Written by Mokihana Calizar
Please enjoy the tale for your own pleasure,
but do not reprint it or copy it for any other purpose without permission from the author.
Somaia thought he was the first to wake, but found Oona already tending to the business of food. The songstress and my mother had two large squirming trout in their crescent beaks. Oona made her offering of thanks to the fish and quickly pierced the flesh of its belly to feed the twins who were ready for the fresh meat. Shemaladia halved her trout and took the head and eyes for herself, leaving the sweet belly and tail for her love still asleep. Somaia relished the entrails of the trout, noting Freeilll was still worn from the evening’s doings he moved to Shemaladia’s side. “I am not unaware of how my size aids in the solving of our problem. In my covey I am a dwarf among the giant birds. Greys are often triple my height and children often cast a long shadow over me by their tenth cycle. If my warming had been one fraction less than it had been, my disposition and balance with the All could have been different. The journey to a satisfied soul is different for every being. I am blessed with the grace of patience just as spider is patient. The webs I spin are equally as fragile and easily swept away. My twins, two beautiful girls were poisoned by the yellow air of mortals at war with one another. The mustard air filled All with a wind that suffocated every pair of twin girls alive in the covey. The male babies weakened and some grew oddly shaped wings and tail feathers that dropped prematurely. Mates and elders were also made ill by the yellow air concocted we were told by mortals called ‘scientists and chemists’. Few of the mates and elders died, though many lost their souls.” Shemaladia listened to the small bird’s story. It was an infrequent telling she knew the preciousness of the tale and was honored to be witness. Her large eyes glistened with tears. She did not hide the tears that fell. She wept. “My mate was Toma. The deaths turned my beautiful Toma to stone. Graced with the tenderness of eternal child-like innocence Toma could not release the hold of sadness she felt. There were not enough tears to soothe her pain, and no stories calmed her grief. Within two cycles her soul had hardened, her grace went to the depths of the Pond of Ever, and her body became stone.” In the songs of our coveys throughout the Cosmos we know stone or in Somaia’s language pohaku to be ancestors. Shemaladia of Osprey rocked with the motion of wordless comfort as Somaia finished. “These two shiny orange stones carry the soul and the sorrow Toma could no longer bare in her physical self. When she left the body I drew from my own chest the gold filigree reserved for Reassemblage. From each stone I connected a length of golden filigree twice as long as the stone itself. When placed in the hands of a mortal, a woman graced as a Sensitive and worn from her ears, my Toma will finally be reunited with her soul. Satisfied and freed of her sorrow.” Somaia untied a satchel of sennit that hung across his chest. Two tiny bright orange stones dangled from golden filigree. Earrings a mortal woman might call ‘beautiful.’ “Use them to set things right Shemaladia of Osprey. It is time.”
Shemaladia was a hunter of lost souls, and knew the countless ways a soul is lost. The stories of the journey never made her grace as hunter less painful. She was skilled at guarding her coil from leaks and prayed the prayers of compassion to surround the telling. “Let me feel. Let me not feel.” The cant was ancient and simple, profound and vital. All hunters were trained to care without becoming undone. Hooded as they were with the braid of Osprey, they were able to do the hunting and the healing. Still, the work was always a time of weeping. Shemaladia turned to the red-feathered Wood Craft and enveloped his small frame with her great wings. Somaia did not resist or expect any less from the huntress. He knew the power of her grace and knew too, the telling was too long untold. The embrace could have been an instant or a cycle of sunrise and sunset. When it ended the earrings were gone.
Freeilll Noa woke to see his old friend emerge from the circle of Shemaladia’s silver wings. Shemaladia of Osprey’s large golden eyes still wet with tears bent to meet Somaia’s eyes. “Thank you Somaia of the South. Your story has been told, and it has been heard.” Glenda and Glennis were now fully awake, well-fed. To Somaia the twins sang, “Uncle is it time to ride the Makani, time to ride the winds?” The adults had been busy with things adults do while the twin girls notice all things at once. Glenda and Glennis seemed to be the only ones who remembered why they were here on the edge of the vast watery gorge. Freeilll looked curiously at the twins and then heard the sound … blowing winds. Makani rose from the gorge pulling with him a bulging long tail of stars encased with the net lost to Dontanea. Reef polyps of un-named colors, fish of blue, bright red and stripes of yellow all rode the current like rocketing comets. Shemaladia turned to look at my father. “Now it is your turn to use the power of words. Silent or out loud, it will not matter. Secrets revealed.
My father knew things would be different again.