A Small Child
The forest is too quiet with Sindar gone.
Dilasa and I sit together on the soft ground, holding hands, surrounded by a thick, grey fog.
I hear the light rain, far above us, as it falls on the forest’s dense canopy of trees.
The quiet is broken by a gentle sobbing, near me.
“What’s wrong, little one?”
“We just met him, but he’s gone, and I miss him.”
I look in her eyes, and realize that I feel the same way.
Sindar passed through our lives like a falling star.
Will we ever see him again?
“I miss him, too,” I tell her, as I brush away her tears.
There’s a simple way to comfort her.
“Watch my energy, Dilasa, and copy what I do with my healing body.”
I reach out with the listener and touch the balance of the web.
She does the same, and her face relaxes, as her mind rests, and the calm spreads through her.
“Can you hold the balance by yourself?” I ask her.
She smiles to tell me that she can.
I leave her to rest in the gentle embrace of the balance, while I retreat into myself.
I also want that peace, but not yet.
It’s too soon to quiet the thoughts about Sindar that spin through me.
I need to understand the feelings behind my thoughts, before I let them go.
I have two brothers who I barely know, and they look back at me with my own face.
This is more surreal than any dream!
Botzar’s spirit is as different from mine as any stranger.
It’s so hard to think of him as my brother.
If he disappeared tomorrow, would I be sad?
Sindar is unimaginably ancient, and he was here for only a few hours.
He should be as alien to me as Botzar, yet his words and his sadness still circle through me.
He reminds me of my old self, who traveled to Siksa at moonwatch, full of hesitation, regret and sadness.
Sindar has claimed a place within me, and my heart knows that he’s my brother.
When I think of him, I feel his presence again, and relax into certainty.
I may never see him again, but I won’t lose him.
I take a deep breath, and reach for the great web, everywhere around me.
I let go of the past and the future, and just follow the energy that moves.
Then I touch the web’s balance and let the quiet calm penetrate my body and spirit.
Minutes pass, before I open my eyes, and see Dilasa staring at me, full of questions.
“I want to believe it so much,” she says.
“Are you really my brother, Yagrin?” she asks, hesitatingly, threatening to cry again.
I squeeze her hand and smile.
“The same as Botzar and Sindar,” I answer.
“Not the same,” she says, almost angry.
“You make me feel safe.”
“What if your family doesn’t like me?” she asks.
“Where will I go?”
“Where is the confident girl I met yesterday?” I ask her.
“She was sure my family would like her.”
“I was sure,” she says, as the tears fall, “but now I’m scared again.”
“Your family will hate me, and make you send me away.”
“No, Dilasa,” I tell her with a mind touch.
She hears me, but words are not enough.
Do I rest my healing body on her, and push away her troubling thoughts?
If she’s not ready to let them go, they’ll only come back.
The best way to help her is to let her be a child!
I take her onto my lap, and as I hold her tightly, we both forget the world.
“Shazira has a heart big enough for a hundred children,” I tell her, breaking the long, sweet silence.
“She is my bondmate, and that lets her feel my emotions.”
“When she feels the love I have for you, she will never want to send you away.”
“What about Tzina?”
“She’ll be thrilled to have a little sister.”
“I’m your sister, not hers,” Dilasa says seriously.
“Do you want to be my sister or my daughter?”
“I’m not sure.”
“I want you to take care of me, but I don’t know what to call you.”
“I’m not ready for father or Ina.”
“How can I be your daughter if I still call you Yagrin?”
“Call me whatever you want, Dilasa.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
The tears still fall, and I wait for her to continue.
“Remember the vision where I help you fight?” she asks.
“I can’t do it.”
“I’m not strong, and I’m too scared.”
“You’ll be much stronger when you grow up.”
“That won’t help.”
“You need me now, while I’m still little!”
“Let the vision go,” I tell her.
“I can’t,” she says.
“What if you need me, and I’m not there to help you?”
“Dilasa, remember what I told Sindar?”
“Visions are here to help us, not to rule over us.”
“Here’s what we’ll do.”
“You’ll stay with me, and learn from me about the great web.”
“I’ll help you discover the possibility and strength that hides in you, and we’ll learn how to combine our power.”
“When the time comes to fight, your love and your strength will join with mine, and we’ll stand together.”
Confusion and Balance
She lets go of a long breath, and looks at me quietly.
“Let’s touch the balance of the web again,” I tell her.
“It will calm you.”
I lie down, release my healing body, and let it expand along the web until it touches miles of the web in all directions.
Dilasa doesn’t follow, and her voice calls me back.
“I’m afraid to go so far from my body, Yagrin,” she says aloud.
I bring back my healing body, and open my eyes.
She’s siting up and shaking.
“Do you trust me?” I ask her quietly.
She looks at me.
“Yes,” she says.
“I won’t let go of you,” I tell her with a mind touch.
“I’ll bind our healing bodies together, so you can feel me with you at all times.”
We lie down again.
Why do I suggest this?
Two healers never let their listening bodies touch for more than a few seconds.
The guild says that the healing bodies might fuse together permanently, and kill their owners.
Still, I trust the inner voice that tells me that Dilasa and I can join temporarily, and it will bring us strength.
The healing body is a part of the fire body.
When our listeners rise above the ground, they take the egg-like shape of our fire bodies, and we face each other.
I look at her healing body with my energy eyes, and I see a matrix of light.
It’s filled with spinning spheres, glowing like little fiery suns, with threads of light that connect the many spheres.
I reshape my healing body until it is just like Dilasa’s.
Then, I move my healing body within hers, until each of her spinning suns is shadowed by one of mine.
To energy eyes, the two healing bodies are mixed together.
Aligning the suns enables us to join without fusing permanently, but a joining like this is useless.
We’re blind to the world outside our bodies, unable to feel the web’s balance.
I reach out and spin threads of energy that connect her suns to mine.
A bright light shines from those connections that bind our spheres of fire together.
I can see the balance, but it feels strange at first, like I’m in two places at once.
Then I feel the balance come into focus.
The two healing bodies have become one stronger body.
“Are you all right, Dilasa?” I ask.
“Yes, but it feels so funny.”
Each of us can will the healing body to move or change shape.
I hear Dilasa’s laugh in a mind touch, as we play together with the shape of the healing body that we share.
“Let me guide us now,” I tell her, and I let the healing body spread out for miles along the web.
When I recovered from the Hikweh’s poison, all of my energy perceptions grew stronger, but that clarity is only a shadow compared with this.
This body can feel the balance of the energy web as it stretches across the whole world.
We rest in the balance for thirty minutes, and let the day disappear.
I shrink our healing body to its original size, and position us high in the air above the forest.
We feel a disruption in the balance when a Hikweh moves across the web, over the ocean, a hundred miles away.
“It’s coming, Yagrin.”
“We have to go.”
“It’s only drifting over the ocean, and it can’t hurt us when we’re together.”
“Watch what I do.”
With our new strength and clear sight, we can feel the weakness in the Hikweh’s structure.
I show her how to do this, and then I send out a pulse of energy to the web above the Hikweh.
Theres a blinding burst of sunlight, and the Hikweh dissolves.
“You killed it, Yagrin!” she says.
“We shattered its balance.”
My attention is drawn toward something approaching our physical bodies.
I tell Dilasa, and our healing body drops down through the trees and hovers again above our physical bodies.
I dissolve the threads that connect my energy spheres to Dilasa’s spheres within the healing body, and the balance disappears again.
Then, I move my healing body a few feet apart from hers, until the web’s balance touches us again.
Our healing bodies drift down, and come to rest on our fire bodies.
Then, the healing bodies disappear.
We sit up and look around.
The rain has stopped, and the fog is clearing, as Botzar and Makish approach.
“Wisten asked us to find you, Yagrin,” says Makish.
“She’s troubled that you rebuilt Sindar’s monument.”
“Someone rebuilt it in the last few hours.”
“None of the energy binders who live on Sinesu are powerful enough to do it.”
“Botzar and I didn’t do it, so it must have been you.”
“I’ve been here with Dilasa the whole time.”
“There must be a binder on Sinesu who is hiding his power.”
“There’s something else, Yagrin,” says Makish.
“There’s a message for you from the Fiklow.”
“They’ve finished the testing, and they’ve found the chosen one who will be the next queen.”
“It’s time for you to return to Gunal.”
Visions of Death and Return
We say goodbye to Wisten, and many of the Jiku who have gathered around our ship.
I told Dilasa not to speak of Sindar’s visit to anyone on Sinesu.
I haven’t even told Makish yet.
Somehow it doesn’t feel like the right time.
“Will you see us again, Yagrin?” asks Wisten.
“I don’t know,” I tell her.
Then a wave of exhaustion covers me, and I slide to the ground, just before a vision comes upon me.
I see smoke rising from broken buildings on Sinesu, and a ring of dead bodies lying in the town square.
Wisten’s body lies cold in the center of the ring, on scattered pieces of Sindar’s monument.
“Yagrin,” she says in a loud voice.
“Are you all right?”
“Your face and eyes went blank, like your spirit had left your body.”
“He’s a Dream Hunter,” says Dilasa, “like me.”
“What do you see, Yagrin?” asks Wisten.
“Dilasa and I will return to Sinesu, and walk in this village after an attack.”
“Tell your people, Wisten:”
Your brave ones will form a ring, circling Sindar’s monument against the darkness, foolish feelings for stone and metal.
Let the ring be broken before it begins.
Honor Sindar with life, and wait his return.
He needs no monument, no Sindar’s day to find you.
The forest will feel his steps again, his voice echoing in the leaves.
Let his monument absorb evil’s anger.
Let your brave ones find safety, or die.
“Wisten, I can’t see who or what attacks you, but those who stay in the crystal room will live.”
“Those who stand in the square above ground will die when Sindar’s monument is broken.”
“Sindar is alive, and he will return.”
I shake off the death, give Wisten the greeting of palms, and enter the ship.
Dilasa squeezes my hand tightly, caught in her fear of leaving the ground, and her sharp nails draw blood.
She cries out when she sees the blood.
“I did that?” she asks.
“I’m sorry, Yagrin,” she says.
Then she sends healing energy into my hand, and the cuts disappear.
“The cuts are gone!” she says.
“You healed me.”
“How?” she asks.
“An energy of balance circulates within us, even when the healing body is unseen.”
“You found that energy in yourself, and gave a gift to me.”
“I felt your pain,” she says.
“I asked your mind for a way to help you, and then I felt the healing energy rush toward you.”
We sit in silence for a few seconds.
“Will it hurt when we leave Sinesu?” asks Dilasa.
“Why would you think that, Dilasa?” asks Makish.
“I’m not sure,” she says.
“My teachers say space is dark and cold.”
“Won’t it hurt to leave here, and go to the darkness?”
“The ship will protect us,” I tell her.
“The emptiness is dark, but it’s still the place where stars are born and live.”
“When did you become a Dream Hunter?” asks B’tzel.
“In the forest with Dilasa.”
“You saw Wisten dead,” says B’tzel.
“How did you know?” I ask him.
“There was a sadness in your eyes,” he answers, “not simply for the death of unknown Jiku, but a personal sadness for Wisten.”
“Yes,” I answer simply.
“You’re trying to stop the vision from coming true,” says B’tzel.
“That’s not the way of the Dream Hunters.”
“It’s my way,” I tell him.
“There are many possible worlds.”
“I want to lead the Jiku into a future where they all live.”
“Sindar would not want his children to die for the monument.”
“What do you know of Sindar?” asks Botzar, his voice rising.
“What makes you think he cares if any of us live or die?”
“Be quiet,” says Dilasa sharply.
“You are an arrogant little girl,” says Botzar.
“Dilasa,” says Makish gently, “you don’t know Sindar at all, only your world’s legends of him.”
“You’re still a child.”
“Show respect to adults.”
“I know my brother Sindar, better than you!” answers Makish, her eyes wide.
Then, she points to Botzar.
“I will tell this brother to be quiet, however old he is,” says Dilasa, defiantly.
“Brother?” asks Botzar.
“What nonsense is this?”
Dilasa looks at me, embarrassed.
She knows that I asked her to stay quiet about Sindar’s visit, but it’s too late for that now.
I will not build lies around it.
“Sindar came to us in the forest,” I tell them, “and shared another vision with us.”
“Our father shaped four sons and a daughter.”
“Sindar only discovered the fifth embryo after I was born.”
“Dilasa is our twin sister,” I tell Botzar, “built like us from our father’s genetic material.”
Botzar scans her genetic code with energy eyes, and stands up from his seat in the ship, in shock.
“It’s true,” says Botzar, staring at Dilasa.
“I asked Sindar to let me call you,” I tell him, “but he’s convinced that you never want to see him again.”
“Once, that was true,” says Botzar quietly, but now, I’m ready to face him again.”
“Will he return?” asks Botzar, “or will he sleep forever?”
“He sleeps now,” I answer, but not forever.”
“In my vision, he returns to Sinesu at the time they call Sindar’s day.”
“Sometime, I think, in the next few years.
“Sit down, Botzar,” says B’tzel.
“It’s time to leave.”
Botzar sits down, and activates the ship’s engines, with a restraining field that protects each of us as we sit in our flight chairs.
Dilasa watches the display at her seat.
Sinesu grows small as the ship rises quickly.
“I love it, Yagrin,” she says with a smile.
As we move toward Keesha’s ship, I share memories with Dilasa of the Fiklow, and the old queen.
“It’s such a strange form, Yagrin.”
“How can you bear to change to it?”
“Every form is strange, Dilasa, until you settle into it.”
She thinks for a moment.
“What will I do while you perform the ceremony in the ocean?”
“The ceremony will be transmitted to all the Fiklow worlds.”
“If the ship’s computer can translate, you can watch from here with Botzar and B’tzel, or from an air chamber on the Fiklow ship.”
“Makish will change and come with me to Gunal.”
“Yagrin,” Dilasa says shyly, “will you help me change so I can come with you?”
“No, Yagrin,” says Makish.
“She doesn’t know how to flow her body, and if something happens to you there, I won’t be able to change her back.”
“Maybe,” I suggest, “we can teach her how to change to Fiklow using a mask.”
“Then, even if she can’t release the mask, it will fade on its own in a day or two.”
“What if she lets go of the mask at the bottom of the ocean, and changes back?” asks Makish.
“The pressure will kill her, even before she drowns.”
I hear a different language spoken, and I turn toward Dilasa.
She is sitting in her chair in a physical Gen form, and speaking their language.
“She says she can do,” I tell Makish.
“When did she learn this?” asks Botzar.
“We have a special connection,” I tell him.
“She can absorb memories and skills directly from my mind.”
“Change back, Dilasa,” I tell her.
“I want to see if you can reverse the transformation.”
“I like this shape, Yagrin,” she says, frowning.
“It feels so strong.”
Still, she listens, and returns to her Jiku shape.
“I found the way to change to Fiklow and the furry Gen shape,” she says, “and I took the languages also.”
“Now, I can come with you.”
“It’s dangerous, Dilasa, to hold a full transformation for more than a day,” says Makish.
“For everyone, but Yagrin.”
“I know,” she says.
“I heard that in his mind.”
“I promise I won’t stay in the shape for more than a half day.”
“Please, Yagrin,” she says, “let me come.”
“You can come, Dilasa.”
“You spoil her,” says Makish to me, with a mind touch.
“No,” I answer.
“I need to keep her with me as much as possible, to protect us both.”
Soon, we dock with Keesha’s ship, and enter the transition chamber.
“The water will start filling the chamber,” I tell Dilasa.
“When it reaches your neck, hold your breath, and go under the water.”
“Then complete the transformation.”
“If you have any trouble, raise your head above water, and we’ll stop the filling of the chamber.”
“Ok,” she says nervously.
“Are you sure, Dilasa?” I ask her one last time.
“Yagrin,” says Makish, angrily.
“This is reckless.”
“How can you risk her life like this?”
“She can do it, Makish,” I answer.
“I’m sure of it.”
“Even if you’re right, Yagrin.”
“She’s so young.”
“Dilasa will become dangerously arrogant, when she has such power so young.”
“How will she ever be normal?”
I look at Dilasa, and then turn back to Makish.
“None of us are normal, Makish.”
“We’re energy masters.”
“We fly along the web, and live with miracles every day.”
I take Dilasa’s hand.
“Shazira and I will raise her to be strong and kind.”
Makish is still angry.
“Only if you survive the birth of the new queen,” whispers Makish to me, too softly for Dilasa to hear.