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Cytherea September 10, 2014

Posted by wimynspeak in General, The Hive.
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The Destroyer slipped from the darkness of the cave into the wan light of a weak-hearted morning. All around her she could feel the apathetic lethargy that encouraged those who inhabited this valley to disengage, to withdraw, to forget their connection, their shared experience of this journey. If she closed her eyes, she could feel, though not see, the source of this muddied, gray energy, and she moved resolutely in that direction. Though she walked freely, in the open, neither hiding nor altering her appearance, no one approached her, no one noted or questioned her presence among them. To do any such thing would have required engagement of a sort and these people were past any ability to do that. Maybe the children, she had thought early on in her progress through the village, but they too seemed to be mere shadows, as insubstantial as vapor, their vibrancy and innocence stolen and replaced with a naive humility that didn’t allow for anything save mere existence. That — the will to survive — was reinforced, though not supported by any appreciable means, and so the people suffered.

Her job? Destroy the suffering!

The Destroyer used no name and hid herself well, when necessary, behind her cloak of anonymity. Here in this abysmal place, there was no need to hide, but this unknowablity had always been her most potent weapon, the sword she used to slice through illusion. It had served her well . . . until now. Now the gray veil of apathy that hung over the village threatened to drag her down, pull her into the abyss of the unacknowledged along with all the others. She felt herself slipping, slipping . . . and then she met the child: One little girl, unlike the others, her bright face a lone shining beacon in the sludge. Eyes open. Watching. Watching her.

She had felt the girl’s gaze before she could see her. Because of the powerful energy, she had expected to meet, perhaps, a seer from one of the other realms. But no, there was only this one, tiny human, following her approach with her eyes. When the little one spoke, she changed everything.

“I am called Lona,” the child said, her voice resonant with fairy dust and the bittersweet earth from which she was born. “I know you. I know why you are here.”

The woman was taken aback. No one had ever seen her before.  She looked into the child’s eyes and knew she could not hide. “You may call me Cytherea,” she said to the child, knowing that it was as close as she could come to a name — Cythera, the place where she was born. “How is it that you are not blind to me, like the others?”

“I have been watching and waiting,” said the girl, taking Cytherea’s hand. “My apprenticeship began before my birth, in another place and time. The details have been wiped from my memory, to help me fit in here. But the lessons have stayed with me. I am here to help you.”

Cytherea’s eyes flashed. “I work alone,” she thundered. “I need no help!”

The child only smiled. “You do,” she said.

Lona stood before Cytherea, unmoving, her green eyes glistening like clear emeralds. In their depths, Cytherea could see the vast wisdom of long-forgotten ages, times, seers, fused  into the rock-solid gem that was this wisp of a child. “Indeed,” she said finally, “you may be right.”

Cytherea was not one to back away from any battle which must be fought, but she knew better than to engage in futility. To argue with Lona would have been not only useless, she realized, but possibly fatal. The girl was that powerful.

Once Cytherea had acquiesced, the child’s eyes lost their hard gleam, but remained open, aware, alert. “This way,” she said, leading Cytherea away from the village and toward a tall mountain in the distance. The mountain’s peak was obscured by gray clouds, but Cytherea knew from the shape and the texture of its surface that it was volcanic and wondered how long it had been dormant.

“Oh, it is not dormant,” Lona said, just as if Cytherea had spoken aloud. “It is still very active and spews hot grey ash on the village from time to time.” She pointed to the tiny holes that peppered the fabric of her dress and Cytherea realized that the people had fallen into a despair born of nature and then exploited by forces whose only desire was to manipulate and control. The mountain, the ash provided the means for fear and apathy to take a stranglehold. She also realized that Lona’s answer was no coincidence and stared at her small companion with new admiration.

“Yes,” Lona said, even before Cytherea could fully form the thought. “I know what you are thinking, even before you do. As you have stayed hidden behind your anonymity, I have worked behind others’ thoughts and ideas, and have kept this gift to myself.” She smiled and her eyes shone with a feeling that Cytherea could only call compassion, though it was not a word that felt comfortable on her tongue. “I have to protect the others,” the girl said, before Cytherea could comment. “All of them. I love them.”

“Yes,” said Cytherea, shocked at the depth of the girl’s feelings. “I can see that. But isn’t that a problem for you? A stumbling block? To care so much?”

Lona looked at the woman so deeply that Cytherea felt the emerald-green point of recognition pierce her heart. “Oh!” she said, clutching her chest.

Lona seemed satisfied and softened her gaze. “Love is my power,” she said. “In the end, it is all we need to survive.”

 

 

Whispering in the Panther’s Ear February 7, 2014

Posted by wimynspeak in Bee Write!, General.
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The panther settled down in the brush near the edge of the path, alert and awake; so still that an owl landed on her back and a great blue heron walked by without a care, close enough that the big cat could have had an easy dinner, if she chose. The cat was hungry, so it took some willpower to stay focused. But she was strong and knew her purpose, so even when the owl’s talons dug into her back and the heron stopped at the nearby pond to search for her own dinner, the panther remained motionless.

The cat’s mistress, a wise woman wrapped in a cape of iridescent peacock feathers, watched her beloved pet and colleague from her perch high on the hill. A full moon shone through a misty haze and lit the woman’s face with a luminescent glow. There was nothing to do now but wait. The woman watched the cat, as the cat watched the path, and the moon made its way across the dark sky.

Just as it seemed nothing would happen, and the woman was about to call the cat back, she saw a ripple of movement in the air near the big cat’s head: the flutter of tiny wings. A hummingbird was whispering in the panther’s ear . . .

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