The Kishla are strange creatures, caught between the physical and energy worlds.
Their eyes see well in day or night, and their vision is always half-focused on the energy web.
Time feels different to us while we wear this form.
The waves seem endless on the ocean beneath us, as we fly.
Hours pass, but none of us grow tired, not even Tzina.
The muscles and wings move, again, and again, without thought.
An energy limb within us, takes hold of the great web, and pulls us along.
Balshown takes the lead, and guides us where to fly.
Two hundred years ago, he visited the land of the Bizra.
This body don’t need his guidance.
I just think of the Bizra, and I know where to go.
I’ve seen drawings of the Bizra land.
As a Kishla, the memories become colorful, bright, and three-dimensional.
I feel the right direction to fly in.
A half hour’s flight from the Bizra, we see the first Krale flying toward us.
“Ehraval?” I say.
“Here, Yagrin,” he answers.
“Will I be able to handle the black lightning in this form?”
“I’m not sure,” he answers.
“Don’t risk it.”
“If we’re threatened, take your Jiku shape.”
My head gets caught for a moment in what-ifs.
What if the Krale suddenly attack Shazira or the others.
Should I change now?
I imagine energy hands rubbing the underside of my belly, where the navel would be, if a bird had one.
The energy of the world moves freely through me.
Calm fills me, and I move to the front.
“Everyone stay behind me,” I sing to the others.
Berek is frightened, even though the Krale ignore us.
I calm him with a song that the Kishla sing to their children.
The Krale fly calmly through the dark sky at random, peaceful and untroubled, beneath the starlight and the light of the dim moon.
We’re far away from the city and the Watchtower.
All we see here is ordinary night sky.
We arrive at the island, but we can’t see the land, only a tiny sliver of beach at the edge of the ocean.
The land is covered with a thick darkness.
The others follows my lead in landing on the beach, and Balshown and I remove the packs.
“Why does darkness cover their land?” asks Shazira, facing us all.
“This place feels sick, like the life is draining out of it.”
“Ehraval,” I ask.
“What is the darkness?”
“Something is very wrong here,” he answers, “but I don’t know how to fix it.”
“There’s something wrong with their dreams,” says Berek.
“The darkness comes from their dreams.”
“How do you know that?” asks Shazira.
“This is their time to sleep,” says Berek.
“Sleep is usually a peaceful time, but I feel a great weight of fear and sadness within the darkness.”
“I know that fear.”
“I have nightmares often, and the Krale are in every one.”
In my dreams, I hover as a spirit in my bedroom, and I see my physical body below, caught in a nightmare.
I see myself sleeping, and moaning in bed.
The Krale appear above my bed, uninterested in my sleeping body.
They turn toward my watching spirit, give me a vicious smile, and then fly into my parent’s room.
My spirit follows.
The black lightning strikes and kills my birth parents.
My birth father rises from his death, and faces the Krale.
They vanish, and I wake up.
“It’s strange, inta,” he says to me.
“For a long time, I thought it was my father who rises from death in the nightmare, but it can’t be.”
“The one I see wears a master’s robe with four bands, and his expressions and movements belong to you.”
“You’re the one who faces the Krale in my dream.”
“How long have you had these nightmares?” asks Shazira.
“Long before I ever met you,” answers Berek, “almost five years.”
“I know that some people are caught in their sadness, like an endless maze, but my dreams are more than that.”
“I’ve always felt that the dreams are trying to tell me something.”
“I just don’t know what it is,” he says, frustrated.
“One thing I do know,” he adds.
“Somewhere in that darkness, the Bizra are caught in nightmares, and the Krale are born from those nightmares.”
“How is that possible?” asks Shazira.
“I don’t know,” says Berek, “but I feel that it’s true.”
“Shazira,” I say, “you told me that the Krale attacks began after the Bizra distanced themselves from us.”
“Does anyone know why they left us?”
“No one knows,” she answers.
“They’ve never told us.”
“Communicating with the Bizra is challenging,” says Balshown.
“We know that they understand our thoughts and words, at least in their own way, but they don’t think like Jiku, and they don’t use words.”
“They communicate with us by giving us a waking dream of pictures and feelings.
“It’s odd, though.”
“They expect us to completely understand what they’re telling us, and seem surprised when we misunderstand them.”
“There must be something in their messages that we can’t see or feel.”
“We’ve asked them why they left us many times,” he says.
“They show us pictures of war and violence.”
“They’ve known about our wars, since they first met us, and they abandoned us during a peaceful time.”
“It doesn’t make any sense!”
“Lately, the Bizra just ignore us when we ask why they left us.”
“I guess, they’ve gotten tired of answering the question.”
“Has anyone ever transformed into a Bizra, to communicate with them?” I ask.
“Every child who learns to flow, takes the form of a Bizra,” says Shazira, “but only with a mask.”
“It’s the first mask we use on our own bodies.”
“The Bizra have great powers of flow, and transform themselves into countless forms.”
“The one transformation that a Bizra cannot do, is to become Jiku.”
“A few Bizra have tried, and they all died.”
“Guild teachings warn us to never transform into a Bizra.”
“Once Bizra, we can never return to being Jiku.”
My energy bodies are Gen-like, so I normally don’t worry about the dangers of transformation, or getting stuck in a form.
The Bizra are unique creatures, and becoming one changes the fire body.
Transforming into a Bizra is dangerous, even for me.
I open my energy eyes fully, to see into the darkness covering the Bizra, but my energy sight can’t pierce this darkness.
I turn to the the seven wells within me, and feel them glowing, brighter and brighter.
I circle the openings to the wells with energy hands, then bathe my energy hands within the wells, and fill my eyes with the energy.
Still the darkness stands.
I look for the eighth well, always circling around me, and dip my energy hands into the blackness.
Then I fill my eyes with that energy.
The eyes of darkness open within me.
I think, as Ehraval taught me, “I am the hidden.”
We still stand on the beach, listening to gentle waves, but now, I see inside the darkness that covers the Bizra.
There are thousands of them sleeping in a nearby meadow.
I see rocky coastline without beaches, and white spray where the waves of the ocean crash against those rocks.
Many of the Bizra sleep on large rocks near the water.
They’re not sea creatures, but their flexible bodies remind me of seals.
Most of the sleeping Bizra look peaceful, but a few are restless.
Ten to fifteen feet above the restless ones, there are moving images of Jiku war.
Great ships destroy each other in space.
Jiku troops fight with strange creatures in space suits, on a distant world, filled with great cities.
I see fire, death, ruined cities, and a few damaged ships landing.
These are the wars that brought the Jiku to this world.
Dozens of cities rise up within our world.
Thousands of energy masters walk and fly through the cities.
Then, I see the wars of the energy masters which scorch the land, and kill millions.
I watch the nightmares for twenty minutes, and I feel the sadness, disgust, and fear that the Bizra feel at these scenes.
Finally, I see what I’m expecting, and dreading.
Painful dreams hover over the head of one of the Bizra, like a cloud.
A Krale appears as an image within the cloud.
Then, the Krale solidifies, and flies off into the sky.
I sing a sad song to my friends.
It describes what I see, and explains what I believe the images mean.
The Bizra are caught in a spinning storm, filled with images of Jiku tragedy.
Sickened by the wars that our people once fought, and all the horror that goes with them.
The Bizra cannot escape their nightmares, and their dream minds respond with one urgent desire.
Eliminate the cities where all wars come from, and the tragedy and the nightmares will fade.
“Do the Bizra know what they’re doing?” asks Shazira.
“Yes,” says Ehraval quietly, “but they don’t know how to stop it.”
“They hoped that staying away from the Jiku would weaken the nightmares, but it hasn’t helped.”
“The Bizra lived among us for years,” says Balshown.
“I don’t know,” I answer, “but we need to find out, to have any chance of stopping the nightmares.”
“As Jiku, we don’t understand the Bizra, but perhaps as Kishla, we will.”
Midnight comes, but the darkness stays, and the Bizra remain sleeping.
“Their sleep patterns have changed,” says Balshown.
“Let’s rest for a few hours.”
We all lay down on the beach.
Berek and Tzina go to sleep.
Balshown, Shazira, and I split the night, keeping watch.
We sleep, and wait for sunrise.