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J Hart F

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Changed Earth (Part 6.1)

"Look there's another one!"

"That one's huge!"


The giggling cut through Ethan's heart like earthquakes tearing the surface right through a city's downtown; glass shattering in a crystalline symphony as iron shrieks against the swaying and buckling of the walls. Children's voices marveling at the beauty of the Blue Morpho population now fluttering about the island would normally bring a smile to Ethan's face.

Today, they haunted him.

Weight pressed on his mind; innocence to protect, a world to rebuild, a culture to save, a civilization to nurture, and a war to end. A war to end, he thought again, trying to figure out how he could prevent any loses. Or at least keep the number of casualties to an absolute minimum.

Antoni fell into a silence upon Ethan's return a week ago, shame overcoming his demeanor, wreaking havoc over his eyes, his thoughts and depressing him into a self-serving solitude. Fear, above all else, manipulated his emotions. Alexis tried desperately to break through his walls, but after three days she gave into his desires and followed Ethan's respect for Antoni's motivations.

Even Antoni's shock hadn't compared to Ethan's though, and Alexis feared more so for her former mentor than she did for her colony. Ethan had not shared the entirety of his encounter, and she waited for a full disclosure to better understand the situation. What was understood was the overall threat of conflict, for which Alexis had already created protections for any immediate onslaughts. Once everything had been explained to the humans, a severity descended their tiny culture. Everyone except the children walked around with strained eyes puffy with restless sleep; stiff legs ready to release into finding cover from the skies, a practiced lesson recently put into full appreciation. However much Ethan was needed, he couldn't face working with the humans while his mind still grasped at the emotional torture he found himself in.

And because of this torture, Ethan found himself pacing the length of the island over the past week, searching for some sense of comfort. He struggled with replacing his brother into a new category. His only living family member now the symbol of battle. Charles now bursting forth the power of Helios against the serene energies of Gaia in a warlike afront. Akakios losing his innocence and killing the love he felt toward his only relative and labeling him as an enemy. It took the passage of a week for Ethan to even realize this elementary turn: the dehumanizing gaze at an enemy which denounced all sense of morallity right before action.

"Charles has already labeled me as enemy..." he said to his friend, the butterfly, on the eighth morning after his return. "And I must do the same or be determined to have compassion.


The answer never came, but the Blue Morpho fluttered away as if saying I have no part in decisions apart from protecting Gaia.

Ethan sat alone, laying his head against a coconut tree swaying in the breeze, listening to the far off discussion of people tilling the earth to grow crops and the incessant giggling of children chasing butterflies. A gust of air came, and then came again making a nearly constant wind across the island surface.

Footsteps drew nearer.

"Edler Adair, may I sit with you?"

Ethan nodded.

Alexis sat slightly behind him, angled so she could look directly at his form without being too direct. "It is time for you to decide."

Time to decide, young one.

Ethan turned his head to look at Alexis.

You cannot wait any longer.

"We cannot wait any longer. Preparations must be made to further our survival and the restoration of the Earth." Alexis was calm, speaking slowly. There was practice in her voice, a script not common when heavy decisions were to be made. Ethan appreciated her attention to this speach. "I can only imagine your state right now, but Elder Sadhin's path has been decided upon and he will not change. Not now, at least. Thus, our concern must be for our ensured survival. Not against war, but against extinction."

Protect against my extinction.

"Without our guiding energies, the powers of the Mother will not penetrate the deteriorating forces of humankind's infamous bombs. All life will eventually follow the path of fire and billow away into the air." Alexis would not look away from Ethan's eyes, trying to draw him into the picture she wove of their stuation. "We know Elder Sadhin's plans won't create stability in the ecosystems --"

"He is harvesting the power of Helios," Ethan cut her off, his eyes lowering to look at a bare patch of dirt. "He is using the chaotic forces of the sun to rebuild his people."

Shock, as frequent as it was around Ethan recently, filled Alexis. "What?! That's impossible!?"

"No, it has never been impossible. Dangerous, yes, and more dangerous the less skilled a Sage is. But it always remains unpredictable. That's why I fear so much. That's why I'm having a hard time grasping where I stand." A ragged breath in. "Do I plan to eliminate a threat? Or do I try to dissuade it? Or do we prepare for constant defense? Should we find ways to overpower the forces of Helios? For which there are, but they're even more devestating if not handled properly."

Alexis swallowed hard. "I'm sorry. I came to break you from your depression, but I never realized you were actually working things out. I figured you were trying to handle the sudden departure from your familial tie."

"You don't need to apologize, Alexis. I have kept myself apart because I needed to be alone for several reasons; that being one of them. I only just recently came to terms with our... new... relationship." Ethan looked out over the sea again, to the growingly familiar picture.

"What do you advise then?"

"Breaking Antoni from his solitude, first and foremost." Ethan placed his hands on the ground to stand up. As he rose he continued his thought, "And bring together the leaders of the humans with the Council of Gaia and come to decisions together. It is not something your nor I can decide alone. It is unfair."

Alexis stood with Ethan. "I have already called a gathering for tonight, at the break of night."

"Then I shall go speak with Ben and have his congress come meet with us in the sanctuary."


(Part 6 to be continued...)

1 comment:

  1. Josheleh, sweet face,
    thank you for not making me wait for all of part 6 to be finished before I can read!
    Although - I feel that I am one step closer to being Kathy Bates in Misery.
    If I try to hobble you and lock you up and make you write stories for me . . . well . . . I apologize in advance