used up. That is important. Many people destroy good swords by running their stones too harshly or much too often on the cutting edges. Swords so treated die; they lose their temper and become useless. Never buy a used sword from a street vendor, Donna. They come mostly from returned or retired Guardsmen and they are dead swords. Now let’s go and cut ourselves some short sticks of green wood and do some serious sparring. There is no more time to waste. Oh look up there! See that wolf on the rise over there?”

“Oh yes. He’s so big! Shouldn’t you get your bow? Will he attack us?”

“No, he’s a friend of mine. Let’s go see him.”

Saying that, Nal put down her staff and tucked her dagger in her sleeve, then walked deliberately towards the big grey animal who stood stiff, waiting. She approached him to within a yard, then indicating to Donna to imitate her, she got down on her knees and once more opened her hands to the wolf, as did Donna. The animal realized that Donna was a part of Nal and he bowed to both of them, walked stiffly to Nal, went down and again laid his head in her lap, waiting for the pleasant healing touch and the ear massage. Donna very gingerly approached on her knees and having gained the attention of the wolf, offered to caress his pelt. He acquiesced by closing his eyes and letting out a loud breath through his nostrils. Then both healers went over the wolf’s body, pulling out thistles, burdocks and devil’s claws from the lustrous fur. When they had finished, they indicated to their new friend that they had to go by slowly standing up. The wolf stood up also and gave his head nod for thank you, turned around and proudly walked away.

“Oh, Nal, that was so wonderful, so amazing. How did you meet him?”

“Last night. At first I was just a convenient prey for him, but I taught him otherwise. He’s quite young, no more than three years I reckon, so he has much to learn yet. I do hope he’s not foolish enough to trust humans after this though. Now to work girl, we’ve wasted much time.”

She found a thicket of reasonably straight green shoots and slashed through four of them, cutting them sword length and limbing them as they walked back to the cave. Then began Donna’s training. After about an hour she had enough. Her hands were blistered as she used both hands or either hands in trying to parry Nal’s endless attacks. She was covered in sweat and her legs and arms were aching and shaking.

“I never thought using a sword was such hard work! How do you do it?”

“Years of training since I was a child. My mother insisted and our master agreed though she was his legal slave as he loved her in his twisted sort of way. He got me trainers to teach me, and my mother knew a thing or two about sword play also. The master enjoyed watching my mother and I sparring. He often made us do it naked and after, when she was covered in sweat he took her down to the floor and had sex with her. I had excellent training in more ways than can be imagined and after my mother died, I continued on my own or sometimes with another slave girl, doing much the same for him until finally I escaped.”

“Oh? Why would you leave him?”

“Well, he owned my mother and me and naturally after she died he declared I was now his servant and would become his number one concubine. His wife of course hated me with an unbridled hatred and beat me as often as she dared though he’d beat her severely if she bruised me. He liked undressing me and looking at me, feeling my skin, fondling my small breasts as they developed, testing their growth, pinching my nipples. Then his hand would move down slowly over my stomach and down, caressing my pubis. I wasn’t for that sort of thing and I’d get all stiff which made him angry and he would slap me. I knew what would soon come, I’d certainly learned as he did it with my mother. It excited me but I didn’t want it with him, he’d been with my own mother and there was evil in him. I had a temper and I knew for certain I would kill the wife and if he went beyond the touching, I would kill him. Then I’d be hanged, after being publicly whipped first. I knew the rules, but what could they do if I disappeared? How much of a search would he pay for?

“So I packed as lightly as I could, taking only my bow and some arrows, sword and dagger, all having belonged to my mother. I also took enough food for a day, all of which of course being a slave would be considered stealing. If caught I would be subjected to even more terrible physical punishment than a whipping, involving cutting and burning, probably dismembering.

“I slipped into an ox cart filled with hay and thus began my life as an independent fourteen year old girl, alone in a violent man’s world, essentially an escaped slave, something I never allowed myself to forget. I was a runaway slave, a fugitive from justice. How I loath that word! Tricks of survival came quickly and easily to me. I learned how to steal purses while distracting men with my body. I learned how to enter archery contests, making sure always that I lost some shots if it meant the bets would rise and competitors didn’t suspect I was a sharp shooter. Eventually I found a man whom I stayed with as long as he could teach me staff work. He insisted on bedding me which didn’t matter, I wasn’t a virgin, I’d had that taken when I was only eleven summers.”

“Only eleven? Did you look older then?”

“No. A Lord Bishop came to the master’s house to transact some business for the Church, the master dealt in precious stones and very high priced jewellery, and part of the transaction included me.

“I know your reputation, that you like them pure, fresh and young. This one,” he said taking me and making me stand in front of the Bishop, “is from my personal stock and guaranteed to never having been with a man. You can have her for the night, per our agreement.”

My mother, horrified for me, tried to intervene. “She’s my daughter, master, please don’t…!” He hit her so hard she went flying and lost consciousness. I would have rushed to her but that bishop held me by the upper arm so hard I had a large black bruise for weeks thereafter.

“These female slaves tend to forget their place at times and need to be reminded of their status. Sorry about the fracas.”

He clapped his hands and two of our male slaves came and carried my mother away. She never really recovered completely from that blow.

The Bishop looked me over then ordered me to strip, which I did, trembling with fear and hatred. He fondled me then ordered me to walk him to the bedroom where the very painful rest followed. I swore if I ever found that priest, I would kill him. I still hold that vow. I know the city and which cathedral he’s from. I won’t forget to avenge my mother.

“When I’d learned all that Zachary, that being the man’s name, seemed able to teach me of staff work and he became more demanding and abusive I left him also, travelling to another town with a detachment of the guard by pretending I wanted to join up and seducing a couple of the other volunteers.

“I got bolder as I enjoyed my freedom and gained a reputation for being deadly with the sword. I entered two-on-one contests and won those. Contests to the death I already mentioned and obviously won those. Two years I was on the road, just surviving, then I met Lo in a situation where things could have gone very bad for me, but between the two of us we got out of it by doing some necessary culling of some very creepy nobility. Then, both of us disguised, he as an old man, and can he ever do that trick, and I as a little girl, or small boy depending, we left that place and I just went along with him, or maybe he enticed me, I still don’t know for sure, but we hit it off in a sort of strange off-hand way and had some fun for a short time. Then life got away on us, giving us a series of adventures and here we are! Let’s get those blisters healed and eat.”

“You’re only sixteen years old? I thought you were much older, not by the way you look ‘cause you look even younger than I, but by your ways and your understanding of the world. You sound like a very old person to me, so wise. I need to know, since you could not have been a slave around here, how do you know our tongue and ways so well?”

“Simple enough. I wandered up in these parts some eight months ago and made friends with many. I have the same ability as Lo to learn languages, and I made a fast reputation among the locals with my sword and bow skills. In four months I had learned enough to pass as a native but for my face and skin colour, but for that, I told my story that my father had been a faerie lord and my mother a slave from the lands beyond the great deserts. This explained many aspects of my nature and skills and satisfied most. I was never accused of being a sorceress or a witch and if the priests had tried anything the local swains would have hidden me. Before I returned with Lo from the southlands, I had many in love with me and many hopefuls among the older unmarried boys. This kind of life, Donna, is like living on a fast stream, it never stops. I learn and grow and discover but I’m always trying to catch up to myself, never quite succeeding. It’s wild and exciting but also tiresome. I must find a place where I can slow down or this earth body will wear out before it sees its fortieth summer!

“Anything else you want to know? I’m hungry and thirsty.”

Donna just smiled and shrugged to indicate that yes, there were many more things she wanted to know but they would wait. They ate and fed their fire, then tried the water in the boot and thought better of it after tasting it. ‘Eewwww, disgusting!’ they both exclaimed. They drained the boot and put it by the fire to dry.

Donna brightly said, “If you want a water container, I can easily make one out of bark you know. We do this all the time when we go berry hunting in the wilds. All the children of the village know how to made water tight baskets…”

“Well, thanks for that information, Donna. We could have used it yesterday you know.”

“But that’s what so funny. Yesterday I couldn’t remember that I could do this. Everything I remembered was so fuzzy, as if I’d gotten kicked in the head by a horse. I’m sorry but I really didn’t know you needed a container yesterday. I’ll make you one.”

End section 12 (twelve)

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff Part I The Calling

Start section 11 (eleven)

As the three exited the place, leaving the bodies for whatever predators roamed these dreary places, Lo, somewhat relieved at the grisly discovery knowing that an ambush on the trail was now less likely, mentioned the need to prepare their camp for the night.

“I sense our good fortune in weather is about to change. It will get wet and perhaps it will snow. We need to find suitable shelter where the two of you can stay and keep a fire while I walk to the village and get us provisions and suitable clothing for you, Donna. You will need warm underclothes and your own shirts, a pair of leather pants and an overcoat, certainly better shoes.”

“I ain’t complaining with this attire. Better ‘n going naked. What became of my own clothes, wasn’t I wearin’ any when ye found me?”

“Actually ye weren’t and there were none to be found. We think it was faerie work. They were about to take ye into their world, they were, and no human passes there with clothes on. Faeries don’t wear human clothes, goin’ naked most of the time or wearing leaves ‘n twigs ‘n grasses ‘n bits and pieces of birds’ egg shells and snail shells too, ‘n flowers a plenty if they want to decorate their bodies or hair when havin’ a gatherin’. Can’t have clothes interferin’ with the wings and dance flight, can we.

“True Donna, ye’re certainly pretty enough to attract the faeries’ attention, ye are. No surprise there. Maybe t’was ‘em that took you from the battle an’ brought ye up in these parts, then when we showed up, they left you and vanished. Can’t trust faeries, they be even less trustworthy than humans.” Nal delivered that story without hesitation, convincing Donna that that was exactly what must have happened. Even Lo was mesmerized by her story telling, half believing what she was saying.

The explanation satisfied Donna for the time being. She was too excited and happy to question deeply what was going on. She had two new friends who were the most amazing people she’d ever believed could exist, let alone meet! Soon she would be dressed in the brown leathers of the woodsmen and women who lived much as the faeries did, wild and independent in the fastness of the northern highlands, or so she’d been told and liked to believe. She’d be travelling to lands she could only have dreamed of.

Oh yes, accept, enjoy, feel, experience and throw worry to the winds. She wanted a new life and this was the way to it. ‘I’ll be a reed by a wild mere in the late days o’ spring bending gently in the soft, scented breezes’ she thought to herself as she followed along the trail behind Nal and Lo who were conversing in their strange harsh tongue she understood hardly a word of. She didn’t care, she wouldn’t care. ‘I’m like a new-born an’ my life is just begun,’ she added with a satisfied ‘huh!’ and ‘So be it!’

It was Nal who discovered the cave, high off the trail and partially hidden by clumps of twisted pines. The opening was blocked by a large boulder but all three could easily enough squeeze past the entrance to take stock of their temporary home. The brightly burning branch torch revealed an empty cavern, quite dry, with a flat sandy floor. The narrow entrance had ensured that no large predator would use the cave for its lair. Even a wolf or a wild dog would find it almost impossible to negotiate the entrance as it was a long tapered shape that widened as it rose. A four-legged animal would fall in the v and be immediately trapped, unable to move forward or back.

A perfect abode for the three adventurers and they were delighted, particularly so when Nal discovered that the cave, as it sloped back to the far end, had a small opening that she could squeeze through and it opened to the outside, hidden among a tangle of thick shrubbery. So if they needed to make an escape they weren’t trapped in a box, but would be able to slither out unseen. Another tactical advantage of the cave: the walls weren’t smooth but spaced with large fallen boulders and rocks that provided perfect cover if arrows were shot in or spears thrown.

Fire, of course, was more of a problem since the tell-tale smoke was unavoidable. It was decided to have it near the main entrance so that if anyone tried to enter they would have to negotiate the fire and smoke, possibly causing a delay in any attack. Otherwise it was the best they could hope for and certainly Nal and Lo had been in tighter circumstances.

“Since there’s only room enough for two at a time in the bedrolls, who’s taking first watch?” asked Lo. He got a wry smile from Nal and then Donna offered to do it.

“Well it seems safe enough as we’re not being sought or pursued, and if I did sense something I can just slither back in and give the alarm. You two haven’t been together since you found me and that isn’t fair to any of us. I makes me feel guilty and deprives you of loving. Can we eat if there’s any food left? I’m starving. Oh, is there water up here? That’s one thing I can’t sense. Nal? Do you sense water? Lo? See, I’m also dreadfully thirsty…

“There is water nearby but we all have to go to it… unless we use Nal’s boots to carry it but I think we’ve already vetoed that idea?”

They went out in search of a stream and found one in a rock cleft. No way to reach it except with a boot, so it was Nal’s boot that went down on the rope to dip for the water. Lo took a sip and declared it good. Then Donna sipped and sipped until her thirst was eased. Then it was Nal’s turn. She scraped around in the shoe, dumped what remained and dipped her shoe once again in the stream below, bringing it up almost full. She sipped some then said,

“If we’re careful not to shake this too much, we’ll take it back to the cave for a back up. Anyone thirsty enough will not mind a bit of foot taste. This is war after all. But why did I listen to MacGruder? Stupid, stupid. At least I should have packed an empty skin, obviously.”

“Equally my fault. Let’s go eat and Donna, I gratefully accept your offer of guard duty. First time on guard?”

“Yes it is and I want the experience. When you’re gone it will be but Nal and I, so it will be long stretches. I do wish I had something to defend myself with though.”

They ate quickly and again, sparingly. When finished and re-packed, Donna slipped out, taking Nal’s staff when it was offered. Nal and Lo undressed and slipped into the roll, happy to be together once more. About halfway through the night, Nal came out and after taking back her staff, asked Donna to join Lo in the bedroll.

“I need to ask,” said Donna before she went to settle beside Lo and cuddled with him, “Don’t you mind your husband in bed with another woman, a very young and according to things I’ve heard, sexually desirable girl?”

“Do you want to make love to him, or just cuddle with him? He will give you whatever you desire and no, I won’t mind at all. Our relationship is not the usual human one. We are indeed wizards and this bedding thing isn’t that important since we will never have children of our own. We cannot form families you see?”

“Oh, but I cannot lose my virginity, not before I marry!”

Quickly, Nal stifled a stupid reply and instead said, “True that. Then don’t. Sleep well and know you are safe and loved. Yes, Lo does love you. If you made love to him he wouldn’t treat you as just a casual thing. You are with us now, a part of us. Go ahead, go to bed! Do whatever you are prompted by your mutual natures. It is always the best thing to do when thus pushed, knowing it is not harming or hurting any others.”

Under the partial cloud cover with stars still twinkling coldly in the distant eastern skies, Nal pondered her current life, the twists and turns in it, and the coming challenge of a lifetime. She didn’t remember much of the Alay of the days before she had been killed but she sensed the very real danger of coming face to face with such powerful entities. They would possess many of her own powers and skill, plus they’d had millennia to develop some of their own, likely hidden from Lo’s scrutiny. Who were they, really? What were they doing, right now, wherever they were? How could she find out without Lo knowing so she’d have a few surprises of her own to throw at them and surprise him?

In the dark, she stood up and began pacing, moving her staff slowly at first, then faster and faster until she knew it was as much of a blur as was Lo’s when he fought with his. ‘I have the speed now, but I need the mind, the mind. I need the power to travel space and time to see things, things that were, things that are, things that will be. I must do this.’ Still the staff whipped about as she soliloquized.

Then she saw something on another rock, a movement, a shadow, and she felt the animal: a wolf, no doubt of that. The distance between the cave mouth was farther than the distance between herself and the wolf. She reached for her bow and realized she’d opted to leave bow and sword in the cave. She had her staff, not even her dagger as she was barefoot, one of her boots being used as a water pitcher! ‘Oh, how wonderfully stupid’ she thought.

Well, she was good with a staff and this speed thing needed testing. She faced the wolf, crouching in a sign of attack. The animal responded predictably, charging for her throat, for a sure and quick take down and kill. She parried the heavy blow from the animal’s rush and jump but was thrown off her feet. Spinning wildly to face the returning charge she spun her staff in windmill fashion, forming a shield in front of herself. The wolf jumped into the spinning arms of the staff and was neatly knocked off. She debated if she should kill him but realized this wasn’t a human being, just a hungry animal. Defeated, he would just slink away and not return.

She waited, touching him lightly, healing his deep cut from the blow of the staff. When he came to, she backed away, but did not stand. She chose a kneeling posture indicating submission and placing the staff between them on the stone, she opened her hands to the animal. He looked at her, sniffed her hands, then slowly dragged himself forward and laid his big head in her lap. She touched him again, then gently massaged the head behind the ears. The animal whimpered and lifted his right paw which she took in her own hand, then she bent down and placed her own head on the wolf’s. After a while the big animal stood up, looked down at Nal, rolled and lowered his head in a ‘thank you’ motion and slowly walked away to disappear in the night.

‘Yes! Yes I have the power now; I have it back! She looked around at the dark world and said, ‘thank you also!’

She did more introspection then, going deeper inside her mind, testing her spirit. She saw herself as twins more clearly now. She decided to name her fighter twin, Nah-La F; her healer twin Nah-La H. The letters glowed in her mind and meant many more things to her. The F meant Fearless and Forward and Forever; the H meant Helper and Honour and Happiness.

Then she heard him so clearly in her mind. “Nal? Did you say something?” “Lo? You can hear me in your mind?” “Yes, but you woke me up!” “I’m really very sorry but I’m so excited! We can talk without talking. I can hear you in my mind!”

“Please Nal, shut it down, right now! Don’t ask why, wait until I’m with you to explain. Shut it down!”

Crestfallen, she waited almost in tears. Why was he so cruel to her when she was having another of the greatest experiences of her life?

She heard him sliding through the tight entrance and stepping towards her. He came and sat beside her, took her hand in his and whispered gently,

“Nal, what you just did is truly marvellous, indeed it is. I thought you could do it, but of course there’s always those doubts. But now listen. These others? They can not only hear such talk as we were doing, they can pinpoint its location if it goes on long enough. I don’t know how proficient they remain at this, whether they’ve gained or lost, but we cannot chance it. We need this for emergency communication but I must teach you how to misdirect it so even if they can understand what we’re saying they won’t know where it is coming from.

“But no matter what we do, no matter how careful we are, they will realize that there is a new Alaya and that she is with me. This will set them hunting in earnest and they will do it together now, or as soon as they know for sure that you exist. If they realize you are Nah-La they will move fast and furiously because they will know that any reincarnation of an Alaya and partnered with a living Alay means they will both have much greater power, combining the old powers with the chaotic, dangerous and murderous energies of the Earthian species with their own mutual understanding and trust. They will seek to prevent your powers from having a chance to grow, develop and you learning to use and control them effectively. They are sure to come on the attack. So the longer we can keep them seeking and confused, the more time we have to develop our mutual powers to effectively confront and defeat them.”

“I understand now. How do I misdirect this mind talk?”

“That is not so difficult. Before you communicate, think of a place far away, somewhere, anywhere, it doesn’t have to be real but you have to make it real. There’s a wide prairie in front of you, or you’re on a ship, or in a building in a city and there are noises in the streets. These images you place in with your thought forms you’re sending me. You could even be flying, it doesn’t matter as long as you are not sending images of where you actually are. They can trace that through the earth, I know because I can.

“Now one more thing. If they use this communication, either between themselves, or trying to contact one of us, never, ever, respond but listen and watch and learn. At the beginning when I still believed they could be brought back I did respond and tried to meet with them. Each attempt was a death trap from which I barely escaped. After three attempts I stopped, realizing they were lost and eventually either I would kill them or they would kill me. They left no option.”

“Thank you, Lo. I know what to do now and I will, faithfully. You can rely on that side of me anyhow.”

They spent the next hour just holding each other and watching the faint glow of daylight begin to break in the east. From their vantage point it was a glorious sight even if by now most of the sky from the west was darkened by clouds and fog had risen in the lower vales. It wasn’t terribly cold and they didn’t seem to notice in any case. Love, it would seem, is more than blind.

End section 11 – (eleven)

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff – Part 8

(Another section of the growing novel.  Enjoy)

“They’re running away down the side of this hill to who knows where. Let’s check the inside of this cave and see what is alive in there.”

After lighting a resin torch from fallen branches they slowly entered the cave. A smell of retching and feces filled their nostrils. Then they saw another horror. A young woman was chained to a rock, naked and unconscious, not dead, covered in filth and blood. While Lo continued to check the depths of the cave for any other living creature, man or beast, Nal went to the woman. She was just a young girl, no more than fouteen years. She’d been raped and abused viciously but was alive. ‘Now I need my healing powers’ she thought to herself. She passed her hands over the girl’s body, touching it gently wherever there were cuts and bruises. The girl moaned, woke up and screamed. Nal touched her face and she went quiet, her one good eye wide open and staring at Nal.

“Shhh, we’re here to deliver you from those monsters. We’ll help you get better. Are you hungry?”

The girl nodded, ‘yes’ and despite a swollen lip, was able to take some of Nal’s cheese and the soft parts of her bread. Lo returned from making certain nothing else lurked around and looked at the girl’s chains. Simple: the straps holding the chains were of horse harness leather.

“Can your sword cut through this thick leather without harming the girl, Nal?”

“I’ll use my dagger, it’s made of the same steel and safer.” She pulled a deadly looking dagger from her boot top and proceeded to hack away at the leather straps until she’d cut through, one after the other, freeing the girl’s wrists and ankles. They brought her out into the afternoon sunshine and laid her down on their bedrolls. The girl was still small enough to fit into Nal’s spare shirt and trousers so these were laid out for her. Lo returned into the cave after making up another torch to see if he could find more clothing for the girl.

“I think I found her shoes, and maybe some more clothing though it appears torn.” Lo emerged with his discoveries while Nal was busy passing her healing energies over the girl’s body until she appeared at least physically, quite recovered from her ordeal. Her mouth was almost back to normal and she could speak but only Nal could understand what she was saying. It sounded like a similar language he’d heard around the cottage and hadn’t had time to focus on learning it.

“I’m thirsty, please, water.” Nal translated for her.

“Unless I can find something to hold water we’ll have to take her to the pool. Might be a good idea, then you can help her wash also.

Nal explained to the girl about the water and the pool. Despite the coolness of the air, the girl was eager to go, drink and wash, obviously.

“I’ll keep watch while you help her and continue to ministrations. I am very impressed with your powers, Nal, very impressed indeed, and thrilled. Can she walk or should I carry her to the pool?”

Words passed between Nal and the girl who held her arms crossed over her breasts.

“Her name is Donna. She says she will still need you to carry her if it’s not too much of an imposition considering her physical state.”

“Tell her it’s fine. I will carry her.” And it was done. Lo wandered about a bit, making sure no one was creeping up on them. After a time, Nal whistled and he went back to pick up the girl and bring her back to the bed rolls. Washed and almost completely healed now, she looked very pretty with her dark red hair and green eyes. With some grunting and tugging she was finally attired in Nal’s leathers and her own shoes.

“Where are you from, Donna?” Nal asked her in her language.

“It’s a place called Torglynn. We were attacked some days ago, I can’t remember how many days it was now, and in the commotion and burning houses, three of us were captured, three girls. They took us with them when they escaped. There were only three of them left alive then and they each took one of us. They raped and tortured us. The others are dead…” She began to sob loudly and again Nal placed her hands on her head and immediately calmed her down.

“It’s fine, Donna, fine. Listen to me, no one ever really dies, they just leave and travel for some time then they come back again. It’s how it is. Your friends aren’t really dead.”

“I’ll see them again, then?”

“That is not the same thing. Whether we meet people we used to know, care for or love in those other worlds has not been determined or proven. Some do, yes, but not everyone. You need to learn the rules to move things in those other worlds. Just know that your friends are alive, wish them well and let them go.”

“I know I was dying when you rescued me. I had a knife wound that said ‘death’ in its throbbing pain. How did you do this,” pointing at her healed body, “hardly a mark now and I’m feeling better and stronger by the minute. How is that possible?”

“Do you pray, Donna?”

“Oh yes I do. I have always prayed to God, of course.”

“Should you then need to ask me how such things are possible?”

“Are you a divine healer then? How could you be, you’re a woman!”

“Ah, I see. Only a man could represent God then, is that it?”

“It’s what I’ve been taught. I’ve wanted to serve God the way you do but I was told it was impossible that a girl should even think of such things. Women are unclean.”

“I’d like to have a word or two with those teachers of yours,” said Nal. “I’m sure I could make them change their minds.” Inside, Nal was trembling with indignation and righteous anger. There would be no end to it. Girls would be raped and denied justice. Women would be used and abused and denied education or any sort of power that challenged the authority of a male.

“No woman could ever make them change their minds. There was a woman healer who lived alone in a wood not too far from Torglynn. I was only maybe five then when they brought the women into the square, chained her to a steel post and set her on fire. I can still hear her screams in my nightmares.”

“So, what do you think now that you are grown up. Was that woman wrong in helping to heal people, or are those who tortured her to death, murderers?”

“I never thought of our priest or councilors as murderers but then I never thought it was right either. The woman deserved praise, not what they did to her.”

“Well let me tell you this: your priest and councilors are murderers, Donna. Now let’s change the subject. Try walking around a bit, see how you feel.”

She got up and after walking around, up and down the trail, she exclaimed: “I feel wonderful, wonderful! Are you going to take me back home?”

“That we will, but it’s already quite late. We will camp for the night, resume our journey tomorrow.”

“Please, let’s not camp near this place, it frightens me so.”

“No, we were not going to stay here, it would be too easy for those bandits to find us in the night. My husband Lo has found us a suitable place. We’ll meet him there.”

“How do you know? How do you talk to him? Are you a sorceress?”

“Never, ever, use that word around us, or about us. If people find that you were healed by a sorceress and they can’t capture me, they will burn you at the stake, don’t you realize this? And if they did capture me, they’d burn us together!”

Then Nal had a different idea. “Now listen,” and she raised her left hand over the girl’s head, bringing it down slowly until it just touched her hair, “When we return you to your home, you will remember only that you were captured, then you were rescued by two soldiers of the guard. You were not hurt. You will remember only that you do not know what happened to the other two girls who were taken with you. You will not remember us except as a young girl’s dream. Now come, you must be dead tired and famished.”

“That I am, sir.” Nal was pleased with her growing skills at imparting of alternate realities. The girl now saw in her mind only two soldiers who were going to protect her and return her to her home. I really am an Alaya, she thought with a shiver.

The day continuing to be clear, as the orb had predicted, Lo chose the top of an exposed boulder as their sleeping area. It had a dip in the center that had filled with loam over time and would make an excellent place for the bedrolls. The place was easy to defend, and he could see a long way in every direction though he doubted that the vicious and cowardly bandits would return to face the owner of the bow that had pierced their mate’s wrist. Anyone who could shoot a bow like that was not to be trifled with. No, they’d do their best to disappear from the area.

Unfortunately for them, Lo had another Alay trick he was about to pull. Though he had not seen the faces of those men, Donna had, and would remember them clearly. All he had to do was approach her in the night, set her to dreaming some nightmare sequences of her capture and pick out of those whatever images he needed to identify her tormentors and the murderers of her two friends. There was one thing he knew: these two men had to be hunted down and destroyed and they would provide more of the training that both he and Nal needed as he plunged them both inexorably into the deadliest of encounters with their arch enemies and the completion of their quest.

While both Nal and the girl Donna slept together, Lo approached the girl, touched her cheek lightly and set her to dreaming of her adventures. What he saw made him sick and furious, but he controlled his feelings and began memorizing the faces of her assailants. When he was sure he had his memories completed he released her into a dreamless state and slowly walked away.

He stood tall and motionless on the edge of their dome rock, listening, searching, watching. There was much more movement here than there had been the night before but everything was of small animals and hunting owls. Once he heard what sounded like the rattle of a shrike and he thought it might have been a signal as these hunter birds are not known to be nocturnal but nothing else followed. Still he remained fully alert, uncertain as to the moves of the bandits. Sometimes in the middle of the night, Nal joined him and suggested he get some rest.

“The girl is sound asleep and the bedroll is warm. Go ahead, I’m not the jealous type plus she needs you to hold her; she’s still very much afraid of being abandoned.” She kissed him warmly, hugged him and pushed him towards the sleeping roll.

It was now Nal’s turn to watch but for her it was second nature. How many nights had she spent alone, along roadways, in ravines, in trees, in straw stacks and in hay-filled wagons, half sleeping, ready to defend herself if discovered? How many times had she had to jump up and defend herself against starving wolves, wild dogs and sex-starved men who saw her as easy prey?

To her the night sounds were pure music, soothing and filling her head and heart with romantic thoughts and feelings. How much had life suddenly begun to shine on her! She had found a man she considered as perfect in every way. She was developing strange new powers that promised her the things she had dreamed for herself when a little girl: the heroine who would walk upon a battle field and heal the wounded, give water to the thirsty, speak fearlessly of peace to hardened and bitter men who had never thought such a world was possible.

Now here she was, sitting wide awake under the stars, listening to the land singing to her, aware of her healing powers, aware that just a few feet away from her was a young girl she had saved from certain death and healed so well that when she felt the girl’s skin there were no scars anywhere. ‘If I continue thinking this way my heart is going to explode’ she thought to herself.

But what else could she occupy her thoughts with? Perhaps it would be that other side, the one she dreaded, the deeper human self where her evil dwelt. She felt cold then, remembering that when she had said to Lo, “I’m evil” he had replied, “Yes.” ‘I’m evil’ she thought. ‘Inside me resides this great and terrible darkness and death. I’m not a beautiful young woman and lovely bride, I’m a monster. I can kill without regrets, take another’s life and think of it as a score in a game. Place me there, I kill without any qualm. Put me here, I heal and give life. What am I? I have no word for me, just disgust. I’m a patchwork woman, made up of pieces others have thought up or placed inside me. No, this cannot continue. I have to recreate myself. I have to give myself a true identity that nothing can change.’

She looked up into the sky and across the great milky sea of stars a meteor streaked and disappeared on the horizon.

End of Part 8 – Eight

The Shared Mind

a vision, by Sha’Tara]

It is difficult at times to determine if a vision is good or bad. I suppose it can be argued that it’s all on how it makes you feel, or the effect the memory of it has. In any case you may find the following entertaining, interesting, perhaps even intriguing. Perhaps you even know what this is all about.  Perhaps this is also a part of your reality.

There was a girl on the street. A quite ordinary looking girl in scuffed runners, faded jeans and an oversized blue sweat shirt. Her dark hair was tied in a loose pony tail. How old was she? You don’t ask a woman her age.

She was kneeling by a broken vase someone had heaved out of an open window.  It’s possible it had simply fallen. There were stems of dried, long dead flowers scattered all around, and some spots of rust coloured liquid spattered the cement under the broken pieces.   Water or blood?

I watched this girl very carefully, though she could not see me. I was using a wide power pole to hide behind so I could observe the scene without disturbing anything, neither her thoughts nor her movements.

She picked up the broken vase, and carefully held it as she arranged the pieces so it would look as if it was still in one piece. It had been painted over with a cheap imitation of mother-of-pearl. So, rule out the possibility that it had been either a fancy or expensive item.  She picked up the dried flower stems and put them in the vase. Then she stared at it, unmoving for several minutes.

I waited and wondered. What was the girl thinking?  Doing?

You know those balloon things you see over the heads of people in cartoons?  I saw one of those over her head.  I saw what she was thinking.  She wasn’t thinking in words, or perhaps I didn’t know her language, but what I saw did surprise me.

There was an image in the balloon.  It was of the vase she had so carefully reassembled.  A man in an outlandish uniform was holding the vase, and it was filled with the most beautiful bunch of red roses.  He was handing it to a woman.  The woman was veiled, her face hidden behind a white lace and her hands, as she reached for the vase, were covered by white lace gloves. In contrast, she wore a floor-length black dress with a high collar. They were standing in a large room and I could tell from the man’s uniform, the woman’s dress, the curtains and pictures on the walls, that this was of another time, and of another part of the world.

What kind of past life memory had I come upon?  What old love story was being brought forth from the nether worlds by this strange and unexpected vision?

The girl on the sidewalk slowly let the broken vase slip from her hands and its pieces spread out as before.  The balloon image vanished.  She got up, holding her right hand over her eyes, found her balance and looked around.  I had stepped out from behind my hiding place and when our eyes met, I saw her eyes welling with tears, and more running down her face.

Her lips made a surprised “O” and she turned abruptly, running away from me down the street.  I looked down and there was nothing on the sidewalk, just the dirty, old, cracked cement. No broken vase, no dried up flower stems, no rust-coloured stains. Down the street, no woman running.

I knew instinctively that I had no need to go running after her and try to glean the story from her.  In my mind I knew I had seen her thoughts because I was one of her “partials” as my people explain it.  A piece of her mind linked to mine.

I will find her again and I will get the story (if I want it), whether in a restaurant, in a dream, in a vision, in a walk by a lake, in a memory, even in another life, in a lovers’ embrace, none of those particulars matters.  We are linked in a shared mind, that’s what matters. It’s what I needed corroboration for: the shared mind theory.

The Garbage Man

[a short story, by Sha’Tara]

CONTENTS DELETED – contact me via email: shatara@telus.net  if you need this post back for reference, thanks.

Rolling, dried, sun-burnt hills seemed to stretch forever out to a hazy horizon beyond the snaking rutted roadway. Under the high, light grey cloud cover, and except for the road, nothing could be seen indicating the presence of man. Here and there a few tall skeletal trees raised their heads beyond a hill. Gorse and heather provided the only cover for man or beast. You might say it was a bleak landscape.