tagSci-Fi & FantasyChosen Mate Ch. 09

Chosen Mate Ch. 09

byHarryHill©

Harry's notes: More on the short introduction of Ad Primus Rem. New characters. Some answers. Enjoy, and please talk to me; am I amusing you?




Harry let his body fall to the ground when it reached his position, centered above the spot where the crackling paths of connection met and writhed around his mind; his body curled into a fetal shape, discarded below his imagination; he looked about, feeling as if he were in a room with a project pending that could be hurriedly completed from the unlabeled bins in that room, stuffed with parts and pieces. Those bins must be inventoried before any progress was made. It was an unorganized environment of chaos, in neat little packages.

That gave Oldman food for thought, his favorite dish. He studied the construct formed in Harry's thought. Words came from him in a questioned phrase, as he examined the configuration created in Harry's mind from many perspectives.

--Do you mean, Organized Environment? He questioned. Silence, then Harry's body took a great breath of air.

"Awarenessssssssssssss" The exhaled word carried away in the night becoming sibilant hissing static.

Oldman felt a prickling, as if hair stood from his mind. He examined the bins, shifting them into a pleasing arrangement. Harry's thoughts moved quickly, centering in the chilling, crackling lines of force as they expanded across the boundaries of all environments. It felt as if the very air around him was being wadded, twisted, and torn in the nearness of his concentrated manifestation. Harry studied the phenomenon from new perspective. A sheened globe, like a great soap bubble, popped into existence around them.

They hung in a silent bubbled doorway of Harry's conscious; the shining paths led away in all directions under the sheltering trees below the summit. A questing intensity came from his presence, answered by Oldman, as he occupied the body in the shining suit to stand and walk over the leaf-carpeted floor to a nearby deadfall. He began breaking a stout limb from it easily with the strength of the armored suit.

--There is only one thing to do. It's your idea after all. Oldman said, striding back to the stone where Harry hovered among the nest of writhing paths. He raised the make shift staff high, saying forcefully.

--Knock! He struck the limb against the stone with a force that sent shattered shards and splinters about the nexus, then threw the broken remainder to the ground. The sound of the three mighty strikes rebounded in the silence.

THRUMumum, THRUMumum, THRUMumum.

***

Mira looked to where Oldman struck the limb against the earth. The sound echoed away over the hills; she watched the silver suit pause to look around itself and then turned and walked away into nothing. She reported, asking for instructions, while watching the empty spot on the hill with surprise. All had seemed a pleasant lark until now, except for the strange actions and behavior of Harry. Now, she had lost him; She turned about the empty hill, searching for any hint of him.

***

A strand of shining path began to tremble as if a spider crawled over it toward prey; it became still again.

--Label that one for sure, muttered Oldman. They walked a short way along it, setting off their own trembling reaction of the path. Harry's awareness moved back into his body as they halted, looking down into the distance of it.

A green nimbus came toward them; hissing sound grew as did the image that was seen to be the Green Warrior, striding into sight as he had when first encountered by Harry. The moon lit shadows of the forest floor appeared as a window high above yet near.

He stopped a short distance away; they studied each other. It was apparent he was Fay; his mind was as distinguishable as if a man and animal were standing together. Harry hesitated, and then took a step toward the glowing green figure. He peered into the smoked lenses that made the eyes of the owl helmet and blinked in surprise as they became clear. A huge pair of magnified eyes looked back; they were green as good emeralds and seemed to hold their luster too. The effect was unexpected and eerie; he found himself a step away without conscious volition.

They stood in close proximity; their thoughts held closely. The green man looked intently, as his enormous eyes searched over Harry's features, and then he spoke. The sound of his thought felt ancient, weary yet strong in its obligation to interdict intruders. The sword was held ready in its hand.

--You are the one who blundered about my door, he accused. ...I followed you in my thoughts until I fell asleep one night and then woke the next morning with a blinding head. You slipped from my thoughts like a fish wiggling about in the hand and falling back into the stream. Now you knock on my door that has not seen visitors in many times. You wear the shining armor of my people although you are human. The cloak of mating hangs from your shoulders and the love of her shines forth strongly over your armor in royal colors. The icon of service is on your left arm and an emblem of achievement on your right. You stand alone before me with no sword.

--Well, he's not exactly alone. Oldman said in a matter of fact thought. The green man's thought was like an untaken breath, though he never moved. The magnified eyes narrowed as he processed the knowledge.

--A Dreamers familiar! He said in surprise.

Harry noticed that no cloak hung from the green armor and felt a pang of sympathy, easily read by the warrior before him, and commented.

--You have felt the soul fire also; he said in thought that revealed his own cured pain.

--It burns in him still, Oldman declared. ...He has seen eons of the smoldering coals fed stingily by despair and duty. A burst of amusement emanated from the green warrior.

--You are truly a thief of thoughts. He said, searching Oldman's presence.

--You are no slouch yourself. Tell me, do you play poker?

--No, but I think I would like to. He answered, searching Oldman's seemingly open thoughts and examining rules, play, and nuances.

Harry raised questioning eyebrows, and then realized that they were not visible under the scaled helm. He unsealed his helmet and removed it, revealing his bespectacled hirsute face.

--Excuse me, will you accompany us to the entrance for a moment. Harry asked, as the conversation veered away from more pressing things.

--I will stand in the doorway; I can go no further. Harry looked puzzled for a moment, then realized it was because of duty, not inability that he must stay within the path that led elsewhere.

--Come then, he said with a smile, moving the few short steps to where the forest sheltered the notch of the hill.

***

Mira watched closely for any sign of Harry's return and waited for instructions. A short time passed and he came striding out of nothing again. He called for her and the jug that had accompanied them to the summit, then waited as she stood beside them, looking into at the strangers eyes that returned her stare keenly.

--A young one, the green warrior thought in wonder at the first Fay seen in eons.

--Not so young! Mira said, burning brighter with emotion and action. Her colored globe swirled with fiery brilliance, expanding and then contracting into a wisp of a young woman; her slender form looked to the green man with the prideful reality of her new found maturity. Her lavender aura waved in irritated wing like ripples.

--Your pardon, my lady. He said, with a sweeping movement of sword and arm; ...I meant no offence.

--Mira send, "momentous steps." Harry held out his hand to her and waited; she took it, watching behind her with some trepidation as the forest disappeared from sight. Slowly they walked away along the shining path.

--We have much to talk of, Harry sent to him, as they moved along the path that showed its exit dimly, far ahead. He remembered ceremony and spoke again. ...But first... He stopped and took the jug from Mira's hand and opened it, holding it high, saying with bowed head and with a great somber feeling of respect that was joined by Oldman.

--Ed ga ri, we greet you. Edgar looked into his eyes, from the hidden recesses of his helmet, as Harry drank. His form seemed to shiver, as if cold had suddenly penetrated the glassine armor he wore. Unsealing and removing his helmet revealed hair as white and long as Margay's; his flowing beard appeared snow glistened with frosty strands of energy. He sheathed the sword, still carried in his right hand, in a scabbard hanging from his back and dropped the helm, taking the jug from Harry's proffered hands. Mira bent, retrieving the helmet from the path, and looked up to Edgar as she rose beside him.

Looking deep into the jug with roiling emotion evident on his aged face, he raised the jug high; light glimmered from the movement of the armor that was like a gesture of triumph.

--Har ri na, Oldman, I greet you. He drank. His nostrils expanded with the scent. A sound of enjoyment escaped him as he swallowed. He turned to Mira and repeated the ceremony of obeisance to her, then taking his helm from her and offering the jug. Her hands moved over his glove in a touch that was near a caress.

--Ed ga ri, I greet you, she said simply, staring into the emerald eyes and drank deeply.

Edgar turned and began to walk again toward the entrance below. Mira ran behind with Edgars helmet and the wine.

--It has been too long since I have had the pleasure to observe the ceremony. Tell me of my people; are they well? He reached to the jug in Mira's hand and drank, relishing both drink and word as Mira told of the Shining People.

***

The Great Hall resembled an armed encampment now. Temporary living quarters were raised about the map table as they slept in shifts awaiting news of the missing Harry, Oldman, and Mira. Sitting together at the table, Daniel and Gerry discussed the situation as sleepy eyed Fay drowsed around them or left to begin shifts in town while the illusion of a normal business day continued, regardless of the unusual happenings.

Donna lay curled in Gerry's arms and lap, sleeping and plastic in them, as he moved her with only small sounds of disturbance escaping from her. Wayne was asleep on a shoddily raised bed where he had collapsed, finally, in the early morning hours; his post was taken by a impressed Fay in armor that ventured too close to the exhausted senses of the sleepy councilor.

--Ideas, asked Daniel. ...Jokes? ...Dirty limericks? He said in frustrated fatigue. Gerry shrugged, then pressed his lips to Donna's brow as she mumbled in disturbance. He looked around at all the others who waited and to the stagnant map table that had not had an update in eighteen hours.

--Well, he said ...as an exercise, it has been a success. Reaction times were minimal. There will be events in the future where this room will see the same situation. We need to get her... He gestured with his head to where Sandra slept with Margay in a tangle of limbs and wings. ...moving again. It's not like her not to be at the point of operations.

--Suggestions, Daniel asked, with a hopeful look on his face. Gerry stood and placed Donna's sleeping form in his arms. She made small sounds and wrapped an arm around Daniels neck and thrust a hand into his red gold beard. Daniel held his child to his chest, stroking her hair absently.

Gerry lowered the long used map; he brought the second up, looking down at the careful campaign in planning.

--Instead of waiting for Harry to return, we should plan for his return and move swiftly. He was silent for a time as he studied the table. Recall Hawk, change out his team and get him back to his workshop. Pull Badger inside Harry's property lines. Recall Snake; he's been there too long, even here. Send Sandra home to Maddie; she's alone there except for the animals. She'll be awake soon. Send Donna too. Give Sandra a cover story that Harry and I went somewhere for pressing business.

--Well that's the truth. Daniel said, chuckling deep in his pondering thoughts. ...It appears this business is very pressing indeed.

***

They examined the small personal rooms, at the end of the shining path, ruined from the effects of time and disuse. Edgar's bower there was comfortable, for a bachelors abode; but, it was not the spacious halls and corridors of the dwellings that opened under Backwater, not by a far sight. There was a neat little bedroom and a bath containing a rushing brook that flowed swiftly over a low bank in a small torrent. His only luxury was a five meter square pool of warm water, where he could soak or swim as a large green gar.

Edgar led them through rooms of shadowed shapes, toward an opening above that cast a sunlit carpet across the worn path in the floor showing ages of travel. He climbed upward over the crooked stairs to the light.

Harry followed him up the winding wrecked staircase to the top of the structure, emerging to find that its slopes very nearly covered the entire small island; it was alone in a vast sea with no land in sight. The cloudless sky was a bright blue under the brilliant force of the sun.

--Welcome to the Endless Sea. There was nothing here, save shallow water, when the Shining People found it. Edgar sat in the warm sun with Harry and Oldman. Mira flew over the rocks, high above the oceans lapping waves, enjoying the unfettered access to the bright sun burning in the sky. Sparks danced in her aura as she charged in the light.

Huge smiles wrinkled Edgar's green eyes, gleaming from his teeth in the bright mid-morning sun, as he looked at Harry or Mira. Harry was enjoying the sun and let Oldman begin the questioning.

--How long have you been here? Oldman asked, peering into his mind.

--I have protected the entrance to the temple and the path to the Endless Sea for some two and a half thousands of your years. He answered, smiling at his visitors.

--Alone, asked Oldman? Silence was the only answer for a moment. Then, Edgar said in a serious thought.

--What are you fishing for Oldman? Do you see any others here?

--Getting you to talk is like pulling the wings off of a fairy. Edgar roared with appreciation.

--Yes, Yes, They are hard to grasp. He began to drink from the jug again, then, thinking of his manners, held it out to Harry, who shook his head in negation. He smiled as Edgar found the bottom of the jug, frowning, and laying it aside.

Harry looked to the top of the island where Mira lay, settled, in the grass chewing a stalk of it. She was admiring her new born body and stealing glances at Edgar when she caught Harry looking at her. He held her eye and half turned away from Edgar, holding a finger to his hidden lips and then to his forehead.

She looked puzzled then; her eyes widened as she realized Harry's silent instruction to reveal nothing, and turned away facing the sun and fanning her light lavender wings slowly. She seemed to flush lightly as a slight crackling charge ran over them; she coyly looked to Edgar and back to Harry. He smiled and turned his eyes to Edgar and then back to her. Her brow wrinkled slightly. Harry turned his face to the sun again and moved his lips as if talking then looked at Edgar again. Her eyes widened as she understood. She smiled and stretched her lithe new body and went to Edgar in seemingly random steps to let her fingers play in the bright green aura of his wings as if engrossed in the play of their energy. Her hands, 'accidentally,' touched him lightly as she did and often. Harry nodded in the sun, smiling slightly, and turned away.

--Tell me, Ed ga ri, how did this place come to be? The touch starved Edgar moved his wings lightly as she played in them and began to speak. He looked to the empty jug of wine as he did, and thirsted for more.

--The land above the shining path that leads here was once a chain of islands in a warm inland sea; I was told so long ago. Mira sat on the grass at his feet looking into his eyes raptly as he began his story.

--At last, said Oldman privately.

--Shhh. Harry got comfortable and listened as Edgars story unfolded.

--Our people came to these islands in a shining ship from the north. He pointed into the sky. Twenty and four mated couples arrived to find a new home for the Shining People.

--It is said that they were refugees, fleeing from some great cosmic event or disaster; and as far as they knew, they were the last of their race. Mira lay on the ground before him; her head rested in the palm of her hand as he continued.

--They built the great wrecked temple on the far side of the shining path out of the living coral of the island itself. We had knowledge of the shining paths then and we followed them here where there was nothing but ocean. He gestured about the island. They seeded this Endless Sea with the living coral from the lands above, creating this island where there was none before. Many, many, long times passed; they were safe; they played in the ocean and ate the good things there; but then the earth changed and moved about. The islands above began to sink slowly.

--The Elders began to hastily farm the sun, storing its power in the silver ship that had been neglected since their arrival and were fortunate to escape with it before it was lost to all. Casting about the quickening earth, they searched for the green of life amid churning seas and fire torn land. They traveled far across the planet and at last found sanctuary on cold living islands to the East.

The twenty and four mated couples scattered across the land and prospered. Great lakes of sweet water were built and at last they were able to spawn again and increase the race. The ship was kept charged as best they were able in the dim sunlight there; the Elders feared losing it as they had so nearly done before. They lived well and happily until the Formorians arrived with humans. It was once said that they pursued us there. I know not.

--The Black Ones! Mira said breathlessly sitting up at his feet and leaning forward in interest.

--Yes, he agreed, pausing to gather his hatred like a storm building on the horizon. ...They are truly monsters, evil vicious beings; they plan long into the future and use humans as easily manipulated chattel to further their secreted goals; they hide their true nature from men. Hatred burned in him, feeding the flames of his soul fire. His thoughts lingered long on Harry with accusing speculation. He sank into silence, drawing inward on himself, quiet and pensive. Mira clasped her knees to her chest and rested her chin on them peering up at the silent Fay.

--What happened then Ed ga ri? Did the Black Ones fall on them? He shook his head and looked at her.

--No, they are sly, he whispered in their thoughts ...so very sly. The pain of remembrance clawed his eyes then he continued. ...They pretended friendship and became close to the people, trading gold, that their servant humans dug from the land, for the sweet wine that we make; and then later, they acquired many of the old weapons that were brought with us in the same way.

--They became surly as they increased their power over the people. Wofay were demanded in mating, supposedly to try and join them in harmony. Many of them went in service for the people and were used and made to tell the secrets of healing so that the Formorians were able to survive many grievous wounds that were sustained in the increasing conflicts with our people, who were able to heal all injuries save decapitation.

--Then men discovered the deadly cold iron that burns our flesh like fire. The Formorians found that it ended our ability to heal and create illusions when our aura organ was pierced with it. He leaned over her, gently rubbing over the hollow between her shoulder blades where the filaments of energy sprouted from her back in lavender shining threads.

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