Voice of the Storm
I sit quietly on an island and watch the waves and the clouds in the distance.
My perch is a ring of small hills, covered in green and flowers.
I learned of the island from the old ones.
It reminds me of the sacred hills in Tshuan, though the hills here are much smaller.
We are far from Tshuan, but long ago the kings would send their children here.
Age eleven is called the age of will.
At this age, a Jiku child can declare her desire to enter the guilds.
The Jiku believe that the power of will grows strong at this age, strong enough to shape the body and glide on the web.
Royal children would come to the Whispering Hills, a day before the age of will, and spend their last night as children, alone on the hills.
They would raise their hands toward the stars, and declare their desire to follow the ways of their fathers, and serve the people.
That time is forgotten.
Sometimes the children heard voices here at night.
The Jiku believe that spirits of the dead visit these hills and whisper.
Who will hear them now?
Chiwan suggested that I come to the hills to practice listening to the web.
The old ones say that the web is strongest at this spot.
It’s warm here, with a light breeze.
I sit on the top of a tall hill, flat and green, surrounded by flowers and silence.
When I open my energy eyes, the web is almost blinding, reflecting the bright energy of the sun like still water.
I send out the listening body, and it spreads out like liquid silver, painting the energy web in all direction.
Hours pass, as the web cradles me, and calms me.
I watch for any sign of the web’s voice, but the listener is quiet.
The web is different here, stronger, but calmer, perhaps too calm to show me the storms that Chiwan spoke of.
After a while, I call back the listener, and wait quietly until night comes.
In the darkness, the web is bright without blinding, as though it’s resting, and the energy of the stars shines through.
I awake the listener, and set it loose on the web.
The listener still has no voice of its own,and I move my awareness into that silver shadow.
I become the listener, and with my new eyes, I see a different web.
I am the listening body, silver, floating on the web’s waves of energy, gently rocked back and forth across the oceans of energy.
The storms come, bundles of chaos, fueled by the stars, energy that rocks the web.
My listening body is swept off the web that hugs the Whispering hills, and thrown to the web that knows the deep sea below.
The world is brighter here, beneath the sea.
The storms here are great clouds of stardust, raining down from beyond the sky, where the energy has no pattern, and shatters the patterns of all it touches.
Near the edge of the storms is frozen light, patterns without the normal ebb and flow found everywhere in the web.
Rising from one storm is a long ribbon of light.
One moment it is all patterns, alone, frozen, cold and hard, untouched by the energy all around it.
Another moment, and it is all chaos, ever-changing.
“What are you?” I ask, as if it could hear me, and answer.
“Holokai,” says an inner voice.
The name is familiar.
Legends say that the Holokai serves the creator.
When the time comes, the Holokai consumes all of existence.
Then spits it out as pure chaos, so creation can begin again.
I try to speak to the Holokai, but no sound, energy, or voice can penetrate the storm.
I turn inward, still the listener, carried along by the storm.
One question fills me:
“Why am I here, in life, on Siksa, a listener carried by chaos?”
I let time spin, as I fill myself with that question.
The question multiplies ten thousand times, and weaves itself into a wind that rushes across the web, but still has its roots in me.
A movement, a thought, a fountain of will fills me, and proclaims:
“I am understanding that is quiet.”
“I am a voice, that has no name, and no words.”
“I have life, so I may know what cannot be known, and give what cannot be given.”
When this wind blows, when I listen to the web to meet with knowledge, I hear a voice again, with the message of the Holokai.
“What will you give for the gift of chaos?
Chaos, a gift?
My own voice answers me.
“The storm has no order that I understand, but it’s all possibility.”
I remember that the Holokai appeared as cold stone that transformed into chaos, and my own voice explains:
“The cold stone is the safety of what is known and frozen, and given no chance to change and improve.”
I know how to answer the creature.
“I’ll give up the safety of the cold stone.”
“Every path of order?” it asks.
“Yes,” I answer, “to see and know the possibility of something deeper and wiser.”
“Truth,” it says.
“See the ladder of space and time, and be free.”
The listener finds a field of stones of all shapes and sizes.
I’m there, gliding across the field and landing near one stone.
My listening body disappears and an exact twin of the stone appears in the field.
I see the field with energy eyes, and the silver of my listening body spreads over the stone.
The life of the stone appears before me as a sphere of moments.
Ages of time pass, the stone is torn from a mountain, and carried to its resting place.
Where it sits, just an ordinary stone.
The vision ends, but what does it mean?
Voice of Mirrors
When morning comes, I greet the sun.
Breakfast is fruit, seeds, and pure water.
Then, I glide away from the Whispering Hills, and think about Chiwan’s words.
“Most masters use their power to move, change, and control the world.”
“Only a few use their strength to learn from the world.”
The rest of the morning, I move through many shapes of living creatures, to feel what they feel, and know what they know.
A flow master changes form for a day or two, with an energy mask.
His pattern body and mind are unchanged, safe within a shell of energy that filters the perceptions and desires of the new shape.
Living through the mask, a master sees and feels only a shadow of the shape’s life, but I am part Gen, and I need no masks.
I let my physical body dissolve into air, and my pattern body goes with it, death for any Jiku.
Only the fire body remains.
For Jiku this is the beginning of the next life, their fire bodies pulled away to the sun.
Then beyond, to a life of pure energy, in a place far away, with dim memories of this world.
Not for me.
My fire body hovers here, strong and independent, my awareness unchanged.
I drift through memories of hundreds of plants and their energy patterns, waiting for my inner self to make a choice.
I stop at the memory of wilu, a plant that reminds me of a sunflower.
Seven feet tall with a thick green stalk, and blue and yellow flowers that surround a black seed pod.
I see the patterns I need, and borrow energy from the web to let the patterns form.
Then I shape the physical body that resonates with the patterns, and bind my fire body to this shape.
The plant takes hold, deep in the soil, as it rises from emptiness.
My mind remains, but circling around it is a second slow awareness that feels the strength of the earth below, and the sweet light of the sun above.
I stay a few minutes in this form to taste its life.
Then I move on, through the shapes and lives of hundreds of plants and animals.
Hours later, I return to my Jiku body, and sit quietly on the nearby soft ground.
I hold up my hands toward the sunlight.
This body was once my whole world, so familiar and beloved, but it’s only a body now.
It’s not as certain, not so much mine as it once was.
I crave awareness and understanding, not the comfort of a friendly shape.
I reach down, and pick up a handful of white marble pebbles.
My mind fills with energy patterns that would turn me to this stone.
I try to drive the images from my thoughts, but something in me clings to the patterns, and wants me to become stone.
What is there to learn from becoming stone?
I tell myself that the stone has no life and no senses to taste the world, but the answer feels like a lie.
The patterns of stone still haunt me, and a fire rises within me, that must be answered.
What secrets hide within a pebble or a mountain?
“Make yourself stone,” says an inner voice, “and find your answer!”
I think of the white marble at my feet, and complete the transformation to a pebble.
The world I discover is so quiet and calm.
As I suspected, there is little to see here.
An inner voice tells me to open my energy eyes, and release the listener.
Those eyes bring me a surprise, waiting at the edge of the stone, just outside the quiet and emptiness.
Every few seconds, a small area of sparkling fog appears to my energy eyes.
For a minute, I watch it come and go like a ghost.
Its movements have no effect on the energy web, or the stone.
One time, when the fog appears, my energy awareness plunges into the fog, and finds another world.
An energy sphere burns there, as it races forever through a dark space.
Endless points of light float upon the sphere’s surface.
Mirrors that shine with a light borrowed from the core, bright like the sun.
Each mirror has its own path to the heart of the sphere, to the light that is meant for that mirror alone.
One mirror feels brighter to me than the rest.
I am the pebble. We are that light.
What are the other mirrors?
Where do they lead?
My listening body rushes across a few paths, and gives me eyes, all over the planet.
Each mirror is tied to objects of white marble.
Veins of marble, deep within mountains or below ground, great boulders, and small pebbles scattered on the ground.
My attention moves as I continue to explore the sphere.
On the energy web, energy eyes and a listening body see for miles, but no farther.
Here within the sphere, there is no distance.
My energy eyes and listener reach each mirror in a moment.
Along each path, we meet drifting energy storms of bright chaos.
Within the storms, I feel a distant presence, that leaves me unsettled.
I try, but can’t find a way to communicate with the intelligence that I sense there.
Are there other hidden worlds, with spheres like this one?
I transform myself into different types of stone.
Each one has its own sphere of mirrors, its own storms, and its own unreachable presence.
Next, I turn myself to crystal.
The crystal spheres are different, with no storms, just pathways of color that fill me with song as the listener travels.
The presence is everywhere in this sphere, a soft breeze easy to forget, but always there.
Are there spheres for plants and animals, or only for stone?
Why have I never seen them before?
Only the listener can see the spheres, and I have never used the listener, while I lived in those forms.
I turn again into the wilu, the distant cousin of the sunflower, and open my energy eyes, as I release the listener.
The world looks different with each new plant and animal form that I wear.
I find the sparkling fog that covers the spheres that I seek.
Every type of stone, plant, or animal has its own sphere of mirrors, each individual life reflecting a single heart, a deep intelligence, and forming a private web of life.
Does that heart guide the lives of its children?
Does it whisper directions that are not sensed, but followed?
Some spheres are hidden at first, even from the listener.
When I take the shape of animals with strong individual awareness, It’s hard to see the sparkling fog, until I ask for the help of the energy web.
I spread my listener upon the web, and focus on the web’s balance.
This moves me away from the animal’s awareness and senses, and reveals the sparkling fog.
Eventually, I end my journey of shapes, and come back to my Jiku body.
Are the Jiku also bound together in a sphere of mirror?
My energy eyes see no sign of the fog, the doorway to the sphere.
Is my Jiku body a wall that stands between me and the sphere?
I spread my listener on the web again, to let the balance of the web push away my physical senses, but there is still no fog.
I fly to a marketplace with hundreds of Jiku, and sit just out of sight.
Then, I spread my listener over all the Jiku here.
“Connect with them,” I tell the listener, “and look for the balance that moves between them.”
It takes a few seconds for the noise to die down, and then I see the sparkling fog.
I reach within, and find a reddish purple sphere, with mirrors of light for every Jiku on the planet, except me.
For a few minutes I search frantically for the mirror, the light that is only me, but I’m not here.
Confused, I let that thought go, and move into the sphere, where great storms block every path.
My listener can’t travel these paths, to reach the core, or the mirrors of the other Jiku.
Still, I get a brief glimpse of an intelligence so strong that it frightens me.
The sphere and the fog disappear, and I can’t find them again.
Is the sphere hiding from me, or am I afraid to see it?