Forever winter (Part 27)

The Story so far or Listen to this episode


HALL OF GIANTS

Danuna was grumpy today. He was tired and he was late, two things he hated being. He was late because he had overslept, and he’d overslept because he had been so tired all day yesterday, having only half of his usual sleep. He’d been up later the last few nights, setting up Othrox chimes in the festival arrangements. It wasn’t just him of course involved in the celebrations, Othrox being an event to remember the time of each person’s lives already lived and passed. An acknowledgement of things gone. The chimes were the trickiest, each one containing over a thousand sandor stones, thin crystal-like stones which looked like shells. When the wind passes over them, they would circle and swirl, emitting both a colourful mist and beautiful sound. If hung correctly of course, each one requires much careful placement and checking. Though others were helping, Danuna had a controlling nature.

He made his way across the great surface, the huge platform at the centre of the Koddoah would take someone nearly ten minutes to cross from one side to the other. He strode briskly, his skin flashing silver and green with each stride as his mind spun on a thousand things. Worry and concern weren’t unknown to most Europans, but few gave them much worth, reactional and unprotective elements it had been concluded. The green flashes on his skin set Danuna further apart from his brethren who were quite excited and joyous over the coming festivities.

His mind elsewhere, he walked completely by the great stone which had begun to hum and shake in its electrical activity. It was only the sound of the other, hissing to life that made him stop and look over towards it. The stones in the Koddoah were similar to the ones on Earth, not exactly the same. The story of the giants and peach pit explained away the oval, almost crude shape of the Mondol stones. But here on Europa, these same stones hung off the ice slightly, at about head height. They were cupped on one side, and larger, fitting neatly around the Mondol stones if they were ever joined.

The stones here were used for many things, in many practises. The Europans, masters of their power and capabilities. So Danuna’s surprise was not of the stones coming to life on their own, but without his knowledge.

The shot out of the stone closest to him made him leap backwards, alarmed by the intensity of the light and the sharpness of its connection. The two stones, hanging above him, sizzled into brightness, the spark connecting the two quickly widening until the holes into space and time appeared at the centre of them both. It took only a moment, and suddenly his busy morning became further complicated as he was suddenly surrounded by a sea of crazed little creatures, two humans and a fellow Europan who was glowing in what the mystics of the moon would call the ‘Flaze’.

The Mondol stones back in the clearing were illuminated now by the brilliant white and blue light that the doorway to Europa made. Ezra and Malthrop who stood some distance from the stones now, could see into the hole which stretched over the stars. The opposite stones pulsed in a violet haze, offering entry to an unknown place and one that, just by a glance, made the hairs on the back of Malthrop’s neck rise.

“Where is that?” Malthrop asked, referring to the stone closest to him, though Ezra assumed he meant the one that took them to Europa.

“It’s the planet, moon…whatever; Europa. Have you heard of it? It’s up there, millions of miles away. It’s where P’erl is from.” He said, jabbing his fist to the sky to indicate the blanket of space that hung above them.

“Europa?” Malthrop replied, puzzled.

“It’s a pretty wild, and long explanation. But that’s where they’ve been taken to, it has to be. Come on.” He said and made his way towards the opening which promised them the moon.

Malthrop, confused but committed followed him, both approaching the stone. They hadn’t noticed, but out of the stones, a mist had begun to pour from the bottom. Slight, almost transparent. If they had been standing further away, they would’ve noticed it more, but as it was, they gave it none. The mist swelled like a foggy tide, rippling outward away from the centre of the clearing.

“Look at that!” Malthrop said, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing through the stone.

Ezra rubbed his eyes like a child, though used to the wonder he too was surprised by the scale of it all. The doorway indeed led to Europa, right into the Koddoah where the other stones were. But the view fractured at the edges, like many eyes glancing all around the space. They could see the huge domed ice roof, the vast empty space that hung below it half decorated in ornate ice crystals. Giant blue iced columns rose and fell like waves all around and they could see the other stones.

“There, look it’s them!” Ezra said, pointing to a spot where P’erl, the gentleman of the boxes and the lady of the jars were, dark and small in the blueish brightness of the iced space.

She had felt a feeling at the tips of her toes, like dipping into warm water. Pleasant. It took her away suddenly to a memory from her childhood, dipping her feet into the warm spring that bubbled by the black rocks of her village. She remembered her and the other children would hold their noses at the springs, the sulphur making it a smelly but exciting time with the naturally warmed water. Here the feeling flowed upwards, her ankles washed with the warmness. It pulled her down as much as it rose upwards, until her whole body was soft and warm, like a comforting hug. She opened her eyes then, as if allowed to, the warming feeling almost whispering her to keep them closed until finished.

She had travelled millions of miles in moments, swept through the portal that the stones conjured, bringing her to Europa. But not just her, and she could see that now as P’erl stood beside her, glowing brightly, and turning to her.

“You are safe, it is home.” P’erl said, flowing her arm out to show the space, and hoping the lady would take it. She did, grasping it tightly she stepped forward and hugged her.

“Oh my dear, I’m so happy to see you. I knew it would be alright.” The lady said, her heart only there in that moment with the girl.

“What is this, what is happening?” A voice spoke from the other side of her.

Turning, she saw the gentleman of the boxes, almost shrunken now from his boldness of before, diminished in the difference and uncontrollable nature of his new surroundings.

“This is my home world, this is Europa. And you are all most welcome.” The girl said, almost inclining her head into a bow.

“All?” The gentleman said, but then he saw them, the Dimian were massed beside him now, though they seemed to be frozen in a shaking group.

“All, yes.” P’erl replied, blinking delicately, little flashes of light emitting from her eyes.

“I personally would like to say you’re not that welcome this morning, though I’m sure we can accommodate.” Came a shrill voice.”  Danuna stood, his arms flat by his side, a sign of annoyance on Europa.

“Danuna, oh it’s so nice to see you.” P’erl said, a smile appearing. She went across to him, and though they made no physical contact, the auras around each of them seemed to hug one another, though his was much more diminished than her own.

“Your father said you had gone. The journey from within, you must be proud. Are these friends of yours or is that part of the great correction?” He asked, shrill still but with more of a warmth in his tone.

“Friends.” She replied, inclining her head as was appropriate.

“Well then.” Danuna said, casting a quizzical eye towards the Dimian which were still huddled together in a mass. “We mustn’t linger here, there is much to do in I’m afraid they’ll only be in the way here.”

Suddenly a small stick hit him on the side of the head.

“What the…” He said, turning to see where it had come from.

To the other side of him, the lady of the jars had stridden across towards one of the idle stones, hovering above her head. The gentleman of the boxes seemingly stuck to the spot, watching everything around him perplexed.

“Where did you say you’d been, which planet?” Danuna asked, peering now into one of the stones which had brought them there. The doorway still open, and the light still pulsed within.

“Earth.” P’erl replied, almost like a whisper.

“Anyone you left behind at all?” He asked, offering his hand up to the stones so she could see. Down the tunnelled view, waving frantically was Ezra, another stick in his hand.

“Oh, yes!” P’erl said, her eyes alive more so.

“If they could reframe from chucking things across the expanse of time and space and into my head, I would much appreciate it.” He said, crossly now, examining the stick which he’d picked up from the floor.

“It all happened so fast.” She said, turning to the lady.

“Are they okay, oh Ezra…there he is. And Malthrop.” The lady said, coming across and peering into the stone. She waved back, seeing both of them now millions of miles away. Her heart warmed in the knowing.

“Urm, where is your friend off to may I ask, he mustn’t disrupt the Othrox chimes waiting to go up.” Danuna said, interrupting.

They all looked to see the gentleman of the boxes running across the huge space, aiming for one of the decorative tunnel openings on the other side.

“That man!” The lady of the jars said.

“We have to get him; he still needs to see.” P’erl said and taking her hand they started off after him across the space. Danuna calling after them too.

“Your other friends, what of them?” He called.

They could see the Dimian huddled and shaking, grouped together into a huge cloud of frantic energy. P’erl suddenly had an idea.

“Please take them to the cloudarys…the Lankaripii will see them right.” She called back but sped on with the lady of the jars who was breathing harder, her lungs adapting to the air on Europa.

“Fanuk.” Danuna muttered to himself, shaking his head, his morning now quite displaced.

Back on earth Ezra and Malthrop watched as the girl and the lady ran off across the hall. They called out to Danuna, but their voices could not travel as easily as bodies it seemed, and they watched him go about the business of removing the Dimian from the Koddoah, whirls of icy mist and colour swept them away through huge pipes which he brought about with ease. Danuna took no more notice of the stones that remained active, nor of Ezra and Malthrop, his own mind now back on the preparations and tasks before him. He bustled about as if P’erl would return and sort the things from another world out.

“What do we do now?” Malthrop asked, less panicked now knowing the others seemed safe at least. Ezra had explained about Europa, and he knew now what he was seeing through the stones.

“I think we’ll just have to wait for them to get back. I don’t think we should go through, not yet.” Ezra said, thinking things over.

Malthrop nodded, but something made him turn around quickly.

“Urm……Ezra. Have you seen what is happening here?”

Turning his back to the stone and the glare of the light, Ezra was met by a wall of mist towering upwards and out from where they stood. As if held in the eye of a storm they stood there, the top met with the clouds and snow, sprinkling in little blue sparks as a rumbling magic within illuminated the snowflakes.

“Now what!” Ezra said, he and Malthrop seemingly pushed down by the force of what was occurring now all around them.

“Where would he go? What is this place?” The lady asked, speeding now along with P’erl.

“This is the Koddoah, it’s a great ceremony room which we have many celebrations and markings of events. He must think we are to harm him.” P’erl replied.

“Idiot man, after all he’s seen. I guess he’s scared and unsure, both things not lending well to understanding. He’s at home underground, so he’ll benefit from the tunnels.” The lady said as they entered one themselves. It was nothing like the tunnels they had been trapped in earlier. This tunnel was like slipping into the ocean, the deep blue and turquoise that rippled into disappearing, outwardly and all around as it faded into the moon. The walls were lit by little pink and white lights, twinkling as if Christmas lights, they led the way with a beautiful sound like the song of a morning chorus, ethereal and almost hypnotic.

“Where does this lead?” The lady asked, struggling to take in the sights of what she was streaming past. Huge gullies and cuts in the ice, deep slices where the shaves fell like waterfalls and huge blocks twinkled like diamonds.

“Depending on where he turns, it will head towards the forever chambers or the illumination stations.” She said, seeming to float more than run like the lady was.

“Are either of them dangerous?” She asked.

“The illuminations stations are the energy points across the moon, with your earthly magic they can be powerful.”  She replied.

“Great!” The lady said. “Though I guess he’ll need to know what he’s doing.”

“The elements were silent in him through the transition. I felt the darkness be only a void now.” The girl said.

“Then that is the danger, where there is empty still, who knows what will rush in. His anger might no longer be there, but his fear is still hungry.”

“He wouldn’t destroy this place though would he, he knows nothing of it.” The girl said, thoughts now conflicting in her mind somewhat.

“We have an awful habit on earth in destroying the things we don’t understand.” The lady replied.

Up ahead, the gentleman of the boxes darted quickly down a slope and through a wide passageway leading to a bubbled structure in the ice. The illumination station hummed in its perpetualness before him. Glancing back only for a moment, he rushed towards the structure, a fear warming him against the ice all around.


snowflake up close

3 thoughts on “Forever winter (Part 27)

  1. Hmmm …profoundly true Mark …
    “We have an awful habit on earth in destroying the things we don’t understand.” The lady replied.

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