Behind my lids, red brightness from a sunny day.
Beneath my fingers, Chay’s springy hair.
On my stomach, his weight.
In my ears, my heartbeat, strong and regular.
In my mind, too many voices, fearful, confused, appalled.
And in my deepest soul, a sense of loss that is a pain I cannot live with.
I can’t move.
My body is atrophied, dried up, ceased. It will not respond.
I want to get up and look for him, search for him.
Perhaps he’s in the tower again.
Perhaps he’s in the circle of stones.
I know he isn’t.
Only now do I understand the difference between not feeling him because he is behind a shielding and not feeling him because he doesn’t exist.
This is the world without him.
I don’t know who or what he is.
I don’t think I ever did.
But I cannot be here without him.
To be here, to be me, in the absence of him, is nonsensical. It is impossible. It is wrong and should never have happened.
I must bring him back.
I must bring him back like he has brought me back, twice.
He must be here – no, not in this bed, in this house, in this kingdom, but in this plane. He must be here or everything is lost. Everything. Everything is lost.
I must bring him back.
I am rusty, grating in my thoughts, in my clarity. Dried up. Dying for lack of moisture. All is fallow, all has fallen and I don’t know how to restore myself, I have forgotten so many things.
Ah but the weight on my crushing bones. Dead weight. Chay. I fed off him as Lucian had done. I had killed him. No, I didn’t. I held back at the last minute. There must have been some semblance of reason, some recognition.
Oh but by the creator!
I can’t think. I can’t be here. Everything’s so terribly wrong and in this wrongness, how can I make anything right for I am a part of it, I am a part of it and how can a wrong create right when there is nothing, no form, no function to provide the template of the way back from oblivion?
Tentatively, creeping so silently and cautiously, a mind comes close enough to be conceived of and I run to it and reach to touch it. It shudders in fear but stands its ground and I recognise the flavour, I recognise it of old but cannot name or label here in this derangement.
I lean on it, fall on it and it falters and wavers, sinks, then another comes to shore it up, then another and another still until I am carried, held aloft, and a softening occurs that puts at least a few things back to rights and makes a few connections through which understanding now may travel, on which a nourishment may come to me and it serves to anchor me a little more securely in this awful place where all is wrong and as it never should have been.
Reyna. I remember you.
Cyno. I know who you are.
I am Isca. I was sent to be his midwife, help him through, free him from this place of condemnation and of penance. I remember me in a different way and even as I think those thoughts become so much solar music and they float apart, clouds that once obscured the moon and now the wind has come and it may break free at last and cast it’s clear and shine with sharp precision, black and white and perfectly aligned.
Isca. The lady Isca. I gave birth to a baby, to Lucian’s son and heir.
He locked me up and broke my heart.
I died and I broke his in return.
Are we even?
Oh no for he is dead and I am still alive and this is wrong. I will do something about it.
I detach myself from the supporting weave of minds and take with me a portion of their being for I will need this as I seek to remember the strands of time and their layers and stratas, finding those echo pulses that invite you to come and dive in to the flow, swim with freedom and to take those rivers and re-route them to your will, make them your own and live there forever, clear rushing delight and charge so bright it tingles all you are and fills you now to overflowing.
Today, not even that can curtail my need to do everything that needs to be done to right the terrible sense of wrong that pervades even here, that I am dragging with me like a buzzing cloud of flies, a nightmare of my very own creation.
There is no merit, no merit whatsoever in feeling dismayed or even vaguely compassionate for myself. I align, ignore and find the patterns in the fabric of time, and feel them, hold them, exerting ever more pressure until they lie still before me and only a little more is required to move them in the other direction, the opposite direction for there, in truth, are many, many choices but just the one that rights the wrong. Restored, the pattern is now once again quite out of sync with those surrounding it and I have to gently soften the edges of everything so they may grow into the patterns beyond, may bond firmly and securely, setting up a vibration and an exchange that will, in time, travel all across until there is no trace of displacement remaining at all and no-one would ever know or feel that there is something here so unnatural that never it should have been allowed to have been given birth upon this plane.
Regretfully, I fasten the last strands and watch them merge and fuse and am already aware that the darkness has receded and the wrongness is just the usual wrongness that bleeds your being all the while by virtue of its sheer design.
I can breathe again.
I can return to my – what is it? My shell, my self, my pile of thoughts and memories, so untidily spread out and clustered here and there, my body, the now, oh I really don’t know. I just return to whatever this is, I guess you could laugh and call it my life.
There is the weight on me still, heavier and more painful than before. There is the sense of dying of dryness and each breath is a pain field following the passage of the air – a frozen field this way and a field on fire that.
There are the minds and there is who he is, he is here, deeply dissipated, all broken up into the most minute fragments who have no consciousness of their own, who are so young and so vulnerable that they hide amongst the structures of the hard and all that lays beyond, a single one at a time in a space vaster than that were the stars live, indestructible and utterly everywhere at once.
He sleeps everywhere and no-where and I am glad that he is there, for it is a restful place I well remember. No, that’s not right. I don’t remember what it is like because whatever is thinking these thoughts is never there, could never be, and what is feeling the feelings and that what is thinking in terms of “I” and “my” cannot enter there. It must be left behind, firmly, and I just guess that is precisely why it seems so restful when you’re there.
I know I can recall him easily enough and he would come to me, of course he would. His physicality is worn and weary and I feel sorry for it. Hush now, I say to it in gentle whisper, stroking lightly, easing. I will return to you and I will soothe you most profoundly. First, the immediate necessities. You are safe and well for now and I know of your strength. It exceeds mine by a hundred thousand times. Wait for me here, I will return forthwith when silence is here and there is only me and you.
It is an effort to will my eyes to open into the brightness and the projections that you will see if you look through your eyes. Doing this reminds me of many other things that I had quite forgotten – people, children, men, windows, walls, fires perhaps and coverings of red and gold.
Chay across my stomach. His head is under my right hand and as I watch it, it lightly caresses his hair. He is far down inside himself but very much at ease and in no danger at this time.
A movement startles me and there’s a little boy, yes, that would be Cyno. He hasn’t grown much since last I saw him. He was the one who came to me when I called out for help. I touch him lightly with my mind and send him a loving, a thanking. He vibrates in turn and switches off, hides himself inside himself but bodily he does remain and he keeps looking at me. More movement and a young woman steps up, a girl, ah yes, Reyna. Our eyes meet and we’ve always been equals in a way, understood each other without knowing the first thing about one another or ever seeking to find out.
I look around the room and see faces and unfamiliar patterns that are meaningless to me yet they pose no threat and I am more than relieved to not have to deal with them at this time.
To Reyna, I ask, Where is Marani?
She shakes her head and sends a sadness. Marani ended.
I feel her sadness and mine resonating although, in the concept of there being no Marani, a non-plausibility resides that I can’t quite understand just yet.
More movement. A man. I vaguely track him and recognise his patterns. Ah yes. You are the one who wouldn’t die. Such a fighter. His patterns, so strangely familiar. I know you.
He speaks out loud and my head has difficulty to make sense of the pulses that come from his mouth. Luckily I know what he’s saying on the other level. He is calling me by name in a respectful way to ascertain if I am conscious, aware, sane probably. I can hardly breathe and won’t attempt to speak so I just him a small smile and a welcome in return which shocks him and makes him back away. More well defined, I send, Would you please remove dear Chay from me? He is very heavy.
He backs up even further whilst Reyna and Cyno look at him and smile. They heard me too and when he looks down at them and understands that there is a message and he is receiving it from me he carefully thinks very strongly, Lady Isca? Is that you?
There is a giggle and it comes from the boys at the foot of the bed, two of them. What are their names, Jilean and – ah yes, Taray.
I re-focus on the man and send him gently my response.
Indeed, brave one. Would you please fulfill my request?
“Oh of course!” he says out loud and comes closer, carefully takes Chay by the shoulders and relieves the burden on my stomach. I draw in a deep breath that hurts deeply and he stops and looks down at me.
Oh! So familiar! Why are so familiar to me?
Whether I had forgotten to shut off the link between us or he was just particularly sensitive, he heard me and said very quietly so that his voice would not travel beyond and to the others in this room, “I do believe you knew my father.”
My eyes are dry and I am not used to interpreting their signals but on the wider range it comes to me why he is so well known to me. I do know his father. He must be another of Conna’s sons, Conna of Solland, who was he, I remember him, I remember feeling him deeply and feeling deeply for him. A face comes to me and this one is much like him.
I smile at him and my face even engages in movement on behalf of that emotion. He looks at me for a moment longer, then carefully lifts Chay into a half standing position, bends and levers beneath him and lifts him on his shoulders.
He turns and walks from the room and Reyna comes and sits down by my side, finds my hand and takes it very carefully in her own.
Even her light touch and pressure cause my nerve endings to scream, red raw. I need healing. I need soothing. Reyna do you have a stone for me?
She nods seriously and turns her head, says out loud, “Taray, quickly, bring the big stone from my room.” It is helpful to my senses to hear her speak and begin to remember how to process this correctly but I don’t understand why she would use such a clumsy form of address to a fellow web dancer.
She looks at me deeply and sends me a thought form, confused and unclear, laden with fear and swirling clouds that obscure its meaning. I can’t think as to what that means and sigh and just let it go for now.
Instead, I tell her, Please clear the room. Too many minds.
She nods rapidly and lets go of my hand which is a small but deep relief. She tells them to go and they are reluctant, I can feel the dragging against their will as one by one they file away, multicoloured multilayered entities each one too vast, too deep, too wide for my understanding as it is.
Then there is two, her and the boy but I can bear them both, it would be more effort to have them leave than the minor inconvenience of having to tune them away from my awareness.
I can feel the stone coming closer.
It is nice, unusual. To me. I remember others with sadness and regret and wish that I could have the comfort of a one that already knew me, that already loved me, that needed no persuasion, no intention, no effort but would just pour into me what it felt I needed at the time.
But the stone is ready for me, waiting, eager and impatient. When I touch it nearly floods me away with brightness and alacrity, I am too weak to handle this kind of charge and it slows itself in response almost instantly. Ah but they are such kindly souls. Such servants. They are all guardians, indeed, not just their titan brothers and sisters that can take the starlines and weave them to their want.
Slowly, cautiously, it washes me over with fine clear cerulean, the colour of the cloudless autumn sky, so wonderful that I sigh and relay myself to it in all ways, easing and easing more, beautiful.
As I restore, the little guardian shifts and gives me more until such time as I in consciousness can begin to take control of our co-joined healing and direct specific forces to specific spaces, finding just the right combinations to fulfill the many needs, many, many needs all over the systems that comprise me, complex invocations and corrections that might well have taken many years to have achieved with blanket washing from the helpful guardian’s waves.
I am perfection regained.
All is at it should be, all is well.
Breathing deeply and without pain, thinking clearly and without hindrance, soaring cleanly in and around myself once more, I opened my eyes to the full brightness and the colour codings of the hard and found my body waiting, willing and more than ready to do my bidding on this morning and I sat up and smiled at Reyna and at Cyno.