Last light comes quickly, and the Watchtower fills the sky with light.
We assemble in an open field behind my house, and leave our packs on the floor of the house’s deck.
A few wispy clouds move slowly across the night sky, floating in the gentle winds.
It’s unusual and dangerous for masters to flow themselves for a long journey.
When three masters come together to travel like this, they perform the changing.
Each accepts responsibility to watch over the others, and bring everyone home safely.
The group is called a circle, and the one who leads the changing is called the center.
Shazira pushes away her sorrow, and prepares herself to accept the demands of the changing.
She raises her hand and faces her palm toward Balshown.
“Master Balshown, you are the eldest master here.”
“Lead us in the changing, and bind the circle together.”
“No,” he replies.
“True, I am the oldest flow master here, but you are most active in the guild, and guardian of the tower.”
“I give the circle to you.”
“Be the heart of our circle, and lead the changing in my place.”
She nods, and the rest of us surround her.
Shazira moves her body in slow, smooth movements as she speaks.
Life spins on three bodies as the world rises and falls.
One body, hard like stone.
The second flies like air, covers the stone like water, and feeds it.
The third is fire, unseen.
Flow the stone and the water, and remember your heart.
Safe journey, and return home.
As Shazira finishes the last words, she kneels, and touches her forehead to the ground.
She rises, and lifts both arms toward the sky.
A rain of stones falls over our circle.
The stones flow into water, and then fire.
Then it all disappears, just before the fire reaches our heads.
“The Kishla,” says Shazira, “make a rich variety of notes, and can even pronounce our Jiku sounds.”
“The birds are known to be highly intelligent, and have their own strange language, but they do not speak in words.”
“Remember to hold on to your words.”
We remove our clothes and place them in the packs.
Shazira removes Tzina’s clothing.
The packs will be strapped to our bird bodies after we flow.
I am like the Gen, and my awareness and memories are bound to my fire body, not my pattern body.
The transformation into Kishla is safe for me.
The only change that could trap me is the Bizra shape.
Born to Fly
Shazira and Balshown use energy masks to flow themselves and Tzina into Kishla.
I could change using a full transformation, but for now, I use an energy mask, like the others.
They change first, and my eyes are caught by their beauty, their bodies covered with many colors in sparkling patterns.
Their feathers are exceptionally soft.
Kishla songs are beautiful and haunting.
A legend speaks of the birth of the Kishla.
Once an energy master dreamed of a beautiful bird, and its energy form.
When he awoke, he transformed himself into his dream.
Then he sang.
The song was so beautiful, that he could not bear to become Jiku again.
He transformed his family and some friends into the birds, and they flew away to a distant mountain that touched the sky, to start a new life.
Shazira is the first to open her voice, after we change.
“Are you all right Berek?” she asks.
Her words are sung, not spoken, but they are still words.
Berek sings his answer as a beautiful song with nested patterns that hold the message.
His message has no words, but the mask enables us to understand the song.
“Your words are small and strange” says Berek, “but I understand you.”
“My life is beautiful, and I’m not afraid.”
This is no mask.
Berek has pushed away his Jiku pattern body, and taken the pattern body of the Kishla.
The rest of us, using a mask, can understand but not shape the complex songs that carry a message.
“Berek’s talent is natural, untrained,” says Shazira.
“Naturals don’t use masks to flow themselves.”
“They take the full pattern body of any form that they choose.”
“Unlike flow masters, the transformation itself is not hazardous for them.”
“Still, holding it for long is dangerous.”
She looks at me briefly, remembering that transformation can’t harm me.
“Every thirty minutes,” she instructs us, “we must speak to Berek.”
“If we see that he no longer understands us, we must force him to return to his own shape, even if the Krale threaten us!”
Ehraval hovers above the ground, still in the form of a boy, with his face covered in darkness.
“Ehraval,” I ask, “why haven’t you taken a Kishla form?”
“I don’t need it,” he tells us.
“The Krale can’t hurt me, and I understand all of you, even Berek, just as I am.”
“This is the only form that I’ll take while I’m among you.”
“Yagrin,” he says, “look at my pattern body with energy eyes.”
Balshown and I look at his energy body.
It’s strange, like nothing we’ve ever seen.
I don’t know why, but it reminds me of the Krale.
“I can’t see his fire body,” says Balshown.
“Does he have one?”
I look deeper with dark eyes, and find his fire body, not Jiku, or Gen.
“Yes, Balshown, but it’s not like ours.”
“Yagrin,” says Ehraval, “now look carefully at my pattern body.”
“There’s something strange about it,” I tell him.
“It’s not a full pattern body, or even a mask.”
“It’s like an image or a shadow, an illusion.”
“Only my fire body is real.”
“You can see the pattern body with your energy senses, and even feel my physical body, but they mostly exist in your minds.”
Then he disappears, leaving only a slightly dark area in the air.
“Do you see where I am Yagrin?” he asks.
We hear his voice coming from the spot of darkness.
“Yes,” I answer.
“Good,” he says. “I’ll be with you the whole time, but I’ll stay hidden.”
A Weaver’s Song
A smooth, soft vibration shakes the tips of my wings.
It’s a pleasant low sound, that reminds me of rumbling thunder.
The vibration spreads across my wings, until it touches the patterns of black knives.
It’s time to be the great bird.
I release a great cry, and take the full pattern body of the Kishla.
For a moment I’m disoriented, as my Jiku awareness joins with the Kishla awareness.
Then I feel the power of the great body.
The energy of the sky and the earth, and even the darkness moves through me in great waves, and, in gratitude, I open a song.
There are no words.
Instead, my feelings and thoughts shape themselves into a complex message carried as great patterns woven into the song.
The circle looks at me in surprise when they realize that I’ve completed the transformation.
Then, they’re filled with awe, touched by the song’s message.
Berek releases a short, musical cry at the end, sad that I’m done.
“Well done,” says Ehraval, his voice coming from the air a few feet away.
I find it curious that Ehraval can understand the song without being in the form of the great birds.
Then I hear his silent thoughts touch my mind.
“As a messenger, Yagrin, I have the gift to understand all intelligent beings.”
Ehraval’s fire body glows brighter than ever, when I look at it with Kishla eyes.
Shazira and Balshown are quiet for a moment, still caught in the song.
“When I hear you sing, Yagrin,” says Balshown, “I understand why someone would give up being Jiku.”
“How does it feel to create such a song!”
With great effort I respond in words instead of song.
“When I speak as a Jiku, with a deep inner strength, my words are filled with emotional energy.”
“Still, some people have hearts as hard as stone.
“They hear these powerful words, yet feel nothing.”
“The energy cannot reach them.”
“I meet others who are touched by my words and energy, and feel connected to me, but only for a moment.”
“Then, there are some who open themselves to the words and energy.”
“This creates a lasting connection between us.”
“The Kishla song is a thousand times more powerful than words, or ordinary emotional energy.”
“When I sing, I’m connected to all of you, to the earth, ocean and sky, and to worlds beyond the sky that I can only feel as distant, dim voices.”
“Even the stone-hearted cannot resist this.”
“You can see this connection in the energy web.”
“Look at the energy in my pattern body, the next time that I sing.”
“See how my energy wraps itself around the energy of our circle.”
Energy is far more subtle than matter, and some think that all energy is the same.
Different types of energy have unique qualities.
Yes, energy is movement, living in waves, but there are patterns and structures of energy.
The Jiku physical body holds its form, while every cell dies and is replaced.
Similarly, an energy pattern or structure continues to exist, while the component energy changes.
An energy body is a dense structure of one or more energy patterns.
The smallest distinct part of an energy pattern is called a point, although it’s not a particle of any kind.
Energy moves between our bodies and the great web that fills the world, yet our structure and patterns remain.
The fire body is much more than structure and moving energy.
A force lives in the fire body that makes each individual unique.
Some say it’s a type of energy that can’t be seen, even with energy eyes.
There’s a deep form of energy weaving, where the weaver frees a few energy points from his fire body, so they can be absorbed into another being’s fire body.
We believe that some of our unique, unseen energy goes along.
Balshown and I have exchanged parts of ourselves in this way.
He watches my fire body, as I sing a short song.
“The Kishla are energy weavers,” he says, surprised.
“Yagrin’s fire body brightens and expands as he sings,” says Balshown to the others, “drawing energy from the web.”
“The fire body pours energy into his pattern body, which thickens the energy points.”
“Then the energy points grow extensions, like vines.”
“Yagrin connects to us and to the world, in all directions, at incredible speed.”
“When he stops singing, a few energy points from his fire body race along the energy vines, and are woven/absorbed into our fire bodies.”
“Then the vines disconnect from his energy body and are re-absorbed into the energy web.”
“How do you feel,” he asks me, “when you stop singing?”
“While I sing, the feeling of connection fills me.”
“When I stop, a subtle feeling of connection stays with me.”
“The effect is incredibly pleasurable, and it’s difficult to think.”
“Balshown,” I tell him, trying to break the intoxication of the singing and connections.
“It’s time to put the packs on.”
None of us have hands, but Balshown and I use our skills as weavers to glide the packs into place and fasten the straps.
“I’ve seen you move yourself and other objects along the web, hundreds or thousands of times,” says Shazira, smiling, “but I still find it wonderful to watch.”
It’s difficult, even for true Kishla, to take off straight from the ground.
Our forms know how to fly, but we lack the experience of flying.
“Get ready to fly,” I tell the others.
I glide each of us two hundred feet up, and then let go.
As we begin to fall, we naturally spread our wings, and they catch the air.
Tzina’s awareness is deeply buried in her mind, but her Kishla body loves the sky.
She flies, following Shazira.
The air embraces us all, and our journey begins.