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Chapter 15: Memories

Rowan woke up in her very white room in the academy to the sound of Dorben’s comforting voice. She had been at the academy for several Availon weeks. Although there was no way of telling, she felt like days on Availon were a bit longer than days on earth but that was just a guess. She had spent most of the days in class. Her classes so far had really been mostly about testing what she could or couldn’t do. She had been questioned, examined, poked and prodded.

“Good morning Rowan. It is now six, the time you specified to be awakened. I have prepared your morning coffee and meal. Would you prefer to eat before or after your bath?”

“I think I will eat first Dorbin, Thank you. I would like to watch the news while I eat.”

“Of course I think you will find it quite exciting this morning.”

“Really,” Rowan yawned, “I can’t imagine why.”

She sat at her small shiny white table and watched as the holographic display formed in midair. First there was a short story about a new mindship being launched to replace one lost in a battle many years ago. The new ship was

named the Oberon II and Cali herself was at the launch.” Half way through the story a deep male voice interrupted, “breaking news,” he announced.

Suddenly the hologram spread out larger than usual and a space battle began to unfold in the air of Rowan’s room. Rowan heard the name Juchin and she realized it was Unegen’s fleet that was fighting. The system was the Narubian system and the battle was a great victory for the Fadians. Rowan saw two huge mindships firing on a much smaller ship; the announcer called it the Jagun. She watched as the Jagun broke up and then the voice proudly announced that the glorious Fadian forces had destroyed the ship commanded by the notorious Thracian terrorist, Niurgun Bootur Nasan and that he and all aboard had been killed.

Rowan dropped her coffee cup and the dark liquid spread out across the stark white floor. Tears began to run down her cheeks.

“It cannot be true Dorbin, tell me what I saw is not true. It’s propaganda. Tell me!”

“I can analyze the transmission and evaluate the source,” Dorbin answered.

Rowan was crying so hard now that she couldn’t answer Dorbin so he just did it anyway.

“The feed is direct from a drone launched by the mindship Availon, one of the ships in the battle. It does not appear to have been tampered with in any way. I believe the transmission is the actual battle,” he said.

Rowan did not know what to do or think. Her heart felt as if it should stop beating.

We are bound until death, he had said. Maybe that was why she felt like part of her had just died.

Rowan screamed at the air

“You promised me that you would be in the future I was going to. What will I do without you?”

“Are you alright Rowan,” Dorbin asked. “Do you need medical attention?”

Rowan didn’t answer. She threw herself on the bed and continued to sob until she had no more tears. She lay on her bed all day and watched the round window as light changed to dark and the next day she did the same. No amount of coaxing from Dorbin would get her up and as night fell he called for help.

“There is someone here to see you Rowan. Please let him come in,” Dorbin sounded truly concerned. Rowan didn’t answer him. Dorbin asked again.

“Please Rowan; this behavior will only be tolerated for so long. You must participate in your classes or you will be sent before Cali.”

“I don’t care,” Rowan said.” She can turn me into a living foot stool for all I care.”

“Now you don’t mean that, and don’t think she wouldn’t do it either,” Dorbin assured her. “Please talk to Lord Brannoc. I called him here because he has asked about you every day since you came here and I was hoping he could help.”

Rowan thought about the night just a few weeks ago when Brannoc had taken her from earth. She thought about the night in the castle, the horseback ride to the stones, and their escape from the Juchin. He wasn’t exactly her favorite person right now but except for Dorbin, who really wasn’t a person, Brannoc was the closest thing she had to a friend. She concentrated on the front disc and he appeared in her room. Rowan didn’t even roll over to see him, she knew he was there.

Brannoc walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge.

“What is the matter, Dorbin said it was an emergency.”

Rowan didn’t move or speak but she began to cry again. Brannoc reached out and gently touched her shoulder.

“Dorbin has been keeping me up on how you were doing here. I thought everything was going fine. You seemed to be adjusting well. He paused for a moment and then he said something that Rowan did not expect.

Rowan you have to believe me I am so sorry I brought you here. I have brought many senders here and in the beginning I never even thought about what I was doing. I was ordered to do so and I did. I always told myself that if I didn’t bring them here then someone else would so why shouldn’t I reap the rewards. Once trained, a sender is a valuable individual. I told myself I was doing them a favor. Then the mindship technology was developed and one by one I saw the people that I had taken transformed into living weapons. The ones that tried to escape stare back at me from the Throne of Souls. Their silent screams haunt my dreams; I am truly sorry.”

Rowan wasn’t sure why she did it but she turned and put her arms around Brannoc. Maybe she just needed to be close to someone, to feel living flesh against her but she held on to him and she cried. He stroked her hair and held her until she fell asleep in his arms from exhaustion.

The morning light woke Rowan up and she realized that Brannoc still had his arms around her. He had just leaned back on the bed and held her all night. His flawless features were even more stunning when he slept. Rowan moved and he opened his lavender eyes.

“You look terrible,” he said as he reached down and brushed Rowans tangled hair away from her face. “How long has it been since you ate?”

“Honestly I don’t know.” She was trying to extract herself from his embrace without being rude but he wasn’t letting go and truthfully she wasn’t trying too hard. It was nice to not be alone.

“Will you eat something with me?” Brannoc asked rather nicely.

“Yes, I suppose I really don’t want to die,” she said as if the realization was surprising to her. “I am going to get up and go take a hot bath. You get Dorbin to send us up something and make sure there is coffee. Does that make you happy?”

“Ecstatic,” Brannoc said as he gave her that smile, the one that always made her forget she wanted to kill him. “I

am going to show you something about the academy today that is going to make you feel better.”

“I seriously doubt that.” The only thing you could show me that would make me feel better is Niurgun, she thought to herself as she walked towards the bath. Tears started to well up again. I have to stop this, if I am going to survive this I have to pull myself together. She wiped her eyes and closed the bathroom door.

Rowan came out of the bathroom wearing a robe that she had found in one of her drawers. Brannoc had ordered a lovely breakfast of unrecognizable fruits, something like bread and thankfully coffee. She still didn’t have any appetite but she nibbled on some fruit.

“Is being here really so bad?” Brannoc finally asked.

“Oh I don’t know,” Rowan sneered, “how bad could it be to have your brain pulled out and used as an onboard computer? Or better yet have your body attached to the head of some exotic creature for the enjoyment of your lovely mother. Maybe if I am lucky I can have my eyes eaten out of my head by giant birds. Is it really so bad….are you serious?”

Brannoc dropped his eyes and shoved the food around on his plate.

“I really am sorry you are here but I am not sorry I met you.”

Rowan just didn’t have the heart or the energy to beat him up any more.

“I believe you and I accept you apology. Now what was it you wanted to show me that you think is going to cheer me up?”

“First you have to get dressed. Dorbin could you please send up the gift I brought for Rowan.”

A beautiful wooden box appeared on the disc. Inlaid designs of birds and flowers covered every inch of its surface.

“It is gorgeous,” Rowan said as she ran her hands over the wood.

“Open it.” Brannoc said. “The box is not the gift.”

Rowan lifted the lid and pulled out a Fadian nanoleather suit as black as night and as soft as velvet. Matching boots lay in the bottom of the box. She couldn’t help but think of the leathers Unegen had given her. They were probably on the ship that blew up. Niurgun would have kept them for her. She felt the tears coming again but she stopped them.

“It is lovely Brannoc, thank you.”

“The black will really set off your red hair,” he said with a smile.” Now put it on and I will show you the real surprise.”

Rowan felt like a proper Fade as she turned around in front of the mirror in her room. The suit left nothing to the imagination as it caressed every curve of her body. She had never felt anything so soft. It felt as if she was not wearing anything. Her skin looked paler than ever next to the midnight black nanoleather. Brannoc was right about her hair; it looked like flames cascading down her back. Her sending collar looked particularly beautiful against the black and the green stones were the same emerald color as Rowan’s eyes. Rowan felt to make sure the golden egg was beneath her suit.

“Why is my collar so beautiful and all the other ones I have seen so plain?” Rowan turned and asked Brannoc.

“Your collar was a gift from Cali.” He looked as if he did not want to tell her more but he continued. “You are the first sender with Fadian blood and she is quite taken with you. I did not tell you before because I was afraid you would not put in on and then you would have been killed on the spot.”

Rowan ran her hands along the intricate necklace.

“It’s not made of body parts in any way is it?

“No, no it is just a very complex piece of technology made into a very valuable piece of jewelry. No teeth or eyeballs,” Brannoc assured her.

“Good, that’s a relief.” Rowan let out a deep breath. “Now show me this surprise.”

Brannoc took her hand and led her over to the disc.

“The Mountains of the Giant Spiders please Dorbin.”

Rowan’s white room was instantly replaced by a dizzying view of a vast green valley. A rushing river cut through the valley thousands of feet below and all around as far as Rowan could see were jagged peaks of black stone. They stood on a large landing disc high on a rocky outcropping. Behind them the largest waterfall Rowan had ever seen…ever imagined plummeted down towards the valley below. The mists from the waterfall filled the air and rainbows arched into the lush vegetation surrounding the falls. The double suns danced with each other in the brilliant blue sky while several paler moons looked on.

Rowans squeezed Brannoc’s hand as she fought to overcome the dizziness. She had to lean into the wind to keep from being pushed back. They were so far up and there was no way off of the disc except straight down. She took a deep breath of the cleanest air she had ever smelled and calmed down a bit.

“Two questions?” she yelled at Brannoc over the roar of the falls.

“Ask away,” he yelled back.

“I thought I could not leave the academy and why do they call these the Mountains of the Giant Spiders?”

“I will tell you in just a moment. Do you see that structure down there in the valley?” He leaned close and pointed so Rowan could follow his line of sight. She looked down and she could see a white structure shining in the bright sunlight. A large open platform was surrounded by columns and on one end of the platform there was some kind of building.
“Yes I see it,” she yelled.

“Take us there. This is what is called a line of sight jump. You can see your target so you do not need to enter coordinates. Look at where you want to go and take us there.”

Rowan looked at the large white platform, focused her thoughts and they were there. She could see where they had been high up on the mountain and now they were standing on a huge stone platform in the valley.

“Nice job, you are a natural at this,” he complemented her and then begin to answer her questions. “First you asked me how you could leave the academy and the answer to that is you haven’t. The Academy is much, much more than that little white building. The academy is everywhere that your collar is programmed to go.” Brannoc began to walk across the stone floor as he talked. He pointed up to the giant black peaks.

“This place is a training area specifically for learning sightline jumps because you can see for such great distances here. If you were outside of Academy space you would be wearing a comp which enters every jump you make into its memory and then you can return to that point at any time from any other point as long as you have the power available for the jump. The collar also records your jump history. You don’t need a comp in the Academy because Dorbin acts as your comp. Short jumps like these do not require more power than your collar can produce but long jumps; interplanetary and intergalactic jumps require enormous power usage and generally require the magnetic field produced by a large planetary or stellar body.”

“So the Academy extends well beyond its walls but it still has boundaries. I get that,” said Rowan, “but what about the giant spiders?”

They had walked to the edge of the pavilion and were now standing beside one of the huge white columns. Brannoc pointed out into the thick green vegetation.

“Look out into the trees. Can you see the webs?”

Rowan looked out across the flat land surrounding the pavilion to the hill sides and up the mountain slopes as far as she could see. Many of the trees were draped in webbing like someone had thrown nets over them.

“Yes I see the webs.”

“The spiders live in those trees.” Brannoc explained. “They are an extremely interesting species, native to this planet. Male spiders cover a tree with web and hope that a female will come to nest. The females are much bigger than the males. Males are about the size of a gira fruit but the females are as large as your head. Female spiders pick a tree for the quality and amount of webbing the male can produce. If she decides to stay they mate in a complex ritual of stylized movements that can last for up to two days. Then she eats him quite unceremoniously and gathers up the webbing from around the tree folding it over and over with her hind legs until she forms a pouch in which to lay her eggs. She then lays her eggs in the pouch and hangs it in the tree. So the trees with webs still have a male waiting for a mate and most of the trees without webs have a pouch of spider eggs that will soon hatch.”

Brannoc reached out and touched the fabric of Rowans suit.

“The suits we are both wearing are largely composed of the web material. Your DNA has been modified to combine with the web compound to create the suit. The strength and flexibility of the webbing is unparalleled and each suit will function only for the person it was designed for.”

“Well that’s very interesting Brannoc, I never took you for the naturalist type,” Rowan quipped.

“All Fadians are naturalists…we understand and communicate with all forms of nature but that is not why I brought you here.” He answered her so seriously. “This is where we began. I want to show you what it means to be a Fadian apart from the evil that my mother has become. We are not all like her. If I remember my Earth legends you have a story about the Garden of Eden where man became more than an animal and he could no longer live in the garden.”

“Yes it goes something like that,” Rowan said as she nodded.
“Well this is our garden, this is where the Annunaki created the first Fadians, Titania and Oberon but in our story the Annunaki used the webs of the spiders to create our flesh not the dust of the earth. We were never cast from the garden and neither were you. Your kind misunderstood the message. When you were genetically enhanced by the Annunaki you were no longer like the animals. You saw the consequences of your actions…good and evil. Once a creature sees good and evil there is no going back to the garden. The lioness does not do wrong when she kills. She cannot see right or wrong so she can live in the garden. Humans were not cast out they simply no longer belonged.

Rowan looked out at the towering peaks and thought about what Brannoc had just said. She turned to him to speak and she realized that they were not alone. Behind them she saw perhaps a dozen men and women coming down the stairs of the building at the end of the pavilion. They looked like Fades but instead of dark they were all white. They wore robes made of the webs and their hair was icy white and very long. Their lavender eyes glowed like jewels inset in the ivory frame of their ghostly faces.

Brannoc walked forward and bowed slightly to the tallest of the group.

“I am pleased to see you again Pan.”

“And I am pleased to see you, he who bears the blood of Titania, Brannoc Tong Durai. As the prophecies foretold you have brought the flame and we are ready to receive her,” Pan replied.

Brannoc looked confused.

“Oh you mean Rowan; yes I wanted to show her this place to help her understand more about what it is to be Fadian.”

The white Fades ignored Brannoc and flowed around him like icy water around a black stone. They surrounded Rowan. The one called Pan reached out his hand to her.

“I will take you to the Galax. It calls your name, it has for days now. We have tended it for millennia waiting for your arrival. To have lived to see this day is an honor beyond imagining. Please come with me Eki.”

Rowan heard the word Eki and recoiled. The Birilgi had called her that…and it wasn’t a title she was certain she wanted to accept. Brannoc had made his way through the crowd to Rowan. He put his hand on her shoulder and whispered in her ear.

“These are the First Ones. They have tended this temple since the day the Annunaki left our world millennia ago. They guard the pool of the Galax the last remnant of the Creators. It is said to be the pool from which the Annunaki pulled life and the pool that they returned to when they were finished here. They are very powerful beings, be careful. “

“He called me Eki. I don’t want to be the Eki.” Rowan was trying to back away.

Pan spoke again.

“You have nothing to fear here Eki. Every one of us would sacrifice our lives a thousand times over just to feel the touch of your hand. No one can harm you here not even Cali. You cannot choose to be the Eki anymore than you can choose not to be the Eki. You are what you are.” He paused and then held out his hand again. “Now come with me and meet your destiny.”

Rowan felt like a scolded child. She heard the truth in his words. Rowan opened her mind to the ones around her and even though she could not hear their thoughts like she could hear the Thracians she felt their emotions and they did truly love her and would never harm her. She took Pan’s hand and together they walked across the gleaming white pavilion towards the temple. When they reached the stairs Pan turned to her, “Do you hear them?”

Rowan closed her eyes and listened. At first she thought it was the wind but then the voices came through. Rowan, Rowan, a multitude of whispers called her. The sound came from nowhere and everywhere at once filling her head; it was intoxicating. She let go of Pan’s hand and walked up the stairs, following the voices. All of the First Ones followed her. Brannoc came too; he wasn’t about to miss this.

The door to the temple was open and Rowan went in. The huge room was cut into the side of the mountain. The light from the open door cut through the darkness but only so far and beyond that the inky blackness seemed to devour all light. High up in the vast room a ring of glowing orbs hung in the air but they cast no more light into the darkness than stars do into the night sky. As Rowan walked into the room the temperature began to drop and after a few steps she could see her breath.

The floor was black marble and reflective as a mirror. Ice crystals had formed on the floor creating lacy fractal patterns that crunched as Rowan walked across them. The First Ones moved behind Rowan and spread out. They seemed to float like ghosts across the glossy surface as their icy breath made clouds of water vapor that swirled around the glowing orbs hanging in the air above. They moved around the edge of the room circling the pool that was shimmering in the middle of the blackness.

The First Ones stood like the columns that ringed the room, silent and ghostly white. Rowan could see their glowing eyes. In the very center of the room an iridescent pool looked like it was filled with mercury. Rowan thought it was liquid at first but as she got closer she realized it was not. The “pool” looked like space, as if all of the billions of stars and galaxies and planets were right there contained in this hole, or window or tear in space-time or whatever it was, but it was no pool.

She stopped a few feet from the edge. Rowan could feel the power of the Galax as the air above it twisted and wavered distorting the light coming through it. The hairs on her body stood on end and the voices were now a cacophony drowning out every other sound. Her frozen breath was caught in the shimmering air and ice crystals formed before her eyes turning into snowflakes that hovered spinning slowly in the turbulent air above the pool. She reached out to touch the warped air just as a golden mist began to form rising from the pool. It swirled and rippled and finally a figure began to coalesce.

The First Ones all dropped to their knees. Brannoc stood a few feet behind Rowan. The figure became clearer; she had long red hair that twisted and curled around her head writhing in the turbid air as if she was under water. Her head was longer than a human skull and her eyes were a bit too large but they were the most incredible eyes, as beautiful as the Galax, silver and filled with stars. Her body was made of golden light.

“Beloved daughter we have waited for you a long time.” She smiled and Rowan felt bathed in loved. Tears ran down Rowans cheeks.

“Mother,” Rowan whispered.

“Show me the necklace Rowan,” the beautiful vision said.

Rowan reached inside her suit and pulled out the golden egg. She lifted the chain over her head and held it out towards the apparition. The shiny surface of the golden egg mirrored the surface of the Galax.

“Put it in the palm of your hand daughter.”

Rowan placed the egg in her palm and held it out flat. The lady of light held her shimmering hand over Rowan’s palm. Rowan felt a burst of heat and the chain disappeared in a puff of golden dust. The egg began to melt.

Rowan watched mesmerized as the egg that had been worn by so many generations before her melted in her hand. First it was a pool of gold and Rowan thought she could see tiny things swimming about in the liquid. The liquid began to disappear into her skin.

The lady from the pool smiled again and said, “See, she is the one,” and the cacophony of voices said, “yes, yes, yes,” over and over again.

Rowan felt warmth spreading up her arm. She recognized the feeling. It felt like being biogeled and having countless nanocytes rubbing against you but these were inside of her. Suddenly she began to see things or remember things she wasn’t sure which. Images were coming to her so quickly she could not sort them out. Feelings overwhelmed her, joy, fear, anger, sorrow all were cascading through her. She felt her knees give way. Brannoc caught her.

“What have you done to her?” Brannoc yelled at the specter. The First Ones lowered their heads to the floor.

“What have I done for her is the question, beloved son. She is becoming what she was born to be. She is the eye of the needle and all things will come through her. She is the many and the one. She is the one for whom we wait and now we wait no longer.”

“Stop talking in riddles,” Brannoc demanded.

The phantom smiled again and spoke.

“The arrogance of the first blood has not waned I see. The egg contained nanocytes that are now altering her DNA to allow her to access all of her genetic memories. She will be the first to have this ability for she is the first to be able to survive the process intact. We needed three things to create her, the blood of the great races and the last blood, the blood of humanity. But most of all we needed time and now the wait is over. She will awaken in a few hours finally whole. Our greatest creation will be reborn and when she is stronger she will walk in both worlds. Protect her with your life Brannoc Tong Durai until she finds us again. Her journey has just begun and the outcome is still uncertain.”

The figure began to fade.

“Wait, is that all you are going to tell me?” Brannoc asked in disbelief.

“Beware your mother; an ancient spirit has her and it seeks to devour the Eki,” the specter warned.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Brannoc replied.

The figure laughed as she disappeared. The First Ones got to their feet as Pan came across the marble floor, he knelt beside Brannoc.

“Please bring her to my quarters,” Pan said. “We can make her more comfortable there.”

Brannoc picked up Rowan and followed Pan across the dark expanse of the great hall and through a door that lead to his room. It was a simple room but not uncomfortable. The furnishings were sparse but of fine quality. Brannoc laid Rowan down on Pan’s bed and covered her with a soft wooly blanket. It was warmer here than in the great hall but still chilly. Pan lit a fire in a large brass brassier and both he and Brannoc sat down to wait.

Rowan was on ship, an incredible ship that stood still while the universe moved around it. She knew she was standing outside of time. She understood everything. Symbols moved through the air, hands touched them moving so quickly they were only blurs and then earth so blue and beautiful was below them.

She sat on a throne in a city of red stone, giant stone lions guarded her, one on each side. Strange hairy men crawled across the mosaic floor to touch her feet. She saw others like her teaching the people, changing the people. They were altering them, taking the babies away from screaming mothers, testing them, breeding them and breeding with them. Rowan stood in a great laboratory and pregnant women were laid out on hundreds of beds. An Annunaki man stood beside her; he was talking.

“Their females will suffer greatly in childbirth I am afraid. The brain size is at its limit for the physiology, anymore and too many will perish for the hybrids to survive. Their subconscious is as powerful as we dare make it, anymore and they will be clinically delusional. I think it will work this time. We know now to wait, let time take its course.”

“Then we have done all we can,” Rowan heard herself speak.

They had enlarged their brains as much as possible, anymore and they could not give birth it was that simple. The humans they designed lived in a beautiful garden and they wanted for nothing until the day came for them to begin their great journey.

Rowan saw great cataclysms rack the earth, floods, storms, earth quakes destroyed many of the older peoples making way for their new creation to flourish. They were released from the protection of their creators, sent out into the world to make their own destiny but even then many of the creators stayed to watch over man.

Time passed as she waited. At first she lived with humanity and she bore many children to the men of earth adding her strength to the genetic strain. Some of the creators were as gods’ themselves bringing art, music and science into the hearts of humanity. She was Isis the great mother and for millennia she was loved but humanity was created to see the unseen and they made their own gods in their image, violent brutal gods that forgot the love of the mother, but they were as she had made them; one cannot fault them for their own nature.

Isis went to the north, to the lands of snow and bore one more child, a beautiful daughter who she raised to love all things and value life above all else. Her name was Eki. Rowan stood on a windy beach and as if she were looking into a mirror she watched herself fade into a golden mist. She fell on her knees crying, “Mother please don’t leave us.” Rowan looked down and she was no longer only Isis the mother she was also the human maiden Eki.

From that day forward Isis looked at the world as an observer watching the children of earth as they grew. She was a spirit, a shadow of herself. Sometimes her children made her weep, for their capacity for violence was frightening but they were also capable of such great love. She watched them grow. Almost all of her kind had moved on, they tired of man, but she stayed waiting for the ones who would combine the blood. She lived in the flesh through Eki and her descendants.

Many lives passed. Rowan saw so many things, loved so many, mourned for so many. She was born and died a thousand times and all the while she watched from outside herself as a gentle spirit longing to go home. Finally she pulled her essence together one more time. She withdrew from the wind, she left the waters, and she abandoned the heart of man.

The scorched earth lay before her and she could see him high on a ridge. His personal shield rippled the air around him. He saw her as she walked toward him. Niurgun stood before her and her heart ached. They spoke of the future and he held out his hand and accepted the golden egg, the seed of the future. Even then she loved him, her beautiful Niurgun, son of another world.

Rowan rode across grassy plains, laughing as the wind lifted her long red hair. She saw large round tents in the valley, multicolor wheels in the golden grass. She stood in a smoky tent before a huge man with tears in his eyes. They ran down his weathered face and clung to his graying bread like dew drops. His love for her was so great and she was breaking his heart. She turned and saw Brannoc, tall and dark and she loved him too with all of her heart. She was Margreth, daughter of Isla descendant of Eki, daughter of Isis.

They tumbled off the horse and made love in the soft golden grass. He called the birds from the sky to sing for her. The stag and the doe bowed before him. The great white leopard was his to command and yet he laid his head upon her lap and slept like a small child.

Winter waves crashed on the rocky coast far below her window. She reached down and laid her hand upon her belly. Heavy with child she feared that Brannoc would not return, could not return, from the war that raged in the stars. Winter came and the baby in her arms was as beautiful as its father but Rowan felt the life in this body ebbing as Brannoc’s face swam before her in a cloud of tears.

A huge summer moon glistened down on a silver lake and Rowan swam with the otters laughing and diving as free as any soul can be. She was Erdene, daughter of Margreth, daughter of Isla, descendant of Eki, daughter of Isis. Niurgun sat with her beneath the moon and read to her as she gazed at the heavens. Niurgun laid her down in the soft moss beside the waters and worshiped her body as if she was the earth itself. She wept as the heavens were torn asunder and he was gone.

How many lives had she lived. She sat upon a great throne and looked upon red headed warriors. She sailed the icy northern sea. She watched as death came to the land and bodies lined the streets oozing blackened blood as the ravens ate their eyes and dogs consumed their flesh.

Women burned and Rowan could hear their screams and smell their bodies burning, the taste of it was still in her mouth. The darkness of the church descended upon the land stifling freedom of thought and pushing women to the brink of humanity….questioning the very existence of their souls. The days of light, love and laughter gave way to centuries of darkness, cruelty and death.

Rowan wanted to look away but you can’t look away from a memory. War, horrible and merciless gripped the world. One army after another sought to bring its righteous ideals to the people. The wars remained the same but the weapons continued to grow in power.

A tall handsome man was standing on the platform at a train station. He was on crutches, one leg was gone. She ran to him and hugged the leg he had left. Oh how she had missed him. He had taken his own life in the loft of their barn years before Rowan was born. He was her father, home from Vietnam and she was her mother, Katherine, descendant of Erdene, daughter of Margreth, daughter of Isla, descendant of Eki, daughter of Isis.

The chain was unbroken each one had existed in the other from Isis to Rowan. She was the many and the one. Her eyes opened and the first thing she saw was Brannoc.

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