Casket of Shadows

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The Fucan-long Dragon

I stepped outside and the heat hit me. The place we had come to was another cave, yet this must have been deep within the core of the volcano for here there where plumes of fire and a few narrow rivers of molten, white-hot rock that flowed around an island with a dais of obsidian surrounded by a megalithic circle of massive obsidian shards that stretched almost to the cathedral-like ceiling of the cave. The flames reflected and danced over their multifaceted surfaces like looking at a thousand scrying mirrors at the same time.

I was also aware of someone trying to scan my deep heart-mind. Trying to connect. I knew Athena was watching me, and my reaction.

The probing continued, not forceful, yet not gentle either. I had no doubt that this was emitted by something or someone into who’s space we had entered and that I was being scanned to see who or what I was. Athena no doubt was expected, but, not I.

I gently positioned the casket on a bed of air so if I should lose concentration no harm would befall it. Then I closed my eyes, breathed deeply and went within to meet this challenge.

“Who are you that you deny access to me? None have come before to my realm and denied me access to their being. Who thus does this now?”

I recognised now the essence of dragon. It seemed to lick at my heart-mind like the probing of a snake’s tongue as it tried to sense something new in its world. I waited a few seconds more, letting it slowly, gently probe the exterior of the mind, yet holding back from full dragon connection. I wanted to be sure.

“Who are you?”

The probing stopped as suddenly as it had started. Now, as it released, I felt a draft across my face and knew instinctively I would now see who had asked the question.

“I have been named Nee-Shar-Tar, yet, as dragon you would know me better as Aisha who is partner to one from Arionel.”

“Neither means anything to me. I have long since stayed silent only connecting once in a while with the ancient cosmic dragons. It would be easier for you to simply let me ‘taste your essence’, then I would know you.”

The idea of tasting my essence seemed to come into my mind with a slithering that was as the flicking of a tongue. I however felt no shadow within the request.

“Very well, Tor-sor-long, I shall allow access. I respect you as a Fucang-long and know others of your kind through studying with Master Weng Choo.”

So I mentally opened the lotus blossom petals a little more, allowing deeper access into my heart-mind center. The sudden onslaught I had not expected, and it nearly threw me off balance. I knew I had to allow it, no matter how painful the mining of my thoughts and memories may be. Then, as fast as it had started it ceased. I opened my eyes and in front of me I saw a three-headed Fucan-long, protector of volcanoes, crystalline structures and the crust of the planet. I bowed my head in respect and greeting.

“Welcome Nee-Shar-tar, the one the Master calls ‘Earthling-melded’. You are indeed welcome in my home.”

She, for it, was, a feminine energy I now perceived, then turned to Athena.

“I believe Goddess that with your arrival you have both a need for my service and also bring me news of that which you have guarded for me, is this not so?”

Athena waved her hand in a slight movement from the wrist and now the obelisks of obsidian turned into scryed pictographs showing young dragons learning their crafts back in a volcanic region of Arionel. I heard the Fucang-long sigh with pride. Then the mood changed.

“Where are the others?”

All three heads turned in a split second towards Athena. The air turned red and I could feel the warmth of the air rise rapidly in temperature. Like someone opening the door on a furnace.

Athena opened her hand and knelt down allowing three black pearls to roll from her outstretched fingers and bounce gently onto the floor before rolling forwards.

“ Quiet my love, you did not think I would come empty-handed, did you? Those, now ready, and destined to return do so, but I could not allow any to know they had done so.”

She blew a gentle breath that caused a small dust devil to form around the pearls and then they started to change. Before our eyes, they uncurled and grew into young dragons, like their mother, but only one had three heads the others had two. A female and two males. As they reached their full size, I noticed that the space in which we stood had also expanded so they could do so without any disruption. Each shook itself and then looked around before their united gaze rested on their mother. The purr of young dragon joy was audible as well as the warmth I detected in my own dragon heart connection. They were home. Their birthing and general training complete and those not destined to work in other realms had come home to continue their work and enhanced training with their mother.

One of the males now turned one head towards me.

“Aisha? What are you doing here with my mother? The last we knew of you was when you graduated and left with Little One on your mission. Before the closedown of the gateways into and out of the hidden realm. Where is Little One?”

He looked around, a feeling of slight confusion emanating from his heart center.

“He is safe and awaiting my return from this side mission. What news of Arionel?”

Before I received an answer, I was hit by a very powerful rebuke from Athena which hit my mind like a thunderbolt. I had no right to converse on other things, the mission was the priority. The young one felt it as well and hung his head, nuzzled my hand, and now moved off to join the others again.

I looked to the casket which still hovered where I had placed it for safely at the beginning of this meeting.

“Forgive me, Tar-Soor, but may I place the casket in your safekeeping until such time as I am called to retrieve it?”

There was a sudden stillness. Everything seemed to stop. Even the pulsing of the light-emitting from the flames and their reflections danced on the faces of the obsidian megalith.

Deep inside my heart-mind center came the answer.

“If you have the will, and the heart that is accessible, in safety, to carry the casket into the circle and place it upon the dais without harm befalling you, then, yes. You see, not even the Goddess may enter there, for even though I am the protector, the power of the circle also has the final say and if you are not accepted you will surely burn in the rivers of fire. None, in my life cycle, nor that of my predecessor has ever entered and left safely. I wish you luck, but now I shall leave and take my children away so they may not have to witness this, just in case. Yet, I shall know, and return should you succeed.”

With that she left down a side tunnel I had not seen as it was covered by her immense coils. Her children followed, only once looking back. Then we were alone. Athena, me, the casket of Shadows, and the challenge.

Stunned. I looked at her and she could not hold my gaze.

“You knew?”

“Yes, I knew. I also know that it is the safest place for the casket. I also know that you are the only one who can enter. I know you can do it.”

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