Category Archives: The Shapers


Annah says:

“Music is important to my people–it is still a part of our language, and it is a fundamental part of how we think about the world, and our relationship to it.  In the Craft of the Shaper, one of the most important workings that we learn is called a Tuning.  It is just what it says–an act–of song or speech or dance, of building, of writing, of building, of sex, or of other things through which Shaping may flow–channeled, focused, and amplified by the conscious intent to use the energy in the act to bring oneself or others into balance, so that they may function better–the same way the strings on an instrument are tuned before they are played, so that the pitch is true.

I sometimes think that the First Ones perform acts of Tuning in our own lives, sometimes–some of them joyous, such as the meeting of a mate or a long-lost family member, or the attainment of a long-held goal; others more melancholy, such as the passing of a loved one or the breaking of a relationship–even the Breaking of an entire world, such as happened once to Evohe.  We choose how we respond when the First Ones tune our strings: will we snap and break?  Will the change of pitch turn our whole song sour?  Or will it give us a new range of notes with which we can express our lives, and the way the songs of our lives fit into those of others?

We are all born a part of the Great Melody.  It is not meant for us to deny our own part in the song, or to deny the harmony that another brings by their presence.  Our own songs will not be drowned out by the presence of one more voice, or a hundred.  And even if the whole world cannot hear it, each song still makes a difference.  The question that arises then is this: will we open ourselves, allow ourselves to be instruments for Tuning?  Will we strive to see that Balance that exists in all of creation, even when the strings are frayed, and the notes fall sour on the ear?  Or will we close our eyes, sealing the world in darkness because it is not yet the world we would have it be?

We are the instruments upon which the First Ones play the Great Melody.  And we can use our songs to make a different–and a better–world.”



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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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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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