Shinjao nursed her child as she listened to the lulling sounds of the village-tree. They gave ample assurance that all was well, and that she was free to explore Jeniah’s branch of the Huntthread.
The Trueborn was weaving, a tapestry even more complex than the patterns woven on the huge loom Rachyl had constructed in the early days, when Osiiraan and the rest of Aletris were just beginning to heal from the twins’ Breaking. Any who wished might weave on the hangings made there, and the patterns grew intricate – but as nothing to what Jeniah was creating.
Aletris was offering threads, and Kaivelt Jeniah’s once and perhaps future Solemate, and the Tacivaarii and the Canivaarii, and Everdeep….even hints of the Otherworlders who raped and killed in search of whatever they were taking in their poisoned diggings.
And she was weaving the disparate threads into a pattern that shifted as the winds and snows, as the flickering pictures in the stars, as the phases of the moons and seasons, as the nature of relationship within Tribes, and between lovers…
Jeniah wove, and, in the weaving, drew these varying threads closer, intertwining, so that it was clear that, together, they were making a net in which to entrap the Otherworlders – not to destroy them, but instead to release them, back to whatever world had birthed them,and, in the doing of it, to free Aletris, as well…and, perhaps, in some way, to assist Kaivelt with the shadowy threat he sensed.
There was something strange in being witness to this, the most vital and powerful of weavings. It was both calming and unsettling, to know that such an act was being committed, and to feel the undertaking of it, the way it absorbed and consumed the former Huntleader, and how she seemed made for this weaving more than for anything that had gone before, in her life.
But, each time, the simpler, plainer weavings of Osirraan and the Tacivaarii drew her in, brought her out of the depths of what Jeniah was doing. She could not truly belong to that striving, consciously. She would become a snag, because she had neither the strength nor the awareness to sense and follow all of the nuances of the new-made fabric.
Now, it was Arys and Cataan, coming back from a run together in the waning storm, with a string of rabbits who had ventured forth to forage in these lean times. “Three of them are mine!” Cataan exclaimed, dancing around her and making the baby giggle and twist away from the breast, so that she could follow him with wide eyes and still-unruly fists.
“Three!” She looked at Arys, who nodded solemnly, but his eyes sparkled with pride at his Soleson. That, and wanting to be with her, to share this moment with her. Running in Winter’s Knell always made him long for her, and a lingering Matehunt.
“Three! And Arys has said that he will show me the skinning, so that I can learn it, and then to clean my own kills! And, Mother, I want to give the strongest heart to (baby sister). I caught it for her firstmeat. You said it was time.”
She looked into his bright dancing eyes, and laughed. “Then you shall, Cataan. You have seen it done often enough; you need no one to tell the doing of it.”
(baby sister) reached waveringly toward him, gurgling the new beginnings of words as he came near and took her from Shinjao’s arms.
Arys came to her, so that she could examine the rabbits. It was his choice, which to keep and which to share, but he always left it too her, since the babe’s birthing. He had vowed to do so until she was able to hunt once more.
His hands were warm and rough as he caressed her, savoring her and awakening her desire, so recently returned to her. She smiled, and told him, “Cataan will surely sleep soundly, before many sunrounds pass, for the air and the exertion. And then…”
She explored the rabbits, using all her senses, to know which met the needs of her family. She could tell which of the eight were Cataan’s; these she set aside – the choosing of what to do with these was his alone. Of the others, she kept two large, soft does carrying near term early young. “We will have these, Arys, and the skin of the large buck. Osiiraan may have the rest, to use as she will.”
“I will see to that, once Cataan has finished with the babe and is ready to join me.” He kissed her. “Will you be here, when we return?”
Shinjao felt herself melting into his embrace, wishing they could simply couple, as they had in those first days. But there was also a spice to waiting, to knowing what they intended, after the day’s tendings. It was a glowing ember of pressure within her, and she could hold it, nurture it, as they went about what they intended, until they could meet again…
“Perhaps; perhaps not. I will be yet with Rachyl, if I am not. There are matters we must discuss, in private; I will go to her in her nursery, and return when we have done, and are full of visiting.”
“It is well that you have female friends.” He smiled. “And that you have a son who honors me by including me in his life. I will await with a gift suited to you, my lovely woman.”
She gave him a little shove as she sighed and drew away. “You, Arys are always gift enough.”
But his smile as she turned to the children said that there would be some gift, nonetheless, as he always presented her with one, each night – some small tribute from his day, that said she had been still with him in every breath they had taken apart.
That knowing blended with the upsurge of awareness of Jeniah’s weavings, a sensing so strong she could almost make out the pattern of it, feel its texture, scent the threads and the dyes…
She gathered the infant into her, settled her into her carrying sling, and went to Rachyl, half-lost in the Trueborn’s intertwinings…
Jeniah had gone into the trees, and remained there, as they skirted the edges of the Poisoned Lands. She was lost in her awarenesses, Aletris and Kaivelt winding together, becoming more and more a part of her being, with first one and then the other dominating.
Vaara wondered if this was a great danger, or a blessing, but she could not know enough of the variables to begin to formulate a useful equation.
Since it was quite likely that she would be seriously mind-injured if Vaara or anyone else interfered before she was done, there was little point in attempting to take her attention.
~Sima garo provides.~
It was a sleepy, half-dreaming thought, and she wasn’t sure Kaivelt meant to send it to her, or even if he knew he had thought it. But there was a certain peace in it, and Vaara knew he would not feel so if there were danger to Jeniah in this sharing with Aletris.
So she settled into wary ease…Jeniah’s presence in her mind was at once highly attuned to her surroundings, and vague with the depth of the new sharing, and the fire-traced edges of Kaivelt’s dreamings.
She could feel that things were being shared, between her sister and the planet herself- for Aletris was indeed self-aware, and, moreover, utterly certain of her ever-shifting places, in Everdeep and in the lives of her diversity of children. But she could not spare all the focus that was needed to be fully aware of these strange Otherworlders, and she couldn’t know them as she did her own children, born of her earth and sustained by her.
As she skirted the edges of the Poisoned Lands, where the snow was still as it had always been, Vaara kept her focus outward, on the details Jeniah might easily miss, during her joining.
They had had no plan – there were too many Tribed, and too maddened by the poison they might have been ingesting for many sunrounds. They could not contain them all, not in the time they had to them.
But Aletris had a plan. She would use Jeniah to sense the Otherworld interlopers, and the poisoned Tribed. Then, she could direct her strength outward through the Tacivaarii Trueborn, and prevent her children from being wantonly killed.
That would be the beginning, but there was more – much, much more – in the sharing than what she could sense, beyond knowing that she, too, had her part to play in the rescue of her world.
And so, she patrolled the edges of the blasted lands, pointing her nose first to the directions from which the maddened Hunters would come, and then into the Poisoned Lands, where the dust- streaked snow thinned from the unnatural heat, and where the small sounds and scents of life abruptly ended, because none could live long in this inhospitable place.
Joined to Jeniah, and so sensing her deepening ties to the consciousness of their world, she could feel something of the depths of anguish and rage for ever life lost, every grain of earth taken by the invaders.
She had been searching for three sunlengths when she caught the scent of the approaching Hunters. There were not as many as there had been; their madness had caused them to fall upon one another, and some had not survived.
Aletris knew it too, and there was a wave of sorrow, and a deepening of rage,from the echoes of Jeniah’s mind. There would be an accounting, from the planet, for all the damage and death that had been wrought as a result of the invasion and rape.
And her part in it was to find the poisoned ones, to know just where they were, because the taint of the deep poisons made them other, and hard for the world to sense. In some fashion, the were no longer wholly of this world, because they held the poisons born of the Otherworlders’ violent attacks.
She would undertake that duty willingly – Vaara was beginning to sense that Aletris, too, had equations which governed her, and that these equations had become, with the arrival of the Otherworlders, dangerously imbalanced. Life was becoming a skewed and dangerous affair, and, if nothing was done to bring that equation back into balance, the consequences might prove deadly, not just for the poisoned ones, but for all life everywhere, and for Aletris herself.
The scent was still thready and weak in the crisp midwinter air, and unmoving, now – the poisons so long in their systems had kept the hunters from eating as they were intended, and they were grown weak and malnourished, and in need of frequent rest. They would not reach the edge of the Poisoned Lands this day; and perhaps not on the morrow –
“They will not reach them, kelaan.”
Vaara started – she had clearly been dangerously preoccupied, that she had not sensed Jeniah’s approach.
Her sister smiled, clearly reading her reaction – but this was and was not Jeniah, and, at the same bloodpulse, was and was not Aletris. There was deep power and knowing in her.
“How will they not, Jeniah? We do not have the strength to stop them, without further breaking the world.”
“I am the world, child.” Deep run of amusement and affection in the scent, as though her answer had been a private joke. “You need only find just where they are, and I will see to the rest. There are ways of breaking that are natural and helpful to me, and these I will use to protect my children, to offer them up to you for healing, and to prevent their untimely death at the hands of those who abuse me.”
“I will go ot them at once-”
“No.” The single syllable held echoes of Tacivaar, and Kaitiiraan, and Jeniah at her most imperial – but, beneath that, there was a deeper command, and a kinder – Aletris herself was opposing. “You need rest, child – and you are near enough to your next dosing – and this one through whom I speak cannot hold my thoughts without rest, and time to be with he who is her Chosen.”
“Then what would you have me do?”
“You will come to our shelter. The poisoned ones will not approach it, if we’re within, or nearby – they are maddened enough to believe that they can avoid our detection if they do not, and their blood boils not against us, but the Otherworlders.”
“But, if we are taking shelter, can they not elude us, sister?”
“There will be a blizzard, this night, lasting a tenday. We will alert the runners coming from Osiiraan, so that they can be prepared and sheltered. The maddened ones are not moving, they will be protected as well as they are able to be – but no one will be able to travel, and all will have suitable rest.”
“And what then?” Vaara felt the equation shifting, moving back towards balance, and harmony. But she could not see the shape of it.
“There will be time for planning, as the storm rages.” And Jeniah Changed, and leapt back into the trees, heading at once for their lair, leaving Vaara to follow, alone with her hope and her questions.
- Sima Garo Provides – Chapter Ten, Scene Two (shanjeniahstruebornjottings.wordpress.com)
- Sima Garo Provides, Chapter Nine,Scene 2 (shanjeniahstruebornjottings.wordpress.com)
- Sima Garo Provides – Prologue (shanjeniahstruebornjottings.wordpress.com)
- Sima Garo Provides – Chapter Ten, Scene One (in progress) (shanjeniahstruebornjottings.wordpress.com)
- Changes and Progress…-ROW80 Goals Update, Oct. 24, 2012 (shanjeniah.com)
- So It Goes – Thankvember NaNoROW, 11/25/12 (shanjeniah.com)
- Sima Garo Provides: Chapter 3, Scene 2 (shanjeniahstruebornjottings.wordpress.com)