Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Forgotten Story

By Snowyclaw

The wind danced with the sand in the thin air of the forgotten plains. Mira stood on the crest of a high dune, proud and tall, but almost transparent with exhaustion. Thousands of years fighting the darkness can leave even the strongest of spirits without the strength to go on. With this encounter, however, Mira had something different, something she had been saving for a time such as this.
This would be the end. 

Her bright eyes watched the horizon patiently, watching as the darkness invaded the sky, shadows rippling along the sand at a breathless pace. A looming eye surrounded by a swirling darkness rose about the earth, invading the blue of the desert sky. An involuntary shiver ran down the grey heron's spine as she watched the hideous thing she created so long ago creep toward the sandy hilltop she stood upon. A laugh echoed along the plains.
"Give up mother," the phantom boomed "all is lost."
Mira shook her head, eyes never leaving the creature. "I am not the mother of one such as you," she replied, "you were born of hate and pain, and so do not belong here."
A gleeful giggle, one not fit for the ears of any sane creature, erupted from the darkness. "Oh but you are. You created me. When Zios left this world you hated him so; he left you alone didn't he?"
Mira lifted her wings high, "I was angered, but that is but an emotion. You are the embodiment of despair, and so do not belong in this land."
"And you expect to stop me, after all this time? Foolish bird."
It was the spirit's turn to laugh. "I am not finished yet dark shadow. As you said, you are part of me, and what am I but the earth?" Mira's wings began to flap at a dizzying rate as she rose, twisting and turning on the howling wind. Sand rose in a cyclone, engulfing Mira and the phantom.
"NO!" the phantom bellowed, "YOU CANNOT BIND ME!"
The spirit that was once a grey heron whirled through to sky, rising to the clouds and gently falling to earth. With one last shrill scream of rage the phantom dissipated, the shadows it was once made of raced away along the sand. The sand fell and the plains lay empty. Nothing but the gentle whisper of the wind was left on the empty landscape.

And so Mira fell, but is she gone? No, she lies within the earth. Within the sky. She is part of everything in Jamaa, just as we are a part of her. She is proud of our strength and watches over us. Perhaps you'll catch glimpses of her spirit from time to time. The shadows remain as well, but not strong enough to emerge on their own. They grasp at the minds of the weak and the petty, but jamaasians are always there to fight the darkness. Mira and Zios fight as well, though they reside in a place beyond sight. Sometimes we can feel them as they fight the shadows, the earth rumbles and lightning flashes. Even the earth boils over in Jamaa's highest mountains in their struggle. Mira, Zios, the shamans, and us. Those that inhabit Jamaa. We all play a part in the fight against the darkness, and we will continue. The war may never end, but that doesn't mean that it isn't worth fighting.

The End

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Harper's Beginning (Part 1)

By Snowyclaw

Not much is known of the seal shaman, Harper. What was her life like before she appeared so suddenly in Jamaa? Let's find out. . .

Chapter 1
"See that gathering of stars, my child?" the mother harp seal asked her daughter.
"Yes, mum," the pup replied.
"That is our spirit, the seal goddess Cithara. She is what gives all things beautiful to this frozen land. From her eyes shine the northern lights, from her sleek white fur comes the snow, from her silver claws the ice, and from her tail the endless currents of the ocean."
"How do you know she's there?"
"Cithara is always there, she is our protectress, our life-giver, and our guide wherever our travels take us. She lives within us, here on the ice, and in the realm of the ice spirits. We are her children, just as you are mine," the mother seal looked into the sky, her mind lost in the stars.
"You'll always be with me," the pup whispered, "right?"
"Sometimes you won't be able to see me, but I'll always be with you Harper."
"Always and forever."

Chapter 2
Forever did not last long. Though it felt like days the light never differed, and as hard as she searched, Harper could not see her mother in the dark waters of their breathing hole. Her mother had set out for a hunting trip and never returned. A tear slid down her face, freezing droplets forming in her snowy, white fur. Deep down Harper knew her mother was not coming back, and that's why she was different from the other seal pups. She was barely five days old, still pure white, certainly not a sleek, grey ten-day-old. Survival? Impossible. Heart heavy, but will strong, Harper set forth where no pup had gone before - the dark icy ocean. Harper gathered herself at the edge of the ice, stared into the dark depths, and plunged headfirst. She froze in shock, the icy chill of the ocean tearing at her with it's cruel talons, pulling her into its lair of everlasting sleep. Harper shook herself, even her spirit felt like it was shaking,  but she at last woke up and felt her body stir. I escaped, but this won't be the last time I evade the jaws of death, Harper thought. Even with the first flick of her tail she fell in love with the icy, forbidding waters. She new this was her home, and where she was meant to be. What she didn't know was that because of her close call with the endless sleep, her snow white fur would never fall. Harper would forever be the white seal pup that slid into the depths of the sea and found . . . hope.

Chapter 3
As Harper grew older she changed; though her body stayed small her spirit grew. The currents of the ocean could barely keep up as she cut the water like a streak of white lightning. At a standstill below the ice her silky white fur would glimmer and float in beams of sunlight, making her seem like a vision to fellow seals. The dazzling moonlight shining through the Arctic ice led her eyes to glow like stars. Other harp seals generally kept away, awed and intimidated by the strangeness of the white seal. Harper was fine with that. She spent her days and nights alone, and in doing so discovered the magic of silence. She could hear the voices of the distant whales, the whisper of the wind above the arctic ice, and the murmur of the sea currents on their travels. One night, however, she heard something else. What is that . . . singing? Harper though. She slowly pushed herself up onto a thin ice sheet, listening keenly. Hearing nothing she sighed, looking up at the stars of Cithara, the seal goddess, that her mother had shown her long ago. One seemed to wink at her, when she felt something strange. There was a gentle pulse of sound that came from the stars, one not heard, but felt. Harper closed her eyes, and let her spirit stretch out into the sky and stars. A melody of gentle voices wove through the night; whispers of the past, present, and future brushed Harper's mind. She opened her starlit eyes in wonder. It's the seal spirits, they live in the stars. Mother was right, she is with me even now, always and forever.

Chapter 4
Seeing the vast inequality between the two-leg hunters and her kind, Harper vowed to find a way to teach them that seals were not the helpless creatures they appeared to be. The animal spirit two-legs hunted the seals to live, Harper could see that, but the pale two-legs did it for their fur. Harper could see that greed in their eyes when they killed a snow white pup with their hideous clubs. Where the pup died the snow was stained, not only with its blood, but with its mother's grief. The death spot of a seal pup was avoided by all seals, even those of different species. As the years swam by Harper grew stronger, she was an adult harp seal with pale white fur, stronger than any male of her kind, her brilliant grey eyes where unlike any other's. Harper was also born with strangely long claws and immensely strong front legs. This meant she could travel on ice as well as in the Arctic waters. Harper began to sharpen her claws on the ice, and along with their constant use, the outer black slowly wore down to show a brilliant silver that stayed needle sharp. Though she didn't notice, Harper became the embodiment of Cithara, the Seal goddess, to other seals. Legends were spun of her great adventures to the land of no-ice, incredible battles with rabid white bears and pale two-legs, as well as her kindness towards all seal species. Fiction and fact became one and the same, her stories would be passed down generations, never to be forgotten.

Chapter 5
The ice crackled under Harper's paws as she walked and slid along the arctic ice. The bright sky illuminated everything around her, nothing went unnoticed. Suddenly, a small figure appeared in the distance. Harper tensed, but continued forward until finding that it was an old, animal spirit two-leg, one she recognized as the medicine female of a nearby two-leg nest. Harper let the two-leg approach, warily stepping closer to another seal's breathing hole.
"Do not be afraid my child," the two-leg called, "I mean you no harm."
Harper froze. How can I understand her? She thought.
"The same way I can understand you, little one," spoke the two-leg calmly, "I also am of a seal spirit."
"Are you, perhaps, one of the spirt two-legs of the ice village?"Harper murmured hesitantly.
"Yes, strong one, I am what they call their shaman. A wound healer and a tale singer."
"Have you come for me, wise one?" said Harper, now emboldened by the honesty and kindness lining the words of the spirit shaman.
"Yes indeed, clever one," the two-leg smiled, "I'm here to guide you in what you need for the next world."
With that she slowly turned back to the direction from which she came, beginning to shuffle through the snow and ice. Harper stood a while, watching the spirited one, head tilted in thought. She blinked in surprise at her own decision. With the gentle push of the wind and the whisper of encouragement from the deep waters Harper set off; head help high and silver claws flashing, following the two-leg towards the frigid horizon.

The Beginning Continues . . . In Part 2