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casual

Adjusting his tie

(Heaven)

Adjusting his tie carefully, Traveler said, “I feel under dressed.” Accustomed to finer attire, he acquiesced to Libby’s suggestion that more casual clothes might put Bren at ease.

Smiling, Libby said, “You look handsome.”

Continuing to trim his beard, he said, “Thanks, dear, but it’s just tea.”

Moving her wings aside to sit, the Librarian noted, “You’re going to present her hat, everyone will be there; that’s a little more than afternoon tea, I think.”

Trimming the last few stragglers with small scissors, Joshua looked from side to side, saying,”Quite right, there is the hat.”

Arrivals

Two days before the event, Thandeka arrived in the evening with her entourage, hugging Dove and Guanyin warmly. She chatted briefly before being shown to her quarters by the five. Whaitiri and Coatlicue set down the next morning, shortly after prayer, while Alethea tarried until almost mid-day.

Just before noon, the day before the event, the six gathered in the courtyard below the Sanctuary to receive Traveler and his companion. As musicians readied 7 trumpets, everyone looked heavenward. About the reception, garlands of flowers wound around the tall, white marble columns.

Silver lining

In the blue sky, a cloud appeared high above them, created by the presence of His Shekinah glory, as everyone looked up expectantly. In the silence, doves cooed. Two descended from it, slowly until their feet came to rest on the living stones of the courtyard. The Librarian, her six wings folding neatly into the back of her regal dress, moved forward on Traveler’s arm. Everyone bowed low as the trumpets sounded, causing hundreds of doves to fly skyward.

Clothed in a stunning blue creation by Seraphina, studded with small, multi-faceted sapphire stones, The Elder Seraph of Elysia, speaking on behalf of everyone present said, “Greetings Joshua, we humbly welcome you and your Librarian to Elysia. We are delighted that you have come. Everything is prepared and ready. Tea is set for tomorrow when our sun is at its height.”

Joshua and Libby, smiling broadly, greeted each Seraph in turn, hugging and kissing them warmly. Out of the cloud after them descended the Librarian’s entourage of servants, scribes, and assistant bibliothecaries.

The west wing

The west wing of Dove’s sanctuary, alive with the hustle and bustle of attendants of all kinds, readied for the occasion. Long serving tables were set in place, divans and tea-tables arranged, and flowers and other decorations set everywhere for the Six Sisters’ afternoon tea. Everyone felt a sense of joy and expectation for this auspicious occasion.

The divans, always a fixture at informal Seraph functions due to the ease of arranging their wings as they sat, were set in a semi-circle, opposite of the serving tables where pastries, cakes, cookies, and other delightful finger foods would be served at the tea. Each Divan, fashioned in the Baroque style of Brenzel’s age, featured pink cushions, tufted in back, with foliage motifs, and raised, gilded trimming, highlighting everything else.

Stained glass

Beside the eight Divans, massive vases of the finest porcelain held the favorite flowers of each Seraph, a special one with giant irises placed next to Bren’s divan. In the middle of the semi-circle of luxurious seats sat one low, white table, two foot square, for the presentation of the hat.

Around the room, high, vaulted ceilings rose into lovely murals of Elysian lore painted like a history lesson in the sky. Likewise, six great columns, standing on broad bases made from different native stone, fluted into arches, framing six high, open spaces, granting access to the terrace outside. Above the points of each arch, a large, round oculus of stained glass revealed exquisite scenes of the idyllic life of Elysia; one of the waterfalls in the Holy Mountain, another of the tree of life, still another of the six sisters bowed in prayer at the great victory of Hades; six panes in all.

Where the buffalo roam

(Lakota Tribe, Montana Territory, 1877)

Wichapi tossed and turned in her buffalo blanket, unable to wake. Her skin, glistening with sweat, felt cold. Two ladies, assigned to her by her father, sat with her through the nights these days, because her struggles were becoming an open secret. Though she usually woke before noon, today the sun, passed it’s zenith, began to sink towards the mountains. One of the women, concerned, fetched Chaska.

Finding him with the ponies, she said, “Chaska, your sister

still sleeps.”

Taking the blanket off his horse, he said, “She is tired, let her rest.”

“I am worried, she does not look well. Her skin is cold and her eyes are open, but she sees nothing.”

Wondering what she expected him to do about it, he said, “I will come and see.”

Trance

Throwing open the tent flap, her brother bent low, entering where she slept. Looking at Wichapi’s eyes, which had now rolled up into her head, with only the whites showing. He bent low to see if his sister still breathed. Feeling her breath, Chaska said, “Wichapi, sister, wake up!”

Outside their camp, several miles away in the autumn grass, a vast sea of bison spooked as Chaska tried to rouse Wichapi. Again Chaska shook her, harder this time, as she remained limp in his arms.

A medicine woman, arriving beside him, examined her as he had done, then backed away, frightened, saying, “This one has an evil spirit.”

Not knowing what else to do, Chaska stepped out of the tepee to find his father, when he heard a familiar sound. Feeling the ground, then turning towards the horizon, fear filling his heart, he yelled, “Stampede!”

Afternoon tea

(Realm of Elysia)

As the sisters chatted and caught up with each other, attendants served plates of food and drinks. Behind them in the alcove, the musicians played classical baroque in honor of their special guest, Brenzel Marie Finnegan, native of earth, nascent seraph.

The twin doors began to open, as everyone fell silent as the quartet began to play, Pachelbel’s canon in D. First in, Manu, said as she bowed low, “Dove, beloved Seraph of Elysia, Thandeka of Zulu, Alethea of Hala, Guanyin of Tian, Whaitiri of Aukum, and Coatlicue of Omey, I present to you Brenzel of Eden.”

The blond woman from earth stood before them, radiant in her new floral dress, hair falling in waterfall effect, as gossamer straps revealed her bared shoulders. Lips, a blush red, smiled. Green eyes, highlighted with violet, surveyed the tea party.

Wings

So many wings,” was her first thought.

Then, looking at each Seraph in turn, Bren marveled at how they epitomized different exotic cultures of earth. The one who stood out most was the oriental woman, with long, lustrous black hair almost reaching her ankles. Next, there was a curly-haired blond with the most doll-like features she’d ever seen. Then there was the tall, regal black woman, with much golden jewelry, who looked fierce and nurturing at the same time.

Bren, gazing upon their perfection, involuntarily curtsied as everyone clapped and said welcome in their native tongue, which, oddly enough, Brenzel understood perfectly. Felicity and Hope, one on each arm, escorted Brenzel to her divan, situating her next to the vase full of violet flowers.

Welcome Bren

In turn, each of the six sisters, beginning with Dove, approached and greeted her with a hug and a kiss, saying ‘welcome.’ Afterwards, Dove, standing by her side, instructed, “Esteemed Seraphs, until the rest of our guests arrive, please take turns visiting with Brenzel and make her feel welcomed.”

Grace, beaming, said to Bren, “You are simply lovely, and we are so proud of you! Let me fetch you some tea and and some food. Of course, I will sample a little bit of everything for you to know what is the most delicious!”

Bren just nodded.

Sitting below the violet flowers, Bren received each Seraph in turn. The first, the oriental woman, said, “Do you remember me, Bren?”

“Looking at her violet eyes for a moment, Brenzel guessed, “Are you Guanyin?”

“Yes!” she said smiling.

Bren spoke to her of Wichapi and apologized again for handling her roughly, to which Guanyin said, “It’s okay. When we love someone deeply, it’s natural to want to protect them.”

Simply adorable

Next was the blond, doll-like Seraph, who giggled as she explained, “I’m Coatlicue, but everyone calls me Cutie.” Brenzel thought to herself, “I couldn’t agree more, you’re simply adorable!” She, the smallest of the Seraphs, still stood a couple of inches taller than Brenzel.

As Cutie left, the regal black woman approached and sat down, looking deeply into Bren’s eyes as if searching for something. Bren said weakly, “Hello.”

After a moment, the ebony Seraph said, “You have strength little one. My name is Thandeka of Zulu. Welcome. My heart and spear are with you.”

Looking up into her large, brown eyes, Bren simply responded, “Thank you.”

Whaitiri of Aukum hugged her again as she sat, and touching her stomach said, “I can feel what Dove says about you. I am happy to meet you at last, dear, you’re very beautiful inside and out. Are you are having a lovely time in Elysia? I know you are busy, but, when you have opportunity, I invite you to Aukum where I promise we will feast and dance through the night!”

The legend of the elves

Lastly, a tall blond woman approached. Sitting on the divan, Bren gasped, saying, “What lovely ears you have! Are you an elf?”

Alethea, touching one of her bejeweled lobes, said, “Thank you, Brenzel, I love your ears, too!” Then they chatted about Hala and the woodlands, Alethea relating how legends of elves were based upon Aletheans, some of whom had stayed behind on Eden after the great rebellion to help keep the peace.

Casual appearance

As Alethea left, and Hope removed the plates and glasses from her table, the seraphs all stood tall as the chamber musicians began to play, Henry Purcell’s march. Bren’s eyes widened, as she saw Traveler, dressed casually in a tie, light grey sweater, navy blue pants, his hair, dark and curly, without a hat. He entered with a regal, silvered haired lady on one arm and carrying, what Brenzel guessed, was a hat box by it’s handle with the other.

Everyone bowed low, again Bren following suit, as Traveler and the Lady walked towards her divan. Brenzel, heart beating fast, felt breathless when Joshua said, “Hello, Bren, you’re looking beautiful today! Thank you for coming, I would like you to meet The Librarian.”

Again Brenzel curtsied, saying, “I am honored M’lady.”

Smiling broadly, the radiant Librarian said, “Oh pish posh, call me Libby, we’re all friends here!” Then leaning over to Traveler said, “You were right, she’s cute as a bug’s ear!”

SEOIB.