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J Hart F

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Changed Earth (Part 6.2)

There are so many here.

Too many here... This is going to get out of hand.

Ethan looked around the sanctuary and the collection of humans that had assembled alongside the Council of Gaia. After speaking to their leader, Ben, an unavoidable understanding came between the. Ben had voiced it best by saying, "This is there home as much as it is ours, and if democracy is going to take place with our limited group of survivors, all who want to must be involved." Ethan couldn't press qualifiers for the participants and was forced into agreeing with Ben's stance. After all, Ethan's role was not to dictate the political structure of civilization.

But here in the sanctuary Alexis had the authority to limit discussion. Judging by her bearing, she already had a plan to deal with the large number of humans now filtering into her space. Her face was set: cheeks smooth and angular, eyes tense around the edges, brows arched in a skepticism, lips ready to speak as soon as the procession of oncomers ended. She had pulled her brown hair back out of her face into a low ponytail which fell to the middle of her back. Wearing a dress woven together from vines and leaves made her look like the manifestation of the Mother, though skinnier than Ethan pictured. He was proud of her choice.

As the last few entered the eastern doorway, Alexis raised her hand for silence. Many of the humans were already awestruck by the enchanted beauty of the sanctuary; looking up into the canopy at the twinkling lights and ethereal displays of color caught their breath. The few who spoke vehemently roused suspicion at the occasion and choice of location. They fell silent quickly upon viewing Alexis' stern presence.

Her voice was crisp. "Welcome. These are the gifts of Gaia, the treasures we of the Council use to ensure the ongoing harmony of this planet. With our hearts and souls, I welcome you to our home and into the physical presence of the Mother."

Many of the gathered shivered slightly. Ethan knew those few were already feeling Her presence. Marking them, Ethan knew who he would need to recruit if they decided for a more aggressive defense or for outright confrontation.

Alexis continued, "I am not aware of what Ben has told you, so I will bring you up to speed.

"We are possibly at war." Gasps came from many angles. "The world has changed. The entire ecological system has been overwhelmingly destroyed, and the hope for restoration lies with two groups. We, here, are just one of these groups. The other is... larger."

"Why don't we simply join up with them?" a curious man asked from the back of the gathering.

Eyes fixed on him. "Because the Elder who leads this group has asserted himself to full supremacy with little regard for the desires of his contingent. Democracy is the last of his aspirations. And his view of how the world should be run is in complete contrast to our way of thinking. Furthermore, he has already set his eye on destroying one of our own." Alexis looked to Antoni who sat next to Ethan. "What we have gathered here to discuss," she continued as she turned back to the larger collective, "is what sort of action we are to take. The council is not going to make this decision. You, as the future of Earth, are the only ones who have the authority to decide.

"Ben has made it very clear that all who wish to partake in these proceedings are allowed to. However, if this discussion turns into a brawl," she said harshly, "then it will be ended and Ben, along with his trusted advisors and friends, will make the decision for all."

There were no objections. Ben, who sat near the front of the humans, stood and walked next to Alexis. His voice, husky and tired, filled with the warmth of a calm authority and the hint of inherent wisdom, rumbled through the sanctuary like the voice of Helios. "We have already discussed some of these courses that may be taken, the Council of Gaia and I."

Ethan suddenly felt his stomach drop. No word of such a meeting had been conveyed to him.

"Regardless of the action we, as a society, take, I propose Elder Ethan Adair be appointed to a position of leadership among both our groups in the matters concerning Elder Charles Sadhin. His knowledge of his fellow Elder and experience with Gaia and Her gifts qualifies him as the highest ranking official on this island." Ben stopped talking and looked over the crowd. "He is truly a marvel, and I believe everyone here knows Elder Adair in some fashion."

Taking a step toward Ethan, drawing her dress to its length across the forest floor, Alexis reached out her hand to draw Ethan before everyone. "Elder Adair, do you object to this appointment?"

Ethan didn't know what to say. Of course he could refuse, and the thought crossed his mind. He was never one to lead anything, and much less leading a war effort was least desired. However, his expertise on his brother was certainly needed. Looking into Alexis' eyes, shimmering with reflected starlight and the mirage of an aurora, Ethan knew her argument through and through. He would not have to be a military leader, he would not have to lead any group, but his expertise of every world war, of war efforts, of history was needed. Ethan was the best advisor among the survivors of the Earth, period, in all matters. This title was merely a representation for the humans so Ethan could assert greater authority with his knowledge and ideas. Ben already gave his respect to Ethan, Alexis would never question his understandings and perspectives, but the larger population would, in time, begin to question his implicit authority if battles were waged and losses were had.

This was safety for Ethan.

"I accept this honor," Ethan said slowly.

Ben's voice took over again. "Are there those who appose?"

A few raised there hands, each of whom Ethan had not had the opportunity to meet yet.

Ben asked, patiently and commandingly, "With a majority either agreeing with or abstaining from this decision, will you acquiesce to the majority?" The few nodded in agreement. "Thank you." Ben turned to Ethan. "We are honored to have your wisdom in these matters, to guide us, and to lead us as you have for so many years."

Bowing his head, "Thank you, Ben. I shall do what I can to ensure the success of our society and the Earth, as I have throughout my life."

There was silence throughout the sanctuary, though a ringing reverberated through Ethan's mind like a concert of fuzz. Without thought, knowing eyes stared at him with intrigue, concern, and infatuation, Ethan went back to his seat next to Antoni. Once there, he turned to Antoni and asked hastily, "Why was I not informed of this?"

"Alexis wasn't sure whether you would allow her to nominate you without the support of Ben and the other Council members." This was the first thing Antoni had said to Ethan since his return. "We believe in you. We trust you. And above all else, we respect and honor you.

"I'm sorry..."

Caught off guard, Ethan couldn't respond quick enough. Antoni, back slouching in dejection, breath leaving his lungs in a low sigh, he turned away ever so slightly from Ethan.

"There is nothing to apologize for, Antoni. Judgments and actions cannot be influenced without ethical and moral recklessness." Again, the comforting hand of an Elder, pulling the power of Gaia into a gesture, landed on Antoni's shoulder. "Charles is under his own delusions and cannot see the world as it is. You have nothing to fear."

A smile, however quaint and forced, was welcome between them.

Ben and Alexis were talking low, obviously deciding who would speak next. The decision was clear from the start, and Alexis remained standing as Ben joined Ethan and the Council of Gaia. She turned back to the congress around her and said, "Now that this has been settled, we must discuss our course of action.

"There are two matters at hand. The restoration of the planet is the most important, though even this is negated by the necessity of survival. Which brings me to the next task: our protection." She began to pace around the sanctuary, always before the humans. Her eyes wandered between every individual, capturing their mind in her abilities. Ethan felt her magic weaving in and out of the crowd. He then understood what Ben and Alexis were really talking about. Her spell was sending them images, helping them understand what her words were attempting to convey, but would certainly lack. "What we face is daunting. The Elder we must protect ourselves from has harnessed the power of Helios, the Sun. It is a temperamental power, a devastating power, a treacherous and overwhelming power. But it must be understood that His influence is only strong during the day, strongest at high noon. We have the gifts of Gaia, which are with us always.

"This is our advantage! We can work day and night. Our abilities are not limited by the hour, and our course is just and true. Gaia will be with us, She will protect us, and we will thrive if we work together." She paused to allow her listeners to absorb the information. None were shocked, for the understood with a sort of deja-vu comprehension, thanks to Alexis' spell.

When she spoke again, her voice came melodically. "We must decide tonight whether we are to build a defensive strategy to counter Elder Sadhin, to attack and eliminate the threat he poses, or to hide so completely from his eyes and abilities that he can not threaten our society until we are ready for him to know of our existence again."

The air in the sanctuary grew thicker and lessened suddenly. Ethan felt Gaia surge with pride, filling the space with inspiration and relaxation. Fluttering blue wings danced before Ethan, and he stood to follow it outside. Instinctively, he knew the meeting would run smoothly without his influence, and the decision that would come he would abide by.

Footsteps sounded behind Ethan.

"Elder Adair?" It was Sarah. He turned and saw her golden hair, pulled back around her head and cut short, glittered with starlight and shining with the ambiance of the moon. "May I walk with you? I don't care for political discussions of any sort. I've always been one for action, you know."

"Indeed I do, come, walk with me and our little friend here. He's living for quite a long time."

Sarah regarded the Blue Morpho. "Is that the one you brought with you?"

Nodding, "I do believe so. It has been imbued with the magic of Gaia, I suspect."

Thunder echoed in the distance. The smell of rain seemed to wash ashore. Wind began to pick up, gentle rhythms brushing through Ethan's grey hair. He turned to face the wind coming from the west, blowing onward to the east. He smiled and took a deep breath. "Change is coming. And She says it will be a good one." The butterfly landed on his shoulder.

Watching with a displaced glance on her face, Sarah too took a breath of the crisp air filled with the scent of ozone. "Change, finally." She giggled at the irony of her own statement. "Change we can finally agree with, that is." Turning to the east, they walked to the shore to look out over the waves and talk about the paths they had taken in the past five hundred years. Concerns of the upcoming events were far off with the wind, wilting away over the ocean currents and passing through the veils dressing the life in smothering smoke.

1 comment:

  1. It's great! This is totally going to become a novel - you realize this, don't you? I'm not complaining!
    I'm excited for what's coming! (You already KNOW, don't you! Wanna give me a hint? pretty please!)

    Good work, my friend. I hope it didn't keep you from too many obligations - but I'm selfish, so if it did too damn bad. :)