I am losing track of my time here with the Bormeas. The nights are the worst. Once we retire to our rooms after our evening feast, the noise of those wandering about on the streets of the city carries up to my room. It is mostly the Necco patrolling or harassing anyone wandering about in the dark. But yells, screams and other errant noises also come from the open windows of shacks and buildings that make up the living quarters of the city. The cries and angry voices come whooshing out of windows as though expelled from the dwelling only to mingle in the streets outside. There are also creatures fighting over rotting food, or attacking people sleeping in doorways or gutters.
Here, in the midst of a busy city, surrounded by many people there is no one I can speak to as openly as I once did with the Caysas. Here, in this form, I have to be constantly alert, on edge, defensive against everything. In fact, I am expected to twist everyone’s words around to suit my own needs and position. I find that I favorably recall being out in the quiet of night when living with the Caysas. How climbing to the lookout rock had become a nightly ritual as much to get away as it was to talk with Elder. I am stuck there emotionally while constrained here physically.
“Mayta told me you were coming,” Elder’s voice comes to me in the dark.
With a start, I turn toward the sound of his voice. Instead of seeing a shadowy corner of my room, piled high with hand-woven rugs, I see him sitting on the lookout rock, next to me. Above us is the open sky.
“I went out on the plains to find you,” he continues.
I shake my head, “That’s not possible. I found you.”
“Did you?” Elder lets his words hang there for a moment giving me time to let the truth settle in. “I could tell you were different. I could tell that you were going to help us.”
“Elder, I’m still trying to understand the meaning of your belief in this Mayta. You’re telling me that she somehow communicated with you that I was coming?”
He nods silently.
“But how is it that she knew and yet my finding you was purely by … chance?”
“I believe there is a reason everything has happened,” Elder tells me. “We were displaced to become stronger and regain our passion for the things Mayta created us. Many circumstances need to come into place before we can reclaim what we lost. Your finding me was no more by chance than the sun coming up every morning. It is only the beginning of a change that is coming.”
I am still confused, not only by how much Elder is knowledgeable of, but in how he claims it came to pass. “Tell me then, how Mayta told you of me and what she said.”
“I had felt unsettled for some time as though Mayta was watching us intently, yet remained hidden. Unable to find rest that day, I walked out into the wilderness. It is where I go when I need to hear Mayta more clearly. At one point, I felt a disturbance in the air around me. I lay down until it passed.”
I hold myself still while listening to Elder. His words make the hair on my arms stand up. “So, there wasn’t a voice or whisper that told you directly to walk out there?”
Elder looks at me silently, as though telling a young one a simple truth. “Mayta speaks in many different ways.”
“How did you know I’d be coming then?”
“I laid down in the middle of a trade path, unable to move any further. Anyone traveling would have come across my form, therefore I knew I was there to meet someone.” As though answering my question before I voice it, he continues, “Everything we do is building on what we did before. If we are moving toward regaining what we lost, the person whom I met would be someone who could help with that situation, yes?”
I nodded silently, still somewhat mystified by Elder’s certain logic and wondering at the same time if he could somehow detect our presence on this planet.
“You have no family, no ties and no knowledge of our history. You came to us out of nowhere and learned our ways -– intently observing them.”
“Even so, what do you believe will come of all of this?”
“Mayta gave me a vision last night,” Elder murmurs as he looks out into the distance, his eyes taking on an unfocused appearance. “She had restored this world to how it once was and she and her children had returned. All of the people who had been and gone before were made new again, joining those who still are. The land was no longer scarred or fouled by the Bormeas. Hard labor was replaced by peaceful existence full of plenty. Mayta’s gardens again covered such a vast expanse that you could travel for days and not reach the end of them. The plants were full of good things to eat and clear streams of water flowed throughout. The beasts … the creatures, had returned to their docile selves and freely roamed about, no longer a threat to each other or to us.
“I became aware that I was walking through our garden in the body of my youth. Gone were the aches and pains of old age, the painful limp of my recent injury and the shortness of breath. Gone too was the sorrow over lost ones. Joy was a part of this garden and in the air that we breathed. And then you joined me and we walked along as though no time had passed, as though we were brothers content in sharing our views with each other. There was a sense of finality as though both of us had completed a task and could now rest. Dar-el soon joined us, as did my beloved. Nemel was there too, fully grown and tall in stature. We were all together once again. You looked different though -– more you than you do now, as though you finally got the fit right with the person you had become. You were no longer searching and observing. Instead, you were fully relaxed and enjoying yourself.”
* * *
I never imagine a joy-filled outcome to this or any venture because that isn’t the pattern I’ve been created to follow. I’m supposed to find others’ weaknesses and exploit them, not find another to love and live out my life with. I have no concept of how that would look or feel for me. I am not designed for that. Deep down, I am always waiting for the Nosram to destroy the illusion of life.