The Dream of Tantathawe

As the convoy cruised along, rowers rowing, Benda and Greppo the First King looked ahead off to the sea in the direction of Buorth. The Lost Direction was found again, thanks to an unlikely hero, Tob Gobble, and his reed flute.

A subtle silvery stream of water seemed to flow just beneath the surface of the vast ocean, and the prow of their ship clove to it. Neither man spoke, each filled with his own thoughts. Benda’s were of the tragic loss to Quatria which he knew in his heart was destined to come, and that he in his returning to Kremel had propelled that ruin into existence. Greppo’s was solely focused on the gains in wealth and majesty to himself, his kingdom and all of Kremel which were to surely come. He felt great pride too, for re-opening the way, the way of his ancestors — for he too traced his line of descent from Embatet, the magical son of Omouna, who had been expelled from the Far Blessed Lands. For each, then, it was a kind of sacred home-coming, though the meaning inverted one to the other.

As Benda stood in contemplation of his predicament, and what he ought to do, he thought he heard a small voice speak from nowhere. He turned around, but the decks were clear on his ship. He looked back to the next, and though he saw activity there, discerned no probable source of voice, none who had spoken to him, as if just near at hand — or within?

“Papa!” he heard the voice now clearly ringing, as of a bell in his heart. And he knew it at once, as though his own. “Sol?” he said aloud, and turned around again in wonder. No one was there still, but as the chained-together ships swayed and lumbered under oar, he saw a ways off on the deck of the third ship the sable golek Machef, along with his wife Lualla, and his young son Sol.

“We are with you,” the voice of Machef spoke now in his heart. “You need suffer no more in loneliness.”

On the channels of light which connected them, the golek mindspeaker acted as a lightwell, a kind of transceiver. It happened with some regularity that non-mindspeaker listeners who often received from mindspeakers would have these internal ports temporarily or permanently opened on account of the purity and intensity of this manner of communication. And they would learn to feed back into the lightways, replying in like manner. This had not yet happened between Benda and Machef naturally, but it was on the verge of becoming. Machef simply pushed the door open the rest of the way, stepped back, and acted as bridge and repeater to connect to Lualla and Sol.

Sol, a child, took to it naturally, not knowing that among his people, mindspeaking had retreated to being only the province of beasts, and magicians, and madmen. Lualla, however, this being her first such experience, was much more fearful and tentative. She could listen, but she could not speak thus. Benda, whose heart was near to overflowing, however spoke for all of them, and he did in not words, but brilliant pictures.

He sent them along the lightways the fullness of his experience since he had left them that day outside Cananxus village for what should have been a three hour fishing tour. It had been a day like any other, but which lead him by the hand of fate instead to a storm-at-sea, and then to those far shores. He showed them the fear he felt and then all the joy and happiness he’d found in the welcome of the peoples of Quatria. He showed them how he had given it all up to return to the two of them, his family — the one true source of all joy, without which he knew, no matter how rich the country, or beautiful the people, he would surely languish and die.

Lualla wept, and Sol listened and watched in the shared chambers of their hearts in rapturous wonder.

Benda showed them the island of Ovarion, which had been promised to him before his departure by the High Augur, a bright shining green and white jewel in the sea to the west of Quatria, on the cusp of the Houses of Song and Silence. And he showed them the strong but humble house he vowed to build them there, once things had been put to rights. It was a dream of his, an inward vision which he had always dwelt on but had not yet named. But the name welled up spontaneously in his heart, calling itself in the Quatrian tongue, Tantathawe. He shared it with them as his vow, a testament, a promise. Despite their fear, and the losses they had and would still have to endure, all would be made whole again at a higher level in Tantathawe.

Just then, the sky darkened, and out of it stooped the eagle Murta, landing heavily on deck of the first ship, to report to Greppo. Machef let the canals of light connecting himself and the others to Benda go dark and silent once more.

“The winds are upon us, my lord. We have reached Tetharys.”

It was then the storms began in earnest.

Originally published at http://www.timboucher.ca on October 18, 2019.

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