Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mere Acquaintances- Chapter Twenty-Six

Someone had turned the TV in the common room to an educational channel, and a nature show about undersea life was on. Huge schools of pale, silvery fish glinted in the sunlight that filtered through the shallows of the water. It was impressive how they swam in a cluster and seemed to move as one. Vale’s eyes were locked on the images, but his mind was racing.

The plain could definitely be called “the middle of nowhere.” The Mother had told Jaidyn to go out in the open, and here he was. He had followed instructions, and… nothing. He had already been out here for two days, waiting. She had said help would find him. Well, where was this help?

Had the Mother lied to him? Of course not, he chided himself. The Mother was the epitome of goodness, the mother of every living thing: animal, plant, and person alike. Why would she lie to someone who would so blindly follow her, was so devoted to her that he didn’t question her?

He was still surprised that the Mother had appeared to him, and in the form of a man. Then again, she is a goddess; she can do whatever she wants. She could have fixed everything in a second had she wanted to. So why didn’t she? Probably some cock-and-bull reason– wanting him to earn it himself, right the wrongs of humans only by pointing other humans in the right direction– something like that. If he had her powers, he would definitely make sure things always went the way he wanted.

The Mother had actually appeared to him; there was a part of his mind that kept dwelling on that point alone. The Mother had appeared in bodily form– if as a man– to him. That sealed it in his mind: he was the true Cheyne Firdin rebirth. He was the one destined for greatness, not this as-yet-unnamed fellow all the rumors spoke of. The Mother was had spoken to him personally, had told him help was coming, was sending someone to right the wrongs done to him. She had even called him “my reborn king” which had to mean a throne was coming his way.

Had Cheyne been a king once? He tried to remember, searched for something to tell him the answer, but he only kept coming to memories of Lexan. She would get rid of them. She hadn’t said so outright, but she had said she would help him. She knew about them; she would do something. He kept telling himself that over and over as memories of Lexan tried again and again to force their way to the forefront of his thoughts. He kept fighting them back.

“No! I don’t want you! It’s Cheyne I want! I’m Cheyne!” He screamed at the thoughts of Lexan that kept barging in where they weren’t wanted. He scratched at his head, at his temples, trying to dig them out. “Save me, Mother! Save me from these cursed memories!”

“You… the one,” came an unfamiliar man’s voice.

When Jaidyn looked up, he was surrounded by men and women, all dressed in skins and with hair ranging from pale buttery yellow to gold. Keidenelle. He was completely surrounded by them. There was an ungainly pair of wagons outside the circle they made around him; each wagon held more of the savages. Each man and woman of them carried some sort of weapon, be it a blade, a wooden staff, or a bow.

He fell to his knees, darting his eyes from one savage to the next, trying to watch them all at once and waiting for them to attack. “Please, I’m unarmed! Don’t hurt me, please!”

They gave no sign that they understood, only looked down on him with eyes that were boldly colored green or blue or violet. It was like looking into a strange sea of jewels. One man, with a mop of hair the color of a canary and eyes so blue they made the sky seem plain, squatted in front of Jaidyn and pointed a long, tan finger at him. “You… our master…” His finger inched forward until it touched Jaidyn’s forehead, where the black speck of light had burned him.

His eyes widened. These were the Mother’s followers? The savage Keidenelle? Part of him groaned inwardly, but part of him rejoiced. The sliver of his mind that he associated with Lexan was positively delighted. There was fear attached to the Keidenelle. What an army they could make!

Trying to hide the trembling of his knees, he got to his feet and looked the man in those frighteningly blue eyes. “I am your master,” he said.

The savages surrounding him made strange noises that sounded negative to him. The man shook his head and pointed again. “Your master, our master. Knew you come. Great servant. We follow.”

Well, at least they would follow him. That was good enough. “I am Jaidyn,” he said, striking himself importantly on the chest.

“Alaykichihaahoush,” the Keidenelle man, who Jaidyn took for some sort of a leader, said, imitating Jaidyn’s chest strike.

“That’s uh… some name,” Jaidyn said sheepishly. “Um…… I’ll call you Alay. Alay,” he repeated, pointing at him to emphasize that he was to answer to the nickname.

Alay seemed to understand. He turned to the wagons and shouted something Jaidyn didn’t understand. The others began gathering and the men driving the wagons spurred the horses to move. The rest of the band began following the wagons.

“Come,” Alay said, motioning for Jaidyn to follow. He did so gladly. What a way to proclaim himself! He couldn’t wait to get to a city and proclaim himself Cheyne reborn. He had conquered the Keidenelle!

No comments:

Post a Comment