This page contains the entire text of the original 2007 NaNo Novel version of Destiny of Dreams.
see also 2012 NaNo Novel , "History of Paragangia" which is about Jason's parents
NaNoWriMo, about Nano and a list of all my nano efforts
NaNo 2015 Sammy and Matthias AKA "Castle of Dreams" about the childhood of Jasons teaching assistant
- 1 History and description
- 2 Final text of Nano Novel version completed November 30 2007
- 2.1 Chapter one: the arrival of the Marrion Jay
- 2.2 Chapter 3 Jason’s journey
- 2.3 xxxxxxxxxxthe vilage meeting
- 2.4 chapter 6 Allissa’s journy
- 2.5 Ch 8 Jason and the dreabound creatures
- 2.6 ch 9 Allissa remembering CHathalen
- 2.7 Allissa sleeps on the beach
- 2.8 Chapter 11 Jason and Harris travel to D'zeron
- 2.9 ch 12 barrier gap and anchestry
- 2.10 D'neira tells Chathalen of his ancestry day 4 morning
- 2.11 Ch 14 arriving in D'zeron
- 2.12 Walking the wind with Sarai etc
- 2.13 Jason and Sarai
- 2.14 Derick and tersh on the spacer plane
- 2.15 other parts
- 2.16 Epilogue or whatever
History and description
The first version I wrote of the Destiny of Dreams story is referred to as the Nano Novel version.
In November of 2007 I took the National Novel Writing Month challenge, and wrote about 56,000 words. At the end of the month, the story line was not complete and some parts were only very roughly outlined.
this version, and progress notes relating to it, were shared on DeviantArt in several forms.
[add links to DA postings relating to this here]
In this version, at the beginning of November my intention was to write a fantasy book. I was taking the challenge very strictly so I did not allow myself to even think about what i would write before November first. everything was written and created in the month of November 2007. The primary protagonist was Allissa , with her pet dragon Jayden and her boyfreind Chathalen . I decided they needed some sort of an external threat to the village, and that turned out to be alien invaders: Paragangians.
those gradually evolved into Jason Scott-Harris and Harris Jenzar. Halfway through the month I realized this part of the story interested me more than Allissa and Jayden, so I changed the starting point to Jason and Harris arriving at the planet Terran 8
[add link to storyline and text of Nano Novel Version]
the nano novel version was written all on one word file, to facilitate keeping track of how many words the story contained. In early December 2007 I broke it down into separate files for each chapter.
the first illustrations were made by firelight shortly after during the ice storm when the power was out for almost a week in St George
the file below has been slightly edited only because parts of the word file wouldn't post properly on the wiki.
Final text of Nano Novel version completed November 30 2007
Chapter one: the arrival of the Marrion Jay
The alien invaders arrive on the planet
===Day one..the day before Alissa’s birthday ===
Dr. Jason Scott-Harris , Phd in anthropology, stood by the view port of the Marrion Jay space-transport ship, watching the blue disk which was the planet Terran 8 growing slowly against the dark of space, it’s two moons, Aisses, the blue moon and Lurin , the yellow moon, circling slowly, just barely visible now as the ship moved nearer.
23 years old, he looked much younger. A small thin young man pushing limp blond hair back from a pale thin face, ice blue eyes peering out from beneath round metal-framed glasses; Dr Scott-Harris was the stereotypical image of a young intellectual, or would have been several hundred years ago when correcting your eyesight surgically was not the universal practice. Now his glasses just made him look like what he was…a retro-technologist. Retro technology was a philosophy that had become popular in the early years of space colonization, but was now only held to by a few in the academic community, mostly in the social sciences. The idea of going forward by going back was not in fashion at this time.
“Finally I am here. An alien planet” The pale young man thought excitedly. The ship ride from earth had been long and boring. This planet was 4 jumps out and then even farther. The whole journey had taken several months, and the culture of spacers and miners had never been one that interested him much. He’d spent most of his time in his cabin, studying everything about the planet Terran 8, though he was already knew practically everything there was to know. Jason also practiced his dream skills. He didn’t have the same degree of natural ability as Derrick , but he had some, and Derrick had helped him to fully develop what he had. Through the whole journey he had been restless and impatient. Finally, he would be able to do what he was trained to do. Finally he would be able to prove the value of still continuing to study less technological cultures even in a technology-based society.
He was grateful that Terran 8 was a planet with an environment almost exactly like the earth, though more distant from the earth than anything in the empire. There were 16 planets of this sort in the galaxy. Or there were before the destruction of Terran 13. The homelike environment was a definite advantage, since Jason was not too confident in his ability to function in an alien climate, and even more a bonus that the area he would work in was in summer now, and was a rather temperate region, so the discomforts of winter weather should not be too much of a distraction from his work. He was not the least bit sorry about the winter he would be missing in Cleveland either.
But the greatest thing of all was he was going to be able to finish Old Derrick’s work here. Derrick Landon had been a hero to Jason for as long as he had known of him. Jason’s interest in anthropology began early in life. He had always been fascinated with lower tech peoples, and especially with the alternative technologies they had…herbal medicines, religion magic.
Dream travel. Dream travel fascinated Jason more than anything from the time he first heard of it when he was very young, in fact he knew he had been reaching for it from the time he first began to dream, before he could even remember anything in waking life. Dr. Landon had always been the only real expert there, head and shoulders above the rest. And it became the sole ambition of young Jason Scott-Harris to follow in his foot steps, to learn of him, to learn from him, to walk where he had walked, do what he had done and carry his work forward. Dr Landon was his hero, for all his life, and then became his teacher, his mentor, the father he had never really had.
Jason’s greatest dream, for all his life, was to follow in the foot steps of Derrick Landon and now here he was, approaching the port city of Jai-ten, as the only anthropologist on a mining and political mission. It wasn’t Quite D’zeron, but still so close to his life-long dream that he could hardly believe he was here. “not only that,” he thought “ I am going to meet Old Derrick’s son.”
Derrick Landon had come here as part of an exploration team when he was 25. He was a linguist, and had been brought on the expedition to help communicate with the local people. He had fallen in love with the simple lifestyle of the D’zeron people, and he had fallen in love with a D’zeron woman, Sharra. He had studied dreams on earth, but these people took the technology of dreaming to a whole different level. Sharra was a dream Keeper; a guardian of the portal to the dream plane. It was a place where people could travel from their own private dreams into a different world that existed outside of the physical world, and could interact with other people there, who had the skill to access it. And there were other creatures there, fantastic creatures. Dragons and such. The skill was genetically passed, and in D’zeron, the skill was only passed to women. But Derrick had the skill. In abundance. Sharra, the dream keeper, fell in love with him. It was wonderful to have a husband who could travel to this “dream plane” with her, to share this part of her world. She turned over her leadership duties to her granddaughter, and left the village with Derrick.
She bore twin boys while she was with him, but one of them had died at birth, and because she was well past the age of childbearing, the pregnancy had taken it’s toll. She had died. Derrick was heartbroken. Then the explorers were found to be in violation of the agreement not to bring advanced physical technology the continent of Kaar-taal. They were ordered to leave the planet, and no earth vessel had been permitted to return to this continent since then, though traders were allowed to stop at the port of Jai-Ten across the globe from there. Derrick had to leave his son Tersh behind in the care of the boy’s neice, Sharra’s granddaughter. D’lissa, because Tersh was still too weak for extended space travel. D’lissa’s Daughter, D’neira became the matriarch at that time.
Many people, even Derrick himself, doubted that the boy would have survived to adulthood, learned to dream travel, and be there waiting for him. But Jason never doubted. He would find Tersh Landon. He wouldn’t be a boy now, though, he reminded himself. Derrick always spoke of him as a small child, but it had been over 40 years since Derrick left. Tersh Landon Should be middle age now, by earth standards, most likely, if they were still in D’zeron, he would be one of the elders of the village. If he had lived this long.
“What’dya think, lil’ Derrick?....the big city….every young man gotta love th’ sighta that, boy, after a long time out’n space, eh?” Harris Jenzar’s grating uncultured accent matched perfectly the harsh gravely tone of his voice, his rough working class attire, and general lack of grooming, and always set the young anthropologist on edge. However, today Jason was so excited about the adventure he was in the midst of that even the arrival of the lead navigator didn’t bother him.
He grinned at Harris “yeah, this is awesome. It’s such a beautiful planet. It’s like a dream, I can hardly believe I’m really here.”
The navigator laughed loudly, like a drunken pirate, and shoved back a heavy lock of uneven black hair that had fallen over his dark, rugged face “dreams is whatch’re all about boy, guess your real landin’ here don’ happen till ya sleep tonight. Betch’ll be goin ta bed early eh?”...He ruffled the young intellectual’s short blond hair as if he were talking to a 6 year old, a gesture Jason normally found insulting: just cause the man was practically a giant, didn’t give the space born technician reason to treat him as a child. He had a Phd, after all, shouldn’t that earn him some respect?
Now suddenly, he realized he didn’t feel that way anymore. The navigator was a product of his culture, but he was still a man and should be treated as a man not just a spacer. How could Jason expect any sort of respect from someone he himself had given none to? In spite of his rough talk and hair ruffling, Jason suddenly realized, the navigator really did see him as a man, as a human being worthy of respect, and understood his motives. With a flash of realization, It dawned on him that this harsh annoying man who seemed so ignorant and culture bound was sincerely interested in his work, and really understood how he was feeling right then.
Maybe no one else on this treasure hunting, environment plundering mission understood, but Harris did. He looked with new eyes at the man he had been trying to avoid through the whole journey, regretful that he hadn’t taken time to get to know him better. Perhaps the journey would have been less lonely and boring had he himself not been so biased in his judgment of the spacers’ culture.
“The’re so many great places ta be in this city, boy. I wou’n’t wanna keep ya from ya’ dreamin’, but I hear you anthro dudes like som’un t’ help ya fin’ the real folk of a place. Well, I ain’ no expert in nothin’cultural, I know some real good real people, who’d gladly help if ya not too proud to listen.”
Jason looked right at him for the first time ever, humbled, realizing that was just what he had been…too proud to listen, too caught up in the culture of academia to practice the principles of anthropology. “I’m sorry Harris….” The tall dark man had already turned to leave, expecting to be dismissed practically unnoticed like so many times before… “This boy thinks he already knows everything, he’ll never treat me as a man”, he thought sadly. “I’m like the neighbors dog barking in the night to him. Some people don’t realize there is more to the world than their own little view port until it’s just plain too late to learn” he thought sadly
Jason continued “…I haven’t been fair to you, have I, Harris?”
Surprised, the navigator snapped to attention, wheeling back around abruptly to stare at the shy overeducated youth who was now facing him, though the planet this boy had waited all his life to see was slipping gradually closer in the view port behind him. Harris stopped glaring and smiled “I must look menacing” he thought, seeing the pale young man blink and step away as he turned, as if bracing him self for impact. The tall dark spacer slouched a bit, trying to seem smaller, and slowly, with no sudden movements, so as not to seem threatening, pulled up a chair next to the view window so the young earth-born scientist could watch the landing, and still speak to him.
Harris, slouched casually in the chair calmly, looking straight at Jason as he spoke. “Ya owe me nothin’, Dr Scott-Harris,” he pronounced the name very clearly, almost in a different voice. Jason wasn’t sure if he was being mock, or respected. Probably some of both, he thought grimly, realizing it might take a bit to deserve this man’s respect now “I’m jus’ a spacer doin ma job day b’day ta get ya to the station of yo’ dreams.” He winked when he said the word dreams “Ya paid yo’ passage, son, nothin’ owin’ here.”
The anthropologist looked at him, thoughtfully, the planet growing ever larger in the veiwport beyond. “I’m sure you know we both realize there’s more to life than that, Harris”
Harris grinned back at him and sat up, meeting his eyes affectionately, like an older brother, as if they had always been close. “I w’s begin’ ta wonder if you w’s ever gonna remembe’ that, Jedi Jason”
Jason was not sure what “Jedi” meant, probably a reference to some old earthmovie, since the Navigator had an extreme fascination with such things, and quoted them often. but he had heard this label often, and knew it was Harris’s way of saying that what Jason had said was important and correct. It was something he always said to his technicians when they finally solved a problem they had been struggling with. Jason grinned in spite of himself, inexplicably overcome with gratitude that this man had forgiven his disrespect and acknowledged him in this way. “Maybe we can watch that movie together sometime,” he thought, realizing that he had just formed a lasting friendship.
They landed mid-afternoon, and the spacer took Jason along, and found him a nice place to stay, at an where the innkeeper addressed Harris as a s close friend, and seemed to assume unquestioning that Jason was the brother Harris claimed he was, though they looked and sounded nothing alike. “thiz’ll be great place for ya dreamin’ dude, but we go’ a few hours a’ daylight lef’, so le’s go ge’cha really tired so you c’n git good sleep to dream on.”
To the surprise of the anthropologist, his new friend seemed to be quite interested in dream travel, and well informed on the subject. He even seemed interested in trying it, though not tonight cause he was planning to go get drunk all night and not pass out till morning, as was the tradition of most spacers at a far port like this.
They had dinner together at a café recommended by the innkeeper which was a popular place for the local people, so that Jason could observe the local culture, and while they ate, the dream scientist explained about dream planes
“they don’t extend through space, but are held close to the surface like an atmosphere. The plane should be strong here, at the low altitude of Jai-tan. On the dream plane, I can only travel to places I have been either in waking life or on the dream plane, but I could be taken there by someone who has traveled there before.” he explained
“Derrick has shown me D’zeron in shared dreams on earth, but since we were not on the Dream plane of Terran 8, we could not really travel here, only revisit his memories of the place. For the same reason, he has not been able to introduce me to anyone here who has been to D’zeron. The only way I could reach D’zeron tonight would be if I found someone here in Jai-ten on the dream plane who has traveled there, which isn’t likely, since people rarely travel to D’zeron, and as far as we know there are few dreamers outside the village on this planet.
On earth, there is a very minimal dream plane so the dream skills I have been able to practice do not involve the portals.”
“This seemed to interest Harris “so, you can enter the dream plane without using the portals, then?”
“yes, in a manor of speaking. Derrick called it walking on the wind. It is like a way of connecting one’s own dream to the dream of another, and then from that place, one can interact with the dream plane without taking on a permanent form in the dream plane. A person who has entered through the portals cannot perceive a person on the wind unless they are actively interacting , but on the wind I can observe. Derrick helped me develop this skill. He told me that if I have the natural ability, I will be able to use it on Terran 8 to observe the dream plane. I’m really excited to find out what I can do here”
“I am too, Jedi Jason” replied Harris “that’s all very fascinating, perhaps you can teach me how to walk the wind some time, but not tonight, cause I have plans already for tonight. but we’ve still got some time before evening, so let’s go walk around the town and give you more places that you will be able to visit tonight”
They walked for awhile through various parts of the city. It seemed familiar as Derrick had showed him memories of some of it in shared dreams on earth. Then they rented a small air-hover transport and flew around the surrounding areas playfully for awhile, and Harris taught him all about the landing-night customs of spacers. Then the navigator walked the dream scientist back to his room before dark, and left to go carry out his spacer drinking ritual.
The larger moon, Aisses, was just rising bright and blue over the horizon to the east. “D’zaron is out there some where” thought the young dreamer “across the sea, on a land where high technology is non-existent. And I will travel there soon.”
“But in the mean time, let’s see who I can find on the dream plane tonight.”
With that thought in mind and a heart over spilling with excitement the young scientist got into bed and fell asleep.
According to Derrick, there were two portals, to the dream plane on Terran 8. One was guarded by the dream keepers in D’zeron, where the Landon boys****** were born, and the other held by dragons, vicious creatures which roamed the dream plane of this planet and had no respect for humans. Again, he had been shown these things, but to face it here in reality was completely different. Those with skills could enter through the portals, and they would take a form on the dream plane, a human body like the one they had in the waking world. But from the wind you could watch unseen the dream plane, if you knew how. Jason didn’t yet.
Expert in dreaming, he achieved the dream state quickly. Entering the wind, he walked the streets of Jai-tan where he had walked with his new friend that afternoon. The dream wind was so much stronger here than on earth, and he found he could move more freely through this dream, though there were few other people on the wind. This was no surprise.
Suddenly, a young man appeared before him. On the wind, appearances are deceiving. A man could appear as a cat or a dragon….and this planet had other dream creatures besides men. Appearing in the form of a man did not even necessarily mean it was a man. But then Jason realized that this man seemed familiar. He had seen this man before, at least in pictures, and on the dream wind.
Observing the long chestnut brown hair and golden skin, the deep dark eyes, the straight sculptured nose, the handsome face….it looked so much like the younger version of Derrick, the way that Derrick appeared in dreams sometimes, only with the long hair typical of adult citizens of D’zeron.
For a moment he thought it was Derrick, wondering if time was playing tricks as it sometimes could on dream planes. Jason had only even experienced a few hours being lost or gained in dreaming, never so many years. But in an alien world, who knew what could happen? Anything might be possible. Could Derrick reach him from the past? Or had he found a way to cross the gulf of space from earth?
“Derrick?” he asked, in surprise
“I am not Derrick” said the man
A chill ran through the young anthropologist. The voice was much like Derrick, and yet totally alien in some other way. It seemed emotionless, almost mechanical. Maybe it was not even a man, but some sort of representation of young Derrick, who had been 25 when he first arrived in this place 40 years ago. Maybe it was someone, or something, appearing in Derrick’s form. Although taking the form of another was something the two dream researchers had never mastered back on earth. Dreams were different here, so anything was possible.
“Who are you?” asked the anthropologist, his confusion and curiosity rushing unbidden into words.
“I am Tark of the ancient forest,” said the voice, like a toneless mechanical version of Derrick’s voice.
Tark of the Ancient Forrest
Jason’s heart race.
Tark had been the name of Derrick’s other son, the one who died, the twin of Tersh. Could this truly be him?
The ancient forest was the place the miners had come to mine resources from. Mining is a somewhat destructive process, and the only way they had consented to bring an anthropologist was with the idea that he might perhaps help them gain the permission they would need from the local people to plunder this area, using technology forbidden on the continent where it was located. Within himself, Jason fully opposed the project, even though he knew his mentor Derrick had supported it and that is was very important to the people who would benefit from the materials mined. It was his duty now to help move it forward. It was his duty to negotiate for mining, even if it meant the destruction of the forest, perhaps. Even if it meant destroying the way of life of the people whom he had come to study; the people of D’zeron.
“At least” he had thought regretfully “I will be able to see their culture and record something of it before it is forever destroyed”
Tark spoke again, tonelessly “I have watched for you and waited. You have come from another world, we have seen you coming. You have come to destroy us. You will fail”
“Are you the son of Derrick Landon?” blurted out Jason, unable to stop the thoughts from rushing into words
“I am Tark of the ancient forest. You will leave now”
Suddenly Jason was lying awake in his bed in the inn on a backstreet of the port city of Jai-Tan. His thoughts raced.
Tark of the ancient forest? Tark Landon had died at birth. Of course, Jason as a young boy had always had fantasies of finding the second Landon boy alive, the twin brother of Tersh, but even he had written this off as a childish daydream long ago.
Was this really Tark Landon? He certainly looked the part, at least in the dream wind. But Tark had died at birth. How could this be? How could Tark be alive? And how could he travel the dream wind to Jai-Tan?
Jason willed himself back to sleep as fast as he could, and entered the wind. It was quiet again.
“Tark Landon!!! Talk to me!!! please!! I’m not here to destroy your forest!!! I’m a friend of Derrick Landon, your father!!! He thinks you died!!! I just want to learn about you and about dream travel. My name is Jason, Jason Scott-Harris. I’m an anthropologist; I’m from the planet earth!!! Talk to me Tark!!! Let me help you!!! I want to save the forest too!!! Talk to me , let me help!!!
He stood in the empty dream plane listening to the echoes of his own voice, then nothing but silence. He walked through dreams in the silent city of Jai-Ten, remembering that his new friend Harris was probably out getting drunk loudly in the same place where he walked in silence. But no one he found dreaming there that night had ever traveled to the village of D’zeron, or entered the portal to the dream plane
he found the dream plane form of the air-hover they had played in, and flew around it it awhile, but alone, he found it rather boring.
Discouraged and exhausted, he returned to the inn and slept through the night in the safe and private dreams of the earthbound
The voice of Jason Scott-Harris echoed through the dream wind, an alien presence on the dream plane of Terran 8. Guarding portal to the dream plane in the village of D’zeron, D’neira, matriarch of D’zeron felt it, though she could not hear the words; She knew the troubles she had long anticipated were coming soon.
As the dream keeper and of D’zeron, it was her duty to protect the dream plane of her planet, and to protect her planet from the dangers of the dream plane. There are things that live on the dream plane of this planet, things with great power, power the earthbound couldn’t even imagine.
Things which entered the dream plane which should remain on the waking plane, and have no place in dreams, these could be very destructive. These intrusions could disrupt the balance, and anger the dreambound creatures, and then their power would be turned against the waking plane, against the earthbound creatures…those who could only dream alone. As dream keeper, it was D’neira’s job to protect the earthbound from such attacks. Usually by preventing them, rather than by fighting them.
In her lifetime, there had really only even been one source of disruption to this balance. Off-worlders had come when she was very young, just barely old enough for mating. They had left, driven away by the planetary government for having violated the prohibition against advanced mechanical technology on the continent of Kaar-Taal where D’zeron and the ancient forest are located. But the disruption they left in their wake had still not fully healed.
She had always believed they would return, and feared for that time. Now, she knew, they would be returning soon. What a strange coincidence, she thought, that they would arrive tonight, the eve of Allissa’s twelfth birthday.
She hoped the power they had left behind in their previous incursion would be enough to protect the planet from them now.
Tersh and Chathalen felt the off-worlder calling on the dream wind. Neither of them had been to the other continent, on the other side of their planet. Neither of them held a road to Jai-Ten on the wind. They couldn’t hear his words, or travel to him, but they felt his cries, they felt a ripple in the wind and knew that someone had arrived. They didn’t know who he was, only that some thing from off world was there in the dream plane, calling out.
Tersh however, heard one other thing. It came to him in the wind with the voice, though it was not in the words directly, just an undercurrent like a scent in the wind.
His brother Tark, whom he had sought for so many years. He heard Tark’s voice, speaking from the ancient forest in the language of the dragons. So startled was he by this news that he awoke, and lay grinning in his bed wide awake the rest of the night, planning for his journey.
But he could feel another change in the wind, as if he was anticipating something that he really could not anticipate. He did not feel inclined to mention it to Chathalen that morning. As it turned out, he would never get another chance.
Chapter two Allissa and Chathalen
====one –awakening day two, Allissa’s birthday ====
Allissa emerged from Dara’s cabin, where she lived at the edge of D’zeron, into a glorious morning. The sun just rising over the tangled canopy of the forest Zairn Theliel filtered through the green and glowing leaves, and flowers of late summer were opening to gratefully receive its life bringing rays, to release their gifts of nectar, pollen and beauty to the inhabitants of the forest, great and small. Stepping out into the golden warmth she stretched her thin muscular body with the casual grace of one who does not calculate her motions, but moves with the instincts of a forest creature, which indeed Allissa was. “I might retire to this village to sleep each night, as the law requires” thought Allissa, “But D’zaron is not my home. This forest has been my world until now. On a glorious morning such as this, twelve years ago, I came into this earth. Tonight I shall ascend to something greater. I am twelve years old, and tonight I receive my authority, to ascend to the dream plane.” She grinned. This day might seem forever, she thought, so impatient she was for the night.
“finally, I am twelve”
Allissa had always known as long as she could remember that she would follow D’neira as Matriarch one day. Matriarchs did not raise their own children, being called as the mother of the entire village. Children born to a matriarch were raised by other families as if they had been born to that family. It was a great honor to be called to raise a matriarch child, and strictly forbidden in the village to mention anything about who was the child of the matriarch, though everybody knew.
Officially, she was the daughter of Celeste and Dara. They were farmers, humble people, and loved her well. Celeste had been a good mother, and there were other children in the family, but Allissa never spent much time with them, preferring to explore the forest. Allissa was an enthusiastic worker, and helped cheerfully on the farm and in the house when called upon to do so. She loved the animals, and had a good feeling for their needs, almost as if she could read their minds, Dara said. Maybe she did, maybe they walked in dreams with her, before she began her training in dream control.
But Alyssa always knew these people were not her real family; they were just raising her for the village. Allissa was the only living daughter of a dream keeper now, and D’neira was not likely to produce another child. She was far past the age of childbearing, and did not have a mate. Allissa did not know who her father was, or what had become of him. He was never mentioned.
Behind Allissa the cabin door opened with a grating sound, dragon scales scraping the wooden frame as Jayden pushed his way out. He didn’t pause to greet her, just disappeared instantly between the trees beyond the back garden of the cabin in a swish of green.
Allissa rushed through the dense undergrowth of the forest in pursuit, but her dragon had even more restless energy this morning than usual, and was already far ahead. “Perhaps he will fly today” she thought, anticipation tinged with fear. Like a mother with a baby learning to crawl and then to walk, she had looked forward with joy and wonder to each new stage of the young dragon’s development, but she knew when they happened it would bring new challenges also. Just as a crawling or walking baby is much harder to keep out of trouble and in sight, a flying dragon would be impossible for her to follow. She could run through the undergrowth or climb through the branches of the Zair Thaleil as fast as Jayden. Or … well… almost as fast now, she thought, chagrinned at the distance of his current lead; a flying dragon would be much harder to keep up with.
“I wonder when he will learn to talk” she thought, climbing monkey-like to the top of an old tree to get a higher view. She spotted his motion in the clearing ahead, leaped across to farther tree, and then another. A flowering vine brought her to the edge of the clearing just in time to see the pointed tip of his snake-like green tail disappearing under the briars beyond it. Tiny white petals she had dislodged from above her floated down like snow. “Great,” she thought, looking around for a less prickly path as she brushed away the petals from her short brown curls.
“Where is that scaly little toddler headed?” She wondered. She thought of flight, jumping through the branches from tree to try, the top of the forest was as close as she had come to flight, but for a fledgling dragon, trees would be an obstacle to flight and a hazard to the thin delicate membranes of his wings. Jayden had never really liked the tangled branches of treetops anyhow. He could climb well, easily gripping branches with four opposable talons on each foot, and balancing with his long prehensile tail. But he preferred to slink stealthily like a snake gliding through the brush and briars, from which his scales protected him. Imagining his stubby little wings struggling to lift his chubby little baby dragon body from the ground she thought “If I wanted to fly I would launch from the cliffs.” She was somehow sure he also was thinking of flight. She never questioned how she knew; she just never doubted that he was. Babies crawl and then walk. Dragons run and then fly…life just goes forward in ways like that.
“Meet you at the river cliff, Jayden” she yelled in the direction of where the tail had disappeared, and then set off through the branches for the river, knowing she would find him there.
====two…remembering Jayden ====
He was standing on the cliff, looking out over the river Sh’harn; not trying to fly yet, just standing there uncharacteristically quiet. He swayed from side to side with his wings raised, and she imagined him soaring on air currents like a hawk. She giggled a little. He didn’t have the slender grace of a hawk, or even that of a mature dragon. She had seen one only once, flying high in the sky over the river, heading for the mountains. She watched in awe as it flew, soaring on the translucent golden membranes of its wings, it’s tail curving in smooth graceful waves as if it swam through air like a snake swims through water. Jayden’s wings were still short, but getting much longer now, long enough she could begin to imagine them being able to carry him for a short distance through the air. She stood by his shoulder, stretching out her arms as he stretched out his wings, swaying with him. His serpentine neck held his head almost level with hers now. He had grown so much in the almost four years he had been with her.
“Maybe someday we’ll fly together Jayden” she said “when you get big enough you can carry me, maybe” he snorted, as if he was laughing, and shook his head. She looked down over the cliff to the river below, wide and deep at this place. The older boys would dive from this cliff, some times. “The Deep” they called it, for obvious reasons. It was the perfect place for a test flight, especially when the wind blew through the canyon. Many winged creature came here just to soar on the wind currents, or to fish in the river.
Above the sloping bank across the river, surrounded by an ancient wall of stone cut and laid by some forgotten technology, was the Well of Morning. She found Jayden there two years ago. Drawn by his cries, so loud and unfamiliar, yet so mournful, she stood at the top of the Well of Morning, listening in fascination. It was considered a sacred place by the people of D’zaron, but to the children of the village it was really just a big hole in the ground, with uneven rock walls perfect to practice climbing on. Allissa loved climbing, and had practiced there often, since she was very young, with her friend, Chathalen. 5 years older than Allissa, he was an excellent climber and had taught her well.
3 allissa remembers finding Jayden
It was mid day, but even with the sun high in the sky, 8 year old Allissa couldn’t see what creature was howling and crying with such an unearthly voice in the dark cave at the bottom of the well.
“It sounds like a dream creature,” she thought, as she began her descent. She was more right than she realized. Dropping from the shelf at the bottom of the shaft, she stared at the crying creature in the gloom of the domed, smooth walled “Cave of Silence”. Normally that name described this place well, but not this time. Small and scaly, like a fat, huge lizard, it continues crying, and did not seem to notice her, so great was it’s sorrow and fear. Its body was an oddly shaped lump about a foot long, and another foot beyond that on each end, if you counted the neck and tail. It reminded her of a thick but short snake who had just eaten something much too large. Some of the larger lizards of Zairn Theliel were carnivorous, and might attack a human if approach in a confined place. But she knew all about the creatures of this forest, even lizards. She and Chathalen had been exploring it together for years. There was nothing living in this part of the forest that she didn’t know. It was her world. This was like nothing she had ever seen before. It didn’t seem to want to eat her; it seemed like a baby crying for Mother. Carnivorous lizards in the forest were always voiceless, smooth, sneaky creatures. She approached it cautiously. Sensing her presence, it fell silent, raised its head from the floor of the cave, turned to meet her eyes and let out the most pitiful howl of a cry she had ever heard from any creature. Its eyes were large, but human like, round blue irises veined with different colors which seemed to shift and change, as if they were constructed from bundles of iridescent fibers, under glass. Its mouth was rather beak-like, though it reminded her a bit more of a turtle’s than a bird’s, and when it opened to cry, she could see it has a long strange tongue, forked like a snake’s tongue, but much more muscular and flexible. It seemed to writhe in the creature’s mouth like the arms of an octopus.
But when the strange blue eyes met hers, and the alien voice cried out in mournful desperation, all fears and doubts left her as she gathered it into her arms. It clung to her like a lost child, whimpering softly, wrapping its tail tightly around her left arm like a constrictor snake squeezing its dinner, and its neck around the side of her neck, clinging to her shoulder and back with all four of its 4-talloned feet. She jumped to catch the ledge at the bottom of the shaft, wincing in pain as talons sunk deep into her flesh. The talons dug in deeper, tearing through the flesh of her back and shoulders as she struggled to haul herself and her new friend onto the shelf which was the starting place for the upward climb. She didn’t pause to catch her balance or her breath, just began ascending the rock wall of the Well of Morning as quickly as she could unconcerned for her own pain, concerned only for the small creature she now felt obligated to protect. Reaching the top she vaulted over the low stone fence which surrounded the Well to keep small animals from falling in, slid down the sloping bank and swam across the river with a bit less grace than usual, the creature still clinging to her shoulder.
She ran back to the village, creature still clinging. Along the way she met Tersh, who, though generally regarded as the village idiot, was one of her favorite people in D’zeron. He was Chathalen’s father. The old man stood dusty and disheveled as usual by the side of the path in his ragged robe, waving his arms like wings, gracefully swaying. “Whoa, princess, great dragon you got there, you’ll be playing hide and seek in the dream world with me in no time now, best of luck to ya, princess!” this made almost as much sense as anything she had ever heard him say, and was spoken with much more that his usual level of enthusiasm. She smiled back at him, not pausing, responding to the tone and not the words, as she had learned to do for him. “Thanks much, Tersh, see you later” he nodded, grinning “that you will, honey, that you will …yes ma’am, sooner than later maybe” she heard him mumbling cheerfully as she sped away from him, wondering if she would see him on the dream plane tonight. Though it was forbidden to speak openly of such things, everyone in town knew he traveled there without authority sometimes. “At least he’s in a good mood today” she thought, taking it as a good omen. Tersh in a bad mood was rather unpleasant, and could ruin the day, but he was always kind to Allissa, and always called her princess, which made her feel special. Nobody else called her this because, technically, it was against the law also.
She went straight to D’neira, at the Temple of D’zeron. A huge, sprawling ancient stone structure in the center of the village square, it was sort of a cross between a temple and a city office, hospital and school with a bit of palace added on. It was the oldest and greatest structure of the village, almost as if it had stood longer than time, as if it was a creation of the dream plane. Some thought it truly was. No one knew how or when it had first been built, though some of the smaller additions had known histories.
This creature seemed the sort of thing that ought to be shown immediately to the leader of the village. D’neira, the Matriarch and Dream keeper of D’zeron, also seemed the person most likely to know what it was and what should be done with it.
====4 D’neira meets Jayden past ====
“Destiny rises from its own directions” thought D’neira, “we know it’s coming, yet somehow it still always manages to take us by surprise.”
“As it should”, she added, nodding approval to herself.
D’neira met her daughter at the door, as if she had been expecting her. No words were spoken at first. The situation seemed self explanatory, and neither felt any need to ad words to it yet. The Matriarch, tall and thin in the long richly colored robes which symbolized her office, walked the unacknowledged village princess to the healer’s area of the temple. She reached for the creature, to try to help remove its claws from Allissa’s shoulder. It hissed and clicked its turtle-like jaws menacingly, glared resentfully and snuggled closer.
“It’s bonded to you already, honey, you must have saved its life” Allissa nodded solemnly. This was probably true; too small to jump to the shelf, it would have died in the well if she had not brought it out. She didn’t understand how D’neira knew this, but it wasn’t unusual for the dream keeper to know things she had no earthly way of knowing. “I found it in the Well of Morning” she explained
“Pick it up in your hands, and hand it to me” she commanded. “It will obey you”
The girl reached up and grasped the strange creature above its front legs, and was surprised to feel the talons retract into the creature’s toes, releasing their grip on her shoulder, and the tail stop squeezing her arm. She held it out to the Matriarch, not noticing the blood which began to flow profusely from the wounds in her back and chest as the talons were withdrawn. She was entranced, seeing the creature for the first time in enough light to really see. It was green, with delicately patterned diamond shaped scales covering its body. It hug limp in her hands, submissive. Beneath her hands she noticed little wings folded into a ridge along its back, hidden beneath a row of scales.
“Is it really a dragon, D’neira?” she asked as she handed it to the older woman. “Yes, it’s a dragon Allissa, and it’s your dragon now. By dragon law if you save the life of a dragon, the dragon must serve you until the bond is broken by some other means.” She looked into the little girls shining eyes, and knew that what she would have to say would not be well received. “It might be best to kill it now while it is still young” she explained, watching joy turn to horror, realizing this would not be an option. Even if she were to able to explain to Allissa now how this creature would change her destiny, it would make no difference. Allissa had already chosen her path. But D’neira could not tell her, revealing of destinies was strictly forbidden in D’zeron. The future must unfold in its own way in its own time in the village which guards the portal to the dream plane.
“Dragons are vicious creatures; it could become very dangerous as it grows older. Keeping it here could bring great harm to the village.”
“No” replied the 8 year old stubbornly, sure that she spoke the truth “This dragon isn’t vicious, it‘s a lost little baby, how could you even suggest such a thing?” the matriarch examined the creature critically. “Babies grow up Allissa, and baby dragons grow up into dragons. Dragons hate humans, and they dream travel. They follow only the authority of dragons, and have no dream keeper for their village, but allow and even encourage all dragons to travel as they will” Allissa thought this sounded like a very nice way to live, but didn’t voice her opinion.
“He” she said purposefully, having now determined the dragon’s gender “might not be vicious yet. But you will have to take very good care of him to keep him that way. He will be influenced by other dragons on the dream plane; your influence here will have to be even stronger than their influence. It will be a huge responsibility, and it will change the course of your life in ways you will never imagine. These scars will never heal” she said, as she called in her assistant healing assistant, Chathalen, to help clean Allissa’s wounds.
8 year old Allissa didn’t think about the future, or the scars. She only thought of the dragon: Her dragon, Jayden, whining to be snuggled and comforted. She took on that responsibility without a second thought.
====5…Chathalen offers to show his scars ====
“Chathalen, will you please take care of this?” D’neira’s voice took him by surprise, both because he was so deeply engaged in his reading that he had forgotten where he was, and because her voice held much more urgency than usual. “Sure D’neira” he answered without considering, setting down his book and hurrying into the clinic. He could easily handle all the routine injuries that normally passed through the clinic…minor farm injuries, food poisoning, children who had fallen out of trees….he had done that himself once, three years ago, although it wasn’t because of his own lack of climbing skills really but because Allissa wasn’t as careful as she should have been in choosing where to step. “She did very well for a 5 year old” he thought in retrospect “I’ve always expected more of her than I should for one her age.”
Oddly, just as he was remembering her, he entered the clinic and there she was with D’neira, her climbing shirt torn and bloody around her shoulders, holding a… something… bright green and scaly in her arms. This was the first time Chathalen saw Jayden.
Chathalen was 13, almost 14…almost two years into adulthood, but he had not chosen a mate yet. As son of the village idiot, he wasn’t considered a good match, since family linage was so important to village life. Allissa was still much too young to have any real interest in marriage, and never really cared about social status either, knowing she was destined to become the dream keeper, no other status would affect her much. They had spent much time together when they were younger, climbing through the forest, and in the Well of Morning, and on the river cliffs. They didn’t play together much any more, as Chathalen was busy with adult duties, being both the primary trainer in the dream school and the healing apprentice. A handsome young man with his long chestnut colored hair neatly braided down his back and a friendly smile, he was very skillful at all of his duties, and very obedient to authority, in spite of his ancestry.
Caught off guard, he stopped and looked at Allissa, D’neira and the strange creature in Allissa’s arms, trying to comprehend the situation. Noting his confusion, D’neira explained. “Allissa found a dragon in the Well of Morning. It has injured her. I need you to clean the wounds.” Chathalen stared at her in disbelief, and then at the Dragon.
“Why is it still here? Aren’t you going to kill it? It’s a dragon!” Allissa glared at him, and hugged her dragon closer. Chathalen immediately realized his mistake, and regretted his words. ‘I’m sorry Allissa, I wasn’t thinking. Here, I’ll hold it for you while you get your shirt off.” Then realizing what tending her wounds would entail, he added “actually, I think you’ll need to take a bath before we clean the wounds, so we don’t get dirt from the forest into it, from your skin and hair. You are pretty dirty, as usual.” He winked at her, grinning. D’neira nodded her approval to his suggestion, and handing Allissa a robe, escorted her to the bathing area while Chathalen held Jayden. Jayden glared at the young healer with about the same expression as Allissa had when he suggested that dragons should be killed, but allowed Allissa to hand him over without protest.
The boy felt a sort of kinship with the dragon, and a sort of resentment. It was someone else who wanted to spend time with Allissa. At least for the next 4 years, the dragon’s prospects of this were probably better than his. “Well” he said, looking the dragon over “she’s obviously going to keep you, so I guess I’m going to have to get along with you, or I will see even less of her” He sat down on the examination table and talked softly to the dragon holding it in his lap, scratching its neck, humming to it. By the time Allissa returned Jayden was asleep in his arms. “Traveling the dream plane, probably,” she thought, with a thrill of excitement. She grinned, and Chathalen grinned too in spite of himself, at seeing her obvious fascination with her new friend. He hopped down from the table, setting the dragon gently at one end, and invited Allissa to sit down by it, which she did. The young healer was pleased to see that D’neira had done an excellent job of helping the young girl get the robe wrapped around her in such a way that she could still be modestly covered while he treated the wounds on her neck shoulders and back. He smiled at the matriarch gratefully, and she nodded “I’ll leave you to your work now, Chathalen, call me if you need any more assistance”
Allissa smiled at the sleeping dragon, gently stroking his green-patterned scales while Chathalen cleaned out and bandaged the wounds where Jayden’s talons had punctured her flesh. Chathalen was happy just to be with her, even though her attention was on the dragon, and his attention needed to be on his work. He almost felt guilty for his happiness that she had needed the services of a healer this day. “Is it right for me to wish injury on those I love, just so I can see them?” The girl with a dragon seemed to have no regret about what brought her there, however, so he decided he shouldn’t either.
“These are very deep punctures, Allissa” he said, with concern “they are very likely to get infected; we are going to have to really take care of them. His talons were pretty dirty when he grabbed onto you, as was your shirt, and there’s bound to be a lot of dirt and germs in there, beyond what we can clean.” He explained the needed treatment, and went on, teasing her. “It’s likely to scar pretty bad Allissa. I think your perfect skin is gone forever, you’ll be scarred and marked as the dragon lady, and no one will agree to marry you, except maybe some undesirable fellow like the son of the village idiot”
She laughed at him “I’d rather have a dragon than a husband, but even so, the village idiot is the best man in town and I’d be glad to have a husband as nice as him.”
Chathalen smiled back at her, understanding how much she liked his father, but a bit disappointed that her compliment had been for Tersh, and not for him. He glanced down at Jayden, determined to do some research on the waking lives of dragons. “I think this will leave scars no matter what I do to heal you. It’s a mark of your heroism in saving his life. Scars are like that you know; they last longer if they are gained in heroism, or attached to some other important event in your life.”
“Really, Chath’en?” She teased back “I bet you have a big scar on you tummy from the time we fell out of that tree and you saved my life” He grinned, pleased that she would think of him in that way.
“Did I save you, then? No, I think it was you that saved me that day, Allissa, remember how you licked the cut on my forehead to clean it? No scar at all there now see?” his finger passed across his forehead with a flourish, indicating how smooth and unscarred it was. “...so now I might still be handsome enough to have some chance of getting a wife, in spite of my heritage, because of what you did for me” she giggled, remembering that she had done that, when she was 5.
“Maybe I should lick your dragon wounds too so you won’t be scarred.” He suggested jokingly, sticking out his tongue
“No thanks Chath’en, I think I’d rather be scarred” he wasn’t sure if she just didn’t want to be licked, or really didn’t mind the thought of being scared, but thought it was the later.
She thought of how he spoke of his heritage, as if it was a barrier to his destiny. “Who could be a better father than Tersh, the son of Sharra?” She wondered, puzzled. Heritage was not anything she thought or cared much about. Her own was clear and defined.
The healer had returned to seriousness, bandaging up the wounds which he had clean as well as possible. “It wouldn’t help your this case anyhow. It helped that time because the wound was fresh and shallow. Yours are deep, and not as fresh.” She turned her head and looked objectively at his face, very close to hers, as he bandaged the wounds on her shoulder. She realized she had never really looked at him before, except his eyes.
Why would Chathalen be concerned about finding a mate, or consider himself undesirable? He was the most talented, physically attractive, and kind young man in the village. She had never really thought of him this way before. They had always just been friends. Almost family; maybe even closer than family. But the other girls always giggled about how good looking he was, when she sat with them at school. Surely there were plenty of girls in the village who cared more for love than family status. But she didn’t linger on the thought. 8 years old, too far from the age to need to consider choosing a mate, such things really didn’t interest her.
But he was still thinking of his scars. “My face healed perfectly” he told her “no trace of a scar at all, which is unusual since so much of the skin had been torn away”
He looked at her, thinking this was really not something they should talk about. She was looking at the dragon, and didn’t seem to be paying much attention to his words anyhow. He felt compelled to go on. It wasn’t exactly that he wanted to tell her, but maybe just because he was enjoying the memory of a time when they were really still best friends. He let the memories manifest in words, as he healed her.
“I think because you licked my face, it healed perfectly. Your concern for my healing was of greater value to me than even life, and my unscarred face is a testimony of your caring. The lack of a scar is more remarkable than a scar I could have worn with honor in the village for having broken your fall. Such a scar would have raised my status, if the village knew by the presence of such a scar that I had earned this injury to save you.”
Allissa, only half listening, was slightly confused by what he was saying. Chathalen always seemed so concerned for status and custom in the village. Why was he now saying the lack of a status scar somehow made him better? This statement didn’t seem to agree with what he had said before “he’s talking like Tersh” she thought “not making sense even though the things he says sound reasonable”
“I have still scars on my belly to remind me privately,” he confided…. “Do you want to see them, Allissa, since they are yours too?” she blushed, embarrassed at his suggestion, and giggled “ew, Chath’n, of course not” it was quite improper for a young man of his age to show his bare belly to a female, unless she was a healer, or a potential mate, and Allissa was too young to be either. “It would be ok, I would be just showing you the results treatment” he said, “as part of your healer training,” he added, moving to open his shirt, as if he really intended to show her. “No thanks Chathalen” she said in a tone of annoyance, determined to stop this embarrassing turn the conversation had taken. She thought he looked a little disappointed that she didn’t want to share in his interesting medical observation, and she felt sad that she had cut short his enthusiasm. She hadn’t really taken interest in his words, but had been enjoying the tone with which he said them. For a second she considered looking, in spite of the custom. She was, she realized, actually curious how his scar would look now, after several years. It wasn’t really beyond his authority as a healer to offer her such training, although showing his own belly was not exactly the normal sort of training for such things. And they were almost family.
But Chathalen always followed the rules and customs so carefully when he was performing his adult duties: it didn’t seem right that he would make this offer. As her childhood friend, she would have let him show her, but not as the young healer. They had observed with curiosity the healing process of these same scars when both of them were children. “This is not something I would expect from the son of Tersh, in his office as the healer” she thought, and the out-of-character nature of the offer made her uncomfortable. She made a dramatic expression of utter revulsion, and he moved quickly on to other topics so as not to embarrass her further.
“It’s not my job as a healer to embarrass anyone, not even my best friend,” he thought regretfully, and scolded himself for having done it. “That’s not the sort of friend I want to be.” He reminded himself that though he was an adult now and old enough for mating, she was still far from that age, and still a child. He apologized sincerely for having embarrassed her. “There is just something about Allissa” thought the young man “that causes me to forget everything; especially to forget that she is not as old as I am. I have always considered her my equal”
As 8 year old Allissa left the clinic that day with her baby dragon, Chathalen knew this would be another turning point in his life, as well as hers. Like the fire, the day they met, and the day they fell together from a tree in the forest of Zair Thaleiln. He walked her to the door, and watched her walk away cradling the dragon in her arms.
====6 Chathalen remembering fire, family history, dragons ====
Chathalen knew what dragons were; he had seen them often on the dream plane. This dragon was no stranger to the dream plane. It was several years old, by the look of it, and an unusual color for a dragon, more green and blue instead of the usual reds and golds. He thought perhaps he had even seen it in a dream, though Chathalen never really associated with Dragons. They were very disrespectful. Dragons considered humans to be very inferior creatures, and paid no head to them on the dream plane. Like the way people treat rats, or rabbits. Dragons, if they were bored, would occasionally watch humans, or even play with them; not as friends, but use them as objects of entertainment. But if a human was in the way for any reason, a dragon would not hesitate to harm or even kill them, like a farmer swatting a fly that was buzzing around his head annoying him as he cared for his animals.
He wasn’t entirely pleased that the time she once would have spent with him, exploring the forest, would be given instead to a dragon now. But this was who Allissa was, and he loved her. He couldn’t help but love her even more seeing her willingness to love and care for the heartless little creature which she had inadvertently caused to be bonded to her.
He stood by the temple, in the sun, watching her walk away, remembering the first time she had come to his attention. The day Tersh burned the house down. Chathalen was 9, and winter was passing uneasily into spring. His father had been moody that winter, spending a lot of time alone on the dream plane, ranting incoherently about destiny when he was awake. They lived in the center of the city then, in the house that had belonged to his grandmother Sharra. She had been a dream keeper once, and had lived here near the temple after she turned over her authority to her daughter. So the house belonged to Tersh, her nearest descendant.
Tersh grew up in the care of his niece D’lissa, who had chosen to forgo the matriarchy in favor of motherhood. She had other children, but Tersh never felt part of that family, always seeking his real family, the twin brother he lost at birth, on the dream plane.
When he met Jalena, they searched together. More talented in dream travel than anyone in the village at that time, she was resentful that she could not become a dream keeper because she lacked the proper genealogy. Tersh taught her to ride the dream wind, which he had learned from his alien father even before he was born. Then Chathalen was born and they had all been happy together. Tersh finally felt he had a real family, and they played together, carefree on the wind. Tersh even gave up searching for his brother for awhile.
But when Chathalen was 4, his mother was killed by dream bound creatures. Something his parents had fallen afoul of in their early unauthorized wanderings. The dream bound creatures had followed them back to the village, and parted her spirit from her body in the dream plane, so that she could never wake again into the physical world.
Remembering this, Chathalen thought of Allissa. “She will become the dream keeper” thought the young dream traveler “she will travel the dream plane as we did she might face these dangers also” He could not stand the though of ever maybe losing her the way his mother was lost. He decided then within himself that he would find a way to keep her safe, to protect her from anything which could extend between the worlds to harm her.
He wondered if the dragons might harm her, beyond a few talon wounds. He didn’t think she would ever interest them enough for them to bother, especially because by their code Jayden was still bound to serve her even though she was a human. “but there are much worse things on the dream plane than dragons” he thought.
Chathalen and Tersh had continued to live in Sharra’s house for several years after his Jalena’s death, and Tersh had gradually over the years become increasingly withdrawn and depressed, increasingly obsessed with finding his brother.
. Tersh had been found dream walking without authority many times, passing though the portal to look for Tark, because he thought maybe he was on the regular plane, not in the wind. Tark had not been with Derrick, because Derrick thought he had died at birth, so Tersh knew he might not have learned to ride the wind. if he had learned, he would have had to learn it before birth, or from someone else. The village decided to allow the son of Tersh to remain with him, even after the death of his wife, but the boy was sent to training almost from birth. Before Chathalen could ever walk or talk all the most skilled people in the village were there with him trying to convince him to stay earthbound, to stay away from the dream-plain, to not follow the path his father was still choosing, against all restraint.
They trained him very carefully in the importance of obeying authority. Chathalen had learned this lesson well. Though he walked the wind with his father, technically it wasn’t forbidden, because no one else even knew it existed. He had never been caught venturing into the dream plane though the portal without authority, and even had been given permission to travel there occasionally to help prevent his father from journeying against the rules. D’neira had done this for Chathalen, when he was very young, patrolling the entrance of the dream plane, to re-direct him if he ventured too close at night. Chathalen even as a tiny child had always obeyed the matriarch. Tersh was more likely to turn back at the request of his son than at the request of the dream keeper. The son of the village idiot now also served as a trainer at the school, as well as a healer.
“I loved that house” thought Chathalen wistfully, remembering his mother. Tersh was never very affectionate in life, though they had good times in dreams. Tersh might as well have been dream bound, thought Chathalen bitterly, as well as he functioned in the village.
Stepping out of the temple after his healer training that afternoon, he had noticed that the sky was dark with smoke. Crossing the square he had found his father seated on an old log with a tiny girl, her blue eyes wide in fascination as Tersh taught her about the wonders of fire and smoke, of roots, and of the ceremony of burning our roots to be free to move on.
The Burning of the roots to move on was actually a fairly common ritual in the village. But normally it entailed pulling all the roots of the old plants from last years crop and throwing them on the fire, or for those who were not farmers, digging up an old stump to be burned in a fire ceremony, to symbolize things in our past we wanted to leave behind.. Not burning your house down. Tersh had chosen not the roots of any tree, but the roots of his family tree to burn.
And Chathalen was not ready to move on. He felt his whole life had been burned away, not just his old roots. His ancestral home had made him part of the village, connected him to his grandmother the dream keeper, and to his mother, who had shown him affection. It made him a child of D’zeron, something more than just the son of a crazy old man who couldn’t follow the rules or even hold an understandable conversation.
In shock, he stood in front of Tersh, crying, numb, not knowing what to think or what to say. “What have you done” he asked blankly, though it was obvious.
Tersh replied, in all seriousness as if it wasn’t “I burned the house down. I burned the roots, so we can now move on, Shae Thaleiln. Now there is nothing to hold us back from our destiny.”
Tersh always talked about destiny.
Then Tersh turned to the little girl who sat beside him watching the fire. “Princess, I’d like you to meet my son Chathalen. He will share your destiny in dreams” Chathalen turned politely to greet the child, but was totally unprepared for what he saw when he faced her shining blue eyes staring fascinated into his is if she could see right through to his soul.
“I wasn’t ready to let her in yet” he thought. “I wanted to hold my roots, to turn back time, to be a child in the home of my ancesters. I didn’t want to go forward and receive my destiny. Seeing Allissa with my father, and seeing him showing her affection in real life as he has never shown me, except in dreams, I wasn’t ready to move on. I needed to mourn what I had lost before I could love again. I think in that moment I hated her, for seeming to have his affection when I didn’t, and for sharing in his joy at the fire which took away my world. I didn’t realize that she would soon lead me to a new and better world”
====7 Chathalen after the fire past ====
He had gone to the Well of Morning, not wanting to defy the village rules against sleeping outside, but still not wanting to be in the village. He spent the night in the darkness crying, and slept alone, even in his dreams. He didn’t walk the dream wind with Tersh that night.
The next morning, Chathalen dove from the cliff into the deep water, and swam in the river still ice cold from melted snow in the mountains where the dragons live. It numbed his body, but his feelings were still no less painful. He walked to the center of the village in the morning. He should have been in his training, and normally he was very prompt but this morning nothing mattered. He stood in the place where his house had stood, where his life had been which now was gone forever. Still cold and dripping from the river, He stood and cried alone. Allissa watched him. He stood for hours, just standing there alone in the ashes of his home, crying. Tersh had found a place on the other edge of town and was busy constructing a new cabin, humming cheerfully as he worked, while Chathalen stood in the ashes and cried.
“I didn’t ever want to leave” he thought “I wanted to become part of the ashes. I wanted to just die there with the rest of my life and not go on.
But Allissa came, and brought D’neira. “Allissa saw my need and took me in then, just like she took in this baby dragon today. D’neira brought me to the temple, where she insisted that I take a warm bath and gave me dry clothes. She insisted that I sleep at the temple until Tersh had finished building his new cabin, but she allowed Allissa come to visit me there. She insisted that I see her. I didn’t want to at first. I guess D’neira knew Allissa would help me heal, help me move forward.
Allissa began her training at that time. Maybe that was also for my benefit. But I think D’neira decided she was ready based on the conversations she had over heard. Perhaps it was just because D’neira feared the influence of Tersh on the future dream keeper, just as she had feared his influence on me. My training started before I can even remember.
“We were students together then, and for those few wonderful years, we explored the forest, and went rock climbing on the cliffs and at the Well of Morning. It was the best time of my life,” he thought, “from the fire until I entered adulthood, we were just children together, becoming one together in Zair Thaleil , learning to control our dream powers, learning healing skills.
“Healing” he thought. “Allissa is what heals me, what makes me whole. Even when we fell from the tree, when I was hurt and close to dying, I didn’t mind the pain knowing she was with me, my friend Allissa. Nothing much in my life has really mattered much except for her. My roots were gone after the fire, but she became my wings.
Then I became a man, and she was still just a child.
“I have missed her so much” he realized sadly, as the full weight of his loneliness descended upon him. Thin grey lines spread out from the center across his tearful eyes, though there was no one there to notice. “since I became a man. I am so lonely without her. And I will see her even less now, because she will be busy with this dragon”
Chathalen was right about that. For the next two years, Allissa’s life became fully invested it taking care of Jayden, learning about dragons. The wounds healed well and quickly under his skillful care, and then Chathalen didn’t see her often, except in training. He sometimes still explored with her in the forest with the dragon, when he could find the time, which wasn’t often; but the closeness of their childhood friendship seemed gone forever now.
He was watching from a distance now, careful not to step out of line, longing for the time she was of mating age, hoping then they would be able to find again the intimacy they shared when they were little children. Her whole attention now was given to Jayden, and her longing was for traveling the dream plane. He wished they could be together there, where there is no age or time. But he would wait for the destiny. He had faith that destiny would bring them together again, in the right time and place, “destiny can’t be stolen or rushed” he thought.
====8….allissa, family life, Chathalen’ family asssas b day day 2 am ====
Today she was twelve years old, the age of adulthood. Jayden was going to fly soon, and she was going to receive authority to walk the dream plain. Tonight was the ceremony where she would receive her ascension. The village meeting would be in the evening, and tonight she would meet D’neira at the Appointed Place on the dream plane, and receive authority as a dream keeper.
Allissa was called to her training at a very young age. As soon as she started talking concerns arose about her uncontrolled dream skills. As soon as she was thought to be old enough to understand the training she began to learn not to dream walk. She was about 4 years old when she began. It was shortly after the fire. Only one child currently living in the village had began training at a younger age. That was Chathalen, the son of the crazy half-alien man who walked the dream plane without authority searching for his lost brother.
Chathalen was now the master dream trainer of the village. Allissa had been trained by him to control her dream walking. He taught her how to safely avoid wandering into portal of the dream plane, and how to get out safely whenever she ended up there somehow, which had happened many times before her training. He taught her all the rules that governed Dream travel. In addition, he taught her how to find the Appointed Place, In case she was ever called to become a dream keeper. All who showed any ability in dream walking were taught these skills. She knew how great his dream skills were; greater than her own. His skill and caring as a healer were also unparalleled.
“Too bad he was born a boy” she thought “Chathalen would have made a very good matriarch with his dream talent, and his kindness, and his love for authority” several other girls in the village had manifested signs of talent so far, and were currently in training. There were many other women who had received the training to control it in the past. But none of them had talent close to Chathalen’s, or even Allissa’s. Chathalen was the grandson of a great dream keeper. “If he were a girl” thought Allissa, “maybe he would have become the dream keeper instead of me” she thought. “I might never even have been born, if Chathalen had been a girl. D’neira is much past the usual age of childbearing, she probably took the risk to have me only because there was no one qualified to replace her.”
There was no law that said a man could not lead the village, but for as long as anyone could remember, none had. Leadership was passed with the dream skills from mother to daughter. Few boys ever had dream skills. Tersh was an exception. The son of a former matriarch and a traveler from a different planet, he was an anomaly in D’zeron, an alien creature among them, and had always been regarded as somewhat of an outsider. Chathalen’s mother had no matriarchal linage, but she was a very talented dream walker. More talented than D’neira, yet D’neira was chosen for her linage rather than her talent as had been the custom. Some people speculated that Jalena had died from the sorrow of not being allowed to use her dream skills, not being chosen, …though that made no sense to Allissa, since she was happily married when she died, and had a son. Allissa couldn’t image anyone being very sad when they had Tersh and Chathalen for their family. Others speculated that she left the earth plane for good, and escaping into the dream plane where she could be free of restraint, becoming dream bound. Some believed Tersh visited her there, though most believed he was just crazy when he spoke of this.
But Jalena was never spoken of in public, except by Tersh. To speak outside the official meetings and training of anything related to the dream walking, and the passing of the dream keeper’s powers, was strictly forbidden. It happened all the time, of course, but only very furtively. ‘How pointless” thought Allissa “not to speak openly of the future and the past, and of dreams. Why are the things which are most interesting and most important things of which we must not speak?” she did not openly violate the forbidding, she did not openly defy the traditions of her village, but she welcomed joyfully all the forbidden information Tersh would share with her, and spent as much time with him as possible, for this and other reasons.
Though his mother had been heartbroken at not being given the authority to walk the dream plane, Chathalen seemed to bear no resentment towards the girl who would take the place of which he was truly more deserving. After the fire, they became best friends, climbing trees together in the forest, discovering and learning about all the plants and creatures. It worked well for them both, since Allissa always noticed everything, and was always finding new and different plants and creatures, bringing to his attention the smallest details of how they were special and unique. Chathalen, in his position as a healing apprentice, had easy access to the temple library where he could research and learn about every creature or organism she discovered. He treated her kindly in lessons, and even came to with her to play with Jayden in the forest sometimes.
“I can’t help my linage” she justified, squelching the doubts rising within her of her worthiness. “I am clearly entitled to travel the dream plane now, because I am twelve years old and the natural daughter of the reigning Matriarch. I am the princess”
====9 …flight day 2 ====
Jayden nudged her with his head, calling her back from her thoughts. He looked into her eyes, forcefully as if trying to send his thoughts. The fibers of his eyes shifted colors, blues and greens and purples, mesmerizing. He voiced a sound, almost word like. Oddly, she thought she understood what he wanted. He was telling her to sleep; calling her to fly with him.
He wanted her to enter the dream plane now, she thought. He didn’t want to wait. She looked back into his color shifting eyes, grinning. Tonight she would finally be declared an adult given that authority. She would be officially chosen to train for matriarchy, to represent the village on the dream plane, given authority as a dream keeper and would be allowed to enter there at will, within the bounds of her authority. Dream plane images swirled into her mind, bursting forth from memories of her early childhood. She sent them back as she’d been well trained to do. It was much harder than usual.
“I am ready” she thought “I am old enough, it is my right. I have the linage and the talent, everyone in the village knows that I am worthy, and chosen. The ceremony is a mere formality; it is of little significance.”
She focused her eyes on his again. “Fly with me” the sounds were strange and compelling like the cries from the Well of Morning when she first found him. Like words she’d never heard and yet she clearly understood. She wanted more than anything to fly with him. “I am ready” she said, without intending to speak. Words just burst forth as if by the same magic which had carried the meaning of his words into her understanding.
Jayden stretched to his full height beside her, and fully spread his wings. He blew fire into the air, a skill he had developed just a few weeks ago. Dragons use their breath of fire to sterilize their food, mostly wood and stone, before eating it. This was the greatest fire she had ever seen from him, and she stood beside him, unbreathing, in awe of his flames. She had always loved fire.
Before she recovered, almost before the flames had dies away, he turned back to her, breathing in as she breathed out. She drew a deep gasping breath then, in spit of herself, and just at that moment he released from his lungs all the dragon smoke from his fire, directly into her face, into her lungs into her being, into her soul.
She felt herself floating and then falling, looking down remembered she was standing at the edge of the river cliff in front of him. It was as if she was flying “fly with me” his dragon-voiced words echoed in her memory. She wrapped her arms around his snakelike neck as she fell, which was clearly not substantial enough to keep her from falling off that cliff, but he was all there was, so she reached for him. She knew for an instant she should pull herself away from the dream plane portal she was falling to, back to the natural sleep of the earth-bound, who dreamed only within themselves. She had been trained to do this, but She chose not to. She felt that it was finally time.
And then it was as if she were flying, above the cliffs. She could see her body lying curled and unconscious on the edge of the cliff below, dressed in her climbing clothes, no dragon in sight. But she felt from her arms and back extending wings like Jayden/s, only red-golden as the dragon she saw in early childhood, shining in the early morning sun like the light that sparkled of the waves of the river, the color of Jayden’s fire. Then in a swirl of colors, the world was gone, no river, no earthbound body just her dream self soaring free above a dream plane landscape on flame-gold dragon wings. She stood on a hill top. She didn’t land, just went from flying to standing in an unexplainable instant. In another instant Jayden stood beside her, part dragon, part human, unimaginably beautiful, shining red and golden like his fire, yet still clothed in green scales. She looked into his eyes and they were one dragon-person-Jayden-Allissa one soul for a moment, like an unborn child but who was the child and who was the mother was not clear. She hugged him, and it was a fully human hug, like human flesh on human flesh, no scales; Parent and child yet one soul, somehow.
“We have raised each other” their voices spoke as one to both, the word human and dragon at once “we have flown together, now we can fly and we can speak, we are one, it is our destiny” then with no passage of time they stood together on the hill top side by side, dragon and girl, as they had stood on the cliff moments earlier. D’neira stood before them, huge, radiating, powerfully present, and dressed in the ceremonial robes of the Matriarch. She smiled a warm and brilliant smile, looking deeply into the eyes of her Daughter “You have done well, Allissa, my only living child, my daughter, the princess of my world. Your skills here are masterful; you will soon walk this dream plane as no other has before, on dragons wings. But time is far spent, and the village is gathered. This ritual is of great significance, and you are late.” joy and pride seemed to radiated from the dream keeper like the steam of a boiling caldron, and then for an instant again Allissa stood on the dream world hilltop, with dragons wings. For that instant she saw the entirety of the whole dream plane, a fleeting glimpse of everything, infinite space time creation detail color feeling range power…people, dragons, dreambound creatures…all there was or could be in this plane. Everything, except the waking world…
…and then she awakened on the cliff top above the Deep, rolling over carefully away from the cliff, and trying to stand. She lay back feeling dizzy and weak, trying to remember who and where she was. It came back bit by bit…her tenth birthday, anticipating her ascension, Jayden’s restless energy, running through the woods, standing on the cliff, fire and falling. Wings.
The dream plane.
She looked up into the evening sky. A bird wheeled above her, descending. She remembered D’neira’s words in the dream. ”Your skills are masterful; you will soon walk this dream plane as no other woman has before, on dragons wings.” She realized the descending wings above her were not those of a bird, but of a dragon. Jayden was flying. Forgetting herself in celebration of his flight she jumped to her feet and reached to the sky as if to catch hold of him, though he was still far away.
“We have raised each other. We have flown together, now we can fly and we can speak, and we are one, it is our destiny” called human voice and dragon voice as one. Jayden landed and they set off ecstatically together for the village meeting place to receive their destiny.
Chapter 3 Jason’s journey
========Jason Scott-Harris goes to the government officials day two morning ========
Awakening in the morning early, Jason sat down to a nice, relaxed breakfast at the inn. As he was eating, Harris came in to retire for the night after his long evening of drinking. “’ey dream boy, ‘ow didja dream, buddy? Make any friends on the wind?”
He reeked of alcohol and much worse things, staggering and bumping against tables as he approached, falling into a chair across from Jason at the small breakfast table. Ice blue eyes wide behind his metal-framed eyeglasses, the small pale young man blanched even paler and grabbed his drink before it spilled from the impact of the drunken spacer leaning against the table as he sat down. Jason’s plate skidded to the edge of the table, but the navigator reached out seemingly in slow motion, and set it down safely back in its place.
Jason stood speachless behind the table, unsure whether he should run or sit back down. The innkeeper laughed, drawn to the room by the Navigator’s loud entry, and greeted the drunken giant with a friendly hug. “ ‘ey, ‘oney, look like ya ‘ad a good party ol’ friend; need anythin’ ‘fore ya go sleep it off?”
She was not much taller than Jason but wider by far, and solidly built. Harris gave her a pat on the back so violent it would have probably sent the anthropologist flying but DaraJeen Westerlen barely noticed. She shoved the tall dark disorderly man upright in the chair and straightened Dr Scott-Harris’s table. “Please do sit down and finish your breakfast, sir, this man means you no harm, I vouch for him entirely.” Jason drew a deep breath and sat back down suspiciously, His warm feelings for the Navigator from the night before somewhat dimmed by this rather intimidating morning greeting. “See? It’s all good” the innkeeper grinned, showing her large, pearly teeth which gapped at the front, her face glowing round and cheerful. She straightened the table some more. “Harris is a good man, gentle and intelligent. He just needs a little time to sleep it off. He’ll be fine by evening, and everything will be as it was.”
Harris stared drunkenly at the anthropologist through glazed over, squinted eyes. “So, Jedi Jason” he asked again, speaking with obvious effort, stumbling over words. “ ‘ow were yer dreams? Learn anythin’?”
Reluctantly, Dr Scott-Harris collected his thoughts and tried to share his dreams with the only friend he had on this expedition. “Yes, actually, I met someone. He called himself Tark”
“TARK?” the drunken space navigator staggered to his feet, sending the table skidding and Jason running away protecting his drink again. His food was not so fortunate this time “you dreamed the dead boy?” even staggering drunk, Harris seemed to have a good understanding and respect for Jason’s project “wow, Jedi Jason well done, you’a livin’ up t’all our expectations now. Y’gotta tell me all ‘bout it, man, tell me everythin’” Jason stood back, silent, unsure what to do, but sure he didn’t want to try to explain anything more to the drunk giant right then. To his great relief, DaraJeen came running in, drawn by the sound of Jason’s plate of breakfast shattering on the stonepaved floor. “Off t’ bed ya go now ‘arris” She grinned cheerfully, and helped the much taller man off to his room to sleep it off. Harris staggered out gracelessly, shouting back at the anthropologist. “don’ you dare leave without me, boy, I wanna hear all ‘bout it all in the mornin’.”
And then, thankfully he was gone. The innkeeper generously offered to provide a new breakfast for Dr Scott-Harris, which he graciously declined, ducking out of the inn as quickly as he could, into the alien morning…
The light seemed greenish though the sky was orange, and the air felt thick, hard to breath somehow. Jason wasn’t sure if it was culture shock, the alien environment, or just an anxiety attack brought on by Harris drunken antics that made him feel this way. Probably a little of everything, he thought. Hurrying though the unfamiliar streets, past alien people dressed in alien clothing and alien creatures, and strangely constructed houses surrounded by alien plants, he found the shortest path back to the space port and the ship which had brought him here.
Entering the Marrion Jay felt like a home coming. He had hated it every minute of the journey and been impatient to disembark, but now he longed for even that tiny bit of familiar territory. He went first to the communications room. He had an appointment later to meet with Rhonda Teppin, the political representative of the mission, but he was still quite early for that meeting. From the ship, he could send a video message back to his mentor on earth. It would take at least 40 minutes for the message to be transmitted, not counting the time it would take to generate and send it, and then it might be several days before he got a response. Normally he would have considered that he had not yet learned anything of any real significance, nothing really worth the trouble of reporting at this point, but he was feeling so lonely right than that he recorded an account of the dream, and sent it off to Derrick, hoping Derrick would be able to send some sort of message back before Jason left the port city. Anything would do, even just acknowledgement that the video had been received. He just desperately wanted a message from home.
Then he went to meet with Rhonda Teppin. A stout older woman with her grey hair in a tight braid wrapped tightly around her head and practical and an unsmiling face that showed no emotion. She looked pretty typical for a political lawyer dealing with someone she felt she had no reason to impress.” She‘ll be all warm and smiling as soon as she gets to the political office” he thought.
“Good morning Mrs. Teppin, how was your first night on Terran 8?” He asked politely. She didn’t bother to respond, just got down to business.
“Dr Scott-Harris, I took the liberty of calling ahead to the entry office last evening since we got in so early. The papers are all pretty much in order already for our landing her in Jai tan, but before they can consider our request for entry into the other land mass, Kaar-Taal, they will have to consult with the top government official there, D’neira.” Mention of this familiar name cheered him a bit “It will be a week or so, for as you know they shun modern technology, so she only checks for messages once a week. She won’t be responding for another 6 days at least. Until that time, we will just have to wait here.
“With all due respect ma’am, there is not much for me to do here in the city, as there is very little of either dream plan activity here, or of basic technologies.”
“Good” she thought, careful not to show her approval “he seems very anxious, he should be willing to go in ahead to prepare the way for us”
“I understand Dr Scott-Harris” she replied, as a parent addressing a small child complaining of boredom while demanding to be allowed to go play at a new friend’s house. She threw out her bait like a fisherman “You are bored and impatient to start your work. I also have little that interests me on this godforsaken planet, but you know we cannot risk offending the D’zarons by traveling over their land in modern vehicles.”
Retroachnologist pressed forward, excitedly, oblivious to her intentions, playing right into her hands “True but D’zaron village is only two days walk from the coast, I could have an air transport ship drop me with a primitive boat in neutral waters, sail in to shore, and then walk to the village. Chances are if I am even just on the Kaar’taalian continent I will find much more dream activity there, and even if not, it is only about three days journey to D’zeron, at the most. It’s on the river Sh’harn, which I’ve heard is easily navigable, so I could even travel by boat there too, once I got beyond the waterfall
She looked at him in surprise at first. He had already thought this through, and would take a lot less help and convincing than she had expected to go ahead and make first contact with D’neira. She didn’t even have to ask him.
“Oh yeah, I guess you would want to do that.” She glared at him, as if considering the implications of this, but inside she was gloating in her easy success “Well, I suppose there is something to be said for using primitive technology to make first contact with a primitive people.”
The tone of disrespect, verging on disgust which she used every time she said the word primitive set his teeth on edge, but he smiled politely at her anyhow “So then, you will consider my request, ma’am?”
“It sounds to me that you will need someone to make the journey with you, up to the river above the waterfall. Do you have someone in mind?” She had noticed the young anthropologist had not really seemed to form many friendships with Paragangians on the Marion Jay, but it would be much better for their cause if she could arrange for one of them to accompany him.
“Harris” he said without thinking “Harris asked if he could go with me. He said he wants to learn about dream travel.” This pleased her somewhat also, though she did not show it. He wasn’t one of her favorite subjects, but he was at least pure Paragangian
The older woman snorted “Well, you’d better go start sobering him up right away than, Dr Scott-Harris, he’s pretty much of a drunk when he’s on shore leave. If I was you, I’d look for someone more dependable.”
Jason wasn’t really paying attention. He had the permission he needed; he was going to D’zeron soon.
“Ok, Dr Scott-Harris. You may go to the entry office and make your appeal for permission to do this. I will give you the necessary paper work to show that you have authority from the spacers mining union. When you get permission, please give me a call, and I will help you make any necessary arrangements.”
The young man grinned in spite of himself. He felt he was suddenly back on the road to his dreams. He resisted the urge to hug the unpleasant old woman.
He left the Marrion Jay elated, and practically ran to the entry office.
By lunchtime, he had managed to obtain full permission to enter the continent of Kaar-Taal using only basic native technologies, to paddle a boat up the river Sh’harn and walk into the city of D’zeron ========Jason begans his travels day two, afternoon/evening ========
Jason returned to the inn for lunch, hoping unrealistically that maybe Harris would be awake and sober. He wasn’t.
DaraJeen promised to leave a message for Harris to call Jason when he woke up, but she said he would surely not be up until mid afternoon, at the earliest.
Rhonda Teppin helped him to arrange for a boat, for an air ship to drop the boat near the shore, and all other supplies needed for the journey.
In the evening, when Jason returned to the inn Harris had disregarded his message and was already out drinking again. He took this to mean the Navegator had chosen not to come with him. But the anthropologist is so eager to go that he decides he would rather go alone than wait for Harris, or find someone else. He asks the air transport pilots Mrs Teppin hired for him to drop him off that evening with the boat, tells them his friend will meet him in the same place the following morning, and tells them where Harris is staying.
He doesn’t expect Harris to actually come, but decides he can make it to D’zeron on his own, by walking along the riverbank or swimming the river, even though he will not be able to carry the boat to the top of the waterfall. In spite of his slight appearance and timidity, the retro technologist has studied and practiced all sorts of basic survival skills, and is in excellent physical condition. =======chapter 4 the village meeting day two evening
xxxxxxxxxxthe vilage meeting
Approaching the meeting place in the town square, Allissa saw the torches were lit, and the village assembled. She strode triumphantly to her appointed spot, grinning. Jayden stayed behind at the edge of the crowd. Normally she would have been forced to dress in formal robes for such an occasion, but it was time, and D’neira had called her. Normally, D’neira would have spent the whole afternoon helping her get dressed and decorated for this. “D’neira told me to come now, so it must be right for me to come without the ceremonial robes” she justified. She felt of greater worth in climbing clothes anyhow, and was relieve she had escaped the burden of having to dress formally, the only part of this meeting she had not been looking forward to. She stepped into the square glowing in every fiber of her being, with joy, with destiny with pride and self admiration. The villagers stirred uneasily noticing her lack of formal attire. This made her even more pleased to be dressed in her natural clothing. “There is more to me than a painted on face and a fancy robe” she thought proudly.
“Allissa, child of my flesh” called the voice of D’neira as she entered, with power and majesty only possible for one who has been to the dream plane, and mastered the skills thereof. Allissa grinned so wide that her face hurt.
“Child of my flesh” D’neira had called her, openly before the whole village, acknowledging openly for the first time in her life, the first time anyone had openly acknowledged that she, Allissa, was the daughter of the Matriarch, the true princess, the next in line to be given authority to travel the dream plane. She felt that all her life had lead to this moment, her destiny at its greatest climax unfolding here and now. Glowing with majesty and greatness she began to walk slowly to the dais, savoring her glorious moment of ascension.
It was over then.
Simply and finally over, as D’neira continued speaking with out a pause “We the village of D’zeron placed all out hopes in you and you have betrayed us for dragon wings. Another must be chosen in your place. You are dismissed. Return to you place in shame.”
The words stopped time. Life- breath- everything seemed to end. There were no thoughts or feelings; this could not be happening. Allissa was suddenly sure her was still dreaming. It was one of those nightmares where you awaken only to later find you are still asleep. “Wake up” she said aloud to herself, sincerely believing the villagers around her were just the images of her dream, and she would awaken on the cliff in the morning sunshine.
“Allissa, this is no dream”, said D’neira again coldly with the power of dreaming. ”look at me” she commanded. Numb with confusion, Allissa could not refuse. The eyes of her mother the matriarch flashed like lightning. “The dream plane is a treacherous place. It must not be ventured into without the protection and guidance of authority, and not without the proper training, given in authority at the proper time, and in the assigned order” The villagers gasped, suddenly realizing the significance of the things their leader was saying “Dragons are treacherous creatures. You cannot claim I didn’t warn you. You have chosen not to heed your training; you have made yourself unworthy to lead this village at this time by your utter disregard of the rules thereof. Take your place in absolute dishonor as I give your honor to another, who truly knows the value of authority.”
Allissa sat down on the ground as a child, at the edge of the crowd; unthinking, unbelieving, unfeeling, numb.
“Chathalen, son of Tersh, step forward”
The villagers gasped in shock but not surprised, and forgetting the required dignity of the meeting dissolved loudly into speculations, until the matriarch called for silence.
Silence fell only to be quickly broken by Tersh. Even having known that this time would come did not ease the sorrow of this for him. Desperately, Rushing forward he was screaming “NO!!! YOU CAN’T TAKE MY SON, CHATHALEN IS MINE YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM ….NO!!!...ALL THE AUTHORITY IN ALL PLANES OF EXISTANCE DO NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO TAKE MY SON, HE IS GIVEN ME BY A HIGHER LAW” it sounded like his usual insane ramblings, yet D’neira answered him with respect, like a lawyer speaking for her client in court. “He is, Tersh, I cannot change the fact that he’s you son, you hold him always in that name, but he is called to serve his village now. This is also written in the higher law. He belongs to us as well. His destiny is here, and you cannot stand in the way of it.
Forgetting her own grief for a moment, Allissa felt sorrow for Tersh. Never had she seen grief so intense as his. She wished that she could comfort him, restore his child to his possession somehow. And then she realized it was her fault that he would suffer so, and her attention returned sharply, guiltily, to her own sorrow.
Four guards arose from the sides of the dais. They were always there as part of the ceremony, but Allissa had never before seen them actually been called upon to restrain someone. They intercepted Tersh before he reached D’neira, but he struggled, writhing like a snake, flapping gracefully like a bird as he had done the morning Allissa found Jayden, and then he was free of the guards, as if he had flowed through their arms like water. He knelt before the matriarch crying, begging for his son to be returned to him. She stood impassive, silent, staring at him with eyes of lightning.
Chathalen arose, and stood behind his father, and as if he did not even hear the cries of grieving man. Standing confidently, tall straight and handsome in his teacher’s robes, which were much more formal and ornate than those he wore as a healer. He spoke with solemn respect to the matriarch. “D’neira” he addressed her, with a voice seeming perhaps even more strengthened by the dream plane than her own. She turned her eyes to him, and the lightning seemed dim in comparison to his voice. “I do not wish to lead this village, or to be a dream keeper, I have always been content with my lot in life.” He seemed to waver in his resolve for less than a second. He tried to meet Allissa’s eyes for even an instant but found they were unreadable, hidden in the shadows of the torchlight. He had anticipated joyfully the time when she would finally be old enough that they could be together. he had enacted over and over in his mind his fantasies of how he would ask her to accept him as her mate, how she would smile, and maybe kiss him, or just hug him again the way she did when they were young. And how they would be joined as one from that time forward, sealed together. Now the time had come, but it wasn’t turning out as he had dreamed. He desperately hoped the girl he had waited so long for would understand what he had to do, and feared she might not. For a moment, she thought she saw the grey smoke in his eyes, but dismissed the thought, assuming her own tears lead to that illusion.
“I will take the place of Allissa on the dream plane, to my own shame.” it sounded more a command than as consent. Like he was not passively accepting his destiny but rushing forward to seize it. She felt betrayed. He had been her closest friend, but now he was stealing her destiny, and abandoning Tersh. The silence around became perfect and complete as if his voice sucked all the sound from the air. The village stood motionless in that silence for a few long seconds, as if time had stopped. Then he spoke again
“I will not take her honor” he paused again and silence deepened “if there is any dishonor here, it shall be mine. I was given responsibility for Allissa’s training, to bring her safely to this point. I have failed in this. You will not hold her accountable for the inadequacy of my training” he voice was broken with sadness at this point, but Allissa was too absorbed in her own anger to notice.
“I will serve in her honor, or not at all, D’neira. Allissa will be the Matriarch; I consent only to represent our village on the dream plane, in her name, for this time, since she can no longer carry out this duty, because of my failure as her instructor” ========11 Allissa’s departure day two night ========
D’neira understood. In fact she had almost expected this. She had seen for many years the way that Chathalen looked at Allissa. She had always been impressed at his loyalty and integrity in this desire, both in refusing all other propositions of marriage, and in not trying to seek her as a mate before she was of age.
Allissa did not understand. She could stand no more. She felt the destiny she had waited for all her life had been ripped away from her. The authority to travel the dream plane; all she had ever wanted. She did not want to be the matriarch, to serve the village. She would have gladly given that part to Chathalen. She wanted to travel the dream plane. Hatred flared within her for Chathalen, as if he were to blame for all of this. He took the blame from her, and she allowed him, not in gratitude, but in anger. “I thought you were my friend, you were so close to me when you were a child” she raged inside herself “yet you would take the dream plane, and leave me stuck only with the burden of leadership? What could be more horrible?”
Before she even realized what was happening she was climbing and leaping through the branches of the forest in the moonlight, Jayden flying above her, his dragon voice echoing again the words “We have raised each other. We have flown together, now we can fly and we can speak, and we are one, it is our destiny.”
The sounds of the village died away behind her, she let the forest night, and its blanket of moonlight cover her like a child pulling the blankets up over her head to keep the monsters away. They traveled together silently for uncounted hours, not stopping, not thinking, not feeling, just numb, escaping, not choosing a direction, just running away.
=======Chapter 5 the ceremony goes on/ Chathalen and Tersh day two night=======
In the village the ceremony continued.
As Allissa departed, the guards stepped forward to follow her, but D’neira called them back “let her go for now. I will deal with her later. She has chosen her path.”
Tersh, realizing his son has chosen his path and nothing could bring him back, was lead away by the guards, heart broken, shattered, still sobbing but no longer yelling for mercy. They took him home, where he would sleep it off they thought, and be ok in the morning.
Allissa, though she was not present, was initiated as the next to become the Matriarch, as Chathalen had requested, and Chathalen was initiated to receive the authority of the dream plane.
He knew the real initiation would happen on the dream plane when he slept that night. He also knew this might be a much more difficult trial for him than any of the others could imagine, and the destinies of people he loved would be in his hands tonight.
In the training he had given to so many he had been trained to prevent his spirit from entering the dream plane, to prevent himself from gaining a permanent dream-plane body, and how to direct his spirit to the meeting place if he were ever called upon to receive the higher training. This was all an initiate needed…the level of skill required for a twelve year old girl to began her dream journey as matriarch. He knew it all so well.
But he was not a twelve year old girl, and this was not his first time on the dream plane. He was the son of Tersh, the village madman. He had been at home on the dream plane longer than he could remember his home on earth. But he couldn’t let D’neila know this. If she knew, while she still reigned as matriarch, his father would be considered an enemy of the village, not just an irrelevant madman. He couldn’t let that happen. And he had to uphold Allissa’s honor, in any way he could. He had to protect her. She was the only person he ever really felt cared at all for him, besides his parents, the only one he cared about. He did not want to rule the village, or represent it on the dream plane, where he was a master of all skills. The villagers had always treated him and Tersh with disrespect. Why should he serve them now? But for Allissa’s honor, he could not say no.
For Tersh, this was the greatest tragedy. Tersh had no-one but his son, to share his world. Now he would be alone. Tersh was more dreambound than earthbound, in a way. There was no one in his waking life that understood or cared about him. Now he would become even more dream bound, perhaps. Maybe he would even slip away from the waking life entirely, as Chathalen’s mother had done, long ago.
========12 Chathalen accepting his destiny day 2 night ========
But Chathalen couldn’t concern himself with that now. Tersh had chosen his path, now Chathalen had to choose his own path. The ties of family go on forever on the dream plane, where there is no time, but here in the village, there were duties that we each must rise to, in the proper time and place. There isn’t a place in this village for two Idiots, thought Chathalen sadly, and the village has no-one else to call upon for this, with Allissa unworthy, and maybe gone. Events were coming; there shadows on the dream plane already of grave dangers, which would require the village be strongly represented there. Though the village had never really given much respect to Chathalen and his family, he still knew his place, and the necessity of heeding its authority.
Maybe it was just as well that Allissa was gone. Understanding the necessity of authority and law was a part of what was needed to protect D’zeron. He understood. He had broken the law enough times, and taken authority into his own hands without consent. This was his heritage, what his father had taught him…to travel unseen on the dream plane, in different forms, never taking a lasting form. To serve the village now, he must assume a lasting form as the village patriarch. He would not be able to drift invisible in the winds of dreams with Tersh any more.
Arriving home, he found that Tersh was sleeping. Playing games on some distant dream plane, hidden from the authority. It was his place. Where he belonged. Until tonight it had been Chathalen’s place too, playing with his father, secretly, learning the secrets of the dream plane, forbidden to him in village life, but given as a birthright from his parent.
Loneliness swept over him, feeling the loss of all this. As soon as he met D’neira at the Appointed Place, it would be over. As long as she remained the matriarch, and he remained the apprentice dream traveler, he could not break his vows, and could not travel any more without authority.
He lay down on his bed, across the room from his father, in troubled thoughts.
At first he was in no hurry to sleep, no hurry to meet D’neira at the Appointed Place. He wanted to put it off as long as possible, knowing this would feel to be ultimate betrayal to his father. Knowing they each would be alone then.
Then he thought of Allissa. She would surely enter the dream plane again now. He knew she would, she had always wanted to, and the dragon would play on that desire, Just as he already had. Jayden had lived down to the fears they had for him
At this thought, for a moment, he burned in resentment towards Jayden. “We should have killed him when we had the chance” he thought. “He had proved as treacherous as any dragon, despite all Allissa’s efforts to tame him.” …but in his heart the feeling that fueled the thought was centered more on how the dragon had taken Allissa away. The young man, facing his destiny in such an unexpected way and time, desperately missed the closest friend he had ever had in life, and the girl he had still intended to wait for. He would find a way to be with her, somehow. She was the only person who in any way could share the weight of his burden. And She was gone now because of Jayden.
“I could reach her on the wind,” thought Chathalen, “before I assume my final form. We can still do this together. We could talk; I could help her, guide her. There must be some way we can arrange to meet on the dream plane, without breaking my vows” Finally she was old enough to be considered as a mate, but she was gone. Still somehow he know she was the only one in the village dream-borne enough that he could share his life with her. And he was the only possible match for her also. A child born of their dream tallent would be a dream plane Goddess. Like everything else in her life, this had always been her destiny. When she was still a child, not old enough too have any interest in mating, he had always been willing to wait for her. Now she was gone. Alone in the woods with an young dragon, wandering the dream plane without training or guidance, only the few small safety skills he had given her, and the ability to find the Appointed Place.
With this, a warmer thought came to him…would she come? Would she come to the meeting place on the dream plane, and join him in his initiation? …the thought filled his heart with tremendous longing, a false hope that clouded his judgment. He did not want to go through this alone. D’neira was a great leader, but not very welcoming. The task ahead of him seemed dark and harsh and lonely. But he could face it with joy, if he could share it with Allissa, somehow, even on the wind, knowing she was with him would make all the difference.
“Can I teach her to walk the wind?” He thought….his vows were not yet sealed on the dream plain. Until his form was final, he could float still. Was it a violation, now? …no more than it had always been. He would break the law, one last time, for Allissa, as he had often done for Tersh. He could live with that. But he would not break his vows as a dream keeper.
“I only have one chance” he thought “I could visit my father, float with him one last time.” But he knew one last time would not make Tersh feel better, it might even hurt more.
Chathalen lay down to sleep, and prepared himself to ride the dream wind to his friend and student Allissa, and then to attend the meeting destiny had taken from her and given to him
chapter 6 Allissa’s journy
====13 allyssas resentment day two night ====
For many hours, Allissa and Jayden traveled through the forest. She did not tire. She had spent the whole day dreaming, though it seemed only moments. Time is strange in dreams. She was not tired, she didn’t think of hunger, she didn’t think of much, just immersed herself in shame, and loss and hatred. Shame for having failed in her training when she was so close to the end, loss for her destiny in the village, the life she had always known and never doubted she would follow from before she was born. She had never even though there was any possibility this might not come to pass. There had been no place in her thought for her current situation. And all these feelings, so confusing, incomprehensible, she turned to anger, then to hatred, and all that she could understand was this: Chathalen, her mentor, her best friend, the one person who seemed to really understand and care; he had betrayed her. He had not given her the training she truly needed to bring her safely to her ascension. No. instead he had greedily claimed her place as his own; perhaps he had planned this all along. “Why didn’t I see this coming?”, she raged against herself ,and him, as she traveled. “He must have known. He has been to the dream plane. Dream travelers know things earthbound people never know. He saw his chance, and took it. It must have been hard for him to limit himself to training, healing and guard duty. I always wondered how he could accept his role so cheerfully, when he had such great dream skill. Now I know. He planned this all along, he knew, he arranged everything just so he could take the dream plane and leave me with the burden of the village.” Rage and hatred filled her whole awareness, gave her strength and energy to travel, and the exertion of her travel fed the hatred, too. Every branch that scraped her skin, or had to be pushed aside from her field of vision, it was his fault. Near morning she came to the Far Hill. It was a beautiful, grassy slope, rising from the forest. Rarely had she ever traveled beyond this point; Never in the night. From its summit, she could see the forest, a line of river meandering through it, to where she knew the village stood, though she couldn’t see it in the darkness.
“He is there” she thought “dreaming in my place, in my stolen authority, and even in my name…to my honor” she thought bitterly. “There is no honor for me in this, Chathalen” she screamed aloud. Jayden circled, and the crouched behind her shivering, afraid of her anger. She had never been like this before. Confused, he kept his distance, but kept his eyes on her. “You shall not have my honor, Chathalen. I will not lend my honor to your name. You’ll rule alone forever, for what you did to me. I will fly the dream plane without you, without authority, free of all restraint. I don’t need you. I will go to the dragons, to the ancient forest, and you shall be cursed in my memory forever. I will never return”
The strength of her anger spent, she added softly, sarcastically “Sweet dreams, Chathalen, dream keeper of D’zeron.”
She sat down on the soft grass, and cried, numbly. It was late summer, and the ground was warm and comforting beneath her.
She had never spent a night outside the village; it was one of the rules of D’zeron life that was held to strictly. The far hill was the farthest she had ever traveled because it was as far as a person could travel in a day and still return to the village. Of course, you could travel a little farther by forgoing sleep. Allissa was exhausted, and did not really have any desire to travel outside her forest world, outside Zair Thaleil. nor did she want to return to the village where the future she had always known she would follow was now forever gone. But to sleep here unprotected suddenly seemed terrifying. The dream world and the forest had always seemed safe and comforting to her, now they felt more like an alien wilderness.
She was tired, hungry, angry, alone, afraid, and felt her life had been stolen away from her. She dreaded the thought of dreams and sleeping.
Then she looked at Jayden, and smiled for the first time since they left. She spoke to him, beckoning.
“I’m sorry Jayden. You gave me flight and I repay you with a long and silent journey. We will sleep now, and fly together in dreams. Then she added, suddenly resolved “I’ll take you home, Jayden, to the village of the dragons in the mountains where the dream plane is free to all.” Jayden seemed to smile and snuggled next to her, instantly asleep. She lay down beside him, remembering the glory of their morning flight, his birthday gift to her. It seemed another lifetime somehow, as if the book had ended, and a new one was beginning.
====24 the dream meeting Allyssa and Chathalen day two night ====
She began to drift off to sleep.
Suddenly she felt a glorious golden light, that filled her being, engulfed her completely with warmth. Like love, she thought, but tinged with sadness. She felt a tremendous urge to hug someone, to comfort them, but there was nothing, only light. At first she had no form, nor did he….
Suddenly Chathalen stood before her, shining golden in all his love for her. He was overwhelmingly handsome, breathtakingly beautiful, a prince in the robes of the village leadership. The dream keeper; he had taken his form, though he had not yet taken his vows. Somehow she knew this.
Age and time are not set in dreams, and space is relative. Standing before him, she was a tiny child, terrified, as she had been that day long ago in the forest when they fell from the tree…when he had broken her fall, and she has licked his face to help him heal. But at the same time she was all grown, a beautiful young woman dressed in the robes of the Matriarch, a princess, his equal, a perfect match for him. She felt torn, not knowing who she was, which self to own. Though the eyes of her child-self she saw the two of them together…the village leaders, dressed in robes of power and glory, and saw it with the awe of a tiny child, and was filled the glory of his shinning golden love, which she had never really noticed before.
But then he spoke.
“Allissa”…his voice was broken, weary and full of sorrow. All she saw then was his dark eyes, filled with tears. It was not a dream voice, but the voice of her childhood friend. She drowned for an instantaneous eternity in his tears, and answered with her own. They were one in tears, in wordless sorrow. She was not a princess in royal robes now, she was a twelve year old girl, with dragon wings; Her final form. He reached for her, as a friend, as a teacher, a healer concerned for her; he called her name again, “Allissa.”
Suddenly her feelings of the day flooded back, magnified in dream power. She felt the full force of all her feelings bind together into her anger, into her hatred, directed just at him.
Then she remembered something he had taught her long before. “A safety skill,” he had called it “if are ever attacked on the dream plane by something truly horrific, something that wants to destroy you, to reach beyond the dreams, and change your earth bound destiny. Something you feel you need to cast away forever, and never face again in any way on any plane.” She replayed in dream her memory of the lesson; relived it. He spoke in seriousness of all the darkest horrors of the dream plane, which she might meet. At the time, she thought he was just being silly, over protective of her. She didn’t pay close attention, never thinking she would meet such situations. He explained the permanent and irrevocable nature of this barrier, something beyond authority, turning the attacker’s own power to bind it, the strength of it’s binding because if this. How deep a person’s need must be to cast it, and how deep must be their feelings to provide the power for its casting. “This should never happen,” he said, with such adamant sincerity…”You should never meet anything worthy of this, but if you ever do, I wanted you to know what you can do. I want you to be safe.”
That was how she felt about him now, she thought, in her grief and confusion. She could not image anything worse for her than this. He had chosen to destroy her, to steal her destiny, leave her with nothing. He had betrayed her as a friend, and as a trainer. This was all because of him. He had become in her mind everything she hated, and never wanted to face again; it seemed perfect that he had given her the answer, the solution, so long ago.
Impulsive as the child she still was at heart, and unaccustomed to dream walking, she lived her hurt and confusion and hatred with profound intensity, as if nothing else existed in the universe. She laughed, a crazy laugh, and her thoughts were played out in his dream also, she threw her hatred at him, and he felt it, lived it, was crushed and torn apart by it. He was not prepared for this. She heard him scream, in shear pain and terror, beyond control. Then she felt him suddenly gather all his power, and pull away. He pulled himself together, and stood before her, a shadow copy of herself almost, a twelve year old village boy, clad in ragged clothes, with a dirty, tear streaked face.
She paused within herself for a moment, surprised; not expecting one who had taken final form could appear in another form, and still solid. He was not the keeper of dreams, who stole her place. He was just her childhood friend, her mentor, Chathalen. Blood began to ooze from an abrasion on his forehead, above his right eye. He took advantage of the pause as she drew her breath. He knelt before her, took her hands in his, and looked up into her eyes. His eyes were deep and dark and huge, all she saw for a moment, beautifully patterned as the grey root-threads began to spread and grow. He spoke, pleading desperately, urgently…”Allissa, please, I need you stay with me”
“I will never return” she screamed back at him. She was feeling so hurt and alone, not caring for anyone’s needs but her own, that his words were twisted in her mind and pushed her deeper into anger. “Selfishly asking for my help,’ she thought, “caring nothing for my needs or feelings.” He felt the shift, like a knife in his heart but with all the vast power he had, he held his form. She noticed then that he also had dragon wings. “Evil that appears in the form of an angel,” she thought, filled with bitter resentment. She could tolerate no more, and spoke the words to block him away forever. He seemed to shimmer and fade, the way a dream does when you awaken and you want to remember it but you can’t. He was reaching out for her, trying to hold on, trying to counter her inexperienced attack with something more advanced and complicated; being forced away, by his own power, the power he had given keep her safe.
His voice, screaming “Allissa, no!!!” echoed infinite and eternal within and around her, engulfed her soul, all she saw was his face, tear-streaked and dirty, pleading, bleeding; the tiny veins of grey still spreading root-like from the center out across his dark brown eyes.
====15 allissa awkens day three morning ====
In troubled sleep, the dream replayed in her mind over and over through the rest of the night. She tried to tell herself, “It didn’t work, I haven’t cast him away forever, it was just a dream…just a dream,” she replayed all of it, clung to it from the first golden glow of his love, through the memories of his lessons, to the depth of pain and fear in his dark eyes veined with gray. She refused to let go of his memory, as if that alone could take back what she knew she had truly done. She knew she had made her second great mistake on the dream plane now. The best friend she had ever had in human form was lost to her.
Morning came. She was forcefully awakened into sudden clarity by a loud crackling noise:Jayden sterilizing stones with his fire breath before he ate them. She felt defeated and ashamed, and determined that it was unthinkable for her to ever enter the dream plane again. At least without training more, and guidance, “which,” she thought bitterly, “I will never get.”
“Every time I go there,” she realized, “something of great value to me is lost, due to my own actions, forever lost. The things that mattered most to me are gone now,” she thought, “except for Jayden,” she turned to see him standing nearby, munching stones that he had just sterilized with his breath flames. “I can’t endure the loss of any more” He seemed to be glaring at her. She had broken her promise to fly with him. “I’m sorry Jayden” she said “Chathalen needed me more than you did last night.”
Then the irony of what she had said hit her. She lay in the warm grass of the hill and wept desperately, completely, for several hours and didn’t even notice Jayden standing by aloofly munching stones. ====chapter 7 Chathalen’s ascension day two night====
Chathalen lay in his bed trembling in shock, unbelieving. She had cast him away forever. He had wrongly judge. “I never should have tried to find her on the dream plane without authority, and” he thought sorrowfully, I never should have taught her how to cast away danger without authority, even though we were both very young at the time, and I was only trying to keep her safe.” He burned within himself with regret for his impulsiveness and for hers. “We are both still children,” he thought, “not wise enough to wield this sort of power without authority, without training and guidance.” He swore within himself to never break the law again. He gathered his spirit, and gathered hope
“The casting off was intended to be unbreakable. However,” he reassured himself, “there are many things we don’t yet know. I have traveled the dream wind. I will take what I have learned there, I will take all I will learn in my authority, and I will find a way to bring her back. I was always willing to wait for Allissa. This doesn’t change things all that much.”
Facing D’neira would already be a difficult challenge, to keep his fathers secret without violating the vows he soon must take. Now he would have to be even more careful, to tell D’neira about the casting away without revealing his wind-riding, and thereby betraying Tersh. Humbled, but determined, he entered the dream plane once again, and arrived in the Appointed Place, where D’neira was waiting.
He met her eyes, which seemed glassy and devoid of feeling. “D’neira is very skilled,” he thought “but I am just as skilled. I must not show it.” For a moment he was grateful for his visit to Allissa, in spite of what happened. Allissa would be his guide to how much power he could display at this time; His example to follow of how someone new to the dream plane should appear at the Appointed Place. He focused on his gratitude, and on his memory of how her inexperienced spirit had appeared in the dream plane, mimicking her ignorance.
He averted his eyes from D’neira’s, and knelt before her. “D’neira, queen of our village, I come before thee in humility at the Appointed Place. I give up my own life to serve my village, as I am now called and set apart to do. Show me the path.”
“Rise” she said in dream words which swept through him with dramatic power. “She is very skilled” he thought, impressed. Until now, he had avoided any direct contact with D’neira on the dream plane, but had noticed she stayed in very safe and cautious places. He had not really anticipated this much strength from her. He had traveled the dream plane all his life, but still her dream voice cut through him easily. It made him shiver, filled him with awe. He could have blocked it then, or answered in his own, but knew he mustn’t, and carefully resisted all resistance, willing himself under her spell, but holding back just enough control to continue guarding his fathers secrets.
Fortunately, what happened next would make everything easier.
He rose and looked into her eyes as he knew he should.
He must make his vow carefully, before he could try to tell her about Allissa.
D’neira began the ritual
“Are you prepared?”
“I am prepared” he said, manifesting the training he had given Allissa, the way she manifested it when he faced her not long before, following her example with gratitude. His role modal for innocence, he thought affectionately, being careful to not let his feelings escape the dream wind.
“In dreams there are things that cannot be hidden, and things which are revealed, which cannot be revealed” he listened carefully as she spoke, weighing her meaning, wording his response with equal care. “I Chathalen, hold no secrets” he paused, carefully adding “of my own.” Then continued “I have given myself this night fully to the service and protection of those of my village” he pictured Allissa and Tersh at this point, knowing that they were part of his village, and he felt he could guard their secrets within this vow. “In my youth I have transgressed. I leave the past behind, I will no longer walk outside my vows” …this would free his visit to Allissa from tainting his vow, he thought, along with any other youthful folly. “I know that power exists within authority, and power without authority is a risk I shall not take again. I will be the dream keeper of D’zaren, in the honor of Allissa, daughter of D’neira, in the authority of the matriarchy.”
“So be it then” said D’neira, quietly, almost sadly, and not in her dream voice “I have always known it would come to this.” Then returning to her full power, she sealed his vow
“Chathalen, son of Tersh, grandson of Sharra, dream keeper of D’zaren, Patriarch of all future generations, receive your destiny.” He wanted to protest being addressed at patriarch, wanted to interject “I serve in Allissa’s honor, I will not rule as Patriarch” but he knew he couldn’t. Holding this truth within him with the power of the dream-wind, he answered “I receive it”
And he received it. Or it received him, took him in, took him over, melted him into nothing and made him a part of it. He entered the plane of authority.
For this, nothing could have prepared him. It was much more power than he anticipated, more than he had ever found in the wind, more even than the dream bound manifest on the free dream plane. He had appeared in a dream form as a patriarch, but now it entered his soul completely, owned him, transformed him, erased everything he ever was before and made him new. He became Patriarch, and dream keeper. He received it, with all his spirit except the little bit he held back, remembering Allissa, and keeping his fathers secret safe. He clung to them, held them as part of him self, allowed them to become part of his patriarchy. He would not let them be burned away as just part of the old life, which he felt was being taken from him forever.
He felt alive in a way he had never been before. Everything was different now, the world was new, it was like a dream plane of the dream plane, compared to this the wind was just a line, and the free dream plane, where one could travel without authority was like a pencil sketch drawn by a child. Sorrow and regret for Allissa engulfed him, so completely that he couldn’t hide it form D’neira. Sorrow that she wasn’t here instead of him, because of what she had done with Jayden. Sorrow that she was not with him on the wind, that he was cast away from her instead, because in his bad judgment he had tried to contact her without authority. He over came it quickly, but not before D’neira noticed.
“It was never meant for her, Chathalen” said D’neira gently, as a mother comforting a grieving child “The moment she walked into D’zeron with a dragon, I knew it would be you standing here tonight. Some currents on the plane of authority flow in courses that cannot be changed,” The image she projected to him as she said this included many things that cannot be changed within authority. One of those things was his barrier. Chathalen cringed within himself, careful not to show it this time.
D’neira was not surprised at his regrets, in fact he realized she would have been suspicious if he had not manifest it, that he let slip just the right amount to not raise her suspicion. “I’m good at this” he thought, smiling in pride within himself, while presenting to her still an exterior of sorrow, appearing to give her his full attention.
“I know more than you realize, Chathalen.” She said, as his equal now, and a chill ran through him realizing how true this was. He never imagined authority had a plane of its own, like the wind, only greater than the dream plane, rather than within it. The plane of authority was to the dream plane as the dream plane was to the dream wind. He wondered what she knew, what she could hide from him as he had hidden from her in the dream wind. He wondered what lay above the plane of authority. He allowed the wondering to fill his being, like a child; he was a child at the feet of the master now. In this plane, he was new-born and knew nothing. He had no need to pretend ignorance, no reason for pride in his own skill.
“You visited Allissa, without authority, before you came to me.” she stated matter-of-factly. “She cast you away, using your own power, with a skill you taught her long ago, without authority. It was a great power, and unusual. Yet you still hold to her. You know she is gone forever, yet you do not let her go.”
He threw himself into D’neira’s arms and wept like a child, relieved not to have to hide this anymore. He let the pain of it take him over, and lived it, faced it, experienced it completely. He felt it fully, as one must do in order to go forward after such a tragic loss. D’neira understood his need and gave him comfort, like a mother with an injured child. “I will not let her go” he said, when he had recovered just enough to speak. “It was my mistake and I will find a way to make it right” he said, sounding, in spite of the humility of the words, like a stubborn child determined to find a way around the rules. D’neira smiled gently, as a loving mother “we will find a way Chathalen” she said, holding his face between her hands. Then raising one hand, she passed it lightly across his forehead, above his eye, and he felt the wound which had re-opened when he faced Allissa heal again. “But not tonight, child, for now this dream must end. Children are always in such a hurry.”
====17 Chathalen awakening day three morning ====
The newly ascended dream keeper awaked in his room, the feel of D’neira’s touch still on his face, her motherly smile lingering warmly in memory. He basked in the joy of it. His mother had been gone long ago. He had spoken to her on the wind, but you can’t really feel the wind, not like a touch of skin on skin on the plane of authority, more real than the earth and more solid than the dream plane. On Earth D’neira held herself aloof from everyone. She had been a kind and caring teacher and the leader of the village, but he had never had any affection for her personally, nor had she displayed any for him. Now he understood. In the power of the plane of authority, they really were her children, and she loved them all desperately. But she couldn’t get personally involved on the earth plane, because she belonged to everyone. She lived alone. Chathalen shivered “is this to be my fate also, then?” He wondered “must one be alone to be the dream keeper?” he determined in his heart, with all the power he had on every plane, to find Allissa, to never let her go.
He stared up at the thatched ceiling of his cottage, re-living the night, without feelings, too numb in the end to feel it all. In the past he thought it odd that they called the ceremony ascension. Now he felt the reality of his own ascension, and understood. But on awakening, dreams fade away from the earthbound soul. He went to rise, and found himself exhausted, fell back and slept in dreamlessly for several hours.
Ch 8 Jason and the dreabound creatures
====Jasson sleeps on the beach and is attacked by dream creatures ====
It was early evening when the air transport vehicle stopped at the borders of Kaar-Taal air space, and lowered the young retro-technologist into the ocean in his rowboat. The weather was calm and warm, the water almost glassy. Jason was glad he had chosen a boat with paddles rather than sails. The air was clear, and even from this distance he could hear the roar of the great waterfall pouring down between two hills at the mouth of the river Sh’harn, into the lake that drained into the swamps of the delta. “one or two days journey above that waterfall” he thought excitedly “is D’zeron. And this time day after tomorrow, I could be there.”
He waited till all his supplies had been lowered into the boat from the air transport…a bedroll, basic clothing and food for three days, mainly, plus notebooks to record his observations. Everything else he needed he would have to find in the wilderness. Jason always loved this sort of expedition. He grinned joyfully as he waved farewell to the transport pilot, and watched it disappear quickly back across the ocean. Then he went forward to the shore, paddling with calm grace, putting his full strength into it. He enjoyed the exertion. It was nice, he thought to depend on ones own strength and abilities and knowledge, rather than rely on technology. He felt life glowing within him when he traveled this way, in a way he never felt when he was surrounded by advanced technology.
He rested for a moment, sitting in the boat ****describe boat****watching the sun setting behind the waterfall, rainbows dancing in the spray of it. it was breathtaking.
“If only for the beauty of this sight, of this one moment, this journey would all have been made worthwhile” he thought.
Then he turned his boat and paddled around to the south east side of the delta, and along the smooth sandy beach that stretched out along the shore beyond the delta marshes..
Pulling his boat up onto the beach, he dragged it to higher ground, at the top of the dunes where the grass began to invade the sand. He found a spot sheltered by a small cliff. Not that he needed shelter on this clear warm summer evening, but just because the cliff made him feel safer, less exposed in this very alien but very beautiful place.
For the same reason, he built a fire. He sat by the fire for many hours before he slept. gazing into the warmth and familiarity of flames, he thought of Derrick, slightly regretful not to be there at the Marrion Jay to receive a response to the video he had sent.
Then he thought of Tark, if it had indeed been Tark, and wondered if he would visit Jason now that he was on this continent. Surely there would be someone he could visit in his dreams tonight. The dream keeper, if no one else, should be able to find him here.
And that certainly would have been true, but for the fact that tonight was the night when Allissa had become an adult, and D’neira was be entirely preoccupied with other matters on this night. But Jason Scott-Harris knowing nothing of those things eagerly went to sleep when his fire had died down, seeking new adventures on the dream plane.
He fell asleep. He sought the dream wind. He felt a presence there, someone in deep despair, but when he tried to approach them he felt as if he was shut out, pushed away. Whoever that was, they were not in the mood to visit with strangers on this night, he thought. He set his attention on Tark. Tark had somehow come to him in JaiTen. Could he come here? Jason had not wandered much here in waking, as the sun was just setting when he arrived. He found that on the wind here, he could travel to Jai ten, across the sea when he had flown, and he could travel the parts of the beach where he had walk or had seen from the boat. He took the form of a dragonfly, and sailed and glided through the spray of the waterfall. it was fun, and beautiful.
But he was an anthropologist, a retro-technologist. He wanted to see people and technology. Returning to the beach, he took his form as an anthropologist, and reached his mind out across the dream plane, seeking “is there anyone here? Does anyone hear me?”
He heard laughter, horrible laughter, nightmare laughter. He wanted to wake up and escape it; it was as if his darkest fears had taken form and come to life… he was paralyzed with fear…darkness swam before his eyes, and he thought he would faint, he spun inside, dizzily, and reached out his arms to try to catch his balance. Everything around him had vanished.
The laughing continued, and in the emptiness ha saw glowing serpentine shapes swimming around him. He could still feel his body, his clothes, but could not see himself, as if he had become invisible. …terror overcame him and he screamed.
They laughed louder, clearly laughing at him now. They seemed to dance around him. He felt confused. He stared at the laughing dancing forms, they were like flames, like snakes. He tried to think.
“Dream bound creatures,” he thought. “creatures which live on the dream plane, but have no waking form. Can they speak?” He knew very little of the dream bound. For a moment he felt the excitement of a new discovery.
“Are you dream bound?” he asked “can you talk to me? I want to learn of you” they laughed louder, and their disrespect cut through him engulfed him owned him, he could feel or think nothing else for a moment. He gathered himself, he tried to concentrate.
“I mean you no harm” he said, then immediately regretted his choice of words, as their disrespectful laugher increased overwhelmingly. He realized they were not the ones who needed to worry about being harmed. He fought his fear, tried to shut the laughter out, to think clearly.
“Sometimes to earn respect of the native people you must assume their appearance” he thought. He tried to change his form to something serpentine, flamy-snakelike, like them. Flames burned him, he could see his invisible body now engulfed in flames, and he could feel the flames consuming his flesh, though he could not see the flesh. The creatures danced and laughed around the bonfire that was him. He screamed in pain and terror and focused on having no form again. It didn’t work. Giving up. He willed the fire to consume his dream-form entirely, and in an instant he was bones, ashes, and then the pain was gone and he was again Jason Scott-Harris, invisible in the midst of laughing firesnakes
He cried in relief to be himself again, and that the pain was gone, and then he cried in frustration at his plight. He couldn’t move. He dared not try changing form again.
He screamed “Who are you what do you want why are you doing this?”
They laughed, in unison this time, something different. Jason took hope. He felt he was on the right track. He stood invisible in the nothingness, and observed the flaming serpentine beings as they circled him. Then they hissed his words back at him…toneless, mechanical, soulless…like the voice of Tark, only without the part that reminded him of Derrick, and with an added part that reminded him of nothing less than a circle of flaming snakes…
“Who are you what do you want why are you doing this?”
Well, he thought, questions don’t bring answers, so maybe answers will. He was sure they understood. He never thought to doubt it.
“I am Jason Scott-Harris from the planet Earth” he answered, shaking more than he expected with the effort of speaking. His voice sounded pitiful, weak and childlike in the nothingness, a terrified whisper “I have come to study the people and technology of D’zeron. I want to learn about this planet. I want to learn of you. Please let go of me”
As he spoke, they repeated his words as if talking amongst themselves, not in unison as before. Until he got to the “please let me go” part, which he had not intended to say, but sometimes in dreams your deepest thoughts form words without consent. As soon as he said it he wished that he had not.
Laughing louder than ever, though not quite as maliciously maybe, they rushed at him from all sides, bound him with their bodies, until he was entirely wrapped in smooth cold snakelike tentacle-like strange unknown writhing creatures, yelling in their unified fire serpent voices “let me go!!! Let me go!!! Let me go!!! They didn’t burn, but they squeezed and pinched, and he found it hard to draw his breath, though he know he could not die in the dream plane from not breathing, it was still a terrifying feeling.
He held his peace. He waited, the laughter quieted, they seemed to be getting bored “maybe if I do nothing they won’t want to play with me anymore, and they will leave “ he thought.
But dream bound creatures have very long attention spans, and this new unknown creature from another world was not going to grow old very quickly
A large fire-serpent separated from the squeezing crowd. “Hey JasonScottHarris” he began, suddenly sprouting several pairs of, for lack of a better word, arms, with which to gesture.
“From the planet earth!!!!” He yelled poking a little fiery finger in the air for emphasis. He was not toneless now, but dramatizing the words in an exaggerated way. Six other creatures detached themselves from Jason’s body, and began to dance around him like his back-up band. Or like the church choir behind a southern preacher. It didn’t seem to reduce by any noticeable amount the number of them that still held him squashed and immobile, unbreathing
“JassonSSscottHarrissfromearth JassonSScottHarrissfromearth JassonSSscottHarrissfromearth” the backup singers chanted rhythmically, swaying to the rhythm of their voices
They repeated the chant over and over until the words were no longer distinguishable, and then the large, many armed serpent spoke again, leaping close to the terrified anthroplolgist’s pale unbreathing face.
Jason couldn’t draw a breath, couldn’t speak, so he stared into the creatures eyes, they were slanted, larger than human eyes, spinning with red and green and blue iridescent lines and squiggles, beautiful, strange, menacing. Terrifying.
Jason tried to imagine what he should say, if he could speak, and could not imagine the right words to say..
The creature seemed to gesture to the others, and they loosened their grip slightly. Jason drew a breath “ He’s fine, why do you ask?” said Jason. Surprised that his voice now sounded steady and clear, not weak and childish as before.
The large snake laughed alone. It dived at Jason, Jason felt the creature pass through his left ear, into his head swim a few circles around inside, and re-emerge from the other ear, all in less then a second. Then it gathered itself into an almost humanoid form, and said
“y’d be s’prised at all I know, Jedi Jason”
The tone and phrasing and the posture of the form sounded just like Harris, though the voice was still the fire serpent. Jason realized without a doubt that it was doing impressions of what it found in its visit to his brain, as the entire fire snake audience collapsed in to riotous laughter.
Jason shuddered to think what else the creature might have found in there.
- ====Harris saves jason ====
It turns out that as soon as Harris falls asleep, he enters his own spacer dream plane and the spacer dream plan is not connected to places, but to people, so because of the connection he as made with Jason, he is able to hear his cries for help on the dream plane and he travels there and has them drop him off at sea so he can wake up Jason.
“Well, he was supposed to be waiting for me here in a boat, but you know Dr Scott-Harris, he likes dreamin he just probably overslept. I need some exercise anyhow to work off all the drinking, so I’ll just swim ashore”
He doesn’t really plan to go out to sea in the boat to meet Harris, believing that Harris is not coming. (And because he can’t wake up.) Early the next morning Harris comes swimming up to the beach. He had them just drop him in the ocean and swam to shore. He wakes Jason and saves his life, they argue about whether he was going to come, and whether Jason would have taken the boat out to get him, or left without him. He wasn’t planning to go, but when he realized he really had been dream walking, and that Jason needed help, he decided to go. When Harris arrives, Jason is sleeping on the beach
Harris splashed up onto the beach hastily, searching for the boat, and Jason. Seeing the boat, he runs to it and finds Jason sleeping, apparently peacefully. For a moment he has second thoughts, thinking perhaps it is just a dream. “Hey Jason!” he yells “wake, up it’s morning, I’m here. Time to get moving, lets go!” the anthropologist goes on sleeping peacefully. He nudges him with his foot. No response. He shakes him pokes him slaps him, all to no response He contemplates kissing him like sleeping beauty, but can’t really come up with any reason to think this might help, it was, after all, a dream world not a fairytale, so he chooses not to, at least for now. Probably wouldn’t work anyhow” he thought “since I’m not a princess”. He picks the small young man up into his arm and carries him into the ocean and throws him into the water, but nothing seems to help. The young anthropologist still seems to be sleeping peacefully, nothing will wake him.
Harris lays his friend down on the beach and tried to think of something else that might wake him. He thinks of many painful things, but does not think pain is the answer, and doesn’t want to physically harm his new friend, even to save his life, if there is any other option.
He thinks he could carry him to D’zeron. And then he thinks, he can go to sleep and use the dream plane to call for help. If he could reach Jason on the dream plane, maybe he could reach someone else who would know how to wake Jason, Desperate for a solution, he talks outloud to the anthropologist. “What can I do? What would you do if I couldn’t wake up, Jedi Jason? Would you come looking for me in the wind of dreams? That’s what you would do isn’t it? So that’s what I’m gonna do, little brother, I’m gonna find you in your dreams, and bring you back.”
Harris had very good control of his body, it is a physical /mind skill he has developed, Lying down next to his friend on the beach, he puts himself to sleep, in only a few minutes. He rises into the dreamwind and Jason is screamin, bound in the vines of the dream creatures, while the draem creatures circle around, taunting him. He is struggling and hysterical. Harris glares at the dream creatures, summoning all his strength “NO!” he yells “this is my brother, you cannot have him!! Leave NOW!!! They fade into the forrest of the dreamplane as if they were never there. Harris unties his friend, and the younger man collapses into his arms still crying hysterically. Harris awakens himself, and finds that Jason is still asleep, but not sleeping peacefully, crying in his sleep as if he is having a nightmare. He shakes him a little to see if he will waken now, and Jason falls sobbing and screaming into his arms like a little child. Harris comforts him until he regains his composure, and then Jason is very embarrassed about having acted that way, but Harris doesn’t mind. “hey little brother, that’s what I’m here for. Forget all about it. You can repay me by teaching me more about dream travel.”
I didn’t think you were coming Harris. If I had woke up in the morning I would have gone up the river without you. I’m sorry I doubted you.”
“No, Jedi Jason, you were right to doubt me. I had no intentions of coming, even after that witch Rhonda came and sobered me up and told me she had a transport arranged to drop me off,”
“Mrs Tepin sobered you up? I told her I would take care of it, and she said I ought to find someone else to go along, I thought she wasn’t pleased that you were going”
Harris laughed his drunken pirate laugh “Na, She’s devious, boy, never believe if she tells you what to do…she knows when you are gonna do just the opposite, but in the end you end up doing what she wants, she’s got a way. You know who her husband is don’t ya?”
Jason didn’t know
Alexandrial Teppin is the leader of the spacers alliance, and the sovereign of the lost planet Terran 13, only we called it Paragangia. He’s our king, so to speak. And Mrs Teppin is his queen. She gets her way pretty much all the time.
He sobered and looked seriously at the younger man. “That isn’t why I came though” he said “I came because I knew you needed help, and I wanted to help you”
“How did you know?” asked the young anthropologist
“I heard you screaming on the dream plane.” replied his freind
“Really? How could that be? You have never traveled to this place, and I was not able to travel back to seek your help. and besides you told me before you have never traveled the wind. you said you wanted me to show you how. I always thought it was a place one couldn’t enter without an invitation ”
“But I did hear you, Jason, and not on the wind. I have to tell you something about my people now, something I help back before because it is a secrate guarded as sacred by Paragangians. But now I think you need to know. Spacers have a sort of a dream plane too. But it’s different than yours, and different that the one on this planet, also”
“How can spacers have a dream plane? there isn’t the field for it in space, I know I have tried it.”
“That’s how it is different, Jason. Some of us have very advanced dream talents by inheritance. We came from a planet with a very developed dream plane and dreaming was a big part of our culture. Our dream plane is not formed around our planet now, but around our people. Paragangian people born in space can dream speak to other Paragangian people with whom they have formed a close waking relationship, or with whom they have met on the dream plane. I don’t know why, but I have this dream bond with you. I could hear you screaming. You called me and I heard it over the spacers plane. To me that means you really are my brother, Jedi Jason, and I knew I had to help you.”
“So” said Jason, a little suspiciously “when I started telling you about the dream plane, this wasn’t entirely new to you, yet you didn’t tell me of this then. You haven’t been honest with me”
Harris seemed sincerely sorry about this “I couldn’t tell you Jason, it’s something we don’t share with outsiders, something that is sacred to our people. Surely you understand?’
Jason nodded “yeah, it’s ok, all cultures have their secrets, Harris”
“I’m telling you now because I feel like you are a brother in this, if I can reach you on the space dream plane, then it must be ok for you to know about it, right.”
Will you teach me about it, then, Harris? Teach me to use it also?”
“I can try Jason, but it ain’t somethin we really teach or learn, it’ somethin we’re born wit. so I’m not sure I know how to teach it.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know yet about what we are really here for. You weren’t told cause you weren’t one of us, but I’m going to tell you now, as soon as we have time to talk. I think you need to know. The queen would not agree I’m sure, but there’s more at stake in this that politics. Are you with me?”
Jason looked doubtful, obviously confused “I guess so, Harris?” he put on his glasses and looked up at the rugged dark man beside him, expectantly, like a young student listening for the master’s wisdom. Harris laughed and tousled his hair again. This time to Jason the gesture seemed loving and brotherly, and he took no offense in it at all.
He smiled back at the man whom he knew had just saved his life. “we’ll get it all figured out soon enough big brother,” he said “But for now, we’ve got a boat to carry up that hill to the river before sunset, and the day is half gone, so I think we ought to get going, so we don’t have to port in the dark for too long. The brush is pretty thick, it won’t be easy going.”
ch 9 Allissa remembering CHathalen
========18 Allissa’s remembering Chathalens eyes day three morning ========
Allissa sat in numb silence on Far Hill, when she had finished crying, and there was nothing left to feel within her. She wrapped her arms around her thin legs, laying her head on her knees, looking back along the wavy rift between the trees which was the river Sh’harn, to the place when the village of D’zaron stood, hidden by the trees and the distance. She was beyond thinking, but just sat quietly, feeling the softness of her brown curls against her sun-warmed skin, and the grass beneath her.
Memories of her village life flowed through her mind, unthinkingly, un-willed, just passing by.
Her training entered her thought; so much of her time in recent years had been spent at that. She remembered the first day Chathalen had come to instruct them, when he turned 12, the age at which children in the village began to assume adult responsibilities. She was 7 then, and didn’t yet have Jayden, so much of her time not spent in training was still spent with Chath’en, exploring the forest. But sometimes she played with the other girls while they were at school. The girls like to role play for their future role as wife and mother, and speculate who they would marry. Allissa wasn’t really much interested in this. She was the princess. She knew she would become the dream keeper and the matriarch, and had a greater destiny than marriage and family, but she played along with them sometimes, just to be polite.
When Chathalen came to teach them the girls were all giggly and excited at lunch. How very handsome he was, and how mature he looked in the formal robes of an instructor, his hair in a thick, neat chestnut-colored braid down his back. Since future job assignments are not to be talked about in the village openly, they had not really known that he would come that day, yet it seemed in recent weeks the talk at playtime had often included him.
“I would not want to join his family, so I would never choose to marry him,” said Serai, Shuttering at the thought of being related to the village idiot. Serai was older than the others, very close to Chathalen’s age. “But Tersh seems to like you, Allissa, even when he’s in a foul mood, he still calls you his princess, and Chathalen himself is such a prince. Perhaps for one like you devoted to” she paused, looking for an acceptable word, but they all knew what she meant so the exact word didn’t matter “work, and not to family, he would make a fine mate.” At this point Chathalen entered the dinning hall, to call them back to lessons. Serai gestured at him with her spoon, leaning close to Allissa; gripping her arm to be sure she had her full attention. “Doesn’t he look positively gorgeous now?”
Allissa took notice of the young dream instructor for the first time as he really appeared then, not just as the child she had climbed rocks and trees with, ragged and dirty, with long brown hair dusty and tangled with twigs and leaves, tied loosely back with an old piece of twine. She had teased him about it just the other day in fact, offering to cut it for him, when it snagged on a tree branch. How foolish he had seemed to her when he refused, saying “I have gown my hair out in preparation for my adulthood, it is an important part of the customs of D’zeron, something you couldn’t possibly understand, Allissa, since you are still a baby with no interest in the things of adulthood.”
At the time she felt offended, and refused to play with him for a few days when he came seeking her. She hadn’t even realize he was turning 12, since such things were never openly spoken of, and didn’t interest her enough to keep track of them. Surely Serai, who kept track of all the things which went unspoken, must have been expecting him this morning.
“You’re right, Serai,” she said, her eyes following the pointing spoon “he cleaned up pretty good. Since you think he’s such a fine prince, well then maybe you should marry him. You’ll be of age soon enough. There’s more to love than just family, isn’t there?”
She wanted to go on teasing, and in her mind began a romanticized description of the new, young dream-instructor. But she had to keep it to herself because it was time to return to lessons. It continued to grow in her mind like a snowball, though, rolling through her memories, and picking up things she hadn’t consciously noticed…how well formed and graceful his body was, his strength and agility, the way his muscles rippled like a wildcat when he crawled up the slope of the riverbank by the cliffs. She remembered How straight and bright his teeth were when he smiled at her, when she showed him a beautiful, never before seem insect she had found in the forest. How attractive the shape of his face was, even though it was much different than that of anyone else in the village. And warmth of his the golden skin, also like no one else. She had to admit, though she never really noticed, that her childhood friend really was a perfectly formed young man, though completely different in color and form from anyone else in D’zeron. No wonder Sarai, who always noticed such things, spoke so highly of him but she would not consider him as a potential mate.
And then, Allissa thought, when he was sad, or hurt, which wasn’t often, the incredible patterns of little lines like tiny root-threads raying out from his pupils like smoke across the dark-brown irises of his eyes. When he was 10, he had fallen from a tree, because the branch she had unwisely stepped upon broke, and it fell, bring both of them crashing down to the ground. He had been below her, and, trying to catch her as she fell. He had taken the impact of the ground and the weight of the falling branch, and her; though Allissa’s thin, 5-year-old body added little to the impact. She had been startled, but unhurt, and jumping up, saw him lying there, unconscious, beneath the branch.
She feared he might be dead, and knew she couldn’t carry him back, if he were too badly injured to walk home. She thought she should get help, but didn’t want to leave him there, alone and bleeding, unconscious, lest he be attacked by animals. The thought of animals eating her friend horrified Allissa more than the thought that he might die because she failed to get help for him, even though getting help was what she had been trained to do if ever faced with such a situation.
She yelled for help, though there was no-one there to hear her, and called out to the mythical spirit of the forest, the Shae, still young enough to expect help from all unlikely sources. She tried, though fully awake to reach out into the dream-plane to call for help. Maybe Tersh would hear her. Chath’en was asleep, maybe he could call for Tersh. “Call for Tersh, Chath’en’ she said to him, hoping he would hear her in his sleep. Gathering all her strength, which was a lot considering her size, she lifted the branch carefully off of him. His shirt, already ragged before, was torn and blood soaked. She pulled at the torn edges, trying to assess the damaged.
The wound did not seem deep, a large abrasion mostly, but she knew from the dirty old branch and all the fragments of bark that littered his skin, that it would need to be cleaned well and quickly before long or would be subject to serious infections. Her training as a healer had began the year before, so she know the basics of how to deal with this, but there was no way she could move him, and no sterile water in these woods. She carefully pulled the bark-littered shirt away from the wound thinking she could keep it cleaner by removing the dirty shirt. He moaned in pain, and turned towards her, blood from a scratch on his forehead beginning then to run down into his eyes.
She grinned; relieved to know he was at least alive. “Chath’en” she said “are you ok?” he didn’t answer, but tried to wipe the blood away from his eyes with his hand, adding branch crumbs to his already dirty face. He wasn’t fully conscious yet, she realized, and might not even know that he was bleeding. “You’re bleeding Chath’en, don’t put dirt in it” she said, again hoping he could hear and understand. Allissa wanted to wipe away the blood and dirt from his face, but her hands were no cleaner than his. SHE held his hand, and kneeling beside him, she licked his forehead as she had seen the farm cats do when they were injured; as she would do if she cut her hand. She cleaned the wound. Freed of dirt, this also appeared to be a fairly minor abrasion.
Her face was only inches from his when his eyes opened. She looked closely into them and was amazed. She realized now, thinking back on that event, that at the time she hadn’t even really thought of it as part of him. It was just one more of the many wonderful creations of nature which they had shared together, exploring and climbing in the woods, and around the river. They had shared the feathers of the birds, the gills of the fungi, the smell of mint when you ran through a field of it growing wild, blooming like a purple haze on the hillside. Rain, rainbows, waterfalls; everything in this forest. Chathalen’s hurt eyes. It was all just part of her world, her life.
From a distance, it looked like fog rising over the water, or smoke against the darkness; his eyes just grayed and softened. She had seen it once before. The day Tersh had burned his cabin down. Allissa was 4 then, and lived nearby. It was shortly before she began her training, so she didn’t really know Chathalen yet.
She watched in awe as flames consumed the small wood and thatch structure. Her heart filled with joy at the beauty of it. She drank in every moment, every detail of the sight, as Tersh fought off all attempts of others to put the fire out, and seem to guide the flames to greater beauty just for her.
In the end, the villagers gave up their vain efforts to help, and left cursing the crazy old man. The village idiot sat down with the young princess, and they watch together, sharing in the beauty of it, the largest fire she had ever seen. She had always loved fire, in the fireplace of her home, in the fields when they burned to clear the brush, but she had never seen a fire this great. It was magical fire; it awakened in her a joy she had never dreamed of being able to feel before, and it made the world new again. She had never really noticed Tersh before, but at this time, he became her hero, her night in shining armor, the lord of flames who rescued her from the darkness and boredom of village life.
When Serai thought of princes, and handsome men she would like to marry, when Serai longingly looked at the young men of the village, all dressed in there courting garb, and extolled their virtues, Allissa always thought of Tersh. Tersh was kind, sensitive, and understanding. He never seemed to think of her as a child or a wife or a mother, or even as the future matriarch, though he always called her princess. He shared with her as an equal, with no social rule binding or separating them. If she were ever to choose a mate, thought Allissa, she would like to marry someone like the village idiot.
The fire that was Allissa’s great awakening to the beauty of the world, for Chathalen was his greatest tragedy; the end of his world, the tearing away of all that he held dear, of who he was, and where he came from. Chathalen had been born in that cabin, and his mother lived and died there when he was 4, the same age Allissa was when the cabin burned. But no one talked about it, and since it was before her birth, Allissa knew almost nothing of it.
The 9 year old Son of Tersh had arrived home from his training as a dreamer and a healer that day, and the old man had politely made their introduction. Allissa, with the new eyes Tersh had awakened, saw the smoke spread from the center in Chathalen’s eyes as the smoke rose from the ashes of his life that day. She had never noticed him before, though she had seen him many times around the village.
“My destiny began at the fire that day,” she thought. “Until that time I never really lived.”
========19 Allissa decides to go home day three morning ========
“Roots and smoke….” she thought now, sitting on the far hill, in the sunshine, alone but for the dragon, munching stones behind her “…it is the same….when we are close, and seeing eye to eye we see the roots, which tie us to the land, families, friends, and village; our way of life; our history; all that we posses which holds us down and keeps us grounded.
But sometimes we have to burn the roots. We need the fire, the smoke…we need to fly away in dreams, or on dragon wings, So that we don’t stand so close that we can’t see our destiny beyond.”
“I never noticed how important Chath’en was to me, until I had cast him away forever.” She thought. “For the things I thought I needed or wanted more; things which seemed to matter once which are also forever gone.” She shuddered, remembering her two recent experiences on the dream plane, and what had come of them. She never wanted to go there again. But she wanted to see Chathalen, her childhood friend. His root-smoked eyes filled her memory, the pain in his voice cut through her until nothing else mattered anymore.
She stood on the hill, and looked back towards the village. “I will go back” she thought. “I will go to the village, I will apologize, We can still be friends.” She burned with regret, and its fire consumed all her defiance.
Was there anything to stop her? She had lost her standing, but that had never really mattered to Allissa. She had lost the dream plane, but she didn’t want it now. She had acted like an impulsive and irresponsible child. But children did such things and were forgiven every day. She was tired and hungry, and didn’t really have anyplace else to go. Calm, empty, humbled and hungry she stood up, and called to her dragon “come on Jayden, lets go home.” He smiled in his own way, gave a cry of joy and relief at seeing her at peace again, and took off flying in the direction of the village.
Allissa had not eaten for two days, and had not slept well. Even though she felt more at home in the tree tops, Allissa decided it would be faster and safer in her current condition to travel by water. The river was close, and D’zeron was down stream from here. She walked to the river, and then sat for a moment gathering her strength. The young dragon flying above circled back to land beside her. “I’m so hungry, Jayden” she said, not expecting an answer. Jayden dove into the river, and quickly returned with something round between his jaws. It looked like a rock. He began breathing flames at it, like he often did to sterilize rocks before he ate them. “I can’t eat rocks like you, Jayden” she said. “I’d better find something I can eat, so I don’t get faint while swimming” but as she rose to begin her search for something edible, he cried out, and she thought he was saying “you can eat this” she went to look closer. It looked black and charred, but it was rounder than most rocks, with groves radiating around the sides. Jayden held it between his talons, like a squirrel with a nut, and bit down on it with his powerful jaws, designed for breaking rocks. It cracked open, and Jayden sat it on the ground before Allissa, and looked at her proudly, the way a****(add details and name abt her cat) cat sometimes presented a dead mouse to her as a sign of respect. The shell was still too hot to touch, from Jayden’s fire breath. Allissa got a stick to pushed the shell apart, finding inside the perfectly cooked flesh of some sort of water creature that she had never seen before. Jayden had made her a meal. it was like a giant roly-poly and it’s flesh was like a crawdad, only with a softer, finer texture. She grinned in amazement at the dragon, “Thank you, Jayden” she said, and hugged him. She gratefully ate the delicious well cooked food which Jayden had prepared for her to eat.
The river carried her quickly to the beach below the cliffs where village children liked to swim, past the place where she had first found Jayden, near the place she slept and dreamed the day before, when destiny had been taken from her forever. None of that seemed to matter now. She was home, where she belonged, where she wanted to be. She could apologize to Chath’en now, and see his eyes without the smoke of pain. ========20 Allissa talks with D’neira ========
Allissa started up the path to the D’zaron. Suddenly, D’neira stood before her blocking her way. The matriarch looked angry and stern but for the moment Allissa didn’t care. She was happy to be home, even to face an angry matriarch. She grinned at D’neira in spite of the angry look and hugged her with everything she had. After a moment of hesitation, D’neira hugged her back. Allissa cried in her arms, apologizing “I’m sorry D’neira, I know it was all my mistake, I made bad choices, I let Jayden influence me, I shouldn’t have done that, I wasn’t worthy, and it’s just as well because Chathalen will be a way better dream keeper than I ever could have been, an I’m sorry I ran away, but I’m back, I’ll do what ever you want, and I’ll never go to the dream plane again, I’ve learned my lesson.” D’neira pulled away, and stopped her talking “Slow down, Allissa. I need to tell you something” Allissa stopped, wiped her tears and sat down with D’neira on a log by the pathway.
“I’m glad you came back, Allissa, it will make things easier, I hope, but you can’t stay here. You’ll have to leave.”
Allissa stared silently at D’neira, startled to hear this, but after the past few days, well, she even this didn’t really surprised her somehow. “Why?” she asked calmly, and D’neira explained. “Because you have cast away Chathalen, and there’s no way to reverse it, as far as we know”
“But it was on the dream plane, D’neira” said Alyssa, confused, pleading, needing to be right this time, but with little hope “I only cast him away on the dream plane, not in real life”
“The dream plane is real Allissa, you know that” Allissa swallowed hard, fighting back tears and hysteria as the truth of the situation began to sink in.
“So, what will happen if I see him, then? How do you know I can’t? “
“Allissa, there are many things you don’t understand about the dream plane, things which cannot be learned without authority. There is much more power in authority than you realize” Allissa felt put off, unanswered, treated like a child. “but I am a child” she remembered “I have acted recklessly; I am not worthy of better treatment now.”
She drew a deep breath to calm herself “you’re right, D’neira, I don’t understand. Why can’t I see Chath’en in the village? What would happen if I went into the village?”
D’neira shook her head. “I can’t tell you Allissa, and we cannot take the risk”
“You don’t know?” exclaimed Allissa, incredulous “you are going to cast me out of the village forever, because you don’t know what might happen? Why don’t we just try it and see, and if anything bad happens, I can just leave again.”
“Why not just try it?” Repeated D’neira exasperated with the Childs incomprehension “Allissa do you care for no one but yourself? I don’t think you HAVE learned your lesson!”
“What do you mean, D’neira?”
“ you cast him away not considering the consequences, and now you wish to force him back into your presence against the casting away, while the wall of protection you created around yourself, which spans both planes because it was created to protect you from dream creatures which could follow you home to this world, still stands.”
Allissa began crying in frustration. She knew she had made a serious mistake, but this all seemed so harsh and unforgiving “I didn’t mean it that way D’neira, I was just angry, and confused, I want to see Chath’en. I know how much I hurt him. I want to apologize.” she began to cry. “Please let me see him”
“Even if it might kill him, Allissa? You would risk his life just so you could see him again, to ease your own guilt after you cast him away. Don’t you think that is rather selfish, child?” Allissa stared at the matriarch, horrified.
“No!” she screamed, “I wouldn’t do that, that wasn’t what I meant. Why would it kill him? How do you know it would?”
D’neira sighed. “I don’t know for sure what would happen, but I know the wall around you stands. I know it transcends the dream plane, and in the dream plane, when he reaches the wall he is cast back to the earth”
“He just wakes up?” asked Allissa. this didn’t seem as dire as D’neira made it sound
“Yes, Allissa, I know that seems harmless to you, but think about it. If you cast him out of the earth, and he can’t go to the dream plane, what might happen?”
Sadly, Allissa acknowledged that she understood “Chathalen might die” she began crying softly, sadly, calmly, tears rolling down her cheeks as she started at D’neira “I’m sorry. I just want to go home to the village. To my family, and Tersh. and Chath’en too. Not to ease my guilt, nothing would do that, I just want him to feel better, to see his eyes not be so full of pain. I want to tell him I’m sorry.” D’neira hugged her “I know honey, Chathalen misses you too, very much, and he’s trying to find a way to break the barrier, or to reverse the casting. If anyone can find a way, he can. He’s very determined, and he loves you very much. But this thing was not made to be broken, it was meant to protect you from terrible things.” Allissa cried, and D’neira held her, and waited till she was calm again
“I’ll tell him you miss him and you wanted to apologize. He will be very pleased to know that you came back, even though he can’t see you”
Allissa nodded, and said “thank you”
Allissa sat silently for a while, trying to absorb this new twist of her destiny. “Where can I go D’neira?” she asked, “how far away from him must I stay?”
“I’m not sure yet Allissa, but I will tell you all I know. The intention was to protect you. Because of this, he cannot see you, and cannot touch you or talk to you. He cannot come close enough to you that he could attack in any way”
“But Chath’en would never attack me, D’neira.”
“No, of course he wouldn’t honey, but it is the assumption of the barrier, the purpose for which it was intended”
“Intended by whom? Who designed it? And why? Chath’en said it was to keep me safe” she sobbed, pausing to catch her breath “from something that could destroy my life forever” she felt terrible remembering she had felt this way about him the night before.
“Yes, honey. It was created from the irrational fears of one child, and set into motion by the rage of another reckless child. It was his mistake as well as yours, Allissa. You both brought forth this circumstance, and both of you will suffer from its consequences.”
“Chathalen created it for you, Allissa, illegally. He gave it to you against authority, because he feared for your safety, because of what happened to his mother. You were both much younger then. Children make mistakes, in innocence and ignorance, with good intentions. Sometimes those mistakes have dire consequences, as this might seem to be. If we all play our parts well going forward, and make good choices, following authority, then you both shall life, and maybe eventually we’ll find a way to undo the harm that has been done.” ======ch 10 Allissa meets Tersh on the dream wind
Allissa sleeps on the beach
Feeling completely alone she longed for the familiar safety of the village, and did not want to sleep outside again after the horrors of the previous night.
She thought of sleeping in the cave of silence, as Chathalen had done the night after the fire. But the dragon always refused to enter the well “I guess you have bad memories of this place I guess” she said to him. She began to climb down the well, but he cried so desperately she came out again before even reaching the bottom to sleep with him on the beach, below the cliff where she had flown in dreams with Jayden only days before. It seemed another lifetime. Memories haunted her dreams that night, of the past days events, earth and dream plane. Then she settled into the restful sleep of the earth bound, and a peaceful dream of village life, the farm, her family her cat.
“Come follow me into the forest” said the cat “see what I have found in Zair Theleil”
“cats in dreams can talk” she reassured herself being very careful now to heed her training, not to wander out of dreams into the dream plane.
She followed through the forest in the moonlight. She felt at peace, at home in her own place, her world, the forest. Zair Thaleil.
They wandered deep into the forest, observing plants, flowers, creatures, patterns of the light, scents and sounds. “This is my place, this is where I belong, here in this forest.” she thought.
at length they entered a clearing, a hill which had no trees, the cat rush on ahead , calling her to follow “see what I have found Allissa, come and see” the cat rushed forward excited to have achieved it’s destination. Allissa followed, entranced with his enthusiasm, anticipating with equal excitement whatever he would reveal.
then something seemed to shift, a closing in a change in the forest feeling, as if stepping into another world, like going inside an unfamiliar building, or entering a town you’ve never visited, or someone else’s home.
“Who’s place is this?” she thought, knowing she had stepped beyond her own world, the forest. She stopped and looked around her, and was alarmed to notice that the trees had closed in behind her, forming a solid wall of tree trunks, leaving no escape. She was trapped in the clearing.
The cat’s voice from behind her spoke “do not be alarmed, you are quite safe here, I’m sorry for the deception, princess, but sometimes when one has been lost far from the truth she must be lead through deception to return to it”
Taken entirely by surprise, she dropped all caution, ran to him and hugged him. He not only returned her hug but also picked her up and twirled her around, like a small child. she was suddenly filled with hope, as if his presence in her dream meant the rules no longer stood.
“Can you take me back, Tersh? Can you take down the barrier?”
“No, child, I have not come to take you back, I have come to take you forward.”
“Forward? Forward to where, Tersh?” She regretted not having listened to Tersh in the past. Maybe if she had paid more attention, she would have learned his language, some to understand and things would be less confusing now.
“To my destiny, princess. you the key are my destiny, but not in the way that you have imagined. Sorry princess, Shae is your destiny, or will be in time. You will lead me to the dragons and the old forest, and to Tark who can take you home to your destiny.”
Allissa looked entirely confused. “the Shae?”…it was a word in the old language, which meant “spirit”…”Spirit is my destiny?” The old man winked at her “trust me princess, it will all work out.” She realized she had always trusted him; absolutely. She felt a peace more complete than she had felt in a long time
“What is this place, Tersh? Is it on the dream plane? We never passed through the portal of transition, yet I was dreaming, and you have entered my dream. How can this be?”
“The Temple of the Wind, princess; the portal to my world. There is a wind which blows through the dream plane, and all may ride it freely if they have the keys. I give it to you, princess, you will help me now. This is my world.”
He paused as if he would wait for her agreement, and then continued before she could respond; there was no need. They both already knew that she would help him.
“Then I will give you what you have asked of me, after he has paid for his betrayal.” added the old man
“Paid for his betrayal? How has he betrayed you?” she asked
“He left me here alone. He has abandoned me for you. That’s why I need you now, and why he must be alone. There is a balance in it all, Princess, and you will see it soon.
Allissa was pretty sure none of that made sense, which was Typical of things that Tersh said, though she understood him more than most.
Then Tersh threw back his head to let out a piercing scream like a dragon cry. Soon after, Jayden came circling down into the clearing, landing before him “Thank you for coming my friend” he said. “The time has come for us to take our journey.”
Chapter 11 Jason and Harris travel to D'zeron
The waterfall at the mouth of the river Sh’harn dropped from a sheer stone cliff about 100 feet high forming a deep pool beneath it that released into the ocean via several channels, it was an incredible sight, and very loud also. Hills rose to either side of it, as if to hold it in its place, and they were steep, rocky and brush covered.
The boat was light and easy to carry, but the terrain was quite a challenge. Because of the difference in their height, Jason took the lead, making the boat more level to carry up the hill. Carrying the boat over their heads, it was out of the way of many of the shrubs on the hillside. They weren’t able to talk much as they walked because their full attention was on finding a good path and watching their footing. The weather was very warm, and the spray from the waterfall left the air very humid so they were hot and sticky and many strange creatures scurried away calling warnings as they approached. By the time they arrived at the river beyond the hill that guarded the waterfall, it was past dark. Strange creatures called in the night, there was much more life here than in the beach by the delta. After his experience of the previous night, Jason was not in any hurry to sleep here I the forest by the river.
“Let’s make a fire” suggested the retro-technologist enthusiastically, excited to have a chance to practice the primitive technology skills he has learned.
‘Harris looked at him like he was crazy “a fire?”…he laughed. “What for?”
I dunno Harris, it’s just something people on earth like to do when they are out camping.
Harris considered this. “ I have never built a fire.we don’t have fire on our ships and you rarely see them in space stations or ports, either. I have seen fires in fireplaces in inns, but not many. I don’t know anything about fire”
Jason grinned ”fire is awesome, I think humans naturally love fire, it’s just within our genetic code” Harris shrugged ‘maybe not in mine” Jason looked at him quizzically why not?
I’m not from earth, so my genetic code is different from yours, Jason. You mayb be my brother in dreams, but youre not my blood brother.
Yeah, but spacers didn’t evolve in space Harris,
‘no. most of us evolved on Terra 13. a lot of us became spacers when we lost our world. Actually it wasn’t as hard a transition since we were very tech-bassed anyhow, and there was already a pretty high percent of terran 13 people in the ranks of the space fleets.
I don’t think Paragangians ’s naturally like fire
“Jason looked at his friend, considering this. He still wanted a fire. “well…I still want fire, you don’t have to sit by it or help build it, but is it okay if I make one anyhow?
Harris laughed..”sure little brother, I’ll even help, I don’t mind, you tell me what to do.
Being on a different planet where he was not so familiar with the plants made it a bit more challenging to get aa fire going, as did the bvery high humidity of this place, but his lifelong study of primitive technology and his months of studying everything there was to know mabout this planet paid off. Soon they had a plesant fire burning, and a meal cooking over it of an animal Jason had caught wich he knew to be safe to eat, and some fruits and nuts and veguitalbels he had gathered. Even Haris had to agree it was much nicer than the backpacking food they had brought with them for the journey.
Then it was time to talk. Jason began” I’m not sure I want to sleep out here in the woods, harris. After what happened last night, I can see why they might have rules against sleeping alone in the forrest. Those creatures were horrible, I surely wouldnot ever have woken up if you had not come to help, and what a horrible death that would have been. The young man shuddered, remembering.
“Your not alone, little brother. We could either take shifts, and watch over each other and wake each other after a time, or we could just stay together in the dream plane. “
Jason considered his friend’s word’s thoughtfully. “every time I think I have truly mastered something, I meat someone who has truly mastered it and find that I have barely even began to really learn. I appreciate you helping me keep my perspective here, Harris. And saving my life. And just being here with me, it’s just nice to have some good company to share my journey with.”
He grinned at Harris, realizing that he hadn’t enjoyed anyones company this much before, except for Derrick. “you remind me of Derrick a bit, Harris” he said.
Harris laughed. “That old traiter, I suppose his Paragandrian blood shows a bit now and then” Here, lemme show you something about Paragandrians, tell me if you have seen this before. You know how when normal earth human eyes contract completely, the Iris looks lighter, as it stretched to close the pupil, right? So your eyes look darker when happy and lighter when unhappy, because your pupils contract when you are tense, and dialate when you are relaxed, right?.... well, I have learned to control the dilation and contraction of my eyes, just like I have learned to go to sleep and to wake myself, so I can show you something about my eyes, look.
Harris sat close to the fire, and close to Jason, his pupils contracted quickly from the full dilation of darkness in the dim firelight to a tiny pinpoint of black, and then, a light circle formed around that black point, and grey lines began to spread like roots, like smoke across the dark iris. Like Derrick eyes when the pain got so bad he couldn’t stand it.
Harris sat back and let his eyes return to their normal darkness…
“So Derrick is a spacer?” asked Jason “he’s never mentioned it”
Harris laughed “No, Derrick is not a spacer, he was born on earth, as I’m sure you know, but his grandfather was Paragandrian. He went to earth very young, and was considered a traitor by the Paragandrian people. I don’ think ‘e was very proud of ‘is ancestry, so ‘e pro’ly didn’ share it with ‘is children. But he couldn’ help sharing his genetic dream skills, and he couldn’t help passing on the eye thing. I don’ think it ‘as any function, it is just a typical trait of out race.”
“So Tark and Tersh are sort of your brothers, too, right, Harris? “
Harris was quiet suddenly for awhile, not sure what to say. He answered slowly. “Yes, Jason, they are my brothers too.” The slow response lead Jason to realize the meaning of this, his eyes widened, with excitement “So you can dream travel right to them? Were they space born? Do they share a field with you?”
Harris considered again. Jason wondered what he was holding back, or if it was just that these things were difficult to put into words.
“As you have learned, Tark didn’t die at birth, like Derrick was told. He was taken by Alexandrial Teppin, and planted at the other dream portal. They intended to use him to help conquer the planet, but unfortunately, he didn’t turn out to be very tractable. He left the dragons and took up residence in the ancient forest with the dream bound. He has the power to dream-speak on the spacer plane, because he was space born, but he has blocked us out now, so we cannot contact us. “But he contacted me. Do you know how he did that?”
“No Jedi Jason, I don’t really know. He’s never met you, so he should have no bond with you on the spacer plane. Perhaps Alexandrial had taken him to Jai Ten on the dream wind before he was given to the dragons. Maybe he intentionally gave him a map tot hat place in order to be able to contact him when we returned here. Spacers cone to Jai ten pretty often, it is an open port”
“What about Tersh?” “I don’t know, but they haven’t made any contact with him lately. I’m not sure if he has died, or broken contact like Tark, or if he never had the skill. Not everyone has it, and in twins, sometimes it is unevenly divided between the two. They were fraternal twins, born together, but entirely different genetically. I guess Tersh was more like his mother, maybe.
“When I saw Tark on the dream plane, he looked exactly like pictures I have seen of Derrick when he was younger. I thought it was Derrick at first”
“Tell me about your dream of Tark”
“Not much to tell, really, it was brief.” He said
‘I have watched for you and waited. You have come from another world, we have seen you coming. You have come to destroy us. You will fail’ And after that he told me to leave, and I woke very suddenly, as if he had thrown me off the dream plane. As I said, he looked like Derrick only young, and his voice was a bit like Derricks, but also something very different, like he was speaking in a very different sort of language, almost not human”
“Dragon language maybe? He was left with the dragons.”
“How was he left with the dragons? What can you tell me about these dragons you talk about?”
The dragons are a very proud and intelligent race; they’re much like my people were before the destruction of our planet. They don’t like humans much but have a very strong code of ethics. One of their rules is that if someone saves your life, you are obligated to serve that one till the bond is broken in some other specified way. Alexandrial captured a mother dragon, and convinced her that the only thing that would save her life was if she would consent to raise this human child. I can’t imagine how a dragon could raise a human child, being so very different, but apparently she agreed, and Tark was left with her, forming an alliance with the dragons and the Paragandrian spacers.
“But Tark didn’t say he was with Dragons, he said he was of the old forest, and that he knew we were coming to destroy it. He said we would fail.”
“Do you think the dreambound were sent by Tark, since he had threatened you before, and you had not heeded his warning?” asked the Navegator
This idea surprised Jason “No, I hadn’t thought of it that way, Harris. Tark’s words didn’t strike me as a threat; it was more like he was just calmly informing me of the inevitable fact of the failure of the mining project; which, as I told you, doesn’t bother me. I don’t have any real desire for it to succeed, although I am willing to help in your negotiation.”
“It is good that you came with me Harris, since you will be able to explain it all better than I can to the people of D’zeron. I think they will be more receptive to you and I than they would if their first contact was with Mrs. Teppin. No offense, her being your queen and all, but she doesn’t come across very personable, and is not very understanding of other cultures.”
“Quite so” responded the spacer “and she knows it. That is exactly why she sobered me up and tried to force me to come with you, even though it is not in my contract as a navigator to help in any way with the negotiation or the mining. My job is just to get the ship safely here, and then my time is mine until the Marrion Jay takes to space again.” He gave the younger man a friendly shove. “You are just lucky that I love you enough to give up my time with DaraJeen to save you from the dream demons, little brother. I don’t answer to the queen unless I have to” from the tone of disrespect, it was clear that Harris was not extremely devoted to his government representative. “So you don’t think the things that were attacking you were send by Tark?” he persisted in asking.
“No” they didn’t seem to be from Tark. It seemed more like they were just playing with me, like a cat playing with a mouse. They were just laughing at how pathetic I am on the dream plane, making fun of me. It’s funny, Harris, back on earth I am the foremost expert on dream traveling, other than Derrick. Here on Terran 8, the skills I have practiced all my life are practically useless.”
Not wanting to dwell on this uncomfortable thought any longer, Jason changed the subject
“What is this operation really about, Harris? Will mining really destroy the forest? How true are Tark’s fears? Do you think he has the power to stop us? Honestly, Harris, I have never really understood or supported this mining project. I agreed to come on the expedition because I really wanted to see the planet where Derrick was, see the culture of D’zeron, and meet Tersh.
And Tark, well, I really thought that he was dead, so I’m really excited to meet him too now, so I don’t really feel good about helping to destroy his forest, if that is what this is going to come down to. I had doubts about this all along, Harris, but now that I am here, I have even more. Why is this project so important to your people? If I am going to try to help you negotiate, I really need to understand more about the value of this project, so I can help convey its importance to the people of D’zeron”
Harris began speaking, like a storyteller relating the history and mythology of his people. “When we are terribly hurt, very sad, when we feel like our hearts have been torn apart, than the smoke of the lost world fills our eyes, and our eyes crack apart like our planet cracked apart. This is the story spacer mothers tell their children, to explain why our eyes are the way they are. Of course, our eyes still cracked apart just the same way before the planet cracked apart and it was nothing…no one knew what it meant.
Now we wish we had known, and had heeded the warnings. The destruction of our planet was due to the greed and ambition of our people. We relied on technology, on our own knowledge, on things that we created against nature, we felt we had mastered nature; felt we were the masters of the universe, but the universe laughed in our faces, and proved us wrong. There were things about the structure of our planet that we didn’t fully understand, and those who understood were put down to silence by those who didn’t want to know. We had destroyed the internal structure of our planet, and built out too far too high…we were trying to join space to our homeworld, and in the end our Paragangia imploded , collapsing under it’s own weight, and we were left with only space, and shattered rubble where our home had been.”
Jason listened fascinated. He love this sort of stories “this reminds me of an old earth story, from a book called the Bible. In this story, there were people in a town called Babel who tried to build a tower so high that it would reach up into the heavens, where the God lived, and God punished them by confounding their languages, making them unable to communicate with each other, so they couldn’t build the tower any more. You built too high, thinking you were greater than God, and God has punished you for it.”
Harris smiled at him then, Jason thought, like someone and admiring the innocent wisdom of a child too young to understand what they are really saying. Yeah, it was a bit like that. we paid for our arrogance.
“Of course, I never saw Paragangia; it was gone for several generations before my time. I am space born. Marrion Jay is more home to me than any planet could ever be, I think”
He gazed into the fire thoughtfully “though I could learn to love this place. There are many wonders in this universe that I have not yet seen”
“We have come to Terran 8 because we want to dream again” answered Harris passionately. “This planet is so much like our own planet, if we could settle here we could regain the dream-life we lost when our planet was destroyed. And if we could mine the dream ore from beneath the forest, we could build ships that have a dream field.”
“That would be terrific!” exclaimed Jason, remembering how boring it was to dream on the ship.
“Maybe we could even build a dream field which would bridge our ships to the planet, combining the planets field with the space field, and then we could visit our loved ones in our dreams, even when we were on long voyages. Imagine how much nicer space travel would be for us then, Jason.”
Jason could easily imagine. It sounded so exciting he almost wanted to help. But yet it seemed wrong: how ever good this would be for the spacers who had brought him here, it was still stealing from the people he had invested all his life to study; the people of D’zeron, and the culture of retro-technology, which he would see for the first time tomorrow.
The dream ore is only known to exist in one place in the universe, and that place is beneath the ancient forest of Kaar-Taal on Terran 8. All our dreams depend on you little brother, on the success of your mission, to get permission for us to mine this material.”
‘Let’s sleep” said Harris then “let’s see if we can talk to D’Neira or Tersh. We are not far, surely their territory extends to this place, it’s less than a day’s walk from the village.”
Somewhat fearfully, the anthropologist agreed. He decided to let his desire to reach out for the dream of his lifetime over shadow his memories of almost dying on the dream plane just that morning.
Rising from waking through sleep into dreams, Jason’s vision clears slowly. He is a small boy about 8 years old. Harris is about ten, maybe, and not much larger, but the Navigator’s thick dark hair is long, and braided down his back. He is dressed in the robes of a dream keeper of D’zeron. Jason can see the grey lines that underlie the dark brown of his eyes, though it does not show on the surface of his relaxed Irises. They reach out hand hold each other’s hand, as Harris pulls him forward “c’mon Jason, I can see the portal now, I’ll take you there so you can talk to the dream keeper
There was no transition. Dr Scott-Harris stood facing D’neira the dream keeper of D’zeron on a hillside. He was not a child. He was a respected anthropologist, dressed as he would if he were attending some conference of his peers on earth, and Harris stood behind him, still a child and still dressed in the robes of a dreemkeeper.
“This is not your place” said the stern old woman starring at him as if she could see through to his soul “why have you come here?”
She seemed like a queen, addressing a peasant. He had an urge to bow down to her, but resisted the impulse, remembering that direct eye contact was the proper sign of respect in this culture and context. She noticed his hesitation. He was pretty sure she saw his thoughts entirely. She probably didn’t learn much from them, though since he was almost beyond thinking. She smiled slightly and her countenance softened, as if he had become a child rather than just a peasant in her eyes.. Dr Scott-Harris extended his hand politely in the custom of his own people, and she shook his hand.
“I am Jason Scott-Harris, of the earth. I am a student of Derrick Landon who lived in your village 40 years ago. I am a retro-technologist, which is a scientist who still believes that to go forward, sometime we must go back. We study simple natural non-mechanical technologies such as your own. D’zeron is one of the best examples in the known universe of a culture actually practicing the principle of retro-technology. I am very honored to be here to learn about you way of life, D’neira Dream keeper of D’zeron, and also I am hoping to learn of Derrick’s children, that he may know of them.”
“Derrick is a close friend, but is old and too ill for space travel now. I have traveled here with an expedition of space miners who agreed to bring me as a negotiator, to speak to you on their behalf. They have sent you a message, which you will receive when you check your messages in a few days, requesting your permission to allow them to visit your territory. They have given me permission to travel ahead of the message, using only technologies permitted by your culture, because I was anxious to begin my studies, and to learn of Derrick’s sons.”
Jason thought D’neira showed surprise when he said “sons” and wondered if she did not know about Tark, but he didn’t get a chance to ask.
“You are not alone” said D’neira, suddenly cold and stern again, but still looking only at Jason Scott-Harris.
“I have traveled here with my close friend Harris Jenzar, Navigator of the space transport ship Marrion Jay.” As Jason turned to introduce the spacer, he was surprised to see a young spacer child, much smaller than Jason now, hiding in his shadow, eyes wide and hazy, as if the lightning of D’neira stern gaze had cause them to smoke and crack. “Spacers are no longer welcome in D’zeron.” Said D’neira sharply.
Jason had not anticipated this though it did not surprise him; Surely D’neira understood what the spacers had come for, and the extremely technological nature of spacer culture.
“I understand your concerns, D’neira, but Harris is here as my friend, not as a spacer. I vouch for him. He is a good man. He saved my life when I was attacked by dreambound creatures” D’neira considered this.
“Step forward, Harris Jenzar of the spacers” Harris stepped forward, only as far as Jason’s side, clinging to his arm like a terrified child. The lightning seemed to flash between their eyes for an immeasurable dream plane time, as if they were reading each other’s souls.
“How did you save the life of Jason Scott-Harris?” asked D’neira
“I heard him screaming in my dreams. I came to find him. I could not wake him so I found him again in my dreams. They were holding him, and I scared them away so he could awaken. I apologize if there was any offense in this. I would have brought him to you but I was not sure I could get here in time on land, and I did not have a way in dreams.”
Harris closed his eyes tightly bowed his head, as if he were waiting for execution
“It is my duty to keep the people of this region safe in their dream. I had many other duties to attend to last night. I am grateful that you were there, and by your efforts, my mission has not failed”
“Very well Harris Jenzar of the Marrion Jay” she said eventually “I would like to learn more of you, you may enter D’zeron with Jason. There you shall be judged according to your own merits and not by the reputation of your people”
“Thank you, ma’am” replied the spacer child shyly, withdrawing again behind Dr Scott-Harris
D’neira met Jason’s eyes.
“Tersh son of Sharra still lives in the village of D’zaron, at least for now. Chathalen son of Tersh now serves as dream keeper of D’zeron” she acknowledged that she had noticed his surprise and confusion at this information, but he somehow understood this would not be the time or the place to begin asking for explanations. “I will inform Chathalen of your impending arrival. We will meet you tomorrow evening by the river beach on the banks of the Sh’harn, below the high cliff and the Well of Morning. We will keep watch over you dreams tonight, Jason Scott-Harris. You may dream in peace. Farewell.”
And she was gone as suddenly as she had appeared, leaving the two men to their own private earthbound dreams
ch 12 barrier gap and anchestry
========22 Chathalen and D’neira discuss the barrier gap day 4 morning ========
In the morning, Chathalen asked D’neira about her meeting with Allissa.
“Did you learn something about how to break the barrier, D’neira? I felt a change in it, late in the night, near the time of the setting of Aisses”
“No, I learned nothing new, and besides, I had already headed home by that time. What did you notice, Chathalen? Perhaps it will help us understand.“
“I was observing from the free dream plane. I cannot see Allissa there, but I can feel the barrier, if I stand just close enough but not too close. When I approach the barrier in the dream plane, there is a point at which I feel it before it sends me back”
“Isn’t that a little risky, Chathalen son of Tersh? If you pass through that barrier there is sure to be something even more dangerous just a step beyond.” responded D’neira, obviously not pleased that he was doing this. Chathalen thought for a moment before responding
“Yes, there is a risk in it D’neira, but what other chance do I have of helping find a way to remove it? I need to understand it to be able to fight it. This thing was created of my power, and I am the only one who can observe it, and even apart from that I’m the only one who can observe my power to understand how the barrier thinks and feels, so to speak. I have judged this risk to be one I am willing to take, for Allissa”
D’neira glared at him knowingly “ And you did not limit your observations to the dream plane last night did you?” she didn’t wait for a response, knowing this was true “why is it that adolescent boys feel they must throw away all reason when they think of the girl they are courting?”
Chathalen blushed in shame, embarrassed at her accusation, staring down at the floor. “I’m not courting Allissa.” but his tone was so defensive and ashamed that it was clearly more a confession than a defense.
“You will gladly risk your life for her, Chathalen, and maybe you feel like a hero doing this” stated the matriarch. “But is this a risk Allissa would want you to take? If you died because she wandered too close to you, not knowing you were hiding near by, are you willing to accept as a consequence the guilt she would feel for having killed you? or even if you cause your own demise trying to be with her, in some other way, do you really think that for Allissa the fact that you wanted to be with her so much that you were willing to die would be any comfort for the fact that you were lost to her forever? Your life is not just your own now, Chathalen; it’s time you start considering the consequences for all, and not just your own passion.”
The accusation hurt him, and seemed unfair. He had considered others all his life, and even now, his concern was more for Allissa than for himself. He felt angry, insulted and just wanted to leave, not to face her, to find his way back to Allissa in his own way. He sat silent for a bit, considering the wisdom of her words. She was the matriarch. She had been dealing with dreams and with people much longer than he had, so he could reasonably assume she probably did have a better understanding of such things. She was right. He need more than passion to regain the privilege of being with Allissa, and to protect their world from whatever chalenges might be approaching. He knew that to get what he wanted he would have to set aside his own feelings and do whatever is necessary for the good of all.
“I’m sorry D’neira, I’ll be more careful in the future. Perhaps I should never have taken this risk, but I did and I still live. I may have learned something. We can learn even from mistakes, right? I heard Jayden crying, and then I saw a gap in the barrier, as if it vanished for a moment. You know there is no time in the dream plane, so I can’t say if it was a second or a day, but I felt it gone. And then it was back again.”
“Maybe she just moved out of range,” suggested D’neira
Chathalen considered again. “I don’t think so. I have seen that happen,” D’neira maintained her stern countenance as she listened, but was shocked realizing the degree of risk her young apprentice had apparently taken. “And when she comes back, she is in a different place, but this time, there was no motion whatsoever, just a gap in the shield. And the transition was different, it’s hard to explain”
“Did you see Allissa?”
“No” he said so sadly that D’neira almost regretted asking, “I couldn’t see her, even though the barrier was gone”
“then I doubt it was really gone’ said D’neira, again regretting having to bring the sorrow of his loneliness so painfully to his attention.
“We will find a way Chathalen” she said gently “I will go and talk to her again this morning, maybe she can tell us anything more about what you noticed. Maybe she learned something, maybe something she did caused the barrier to be changed for that time”
“Thank you D’neira” he said, thinking, “she doesn’t believe me, she’s only saying this to comfort me, but I know what I felt. The barrier was gone. I know it was. I wanted to run to her, to hold her forever, but I didn’t dare…I thought it might return, as indeed it did. But I will continue to watch over Allissa. D’neira has advised against it but she has not forbidden it. Maybe this will happen again, maybe I can find a pattern to it, and we can find a time that is safe for us to be together.” He knew his hope was founded on little evidence, but any hope at all was a blessing now.
D'neira tells Chathalen of his ancestry day 4 morning 
“But there are more urgent things that you must learn now Chathalen.” D’neira reminded him, “There is something coming that we must face. It is a dire threat to our entire world, and standing against this is your destiny more than anyone or anything else. It is your grandfather’s people.”
“I felt it too, D’neira, there was a disturbance on the dream plane the night before my ascension. They have returned to Terran 8, haven’t they”
“They have, Chathalen. Two men approached me at the portal last night and you and I must meet two of them by the river this evening.” She recounted for him her encounter with Jason and Harris.
“I need to know that you are fully prepared for this encounter, Chathelen. What do you know of your father’s father?”
Chathelen Shrugged, and looked down at the floor considering the question before answering “I know nothing, really. My father never spoke of him. I know Tersh’s mother was a dreamkeeper but she wasn’t matriarch when he was born, and she died when he was too young to remember. The house I was born in was the house of Sharra. Tersh never speaks of her either, though he carries her name: Tersh, son of Sharra. We lived in that house until the fire.” He paused, lost in thought for a moment, remembering the fire, ambivalent.
“Did you not think it odd that a man should carry the name of his mother? Do you know of any other man who carries the name of his mother?”
Chathalen thought about it. “No” he replied, thoughtfully. “I never thought about it. I always assumed it is because she was a dream keeper. She served for many years, she was important in the history of the village. But my father never speaks of his parents. He never knew them.”
“His father was not from this planet.” Explained the Matriarch “He came to the village in an air ship, from the city. I was 12, and still in training, my great grandmother was the dream keeper then, Sharra.
Darrick Landon was a handsome man, though his hair was cut short and his beard shaven. He looked a lot like you, Chathalen.”
He listened quietly, taking in the new information thoughtfully. She pause to allow him to respond, and when he didn’t she went on.
“Sharra had been alone for a long time. Darrick was traveling thought the forest to the mountains, looking for a certain material which could be used by his people, and he was injured in the forest. He wasn’t a miner, in fact he wasn’t even space born, he was a scientist from the planet earth who studied people and languages and dreams. He had come with the miners as an interpreter. She cared for him during his recovery, and when he recovered, she chose to be sealed to him. She passed the matriarchy to her granddaughter, my mother D’lissa, and travel with him on his journey. She traveled with them for several years, and when she returned she was expecting a child. This was a great surprise in the village, because she was far beyond the usual age of childbearing. The spacers have very advanced technology, so we thought maybe they had use some un natural means to make this possible.
But the pregnancy was a difficult one and it took its toll. They were twins. It was not going well, and she returned home seeking spiritual guidance for the pregnancy. In the end, they returned to the ship, hoping that their advance technology could save the twins, but only Tersh survived. Sharra died soon after the birth of Tersh, and Derrick was forced by the government to leave with his people because they had violated the agreements they had with the planetary government regarding of advanced technology in the region of Kaar-Taal. As you know, Tersh has always believed that his brother Tark was still out there someplace, and tried searched for him constantly on the dream plane. I have search for him also. We have found no sign of him. But he never trusted in my efforts.”
“What were the spacers looking for, D’neira?”
“They believed there was a material on this planet that they could use to create a dream field on their ships. Spacers have a sort of dream walking ability, though not the same as ours. This is one reason Sharra was so attracted to Derrick. Tho he wasn’t space porn, he was of the same ancestry, and had developed dream skills. He was a man who could share not only her waking life, but also walk the dream plane with her. I’m sure you understand the desire for that” He nodded agreement, thinking of Allissa, knowing that D’neira was thinking of her too.
The old woman continued “They had explored the entire region, and taken special interest in the ancient forest. Beyond the mountains where the dragons lived, it is a sacred place, a place where all the creatures are dream borne and where even the dream bound are rumored to be able to manifest in broad daylight. But the ancient forest does not welcome humans, especially not earthbound humans, as these appeared to be. There presence their disrupted the balance on the dream plane and the dream bound began to leave the forest and interfere with other creatures on the dream plane.
The spacers appealed to the dream keeper to use the power of the dream portal, held by the dream keepers of D’zeron, to help them overcome the creatures of the ancient forest, so that they could collect minerals from the ground there.
We refused to help them then, when the planetary government would let them stay no longer, they left. So Tersh grew up in the care of his niece D’lissa, who had chosen to leave the matriarchy in favor of motherhood. She had really never wanted to be Matriarch. She had other children, but Tersh never felt part of that family, always seeking his brother on the dream plane. That was why I became the matriarch at such a young age.”
“That explains why you have always been so cold to Tersh” thought Chathalen “but still treated him a family. He ruined your life, but he was still basically your brother” but he let her continue without interruption
“A few years ago the ban against the spacers was lifted, and they have been gradually returning to Jai-ten. There is a man traveling with them who is not a spacer. He is from the planet Earth where he studied with Derrick Landon and developed some dream skills. He is more talented than a man native to D’zeron, but not as talented as you or your father. Perhaps almost as talented as Serai, I would judge.”
Chathalen had to laugh at this comparison “Oh is that so, maybe he would like to mate with her then. That would certainly be a relief to all of us”
Sarai had found a good mate when she was twelve, an older widower of very high social status. He had died the next winter, leaving the teenage girl with a small farm, means to support herself comfortably, good family connections, but no children and no mate. Since Sarai had always been more interested in family and mating than anything, she had been actively seeking a new mate ever since, with no success. She even approached Chathalen occasionally now, though she knew of his commitment to Allissa. His lack of status no longer seemed to bother her, now she had her own. After Allissa had cast the barrier, D’neira had said to him “you could accept Sarai’s offer of marriage now. Destiny has changed” she went on, watching the anger rising in his eyes “you have no real obligation to Allissa now. But I suppose saying this is as much a waste of my breath as was my suggestion for Allissa to kill that dragon when she found it” Chathalen had glared at the old woman indignantly “That’s right D’neira, you know I would never consider this path, why would you even suggest such a thing?”
“For the same reason I suggested Allissa kill the dragon” she replied, at which the young man glared at her silently, remembering not only that He had made the same suggestion when he first saw Jayden, but also moments before he was vehemently regretting not having insisted on it. Was this why D’neira had said this, just to make him think about his feelings? He looked at her, and it was clear this was the point. He felt annoyed, and manipulated, but also humbled “Ok D’neira, I get it” he said with irritation, leaving the room abruptly. Ever since that conversation, Sarai’s search for a mate had made him even more uncomfortable.
D’neira glared at him and went on. “This man from the earth, Dr Jason Scott-Harris, is arriving this evening by boat on the Sh’harn. He is traveling with a spacer Navigator called Harris Jenzer
“They both approached me with humility and respect at the portal. The Navigator opened the portal, though he deferred Dr Scott-Harris when we spoke. He is very talented though he has no training yet. The scientist from Earth, though he is representing the Spacers, does not seem to have an understanding of their cause and is primarily here to learn of us, and meet Tersh. I told him of you also; as I’m sure you will also interest him as a grandson of his friend Derrick.”
“Why am I always just a son of my father?” thought Chathalen resentfully “can I not be just myself sometime?” but again, he kept his peace, listening attentively
“The spacer appeared as a child on the dream plane, but I do not trust him. I’m sure that he knows all about his people’s intentions, and yet has not conveyed it to his friend, even though his loyalty appears more to his friend than to his people. This would suggest to me he is very skilled in his deception, as well as dream travel. As a spacer, it is likely that he has dream skills we don’t know about.”
“True” agreed the son of Tersh with such conviction that D’neira looked at him questioningly, wondering what he already knew about dream travel that she didn’t. Chathalen, realizing his mistake, gestured silently for her to continue.
“They told me they were attacked on the dream plan by dream bound creatures, on the night of your ascension. It seems the dream bound took advantage of our absence from the portal on that night. I fear, therefore, that the dream bound in the forest, being aware of the spacers’ presence here, will cause many more problems for us in the near future. Also, I have reason to believe these men agree with Tersh about his brother still being alive.”
Chathalen considered this, and her tone in saying it.
“You agree now too, the, D’neira? You think Tark is still here?”
“It is possible, Chathalen, I have never said otherwise. We just don’t know, so I want you to help me learn as much as possible from these men when they arrive.”
“do the speak our langueage?” Asked Chathalen
“I didn’t ask” Derick did, so I assume he has tought his protégé, bur the space probably only speaks space common. I know you are quite skilled in this, and I know Tersh has refused to learn it. Tersh still hasn’t forgiven me for your assenssion. How are things with you and Tersh?” she asked this with a sudden shift to a tomne of sincere concern. He felt a wave of gratitude for her kindness, but it didn’t lessen the sadness that overcame him at the thought of his father. “not good D’neira. He shuns me completely, he is still very angry about my chosen path.
D’neira waited patiently until her young assistant regained his composure, then she continued “so we should find someone else who speaks common well to help us translate for him in case there don’t speak well. Which of the students you have taught was skilled in common?” she noticed him brightening increasingly as she said this,.
“I know the perfect person for this job” he grinned. “Sarai”
At first D’neira was annoyed “Chathalen be serious, this is more important than your social problems”
Chathalen looked insulted. “I was being serious D’neira. Sarai is more skilled at common language than anyone else I know. We all know she is better informed than anyone
about the unspoken things of the village, which these young men will need help with, and surely she will not feel any shame in discussing such things if given permission, as others might.” He allowed D’neira to think he was referring to himself, knowing she would make this assumption. “If she tries to mate with them, is there really any harm? You say they have good genetics, and at least she wouldn’t be bothering me for awhile, so I could concentrate better on other things. Besides, she’s not the kind of girl who can’t be rational in romance, and a little romance here might make these young men much more motivated to help us”
D’neira saw the wisdom in this, and so it was decided, and after they explained it to her Sarai cheerfully agreed to wait for them at the temple that evening. By the time D’neira returned to the place where she had parted with Allissa the previous evening, Allissa was long gone.
Ch 14 arriving in D'zeron
========They arrive in the village and talk to tersh chathalin and D’neira, day 4 evening ========
In the morning Harris and Jason broke camp early, excited to arrive at D’zeron. They found the beach easily, a nice flat landing spot, beyond which a huge cliff rose high and steep over a wide deep section of the river. They began to pull the boat up onto the beach. “Look” said the anthropologist, pointing across the river to a circular stone wall on a small round hill top “that must be the Well of Morning which D’neira mentioned” said Jason. Harris was standing staring at it intently as if transfixed. “Harris?” asked Jason, puzzled.
Jason moved to get back in the boat “let’s go see it” he said, suddenly quite excited
“Why Harris, there will be plenty of time for that later, we have agreed to meet the dream keepers on this beach”
“Jason I think it is made of the dream stone” he said excitedly. Jason turned around and took another look at the ring of stones, wondering how Harris could see this. “It doesn’t look like anything special to me.” he replied
“We do not know of its construction. It is ancient, as if it had always been there” D’neira’s voice from the beach startled them both, and they turned to face her, pulling the boat onto the beach. She spoke in spacer common, so Jason replied in the same, though he was fairly fluent in her language also.
Jason gapped at the young man who stood behind her. Meeting his eyes, Chathalen stepped forward. “I am Chathalen, son of Tersh” he explained, trying to clear the confusion so obvious in the small pale young man’s expression
Jason shook his head to clear his thoughts, and pushed back the pale hair falling down across his glasses. He had let his hair grow during the journey to Terran 8, but realized it still wasn’t long enough for him to appear as a proper adult to the villagers. “Forgive me for staring, Chathalen. You look exactly like you grand father Derrick Landon when he was your age. But even more, you look very much like Tark”
Now it was Chathalen’s turn to stare, and look confused. “You have seen Tark? Tark really lives? My dad always wanted to find him, insisting he could still feel his twin’s life force on the dream plane, though he never found him”
Jason paused considering how to answer “I don’t really know, Chathalen. A man visited me on the dream plane my first night in D’zeron, he introduced himself as Tark of the ancient forest, and he looked like…well…a lot like you. And a lot like Derrick when he was younger. That’s really all I know”
D’neira interrupted then “I am D’neira the Matriarch of D’zeron”
Harris grinned nervously, politely offering his hand “pleased t’meet ya ma’am, I’m Harris Jenzar, Navigator of the Marrion Jay space transport”
“And I am Dr Jason Scott-Harris, retro-technologist and assistant negotiator for Spacers mining guild. I am very honored to meet you, both of you and to learn of your culture.”
“Ok let’s get on with it then” responded D’neira, coldly “after we get back to the village, and we can talk more. I’m sure all of us have many things to explain.” and with that they gathered their supplies from the boat, and began the walk back to D’zeron.
“We get visitors so rarely here” explained D’neira “so there isn’t an inn, but you can stay at the temple.” she explained about the temple, the school, the healing clinic, and everything else about the temple.
When they reached the Temple, Serai met them near the entrance. D’neira began the introductions “This is Harris Jenzer, navigator of the Marrion Jay space transport” Harris smiled nervously and waved, from behinds Jason “and Dr. Jason Scott-Harris from Planet Earth” she began
“Please just call me Jason” he requested, offering his hand for the grinning young woman to shake. She was a very attractive young lady, about his age he thought, with long soft wavy brown hair that seemed to surround her like a cloud, and she was very nicely dressed. She took his offered hand, and held it in both of hers for a moment, not understanding his intention. Her hands were pleasantly warm and sensual.
“Very well, Jason” D’neira went on “This is Serai daughter of Laina, and it is fortunate she has agreed to meet us here, as I think she will be very helpful to you” she gave a look to Sarai indicating she was well aware that more than just a desire to help had brought her there. Sarai blushed, “thank you D’neira, I certainly hope I can be of some help to these handsome young men.” She reluctantly let him withdraw his hand from hers.
D’neira continued “as you know, Jason, there are many things in our culture which we do not speak openly of though all know of it” she met his eyes, and he nodded his understanding of this. “Serai here is the foremost expert on such things here in D’zeron, and I’m sure she would be happy to get you fully up to date on the latest gossip. And she is skilled in the common language, so she can translate for you” Serai grinned, glowing with pride that D’neira had so well expressed what was special about her to these two handsome, foreign young men. “Quite so” agreed the young woman, and then asked D’neira in the language of D’zeron, a forbidden question which she felt a need to know “Are they married?”
D’neira glared at her silently before responding, and the pause allowed Jason to respond before her, demonstrating his grasp of the language. He blushed “No. I don’t think I’m ready for marriage yet” Serai looked at him critically, taking in everything; his short stature, the pale hair falling almost to his shoulders, the glasses, the strange alien clothing, pale childlike features, except for a fairly full short beard. His healthy musculature also did not escape her notice.
He passed inspection, and she smiled at him sweetly “you look plenty old enough to me, honey” she said, continuing in her own language. “How old are you?”
D’neira had had enough. “You can flirt later, Sarai, we have more important things to talk about now, but you can flirt when you take him to see to Tersh.” She then apologized to Harris for speaking in a language he couldn’t understand “Serai likes to flirt” she explained. Harris grinned. “that’s nice, my little brother could use some flirting” he said, ruffling Jason’s hair. Harris blushed again, and sulked for a moment.
Serai tried to catch Jason’s eye again, but he carefully avoided her. She spoke softly then to Harris in common “how ‘bout you, honey, are you married?” He winked at her “sorry sweetheart, I’m not married yet, but I’m taken. I’ve got a sweet innkeeper waitin’ for me back at Jai Ten. I’d be there still if I hadn’t had to rescue my little brother here from the fire snakes”
“Tersh is avoiding Chathalen and I now because he’s still upset that I called Chathalen to become dream keeper,” the older woman explained, still trying to change to topic of conversation back to what she considered more important. “So Serai has agreed to take you to meet him later. But first, let me show you to your rooms in the temple”
They approached, the entrance and Harris became excited, just as he had upon seeing the Well of Morning “look Jason, it’s also made of dream stone”
“We don’t know how this was made, either” said D’neira “or from what, just like the Well of Morning, it’s been here longer than anything, as if it were always here”
Harris walked up and touched the stone reverantly, really excited. “Oh yes, it’s definitely the dream stone. This is what I was telling you about, Jason, this is the stuff that we can use to create a dream field in space that to link us to the planet, so we can still be with our loved ones in our dreams even when we are out in space. I can feel it. Can’t you feel it, Jason?”
“That sounds very romantic” said Sarai “to still be with your loved ones when you travel. You travel a lot don’t you Harris?”
“Fascinating” said D’neira coldly, wondering If letting Serai become involved in this had not been wise after all “so the material you are seeking permission to mine is the same as the material our temple is built of. I would like to learn more of this.”
Harris explained about the spacer’s dream field, as he had explained it to Jason, and agrees to try to demonstrate it for them all that night. Harris was very excited to be sleeping within a structure made of the dream stone.
Then Jason explains about his methods of dream travel. And when he begins to explain about the wind, D’neira sees the nervousness in Chathalen’s face, and his sudden lack of questions. She turns to him, asking sharply “you know of this already don’t you Chathalen?” he doesn’t respond. They both know the answer. Full realization dawns on her then “Tersh taught you to do this, and now you can’t because of your authority. You kept this secret to protect him.” He looked down, guilty and sad, missing his father, sorry to have had to deceive D’neira, who had been so kind to him. She crossed the room and sat next to him, hugged him “That’s why he’s so angry, isn’t it, Honey? And you didn’t only lose Allissa that night, you list your father too.” When he lifted his eyes they were veined with grey. Serai went and sat down on the other side of him. “Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’ll talk to Tersh for you, and make everything all okay for you. She went to stroke his face and he brushed her away angrily, saying “leave me alone!” but his eyes returned to their usual darkness, she winked at Jason then and sat down very close beside him, holding his arm, and whispered in his ear in her own language “Chathalen hates when I flirt with him because he is so in love with Allissa, so I do it just to make him angry. it takes his mind off his real troubles.” They smiled together at her friendly deviousness. Her soft warmth beside him feels comforting, right and natural somehow, and he wraps his hand around hers on his arm, and lets her lean her head on his shoulder
D’neira gives her a warning glare, and she sits up, but Jason, oblivious to that exchange, is still holding her hand, and she doesn’t pull away.
“Would you like me to teach you to ride the wind, D’neira?” asks Jason “I don’t know how my dreaming skills fit within your laws” D’neira considered this. Well, I suppose anything that does not require entry though the portal and does not really affect the free dream plane in any way cannot be forbidden here, as our authority only extends to these. How could I presume to rule a plan I have never even entered?
Chathalen smiled “Then you are saying Tersh’s dream walking is legal now? Can I walk with him, and not break my vows?” D’neira smiled back “ yes, Chathalen, you can walk the dream wind with your father” he hugged her “thank you D’neira”
Then Serai spoke up “can I, too, D’neira? Can Jason teach me to dream with him too? I never cared much about dreaming before, but with Jason, I think it would be fun” Jason smiled back at her, flattered, and D’neira scowled angrily, almost yelling “Serai I brought you here to help us with some serious matters, I asked you not to flirt with Jason till we were done, and you have done nothing else the whole time
“That’s not true” Serai said softly “I flirted with Chathalen also” but D’neira didn’t hear her, which was just as well.
“Get away from him, come sit over here” the matriarch ordered, and Jason reluctantly and apologetically let go of her hand so she could move. She trailed her fingers lovingly across his back as she walked slowly behind him to sit where D’neira commanded. Suddenly the whole situation came vividly clear to Jason, how Serai was playing with them all. With extreme difficulty he resisted the urge to giggle uncontrollably. He apologized to D’neira, and asked her permission to talk to Serai privately for a moment. D’neira was reluctant to consent “I’m not sure that would be wise, Jason Scott-Harris.
“Oh I am, D’neira trust me on this” he said confidently
“You’re not the one I don’t trust” she said, giving the girl a warning glare as Jason lead out of the room
In the hall way, Jason turned to face her “Serai you are a very charming and intelligent young woman and I know you realize that your game is just as important as theirs, but D’neira and I really do have important things we need to learn from one another before I can go see Tersh, and I need to go see Tersh before we can sleep and dream. I do enjoy your flirting but it is really annoying D’neira. I know you can easily control your behavior, and I promise you, if you will just act like you don’t like me very much until this conversation is over, I’ll make it up to you tonight, ok?”
She looked into his eyes, into his soul, assessing his sincerity. Satisfied with that test, she leaned down and kissed him passionately, and he kissed her back with equal passion. Sincerity having been proved, she glared at him in annoyance, “fine then” she whined angrily, and sulked back into the room as if she had been harshly rejected, looking very disappointed, and sat down in her assigned seat. Chathalen looked rather discouraged, and D’neira looked relieved. Harris just sat back smiling and watched the show taking it all in with a slight smile. She glanced at him and he winked, letting her know he understood how the game had changed.
With this resolved, they quickly finish their discussion, D’neira tells them all about Allissa and Jayden and the significant events of the past few days, and they to meet later in the same place to plan their dream journeys for the night. Chathalen takes the guys to the rooms they will be staying and provides them with clothing more appropriate for the village. For Harris he provides the simple informal robes of a healer, and for Jason, climbing clothes. He also agrees to take Jason climbing whenever they have some free time to do so.
Harris Jason and Sarai set of to visit Tersh.
He is waiting in the yard for them, and calls out “Sarai Nice to see ya honey, y’ve brought me visitors from other worlds, do they please you?” she grins at him “oh yes Tersh. They please me very much and I should think they will please you to. They have told D’neira about your wind walking, and she has declared it as free and legal as any private dream of the earthbound. So you’re free to play with Chathalen again now. He was very pleased with this.
Tersh looked startled “how do you know about my wind walking”
She laughed, and put her arms around his shoulders from behind him holding her face very close to his. “I was there when they told D’neira. It was fairly boring, and this young man” she pointed to Jason “forbid me from flirting with him for the whole rest of the day. Can I flirt with you then, old man?” he shoved her away roughly “no! get off of me”
And held a hand out to Jason smiling “I’m Jason Scott-Harris from the planet Earth, and this is my friend Harris Jenzar of the Marrion Jay” the young anthropologist explained hastily, shaking his hand. “I am a friend of your father, Derrick Landon. He is eager for news of you, I’m sure he will be very please to learn you are doing well.”
The old man scowled “who says I am doing well? My only son has abandoned me and my princess too, and my brother is still missing what’s so good about it?”
“Your son now has permission to walk the wind with you, and I have spoken to your brother, surely that counts for something?”
Tersh turned to Serai “Yeah, he’s good honey, you could do a lot worse around here, go for it. Thanks for bringing him out to show me.” Leaving Jason with the feeling that Tersh believed the real reason for their visit was for Serai to seek Tersh’s approval of her seduction of him. He stood confused, unsure what to think or feel, and Tersh went on “ see you al on the wind tonight, I’ll take you to see my princess” and he looked at Harris, who until now he hadn’t even seemed to notice “nice to meet you too, young Jedi, may the force be with you” he disappeared into the cabin slamming the door behind him, leaving his visitors staring after him in stunned silence.
Serai waited politely till she felt they had fully absorbed the experience of Meeting Tersh, then she hooked her arms through theirs and marched them quickly back to the temple “come on guys, time for sleeping and dreaming, I know you both had a long day and there’s still work to do, and” she looked meaningfully at Jason squeezing his arm “…other things” Harris laughed his drunken pirate laugh
“I donno darlin’ Jedi Jason may be too tired for other things after all this”
She laughed back “I think y’ might be under estimatin’ Jedi Jason, Harris” imitating his speech patterns
Rejoining D‘neira and Chathalen at the temple they tell of their visit with Tersh “he said he would see us on the wind tonight, and take us to see Allissa”
“He’s seen Allissa?” Chathalen was very excited to hear this “where is she, is she ok?”
“He didn’t say, only that he would take us to meet her”
Chathalen was suddenly very sad again “I can’t go with you”
“There is no need for you to go with us tonight anyhow Chathalen; you already know how to walk the dream wind, right? And with the unrest among the dreambound someone needs to remain here to watch the portal
“True” Chathalen agreed, looking very disappointed.
Walking the wind with Sarai etc
Serai is also allowed to sleep in the temple that night, and they all go off to their separate beds, but Serai manages to catch Jason alone to give him a kiss and be sure he know she hasn’t forgotten about there agreement, pointing out that she has not flirted with him at all in D’neira’s presence all evening.
Jason falls asleep quickly being very tired, and Harris is already waiting for him on the wind, looking like a pirate from some old earth movie. “We’ll get your girl first before D’neira, so you can have some time alone” he says and soon Sarai is standing beside Jason.
She laughs, and dances around with him. She is like a pixie child in a long white dress barefoot, and Jason is a tired old man dressed in ragged pajamas. She hugs him lovingly. He is taller than her now. “Aww, Harris, you were right, Jedi Jason really is very tired tonight”. When she lets go, he looks his right age again, and his pajamas are no longer ragged, and are now decorated with cheerful cartoon characters. Her dress has acquired swerly pattern in colors that match his, and they are both exactly the same size.
As soon as D’neira joins them, appearing as a young girl with short hair dressed in the ornate robes of a teacher, Tersh is with them also, exactly as himself, only with long braided hair, wearing a grey robe like the one he always wears, only neat and clean. He laughs looking at them all. “Like a bunch of kids at a costume party, alright you’re good enough for now, you’ll all learn how to be yourselves soon enough, lets go. And he set of quickly walking through the forest to meet Allissa. Jason and Serai hold hands as they walk, and D’neira doesn’t seem to object. ============ch 13 Allissa and Tersh on far hill day 4 morning============
Allissa awoke on the beach, with Jayden was sleeping beside her.
It was still early, not yet light, but she knew she needed to depart quickly, to travel to the dragons as Tersh had asked her to. She regretted that she would not be there when D’neira cam to talk to her again, but she knew that this was more important now. Her destiny was to go forward, not look behind. Harvesting some fruit to eat from a tree that grew near the river, she set out through the branches.
That day, she traveled to Far Hill again, Jayden soaring quetly above her. She was tired, and weary of the journey at this point. She trusted Tersh, and wanted to follow where he would lead her. She loved the forest, but traveling all day for tree days straight with little food or rest had gotten old. She was emotionally and physically exhausted.
As a young child she had always wished she could just stay in the forest, never returning to the village. Now she began to grow weary of it. After Far Hill the way was unknown to her. Tersh would guide her through it on the dream plane that night, and she would follow the next day looking for the landmarks he had shown her. Though He had never traveled there physically, and did not really know the way, he had learned from others on the dream plane.
They slept on the far hill that evening, and Tersh came to her on the dream wind. She carefully avoided the portal, fearing she might meet Chathalen there, and maybe the barrier would cause him harm, or something else bad would happen. She knew now that if she met him on the dream plane, he would only awaken, but she dared not try it. The dream plane felt like a treacherous and unpredictable place to her now. She had come to fear it, so she stayed away, thinking maybe Chathalen had been right to try to give her something for protection. When she thought of him, she felt weak and desperate now, so forced herself to put him out of her mind completely.
Sleeping away from the village also scared her now. The rules she had always resented as a child seemed safe and comforting. She longed for their protection, and regretted having disregarded them.
She slept and dreamed on Far Hill. In a dream, she awakened on Far Hill, and Tersh was standing over her. He was dressed in traveling clothes, and his light brown wavy hair, the same color and texture as her own, which in waking life was not much longer, was in this dream braided halfway down his back. Allissa had never seen him with hair long enough to braid. Long hair was a sign of adulthood in the village, but Tersh had never cared for such customs. He was smiled as she awakened. “Awaken to the dream wind, to my world, princess” She smiled back, and stood beside him, looking out over the forest.
“This is the place,” he said approvingly
“What place, Tersh?”
He looked at her, as if surprised that she didn’t fully understand, and then explained
“This place is halfway between the dragons’ dream portal and our dream portal, halfway between D’zeron and the village of the dragons”
“It is the place where new dream keepers come to be initiated into the plane of authority”
Allissa stared at him in Disbelief, and then looked around her, realizing this was true. She wondered why she hadn’t noticed it before “this is the Appointed Place” she said in slow amazement. Tersh laughed “for one so very observant in the forest, you don’t notice much among the humans, child”
“The place where I was trained to travel to for my ascension” she added, filled with wonder at this revelation
“And so you did, Allissa. The paths of fate are not so easy to escape, and even when we think we are running away, destiny still walks up ahead to hold us hostage.”
“I was here, Tersh. I was here that night….maybe I was here when Chathalen ascended. But how could that be? It would have killed him, wouldn’t it?”
Tersh shrugged, not interested in her realization “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Obviously it didn’t kill him. He still lives.” Tersh sort of sneered as he said this, revealing his continued anger at his son, but Allissa felt a warm glow inside at this thought, both to know that he still lived and to realize that in some sense she may have been there with him when he ascended. She felt grateful for his friendship, and his protection, even though it had gone wrong in the end.
Tersh dropped his anger and smiled too, then “I was here too, princess, watching on the wind. I was with you both. We were there together as a family: you and me and Chathalen. I’ll always there for you.” Allissa hugged him, “thank you Tersh. You have always been a great father to me.”
Tersh went on “I was watching his thoughts, princess, and they were all for you, and some for me. He held us in his heart, and didn’t let us go. He wanted us to share it with him. Authority is more than any of us imagined. It is another dream plane above the free plane greater by far. It is glorious. But we aren’t supposed to know this, so don’t tell anyone. Especially since I watched his thoughts without his awareness. We surely wouldn’t want the young Patriarch to be in trouble for braking rules he doesn’t know he broke. “He winkled at Allissa, mocking his sons new social status and his inclination to be careful of the rules
“This is place probably has special powers and special characteristics, though I have not discovered them. D’neira surely knows of them. She has been in authority for a very long time. But we don’t have time for that now. You must travel to the dragons. You must find Tark. Destiny has risen and we must face it now Allissa
My father’s people have returned, and they intend to use the portals to disrupt the dream plane so they can mine sacred minerals from beneath the ancient forest. We have to prevent them from destroying the ancient forest, or from stirring up the dream bound in defense of the forest, which could destroy D’zeron.
They left Tark and I here hoping that they could use us to access the portals. I’m not going to help them. But we need to make sure Tark doesn’t either. You and your dragon will take me to him now. Your dragon has a bond with him. Together we will save the forest, and D’zeron.”
Allissa listened silently, not knowing what to think. It was normal for Tersh to say things this strange, and stranger. She just listened, not really understanding yet how any of this had anything to do with her, or her destiny.
Then Tersh said “you never alone even when you think you are Allissa. There’s someone who wants to meet you now, wait here”
And he ran into the forest towards the town. She followed him with her eyes, tho in the waking world that could have been impossible, and in minutes he returned again surrounded by a small colorful dancing crowd. Her school friend Serai stepped forward first, radiantly beautiful in a shimmering multicolored gown that floated around her like her long wavy brown hair. Look I finally found a man, Allissa, his name is Jason he’s from earth he’s friends with Tersh’s father, isn’t he handsome. Allissa smiled at Serai without even looking at Jason. “That’s very nice it’s good to see you Serai” and hugged her friend warmly, then turned to D’neira “I’m sorry I left without saying good-bye, mother. How’s Chath’en?”
“He misses you terribly, he was sad that he couldn’t come with us here tonight” she stated matter-of-factly. “I’ll tell him you asked about him. He will be pleased” D’neira glanced back at Jason and Serai, only to find they had sat down on the hillside and fallen asleep in eachother’s arms “long day… they are so tired they not only dream in their sleep but they sleep in their dreams” Harris introduced himself, since Jason was not available for that purpose “honored princess, I’m Harris Jenzar Navigator of the space transport Marrion Jay. With all due respect, though, I’m just as tired as Jason and would like to be resting soon also. But I would like to meet your dragon, before I go.”
Jayden appeared beside her as Harris spoke
“spacers are not welcome here” he said menacingly
“Very well” replied Harris respectfully, looking Jayden in the eyes “pleased to have met you sir. Good night everyone.” And he faded from the dream plane into his own dreams, exhausted to rest for the night.
D’neira Tersh and Allissa sat down on the ground near where Jason and Serai lay sleeping “where are you going Allissa?” asked D’neira
“To the forest, to get Tersh’s brother for him” answered Allissa. And she added “Tersh thinks his brother will be able to take down the barrier”
D’neira looked at Tersh, clearly doubting this
Tersh exploded “what is the matter with you woman? Does everything have to be untrue simply because I say it’s true? I had a feeling Tark was still alive, and he is, right? So I have the same feeling he will have the answer for Allissa and Chathalen. Perhaps the Shae has spoken to my heart. Who are you to doubt? And where’s the harm in this?
“It’s a dangerous journey Tersh, and the forest is a dangerous place” reminded D’neira
“I will not let any harm come to my princess,” declared Tersh “and neither will Jayden. Trust in us”
“I don’t” said D’neira
“I know” said Tersh, “but we shall prove you wrong one more time D’neira”
“I certainly hope so” she replied “I can’t stop you. I wish you well on this journey. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if there is anything I can do” she noticed Jason and Serai were no longer there, and then she was gone.
Allissa trusted Tersh, and listened carefully to his directions on how to find the dragons the next day. Jayden listened too.
Then Jayden talked to Tersh alone for awhile, while Allissa rested in her own earth bound dreams
Jason and Sarai
Falling asleep in the dream wind on far hill, Jason awoke into another dream, he thought. He was lying in his bed in the temple, and when he awoke the pixie childlike form of her sat on the edge of his bed, in her flowing multicolored gown she seemed to glow with multi-colored moonlight, tho he knew there was no light of any sort in his room in the temple
He sat cross legged on the bed, and she sat in front of him “we need to talk” he said “no” she said “we just need to get married. I want you to be my mate, to share my journey through this life wherever it may lead us, and extend our linage through eternity”
“no” he said “that isn’t how we do it in my world”
“show me how you do it in your world then, and we will do it your way”
“ why should I think you really want to be with me anyhow, Serai, you flirt with everyone equally. It’s just a game you play”
she pouted, and seemed sincerely hurt by his accusation. He was sorry he said it, but she answered anyhow. “I do and it is a game, I flirt with everyone, but only you flirt back, Jason. I know you want me. I have waited for you. You see my game, I know you see my love just as well. You can’t deny this. I challenge you to try”
he gazed at her. She was beautiful, and totally open to him, hiding nothing. He really couldn’t deny it. He shook his head, gazing into her eyes “no Serai, I can’t deny it”
Then show me how it is done in your world. How must I court you Jason, before you will consent to be mine”
He considered her request. He could show her, in a shared dream, they could act out married life on the earth together. She loves to play this will be a fun game for her. What harm could there be in this? It’s just a dream?”
“Ok, Honey, lie down and dream with me and I will show you”
In shared dream…not really even on the dream plane, they dated, he proposed, he gave her a diamond ring, and introduced her to his family, they had a fancy wedding, they lived together on the earth, they made love, that had a child, they taught anthropology together at the university, he taught retro-technology and she taught about mating rituals. They grew old together, it was as if they lived out an entire lifetime on earth all in this one dream. Jason had never shared a dream like this before,.”it seemed so real” he thought and then he realized he was awake, and she was really in his bed in his arms and some at least of what he thought he dreamed was not a dream
It had been real.
He pulled away from her suddenly, staring at her almost unbelieving, yet somehow certain now that he was awake and it was real.
She looked lovingly into his startled eyes “what’s the matter, Jason?”
“no” he said “I’m awake, this is real, this isn’t right I’m sorry how did this happen?” She smiled sweetly at him “you think too much and you get yourself all confused, honey. It is right. You are my destiny, we belong together”
“no” he insisted, getting more upset, sitting up and wrapping the blanket around himself, turning away from her. “This isn’t right, we aren’t married, we hardly even know eachother, so we shouldn’t be …here….together…. like this” not wanting to put into words the reality of what had obviously happened between them. He was starting to sound hysterical
She grabbed him and forcefully lay him down on the bed, lying across his chest, looking into his confused ice blue eyes, holding his face so he couldn’t turn away
“Stop being silly Jason, there’s nothing wrong. You want to be with me you can’t deny it.”
This was true, he couldn’t. If married life with her was even a fraction as good as the dream, he could think of no better destiny.
And we do know each other, we just lived a whole lifetime together on the dream plane. Do you know anyone better than you know me now?
He slowly shook his head. She was right about this too.
Dreams are real here, Jason. You wanted it done your way, and we did that, in the dream. Did you not mean everything you said in the dream when you asked me to marry you, and when we took our vows?
He couldn’t deny this, either.
And we haven’t done anything illegal. We are both of age, D’neira gave me her official consent yesterday, and she’s planning to do the sealing privately this morning. It’s done this way in D’zeron all the time.”
“Well, not all the time.” She added “Some people do wait till after the ceremony, so they can have a public ceremony, but it’s still just as legal this way.
He seemed calm again. “Are you ok now, Jason?” she asked, still concerned
“Yeah, I’m ok now. I’m sorry. Serai. You’re right, of course. It doesn’t matter how it happened I think too much, and I sometimes have panic attacks when things don’t seem to make sense. How did you get here? ”
“I know honey, Its ok I love you just the way you are, and I don’t know how I got here any more than you do. One minute I was sitting on Far Hill with you in the dream, and the next we were sitting on your bed talking and you decided to show me how it is in your world. I loved your world Jason, I’d love to go there with you.”
He leaned up on his elbow and looked down at her, smiling “this is all so confusing, I’ve never even really thought of getting married before, a lot of people on earth wait till they are much older, until they are all settled down. You took me completely by surprise.” He kissed her lightly, continued “it was a very nice surprise though. Thank you.” He kissed her lightly again and she giggled.
“I still want it to be right, though” he said. “Let’s get dressed now, ok?”
When they were dressed, he said “I don’t feel like I can marry you if I haven’t even proposed. I don’t have a real engagement ring for you” he said, pulling the gold band off his index finger that she had been admiring earlier “so this will have to do. It was my father’s ring. He died before I was born and my mother gave it to me, so it’s at least a special family ring
She looked at the ring admiringly “I’ve never seen any ring before this one’ she said “it’s beautiful, what is it made if?”
“Gold” he began, then realized she lived in a culture that had no metal “I’ll teach you all about it tonight” he said
He kneeled before her on the floor “Serai, will you marry me?” remembering from the dream, she said simply “yes, I will” and kissed him, and held out her hand. He put the ring on her finger and it fit perfectly.
The others were waiting for them, and teased them about taking too long to come out of the room in the morning. D’neira performed the private sealing ceremony with Chathalen and Harris as witnesses, “Old Derrick would be so proud” teased Harris, and suddenly Jason remembered someone else, and grew suddenly pale and quiet again “what’s the matter?”
“I got married and I didn’t even tell my mother, let alone invite her. That’s terrible.” They all laughed, and D’neira answered “would she have come this morning if you had invited her?”
“Would you have waited until she could come?”
He looked at his new wife, who smiled at him
“No, no, of course I wouldn’t have waited, I’m sorry everybody, this is all so sudden, I’m so confused. “
They all laughed again “yeah we noticed that. Lets go send your mother and Derrick a message, and then we can go on with our lives.
So they did. Hidden deep within the temple D’neira had a messaging system similar to the one on the Marrion Jay. They all recorded a video for Mom and one for Derrick, explaining the basics of all that was happening and sent them off, with the address so they could respond if they wanted to. And life went on as before.
Jason and Serai went home to Serai’s house and took care of all the chores on her far, and she taught him about village life. In the afternoon they back to bed and mostly just slept because they were still so tired from the night before.
D’neira and Chathalen took care of village business, and all their other dayly duties. That let Derrick with nothing much to do, so he decided to go visit Tersh.
Derick and tersh on the spacer plane
Tersh lets him in and they talk a lot and joke around and then Derrick teached Tersh about the spacer plane, and tells him everything he knows about how and why Tark was left with the dragons. Both of them being able to sleep instantly, Derick and tersh goes to sleep, and they visit Serrsi and Jason in their sleep while they are napping in the afternoon, and then since tersh knows how, he is able and nows Tark from the womb, he is able to go ant talk to tark, and tells him that allisa is coming. Tark agrees protect Allissa in the forest, and to meet with them all on the wind but does not agree to anything else at this point
When Allissa arrives, Tark is expecting her, even tho she arrives early (he talkes to tark in the afternoon, and she arrives that evening)
Allissa and Jayden awoke early in far hill, and traveled the way that Tersh had shown them to the mountains. When they were near the place, a huge red-gold Dragon looms in frount of them, breathing fire, and Jayden makes a fire shield tith his body and his wingns and protects Allissa from being burned. He convinces the dragon to stop attacking. It is his mother Montarra. “I will free you from the controle of this ridiculous human” she says
“don’t you see, mother, you have already freed me. I saved her from your fire breath, so I have repaid her for saving me from the Well of Morning. I will return to you soon, mother, but first, I must finish what have started
Because it if not for the benefit of the humans only but for all of kaar-taal. We must help precent the spacers from mining dreamstone from the anchient forest, and to do this, I must help Allissa reach Tark’
At the mention of this name, Montara started another rampage of rier breatheing.
I will go with you then, so I can kill Tark too, and free Aubyn from him also.
“No. we need Tark. Tark will help stop the spacers. After that you can kill him if you want to, I don’t care but for now, we still need him. Let me go to him. I will seek the release of Aubyn for you, and if you are then not satisfied, then you can kill him.
She quieted. Ok you may go. Please hurry back son, and bring me news of Aubyn. “
“please Ma’am “ asked Allissa, I’ve never ben here before and expacted to spend more time in this area, to be able to receive instruction on the dream plane tonight, so could you tell me how to get the the forrest.
And after some more fire, she gave directions, and they were on their way to the forrest.
It was not a far walk, and there was no doubt when they entered. Everything was strage and alive in the forest, and all the creatures one thinks only live in stories or dreams lived there, farries and unicorns and giants and centars and …well, anything strange you could think of, it lived there. As they entered the forest, Allissa spoke to the forestin general ‘I am Allissa daughter of D’neira from the village of D’zeron I have come to see Terk” the forest echoed with this news as he name and purpose was relayed to anyone and everyone there.
Allissa reaches Tark, and Tark tells her of the agreement to meet on the wind that night with Harris and Tersh. When Harris gets to the forest on the dream wind with Tersh that night, the fire snakes greet him joyfully, and seem to consider him as an old friend.
“it is time for your to return to the village Tark, and face your destiny” said tersh
“I belong in this forest, Tersh, there is no place for me in D’zeron” he replied
“no, my brother, there is no place for you here, but there is a time, and that time is now. you cannot save your forest unless you make this journey. We must all work together, and not all can ride the wind. bring allissa to the forest of Zair thaleiln, but no closer to the village than the beach across from the Well of Morning.
“because she has a barrier around her, created by my son to keep her safe, and she cast against him in the heat of anger, and of the most powerful sort that only can be given to one whom is dearly loved. needless to say, it’s a very powerful barrier, and we don’t know how to break it. So she cannot step within any perceivable distance on any plane of Chathalen, or he is forced out of that plane, and from the waking plane, that would leave him no place else, and he would die.”
“Ahhh” said Tark “I had noticed the barrier she carries, and the way she looked at me as if I reminded her of someone she had lost. I think I understand now. your son also resembles out father Derrick, doesn’t he?”
“Yes, Tark. your nephew looks a lot like you.”
After some consideration, Tark spoke again “I know a way to help them Tersh, a place where they can be together”
Tersh looked at his brother, so much like his son, only older “What do you mean a place where they can be together?”
“There is a place where the dream world has no effect,” said Tark “it is the Well of Morning. When I took Jayden there, it was not my intention to kill him; it was my intention only to make Montana think he was gone, so she would hatch out Aubyn. I knew this would cause Aubyn to bond to me instead of Montara, and I was going to get him out later, after I took Aubyn to the forest. But he was gone.”
?????????? tell this story in detail here?????????
“It worked, though.” he added “His dream presence was totally gone when he was in the well.”
“So?” asked Tersh, not yet understanding what this meant
“This barrier is a creation of the dream plane entirely, even though it extends its power into the earth. In the cave of silence, the barrier will be of no effect, and in that place, they could meet in waking. It wouldn’t take the barrier away, they could still never meet in dreams, or in the village, but they could see each other in the earthbound world again, at least.”
Tersh grinned “I think that would be the perfect homecoming gift for my princess” he said “when she returns to the Zair Thaleil”
Allissa sat at the top of the Well of Morning, and looked down, pausing before she began her decent. Though it had only been a few weeks ago, it had been a long journey since last she had descended, climbing with Chathalen. More than two years. more recently she had tried to climb down with Jayden, but he made such a fuss that she headed right back out again She began descending carefully. She had grown so much in the past year and a half that her balance was different now. Her body was larger and more mature, with the weight differently distributed. She had done plenty of climbing in the intervening years and was stronger and more skilled, but the familiar holds that were spaced just right for her when she was ten no longer suited her. It was a weird feeling. She knew every inch of the place but it was as if it had shrunk, because she had grown.
Reaching the shelf, she dropped to the floor of the cave and deposited her back pack by the wall. Tersh and Tark had insisted she come here to spend the night of her first day back at Zair Thaleil. She didn’t entirely understand why, but it seemed very important to them, so she didn’t feel that she could tell them no. Some sort of a spiritual retreat, or something. Something they said she had to do before she could go home to face her destiny. Sit down here and think about things and figure it all out. Something about how the well would help her see clearly her destiny, find what she was looking for. she smiled “typical Tersh” she thought “always talking about destiny, and never making sense, yet I still can’t help but believe him”
she would have preferred to spend the night in her beloved forest, but for her friend, Tersh and Tark, she would consent to this.
The well was built for this, Tark had claimed. He learned about it from the dragons, which live longer than us and remember more. She had a feeling he knew more than her was telling, or was somehow distorting the truth, but he was smiling at her in a loving way, looking Just like Chathalen, only older, she always found it very difficult to say no to him. and she didn’t find any reason not to go. What else should she do? At least this way she got to travel near her home, and they had agreed to go into town and warn D’neira, so she could be sure Chathalen would not wander too close and encounter the barrier by mistake. some how just that fact gave her a warm feeling, like he was working together with her, so she could visit here and so he could be safe.
She didn’t feel like thinking, really. she was tired, very tired, from the long walk to this place from the far Hill, and from the climb down. She lay down under the shaft of the well, and looked up into the evening sky, wondering what the purpose of the well had really been to the ancient people who created it, so long ago. “They must have known things that we don’t know. They built these walls, in ways we can no longer build. Like the dragons know things that we do not know, and Tersh’s father’s people know things that we do not know, but we know things that they don’t, also. Maybe everyone in the world has their own little bit of knowledge,” she thought “their own piece in the puzzle, and we need all of it to find the answer.”
“What answer are we really looking for, anyhow?” Thought Allissa. “I am tired. I want to go home, but I threw away that option when I was just a silly child. Now I am a woman, old enough to choose a mate, but I am bound by destiny to someone I can never be with, because I made bad choices in my anger. “He made bad choices too,” she remembered. “but only to protect me, only to be with me, only because he loved me” The warmth at the thought of his love for her was washed away instantly at the knowledge that she had never noticed, and had cast him away. She hadn’t thought of Chathalen much for a long time. She had blocked him from her mind; it was just easier that way. Now alone in the Cave of Silence, now realizing she was a woman, old enough for mating, it seemed there was no way to block her thoughts, and thoughts of him filled her mind, her heart her soul, even seemed to fill her flesh somehow. He had waited for her for all those years. and just when he thought the wait was finally over, she had cast him away.
Chathalen, the dream keeper, the healer, her teacher, her friend.
He was 17 now. She tried to imagine how he would look, if she saw him again. Her most vivid memory of him was her last; the pain in his eyes as he cried out for her, fading away, trying to hold on. D’neira said he would try to break the barrier, “I have waited, always hoping he would come to me on the dream wind, in spite of his vows. Now, at the well of Morning I am as close to him as I have been in almost a month.” It seemed like an eternity.
She imagined walking to the village down the pathway in the dark, imagined he would run to meet her. How good it would be to see him smile, to hold him close, to say “I’m sorry” after all this time. It was a pleasant thought, and she was tired, so she held lovingly to that thought of him, and fell asleep, briefly
Awakening, she remembered Tersh had told her to make a fire. He had given very specific instructions, some sort of a ritual, something about roots and fire and smoke; a rite of passage. Arising from the cave floor, she felt in the darkness for her backpack, and finding it, laid out the wood and kindling and with effort made a spark, and then a fire. she remembered the first time Tersh had taught her of the roots and fire ritual. “That day” she thought “my destiny began. I suppose it is fitting that I use this same ritual to regain it somehow.”
It was beautiful. She had always loved fire, and it made her happy looking into the flames. She smiled. “Tersh had always been so good to me” she thought, “He must have known this was just what I needed. My roots are gone, and I must let them go, let them float away like smoke. Maybe Chath’en will never break the barrier. I must go forward now just as Tersh said. I cannot go back; I must go forward into destiny.
“What is my destiny now?” She wondered. Chathalen was gone, Jayden had returned to his village, Tark and Tersh were reunited, and there was no place for her in the village now, even if it weren’t the case that her presence there would kill the young dream keeper, who was such an important part of D’zeron in so many ways. “What destiny could be left for me now?” she wondered
“They were right,” she thought “I need to think” but she didn’t think much, sitting starring into the fire the flames entranced her until she feel asleep, and the light of it slowly dying to embers warmed the edges of her awareness as she dreamed peacefully the simple dreams of the earthbound.
Suddenly the fire flared up, and she woke with a start. Someone was kneeling beside the fire, a young man tall and muscular, well-built, dressed in climbing clothes with long, thick brown hair hanging loosely around him somewhat disordered from his hasty descent. Not having seen him in awhile, especially with his hair down, she did not recognize him at first. When she did, she jumped up in surprise and amazement. It was Chathalen.
At first she feared that he would instantly fall dead from being too close to her, and she ran from him as far as the cave would allow. How could this be? He shouldn’t be able to even see her and still live. But there he was, alive. In an instant she realized he wasn’t dying, he was kneeling by her fire, grinning silently, with tears of joy running down his face, no smoke or roots in his dark brown eyes in the light of the fire he had reawakened, only love for her.
Then she didn’t care how or why. “Chath’en!” She threw herself into his arms with enough force that he fell over and they lay holding each other tightly, crying together, too filled with Joy and love for any words, until the fire had died. For many hours, she had no thoughts or dreams. It was as if she had reached her destiny and there was nothing left in her life. She was at peace. It didn’t matter how or why, whether it would only last an instant or an eternity, or even if it was just a dream. He was there, really there somehow, in her arms. Nothing else mattered.
Morning and light made their way slowly to the bottom of the well. She awakened, still in his arms, her motion roused him just enough to pull her closer, and go on sleeping. She grinned at him sleeping there, treasuring his presence; his arms around her, his body so close to hers, warm and solid. His thick, straight brown hair lay across his face. She pushed it back slowly, her hand caressingly brushing across the smooth skin of his forehead above his right eye, where there was no scar. She took in all the details of his face, fully absorbed in the moment. He looked older, fully a man now, with a beard beginning to grow along his chin. “More handsome than ever” she thought, “if that was possible.”
She lightly kissed his forehead, where there was no scar, and he awoke. He began to kiss her passionately, not as just a friend. Allissa was entirely taken off guard, not expecting this, having been a woman only for a few weeks and expecting she would be alone much longer, she had not thought about this much, but it felt so right and natural that she kissed him back, answering his passion with equal passion.
The young dream keeper woke to full awareness remembering who he was and pulled away, blushing and apologizing. They were not yet sealed to become mates, so it was not yet legal in D’zeron for them to kiss this way. Not that every other young couple didn’t do it anyhow, but he was a leader, he had to set an example in upholding laws, even when there was no one there to see, and he had come to fully understand the importance of obeying rules.
“I’m sorry Allissa” he justified, “I wasn’t awake yet.” She smiled peacefully at him, looking into his beautiful deep dark eyes, stroking his golden cheek feather-lightly with the back of her fingers, which sent shivers through him, as he burned in desperate passion for her, and resisted the temptation with some difficulty.
She spoke gently and lovingly “For weeks I have been waiting, wanting nothing more than to apologize to you for what I did, for all we have suffered alone because of it. Now when you are here I am too enthralled with the wonder and beauty of your presence to even speak, so you instead get to do the apologizing. I would think this wasn’t fair, but I am just so happy to be here with you now that nothing else matters anymore.”
He closed his eyes and buried his face in the cloud of light brown curls beside her face holding her tightly, his physical passion now overshadowed by the joy and love he felt just at her presence. He still wanted her in that way too, but he was willing to wait forever now, so great was his joy in just being able to see her again, and even more at being able to hold her close, and hear her speak to him so lovingly.
They lay together in the Cave of Silence, mostly silent for much of the day, they felt no need for words, just to be together was enough and they treasured every moment of the time.
But nothing in mortality can truly last forever, so near the evening, as shadows in the well began to darken they sat up and faced each other, and began to talk.
“How can you be here Chath’en?” asked the young woman, combing out the tangles from his long silky hair with her fingers. “I was so surprised when I saw you, I thought you had accidentally come here not knowing I was here and you would die” he smiled and gave her a quick hug, “I’m sorry to have startled you sweetheart,” he replied “but even if I had come here unknowing, I would not have died”
“Have you removed the barrier, then?” from the look in his eyes as soon as she asked she knew the answer was no. Remembering the barrier hurt him deeply. Through the night and morning that they spent together he had put it out of his mind with all his other concerns. He was sad for this time of release from all his cares to be ending, though he knew it must. Tears came to his eyes, and even a hint of grey around the center. She hugged him tightly from behind for a moment, burying her face in his hair, and then continued her questions “how can you be here, then?”
“There is no dream plane in the Cave of Silence” he replied.
Confused, she shifted forward to look into his eyes; he was smiling a little now. “It’s built in a special way from the stone that the spacers wanted to mine from the ancient forest. the stones can channel and direct the dream plane. The ancients figured out a way to use it to block the dream plane completely. Tark knew about it, he learned it from the dragons. Tark and Tersh have been planning this for you for a few days now, as a gift.” He kissed her lightly then and continued explaining.
“We always knew it was a sacred place built by the ancients, but we never really knew what it was for. It was for this, a safe place where they could go and be alone in their own thoughts without intrusion from the dream planes, and a place of protection from things which had been cast against them. Things like my barrier, only without the good intentions. The barrier disappears completely when you come down here. But we can’t stay here forever” he added wistfully. She smiled, thinking she would love to stay there with him forever, though she knew that he was right. She combed through his hair with her fingers one more time, checking for any knots she might have missed, thinking carefully about this new information, and then gathered his hair together into sections for braiding as she tried to gather her thoughts. “Is there a way we can use the power of this place to be together? Maybe we can build a shield around the town, or a shield just around me? Maybe I can live here and you can come and visit me every night?” Chath’en smiled lovingly at her enthusiasm and creativity. He wished he could turn and watch the excitement in her eyes as she came up with different ideas, but instead he held still while she finished braiding his hair.
Then he turned to face her, holding her hands in his. “We’ll find a way, sweetheart. At least we have each other now, we can talk about it and work it out together” looking at her longingly he added “and hold each other” even though that seemed to have nothing much to do with how they would remove the barrier. She smiled and hugged him, agreeing it was good that they could hold each other. She almost felt that was enough. For now, it was enough. For a little while, she just held him silently again, and stole one more forbidden kiss before he reluctantly pulled away. “Ok, now you have repaid me for my indiscretion earlier” he said, “please honor my decision to uphold the law” there was a slight tone of frustration and annoyance in his voice, but not enough to even begin to overshadow the passion. She nodded solemnly and drew herself away from him, wrapping her arms around her own knees. “He always was better than me at remembering to keep within the rules,” she thought
“I’m sorry Chathalen” she said sincerely “you’re right of course, and I have no sleepiness to excuse my actions. I won’t do it again, until we are sealed”
Chathalen grinned, realizing this was the first time they had ever openly talked about marriage, though he had always known for longer than he could remember that he would marry her. Until now she had always been too young. But she had just now for the first time said that she would marry him, though not officially yet because he hadn’t asked her. He helped her to her feet, and kneeled before her, holding her hands in his, looking into her eyes. “Allissa, Daughter of D’neira, will you be my mate, seal our linage for eternity and share our journey through this life wherever it may lead us?” Allissa grinned. Again, she had not really anticipated this, or thought it through before, but it felt right. She consented. “Sure Chath’en. I love you, I can think of nothing I’d like more in this life for now than just to be with you. Let’s get married” This wasn’t the proper words for the ceremony, which normally might have bothered Chathalen, but at this time and place her words seemed so unimaginably right and beautiful to him that he could not imagine any error in them. He rose to his feet and kissed her in the way appropriate for sealing such a contract.
Then she realized her mistake, and gestured for him to kneel again, as she added ceremonially. “Chathalen son of Tersh, dream keeper of D’zeron, I shall serve with honor as your Matriarch, share your journey through this lifetime wherever it may lead us and carry forward our linage through eternity”. As she raised him to his feet to kiss him again, he wondered if she had really only done this to get another kiss, but still his heart was touched with her effort to follow the formalities for his sake, and he certainly didn’t object to an extra kiss.
Then they hugged, as friends, as children who had grown together and shared all the events of their life together, as this was just one more of many things that they had shared, would not be the last. This renewing of the friendship they had shared so long perhaps meant more than all the rest. Then they went back to the business of solving the problem at hand.
“I will go to D’neira in the morning to announce our engagement,” said Chathalen. “This is an acceptable procedure; it has been done before when one of the partners to a marriage is physically unable to enter the temple. I will then leave town far enough away that you can enter safely, so you can go to the temple to receive your anointing before the sealing.” He paused “unless, of course we find a way to break the barrier before then. But if we don’t, D’neira can come here and perform the sealing privately, as again is done when one partner is not well enough to come to the meeting place.”
Allissa knew that private sailings most often were performed for young couples who had not had the strength or honor to wait for their sealing, and had joined themselves together before the ceremony. For herself, she would have had no objection to this, but this disgraceful element of a private sealing was not something she wanted Chathalen to have to endure for her, as much as she had put him through already and as much as she understood how much he like things to always be done in the proper way. “We will find a way Chathalen” she said, suddenly fully determined more than ever before, and then suddenly sure. “I always wondered what lay above the dream plane” Said Chathalen suddenly “there is no dream plane in this place, so anything here, which we find above the earth, it is not of the dream plane. You can’t begin to imagine, Allissa, the glory I have seen in my authority” he spoke carefully, knowing he must not reveal to her things that it was not her place to know. “You have ridden the wind with Tersh, Allissa, as I can no longer do because of my authority. Imagine a place as far greater than the dream plane as the dream plane is than dream wind, and then roll them all together, and add this planet and the earth, and the world my ancestors came from across the sky, and other worlds, each with dream planes of their own… perhaps a world for every star and think of something more….” He struggled to put it into words
Allissa suddenly began urgently gathering together her remaining fire wood. There wasn’t much.
“It is here, you are right” she said, “can feel it, as I felt it in the forest when you fell, as I felt it in the fire when I met Tersh, as I felt it when he took me to the dream wind. The words I didn’t understand, but I felt the Spirit carry those words into my memory. Tersh said ‘Shae is your destiny’ and I didn’t understand, but I felt it. I felt the Shae, the Spirit; it is greater than all worlds but has no form.” Chathalen knelt beside her, gathered her into his arms. “These ancient myths may seem powerful, Allissa, and we are in an ancient place, but don’t read too much into the words of Tersh. He often just rambles like a crazy man. All his wisdom is born of the dream wind and the only Shae he knows is me.” He paused to judge her reaction. She was listening, skeptically looking at him from the side, reserving judgment, until after he was done. He continued. “Shae Thaleiln” he pronounced it in the tongue the ancients, perfectly, “it is an ancient term which refers the spirit of this forest, this land, everything which lies here, its creation, its eternal existence. The ancients thought that it could speak to them”
She smiled thinking only of her beloved forest, forgetting for a moment the purpose of the discussion. She repeated what he had said “the spirit of Zair Thaleil…Shae Thaleiln” it rolled off her tongue beautifully, felt completely familiar, and suddenly she understood what he was about to say, realizing Tersh had said it at the fire. They said it together “Chathalen”
“It is just a name, just the name he gave me, Allissa, borrowed from the tongue of the ancients, nothing more than that. He calls me Shae when we walk together on the dream plane.” he paused, then added sadly “or, he used to.” then continued earnestly explaining what he thought Tersh had meant. “I am you destiny, surely he has always known how much I love you. Everybody knew, accept for you, I guess. This must be all he meant when he said that. Tersh doesn’t know anything special Allissa, nothing of what the ancients called the Shae.”
She smiled lovingly, regarding him with the same sort of wonder she gave to any new and wonderful thing she had discovered in the forest which she loved. “It’s a name beautiful. Shae Thaleiln. As beautiful as you”
They stared at each other for a few seconds until she was sure that he was done speaking, then suddenly she went on with the same intensity she had before he spoke “No, maybe he doesn’t, Maybe Tersh didn’t know; He didn’t feel it. But you have been as blind to the wisdom of your father as I was too your love, Shae Thaleiln. I have traveled with Tersh, and I have learned that much of his wisdom is wiser than it seems. I trust him in things that have to do with my destiny. Destiny is what he knows best. Tersh knows more than even her himself imagines.
I HAVE FELT IT, CHATH’EN! IT WAS THERE; IT WAS REAL. I FELT THE SHAE, THE SPIRIT ABOVE THE WORLDS. Not just in the dream wind when Tersh spoke of it, but also in the fire, and in the forest when you fell, and after I cast you away. I can find it, Shae Thaleiln” she said giving his name the ancient pronunciation, loving the sound of it, the thought of the man she loved being named for the spirit of the forest she loved. “I can show it to you now. None of us can hold it all alone, but together each of us has a small part of what we need. If we hold it in our hearts and join together, we will receive its power.
Tersh showed me how to see the Shae although he could not see it by himself. I will show it to you, Chath’en and the Shae will lead you to the answer, He will teach you how to break the barrier so we can be one” she spoke with such confidence that he couldn’t imagine not believing her.
“Go get more wood for the fire” she commanded, and he obeyed instantly without a word, scrambling back up the rock walls of the Well of Morning to get wood for her.
xxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx
They built a large fire, and the cave became uncomfortably warm and bright. Chathalen stood behind her as she kneeled upon the stone floor of the cave staring into the flames for a long time. He didn’t understand what she was doing or why, but he felt sure that she would succeed, that it would become clear to him very soon.
After awhile she turned and gestured for him to kneel beside her, which he did. He felt as if he was a student kneeling at the feet of a master, the way he felt with D’neira when he first entered the plane of authority. She held his hands, looked into his eyes. She closed her eyes. He followed, trusting her guidance. She spoke, and her voice was soft and sweet, yet there was a power within it, it seemed stronger than the power of the dream plane, yet gentle…completely gentle…he suddenly recognized it. It was the power of love. Not of longing, not of needing, or of needing to give. Not of physical passion, nor admiration, of but a pure love, a love that only gave, and found selfless joy in purely giving. Its power was above everything above the dream plane, above the planet, above the universe. And through that power he felt warmth, like the warmth of the fire, but not uncomfortable, and a million times more intense, like the warmth of Allissa’s hands in his. He opened his eyes, and hers were also open. He didn’t know what words she had spoken, but it didn’t matter; it was the voice that mattered not the words. The Spirit; the Shae, the love that only gave. It was greater than all the worlds on all the planes, and all the planets, yet had no form. It entered him, and filled him completely with love and light and warmth and understanding, and they were one completely in it for a moment kneeling in the Cave of Silence before the fire.
Then the fire seemed to dim and darken, though the flames leapt just as high and just as bright. Another light was forming in the midst of it, a greater light. They sat transfixed, united as one being of perfect light and love and warmth. They became the Shae. The pillar of light amid the fire, in perfect whiteness and brightness in the warmth of perfect love distilled into the form of a man, as if he were standing in the midst of the flames, dressed all in white and glowing brighter than the sun at noon day. The flames did not burn him, more like he burned the flames; compared to him they were almost as dark and cold as the cave floor, though they still danced and swayed.
“I AM” He said
And for a time uncountable He said no more and it was enough.
“I come from the Origin” he said “I am healer, and protector”
“Through you, I will save these people”
They knew he meant not only the village, but the dragons and the ancient forest, and even also those who had come to destroy them; the alien invaders, the people of Tersh’s father.
“Your trial is over, your errors has been lifted, come follow me and I will make you perfect, depart from me and you will be in utter darkness, beyond all worlds”
They felt his words, more than really hearing them, the way they had learned to listen when they talked to Tersh. “come follow me, my way is light, and love and truth” he said, then seemed to rise and vanish through the dark shaft of the well, back into the heavens leaving them in darkness, in the light of their fire, which still burned and leapt as bright as before, as if nothing had happened.
Chathalen knew what he must to do now, and taking Allissa by the hand, leading her to follow him, he began to climb the wall out of the Well of Morning. “Do not be afraid” he said “my love for you is stronger than any barrier created by my dream plane power. The Shae is your destiny; nothing can keep you from it now. If I die, I will still be yours forever. We can’t go back. We must go forward, we must not fear.” they climbed together, and the assent seemed infinite, time stretched out. He went ahead of her, and she followed, her love fighting away her fear at every foothold. She felt the dream plane powers returning as she ascended. She thought that he might die, but cast away her fear, and focused only on his love, her love, the Shae within them, the voice of the guardian healer saying “your error has been lifted.” she knew somehow no matter what it would be okay.
Chathalen reached the top, and stood. Allissa felt the barrier forming as she approached the surface, pushing him away. He shimmered and began to fade. She pushed away everything in her awareness and felt nothing but the Shae, the Spirit above all world, the love and light and truth. Chathalen seemed to waver, falling to his knees, struggling within himself, holding on as she had seen him doing when she cast the barrier, only he was much stronger now, and this wasn’t just a dream he could awaken from.
Suddenly it was as if time had rolled back to the moment before the barrier was cast. As if she was given a second chance. They were there were there again, in the dream plane, ragged children, with dragon wings.
Blood began to ooze from an abrasion on his forehead, above his right eye. He took advantage of the pause as she drew her breath. He knelt before her, took her hands in his, and looked up into her eyes. His eyes were deep and dark and huge, all she saw for a moment, beautifully patterned as the grey root-threads began to spread and grow.
He spoke, pleading desperately, urgently…”Allissa, please, I need you stay with me” She felt the rage rise within her, and with the Shae she cast it out. “I have come back for you” she said
She didn’t cast the barrier; instead she said “Shae Thaleiln, I’m sorry, I love you always. You are my destiny. Forgive me all that I have done in the foolishness of youth”
She held his face between her hands, and licked the blood from his forehead, leaving it perfect again, without a scar.
Then they collapsed together on the ground above the Well of Morning, and slept peacefully in each other’s arms until the sun rose, which wasn’t long at all.
Epilogue or whatever
Since the spacers need the dream stone to communicate with home planet, so in the end the forest creatures will agree to travel to the other planets to help with the problems, so that the problem can be solved without destroying the forest (the fire serpents like Derrick cause he scarred them away, so they will agree to carry dream messages for the spacers)
This is good for them because they are bored and want adventure, so they are happy to travel to different planet
They are able to travel parasitically with Harris, by going into his body the way they dove through Jasons head, and Harris doesn’t mind them doing this. With the snakes, the sacers are able to use there dream communication on any ship or planet anywhere Thatrak and tersh and everyone return to the village to help work out the details of all that in book two