Chasing the Wind
~ FINALE ~Part Nine ~
By ~ Barry J. Northern
"Chasing the Wind" from THE CHAOSWIND CHRONICLES, an original fantasy set in the mystical world of Cryl, a land struggling to contain the chaotic magical energies that were unleashed upon the world when the last god was murdered.
The desert is a speck in the swirling worlds. There are more worlds than grains of sand in the desert. There are worlds within a grain of sand. The Goddess still weeps, mourning her murdered husband. Energy oscillates between waves and particles. Light is both. Conciousness is a feedback loop in a network of flashing cells. I exist.
With that last thought, Aloethar began to remember who he was. The flood of information still washed over him, but at least now he knew it did. He felt his limbs and body, felt a sense of place in space, and then looked down and saw his hands and arms. He was here, but his surroundings flickered between a thousand random images every moment. Except he knew the images were all there at once, and that it was his mind that flickered. Time is a product of conciousness. He fought hard to ignore the random knowledge, and concentrate on something, but he didn't know what. He understood how memory physically worked, long before he remembered his own recent past, but then more notions of the nature of time washed all that away. He fought to regain focus, and then remembered the bottle of black kohol. He wondered how long it had been since he drank it. Did it matter? The soul of Cyraxis courses through my veins. He knew that, knew it as absolute fact, but nothing more about the knowledge made sense. The Goddess chases the Wind.
The Wind. Aloethar remembered the Storm. He tried to filter the blast of knowledge, to ignore anything that wasn't relevant to the Storm. Everything is connected. No, well, yes, but to admit that truth would get him nowhere. Then he realised that the message 'everything is connected' came to him after he had made the effort to ignore anything irrelevant. Could he filter the knowledge that way, by trying to ignore? Could he ask questions? He yelled out into the swirling chaos, and his voice echoed through eternity.
“What is the Storm?” He knew that the Storm had been important, but nothing more.
Men will wield his power.
What did that mean? “Whose power?”
A child of the Source.
Aloethar concentrated hard on the Storm. “What is the Storm?”
His wife gives hers willingly to her children. She loves her children, and the world they created for them. The world is in balance, but the work is not yet done.
He wasn't getting anywhere. He was still lost in the flood of knowledge, with no way out. He tried another question. “What work?”
The Murdered God must be at peace, or the world will be torn apart, and The Children of the Goddess will be no more.
Aloethar did not only hear words in his mind, but images, sounds, tastes, smells, and an infinite other subtle sensory inputs. These all flowed towards Aloethar. At first they had seemed chaotic, but he was beginning to sense patterns. Each time he heard the word children, he saw an image of the Theanders, the primitive cave-people that Pym had told him about. He remembered Pym, and hoped he was all right. Why wouldn't he be? Was there danger? Yes. There was something dangerous happening. Someone else was in danger too.
Yes. Someone he loved. He felt that, more strongly than anything else. The feeling burnt like the sun, whiting out all other images for an instant, until the feeling subsided. “Whom do I love?”
The Goddess loves her Children. The Goddess loved her husband.
Aloethar decided to treat the seemingly random information as relevant. The Goddess loves her family. Why is that important? Family! He had family in danger. Then he remembered his sister, Sana'ah, and his neice, Ibna. They were in danger. The Storm? Yes, the Storm was heading towards them, but what was the Storm?
Men will wield His Power. He must be at peace. Bind Him to the earth. Bind Him and save my Children.
Pym had known about Binding. Why did he think of Pym? Pym had said something. What was it? That was it! Pym had been telling Aloethar of the theories he had heard, one was that the Chaoswind was the soul of a murdered god. In the presence of the Source of all knowledge, he knew this was true, and that the God's wife, the Goddess, had sacrificed herself to save the world when His soul had been released into it. The Four Mages, aided by the scholars of Tyntieri, had been attempting to bind this Chaoswind to objects like the Star Sapphires. They had recruited the Medebians to aid in the task. Aloethar himself had found a way to lock-down the Chaoswind in a potion. A potion that was now in his blood.
The Thard is not dead.
He knew that the energies in the Chaoswind, the Aspects, were manifestations of the God's power. Each Aspect did a different thing. The red cords had not killed his clansmen, but moved them. The soldiers of his clan had been scattered throughout time, throughout Cryl, and perhaps beyond; lost among the countless worlds. They might not be dead, but they were lost to him. He would not let that happen to Sana'ah. Besides, there were many subtle Aspects that could kill. The potion bound all the Aspects of the Chaoswind, as did the Stones, but they were all used up. How could he stop the Storm?
Men will wield His power.
Could he use the power of the Chaoswind to make it stop itself? The Four Mages channelled the power of the Chaoswind to perform their magicks, but theirs was a special gift.
They murdered the God.
Though the truth shocked him, but he had to remain focused. “Can I wield the power of the Chaoswind?”
The straight answer surprised Aloethar, but along with the confirmation, came the knowledge of how to do it. The Chaoswind was channelled not by logic, but by emotion. Which emotion would achieve the effect he desired?
The goal of the enlightened.
This answer was accompanied by a feeling of Peace. He held onto it. He knew what to do, but could he feel how to do it? He began to feel Hope, but let it pass through him, leaving only Peace. He knew it would work, and began to feel Happy, but let it pass, leaving only Peace. He began to Fear that he lacked the emotional control, but let that too pass through him. He focused on the Storm, and then found himself back on solid ground, next to the dead camel, and the still-prostrate Waldfrid. The Storm raged around him. Slowly, calmly, he looked up at the roiling energies and whirling arcs and twists of sand and wind, his face impassive. He focused on the Storm, held up his hand, and then spoke his Will.
Peace radiated from him, and everything stopped. Sand hung motionless in the air. The cords of energy – the Aspects – froze in position. The howling wind became silence. He spoke again.
“Rejoin the Source, lost one. One day you may be whole again, but let this part of You rejoin Her in the Infinite Knowledge where Time has no meaning. Flow through me and into the Source.”
The energies surged towards Aloethar, but, beyond fear, he threw back his head, and cast his arms wide, as if enjoying the first gentle breeze after a long, hot summer. He grew warm, and his skin tingled. He smelt cinnamon and aloethar vapour. He opened his eyes and saw the Storm entire, flowing into him, colour upon colour, Aspect upon Aspect, until all were joined and bound to the Source: the ultimate Binding, from which the soul of the Murdered God had first emerged. The wind disappeared, and the sand fell to the floor as if in a dream. Then the lights were gone, and only the desert remained, yet Aloethar still touched the Source, and felt the power there.
The beast's heart still beats. A gift to a brave servant.
Aloethar reached down and placed his hands on the camel's side. A green glow washed over the animal's surface, like a camel-shaped bubble, swirling with oily colours. Then the energy flowed out of the camel and back to the Source. The camel groaned and opened its long lashes, then snorted and clumsily got to its feet. Aloethar, heard another groan behind him, and then turned to see Waldfrid sitting up and rubbing his great shaggy head. He looked up at Aloethar, and his weary eyes became suddenly bright. “Your eyes! Black as oil!”
Aloethar smiled, and reached out to help Waldfrid to his feet.
“I am spent. Take me home.”
Waldfrid hefted Aloethar onto the camel's back, and before the merchant had even turned the recalcitrant animal around, he began to nod off, and before long the animal's steady, lolloping stride sent him off into a peaceful slumber.
Aloethar sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. He looked around at the familiar interior of his own small tent, his things placed neatly all around him. Too neatly. The place looked tidier than it ever had. His sister would have said it had the woman's touch. His sister! He tried to stand but was rewarded with a sharp pain behind his eyes. He felt nauseated, his mouth suddenly dry, but found a jug of clear water next to his bed, and, allowing himself only to take small sips, soon regained a comfortable equilibrium. He could tell from the way the light shone through the slit-like gaps underneath the tent, and through the small holes in the thick fabric, that it was high noon outside, and this was painfully confirmed when the tent-flap was suddenly thrust back, blinding him. He shielded his eyes, and squinted a question. “Sana'ah?”
A soft, deep laugh. “She is well, Aloethar. She will be here soon.” The voice of an old man.
The old man let go of the tent-flap, and Aloethar's eyes readjusted. The man had to stoop to stand near the entrance, where the angle of the tent left less room. His wild grey hair was most unsuccessfully kept away from his face by a thin golden circlet. He wore long clothes that Aloethar had never seen the like of before. They were thick, like the tent fabric, and looked quite unsuitable for the hot desert, as did the man's long white beard, but there wasn't a single bead of sweat on the man's smiling face. “Who are you?”
The man came to the side of Aloethar's bed and sat down on the floor next to him. “My name is Balcaoran. The Child Mage.”
“One of the Four?”
He chuckled. “Oh yes.”
“But I thought you were really a child.”
“I was once,” his eyes twinkled, “and I will be again,” he continued enigmatically. “But enough of that. I am here to thank you for Binding the Chaostorm. Your Derlander friends, Pym and Waldfrid, have kindly shown me your still, and the potion you made with it. Poor Waldfrid tried to explain what happened to him when he drank the potion, but I'm afraid he can't remember. I assume it's the same in your case.”
Aloethar cast his mind back to recall his last memory, but could only remember collapsing in the face of the Storm, with the Stones winking at him like stars through the sand. “The Stones!”
“We have them. Please, be calm. You are still fragile. It's a wonder to me how you survived at all. This potion of yours has a tremendous capacity for Binding, but I am more interested in its applications. Waldfrid mentioned the Source. Does that mean anything to you?”
Something stirred in Aloethar's memory. “Yes,” he said vaguely, “but I don't remember anything more.”
“Well there certainly have been some long term effects.”
“Why yes. I'm given to understand that you have never left the desert, that you speak only your clan's tongue.”
“That's right. As do you, very well for a foreigner.”
“Oh, no, you are mistaken.” Balcaoran smiled. “We have been speaking in High Tyntieri since I came in.”
The conversation lasted a little longer, mostly Balcaoran asking questions, and Aloethar struggling to remember anything. There was one thing on which Aloethar was certain though. When Balcaoran asked if he thought his clansmen, the soldiers and the clan Thard, had truly been killed by the Storm, Aloethar was sure that they had not. Balcaoran pondered this for a moment, but asked nothing more. Then he promised he would visit again soon, when Aloethar felt better, and left. Aloethar lay back, contemplating sleep, but was soon interrupted by much less unsettling visitor. His sister and niece entered, and both smothered him with thankful kisses, and praised him endlessly. The Storm had been almost upon them, and Sana'ah's smiling joy turned to a look of hollow dread as she recounted to Aloethar that she had truly believed she and her daughter were going to die. They talked for a while longer, and then Aloethar yawned, a long, deep yawn.
“You are tired, brother. I should not have kept you talking.” She rose to her feet and held her hand out for little Ibna.
“It's all right, Sana'ah, really . . .” he yawned again.
“We will visit soon. Won't we Ib?”
The little girl smiled, and kissed Aloethar one last time. “Yes. Bye bye, Uncker Alwo.”
Aloethar chuckled. “Bye bye, desert flower.” He laid back, but propped himself up again when Sana'ah paused at the tent-flap.
“Father would be proud.”
The tears twinkling in her eyes echoed his own.
After that, Pym entered, in paroxysms of excitement, his every other word “Balcaoran.” He eventually calmed down enough to explain that Balcaoran wanted to journey with them to Llyneirias, the capital city of Tyntieri.
“You still want me to come with you?”
“But you no longer need a guide. Do you even need to go? Can't you give your message to Balcaoran now?”
“Oh, we've gone beyond that. He's asked me to be his assistant! Can you believe that? And he says that my first job is to convince you to come, and teach the scholars the brewer's art.”
“I think he wants to know more than that.” Aloethar still couldn't shake the idea of the Source, and although Balcaoran had not asked, he was sure he, like Aloethar, wanted to know just where the rest of the Chaostorm had been Binded.
“Balcaoran wants to know everything. Come on, Aloethar! You said you always wanted to see the seas! What an adventure it will be!”
Aloethar smiled. It would be at that.
(c) 2009 ~ Author Barry J. Northern
Pencil Sketch by ~ Artist Jon Taylor
C H A S I N G T H E W I N D
~ PRESENTED IN NINE SHOWINGS ON STAGE ~
D O C A T C H T H E W H O L E M Y S T I C A L S T O R Y
*AT THE BIJOU*
for the chaotic energy stirring
*AT THE BIJOU*
and the depth of the message imparted
and the fine staff of renown . . . wanting more fine adventures, more journeys to jostle the soul and bring us back more whole ... We'll miss Thursdays with Barry . . . unless . . .
Delve ever deep dear Reader where magic plays and wisdom stays ~ the mystical mind of Barry J. Northern, a talented conjurer of fantasies' fiction flash and flow ~
AUTHOR BARRY J NORTHERN is all Good Stuff! Fantasy, fable, fiction, fun and fine finesse when turning out churning energy's bet thoughts ~ ala the written word. As you have enjoyed Chasing the Wind kindly email Barry at email@example.com and convince him to finish editing the first Chaoswind Chronicle Novel, "THE BIRTH OF MAGIC". Barry, being the evolving bon vivant that he is ~ welcomes you to pop on over to experience magic on the rise in words, sounds, sensations and enlightening glimmer at the mystical energizing site, 21st Century Writer Barry J. Northern.
AH THEN . . . You can also then ~ bring some FEAR TO YOUR EARS ~ Listen in @ CAST MACABRE. (Something's always brewing!)
Sensating Barry's energies? Contagious. They draw us in.
It's time to drink the kohol.
*AT THE BIJOU*