Monthly Archives: May 2013

Wishfire

Annah says:

“There are times when it is hard for me to believe that Shaping was once such a part of the lives of my people and our world.  It is feared by so many, now.  In the groves–even in Laughing Waters Grove, where I grew up–they teach that we are creatures of the ground and of the green, and that our lives should spring from sun and soil, root and stem.  I do not say that this is unwise, in itself–but there is more to life, and to the Great Melody, than this.  I have heard the Shapers’ songs in the very deepest part of me from the time I was a small bloomling.  They call to me–they call to all of us, if we will only listen.  Do that which you were bloomed and born to do, they whisper.  Do you dance?  Then dance.   Do you build?  Then build.  Do you write?  Then write.  And if you sing–then sing.

How was I not to listen?

Let me tell you something I remember–from my own memories, from when I was very small; not from the Memories of my people.  Nearly twenty cycles ago, they still lit the council fires once a moon-cycle in the great clearing near the Elder Grove, and the people would gather around it.  From what I have learned of the Old Tongue, it was called the nama-hai, the wishfire; and people cast tokens into the flames to signify their need.

Although I barely knew it then, my parents always feared for me.  They knew I was different; knew some would see it as weakness, although they never did.

One night when the wishfire had burned low, until all the others had gone to hearth-flame and homeground, my parents had taken a small stone they brought with them, a blue stone, the color of the Great Sea, and they set it close by the red embers, that the fire might add its blessing.

When I was twelve cycles old, they gave me the stone as a Cycle Day gift.   They spoke to me not of their fear, but of the strength they hoped I would find.

All love walks hand in hand with fear.  But strength comes from knowing what we can become, believing in ourselves, and believing in the gifts we have been given–whether that gift is a song or a stone.

In the cycles that passed while I was alone, I lay in my beddings by the hearth-fire’s light, and held the stone, and I would swear to you I heard my parents’ heartbeats there, warm, and strong, and steady as the drum that called us to the wishfire’s blaze.”

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On Honesty

Annah says:

“All peoples, on any world, have faults as well as virtues.   I can remember when I thought my people more honest than humans; when my Memories had shown me how they came to Evohe, some of them pretending to be our friends, and then, when we were of no use to them, attempted to destroy our world and our way of life.

The Shaping-lore tells me that our people do not cover our bodies because it is a sign of a covenant of openness between ourselves and the First Ones, and indeed, between ourselves, and ourselves.  When you keep nothing between your body and that of another, the tradition holds, inner honesty will follow.

But as I have grown, both in age and in training, I have learned that one does not need veils of cloth to hide the truth.  The veils of fear are much more powerful.  And there is plenty of that among my people, to this day.

Honesty is important to me–it always has been.  I will tell the truth, even about things of which I am not proud.

To do otherwise seems like scattering seeds on rock instead of soil, and expecting them to take root.”

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The First Ones

Annah says:

“Holder once asked me if the First Ones were the ‘gods’ of my people.  When I did not understand him, he said, ‘the ones you believe made you; the ones you worship.’  I have since learned some of what the humans call religion, and yes, I suppose you could say the First Ones are our gods.  They are the ones who sang the Sea of Stars into being, who set Evohe itself to spin in space.  That is what the Way used to tell our people, although it is a thing most no longer believe.  I believe in the First Ones, though.  I do not ‘worship’ them in the way I feel the humans use that word, though, nor do I think they would want that.  They gave us life as we might give a bloomling a gift–to see the light in our eyes, and the laughter in our smiles as we used that gift to the fullest potential.   I do not believe that the humans give their children gifts expecting them to bow and kiss their feet.

That is not what the First Ones expect of us.

But I do thank them for the gifts they give me: I thank them for the food that I eat, the water I bathe in and drink; the sun on my skin, the love of my family and friends, and of Holder, my mate.

I thank them for the desire to be more than I am.

I look around me, at the humans, and those of my own kind, who think that we should not care about any life but our own–who think that there is no higher cause than our own.

I do not and cannot agree with this.   There is a Shadow in the world, and while the Shadow has its place in Balance, it is balanced by people’s knowledge that there is a purpose beyond themselves.   More and more, people lose that knowledge.  More and more, the Shadow gathers.  Yet I know the First Ones still watch us, and I ask them for their guidance–for very often, the Shadow falls so much over the world that it is hard to see how best to cast the light that keeps it back.”

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On Belonging

Annah says:

“When Holder and I were first coming to know each other, I do not think he clearly understood why it was that, growing up,  I had never felt I truly belonged here among the people of Laughing Waters Grove.    I do not mean that he could not comprehend it; he is a very intelligent man (even if it often seems to me that, as males are known to do, he sometimes disregards good sense).  I mean that, seeing me through the eyes of his love for me, he could not imagine how both the strangenesses of my appearance–my height, my shape, the shape of my head, the color of my eyes and hair–and my ideas had isolated me.  And it was hard for me to explain to him, particularly when I had only a fragile grasp on the language of his people.

What I should have said then–and what I have told him since–is that belonging to one person, or to a group of people, is not something one is merely born to, but something that must be tended  like a growing seed, or indeed, like a young bloomling new to the world.  This Grove did not seem to want me, so I decided that I did not want it–even though I did.  Part of the Shaper’s path is carving out the channels of life through which the river of Belonging may flow–for oneself but also for others.  I was still learning this when Holder came to me–and, if I am truthful, I am still learning it.  The song of Belonging is one we first begin to sing with the cries of a newborn’s lungs, and which we do not truly learn until we stand on the last shores of this life, looking beyond its horizons to the wide reaches of Essei-Khai, the spirit-river, and whatever new sights lie on the other side.”

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Seasons

Annah says:

“As wide as I know the Sea of Stars must be, I have still seen little of other worlds.  Holder has told me of some of the things he has seen, as Kale has as well.  I think of the season Holder says is called ‘winter’, on Earth, and the strange thing called ‘snow.’  We have nothing like that on Evohe.  There are three seasons here: Firstwarmth, Suntide, and Evenfall.  I like Suntide best, when I can lie on one of the great stones in the grove and feel the sun caress my skin, or run in the rain when the great storm-clouds gather, sometimes, when the day grows late.  My father says he likes the shorter days of Evenfall better; he says they actually give more quiet time to think, when the light fades earlier and many young ones seek the shelter of their homegrounds before it fades.   Shade and sun, light and darkness, all things have their balance.  But I am young, still, and I treasure the gift of the sun’s light and heat, which warms me as surely as the gaze of Holder’s eyes upon me, as we sit by our campfire, listen to the not-birds sing, and watch the shadows lengthening across the greenwood.”

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Shaping-thoughts

Annah says:

“From the time I first heard of Shapers and of the Art of Shaping, in the learning-circles of the Grove when I was a small bloomling, I knew that I wanted to be one.  I felt called to be one.  My Memories–those voices and pictures that each of my people have inside us from the past of our race–told me that Shapers used their Talents–for music, for words, for planting, for healing and for other things–as pathways to show others the ways of Balance.  People are born knowing how to align themselves with the will of Spirit, but often, as they grow older, they forget, and fall out of Balance.  In the old days–as I hope it will be again for my people in the future–Shapers used their Talents to help remind others that they, too, have a purpose and a place in the Balance of all things.  The other Shapers I know, like the other young ones in my Circle–they have different Talents than my own.  Chelries’ Talent lies in dance; she can catch the very flow of the winds in her movement, she can transform herself into the motion of a river’s current.   Liara’s talent lies in language: she knows the tongues in which we spoke once we had left the ancient song-speech behind, and before the humans came, from which we gleaned some of the language now called Standard.  When Liara speaks, I hear Memory and History unfold in the voice of a friend, connecting me to all points on time’s thread.  My own Talent has always been in song.  I grew up striving to learn my own heart-song, and listening to that of others, even the songs of the sleeping ones in the Elder Grove, at restful peace in rock and tree and stream.  I have always and only longed to sing, and to embrace Shaping through my songs, from the moment I first dared to dream I could.”

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