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tell me a story

A Long Time Ago…

(Realm of Elysia)

Smiling, the Bard of Longrain began, “A long time ago – of when, no one can be sure – The Gardener walked in His garden.”

As he spoke, Bren watched his green eyes. His voice soothing, like a lazy stream, spoke so clearly, yet it was as if she heard him in her mind, rather than ears. The forest faded as she imagined the picture the Bard painted with his words. Time seemed to stand still as Brenzel’s breathing relaxed.

Waking up in velvety grass, Brenzel breathed deeply of its fragrance. Arising, she felt different, light, able to move effortlessly. A man, dressed only in a long white tunic, said smiling, “Welcome to my Garden,” Extending his hand, he said “Let’s walk together.” Straightaway she followed Him, as they strolled through a luxurious landscape dotted with trees, bushes, and flowers of every imaginable type and size.

Climbing a small grassy knoll, a lone tree came into view. Not a large tree by comparison to most, but with a perfectly formed canopy from which branches spread out in every direction.

The fig tree

Among all the trees The Gardener planted, this one, in particular, felt His favor. Though only a lowly fig, each day He visited to see how its fruit began to form. One by one, on each branch, the figs started to grow.

The Gardener inspected a particular branch of eight figs, each one in different stages of growth. The first, Hades, had already matured into a beautiful fig, full of promise and pleasing to His eye. The next, Hala, was also a fig of good disposition, followed by Zulu, Aukum, Elysia, Tian, Omey, and finally, the newest fig of all, Eden.

After its kind

Though all the figs appeared of the same kind, each one was slightly different, special in some amazing way. Eden, the youngest, held the most promise, for it possessed the seed of promise, the one that would bring forth after it’s kind forever.

As the Gardener inspected each closely, Bren asked, “What are they?”

Inspecting the last and smallest, he murmured, “Special creations, I call them my garden of “delights.””

“Mmm, I like that name,” Bren said as she stood beside Him, watching Him examine the budding fruit.

The Gardener pointed excitedly to the fruit of Eden, saying, “Do you see it? Come closer, look here.”

Brenzel saw it sparkle, then as she looked deeper, she saw infinite worlds filled with infinite beauty. “That’s amazing,” Bren said, “how does it do that?”

“Yes, how does it?” He mused. Then smiling, He looked at her and said, “Free will.”

Created for His pleasure

Enjoying the feeling of the cool breeze Bren, considering what He said, asked, “Why do you do all this?”

Considering for a moment, the Gardener replied, “For My pleasure.”

“I understand,” Bren said nodding, “you just like gardening.”

“Yes, I do, it makes me happy.”

Walking further, Bren looked out over a vast forest of every type of tree one could imagine. It was a clear and warm day, a slight breeze caressing everything. Looking above, Brenzel saw light, but no sun.

Sitting down with her on a nearby rock, overlooking a valley, the Gardener said, “I have everything I ever want here in my Garden. I used to believe that was enough, but then I realized, in all that I created, their was none like me, no one to enjoy all this with me. No one like you.”

Looking at Him, Bren smiled and, taking his hand, said, “Yes, I know what you mean, we all long for someone to love.”

With that, He kissed her, saying, “Wonderful, you understand perfectly.”

Someone to love

“In time,” the Gardener said, pointing back to the fig tree on the hill, “Eden will become it’s own tree and bring forth after it’s own kind. That particular fig is very important to me Bren, more so than anyone understands.” Standing up together, He turned towards Bren, putting his hand over His heart, saying, “Cover it, protect it.”

As if emerging from a dream, Bren gradually became aware of her surroundings again, of the elf-like man who spoke, and of the forest surrounding her. She began to sense moments passing between them again, as if time had restarted.

Fading further into the present, Bren heard, “…and that is why YHWH said, “let us create man in our image and in our likeness…”

Rising, the Bard finished, saying, “I have many stories to tell you, Brenzel of Eden, but they must wait for another time and season. Thank you for visiting me, I’m honored to have met you.”

Ah, my ears

As the Bard walked with her out of the clearing, Bren said, “If I may ask, where are you from?”

Ah, my ears,” he said. “I’m from Hala. I came to Elysia during the Great War and decided to stay. Alethea is my Queen, I believe you’ve met.”

“Yes, she’s very nice, I like her a lot.” Still orientating herself, Bren managed to say a “Thank you,” as they parted near the forest’s entrance.

Walking out, feeling herself snap back fully, Bren mulled over what had just happened. If was definitely more than a story: It felt real.

I’ve missed you!

Bren found Robyn and Manu waiting for her with the gatekeeper. Manu ran towards her, hugging her warmly, asking, “Where were you Bren?”

“I was with the Bard.” she said. Looking at Robyn, the astonished Edenite said, “You were right, Robyn, it’s not something you could have explained, I had to experience it.”

Glancing toward the sun, which appeared to be rising in the east as if it were early morning, Bren said, “What’s going on?”

Robyn said, “You’ve been gone for almost two days, Bren, you never came out on the first evening, and the gatekeeper was gone when we arrived. We wondered if you’d gotten lost. Felicity and I came next day and the gatekeeper told us that you were still with the Bard. We waited until dusk. “

Bren, looked at all of them, then back to the forest saying, “What the. . .?”

Red Moon Rising

(Lakota Tribe, Montana Territory, 1877)

The day of the full moon arrived, blood red, signaling that tomorrow the massive Lakota camp would move. Before sunrise, the braves, squaws, and children began breaking down their dwellings and preparing to leave the valley. Teepees came down quickly, while blankets. clothes, and tools were neatly packed on travois; two long poles tied in a trailing V fashion onto horses and dogs. Normally, the tribe would not have moved so late in the year, but because of the bad omen of the stampede they risked it, praying to the Great Spirit to hold off bad weather.

For weeks Wichapi, oddly enough, seemed happier than she had been in a long time. She spoke with Chaska about many memories they shared from their childhood, talking much about what they still recalled of their mother. For awhile, it seemed to Chaska the evil had passed; that is, until today.

You cannot be serious!

Walking up to Wichapi, Chaska said, “Are you ready to travel, sister?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Come, let us walk together.”

“No.”

“What do you mean, no?”

“I’m not coming with you.”

Almost wanting to laugh out loud, Chaska did not, for he saw the look on Wichapi’s face. Glancing at her travois, he noted that she carried much more than she would need to relocate with the tribe, then noticed a second horse laden with many furs and other cold weather clothes.

Looking back to her again, he said, “You can’t be serious! You cannot survive the winter alone. Wichapi, stop this foolishness and come with me.”

Wichapi, love in her eyes, said, “Chaska, my strong Chaska, you know in your heart this is the only way.”

“No, I don’t!” the big brave said, a great sadness coming over him.

Walk with me brother

Moving closer, putting her hands on his broad shoulders, Wichapi looked up into his angular features and said, “Brother, I don’t know what I’m becoming, but we both know I can’t control it or protect those I care about from it. My heart almost died the day the buffalo came, I cannot bear harming our people again. You know this must be. Walk with me, please, to the edge of the forest.”

After much arguing, leading one of the ponies alongside her as they walked, Chaska said finally, “Our father, what of him? This will break his heart.”

“I spoke with him last night. It did make his heart heavy, but he knows I must follow my own path.”

I will be okay

At the edge of the great pine forest, Wichapi put her hand to her brother’s face, wiping his tears away, saying, “Do not cry for me Chaska, I feel better now than I have in years. Please be happy for me, it will make my journey easier.”

Flashing back to their childhood, he thought of how his big sister had been there for him, in play, in trouble, always by his side. She had been the one thing in his whole life he could count on, and now…

“I will try, sister, but I cannot see a life without you,” Chaska said, his voice faltering as he choked back grief.

“I will not leave you, brother. Whenever you see the eagle fly, the fox hunt, or the deer run, I will be with you.”

I am so proud of you little Chaska, you have become a man, a leader of people, all the young braves look up to you. Take a wife, brother, have children in memory of me. Live your life as the Great Spirit leads you. Do it for both of us.

Looking into his eyes, she allowed her hand to slowly slip away. Taking the halters off the horses, she handed them back to him. Then with one last, long look, as if trying to etch him into her memory, Wichapi turned, and walked into the forest. Shortly, two large grizzly bears fell in behind her and the horses as Chaska, in the distance, howled like a wounded animal.

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