The Spirit Warrior
By Myra Stephens
Once upon a time in a land not so far away an entire kingdom wept. They had good reason to weep, for the most beloved warrior of their tribe, Vena Cava surrounded by family, friends and other warriors, lie propped on feather pillows, wrapped in satin blankets on the finest bed in the tallest tower of the castle.
The kingdom of Memphiflora was known far and wide as was her valiant knight and warrior, Vena Cava. Of all kingdoms, Memphiflora stood apart, mostly because of their valiant knights and for the grace, beauty and multitude of the wildlife in their enchanting forests. One could barely set foot in the kingdom without encountering glossy, golden-haired Airedales, black and brown mottled Muttbreeds, curly-topped, pug-nosed Sharpoodles or Many-breed Whatevers, not to mention the thousands of cats-large and small, birds, assorted reptiles, and zoo-rescues, which just happened to be a specialty of the Knights of Memphiflora.
The kingdom’s knights were not warriors in the sense of jousting, swordplay and war-craft, though they were all adept at each of these occupations. The knights of Memphiflora were warriors and champions for all of those, but particularly animals, who had been thrown away, left behind, locked away, maltreated, abused, plundered and destroyed. The bravest and most noble of all of these was the warrior and knight, Vena Cava.
Her name said it all. From the time she was barely six apples tall the girl was finding and bringing home grasshoppers with broken legs, birds too young to fly who’d fallen from their nests, puppies too small to suckle who were barely alive and once even a baby piglet who had his tiny foot stepped on by a pony. She brought all of them and more home to nurse. Most made it and some didn’t, but she nursed and cared for every one of them as if she had birthed each of them herself and cried herself to sleep when one didn’t make it.
The whole kingdom knew she would be a knight and warrior even before she did. Thus when the sword came down upon her right shoulder and then her left bestowing upon her the honor of ‘Warrior Knight’ it was not a surprise that the Queen gave her the name Vena Cava, in the language of Memphiflorians – ‘the largest heart’ of all. There was no envy on that day for all of her sister knights loved her, for the light inside of her shone so brightly that it could bring joy to even the darkest places.
Now after so many rescues, so many daring escapes, so many lives saved, the life of the great Warrior Vena Cava drifted to the edge of the other side held only tenuously to the kingdom by the need of all of those who so loved her. She felt the pull of both sides, wanting to stay but that great curiosity yearning to know what was on the other side of the veil. The moon was full and cast a great shimmering light across Vena’s already pale face. Her eyes opened, she looked about the room and then she nodded and closed her eyes. For those in the great tower room the weeping had just begun, for the great Warrior Vena was gone.
For Vena the great Warrior the adventure was just beginning. She opened her eyes and found that she was standing in a field of flowers. Not only was she standing but pain seemed to be something that belonged to someone else, somewhere else in some other lifetime, but certainly not here, not now.
And flowers? How could this be real? Peonies, poppies, creeping jenny, pink ladyslippers, there were Amadeus roses and dahlias, fuschia in every color, purple creeping thyme, allium, clematis, snowdrops, bluebells, if she tried to name them all she would be naming flowers until the end of time, but they were so beautiful it didn’t matter.
She heard a sound behind her and turned and now all around her were animals, young, old, in-between and she knew all of them-each and every one, from when she was a child. She was a child? When was that? It didn’t matter. They were there and she knew them. The puppies were kissing her and rolling and jumping and she was on the ground rolling with them and it was love, everywhere it was love. And then there was light.
There was light all around her and a feeling of crackling energy. She stood up and felt a warm, loving glow-inside and out. It was excruciatingly amazing-like an orgasm, but less intense and slower so it could be analyzed and thoroughly enjoyed. She felt or heard a voice in her head. It said, “The universe is yours. Be anything. Do anything. It’s yours. Anything.” She had never felt such peace, such love.
She looked down at herself for the first time and gasped. She was wearing a long, shimmering, silver gown cinched at the waist with a wide band that peaked at the bustline. From the band hung delicate silver chains and from the chains hung tiny silver stars and a crescent moon. The jewel neckline was cut deep and was encrusted with silver stones and the sleeves hung to the ground. She turned her head and could see that there was a small train at the back. Her hair wasn’t gray anymore and it hung loosely to her waist.
She looked at the sleeves again and thought ‘Anything’. Instantly the sleeves began to shimmer and move, she felt her neck elongate and she lowered her back, and tightly blinked her eyes-she was airborne. Her arms in the long flowing sleeves had become beautiful feathered wings, the train of the dress her tail feathers. She looked down and saw all the animals playing far below her and she soared higher and higher, and then as she dipped closer to the ground her mind caught the idea of one of the big cats and by the time she hit the ground, she was running with the pack, ears back, tail flying, running at top speed with the rest of the cheetahs.
“Be anything. Do anything. The universe is yours.” She loves. She runs. She flies.