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J Hart F

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Changed Earth (Part 13)

"Charles... What have you done?" Ethan heard himself whimper as he awoke from a drowsy sleep. The sound of his voice startled him: raspy, soft, tortured, and louder than the dreamscape whispers. His eyes opened in a flutter as he sat up abruptly. Remnants of energy flashed away in his peripheral vision in bright greens, blues, and purples.

"Elder Adair!"

Jerking around, Ethan found Alexis jumping into a short jog toward him from the other end of the sanctuary. Her angular face showed with the relief of the world lifting form her shoulders. Instantly, Ethan knew he had slept for too long.

"Elder Adair! Thank the Gods!"

Swallowing to moisten his throat, Ethan asked the most important question, "How long have I been asleep?"

Alexis fell to a sitting position right next to Ethan, her left hand holding him upright as she conjured healing and empowerment energies for Ethan. "Two and a half weeks now."

His lungs emptied heavily.

"We've been worried about you. One of the Council of Gaia has sat with you at all times, but there was nothing we could do. Gaia had constructed a protective cocoon around you. We knew it was nourishing your body but... wow! It's done so much more than that!"

"What do you mean?" Her eyes were wide with amazement, reflecting the myriad of colors illuminating their glade of safety.

"You look... healthy! And... young, I suppose!" Her hands had dropped to her sides, limp with uselessness.

He shook his head. "No. Gaia would never compromise a law of nature."

Correcting herself, "No no, I don't mean youthful and... adolescent like, but young and healthy." She drew her awe out of her face and forced the appearance of serious resolve. "You don't look elderly anymore. Simply mature, perhaps." Ethan looked down at his hands, regarding the firmness in the joints and digits that he had many years ago. "Maybe a healthy, active fifty... not a withering eighty... Yeah, that's it."

Cataloging this information about his new appearance, Ethan moved on through the necessary topics. "What has happened since I returned? What is going on with Charles? Are you alright?" he asked hurriedly, remembering her sudden disappearance during the encounter.

"I'm fine. It took a few days to dispel Alasia's attack. She's quite powerful... more than I thought," she said, trailing off in a disappointed reverie. "Otherwise, things are fine. When I was pushed out of the mindscape, I alerted all of sages and we gathered together immediately to start reinforcing the protections around the islands. Whatever happened between you and Charles had little effect here, thanks to the Council's abilities. Even your new pupil played an important part. Whatever you've taught him so far has really sunk in and he was able to bring Gaia back to us for a short while to assist."

"Nick shows promise... and he may be a much larger asset than we now know."

"He was the one who discovered the fight was over."

Ethan nodded, drawing his eyes back up to Alexis'. "That was his voice I heard then? Right before you all brought me back?"


Pride took a bit of the horror out of Ethan's heart. "That is good. He will learn quickly now." He tried to smile.

Alexis brought her hands back to action and placed her left hand on Ethan's back once more. "It seems the stressful circumstance unlocked his mind. If you want assistance with his training, I will gladly take part."

"Yes, yes... Please. Continue with your account of the events over the past two weeks."

As she worked with the energies Alexis said, "Charles has been very quiet. We've tried investigating what has happened to him but there seems to be even more secrecy around Antarctica completely. They're not simply hiding their civilization... the entire continent is under a defensive shield now. We believe his new strength, and abilities, are so expanded he's able to single handedly protect everything he wishes. Thus, we don't know what's going on underneath his protection.

"However, we've investigated what happened to the Earth. Most of it seemed to be untouched by whatever power he was doing during your fight... but what was affected is ravaged anew. Some of the quiet areas have new volcanoes that aren't quieting, several plains areas are ripped wide with new canyons where molten lava is flowing where rivers should be. A lot has changed and we can't seem to mend any of it ourselves... We were hoping that when you awoke you and Gaia might be able to change things further."

"How much have you told the others about what has happened to me?" Ethan asked calmly.

She shook her head. "Only that Gaia seemed to have given part of Herself to you. I figured you could explain the intercourse between you two better than I could."

Ethan smiled and grasped Alexis' right hand. He immediately felt the strength again, felt the weakness relinquish itself to a younger stage in life just before the withering took place for him so many thousands of years ago. Through the contact, he felt adoration radiate from Alexis as well. "I trust you would have said exactly what needed to be said." Thinking for a second before he began, "And if you would please inform them of what has happened to me, I think it would be best. I need no more pomp and circumstance where I walk. There is already too much of that for my liking."

"Of course."

"Also... I fear we must move quickly. We have to leave the islands as soon as possible. Charles may be subdued now, but this new energy he has will not keep him quiet for long." He looked around the sanctuary slowly, noticing the slumbering bodies interspersed throughout the quiet trees. "I will work with Gaia to find us all a new home. Please ask Antoni to reinforce the barriers so they will last long after we have departed. Tell him to have Nick assist as part of his training. We'll have to through Charles of as long as possible." He stood carefully. "We need to inform Ben of our imminent departure. He'll need to prepare the humans.

"And I must commune with Her. I'll return when I have made adequate preparations."

Alexis' face showed worry again. "How may we reach you if there is need, Elder?"

"Speak with Gaia. I will hear you."

With that, a slight nod of the head, and a quick rustling of her gown, Alexis departed to rally the necessary individuals. As she left the sanctuary, Ethan saw the eastern sky begin to brighten.

A breeze lifted through the canopy and the voice of Gaia whispered to Ethan. Dawn comes with sorrowed veils. Flight prevails in summer days where the land has ripened and the sky is clear. North... north to winter when the snow melts fast.

"North," he whispered to himself as he sidled his way to a standing position. His joints ached form laying for so long.

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