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Monosian Order-Prologue-Part two
Cyrus was settling matters up north that evening in January when Oso was born. Nadia had the accident. On her way from a stroll in the forest, she decided to take a shortcut home by crossing a footbridge. One of the wooden planks gave way, she lost her footing and fell six feet into the ravine below. The fall induced labor. She would have died if a group of herders had not discovered her just in time.
The pre-mature birth left Oso dependent on artificial life support. Such a delicate little creature laying in a glass encasement. He weighed only a pound! The moment I laid eyes upon him, I knew how special he was. So would Cyrus. Nothing could tear him from his son’s side. Day after day, he kept up a steadfast vigil. It was as if he believed that mental determination could keep the life force burning inside the infant.
Oso fought tenaciously! Each night he cried out. His power originated from a source we knew not of and Cyrus admired strength and that is why he named him Oso Corriendo. It derived from an ancient dialect and meant running bear or one having power beyond normal!
Later, Nadia revealed that Vasparian was with her that evening and after the accident deserted her. When Cyrus questioned him, he claimed he ran for help but took a wrong turn and lost his way in the dark. Given the fact that after Zenia’s death, he hardly ever traveled far from the cottage, his tale held plausibility.
Cyrus investigated the scene. I went with him. We inspected the footbridge and recovered the fallen plank. Apparently, rot had contributed to its collapse, not foul play. It appeared to be an accident. Still, I was not totally convinced. Neither was Cyrus for that matter. What more could we do? There was no proof! Taking it any further seemed preposterous.
Vasparian took advantage of our merciful nature. He knew that we would never find it in our hearts to accuse a nine-year-old boy of such a monstrous act! Never the less, the incident had its repercussions. His relationship with his father from that point on slowly deteriorated. Trust was no longer there. Love would all but disappear!
One more child would be born to the Lepidus family. A lovely baby girl named Ana. As the years passed Oso developed into a spirited and energetic child, nurtured most by his father’s love. Cyrus’ great responsibilities kept him from his son. That is where I came in. I became both surrogate father and mentor. I fueled Oso’s enthusiasm for hunting by teaching him how to use a harpoon.
By age eight, he had become quite a marksman. Which was proven the night he slipped away from everyone and tracked down the cave of a grizzly and her cubs. He harpooned her in the throat several times before she attacked. The little devil escaped death by climbing a tree.
When he told me his fanciful tale the next morning, I did not believe him. Not, until he showed me the claw marks across his back to prove it! I made him vow never to attempt such a reckless and dangerous stunt again. He did so, on one condition, that I never tell his father what happened! I agreed.
Deep down inside that incident had only deepened my respect for him. Oso had the uncanny ability to look death in the face and conquer it! The one thing he could never conquer was his older sibling’s heart.
By the time Vasparian had his seventeenth birthday, nothing could change his standoffish attitude toward his brother. What he resented most was the love that Cyrus had for Oso. He tried so hard for his father’s love. It was as if Cyrus had constructed an impenetrable barrier around his heart.
Since Zenia died, there was no one to cater to Vasparian's every whim. I would watch him leave his room during the darkest part of the night and visit his mother’s graveside. He would just sit beside the river in deep-troubled thought. I feel when Zenia died, a part of Vasparian died. The human part that is! What remained was a tormented soul. Full of hatred for Oso, Nadia and eventually hatred for us all!
On April 4th, a monstrous blizzard ravaged our region. Its killer winds ripped off rooftops, destroyed power cables and buried everything beneath an avalanche of snow. We organized rescue efforts for those trapped in their homes. Able-bodied men were either working on equipment repair or taking shifts walking around the village’s perimeter, making certain that the force field remained operational.
The winds pounded us with full ferocity. Things became so dangerous we abandoned our attempt to seal up all the warehouses. Instead, we fled inside a nearby barnyard shed for safety and watched the storm in awed silence. Never before had we seen anything like it. An ominous feeling lingered in the air. I think we all sensed it.
Disaster seemed inevitable!
The storm wore on. For safety measures, we evacuated all the cottages. Two hundred families crowded inside the town hall, which we called the Blosher Building. By sundown a team headed by the eldest son of the Wicker family went out to check on a reported down power line in the northeast section. The eldest Wicker boy, I think his name was Jemy, requested Vasparian’s assistance. I saw such a gesture as unusual given the fact that the two rarely spoke at all. What amazed me most was when Vasparian dutifully accepted. He brushed pass me. A nondescript expression plastered across his face as they left.
Shortly afterwards a hysterical little boy came searching for Nadia. His people, the Luria clan, became our neighbors a decade ago. We built them a secure campsite near the eastern river. He said his sister had taken ill. Months earlier, Nadia had treated Luria children for a strain of smallpox. Neither Andymon nor I could discourage her from leaving. I suggested consulting Cyrus first, but when we could not find him, I suggested accompanying her.
“Is it a good idea?” Andymon Larkus, our Security Chief, gave me an intense stare.
I knew what he meant. Sundown is when I made the change, transform into energy and slide to the alternate dimension, or what we Tuatha Danu call our Eternal Abode. There I could rest and return upon sunrise. I could feel the energy sifting from me. I could hold out, but not for very long. Andymon rounded up two young men who usually served on security patrol. They readied a transport sturdy enough to hold up against the storm. Nadia chose little Ana to accompany her this time, instead of Oso. That upset him.
"Tell Cyrus not to worry!" Nadia flashed me a confident smile then jumped inside the transport.
Exactly how much time elapsed since Nadia’s departure and when Cyrus approached me is vague even now. I can only recall how frustrated he was. His thick eyebrows formed deep grooves across his forehead as he inquired about Vasparian’s whereabouts. I told him that he was with the Wicker boys fixing a down power line in the north section. He took that lightly.
However, when I informed him about Nadia’s departure for the Luria village, a puzzled expression crossed his face. “Very odd, I came from their village a half hour ago! Should have run into her!”
Cyrus waited, while I attempted summoning Nadia telepathically. However, I was too weak. I sensed her being. She was near, near the Luria clan. I could not reach her.
“Don’t worry Monsyious, I’ll check on her! Stay here. Notify the work crews; tell them to report in immediately! Make sure everyone remain here until further notice!” Cyrus looked at me.
Although my abilities were weak, it was easy seeing through his façade. His blank expression masked hidden emotions, deep fears. Things I could not comprehend. Not yet anyway. His expression, the tone of his voice, all a secret language only we understood. I knew he was warning me to be cautious and alert! I gave a nod in acknowledgment. Then watched as he walked away. Oso called after him. Cyrus never responded.
“Where’s daddy going?” Oso’s eyes glowed with curiosity. When he saw my stern expression, he knew then, there would be no explanation. He went back to his duties; shoulders slumped like a rived soul.
Since I needed to conserve energy, I had Andymon summon the repair crews while I rested on a small cot in a closed off area behind the water concession. Moments later, Andymon brought me the bad news.
“Have a problem!” Andymon gazed downward, “Repair crew is missing. Wicker boys! No one had seen or heard from them! Tried signaling over the transmitter! Nothing!”
The Wicker boys were missing and Vasparian was with them!