starless part 30
this is a colaborative story written by three most talented authors, slarty O'brien, chitown2motown, emicheal, and, the novice, myself. it is a wonderful challenge to be allowed the privilege to accompany these writers down this path of discovery and to write for the sake of the joy of writing and challenging each other by our contributions. I hope my next installment does not disappoint. After a six month hiatus, i really feel we should move on and get her done, so to speak. So hold onto to your hats, folks. To quote betty davis, fasten your seatbelts, we are in for a bumpy ride.....
Sally arose to the smell of strawcose tea and fresh strawbread. Dressed in her Guilds color of white she entered the tiny kitchen where Sister Charity quietly flitted about the stove and table, placing the dishes gently without a spill or sound. As she turned to remove the kettle, she almost dropped it, so intense was her concentration. Sally gave a gentle smile to her
"Oh, my goodness. You scared at least ten years off my life, Master Healer."
Sally sat down and raised her hand pointing to the chair across from her.
"Oh, I shouldn't." Charity murmurred.
"And why shouldn't you?"
"I... er a servant should not sit at the same table as her employer..."
"Sit, Sister Charity. Unless you do not wish to stay employed."
Charity sat dow quickly with a thud.
"You must have been up at the crack of dawn to be making all of this."
"Ah, well... It will be a long day and it will be up to the widows to bring food enough for all during the inquiry." She paused. "Do you ... do you think that Guild Master Sirus will be banished?"
Sally looked into the pensive face of the kind woman.
"I hope not. It is not like he made that terra shake happen."
"I know. But many were lost and many will be looking to place blame. Remember how long it took for me to get over my grief? I blamed my Charles for dying... as if that wind was his fault."
Sally looked at her.
"Eat. We need full stomachs to face this day." She pulled out the bag she had been hiding from under the table. "After that, we need to get you changed."
Charity took the bag and peaked in it. Her astonished face said it all.
At the stroke of ten, the colony stood outside of the door of the Place of Learning. As if in one mind and voice, the chant rose from the crowd.
"MAY THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER ALWAYS BE FOUND"
"MAY THE HEART OF THE MATTER ALWAYS BE HEARD"
"MAY THE CONVICTION OF BOTH BRING THE MATTER TO A CLOSE"
The doors swung open as the people separated into their respecitive guilds, their colors showing ownership, and entered into the great room. Some of the widows collected their shoes keeping track of the owners, quickly washing them and setting them to dry. Ohers hurriedly finished setting the lunches that would be passed out amongst the throng. When the last of the members entered the room, the widows, dressed in black. took their place at the back. As the door was preparing to close, two women, one with golden hair in a lone braid, and another with her black hair braided the same with a baby strapped to her back, entered, both wearing white.
Gasps could be heard at the back, with murmurings amongst the widow.. as the widow Charity was now adorned with the white colors of the Healer's guild.
Sirus sat in his chair looking out at the masses of colors and smiled. The colony still was growing. From the fifty colonists that had arrived from earth so long ago, their children and grandchildren continued to thrive, and now, 290 stood in attendance. The smile fell thinking about the twenty that were lost... which brought him back to the surrealistic reason for this town meeting. He was once again on trial. Sighing, he heard his friend, the Guild master of Pottery, Irwin Johnson speak up.
"Well I'll be. I guess those rumors about our Master Healer finding an apprentice are true... But, isn't that girl a widow?"
Sirus looked up quickly and saw two women dressed in white coming forward as the crowd parted turning their heads as if in disgust. His jaw dropped and then, he realized what kind of political play the young Master Healer was attempting. He closed his mouth, folded his hands and begged for whoever might be listening to help them all.
Thomas and his men arrived to Rockbridge, having marched day and night. It was close to ten am, but his men felt alive and full of energy after escaping...for lack of a better word... from the stasis pool. Thomas needed no map. He needed no light as he took point. His awakened genes knew this planet... as if he as a part of it. as the very rocks themselves were his family. They entered the village at the point where the quake must have done the most damage as he noted the debris placed in piles with signs labeling them: FIREWOOD, SHORT, LONG, SUPPORT. As they walked futher, the men noticed something odd. No one was here. Not one soul could be found.
A loud chanting shout cried out to them then and they turned to follow it, toward a narrow natural bridge that led to a great building.
The dreamcatcher cried. Days ago he had heard the collective's decision. He knew his son Thomas was saved but not without sacrifice of the clan. For the first time since his beloved human wife had died, the dreamcatcher cried. Being alone... without contact... without understanding of his kind, all he had was what the leader had told him. You alone can be our eyes, you alone can be our voice. You alone have been able to shift into their form. We must find what is lost and return it safely to its rightful place so that the god's might be appeased and stop the further deterioration of our planet.
With that as his only mission now, he chose to return to Tolgreth. His form as a tree stood gently swaying in the breeze as he watched an odd meeting between three humans?... no that was not quite right... the one they called Cameron, his make up did not quite fit those of the earthlings. The dreamcatcher noted the girl, Thomas' girl, Janie, and the other one called Declan appeared mesmerized by this being. As he watched them depart, he stood at a crossroads. Should he follow to see if this being was malignant or benign? Should he just grab Janie who was so special she would be able to bridge the gap? Should he just return and find Thomas? The dilemmas kept building inside him... to the last thing the leader had said. Return the item. The tree disappeared as the decision was made.
to be continued....