She had the sense to stipulate that the Sparkler World must not exist when we enter a new reality for the first time or when we are in danger.
Just as an example: Imagine how quickly the World of Jeskine will grow once it is able to share and learn from ours every time we visit them. Jeskine and Orgg have understood what this means for them and are waiting for us to leave the house to show Samantha their feelings. They will have to wait some time. While I’ve been typing here, I’ve also been holding my little girl sideways on my lap. She is curled up against me and her head rests against my arm so I can only type with one hand. Partly to soothe her and partly out of my own need to express the love for her that is overwhelming me, I’m also taking breaks to caress her. We now need some private time so that all of us can give her a sample of how much we love her. Damn but she is sexy when she comes up with her ideas - even the occasional dud ones stun me!
Hi, I’m back. The girls got the giggles and then none of us could stop laughing, my loves thinking up little witticisms to set us off again. Robbie made it fairly clear that we left so as to make love. At a time like this, when we make love, Robbie has a fierce and uncontrollable need to see my little belly swell up with his child and it is up to me to prevent that happening.
I can’t speak for the aliens, though I guess they must be feeling somewhat confused, but what happened with the Terran Cherinians was weird. All of those who have Worlds were feeling a strong need to see me and express their feelings, which temporarily were of unreasonable love. When we made love, despite Cherine controlling as usual what we broadcast outside of the bedroom, because of their need to be one with me some ended up sharing indirectly. What happened is that those males and females found themselves desperately wanting to make love to me!
I’ll leave it to you to imagine what the girls said to tease me. Luckily, they also teased Robbie because he was standing stiffly with his need to fight them off - he could not bear the idea of them wanting to make love to me. In the end, he did see the funny side, but I guess he will be extra sensitive to everything they emote about me for a while.
As is only right, the first slivers Iona exchanged was with her brother Kikibiqua. We are not pressed for time as we were with her father so she was given the whole day and night to get used to the feeling and examine him. We have explained what we call the ‘sliver etiquette’, but Allan gave her permission to examine his. The next day a flabbergasted Igraekiq told us he has never seen an Eqkee female child remain for as long as she did without moving. Add to that, with all that is happening, including the superficial linking of our Fegorian friends (so that they can have healers), Freddie is a wonderful place to be in right now. Even Samuel King is socialising!
Robbie took Igraekiq in a platform and stopped outside the atmosphere. He pointed out where their city is and told him to jump as he does within Freddie, by visualising where he wants to be. Despite his being almost fearless and proud, he stood with trembling legs for minutes. Robbie pretended he was busy with something else until he felt Igraekiq was gone.
“Greetings.” The Eqkee in their equivalent of our Senate or House of Parliament froze in shock. However fast any of them move, their eyes are capable of seeing that person and Igraekiq had arrived suddenly, from nowhere. “I bring you greetings of the Cherinian leader. Tomorrow…”
“First explain how you entered, you know you are forbidden to enter without permission from one of us.”
“I travelled by teleportation, as the soft ones do. As I came bearing greetings and a message from the soft ones I thought…”
“I gave their leader Robert permission to enter unannounced. If Igraekiq comes as his representative we should waive the rules for this once.” Igraekiq gestured his gratitude to Griqkdik with his seventh limb. “What is your message and what of your daughter?”
“She is the message sir. He asked I advise you we will be arriving tomorrow at midday if the time is suitable for you.”
“Thank him for his courtesy, we will meet you in here, not outside as usual. Too many are angry because of the allegations by your wife, for us to risk a meeting outside. Igraekiq, we do not have the authority to give you an order in this matter, but I suggest you accept our advice. Do not leave here to visit your spouse. We will arrange for her to be here tomorrow.”
“I had been hoping to speak to her privately first…”
“Rumour would then have it that you used the powers of the soft ones to force her to withdraw her charge against the soft ones. Meet her here openly and allow the fact of your return with your daughter to speak for you.” Pride forced him to jump without hesitating and they returned to Freddie.
“There is no reason for you to feel embarrassed, governments everywhere are the same, ours would have reacted in the same way - or worse. At least they are trying to be helpful.”
Iona had relaxed as soon as she saw her father return, she still gets nervous if he is not close by, and devoted herself now to examining the third sliver (Laak-ist-Eltiorass of the Quortodo, Unation). She is fascinated by the differences among the species and the process of exchanging slivers is so filled with exchanges of love motes that each time she has felt as if she adores the one who exchanged with her. The Quortodo can be rather brusque at times and do not make friends easily, but she is discovering that his inner world has all the beauty and love all other species have.
Later. Iona has only absorbed five slivers and though she looks the same, she does not feel as childlike as she did. Her mind has expanded and she is probably wiser in some little ways than most of the adults of her species. For this last day, we have been building her courage up so that we can secretly test her. It was agreed that she is to be strapped to her father and he will jump from a platform into the forest. We will be with her in her mind and at the very first instant of grief, Robbie will bring both of them back.
We were all so nervous that we crowded her, trying to feel everything she experiences. Because of that, she paid more attention to us than any attempts to feel her soul by the planetary soul. Minutes dragged by and as we all became certain she was safe, she relaxed. Instantly her soul began to reconnect. Without delaying even a second, Robbie snatched them and we jumped back to Freddie. Within minutes, we were in a different reality.
“We need more time. Iona, you are safe and luckily it was not painful for you, just gave you a fright? Good, it cannot find you here so enjoy the rest of the day and play with your friends. Tomorrow you will exchange slivers. We will only return once we are confident you are safe.”
Iona has her own Wirm friend, a baby called i
io. She had not come with to the planet, so we discussed the idea that we create her a ‘planetary’ body for her to be with her friend next time. Since her presence can only strengthen Iona, Solomon agreed to have a body ready for her.
Christós spent time with Iona, sensitising her to her own soul and teaching her how to exert some control over it. She has learnt that the Akiard kids consider him a god and because she can also sense how special and powerful he is, she is very meek when with him. He had to ask her to climb onto his shoulder for her to relax and they became friends.
We are in a lifeless reality, so all of us relaxed and these days have felt like a holiday. When Robbie is totally at ease, Cherine relaxes and when she does, so do we. Robbie managed to surprise us. He asked Samuel King to pose for him, he wants to paint his portrait. He reassured Samuel that he can have the painting afterwards. Samuel only nodded, but his eyes were thoughtful. Robbie insists on them travelling to a part of Freddie without people of any species close by which has only served to make Samuel even more suspicious. Whatever he may suspect, he is not about to show it unnerves him, so he meets Robbie at the chosen spot every day. This is the first time Robbie has taken so long to paint a portrait and also the first time (of his own choice) his subject is not of the family or those very close to us. On the eleventh day Robbie stepped back, stared at the portrait, and hardly seemed to notice us when we crowded around him to get a proper look at it. As far as I could see there was nothing remarkable about it (thank you love) and we left just as mystified as before. (Grr, I hate it when someone misunderstands me on purpose.) The only comment by Samuel was that if he auctions it back home, a painting by Robert Teller, leader of the Cherinians and Protector of all, is bound to earn him a fortune.
Obviously the good mood everyone is in got to Manoli and Anna and they announced they are getting married. Angelos cracked a joke, saying he is happy, as now he will not have to say his mother in law is living in sin. Anna was not at all amused. Their announcement did not surprise us, but the next one did. Perikli announced he is marrying Kirra and Karra. That led to Socrati and Sonja announcing they are marrying Katherina.
Iona is as ready as she can be. If it does not work this time, it means we have to wait until she is older.
We returned to the Eqkee reality and Igraekiq first patiently polished Iona. We learnt one of the secrets of their beauty salons. They use the acid they spray to clean off any flakes and marks. Igraekiq did not use his, saying it could burn her too deeply and used hers. They do not think of their body wastes as being distasteful, since they need it to soften their food and Iona preened before a mirror we brought to her, certain her friends will be jealous of her.
Robbie forbade us from crowding into her mind and distracting her, allowing only Cherine, Dommi and Diana to accompany her within her mind-space. They went with to help by soothing her and strengthening her if she loses her concentration. Igraekiq was convinced that if she lasts beyond the first few minutes, the planetary soul will leave her alone, even if she relaxes.
Just as they were about to leave, Athia called out for them to stop. “Dad, we must manipulate the mother soul. If Iona uses her healer to change her body so that she is alien to her world, maybe it will sense the alienness and become confused. Even if it senses a part of itself in her it will not fight as hard to get her back if it is unsure of itself.”
Christós entered her mind and taught her how to use one of the slivers to mask her mind with alien thoughts and identity while, in the background, she remains aware of her true self. Then we helped her project herself to the bodyshape of the species of her choice. She became an Akiard male. Now Robbie will have to be doubly cautious. Just the projecting alone affects the mind as your senses alter and you begin to think as and assume characteristics of the species you currently are. Using the sliver at the same time reinforces that effect many times over.
Urgently now, Robbie got her and her father and brother into the platform and jumped directly to the forest. Once outside, Iona was careless and cut herself. It shocked her and she settled down while her healer repaired her. Fifteen minutes later Robbie’s healer ordered her healer to change her back to her original body. It obeyed and Iona crouched for a while as she settled back into her own personae. As she realised that nothing has happened, she radiated her joy and then so did her father and brother. Robbie decided this is the perfect moment, even though it was half an hour earlier than agree and as her father strapped her to himself Allan and Robbie touched him and they jumped.
“My apologies for arriving early, but this is a special moment. Those of you who can, please try to sense the child.” Before long they were remarking with wonder that a child her age had succeeded where so many adults had failed.
The mother was brought in. She rushed over to her husband and child. Iona responded with love, but her husband remained cold. This angered her. “Do you see? This is not the husband who loved me, they have changed him. I refuse to withdraw my complaint.”
“Your daughter is well?”
“I do not know, only time will show what damage they have caused her childish mind.”
As Iona felt the tension she touched her fathers’ mind and withdrawing mentally also withdrew physically from her mother. This provoked a fresh outburst from her. Apart from making the classical mistakes that are obvious, she was making another mistake that she was unaware of (yes, in a sense she was aware she was being unfair and acting stupidly, but it only seemed to feed her anger). She did not realise that not only is Iona close to being a year older, since she’d only left nearly a month or so ago, but that she now is a Cherinian with abilities she has not dreamt of.
Igraekiq asked whether he should speak, but he was told he will be called to do so and should wait.
“Tesheea, you would do well to recall where you are.” Griqkdik spoke softly as he always does, but his rebuke stopped her histrionics instantly. He turned to the other politicians. “Do you have a particular question to ask her?
“Why did you only complain now, why not when they took your daughter and later on your husband?”
“They told me I could go with, so I believed their lies. When I heard that Igraekiq tried to return and they tortured him and stole him away again, I realised the truth.”
Cherine sent to Robbie, *So, you want females to be like her - stupid?* Robbie was amused, but did not reply, since we know he loves intelligence in girls.
Dommi answered for him. *Cherry baby, it is not that he wants us stupid, he just loves the set up of daughters and fathers openly enjoying sex. Having a daughter whose comfort is his penis is his dream.*
*Are you girls trying to get me arrested by putting ideas in my mind?* Score a tick for Robbie, he made us all laugh.
Haven asked Igraekiq why they were wasting time with the complaint of Tesheea and he replied that she too is somebody’s daughter, and as he would wish they show his daughter respect, so must they with his wife. That was the nicest thing we’ve heard any Eqkee say about an adult female and puts to shame most of our normal males. From what I’ve seen, some of them expect their daughters to be treated like chattel (Evangelia is a case in point). Sorry to harp on about it, but perhaps the worst treatment of females is among the Muslims. It troubles me, for we do not know how to help them without turning the Normals against us.
With amazement we watched as the governing body of an entire nation spent another hour soothing Tesheea until she was ready to listen to reason. Only now did they allow Igraekiq to speak.
“Most of our absence has been spent here, after our arrival. Robert advised me to strengthen myself before returning to the City, but I allowed my pride to guide me, with the result you all saw. After I was returned to their spaceship-world, I became terrified of returning here again. If you are but one drop of water in an ocean, you do not belong to yourself. To think that I, Igraekiq, will die someday has never frightened me. When I found out that the skies are full of planets with people who will never die because they own their own souls, but I will dissolve in the sea of motes we call our mother soul and never exist again…suddenly our fate became unbearable to me.” His voice became passionate. “If that was to be my fate I would accept it if I had to, but not for my daughter. For her I said and will always say, never!! Not that bright little mind I adore, not that sweet person she is. Never!”
He had touched on a raw nerve and the emoting in response was overwhelming. He stretched a limb to Iona and she came to him. Cradling her in two of his limbs, he showed her to his government. “Is she not beautiful? What father would not envy me? As Griqkdik may have told you, she is a...(I will use the word ‘genius’ for the word that will not translate, even though it is not what the word implies) …genius, not only bringing honour to her mother and I, but to our whole city. All of that fades to nothing in comparison to seeing her soul in the void.” He began to crouch, shaken by the enormity of what he was about to say, but then he straightened and faced them proudly. “I am a City man, my people come before me and my loyalty and obedience to our leaders has never been doubted, by others and myself. If I were ordered to force my daughter to live here forever, her freedom lost again, by a decision from you, I would disobey. I would stay to face whatever punishment you choose, but I would not allow her to stay. Whatever you did to me, I would gladly bear, for I will know that she will travel the stars, free, happy and young forever. If you could experience what I did, see your child as I saw mine, her soul bright and beautiful, is there one father among you who would not choose as I do?”
They might need to show females respect and be tolerant of her foolishness, but they do not feel that way about males.
“Your declaration was unnecessary and offensive and will be punished.” The rage of many could be felt strongly.
Allan stepped to the side of Igraekiq. “May I intercede on his behalf?” He was given permission out of courtesy. “For you to achieve the position you hold you have to be men of letters, highly educated and refined.” They approved of his characterisation of them. “My dearest friend is a rough man, to live as he does, constantly exposed to hardship and danger, he has to be. He was overcome by his feelings and wished to describe them as strongly as he could, but he did not have the words to do so. Even if you feel his declaration borders on treason, could you not see that he is a brave man of unbending honour? Did you not feel behind his words lay only his great love for his daughter, not any intention to do as he said? I ask that you ignore the way he expressed himself, while judging him on what he was really trying to say.”
“Igraekiq, we will deal with the matter later. Have you anything else to say?”
“To my wife. Yes, I have changed. So has our daughter. How could we not change with all we have experienced and become? Robert did not enforce my coldness to you on me, but you did by the humiliation you caused me. Even after I returned to show our people that I have succeeded and am free, despite the joy even strangers felt for me, you, wife and mother, refused to withdraw your accusation. The Cherinians were greeted as friends when they came and they have proven themselves better friends than we could have hoped for. Tell me, why would they go to the trouble of returning to the past to save my life, if all they wanted was to abduct an Eqkee? Wife, did you truly rejoice to see me alive again, or had you set your eyes on some other male?”
Robbie spoke to him sharply, mind to mind, accusing him of humiliating his wife because of his bitterness. Igraekiq visibly trembled. “Tesheea, I apologise. I spoke out of anger and did not say what I truly believe.”
Once Tesheea had withdrawn her complaint, they were sent to a room to reconcile in private. Both parents were shocked when Iona used her healer to age herself to an adult. “I am glad the anger and hate is gone. It is time you both realise that I am not as I was before the soft ones came. The choice to be with you, either one or both, is now mine. You can only force me to stay with you through love, not any rights you think you have as parents. Father, have you not watched Robert, seen how devoted his females are to him? Does he demand or does he only offer love? Sharing slivers with so many has altered me, forced me to grow so that I think in ways a small child could not. If you demand others respect me, then be the first to show your respect and allow me the freedom to be as I may wish to be.
I need to feel we are a family again so I will leave the two of you to talk alone. Do not take long please, I need to be a child again.” She walked out of the room. She did not choose to come to us and walked on her own, her mind a sad place. We felt her yearning to be the child she had been and it saddened us, even made us feel slightly guilty.
The City government agreed to all Robbie asked for. Even as I type, he is busy carting soil and plants for the ecological area he isolated for the Eqkee. Vincent joined us and with Christós and Solomon, they are bringing three families on each trip. Most of the girls are helping them recover and Iona is already playing with her friend Sumçia, proudly showing off as she shows her all she knows of Freddie. Although Sumçia is less older than Iona than she was, she is now only slightly larger in size and as naïve and innocent as a child of five. She very soon tried to emulate Iona and climb onto the shoulder of Tim, puncturing him as the tips of her limbs pierced his skin. She will have to wait until she has her own healer, but in the meantime Tim has become her special friend and he loves it when the two girls chatter away with him.
There is something about us Cherinians that I take for granted, so I never realised it was worthy of being noted here. Relationships of friendship or love form very quickly and they tend, on average, to last far longer than they do for Normals. Actually, we have not had any such relationship turn sour. There are fights and misunderstandings, but it is difficult to maintain your anger when you feel how the other person (that you care for) feels, and with misunderstandings it is easier for the parties to clear them. I have seen that all Normals have a tendency to like or dislike people on first contact. I have not heard of any Cherinians disliking each other at any stage of getting to know each other. Is our way of life too saccharine for you Arthur?
We are now bringing five families per day. That is, between fifteen to twenty people on average. We do not want to bring more, though we can handle them, as we want to give each of them our time and attention for their first day here. We have only had one disappointment up to now. After being here for two days one male decided he did not want to stay and we had to return him and his family. Not only those who had been in contact with the female and children (two sons) were angered, everyone was. For the first time ever we saw a reaction from Tsiesschkir’s third head. We do not know what its function is, though we suspect it handles most of the autonomous functions of their body. That might explain why they were the longest living species, as Normals, (as always, excluding the Sparklers) of all we’ve met till now. The third head does not have eyes, but it has a small mouth that hardly ever opens and it breathes. The ‘face’ is always turned slightly sidewise as its exhalations smell different from those of the other two heads (that is what led us to the conclusion that it plays an important role in maintaining the body). A polite Roos tries to keep its third head pointed away from everyone.
As I was saying, we are all angry with the father. He was fairly affluent and had settled into what he considered a comfortable and ordered life. Since he would be losing everything if he stayed away longer than a month, he decided his wealth was more important than eternal life for his family. Robbie has kept silent, just about the only one who has not joined us in condemning the man, but we sense he is determined to save the children once they are adults. The fact that the father regretted his decision the moment his soul rejoined to his planetary soul will not help him, everyone else on his world has to have a chance first before he is offered a second chance, which means he will probably be dead by then.
Since I strayed into describing the appearance of Tsiesschkir, this might be a good time to describe a couple of the other aliens.
Spexette (HOREKIAN):I have already described them as stick thin with soft pulsating globules on either side of their torso. Their faces are vaguely humanoid, but their mouth opens right across the face. All of them are gentle creatures and very fragile (before linking as Cherinians).
Laak-ist-Eltiorass (QUORTODO):Short, very powerful arms, skin that is harsh to the touch and continually flakes. The flakes used to be treasured by many species as a medicine for all kinds of fungi problems. They must be the only species that has earned foreign exchange from their body wastes.
Solomon announced that they are beginning to prepare a part of their World for the Wirms. As a first step, they have created a sun similar to the one in their home system. They are not quite certain how they should proceed with creating the ring that supplies them with energy and the matter they need, but energy has been gathered and the various minerals provided in clusters. The Wirms are happy as it means they will not have to keep wishing themselves home to celebrate their sun.
Chapter Two Hundred Thirty Five
We did not leave once we had the hundred Eqkee families. We concentrated on them, first making sure none of them suffer anymore and then started opening doors in their minds. We stopped for a while so as to do a telling with a golden circle of love (based on Iona) and then had a party to celebrate their joining us. We took them to the void and to Meli’s world. After that, it was much easier opening doors in their minds to further gifts. The kids range from infant to teenagers. We all oohed and aahed when we saw the infant, but we have to wait until it detaches from its mother before we can touch it. By the time it goes to the father it will have acquired immunity to diseases and will be walking and running within a day. It does not drink milk, the skin of the mother excretes something like sap at a specific area and the infant lies on its back and for this part of its life it is able to invert its limbs so as to crawl around in circles. The teeth are almost non-existent and too soft to cause the mother any harm.
Because of the pain they suffer when torn from their planetary soul, we were very careful not to bring any expecting mothers. We chanced it with the infant because Dommi said it would survive.
I took a day off to spend with Gina and Efineh. We got the giggles when Gina solemnly told Efineh that she will never get back to her world because I will keep on finding new alien species to make friends of. I insisted I am not to blame, that it is Robbie’s fault, as he could not delay his honeymoons for me. We had a great day and I am constantly amazed at how maternal I feel, despite usually being younger than my two girls - sorry to keep on harping about that, I keep on finding myself surprised by it. It doesn’t matter what form love takes, it always is a joy and surprise.
Just when we thought we would be leaving, Robbie got into a mood and left to be alone for a day. We usually do not comment on it when he does, but this time Allan did. “I think it must be the same feelings a father of a newborn baby suffers. He sees us growing as a sub species and feels his responsibilities to us have grown also. I am not surprised he gets cold feet now and then.”
Dommi grinned. “When she knows it is the right time, Cherine will go to him. Her smile and cheekiness always makes him feel he can handle the whole universe.”
Alki ruffled her hair and Cherine smiled up at him as Alki replied, “Maybe the whole universe - but not this special lady.”
Apropos of nothing that was being said, Sylvestro remarked, “I will not have the stomach to be a policeman and handle criminals when we return. I must find some other kind of job.”
Periklis laughed. “You haven’t been chasing criminals since they found out you are a Cherinian. You just hate the desk job they gave you.”
“I think I should become a farmer.”
When Robbie returned, he took out the directions and studied them for a while. He sat back with a frown. “These are impossible for me to work out. They must have been prepared by a navigator who understands star charts. We’ll have to ask a navigator from the Unation to help us.”
She had to first be taught the language so that she could read the charts and directions. We let her take the translator and settled for a few days of waiting.
“I am confident that I have identified the star system, but how do I show Freddie?”
“Are you willing to link minds with him?”
“I would be honoured to. May I ask Robert, are we leaving without checking the installation on the moon? We are curious about it, but stayed away as you asked us to.”
“I’d prefer to leave it for another time. This reality has only had pleasant experiences for us, but there could be some nasty surprises. Meeting the Muyzith is too important for us to take any risks now.”
Since we were not galaxy hopping, staying within the Eqkee galaxy, we had to change direction at a couple of points so as to avoid dust clouds. Freddie aimed for the first one and we jumped. They examined the star patterns to be certain and then jumped again. They prepared for the third jump.
“Robert! I cannot move! Something is preventing us from jumping.”
We have been stuck here for a day now. Inside Freddie we can still jump, but when Robbie or Freddie will us to jump in space nothing happens. We are puzzled, but the protector instincts of Robbie are not ringing alarm bells, so we are fairly calm.
“Robert, the sun system closest to us has a planet suited to your species. We do not know if there is a sentient species, but if there is, there are no signs of an advanced technology. Can Freddie try to move closer for us to check?”
“Freddie, can you?”
“I am not jumping, but we should be in position within five days.”
“I am concerned.” Seltwe said as we drew close to the planet and they found villages. “What if we are wrong. Just because we do not find any gasses or nuclear traces to indicate an advanced civilisation, it is not proof that they have a low level technology. They could have evolved past that and have engines without moving parts or be utilising the sun for their energy needs. What if their mental powers are evolved beyond ours and they are preventing Freddie from jumping?”
“Once we are in orbit surely your instruments are good enough to answer most of those questions?”
“You will wait for us before visiting them?”
We did wait and they were able to confirm that the species resembles us Terrans and are at about the same level as the Orati. They even have beasts that slightly resemble our horses. Nothing suggests they have super powers. Most of the villages are below the snow line, so Robbie decided to visit one that is isolated within the area covered by snow and ice. As he searched for one that might seem more interesting, he found a village where the houses were on fire.
“They might need our help. I’m taking Claudia, Samantha and Cherine. Solomon and Ordinx, please send Sparklers and healers with us and to the void, in case there have been deaths.”
As the platform arrived at the village, we saw a group riding away in the distance. Looking down we saw bodies lying in the snow. As quickly as he could Robbie landed and we rushed to help any still alive.
“Oh Robert!” Cherine cried out as she stared at the dead man. Though his mouth was open in a grimace and his brilliant blue eyes were already turning dull, he was the most beautiful man we had ever seen. As we swiftly searched for at least one still clinging to life, our hearts were broken again and again. Death, pain and terror had not robbed one of them of beauty that came of perfectly sculpted features. Age did not rob them of their looks, only giving their faces character and an appearance of dignity. Our healers took samples, but the Sparklers reported they did not find any souls in the void. Robbie promised to return in time to find them.
Robbie suddenly cried out and abandoning us ran to an enclosure for horses. He jumped over the fence, slipped and stumbled as he landed on an icy patch and turning ran along the fence. He stopped besides a trough filled with frozen water and with that strength that comes to him as the protector, he pulled it aside. A small form dressed in white lay on the ground.
We were instantly by his side and stared in wonder and with joy. The child was still alive. Robbie knelt behind her and gently pulled her snow-white hair back. She had her eyes shut tight in fear, but as he only softly stroked her hair, she looked at him. As she saw his dark hair and tanned skin, terror filled her and she broadcast an urgent need to be loved. Robbie murmured soothingly and lying down behind her he pulled her body to his, emoting love to her. A questioning emoting came from her, mixed with it a yearning to not be hurt, to be loved. Robbie picked a tiny insect from her cheek, softly his lips kissed her cheek, and then he held her to him, sending his body heat to warm her.
“Do not fear my little snowbird, feel our love.”
I did not need to verbalise my thought, it had struck all of us and I, for one, felt my legs trembling with barely the strength to hold me up. “Oh god Robert! Arthur’s dream! We found her!”
Cherine shook her head. “No, he brought us to her. That was why Freddie could not jump.”
Cherine called to Dommi and she jumped to us, her hair pure white and her eyes blue. She took the child from Robbie and cradled her as their eyes stared at each other. We think the child felt her mothers love, for with an exhausted sigh she closed her eyes and fell asleep, tears on her eyelashes.
“She can sense our emoting Robert, she is gifted. If they are all like her, how can they bear to kill each other!”
None of us had been thinking, too filled with the emotions we’d been flooded with since arriving on planet, so Cherine’s words shook all of us. Robbie looked at her bleakly without answering. He did the only thing he could do, he pulled her into his arms. We searched, but did not find any more children, only the burnt bodies of children and a dead baby inside the remains of wooden homes. The healers could not find any undamaged tissue for us to collect.
“You must take the healers with you Robert so that they can collect their tissue while you gather their souls.”
Dommi decided she should jump back to Freddie with our little snowbird to warm her up. Claudia stopped her. “Look at her Dommi. In this freezing cold, she is only in a thin nightie. Their bodies are used to the cold, Freddie will be too hot for her.”
“Why not take her to one of our ice caverns for now?” Dommi nodded and jumped.
“You better all return to Freddie, we will return to explore later, but now I have to collect their souls.”
“I better come with, they will be terrified.” Robbie took Claudia and himself back to Freddie and leaving their bodies, they departed.
All Cherinians had directly or indirectly shared with us and seen the bodies on our screens and all those of our species were overcome by their beauty and the cruel waste of the slaughter. Even Orgg had been deeply affected.
“They look so fragile, so sensitive! How can they fight wars and kill each other!”
It was Luigi, our sensitive poet, who answered Angelo. “Coming from a species where mothers and fathers abuse, mentally and physically torture, maim and kill their own children, do we dare ask that question of them?”
We would have all been exceedingly depressed, if not for sharing with Dommi as she held the sleeping child. Candy was nearly too late as Robbie and Claudia returned. Glumly they stared at us and our hearts sank.
“They don’t have souls! We even returned to the moment of death and watched for the soul leaving their bodies, but all we saw was an energy similar to what we’ve seen our animals have.”
“Did you collect the energy Robert?”
“I did Cherine, not that I see what good it will do. I don’t see how we can just put it back in their new bodies. The soul has to be self-aware to help us as we link it.”
“Then we find a way.” He lowered his eyes before her determined stare, thought about it and then nodded.
Arthur, a terrible thought has come to me and I need an honest answer from you. Did you make them that way on purpose, so that we would not have to return your snow Princess to her family?
I did not make them Sam, I only dreamt of her. I also did not stop Freddie. You know I did not write for you.
I’m puzzled then. What forces are at work here?
I have no idea.
Robert: I think I can guess. Arthur, your subconscious wish for her to exist must have operated on us and in creating this species.
There is no way I can answer that. Is the question not moot Robert, if you do find a way to bring her people back?
Robbie is right to be afraid, but Arthur’s ability to affect us without his directly writing seems to be limited. If his subconscious can do what it will with us without his writing in here, then we are totally at its mercy. But then, if so, we have been at its mercy from day one, so I see no reason to go into a panic. It does help explain a few things we have wondered about in the past. Actually, now that I can think more clearly about it, there have been a number of times he has done so, including the creation of Goldi’s planet and the city he built for us. How much of it was conscious and how much subconscious?
I have a feeling that Arthur may not be pleased. We discussed it among ourselves and decided we shall think of our little snowbird as being a daughter of his. That means he has to name her.
Claudia is not having much success. When she woke up (Snowbird), Dommi decided it would be uncomfortable keeping her in the ice cavern, so she walked out with her, monitoring as the temperature rose whether the heat is distressing the child. As they walked, Dommi talked to her, her voice now and then showing her that she is being asked a question, but the child has not responded yet. When she does not answer, she looks at the ground shyly, emoting her strong yearning for love and Dommi turns it into a game to make her laugh.
Allan joked, but the thought is amazing. “Can you imagine this delightful creature and Goldi walking in Kefalari? If they age themselves to about sixteen! Can even we hold on to our hearts?”
Of course, our snowbird has already ensnared Robbie’s heart and the rest of us are just as enchanted by her. The truth is that Robbie’s feelings are far deeper than ours, for he is responding to the beautiful heart of a child while we are largely affected by the tragic circumstances we found her under, her yearning and the unearthly beauty of her face and eyes.
As Dommi and Snowbird walked out onto the surface, we all sighed with relief. We could not sense any serious discomfort and though she finds it a little bit too warm, we hope her body will acclimatise. When she saw grass and trees she was excited, but her most magical discovery was the flowers. Somebody got naughty and jumped (sent) a cloud of butterflies to her and she forgot her fear and left Dommi to chase them, her mental peals of laughter filling our hearts again.
Because her atmosphere had been almost identical to ours, we had not worried, but Dommi has sent her healer to monitor that none of our bacteria harm her. As far as our healers can ascertain, bacteria from her world are not a danger to us. We also checked if she needs special food. I bet she’ll love chocolates.
As they walked towards us, anybody in their path jumped away long before they would become visible. They walked over to the taverna, but we could see her eyes were glued to the river. I guess she had never seen that much water without ice. Robbie crouched and once Dommi had brought her within reach of his arms, she let her hand go. She glanced at Dommi and then stared at Robbie. He raised his arms.
“Come to me my little snowbird.”
She did not step forward, but she also did not resist when he pulled her into a gentle embrace. She looked up at his face and then reaching she mimed picking an insect off his cheek. Robbie grinned and nodded. “Yes my baby, it was me.” She nestled up against him and though she looked content, we could sense her need for love continued unabated, as if Robbie were not emoting strongly.
“She has that delightful scent all children have, but she does need a bath Dommi.”
She gave Cherine a cheeky grin. “I’d have thought he’d jump at the opportunity to bathe her. If her body is as lovely as the parts of her we can see…” Robbie was delighted that she was teasing him and he laughed.
Come on Arthur, what will you call your daughter?
Okay. Bi for now.
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
19th February, 2020
- posted: 19th February, 2020
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