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Retieving Amira: North Country

“What do you mean she’s not here, Erdo?” said Maria. “You told me that no one would take her.”

“Of course, no one took her,” said Erdo. “She left of her own accord. She said that she wanted to go to the North Country and visit her friends in the Garden of Garourinn.”

“But I want her back.”

“Calm down. You will have her back. My sister, Milyaket, is visiting me at the moment. She is the keeper of another forest. On her way home, she will be more than happy to take you to the North Country and you will be able to retrieve Amira.”

“My parents will worry if I am gone for long.”

“I will send a message to them that you will be staying the week with Charlie. That will be long enough.”

I hope so, thought Maria. “Thank you, Erdo. It is quiet in the cafe, at the moment, and so my mother will be fine.”

“Milyaket has all that you need for the journey. You will start immediately.”

Although Maria had never met Milyaket, she felt instantly familiar and comfortable. She is Erdo’s sister, thought Maria. She had much she wanted to ask Milyaket. In particular, she was curious about Erdo and Milyaket’s family. What sort of family is that? wondered Maria. However, after a few words of introduction, Milyaket remained completely silent and would not be drawn into any conversation. After numerous attempts, Maria accepted that the journey would be a silent one.

“When will we get there?” asked Maria

“We will know,” said Milyaket.

Strange answer, thought Maria.

Maria and Milyaket walked for several days. Milyaket had arranged for them to stay somewhere simple and safe each evening. Maria wondered who owned the little huts deep in the forest. As Milyaket was silent, Maria had no other place to go but into her own thoughts. As each hour passed, her thoughts became quieter and more organised. And as her thoughts became quieter, Maria noticed that the physical terrain would change somewhat. Milyaket’s silence had a hypnotising effect. It was a rhythmical silence; steady, assured, joyous, and purposeful. It was a meditation in itself. Sometimes, Maria even forgot to think about what they were doing and where they were going. She didn’t forget out of distraction or weariness. In fact, she was feeling acutely awake and alive.

By the third afternoon, the landscape had completely changed and they were now approaching a mountain pass.

“We are here,” said Milyaket. “We are entering the North Country. You will not need me from here. Go straight ahead through the pass and you will find the Garden of Garourinn on the other side. May the Great Ones be with you.” She was gone.

Maria would have been scared on her own except that her mind had become so quiet that fear seemed inappropriate. She tried to keep the same peaceful state as she walked but, without Milyaket, it seemed much harder to do so. I guess Milyaket had more of an impact on my state of mind than I realised, thought Maria.

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