Chapter 14: BIRTH
“Life on our world began somehow and the first recollection of our witness is that of taking energy from another living entity. This act was the first evidence of Magic. From this act, came his survival over two ice ages and a long slow learning curve.”
“You can’t mean to tell me that a complex creature has been living for that long a time?”
“No. This creature was very simple. The only thing that made it special was the ability to take energy at a distance, a very small distance. With the advent of the first ice age, the ability of absorbing energy from the environment is what allowed survival. Upon the end of being frozen, the taking of a large amount of energy from a now larger and more advanced life form caused the propagation of a single creature to a division into two identical creatures. The flow of the seas took them in two different directions and destinies. There is still a connection between them but they are two distinct personalities. They are The ‘Dragon’ and ‘M’Lady’.
“How do they differ? You have told me something of M’Lady but I still know nothing of her.”
“At the time of the division, The Dragon, then still a small creature, lived in the seas, learned to copy first, creatures no larger than he and then he began to copy the predators and became one of them. With time, he became as large as the largest and eventually, with the advent of the second ice age, he climbed up on land and learned the ways of carnivores of the land. It took some time and he directly influenced the advance of most of the carnivores, especially the creature that became man. He still lives in one form or another, usually on another continent.”
“Patience, M’Lady took a fortunate turn when she went in another direction. The winds took her into the air and planted her in fertile soil. Being immobile on land and at a disadvantage over lacking any real evolutionary advances, she set down roots and developed a connection with all of the plants of the world. She has access to more power and energy than you could possibly imagine. She can affect the weather with a thought, kill with a suggestion or all but reanimate a corpse. Actually, she can do that, but the corpse would still be dead. Her power cannot make life. There is no connection to her for most people except through the mind, however, many of her disciples visit her physical being in the forest and if needed, she will lead you there.”
Armad was fascinated but his early introduction to the Catholic Church led him to question everything that made promises that logic couldn’t support. “I am ready when you are.” He had his doubts but held them in reserve.
Again Melnor’s smile was evident both in his face and in his mind. Armad felt another presence that he could not explain. ‘She’ felt female and yet powerful. The power was contained and comforting without any hint of threat, not motherly, sisterly or even the feeling of an aunt but not of a stranger either. “What do I say?” He asked.
He ‘heard’ her voice as if she had openly spoken in the room to only him. “You need not say anything. I feel your essence and know that you are a good man, full of constructive pride and you have a goal for helping all of those around you while you pursue your dreams of sailing the waves. There are limits to your dreams that speak well of you in that it shows that you know the limitations of your dreams. I approve.”
“How can you know so much of me?” Armad was duly impressed but still he questioned.”
“I am neither all knowing’ nor all powerful but just as the computers of your world have many sources and a near infinite ability to store knowledge, so do I. From this information, I can fairly accurately predict, control or influence almost anything I wish to direct my attention to. For the most part, I direct things around me so that I and those who follow me may have a fairly peaceful life. I have been planning for your arrival for long on long.”
Armad’s heart got stuck in his throat. This could not be! How could she plan for an arrival that was pure chance?
“I do not mean to put fear into your soul. It was not you personally that I planned for, but someone with your capabilities that would be needed. The time, place and person were a bit variable but I chose you on the basis of your need, Melnor’s need and mine. Your selection was a rescue for all three of us.”
“Then I would have truly died had Melnor not ‘requested’ me?”
“Indeed, within seconds, I helped by picking you over a few other possibilities. I am sure that you will not let me down. I have only one condition on your goal to once again sail into the seas. You must either learn enough magic to talk with me on your own or never sail alone on the seas. You may sail the bay, but not the seas.”
“Will I be capable of learning to contact you?” Asked the big man.
“Only if you truly wish it. Should you do so, we will work on extending your life and health, but I caution you, we must start soon or you will die of a growth in your brain within the year.”
Once again, Armad was stopped dead in his tracks. He knew of the possibility because of his family history but he had told nobody, not even his wife or his family since he left home as a teenager. The crust of disbelief that had barred him from accepting the Christian God broke and dissolved.
“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” M’Lady joined him in his realization that belief did not give oneself into the control of another. Just because he could accept her as another person did not give her control over his every action. He began to see her as a benevolent, powerful friend and saw that she accepted that and returned the friendship with much the same. Just because she derived her existence from a form not human did not make her totally foreign.
“I still can’t believe that I am communing with a God!” Armad thought to himself and then realized that he was probably being listened to. Boy! It was going to be impossible to think about nothing when he got angry. M’Lady’ was going to get an earful when that happened.
“Please understand two things: I don’t have the same failings of mortal beings. I feel no emotions of my own but I understand them and treat their sources as a mother treats an infant. I try in turn to treat individuals as individuals as they treat me. Second, and more important, I am NOT a God!”
Stunned at the prospect of an entity powerful enough to be a God actually saying that she was NOT a God, Armad began to feel empathy with her. Still, he had to ask, “If you are not a God, then is there a God?”
She ‘smiled’ at him. He felt it, sensed it and he understood it without seeing it. Armad knew that she was treating him as an intellectual equal and as she answered, many doubts that he had in his life fell into place giving him an unexpected peace. “Joseph Armad Ferguson, I don’t know that there is a God any more than you do. I, myself, am powerful but not ALL powerful. There was life before me and I expect that there will be life after me and I do not take control of but a small amount of things on this planet that surround me. I can predict the future or at least some future events but my predictions do not make it reality. If I ‘bless’ you, it is only for help freely given. Only very few Priests that follow me truly understand what we have just discussed.”
“We will talk on this some other time. Right now, you need to talk with Melnor. He and most of your friends can bring you to me in time of need, but remember my warning of traveling alone at sea. More than just your life rests on your caution. Remember, bays are safe for your solo trips. It is only the open seas that pose a danger for you and the growth will now recede as I have adjusted your body.”
Opening his eyes, Armad looked at Melnor and saw the smug smile of the matchmaker. “Do you understand?”
Armad could do no more than nod. M’Lady was far more than he suspected and less a puzzle than he had feared. She was a person of power with fewer needs or demands than most friends would require. For the most part self-sufficient she needed recognition, discussion and occasionally a bit of help in the few things that she couldn’t do for herself. For Armad’s part, he would bring construction techniques and as he now understood, trade to the area. For some reason, this was important to her plans. Melnor had also been brought here as part of the pattern but he didn’t seem to regret it or be insulted by the fact that his destination had been somewhat controlled.
Melnor stood at his side.
“Whenever you need, I will help you with contacting her. Do you have any more questions?”
Shaking his head, Armad gave an enigmatic smile that Melnor understood far better than others would have suspected.
The following morning saw fair weather and everybody ready to work. Armad had a different point of view but that didn’t force him to change any of his plans. His plans were based on the physical world that one could touch and handle and a new viewpoint would not change anything there, yet.