Blood and Light
A high-pitched child’s scream fills the marketplace, and people yell for a healer.
The market woman looks around in fear.
Her young daughter gone.
She runs toward the source of the scream, and I follow.
A crowd circles a booth that sells sharp metal tools, and long knives.
The girl has fallen against a knife, and cut her upper arm half off.
The artery squirts blood all around, and the arm hangs limp, as bones, muscles, and nerves are all cut.
The bleeding must be stopped soon, or the girl will bleed to death.
The arm will be useless in any case.
The mother sees it at the same time as I do.
She cries and screams, watching her daughter’s life slip away.
My energy eyes open, and I see the energy body of the girl.
It sparkles, calling me.
I hear music that no one around me can hear.
It comes from a mat that hangs from a nearby booth.
The mat is made from a type of seaweed that is incredibly strong and tough when dry.
I speak to the energy body of the girl.
“Tell me how to heal you.”
The twelve patterns still chase each other in a circle in my mind.
The circle moves out of my mind and surrounds the energy body of the girl.
A new pattern, from the seaweed, hovers outside of the circle.
This pattern is surrounded by three other patterns, variations, children of three of the twelve mothers.
I pull strands of energy from the energy web, and bind it into the seaweed pattern.
Then I take and bind more energy to shape the children of the mothers.
I bind all these together within the girl’s energy body.
My vision slips back to the physical, and I touch her arm for a few seconds.
Witches and Travelers
The bleeding is under control.
Just small cuts remain, oozing blood.
The girl moves her hand slowly, surprised it now obeys her.
Then raises her arm high in the air to show it’s nearly healed.
People look around, unsure what to do or say.
Healers arrive, including the woman’s bondmate.
He rushes to the girl, examines her, and tells his master what he finds.
“You called three masters to heal some simple cuts?” the masters ask, annoyed.
Then the healers see the pools of blood that cover the floor, and the large red stains on a nearby wall.
The crowd explains that the girl’s arm was cut half off.
“Who heals this?” asks one of the healers.
“This is the work of two healing masters, working together.”
“The mother is a Tshuan witch,” says one of the women in the crowd.
“She heals with dark energy.”
“I did nothing,” the mother yells back at the woman, suddenly afraid of what they will do to a witch.
Then the mother points at me, and I see that my hands are sparkling with energy, bits of color dancing around the edges.
“Master Yagrin,” says the girl’s father, surprised, “I recognize you from the Watchtower.”
“Are you well?”
“I walk with strength,” I answer, “thanks to the help of you and the master healers.”
The wife turns white when she realizes that she spoke to a traveler about travelers.
“He’s a traveler,” someone calls out.
“It’s demon energy.”
The three masters stand in front of me and face the crowd.
“Fools!” they say, “it’s just healing.”
“The next one to speak against him will see no healing for the next year.”
“Go back to your selling or we’ll ask the council to close the market for the day.”
The crowd is quiet and begins to break up.
“Master Yagrin,” one of the masters says, “where did you learn to do that?”
“Part of it I learned from the Bizra.”
“Bizra taught the first healers,” says one of them, “but they haven’t taught us in hundreds of years!”
“They barely visit the Jiku any more.”
The others touch his shoulder in agreement.
“It’s not safe for you to be in the market, master,” says another.
“The people are frightened of travelers, especially powerful ones.”
“I’m done here,” I tell them, and turn to leave.
The mother runs up to me.
“Please forgive me master.”
“I didn’t know that you were the traveler.”
“You healed my child after I insulted you!”
“What world are you from that you show kindness even to fools like me?”
“My world has good and bad, the same as this one.”
“You have children as we do?” she asks.
“I had seven children before I traveled, but they are forever beyond my reach.”
“Perhaps someone will protect my children as I protected your child.”
“You can’t return?” she asks.
“I’ve come from across the possibility sea, a twin to Master Yagrin.”
“You cross the sea?” she says in a whisper.
The woman hands me a pouch similar to the one that I bought.
“Take this,” she whispers.
“It’s another rare nut.”
“I don’t need it,” I tell her.
“I have what I came for.”
“Master, Tshuan legend calls the other six nuts the mothers.”
“This one is called the grandmother.”
“We use them for charms, for luck, but their real strength is forgotten.”
“Legend says that the traveler who crosses the sea will wake the grandmother.”
“You will need it!”
“Thank you,” I tell her, and tie the pouch to my belt.
“Don’t fear for your children,” says her bondmate to me.
“There’s an old Tshuan poem.”
A child is born in one house, one town, but circles far beyond it.
A child calls her parents two, but she is everyone’s child.
The world watches her steps, protects her, and shows her the way.
I have no words to answer him.
“Thank you,” I finally manage to say.
I give the healer the greeting of palms, and leave the marketplace.
I hear the music of the web as I fly.
It calms me, but soon I let the sound go.
The quiet and the wind comfort me as I fly home.