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J Hart F

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Changed Earth (Part 3)

"I feel like I came into this easily enough. My mentor was Antoni. He was easy, I suppose."

"Do you think you're ready to take on a pupil yet? How long has it been since you finished with Antoni?"

A pause. "It's been about three years, but I know I'm not ready. I'm too young to take on a pupil."

The female's laughter finally brought Ethan out of his slumber fully. With his eyes still closed he allowed his mind to feel the energies around him. Much was understood.

"I took my first pupil merely two years after I was finished training," the woman said to the young man.

Energy blasted across the land, penetrating the sanctuary Alexis had constructed with the help of the Mother. Helios was in the morning sky, bright and unhampered by clouds. His last pupil was certainly using everything he had taught her to protect the survivors of this abominable war. The sun's energy felt warm and mingled with the energies within the sanctuary to provide a warmth that penetrated through his soul.

The young man answered somewhat dejectedly, leaving the impression he was ashamed that he didn't want to take on a pupil yet. "I don't know... I want to make sure I know what I have to teach before I start corrupting someone else."

Ethan spoke loud enough for them to hear, "If corruption is how you feel about the gifts Gaia has bestowed upon you, then perhaps you should return the energies so She can heal Herself from these devastating circumstances we find ourselves in." He felt their alarm like bullets lodging in a bullet proof vest. Sitting up, he opened his eyes and looked at the other two who sat on the grass about ten yards away. They sat like shocked mice, ready to flee but too afraid to move.

The young man bowed his head. "I'm sorry Elder. I didn't mean it like that." He looked towards his female companion, who Ethan realized was Sarah, a pupil of his from about five hundred years ago. "It's just," he stumbled, "you know, it displaces your life so thoroughly and I don't want to... I'm not ready to leave that behind, much less take someone away from the reality of human civilization."

Ethan moved closer to them, massaging his joints as he stood and seated himself in a triangle with Sarah and the young man. "As we know of it now, human civilization is about six hundred strong. We have a duty to perform which may require you to take one of our survivors away from this reality and bring them to Gaia's power."

"I... realize that. I was speaking about how I felt before this mess." He looked away from the two Elders. "I don't want to think about what we've lost."

Sarah interjected before Ethan could say anything further. "What you've lost, Marc." She reached out and grabbed his hand gently. "We all have to come to terms with our losses before we can lead. It is a requirement in order to work with the Mother and succeed."

Ethan saw a tear run down Marc's youthful face, and suddenly he looked much older than he seemed. "Alexis was probably the first one of us to come to a sense of completion with her losses," Ethan declared in a soft voice.

"You did not, Elder Adair?" Marc asked, fighting the constriction that came with his fears.

Ethan smiled, knowing the magic Marc had just worked to get his name. He was obviously well trained to know and understand his surroundings. "No, I did not. I allowed my hopelessness to overwhelm me. If it wasn't for Alexis' searching, her focused mind, I would probably be left under a tree, burning down to a mass of dust indistinguishable from the earth I sat upon."

Sarah squeezed Marc's hand. "I know your turmoil, as everyone here certainly does. Go, be with nature, listen to Gaia and Helios and allow your emotions to mature however they will. Only then will you be able to move with them toward fully helping rebuild our home."

Turning back toward Sarah and Ethan, Marc tried his best at a half smile, and then stood. "Thank you both." Bowing, he turned to look at Ethan alone. "If I may be so bold as to request a private audience with you later, Elder Adair, I would be most honored."

The sudden formailty startled Ethan. "Thus it is granted. I shall find you when the time is suitable."

"Thank you." And with this, Marc turned and left through a northern exit from the sanctuary and walked out into the beautiful sunlight.

As Marc left, Ethan was able to look around and appreciate the beauty of the grove. Vast green leaves composed the canopy, and they transmitted the light of the sun in beautiful greenish hues like glittering fireflies resting on the underside of the wide leaves. The whole thicket was enriched by the shimmering light which fell in rays to the beautiful forest floor: stalks for grass growing in clusters between bushes and shrubs, a few squirrels scurrying from shelter to trees, the calls of birds through the warm and humid air, and the smell of rain on the horizon drifting through the trunks of the protecting trees. A blue butterfly flew past the opening Marc used.

Ethan smiled.

"Elder, it is a great pleasure to know you're with us." Gratitude saturated Sarah's words.

Regarding her, Ethan stated, "Human forces will be the last which will overcome me, Sarah. But I appreciate your concern and love."

"It has been too long since we've talked, and I fear everything I would have said is now made irrelevant."

"I agree." Ethan didn't bring up her family for fear of stirring a deep sorrow he sensed within her. "She is with us now, though, and we will move forward in spite of the monstrosities."

Sarah sighed. "Yes, indeed we will." Ethan watched her stand gingerly, evidence of her extended stay on the forest floor. "Alexis has called a meeting at high noon here. She wished me to inform you that three more have arrived with a small contingency of humans. They brought some technological devices and food stores."

"Antoni was among one of the three, was he not? He has always been foolhardy in order to secure supplies in the face of disasters."

A wide smile greeted his guess. "You know us all too well."

"I trained most of you." They laughed and warmed their hearts even more. "Thank you for letting me know. I suppose food is with the humans now?"

Nodding, Sarah said, "They insisted on protecting that supply. There is a feeling of inadequacy and they are trying to assert their authority in whichever way they can. Alexis is a very good diplomat. She's allocated quite a few responsibilities and governing powers to the humans."

"Something I would have done. I'm surprised she went down that track."

Sarah gave a sharp chuckle. "I had to talk her into it. A few of the humans are a little head strong and will certainly claim authority even if it requires rebellion against us."

Ethan stood. "We can't have that. They need to understand that we must work together. That is the only way to get society back, to reclaim the Earth as our home." Shaking his head, Ethan dropped the subject. "Shall we go eat?"

Leaving the sanctuary behind was difficult. As soon as they shifted into the ocean air without the protective shielding around the grove, Ethan felt the panic and anxiety that flourished in the air. The sun refracted off the enormous shield Alexis had built, leaving a pinkish hue transposed on the blue sky. Everywhere around this giant haven on the Cocos Islands was black and gray billowing violently. He could only imagine what it would look like from outer space: a world covered in black, gray, and white clouds trying desperately to find a place to escape to. On that orb would be a small pink speck of an island just west of where Australia should be. A pink speck of hope.

The small lunch was flavorful, thanks to Antoni's contingent. He had secured a lot of food over the ages in a protected vault magically enhanced to stop time for whatever was placed within. When the threat of warfare became imminent, Antoni had taken the initiative to stockpile as much as he could get his hands on, sometimes ethically. Ethan commended him on his foresight.

Noon came quickly, the time lost amongst conversations so light and airy that most of the world could be forgotten. At least, the issues which plagued every aspect of their conscious thoughts could be overlaid by a moment of happiness. Many of the humans who had survived had gathered with them and tried to interject their voice with the Sages. Ethan quickly learned that almost all of the six hundred or so humans had started figuring out their own political hierarchy a short distance to the north where Alexis had extended the land and created buildings made of foliage and trees for them to live in peacefully. There was fear and doubt directed at the Sages, and theories of recent events were quickly being turned into mythology and fiction about the Sages' involvement in the war. Speculations circled around their ability to survive and know when to start protecting themselves; and if the Sages knew to protect themselves, they knew when the war would start, and wouldn't that mean they started the war or could have prevented it?

Ethan would see to it personally to speak with them and dispel this train of thought. He had the most experience in this arena and would volunteer for the task at their meeting.

Back inside the sanctuary, Alexis gathered everyone into a circle around her and sat down in the center. Her technique was beautiful, and Ethan couldn't help but feel a little pride in how he had taught her. She recognized her authority amongst her people, but she knew that they would not respect her for standing superior to them. Knowing she wasn't the most powerful, the oldest, the wisest nor the most innovative, Alexis couldn't stand apart and unique. Ethan feared that this small order of twenty-one would force him to stand there in the center. Ethan feared Alexis would ask for this.

When Alexis started speaking, the forest became mute. Everything silenced to hear her words. Her simple words. The words which filled with the essence of Gaia.

"The face of the Earth is changing. We are now that change. We are vested, as we have always been, with the trust of the Mother to progress the Earth toward a harmonious life." Three of the Sages, the youngest, shook their heads. "Humanity stepped beyond our influences and took action without our wisdom. This is not a failure to place blame upon ourselves or human civilization. We have to own our circumstances and rebuild.

"This is going to be hard, but we are strong. I do not feign leadership amongst us, as Alexis Badeau. I am merely connected with Gaia in such a strong way currently, and She wishes me to commence these actions with the twenty-one of us." She looked around in silence, looking into each of the twenty faces staring vehemently. "We start now, as the Council of Gaia, as we shall be known to the humans. We must usher hope and direction to their cause, and once we reinstate a structured and secure society, we must return to our former way of life. It is our way."

Marc, who sat next to his mentor Antoni, spoke up in a timid voice. He was obviously the youngest amongst their ranks. "Elder Badeau... I am not sure what happened and respect everyone's silence in the matters, as a representation of mourning. Could you please..."

She nodded slowly. "For those of you who don't know, and it seems like there are a few, these are the events which led to this disaster:

"Elder Eytinge," she indicated Antoni, "was attempting to negotiate a steadied resolution between America and its allies and the belt of African nations around the Congo who had allied with Korea and the extremist insurgences in Argentina and Chile, whose distrust of America has been growing over the past decade. Korea sent the first bomb soaring toward America, igniting the fuse which sent everyone into chaos. America responded as the President seemed fit. The confusion allowed for the African nations to wreak havoc throughout Europe before long. Elder Adair had been working with the Americans in hopes of preventing retaliation, but the President wouldn't hear of it. His national pride would not allow for inaction." Alexis stopped and looked around once more, her left hand coming to rest on her stomach. "The destruction happened within ten hours and the fires spread faster than any of us could have predicted."

An extended silence greeted the end of her explanation. Ethan knew so much had been left out, but the basics of the intricacies had been explained as quickly as he could conceive. Alexis moved her eyes directly at Ethan, a quite plea filling her expression for a short moment.

He spoke, calculating his words, testing the meaning he wished to invoke. "The past is now written, and we must ensure the knowledge of it is not misinterpretted in myth and half truths. We are now the bearers of the world's history, of the long line of events which are now irrelevant to this small contingency of survivors; except that we cannot allow these events to unfold again."

Sarah spoke, "We are the encyclopedia of humanity now. And we need to ensure its proper documentation for the humans."

"Then we will start our cause there," Alexis stated. "We must also ensure that the humans are getting along fine and they aren't under any illusions of our presence."

"I shall work alongside their numbers, guiding them, teaching them, helping them however I can," Ethan said without a moments hesitation.

"Thank you, Elder Adair. I think we can all agree there is no-one better suited than you." Alexis looked around everyone again. "We have many other tasks to undertake. Elder Eytinge, would you please work with Elder Lama," she indicated Sarah, "in beginning the education of new members and of the humans?"

"I shall." Antoni nodded.

"Though the most important thing is to ensure the success of humanity on Earth, this will not succeed if we cannot bring order beyond our haven. We must first ensure the safety of our numbers by supplying more energy to my barrier which I have errected. From there we must start to quell the fires and rebuild nature."

The meeting continued with discussion of rebuilding the human society. They agreed to give the humans there autonomy and place themselves beyond its influences. Many members wished to have the Council of Gaia be involved in their major political decisions, but Alexis and Ethan convinced them that by remaining a third party to provide advice gave would allow for them to eventually return to the Sage's lifestyle once harmony was reinstated with the Earth.

With the majority of issues discussed and agreed upon, Ethan left the Council of Gaia and left to visit the human town in order to start the Council's proper role in what would be the greater political schema of the human world.

1 comment:

  1. This is getting SO GOOD! I hope you realize that you truly have a gift for fantasy
    (Not in the same way as a robust gentlemen dispensing metabolism-boosting technique. That's an entirely different, darker, and sadder form of fantasy. hehe)