Little Cherine Book 05 - BPost068
Sam, Robert is weak. You know it, we all do because we are his weakness. He gives in to his need to protect us. That is wrong! He is not allowed to treat his life lightly. Never!” I stared at her at a loss for words. As Dommi had done, I lowered my eyes.
“Sam? As for that empathy shit, those are the words of Robert, not mine, so do not throw it at me again. Anyway, what did you think empathy is? Just feeling what you do now, not what can happen in the future if I do nothing about it? I am leaving now to bring the girls back, you take care of them and explain so that they don’t die again. Tell them he is coming back.”
I grabbed her arm as she was about to turn away. “If you had left us we would have all died, you know that?”
She gave a sad smile. “Only because you need the link Sammy.” She was gone before I could answer. I knelt by her and sobbed.
When the girls were all alive and safe, the message passed on, I wandered off by myself. I could not bear to be far from my loves, but I needed to be alone. I sat under a tree, leaning against it and closed my eyes, sinking into my thoughts. I dwelt on the thoughts, the sadness, that it seems we are each fated to eternally weave a skein of guilts throughout the tapestry of our lives, lacing even our greatest moments of love and joy with a dark pain.
I do not know how much time passed, but as I rose to the surface of my mind I became aware I was not alone. I opened my eyes to find myself staring into the remarkable catlike eyes of Shiyra. “How long have you been here?”
“You did not sense me arrive?”
I shrugged. “I was thinking.”
She nodded. “That is interesting, you cannot sense me when you are thinking.”
I nearly laughed, but realised in time that she was serious. Still, I had to grin. “I haven’t been very successful at thinking lately. You have a question?”
“Yes. Please be honest with me Sam, it will not alter the fact that you were successful.”
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
“This fight with Robert, all that happened, you planned it as a lesson for me? You wanted to teach me about my guilt?”
Stunned I sat there unable to answer her. I sent to Dommi and she looked at my memories. *You better show her it was real Sam. It will not be honest to do otherwise. Show her that her compassion for our pain will be treasured by us. At least something good was born out of this.*
“Shiyra, have you melded into one personality?”
“To a large extent. I can still sense the parts of me though. In the beginning it was uncomfortable feeling myself melding, but now it is more uncomfortable and terrifying feeling myself splinter at times. The parts are no longer as they were and need to be one.”
I nodded. “I think I understand. You know that Robert blocked your powers, I have decided to open one of them again. I’m not going to ask you if I can trust you, I should not do this if I had to. What I want is a promise from you. Give me your word you will not use this to try and open other powers you have. Wait for Robert to give his permission. Shiyra, until your personality has melded you must not open your other gifts, it may damage you.”
“I do not understand why you think so, but it may only cause problems if I do not, so I give my word Sam. Which gift do you speak of?”
“I want to enter your mind and help you open the part of your mind that senses us. Then I want you to enter my mind and examine my memories.” I gave a weak smile. “Just stick to those I want to show you Shiyra.”
I suppose I was not being absolutely honest. When I talked about her sensing us, I mostly meant the gift of empathy so that her powers will be gifts. As far as I knew she has never shown herself to have the gift, though she has changed and is becoming a much nicer person. I’d say she has as much empathy as a compassionate normal person without Cherine’s gift.
I found it difficult entering her mind, but I did manage it. She welcomed me and I asked about various parts of her mind, tried to get an idea of where and which door I should open, but was not successful. She asked me to be more specific about what I was looking for and when I told her, she showed me where to go. I soon saw why. She knows her mind as only a longtime self-aware person will, but cannot break through the blocks Robbie has placed throughout her mind.
It took me a while to realise Robbie had placed a key. The problem was to guess what it was. I did not try anything, just sat thinking. I knew he will have used a key any of us can find from knowing him. It would not make sense for him to do otherwise, he always tries to insure the future, always worried something might happen to him (the recent past certainly illustrated his wisdom in doing so). Hoping he’d used the same key as before I decided to try the first idea that came to me and warned her.
I visualised Cherine’s special smile. I aimed it at that particular part of her mind I wanted to free, but to my dismay the entire block fell away. Shiyra felt it and there was a burst of joy from her, followed immediately by her understanding, as she reached out to me, that I had not expected it and was dismayed.
*I will not harm you Sam. Is it Robert you fear, that he will be angered by your interfering?*
*I think it was shock, I was not expecting Robert to plan it this way. May I open the door to your empathy?*
*Is it necessary Sam? When you first knew me I was not Shiyra, but even then each of my souls knew what empathy is. I was not in the mood for it though.*
I thought I sensed amusement, probably irony more than humour. *Then come into my mind please.*
As she entered I thought I can see signs of a mind not whole, a soul still made of slivers. I decided we will have to take her to the void and get Solomon help make her a soul in her own right or else have Wendy teach her how to meld them into a healthy personality. I set apart the memories (actually, it is more like setting pointers) I wanted her to see and withdrew, curious as to how she will handle them. During the whole time I only felt the vaguest impressions, like a thought or memory that came and went before becoming clear. It showed she has a gentle and expert touch.
She looked troubled when she opened her eyes so I asked what the problem was.
“It does not have anything to do with your memories Sam. When you first found us we had difficulty in communicating because of the different ways we perceived time. Once we understood what the problem was it became easier because we can relate to the way you saw time, it was the way we used to when we had bodies. I’ve just realised I too am now locked into seeing time your way.”
“We will not keep you with us forever Shiyra. If you were here alone, without Dark Cloud, I think we would be willing to return you to the Ii if you asked. We only ask that you stay until we have resolved the problem with her.”
She stayed silent, absorbing my memories. “What a strange people you are Sam, you should not have survived this long. To me you feel like a dream that cannot exist for long. You are too open, sharing even your memories with strangers.”
“If we happen to like the strangers.” I replied with a grin. “At least you now know we did not stage these last few days for your sake.”
“After the pain I felt in you? I know that now Sam. What is to happen?”
“Cherine and Robert will return. Somehow I think things will never be the same again, too much was destroyed.” I sighed. “I understand why Cherine did what she did, but she has altered our future for the worse by taking it to such extremes. My Cherine will pay for it more than any of us, for she will have changed her Robert.”
“I do not understand, you mean Robert will hold a grudge against her?”
“No. The problem is he will understand only too well why she did it and be proud of her for reacting so fiercely. However, it also means he will not be as open as he has been. Perhaps none of us will be. We always thought nothing, but nothing, can ever tear us apart and now there will be the fear that a wrong word, even a wrong thought can lead to this again. Once we start hiding and controlling ourselves, how can we be one…as we had grown to be?”
Cherine returned without Robbie. She said he is not ready yet. He has also asked that none of us go to him. When he came he did not come to us, he went to the taverna and though we now can feel him again, we waited for him to call to us, staying out of his mind. He sat moodily drinking coffees and smoking. We knew he can feel us, so we felt hurt when he did not call us, but went instead for a walk along the beach. We never have strong winds in Freddie, but the air around him began to gust and then blew fiercely, blowing sand into his face. He stood looking out over the water.
“He misses Cyprus.”
“Goldi, go to him.” Goldi looked at Cherine, but she did not countermand Dommi’s order, so she jumped. As she landed a gust caught her before she was steady on her feet and knocked her over. Robbie quickly bent and grabbed her, muttering an oath under his breath. The wind died instantly.
“Are you okay love?”
She stared at him with big eyes and nodded. Goldi was supposed to be inundating him with her sweetness, but the fall was that bit too much on top of everything else and tears began to drip down her face. Robbie pulled her to him tightly and it felt as if his heart were breaking. Gently he shushed her, rocking his body slightly.
“Jesus, I meant to help rid him of his pain!” Dommi was upset.
“Feel his body Dommi, feel how it loves holding Goldi. He needed this.” Wendy said.
I giggled. “How do we attack him next. Should Candy go?” I got some dirty looks, but no answer.
Robbie returned to the taverna and sitting with Goldi on his lap he called for us. He was immediately flooded with a crowd of crying girls, each one dying to be held by him. We let the younger ones get to him first.
It has been several hours since Robbie returned, as I write this. My heart is broken and I do not know how to mend it. This man who returned, he is not the Robbie I love. The sparkle has gone out of him. He sits meekly monitoring us, trying so hard not to say or do anything to hurt us. When I saw Ordinx with family and friends arriving I panicked and sent them a message to leave quickly. They jumped back home without asking questions. I did not want them seeing him like this.
In bed we felt his joy at holding whoever came into his arms, but there was no passion and when we pretended to be asleep he lay there torn by guilt, tears silently wetting his pillow. Oh Cherine, what have you done?
We told Robbie we need to have a vacation and asked to stay where we are. He seemed relieved and quickly agreed. He was allowed to feel nothing but love from any of us, even Cherine masking her feelings. As I’d feared, now even Cherine is masking herself from all of us, not just from Robbie. I also kept my despair hidden so that I do not hurt my loves.
Hoping it will help him, she brought him into her communion with her daughter. He was captivated by her sweetness and sat for a while with a dreamy look on his face. Then he thought of his future responsibility and the likelihood of his causing her pain and she became another source for fear and unearned guilt. After days of this we waited for one of his frequent long walks and blocked ourselves.
Gently, filled with tenderness, Dommi spoke to her, “Cherine, I think it is time you told us what you did to him in the void. You told us we will hate you for it, isn’t it time you faced the moment of our knowing rather than our having to bear your guilt torments also?”
Tears fell unheeded by her as she stared at us. She rubbed her cheeks with her sleeve and not one tear fell thereafter, despite her pain.
“If I concentrate, my link to all of you helps me feel you in the void. I sat there as a sort of relay station, broadcasting to him all you were going through, all you said and thought. I topped it off with the telling.” We stared at her in horror.
“Oh god Cherine, the pain of all of us!? Even the ones who died?”
In a small voice she replied, “Yes.” We sat trying to imagine all our pains being felt by him while he was already being torn by guilt at his deception of us and the shame he must have felt at being discovered. To do this to an insensitive monster would have been devastating, how had our Robbie survived it?
“I did not expect it to have this effect on him. He has born pain worse than this before and it has only opened him further to us. When he left for the void I thought he should feel the effects of his actions, he cannot learn if he is cut off from you.”
“You did not consider how he was already feeling and that being in the void he had nothing to distract him at all, not even a body. He was in solitary confinement, without any way of balancing his emotions.”
“So was I Dommi.”
“It was not the same love. You were not wracked by guilt, you had not turned inward, what we felt, you were passing the blame to him, you had a reason for what you were enduring so it was bearable for you. We know you must have also suffered, but then so did each of us, we too can feel everyone’s pain in addition to our own. You went too far this time Cherine, you did not only act as a loving wife, you allowed your childish need to punish him take things to an extreme, destroying the spirit of our Roberto.”
Dommi might be right, probably is, but her blocking cannot hide the gnawing of doubts that are eating at Cherine, tearing at her spirit also. I opened myself, allowing everyone to feel not only my pain for Robbie, but for Cherine also. I went to Cherine and put out my hands. As she let me hold hers I looked her in the eyes and spoke from my heart. “Cherine, I love you.” I brought her one hand to my lips and kissed it. As I stepped away another took my place. She sat there weeping again until Dommi, the last one, had done the same.
“You will ask yourself all the questions we can Cherine. Now is not the time for blaming yourself, we need to concentrate on finding a way to heal him. Has anyone got any ideas?”
Goldi cried out, “The more we try to make him feel we love him the more it hurts him!”
“We know love,” Dommi said, extending to her a deep motherly love. “We have to be strong and bear it for his sake, love. Keep on showing him you love him, his pain will be far worse if we do not.”
Shiyra walked into the house. “I’m sorry, I’ve been feeling everything and the meaning of your words were carried to me. It sounds to me as if Robert has the same problem I do.” She was welcomed and she sat by Goldi, holding her on her lap.
“With you we had an idea of how you can be helped. With Robert, none of us do.”
“May I steal his words? All of you are his green leaf, just be there for him. He knows that what was done was out of love, out of your fear of losing him. Both you and Robert used love to heal me so I know how impossible it is to remain closed within self pain and guilt. Time will heal him and slowly he will return to a more balanced way.”
“The balance will have shifted from where it was before. We don’t want that, we want him as he was.” Meli said.
Nobody came up with anything else and it looked like we were going to be a pretty glum bunch of females, so I asked Cherine, “If you could undo this, if he was to go unpunished for his deception, would you mind?”
“Of course not! I’d never intended it to cause him so much harm. Sam, you want us to take away his memories?”
“He calls it an operation. He will know, but he will not feel anything as strongly as he does now. What do you say?”
Shiyra needed an explanation, which gave Cherine time to think it through. “Robert does not like losing his memories, he says they are like a broken tooth, the tongue keeps on feeling it.” She shuddered and we felt how close she was to breaking. Our suggestion might only be a compromise, but it offered a sense of hope where there had been none before. “If there is no other way and he agrees, we must do it. I think I must not be part of the team that does it, he probably still fears me.”
I can sense her, so I asked, “Shiyra?”
“Sam, Cherine, I think you are wrong. Do not take it all away, you will not be removing the problem and the pain you all suffered will have been for nothing. Cherine, this can happen to him again unless you find a way to strengthen him. Samantha,” she gripped my hand, squeezing it, “Robert does not belong only to the Cherinians, we all need him, he must not die.”
Sol smiled sadly at her. “Perhaps they should name you Solomon now.”
We gave ourselves a week to find another solution, but being aware there was already a way to help him made it easier for all of us to bear this time. As the days passed we even tested and explored the way he is, a sort of memory for us to privately remember.
Goldi, Coral, Lucy, Elpida, Asimi and Shiyra and I went for a walk and sat on the bank of a river chatting. Shiyra was asked what it is like for little girls growing up on her world and she was trying her best to explain, but being girls, we sensed she does not know. She ended off by admitting that none of the souls she is made up of had been female in their last life. My mind wandered away, hearing their chatter and giggles in the background. They must have thought I’d gone bonkers when I exclaimed aloud and jumped. I went somewhere to be alone.
“Freddie, Robert spoke of leaving part of his soul with you to take over if anything happened to him. Do you still have it?”
“‘Have it’ would not be an exact description Sam. It is in stasis. Robert did not want them diverging by remaining aware.”
“How will it be released?”
“He gave a key to me.”
“Freddie, I wish I could kiss you and I wish I could punch you, you idiot.” I laughed and jumping to the girls, grabbed them and jumped back home, carrying Asimi with. Excited now I told them. I grabbed Cherine to me and hugged her tightly.
“Cherine, you were right, it should not have affected Robbie so strongly. He is always aware of when you are trying to manipulate him and lets you do so because he wants you to. This time it was as if he did not know. In the void he was even more vulnerable because he was not whole. Hold on! I’ve just had another crazy idea!” I hugged myself with joy at the thought, nearly screaming like a silly little girl. “What would I do if I were going into danger and wanted to leave a part of me for all of you? I would leave behind the strongest and best part of me! This is not Robert with us now, this is the shadow! Cherine! Oh god! He was not leaving the shadow for us, he was keeping his real self, but the Robert who returned to us did not know!” We screamed just like silly little girls at a pop concert and wept as we hugged each other. Just as they were at full stride another thought hit me and I frowned, worried. The room became instantly silent, their minds fearful again. “I was just wondering…” They all groaned. “why did this Robert return to us if our Robbie planned to return himself?”
“Perhaps your Robbie knows his Cherine too well by now?” he gently asked. We turned around, but could not see him. “I’ll be back in ten minutes my loves, I first have to bring Robert back into me. You do realise his experiences will affect me? I hope you will be gentle with me.” We turned to Cherine and she pulled a face.
“I’m not going through that again. He’s all yours, you deal with him.” By the time Robbie turned up, the time for laughter was over and he had more than a handful of girls to welcome back.
“Freddie lied to me dad?”
“Hmm? No, you did not ask him about when I had the protector and my shadow place me in stasis. By the way, did you like him? I thought he was sort of cute.”
“Cute? You must be the only man ever who thinks his shadow is cute.” We kept him fully occupied for that day, that night and, proving again that little girls can have extraordinary endurance, the next day too. After that we sort of catnapped in between. Afterwards we needed a really filling breakfast so we went to Maria. Shiyra was sitting alone, a glass of coke in her hand.
“God you kids! How can you drink that stuff so early in the morning?” He grinned at her. “If Sam hadn’t adopted you, I would. You’re quite a little gem.”
“A gem? I am a stone?” He fell for it and tried to explain while she hid her amusement.
I put my arm around her neck from behind and hugged her. “Dad, this is our first ever alien tease.”
“Not really.” His voice was serious so I waited, wondering. “Do you remember when you accused me of being contaminated? It took me a long time to realise you did so to hide the fact that you were the alien, not me.”
I thought about it, biting my lips with worry. Bravely I raised my eyes to his. “How did you work that out? Did I slip up somewhere?”
“You’ve got to admit that story about you being from the future was a little bit thin. It also explains why you are friend to all aliens. Did you conspire with them to take us over?” Sol was watching us, at first puzzled and then worried.
I appeared to them as a green creature, something between a low plant and an octopus, though I had more than thirty arms, sorry, tentacles - no, maybe they were more like a combination of leaves and tendrils.
“Did you enjoy making love to me dad?”
“You’ve been cheating, with that many tentacles to touch me everywhere I could have spent all these years in heaven.”
Candy piped up with a delighted laugh, “They’re teasing!” and that made us crack up. Sol mumbled something about us being crazy and then joined the merriment.
I asked him, “Do you want me to come to bed tonight like this?”
He shocked them when he stooped and picking me up, while I curled a few tentacles around him, he spoke to me softly, “However you come to me my baby, you will be loved.” He took hold of a tentacle and kissed the tip. I wrapped all my tentacles around him and hugged as I hid my alien face against his chest. “I love you so much dad.”
Our bellies full, Robbie leant back to keep his smoke from our faces and asked Shiyra, “We have two choices. Either we continue with our trip immediately or else we stay another couple of days for the girls to finish their storytelling. Your choice my dear.”
“I can wait, after millions of years, what are a couple of days extra. To tell you the truth, it frightens me. Will I meet myself…myselves?”
“Only if you go looking for them. What frightens you?”
“It was not a time to be viewed with pleasure. I’ve listened to the girls and heard their nostalgia for their home world. I do not feel the same way.”
“Because of killing the Meéjeira?”
“Yes, also our populations began to die and those left at the end suffered. From what the last souls told us, a number of our people, from the less educated, refused to join us and had to revert to a difficult life, filled with diseases and pain, almost like animals.”
Gently he told her, “I understand. You do not have to watch.”
“To be there and not watch Robert!?”
Robbie said, “Please do not be offended when our alien friends show an avid interest in the ways your people degenerate. They are not being unfeeling or callow, their interest lies in studying them in the hope we can learn and prevent this happening to any species throughout our futures.”
Dark Cloud walked out from the corner of the building, her face a mask of fury and hatred. “Why do you ask permission from a cold-blooded murderer!! I demand the right to see the suffering of the last of her people.”
He stood up and pulled over a chair. “Why don’t you join us? Something to eat or drink?”
“No. Just answer my question!”
“Don’t worry, I was going to. Be polite and sit down Dark Cloud.” She saw the warning in his eyes and acting as if it was her decision, she sat.
“There is a tiny island on my world called Cyprus. The girls and I loved travelling around it, especially to the villages. Although the island is modern in the towns, the people in the villages are mostly elderly and have led a simple life with simple philosophies learnt from their harsh way of life. We met an elderly woman who was almost blind. Dominique talked to her and because of my loved one’s gentle voice and ways she asked to feel our Dommi’s face. Afterwards she told her that she is beautiful, but then added, ‘Do not be too proud of your beauty daughter, remember, where you are today, I have been, and where I am today you will be someday.’ Dark Cloud, in answer to your question about why I treat Shiyra as a dear friend and not you, is because where she has been, you are at today, whereas she has come full circle and learnt to feel again. The day you can show pity, the day you can feel the pain in another, on that day we will all, including Shiyra, welcome you to join us as a dear friend.”
“That day will come, despite your powers. It will be the day after her Ii and all of you are dead at my command.”
“I hope you do not mind waiting a long time, such ambitions require a lot of patience.”
She sat up, for the first time joy showing, feeling her plans were vindicated. “You see it too! We can wait, as long as it takes.”
That sort of killed the conversation and we had to explain afterwards to a worried Shiyra that Robbie was being sarcastic, he had not meant Dark Cloud will succeed.
“Shiyra, when one decided, it was all who decided and you were given back your powers. I ask one thing of you. Be very careful, never allow Dark Cloud a hint of the truth. It goes against the grain to ask you to be deceitful, but if we are to succeed with her someday, we must not fuel her anger, she must find that whatever she says or does, we remain firm but caring.” He smiled. “That does not include you. Be fair and firm, the friendliness can come later.”
“You really think she will change?”
He put on a serious face, trying to hide his glee at teasing Cherine. “I’m certain. Once we set Cherine on her, she doesn’t have a chance.”
“And just what do you mean by that?” Cherine angrily demanded, her own true emoting betraying her. She too was revelling at his teasing her again - I guess she sees it as his way of showing the past is forgotten, or, that he understands and approves.
With an innocent look on his face he replied, “I was talking about your gift of empathy my love, what else?” Our laughter helped Shiyra realise he was taking the mickey out of Cherine. (I looked the word up on my pc and it turns out a Mickey is a person of Irish descent - I love it when I discover fascinating facts like that, but I’m not certain whether it should have a capital letter.) Why would Robbie take the Irish out of Cherine when she is not Irish, he is. (R: Being my daughter, it means you are also. That explains why you have such a weird sense of humour.)
They decided to end the telling at the frozen wedding and the reason for our taking this trip and then stopped, thanking their audience for listening to them. Voices called out asking what had Latreia decided, but they only waved, bowed and disappeared. It did not matter that they were teased, those who do not know are the scientists who tend to forget there is life outside their laboratories. Their friends will soon give them the news, but the girls are right, it is not the time for including Latreia and Agapi in the telling; there is still too much for them to face before they will be comfortable with it.
Latreia was quick to come into his arms that night and Robbie took his time, using the electric flames that seem to bring alive every tiny part of our bodies when he touches us to bring Latreia to the highest level of passion possible (if you want to quibble about it, I admit he also used lips and tongue). He pulled away and looked at her, examining again the sweetness of her with pure adoration in his eyes. We were all sharing with them and felt how delicious this moment was for her. He gave her a quizzical smile and out of the blue put on an act, looking horrified. “Latreia mou, what am I doing! We’re not married.” We all moaned in sympathy with her and our eyes must have been glowing as we stared at her, waiting to see how she will react to his feigned shock.
She bit her lip in frustration and then relaxed, feigning indifference. “What has that got to do with it?” She put a finger to the tip of his penis and wiped some of the fluid leaking out of him and brought it to his face. “Some of this stuff went into my mother and I was made. Robert, half of me is made out of you.” She drew a line across her throat. “This part up here comes from my mother, but the rest is from you and there is nothing wrong with you making love to the part that comes from you, we don’t have to get married first.”
Bested at his own game, he put his hands to either side of her head as his heart swelled with love. “This is the part I want most, it is the most wonderful and beautiful portion. You are right, this can only have come from agapi (love).” We groaned at his play on Agapi’s name, but the two, Latreia and Agapi flushed with pleasure.
He avoided her efforts to get him to penetrate her tiny flower, but by the time she’d almost fainted from the intensity of the orgasm that mushroomed and then took over all her senses, her body and mind knew they had been loved as a girl can only dream of - not just with passion or lust, but also with a love and adoration, a tenderness that seemed to have no boundaries. She fell asleep in his arms a very contented little kitten. Agapi went to him then and kissed him, softly licking his lips. She pulled back and from very close stared into his eyes as she whispered, “We nearly didn’t have the courage to love you Roberto mou. How terrible that would have been.”
The next morning Robbie was glowing with energy as he bustled us to the taverna. “Eat up ladies, we have a long trip ahead of us.” He talked throughout the meal and just before the coffee and cigarette he pulled Latreia’s face to his, confiding to her in a soft but also teasing voice. “Did you know you have one of the loveliest flowers I’ve ever seen? I hope you never tire of my sipping your nectar.” He kissed her lips and she tasted the honey on his and ever since then she thinks of his lips as being sweet.
We were left to our own inventiveness for passing the day while Robbie spent his with the scientists and Merlin, examining the charts they’d made, viewing the eternally night sky outside and tried to ‘see’ what their charts depicted. For Merlin’s sake he explained.
“We will not travel in normal space, as the void I can take enormous shortcuts, but my problem is that all you see out there in normal space, whether directly or on the screens, they look very different from the void. I also cannot ‘see’ as far in the void. I cannot keep returning here, so I have to have the complete route firmly in my mind. These dots that represent suns, in my mind they must be suns, so that I can search for them as the void. I have to filter out gas clouds as they cannot be seen from the void.”
“That sounds extraordinary, but also exciting. Will you grant this old astronomer his request to travel with you? Even part of the journey will fill my mind for centuries to come with pictures of the stars I love, seen in a way I’ve never seen them before.”
“Sure, come with.” He felt the dismay of our friends as they realised how easily they too could have had their wishes granted. He smiled at them. “I’m in a good mood today so take advantage of it. Half of you come with while the other half keep plotting our voyage - just in case I go wrong somewhere. Afterwards you can exchange positions.”
Suddenly, just like that, we were on our way. If Merlin or any other had hoped to learn how he becomes the void, they were not to have their wish come true. Robbie does not mask us with energy as he does them and Solomon, and yet what we see does not give us any clues. It is good that he remains prudent though.
Once he identified a close star and a distant one they watched as he ‘folded’ the void so that the distant sun was almost as close as the first one. He ‘rippled’ himself (the void) and Freddie slid over the fold and Robbie let the fold open again. They stared with awe as they saw the first sun now light years distant. They made three jumps and returned.
“Merlin, we are in your past, close to the time you lived. We have moved a large enough distance for you to get a different perspective. See if you can find your home for us please.”
The old man was suffering from shock. If Robbie had been a grave majestic being, commanding respect in mien and attitude, he might have accepted he is dealing with some kind of far advanced or godly being. Instead he has this unprepossessing young looking man of slight body and eyes that dance with mischief and good humour and normally only radiate love as his power, and yet he has to accept that what he has seen is far beyond the total power of the Ii. He must have spoken to Shiyra, for she too changed and for as long as we allowed it she tried to treat him as being a creature far above her. His nonsense and our easy ways soon had her grinning and teasing him again, but we can feel it is partly a mask to hide the awe she feels. For the first time she also began to believe she will see her planets and her people alive in bodies upon them again. The magic we are all susceptible to, is that once you are able to believe, even if only a little, then you are able to start dreaming.
When a heart is helped so that it blossoms and dreams again, it becomes childish in its need to share. Shiyra was not inviolable to the same naïve enthusiasms and planned on her own without warning us.
Dark Cloud roams around Freddie, but she also tends to return to the same two areas often. Shiyra watched for her and jumping to the area, she walked around a rise so that Dark Cloud does not guess she jumped.
Dark Cloud froze with shock. She looked around, thinking it was a trap.
“Nobody knows I am here. I came to speak to you.”
Dark Cloud turned her back to her, walking away, even more convinced that Robbie is trying to provoke her so that he will have an excuse for destroying her. She has decided that Shiyra is our favourite and that we’ve allied ourselves with her Ii. I guess it makes sense since we returned her to her Ii and even collected another soul from it without us being attacked. Shiyra expected her reaction and walked behind her, talking as she did so.
“I’d imagined our mother souls were the greatest powers in the universe. Of the two I think yours is stronger, for you have a need that drives you, whereas we only waited for time to end. So many millions of years and all we’ve succeeded in is devoting that time to each other, you as hunter and us, our guilt tearing at us so that we hid from you.” Dark Cloud stopped walking and it was obvious she was struggling to prevent herself from speaking.
“When we attacked Robert with the dark energy and he beat us, bringing me here against my will, I was convinced that he must have tricked us. It is not possible that any single creature can be more powerful than our mother souls or withstand the effects of the dark energies!
When they did their tellings I felt, at first, that it was insulting of them to expect me to believe them. Then I wondered at how naïve they are - did they really think I am that foolish that I will believe what they tell me? I saw them as devious and dreamers and ignored the evidence that I was wrong.”
Freddie showed us what was happening and as expected Dark Clouds face was contorted with her anger and hate. It did surprise us that she was listening to Shiyra.
“Something has happened that has shaken me. If I am right Meéjeiran, we have both acted foolishly. Did you watch the screens? What am I talking about, you must come with on the next jump to see! Robert did something to the void, it looked as if he was folding it and he brought the next galaxy almost within touching distance and within a couple of hours Freddie jumped from one galaxy to the next! Our mother souls do not have such power Meéjeiran! We must not lose this opportunity, all we need do is ask Robert…”
Her voice cut across Shiyra’s. “Has he got the power to destroy your Ii? That is all I care about. If he has, then let him do so - otherwise stay away from me. The existence of your people is an offence to life.”
“But, don’t you see? He has the goodwill, all we need do is ask and he will provide your people with planets. If you must kill us, do that after he has brought your people back to life.”
“No! Your suffering and deaths come first. What is life worth if we know you exist?”
“You hate us more than you love your own?”
Shiyra suddenly collapsed to the ground, her face filled with grief. “There is nothing we can do,” she said to herself and wept. Dark Cloud stared at her with astonishment and growing triumph as she sensed her pain.
Goldi had to wait for Dark Cloud to leave and then she jumped to hold her friend.
Sharipya and Asimi have been sharing from either us or from Freddie, as has everyone travelling with us, apart from Dark Cloud. As Shiyra grieved and Goldi held her, Robbie called Asimi to him. Of course Sharipya followed, but Robbie sort of pretended he did not see him.
“Asimi mou, the difference between the two of them is important in their ability to understand what I am hoping to offer them. The people of Shiyra have not spent millions of years hating, perhaps the strongest emotion they felt was fear, with guilt only coming second.
Dark Cloud, however, her people entered the void with a hatred and need for vengeance that can only be compared to what our dear Sharipya must have felt when he saw us watching species after species being exterminated. Seeing how difficult it is for Dark Cloud to let go her hatred, can you see what an amazing heart your Sharipya has? Can you understand why he is so precious to us?”
As Asimi nodded and was about to answer, Sharipya cut in, “It was not the same! You were not actually responsible for our deaths, so once I saw that, it made no sense for me to continue hating you. She, Dark Cloud, however, is confronted by the presence of a person who represents the people who did send the bombs, who are responsible for the deaths of all her people.”
Robbie nodded. “Perhaps. Can you understand why it is so important we make the effort to heal them of their hate - and those of the Ii of their paralysing guilt? Even should it take us years, we must not give up on either of them.” He gave Asimi a smile. “Well, my love, do you now understand why we feel Sharipya is so special?”
Her eyes filled with unshed tears as she nodded in agreement.
The way Robbie had planned it, was we jumped in one direction the first time and thereafter the following jumps were in a circle around our starting point. To have carried on in one direction might have taken us further away from their homes. We made five separate trips before Merlin thought he recognised a galaxy. We stopped while they mapped the area for him. With a trembling finger he pointed at a bright seven star system.
“The Claw of Disbius! In ancient times we worshipped it as a god. Our galaxy is under that one, we cannot see it from here.”
Robbie prepared himself again and then taking Shiyra and Merlin, all of us, including Ordinx and Solomon so as to watch, we jumped. On the second jump Merlin cried out in our minds. He pointed out to Robbie the part of the galaxy where their home was (is?). Robbie took smaller jumps with Merlin directing him each time. We stopped above a star and returned to Freddie.
We returned to find angry Anadir all about us and among them Dark Cloud, her head held high as she stared at us. Merlin groaned and Robbie instantly sent his healer to him, but it returned since other healers were already within him.
“We apologise Robert. We did not expect violence here. Freddie called to us and we found Dark Cloud attacking the body of Merlin.”
“He will survive. Dark Cloud, you are free to stay or leave. We have arrived at the worlds of your enemies and I expect to be very busy for a while. As soon as I have some free time I’ll come to you and we’ll talk.”
“Why are we here? Have you come to prevent them from attacking us?”
Robbie explained to her about changing the past and creating alternate realities. She believed him because of the storytelling, where it is mentioned a number of times. “Do you see any point to my doing so?
“Yes!” she shouted. “Of course it will. To know there is a place where our people live and grow, offer that to me Robert, you owe it to my people.”
“How do you work that out Dark Cloud? What debt is this?”
She could not resist answering with a vicious tone, even though she was the supplicant. “The debt you claim to owe to all life.”
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
5th December, 2019
- posted: 5th December, 2019
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