Tzina’s Laugh

 
The Traveler and the Sea
I sit in the indigo room, a place for sleeping and dreaming.
Shazira brings me a learning dome, and explains how to use it.

The dome is flexible and clear, and feels like silicon rubber.
I close my eyes and fit the learning dome over the top of my head.

My scalp tingles as the Watchtower’s computer feeds sensory input to my brain, and creates the learning room.
I see and feel myself standing on a blue stone circle on the top of a hill overlooking the ocean.
The circle is surrounded by a stone fence, about three feet high.

I touch the fingertips of my right hand to my left palm to activate a computer interface.
It appears in the air around me, just opaque enough to be seen.
The interface will fade in a few seconds if unused, but the computer also listens for my verbal commands.
“Embu legends,” I tell it, and select from the references it finds.

“Load, Memcube, or View?” asks the computer voice.

The computer is ready to load the information into my memory, or save it into a storage cube for later access.
I prefer to watch and listen to a more natural presentation of the information.
“View.”

A large comfortable chair appears in the center of the circle.
I sit down and a large opening appears on one side of the fence, facing the ocean.

A dozen people line up outside the opening, each with a different story to tell me about the Embu.
Only one storyteller joins me in the circle at a time, and when she finishes with her story she goes.

I listen to the legends of Embu.
One more strange than the next.

There are dozens of legends in the computer, but I’ve chosen only twelve.
When the last of them is finished, the storytellers disappear.

I need something beyond legend.
“Embu in Window of Dreams,” I tell the computer.
The stone fence rises and curves over the stone circle, until it forms a dome.
The walls become slightly transparent, so I can still see the ocean in the distance.

The Window of Dreams is an ancient collection of visions from a group of energy masters called Dream Hunters.
Shazira told me of it.
“The Dream Hunters see what is likely to happen, but the future is not certain.”

“There is only one matching vision,” says the computer.
“View,” I tell it.

One wall of the dome opens into a wide, wild place.
I feel the wind, and see a great plain full of grass, with herds of strange beasts.
I hear their voices as they sound off together, and run.

They are not frightened or chased by some enemy.
They run for pleasure.
A few stop at the edge of the room, and stand there, watching me with large eyes.

A woman, about 40 years old, with bright eyes, gently clears a path among the beasts, and joins me in the stone room.
She looks at me, and speaks.

Endless paths shaped upon the sea.
Floating unseen.
Bound in balance.

Travelers pass from planet to planet.
Fire that hates water, and cannot touch the sea.

Waves of Embu spread through the sea.
One and many.
Still asleep.

Arise when called!
The world twists when lives meet.
The tame become wild.
The traveler dies, but does not forget.

A burning ghost will pass to Siksa.
Last brother of destroyers.
He will save and be saved.

Dream Hunters are given the gift of visions, and sometimes, an understanding of what the vision means.

She continues:
“There are endless universes, some only slightly different than others.”
“A great sea of energy lies between, called the sea of possibility.”

“Ordinary spirit travelers pass from world to world within a single universe.”
“They cannot cross the sea of possibility”

“Most of us are Embu.”
“Each Embu has one spirit, that casts shadows in many worlds.”
“There are many lives, but each life knows only itself.”

“At times of extraordinary need, an Embu is called to pass across the possibility sea.”
“One shadow travels, and joins his life with the life of his sister or brother.”

“The joining awakens a great power, but it comes with the price of death.”
“Two lives cannot take hold in one body, and two bodies cannot be linked across the possibility sea.”
“The traveler’s first body is lost, though he carries and keeps his own memories.”
“The traveler’s brother is pushed away and forgotten.”

Her voice fades, and the learning room reshapes itself into the stone circle.
“End link,” I tell the computer, and remove the learning dome.

I feel weak and empty, trapped here in this world.
It feels all too real.

I push away the chair, and sit on the floor of the Dreaming Room,
listen to the silence,
and mourn my wife and children.

 
Loss
An hour later, Shazira returns.

“Now I believe you,” I tell her, coldly.
“I heard the vision and its story of travelers like me.”

“I am dead.”
“There is no going home.”

I sense anger within Shazira, a moment before it bursts out.
“Is your life over?!” she asks.
“You told me you were searching for a new life.”
“Now that you’ve found it, will you throw it away?”

“My family is lost,” I answer.
“I am lost.”

“Your sorrow is my sorrow,” she says.
“You lost your family, and you found another.”
“I lost my Yagrin, and found you.”

“You still believe we belong together?” I ask, quietly.

“I’m sure of it,” she answers.
“You are Yagrin,” she continues, “but I will not chain you here.”
“You can choose a path away from me.”

I sense fear and loneliness as she says this.

“Stop talking,” I tell her, walking close to her, almost touching.
Then I raise my hand, and she brings her palm to mine.
“I’m not going anywhere, but I need more than a moment to accept this life.”

She takes a deep breath, and waits for my next words.

“The Dream Hunter spoke of a burning ghost that will come to Siksa, but she never explained what the ghost is.”
“Is it a traveler?”
“Am I that traveler, Shazira?”

“There have been spirit travelers on Siksa before, Yagrin.”
“As far as we know, you are the first to cross the possibility sea, and come to Siksa.”

“Then I am this ghost, brother of destroyers?”

“Probably,” she answers.
“There’s no way to know for sure.”

“It doesn’t sound good,” I suggest.

“I agree,” she says, “but the visions are difficult to understand.”
“The truth may be the opposite of what it seems.”
She squeezes my hand gently.
“Time will help us understand,” she adds, as she walks slowly out of the room.

I lay down on the bed, and let sleep bring me peace.

 
Tzina
I awaken from a nap and I hear a wonderful purring sound.

A strong vibration grows deep within my body.
It rises from my navel until it rushes out my head and disappears.
I feel at peace, until I sense I’m being watched, and I look around.

There, on an empty high shelf, a small animal sits and stares.
It carries itself with a certain grace, and at first I think it’s a cat.

The animal leaps and lands lightly on my lap, staring at me with an intense gaze.
It’s young and playful, and it wraps itself around my arm a couple of times like a snake.

Then, it returns to sitting happily on my lap.
The eyes are gold and green, like Shazira’s eyes, with an intense gaze.
The face is full of emotion, like a human or primate face.

“What are you?” I ask aloud, not expecting an answer.

Suddenly the animal is gone, and there is a young girl on my lap.
She is ten to twelve years old and looks like Shazira.

She has a full set of sharp pointed teeth like everyone on this world.
The girl pretends to nip me, without drawing blood.

“Who else would it be but me, ina?”
The girl laughs in a voice so high pitched, a human ear would never hear it.
Then she leaps off my lap, and runs away.

She is so full of joy, but who is she?
A sister or niece?

I remember.
This is Tzina, my daughter.

I am stunned for a moment at the discovery.
Then I jump up, and run to find her.
 
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Traveling Home -- 1: WatchtowerPrevious StoryNext Story
  1. Prologue
  2. Island and Tower
  3. Healing Room
  4. Watchtower Floorplan
  5. Tzina’s Laugh
  6. Dream Room
  7. Storm and Stone
  8. Sweet Music
  9. Memories and Breakfast
  10. History and Change
  11. Dreaming and Weaving
  12. Hungry for Lightning

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