In Serein


1/4: Alexandra Anna Maria Zyskowska, Cestra

1/4: Alexandra Anna Maria Zyskowska, Cestra

 

Pain And Confusion

There was something strange about this year’s festival. We all knew that, we all felt it, in our different ways. I am young and I don’t know so much, but I have been to over twenty festivals before this coming one, and have more than two dozen potentials to my name.

Of course, we were all waiting.

We were waiting for Lady Adela to leave us, and for Mark to take his place as the chosen Docem of the house.

Sometimes, Satari and I would engage and share our thoughts about that.

This was a lonely house, an old house on the verge of becoming extinct; and sometimes, we would wonder what it might be like to have been brought into a house in its full glory, where a fully focused Docem, straight inside their own unfoldments, would be leading dozens of Cestra, with more than a hundred Arada to care for, and an air of summer nights and coloured lights, of festivals and dancing in the air.

Don’t get me wrong, I am devoted to the Lady Adela in all ways, but it cannot be denied that I wish that my own dear lord, the one who choose me and transformed me, would have been here with me, for me, engaged with me, sharing the unions like the Lady Adela shared her time in preference with Mark.

He was her own and her own choosing; their bond was exquisite and so deep, so other than what I knew from my own lord, and that was just the same for my dearest of all sisters, Satari.

We had been both delivered here, straight after our unions, the first, the deepest and the best of all the unions there could be, and we had been Arada here, and felt the deep and unassailable caring and love from our Lady Adela, but just sometimes, just sometimes, I wish it had been different.

Tonight is such a night.

Tonight, as everything recedes around us and we are swept up and right away into the strangest of unfoldments, tonight, as I am clinging to Satari as she is clinging tight to me so that we won’t be lost in the unknowable exchanges, shifts and resonances that surround us, that buffet us like powerful winds, that throw messages at us we cannot decipher and that invade our matrix, causing us a chaos of unknowable confusion, yes, and pain, I cry for my own lord, I cry to him for help although I know that to do this constitutes a serious breach of the Covenant.

There is no response that I can perceive; and the confusion becomes greater still as Satari too begins to cry, and now the Arada are swept up as well into this madness and their dreams become uncomfortable, disturbed; the Arada are innocents, they are children, and they should not be suffering like this! I cry to Lady Adela to make it stop, to end this what should never have been known to us, Satari joins the cry and so do those of the Arada who already know enough but our lady does not hear us, does not feel us, she is gone and we are now without a Docem, there is no protector, there is no-one at all who will come to my rescue, and this causes a renewed and powerful onslaught of disturbance that has me cry out in pain in every way I can, I cannot stop myself although I know that I am making it all worse, I am adding to this chaos, to the panic that has now enfolded all of us … 

And then, from far away, there arises something, a strength and a certainty, and as it does, the chaos lessens slightly, the pain recedes enough for me to try and focus, try and struggle now towards the strength I can perceive, and there, and there, oh thank the powers of the Universe, there is a master, there is a Docem, there is someone coming to protect me, hold me steady, make me still.

My relief is such that it takes some time to realise just who it is I’m clinging to in such desperation and such gratitude; and when I do I am astonished for the Docem who has come is Mark, it is my brother and yet, this is never who my brother was, this is a new one, a different one, and as I align and calm within his steady fields of midnight blue, I begin to understand what happened here and that what we had waited for had finally arrived.

 


 

Memory Decisions

 

I regain my composure slowly and phase back into myself, until I become aware that I am on the floor of the reception room and there is an uproar of disturbance of a different kind, of a crass and painful kind – oh my lord, here are the human potentials, and they are scared, so scared, my two are terrified of me, and terrified for me in equal measure, they are connected to me and they must have seen and felt so many things that they should never had to have experienced at this delicate state of their unfoldments.

I seek for Satari, and we link together strongly and together, we weave a mesh of silence and tranquillity to fall across the room, to calm things down, to give us time to regain our presences and faculties.

We’re not doing it very well, we are both too out of balance and too weak, but even the effort produces a noticeable drop in the disturbances and that in turn makes it easier to go back to try and strengthen the mesh, make it more coherent and cohesive.

It is then that we feel a lifting wave of powerful support, a groundswell rising that flows through us and raises us, high and higher still, until Satari and I are high above the mesh and in a timeless space of clarity, of deep control.

“Mark?” I enquire hesitantly, and when the wave becomes an aspect of a much greater being, a much greater power altogether I apologise and give a formal greeting as is right and proper, “Markus Edwards, my Lord and Docem, I thank you for your assistance.” Satari similarly sends her deep respect and gratitude, and for the first time, we now hear our master’s voice as he responds with a message of acceptance of our obedience to his leadership that is loving, short and entirely sufficient to have all thoughts of my brother Mark who played with me and cared for me, disintegrate and in its place, the other was, the alpha and omega, as though it always was that way, and could not be but be that way, from now until forever.

He draws us closer, brings us nearer and makes us one; and so as one we first of all bring calm and beauty, and a deepening of sleep to our poor Arada who have suffered much from the disturbance. He decides that they should not forget, but simply sleep for now and that what had been absolutely an unfoldment would be part of theirs in every way; and so we soothe them, and we love them, more and more until they’re all asleep and healed and smiling in their deepest dreams.

Then he takes us to the human potentials, and here he offers us a choice – we are Cestra, and the highest ranking ones within his house, new though it may be.

Do we want to take their memories of the events, and simply go on as though nothing happened here at all that was the least bit out of the ordinary, or do we want to explain and have them retain all or some level of what it feels like to be in a house when at the same time, the resident Docem transcends to Ferata and her Cestra consort becomes the new Docem? I make my decision on behalf of my potentials right away. They are immaculate and innocent, immensely pure and virtually unwritten; I find that intoxicatingly attractive and I feel that to retain a sense of the events would not be any kind of benefit.

My Lord Markus follows my reasoning and acknowledges my decision; I feel a strange sense of pride, of being grown up and important when he does and I am delighted. With Lady Adela, I always felt like such a child, so clumsy, useless, pointless and no matter how gentle and profound her love for me should be, I never had the sense that I was anything of any consequence at all.

Satari is not as immediately sure as I was; but eventually, she too decides to have them forget. Our lord acknowledges her decision in the same sober and respectful way and moves towards the potentials, begins the processes of re-alignment when I cannot help but call to him, “But what of the other one, my lord? What of your own potential?” He stops dead in mid space and for just one fleeting moment, I recognise the old Mark as I knew him, before our new Docem re-establishes himself.

He requests that I should look after his potential and accept him into my group; that I should care for him until the festival and then, with what might just appear an afterthought if we had not been all so very close, he swiftly states that his potential should remain untouched.

Satari notes, “This will cause a considerable incongruency, my lord.” Our Docem pauses, then addresses me directly. “Alexandra, are you willing to devote the extra time and attention this course of action would entail?” I am a little shocked that he should choose to entrust me with the well being of his own potential, and not Satari, who is older than I am and more experienced in every way. I can feel that she is somewhat saddened by this but not too surprised; I think she always had her doubts about becoming first and consort to our brother when he was still a Cestra, just like us.

“I am, my lord,” I answer him and behind the formal statement lies a further qualification, “And I am honoured by your trust in me, and your request.” “So it will be.” Our Docem is very strong, very focussed, very new and bright; to be with him, to be a part of him as he engages with the times and shapes of the potential’s memories, laid down in strands and waves of pulses, already fully now a structural reality inside their very beings, is an excitement, is a delight. He knows exactly what he is doing, and he does it beautifully; at the same time, he takes each one and then again, together as a group, enfolds the human servants too with consummate ease into his web and starts to undo their memories, just as one might wipe away a message written with a lipstick on a mirror, a letter at a time, starting from the back.

Quite soon, there is a nothing from before the moment when our now transcended Lady Adela entered this room; and he replaces that with an entrance of himself alone, and the introductions are to him, instead of her.

When time has moved back into sync with where we are, he throws a tracing web to check for incongruencies – there are many little things, mentions of the lady, her name on the invitations, the sense and feeling of her in the house upon arrival, all of that changes materially and for the innocent potentials, it was now just as though all that had never been.

We traverse the new insertions one more time and they are smooth and beautiful.

Satari and I both sigh with pleasure at this task so wonderfully accomplished and our Docem too is pleased, with him, with us, and now he tells us that he needs a time to be alone and settle in, perhaps to sleep, and gives us watch and guard to finish the proceedings of this night.

We are proud and happy to be given such responsibility and wish him joy in restoration; we send him our admiration and our love and he takes it readily, he needs it well enough and though he doesn’t say or think, I think we know that he is not as strong or centred yet than he would have to show us, and himself.

I have to smile.

Being Docem must be quite a task.

I frankly cannot wait until I find out for myself.

 


 

Potential 

 

When I return to my place in the drawing room, and take up station and attention just one moment before the tracing mesh is merging into now, all is calm, and quiet.

My two potentials, Richard and Royce, are wide eyed, wide open and excited about being here, about learning more of me and of my kind, and I am struck again by their sheer youth, their innocence and by their power.

They are truly glorious, fine human beings, delicious and entirely uncomplicated; this is what I like about a human, to me, this is in essence who they are supposed to be. If I want complications and incredible unfoldments, I would look to others of my own kind, not theirs.

In that way I am different from Mark – Lord Markus, now - and from Satari too. And that is pleasing just as well, for one might think that being so inordinately intertwined with others as we are, it would be possible to lose a sense of self, and merge into this group identity but that is not the case for me.

I still like my humans raw and clean, just like I always have. These two here are outstandingly beautiful men, outstandingly attractive and their existing matrix needs so little in the way of work or polish, for they shine quite brightly as they are.

I like them as a brace as well; in short, I love them and I love the way they make me feel. I find it easy to retain a good balance between my interest and to be able to control that too; once, I had picked a young woman and I got so close to her that I had to seek help from Mark to stop me from engaging in an outside union which would have been a most terrible disgrace for me and for my house.

But I was very young back then and learned my lesson from this; the trick is to not to need, but want, and that’s a very different thing indeed. These two, I want them and they feel that, know that and it makes them bright and shiny in response. We have been together on quite a few occasions, and they have already learned the things that they should know before the festival. This evening was supposed to be a simple routine, a ceremonial ending to our preparations, and to give my Docem the opportunity to check my work, correct my work if they should notice an omission or an error on my part.

That is the theory, the fact is that the Lady Adela really didn’t do a thing and didn’t care for all my time here in this house, and it was always left to Mark to make suggestions, give me help or direct my attention to something that wasn’t quite as it should be. I remember this fondly; he was a wonderful brother to me and I don’t think I quite understood just how much all of us had then relied on him, how much of what in truth should be the Docem’s work and charge was being done by him.

Lord Markus protected us, and he must have further acted to protect Adela and her movements towards her own future. I tune out towards him.

Our new Docem is asleep and he is dreaming.

All is well with him, and I am glad.

But now, I must go and find his potential; it has been quite some time and no-one has come specifically to help him out. He must be in a state of some considerable disturbance.

I call to Satari in voice and gesture, and explain to my potentials that I have an errand that is urgent at this hour; I ask Satari to host the meeting and to have my gentlemen join with her group. Of course, they are both horrified and do not want me to be gone; I am regretful too for I won’t see them now, perhaps not ever, but who is to know? They kiss my hand with fervour and with reverence; I wish them well and take my leave.

I find the last potential in the corridor before the entrance to the underworld. He is sitting on the floor, with his head in his hands, in total dissolution and entirely unaware of my approach, or of my presence.

He is crying, hard.

I go to him and understand that I must be completely physical to reach him and to give the first and most important safety anchor, long before more subtle means to steady and to heal him may then be employed; so I make sure I am and then I kneel beside him, take his wrists with my hands, pull them away from his face and speak to him, “Can you hear me? Are you alright?” He focuses on my with difficulty and it is difficult for me to feel his pain, to see him like this, but he most clearly needs my help and my discomfort is of no concern right at this moment.

“Who are you?” he says hoarsely, “Where is Edwards? He’s dead, isn’t he. Edwards is dead …” I have to fight against the onslaught of loss and desolation from him, I cannot side step this or dematerialise without losing the physical contact, so instead, I move forward and take him in my arms, draw him to me and he wraps himself around me, holds me tight, and he is trembling.

“Shhh,” I say into his hair, close to his ear, “He isn’t dead, it’s alright, everything is alright now.” The potential whose name I don’t remember draws back so he can see my face. He is disbelieving, but he has heard me and is trying to understand.

“He was here,” he says urgently, “He was right here, and then something – happened. Something happened to him. Something terrible happened to him …” I squeeze his shoulders and shake him lightly to keep him focussed on the here and now. “Something did happen,” I say carefully and clearly. “He transformed, ascended. He is the Docem now. That’s why you can’t feel him where he was before, because he isn’t there anymore. He has moved.” The potential takes a deep breath, moves back and out of my touch, leans up against the wall and drops his head back. “He’s not dead?” he asks again.

“He’s not dead. He is right here, just up there …” I point to the stairwell behind us, “He is in his rooms, sleeping, resting.” The potential looks past me down the corridor. He sighs again and seems to step down from his state of confusion a little more. He looks back to me. “Who are you?” he asks, “Why are you here, and not …” I nod because of course, what we are doing here is highly unconventional, if even if it isn’t a direct breach of the Covenant.

“I am Alexandra,” I tell him, “I am a Cestra here, the same as – “ I try and can’t say it like that, so I have to use the correct form and continue, “ … the same as my Lord Markus, who is now our Docem, was when you first met him. Not as experienced of course, but I am Cestra, and he has asked me to care for you and make sure you are alright, until the festival.” 

“What happened to the other one? Lady Adela? Where is she?” 

“She has gone away,” I say, and there is only a fleeting sadness there, just for one moment I allow myself to feel the emptiness of that place where my Lady had been as long as I have been alive in my new being here. This place will always remain empty now. She has left it, she has left us for the stars, the mountains and the trees.

The potential watches me and in doing so, he calms more still as he asks, “Has she died?” I shake my head and smile.

“No, of course not! She has ascended to Ferata. Did – he – not tell you about these things?” He shakes his head and sighs again, heavily. “We hardly talked at all,” he says, very sadly. “A few sentences, that’s all. He was about to show me something, something to do with this mirror, and then …” He shakes his head and puts his hands before his eyes again. I move swiftly.

“Here,” I say and sit down beside him. “What is your name?” 

“My name’s Burrows. Steve. Steve Burrows.” I hold out my hand to him and say, “Will you let me take care of you, Steve Burrows? As my Lord Markus wants me to?” 

He looks deeply into my eyes and something passes between us, something strange and unusual, something that I am not used to feeling from a human; it was more as though he was already of our kind in some peculiar way. I am quite struck by this and cannot think to speak or move; but then, he nods and takes my hand, squeezes it cautiously and say, “Yes, Alexandra. I will.” I am curiously touched by his submission and his willingness to trust me. It is not an easy thing for him; he has suffered much tonight and I begin to see just why my Lord should go out of his way at this late stage for this one. There are great depths to him, a great many strands of different flavours, but I get a sense that there is something deep below all that which would be exquisite if it could be known.

A tingle spreads throughout my systems and I find that I have stepped into an even tighter presence, am defining even more profoundly here in physicality, as though he is drawing me down and into his own realm, a feeling that is most surprising and never yet experienced.

This one is a true potential, has a potential that makes me understand the meaning of the term in a very different way.

I look down at his hand that still is in mine, a bridge connection between two beings who I always thought were of essential different kinds, but here with him, I’m not so sure that this is strictly true, and this confuses me entirely. I withdraw my hand and smile, a little nervously.

“You should rest,” I say and rise. He looks up at me and the sensation is gone; he is just a tired potential, an innocent who has seen more and felt far more than should have been the case and has been left like driftwood in the process, lost and helpless, without roots or nourishment, on a far and alien shore.

I smile and hold out my hand to him again. He smiles tiredly in return, shakes his head and gets to his feet, loses his balance and holds on to the wall so he won’t fall. “Come with me,” I say and take his free arm, place it over my shoulder. It is hot, vibrant through the fabric of his suit, and he is noticeably trembling from the effort. I want to send him some strength, some extra energy but I don’t think that is allowed; he is not yet Arada and I have no idea what such exchanges at this stage would cause to happen. I’m not willing to make a mistake through unknowingness, so I simply use my physical strength to start walking him towards the stairs.

Oh! But it has been a long, long time since such I’ve engaged! It was old and new, different and very peculiar, all at the same time. The stairs prove to be quite a challenge, but he seems to recover and find reserves of strength within himself as we go; on the first floor landing, I make the decision to put him in my room instead of one of the many, many empty rooms elsewhere in the house.

With only four of us, we all slept here on the first floor; now, there’s only three. I’m sure that in the larger houses the arrangements would be far more formal, and perhaps they will be once our new Docem has moved us and has built up his own house.

For now, we are right here and I take the potential – Steve, I must remember his name – to my own rooms which lie at the end of the corridor. Before the door of what used to be my brother Mark’s rooms, I pause us and I tell him, “Lord Markus is in there. This is where he is sleeping.” “Can I see him?” the potential asks, and I consider his request. It would be good for him to really be aware that Lord Markus was very much still with us, simply changed; he cannot feel him yet and is most likely looking in all the wrong places as well. Yet my lord needs his rest and furthermore, I have no idea just what kind of manifestation he would have chosen for his sleep.

Seeing him in some inhuman state would not alleviate the potential’s fear or confusion, and so I decide and say, “No, not yet. He is resting and he needs his rest.” The potential is crestfallen, so I add, “You know how this has affected you, and you are only on the far outside of these events. His own lady has ascended this night, and he has undergone a great transformation; he has been inside of it all, a part of it. We must give him time to re-establish.” 

The potential frowns and nods. He says, “Of course. How stupid of me. I hadn’t thought of it like that. I’m sorry, I … didn’t think. Of course, he must not be disturbed …” 

So we move along, past what used to be the rooms of Lady Adela and that gives me the strangest sense of vertigo again, so much so that I feel the need to lean on the potential for a moment. He is surprised but picks up from his end and so we mostly lean on one another.

Thus we arrive in my room.

It is dark and that is soothing to my senses and to my being. I guide us both to the bed, and we simply get on it and lie in the darkness, and not a little while later we turn to each other and embrace, for comfort and for presence.

It is then that his tiredness and loss, his confusion and his fear becomes as a fire to me that warms me, gives me center, gives me purpose, and I in turn become the night to surround him, star blessed and radiant, so he may sleep, and rest. 

 


 

Discovery 

 

To lie with a sleeping human for an entire night is an experience I have never had before. It was very strange, exotic and unsettling; it called within me elder states and memories I had not sought to access in a long time. I stroked him with care, dispersed gathering storm clouds and generally kept him safe, and later, warm. To observe his system responding to the changes in the night was fascinating, a journey of discovery that was tremendous and it did set me to wonder why it was that we were so forbidden to have any contact with these at all, and if we did, just why the rules and regulations that existed were so strict and did preclude precisely this kind of intimate learning I was experiencing here.

As the night moved to its zenith and the world became a shifted place of magic and of resonance, and as Satari also sought to find her restoration and began to drift away, I was left alone, the guardian of the house.

Extraordinary.

We do not sleep as humans do, and usually for different reasons; I cannot recall a time when I was so alone, and so responsible, and for so many! But it was attractive too, and very satisfying. I placed myself in a position where I could feel them all, observe them all and know when something needed a response – a re-assurance, an adjustment, or a simple sense that they were not alone.

The Arada were well and dreaming their own dreams.

My lord was vibrant, even in his sleep; and I began to wonder just how long he would remain in this condition. Sleep can last for a very long time with our kind and the festival was only four days away now. This troubled me deeply.  To interrupt a sleeper was frowned upon for it can easily destroy the tender new connections and the subtle fine attunements that occur; and those were ordinary circumstances, when my Lord Markus was far more likely to be trying to restore most all of him right from the inside out.

This house was in deep disarray.

It really was much worse than first I had imagined or foreseen.

Just how many laws had we broken between us in a single night? The thought makes me shiver and I use the potential to ground myself in my guard duties once more, and I make an effort not to think too much and simply drift into the guardian state, responding as and when and resting in between.

He awoke towards the zenith of the day, slow stretching and awareness rising, a fascinating thing and strikingly similar to the way we phase in and out of material manifestation, only here it was disguised by his existing body that took all the attention and gave the illusion that he was only one thing, all the time.

Eventually, he opened his eyes into the comparative brightness of the room and focussed on me, lying next to him and thus, he startled backwards into full awareness.

He moved away from me, sat up rapidly, moved further away until he was at the edge of the bed and then, when I did neither move nor speak, just smiled a little re-assurance, he rubbed his face in his hands, rubbed his hands through his hair and sighed, then coughed.

“How are you feeling?” I ask him quietly and remain quite still as not to frighten him with movement and to make it clear that he is safe, that nothing will befall him here, and that my role is that of someone who is here to help, not harm.

He looks down at himself as though that would inform him of the answer to my question. He is still wearing all his clothes from the night before, very crumpled they are, but it gives him a relief to know that nothing untoward did happen in the night, something that he might not know or now remember, but that happened, nonetheless.

Then he looks back to me and smiles, cautiously. He has a lovely smile. It transforms his face, his features, and I respond by smiling far more deeply in return.

“Alright,” he says, “Hungry. Hungry as hell.” For a moment, I am completely confused. He notices this and stops smiling immediately. I am sorry. I am supposed to take care of you, make you feel at ease. I’m not doing a very good job. He is nervous again, unsure again, and I am not handling this situation as I should be.

“I am sorry,” I say and I marvel how long it must have been since last I had to use that choice of words with anyone at all, “I’m sorry. I forgot about … your eating. I will arrange something right away. What would you like to – eat?” 

He shrugs his shoulders nervously. “It doesn’t matter,” he says, “It’s ok, I’ll be on my way. I can get something at home, don’t worry about it.” 

Again, I am shocked and confused. He is leaving? Is he supposed to leave? I realise that in guarding him through the night I must have assumed that he is somehow of this house, that he was here to stay, that he was – well, one of us! 

Now, I am lost and I don’t know how to proceed. What would my Lord Markus want me to do under the circumstances? The potential hasn’t been told anything. He hasn’t been prepared. He has been witness to extremely sensitive and intimate events in our house and he is unstable. I feel instinctively that he shouldn’t leave, but can I stop him? What is the procedure in this situation? What am I to do? I reach out for my lord but he is far away and only just the faintest resonance connection is remaining. Even if I was to call him, was to wake him which indeed would be a questionable choice of action, it would take time for him to re-assemble and emerge. Is this an emergency? The potential is becoming ever more uncertain and unsure because I am not answering and he can feel that I am getting more and more dismayed.

What am I to do? 

I don’t know. I am beginning to feel a sensation rising in me that at first I simply do not recognise, and then I do – I am afraid, and I am panicking. In all the years I’ve spent in this house, this has never happened. There has always been someone to take care of me, to show me what to do or to stabilise me well before such a disturbance should ever get to the point it is now present and within me.

I am spinning too fast in my center and it is getting worse.

The potential has now decided that there is something wrong, and he cautiously leans further towards me, extends a tentative hand towards me and he says, “Lady? Alexandra? Are you alright? Is there something wrong?” 

The first law is that of love. This does not guide me here. The second rule is of unfoldment. There are more than one, his, but also mine. My unfoldments are in danger in this situation and need help. My Lord Markus told me that he didn’t want this one to not remember, and that surely means that he has plans for this potential; and I don’t know if it is wrong or right, or a transgression, but I call upon the human then to give me aid and comfort.

“I don’t know what I should do,” I tell him, and the relief is instant, and enormous. Some of the energy I held inside my center is released and so I speak on, fast, to hasten this most welcome process, “I was told to care for you, but my Lord Markus did not give any detailed instructions. I don’t know if I am supposed to keep you here or let you leave, and I am failing in my duty of care towards you. This is all unknowable, and I can’t think of any guidelines I should follow.” 

The potential receives my stream of distress and information with surprise but strangely, seems to calm all through it; when I am finished, he leans a little further towards me and says, “I’m not sure what’s going on here, but this looks like … it’s like in war, when all the officers have died, and left a junior in charge. Is that what’s happened here?” 

I nod with relief that he understands my situation, and with more relief that I have not materially contributed to his confusion by deciding to tell him about my circumstances. He nods in return and says, “Isn’t there someone you can call? Your headquarters? For new orders?” 

I am confused and the spinning sensation begins again. This time, I speak my thoughts out aloud right away. “The Docem is who is in charge, there is no-one else. Only if one should be lost, or there is a catastrophe, there is a place where we were told to go. But if I go there, I declare our house has fallen, and it has not, and that wouldn’t be true, and I don’t know what would happen then …” 

The potential makes a gesture and stops me from going any further. He leans forward and cautiously reaches out and takes my hand in his. I can make it so that he will have something he can touch and feel only just in time, but this small act of will and of control helps me, it helps me right away, and I feel better.

He looks at my hand, then into my eyes and says with a very small smile, “I guess it wouldn’t help to tell you to breathe, would it.” His smile transmits to me and I smile in return. “No, indeed, that wouldn’t help at all.” “Alright,” he says and the pressure he places around my fingertips increases noticeably, a warming sensation that travels up my arm, into my shoulder and from there streams into my head and down towards my center, bringing soothing and clarity as it goes. “Alright,” he says, “Now, let’s be calm and think about the situation.” I must have given him a flash of my former fears returning for he says rapidly, “First of all, don’t worry about me. I’m alright. I’m here, I’m feeling ok, and I can really get my own breakfast. Ok?” He bends forward to catch my eye because I have hung my head in shame at the mention of all of that, and doubly so as he is taking care of me, when it should absolutely be the other way around.

“I don’t know the first thing of how you people organise yourselves, or anything to do with you, but look,” he continues in a manner designed to calm and steady me, “In every situation there are priorities. The important things. We see to those first, and the other stuff can wait until later.” 

I nod as he speaks for that makes sense, and I await what he will tell me next, wide open. The man who is holding my hand, the human - oh my lord, what a transgression I have initiated here! It is unconscionable! – watches me with great care for a moment, before he speaks on. “What needs to be done to keep everything running smoothly until Edwards wakes up?” 

I think hard about his question and then have an answer for him.

“First of all, the Arada need to be cared for. That’s the most important thing of all.” 

“Ok,” he says and nods, “And do you know how to do that?” 

It is my turn to nod. “Oh yes,” I tell him positively, “I have cared for the Arada for a long time. I know what to do. And then, there’s Satari to help as well. I don’t have to do it alone.” “Satari? That is the other – lady – I saw downstairs last night? The small Asian girl with the long black hair?” “Yes, that’s right. She is my senior.” “Where is she now?” he asks.

“She is asleep. She was much disturbed by last night’s events and had to take care of not just her own potentials, but mine as well.” The human in the crumpled suit, half kneeling on my bed, nods and lets go off my hand. “Have you had any sleep? And, by the way, do I call you Lady Alexandra?” A small laugh escapes me. This situation is absolutely preposterous. I am being guided by a human who doesn’t know the first thing about anything at all. 

“Please,” I say and have to give another small giggle against my will, “Just Alexandra. The title of lady or of lord refers to only the Docem. And no, I have not yet rested.” He nods at that and then he says with a great deal of poise and conviction that enters me and resonates within me very well, “Alexandra, you need to rest. I’m sure you too were much disturbed by those events, and you are the youngest here from what I can see. Wake up the other one, let her take care of the … ahm, “ – “Arada”, I fill in for him. “Let her take care of those, and you must get some rest.” 

I think about his proposition. The Arada can be left for a long time, if that should be necessary. There would be no need to disturb Satari; I too could go to sleep if there was someone left to guard the house. 

“But what of you,” I ask him. “I was told to look after you.” 

He puts his head to one side and says, “I know for a fact that Edwards could read my mind. Can you?” Before I know it, I have nodded already. I cannot exactly read his mind, but I can know his state of mind, his moods and I can know his purposes. Young as I am, a human cannot lie to me.

He says, “I really am alright. More than that. I feel better than I have in a long time, and I’m sure that is due to you and your good care. I am offering my services. Go to sleep, and I will stand guard. I promise to wake you should anything out of the ordinary happen.” He is telling the truth. It would be a possibility. And he is right, I didn’t realise how badly I need to rest and to internalise all that has happened, all that is happening still to my house. I yearn for rest and that desire rises so strongly inside me that I nearly fade away on the spot. I look at him again, reach out in every way and although I know that I probably shouldn’t, I make my decision.