Chapter 29 - Past, Present, and Future
I sat under my Scarlet Ribbon Tree, its aromatic blossoms hanging low, shading my usual spot. It had been almost nine years since I began combat training with Sir Edward, and after every session my destructive side could rest. With the tree to calm me, my visions spanned the universe, allowing me to glimpse the past, present, or future.
I breathed deep while listening to George’s magical flute being played somewhere in the distance and my thoughts began to wander. A planet came into view – its clouds swirled around a sphere of green and blue. This was not my own world, but one similar. I had visited this place before in my dreams.
“How are you feeling?” Riley broke my vision. He picked up a seed and sat next to me on the grass.
“I feel fine. Why do you ask?”
“Just curious. You’ve been busy with that.” And he pointed to a book lying next to me.
“That’s right. I forgot I brought it with me. Here, take a look. I just finished it.” I handed Riley the large, leather bound book.
“Your gift to the people was a really great idea.” he said. “You always figure out what to do. I noticed people planting their seed the next morning after your celebration. They’re really excited to have a tree of their own, just like this.” Riley gazed up at the blossoms swaying in the light breeze.
A week ago The Land held a grand celebration for my thirtieth birthday. The gifts I received were extravagant. But the one wish I craved most was for peace within myself.
“Soon every city on the planet will have this book, along with a seed from my tree. I’ll be placing them in the back.” I showed Riley the pouch where a seed would be placed in each book.
“So, this is our story?” he asked.
“It is. From beginning to end.” I smiled at him. “Did you notice the pictures?”
“My drawings look great!” Riley smiled, pleased that his talent contributed to the book. “It’s my drawing of Shrealock,” he flipped a few pages. “And here’s one of I had forgotten about the castle in the marsh. I wonder if Philip still lives there. How did you duplicate my images and make so many books?”
“Farmoore.” I told him. “They’re skilled craftsmen and shared their knowledge and supplies.”
“What will become of our story after we’re gone?” Riley asked.
“Well, protectors will be an integral part of future generations and our story will last as long as they do. However, I have foreseen most protectors seeking a mortal life, and they will eventually die. Nothing should last forever. It’s too difficult for any being to see such changes, even a protector.”
“Riley,” I said. “I’ve had visions of long ago and have been wondering if you have any memory of your beginnings. Do you know where you came from?” I had always been curious how protectors started their immortal lives on our world.
“No, not really.” he said. “All I remember is intense pain and then we were part of the water, sky and ground. Protectors grew with the planet and became part of everything. When creatures formed on the planet, we were able to take their shape. The more the animals developed, the more shapes we could form.”
“Do you remember anything before the pain?” I asked. He shook his head. “I believe I have seen the start of immortals. In fact, I’ve had numerous visions, but cannot piece together the parts.”
“Tell me!” he said hastily. “What happened?”
“Well, bear in mind I don’t have a clear picture.”
“Tell me, please. What have you seen?”
“All right,” I said and dug deep to recall the images. “How about I show you my visions? They are scattered, but maybe you’ll understand them better than I do.” Riley agreed, full of anticipation.
I clasped his wrist while we sat together on the soft grass and soon we were watching a variety of beings in a frantic state. They did not speak our language, although we understood them.
“We can’t stop the pull!” said a white-haired, dark-skinned animal. These were definitely mortal beings and they all looked the same. They were slim, unclothed and their skin made a scaly pattern over their bodies. They were on a ship in the sky, hovering above a planet.
“It’s Eersta. It’s expanded. I knew it would happen. I thought we’d have more time!” cried a sad being with brown, glossy eyes. “Send word to the others: there’s nothing we can do.”
Eerie screams echoed as the vessel became engulfed by a glowing mass. Everything began to melt. Streaks of light shot past the beings and white light engulfed them.
“Eersta.” Riley said as I released his arm.
“Eersta, is that our planet?” I asked him.
Riley thought hard, also trying to piece together the visions I offered him. “I believe it is and it was a star, a small one. It was changing, growing in intensity. We traveled on a type of rock form to gather information and possibly change what was happening. I remember our skin being dark and hard. It shielded us from Eersta’s radiation, along with the heat from our main star. We knew what would happen but anticipated more time. Eersta exploded and its radiation consumed us. Our home and its inhabitants were destroyed.”
“Your home? But you were traveling on a vessel.” I said. “How do you know your home was destroyed also?”
“Because I see it every day. I never realized why I longed to gaze at it.”
“What do you mean?”
“The moon.” he said. “It was once a planet warmed by two stars. But Eersta took our place and our world became its moon. Although that still doesn’t explain how protectors are here.”
“I think I know,” I told him. “I’ve had other visions. At the time I didn’t understand the images, but now I do.”
“How is it that I’m here then?” he asked.
“Your particles did not disintegrate. They fused with the particles that radiated out from Eersta. That’s how you became part of our world.” Riley did not understand.
“Riley,” I said. “You died, and the part of you that is supposed to travel space was trapped by this world. I believe you and the others on the vessel were so close that Eersta’s radiation captured you, making you part of its formation.
“But why didn’t all of my kind get trapped, why just those from the ship?”
“I’m not sure.” I said, shaking my head. “Maybe the others were farther away and died a proper death. It’s possible my visions will show me more later.”
“Then Sir Edward was right about protectors. They really are ghosts.” he said.
“Yes, with your destruction came our birth. It’s just like my magic. I had always thought magic came from one’s family, but it’s greater than that. It goes beyond our world and into space.”
“Do you think like this all the time?” Riley asked and I told him I did. “No wonder you need this tree.” He scooted close, lying next to me, and we heard George begin another bright tune.
“So, what about us, will we live on?” he was referring to us having offspring and wondered if I had any visions.
“I don’t know, Riley. I have not seen any children in our future, but the book containing our story will be carried for generations. Eventually that too will be lost to time. Our lives will be regarded as myth and then legend. Finally, we’ll be forgotten.”
“That’s sad.” said Riley.
“Sad for our world, but not for others.”
“What do you mean?” he looked over at me as sunlight flickered through the leaves and onto his face.
“Our world, Eersta, might forget us, but we will live on in other worlds”
“How can that be?” he asked.
“I have seen it in my dreams. A world close to ours, more advanced in many ways, but not very resourceful. A woman will see my awakening in her dreams and begin our story. It will be a struggle, but she will try to plant a seed in their youth to follow by our design. To care for their world rather than consume it.”
“Will they destroy their world?” Riley asked.
“It’s difficult to see. They have already caused much unbalance and the planet is struggling to heal itself. Like most beings they’re too busy fighting with each other to reverse the damage. I wish I could help them.”
“How could you help them?” he asked.
“I’m not sure, but there is a connection between us. Our worlds share the same page within a book – ours in front and theirs in back, but never on the same page. I can’t describe it any better. Maybe the rebirth of our tale will be enough to help their world mend. But I guess we have our own lives to worry about.”
We sighed while watching blossoms flutter in the breeze.
“So, what now?” Riley was still thinking about having children.
“We might not have children, but that doesn’t mean we can’t share our time with other children. I’m sure a number of girls and boys will be eager to visit the City of the West.” I jumped up and startled Riley. “How about we go on a trip?”
“What, right now?” he asked and I helped him off the ground.
“Sure, I’ve been eager to visit Devin, Rhaida, and Christian. I haven’t seen that chubby boy since he was four years old. Do you think we can round up a dozen protectors to take us there?”
“Without a doubt,” said Riley.
“Good. No better time than the present. Let’s find some children eager for an adventure.”
Riley held out his hand. “Together then?”
I took his hand and straightened my gown. “Together, as always.”