Photo taken in Costa Rica, near Poas Volcano. While in Costa Rica, I felt as close to paradise as I could imagine. It was the inspiration for my novel. I miss it every day…
Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
by Cheryl Pennington
all rights reserved, artistic and written
Welcome again. As our tale continues, the visitors to the Garden grow more frequent as the Keepers of Dohman await the arrival of the first born human child to their world. A beautiful female arrives with a strange traveling companion. What does she know of the future for M’na and Fireann? What is the purpose of the beast at her side? Read on to follow the unfolding of life on the world of Dohman…
Time was drawing nearer for the birth of the child in The Garden, so Eagna set out for Dohman. Mother Inion had come to her in a vision, appearing to the gentle female as a great white spider. It did not frighten her for she knew her Mother’s Essence even in such a form. The Spider Mother advised Eagna that it was time to move toward the Garden and help to complete preparations with the couple there. It was not surprising to the wise female for she had been watching from her mirrored lake and knew M’na was now full with the child she carried. She felt a great anticipation for this journey and a richness of Spirit for her purpose. The details of her vision would be shared with the Mother of Dohman’s miracle when they met.
Together Eagna and the white beast would see many wonderful things on their journey, not the least of which was meeting other humans. They soon stopped to rest at the home of Eolas. There, in the comfort of kinship and the shadows of a dwindling fire, the Woman of Wisdom and the Keeper of Knowledge talked into the night about their purpose on Dohman and the eternal hope that lay in the coming of this child. Although this was their first meeting, the pair seemed drawn to one another as though they had been akin for a long time. Neither had yet experienced the effects of the dark rift in the soul that seemed so important to repair; but then again, life was new yet and each had lived alone and untouched by darkness thus far. They agreed that it was important to trust the Creators because they were magnificent indeed to have made such a lovely world and placed the humans upon it. Eagna felt a strong sense of familiarity with Eolas and he likewise with her; and both were eager to meet again. The Tigress dozed lazily during most of this visit, for she had dreams of her own…
During her journey, Eagna passed through the land of cliffs and rocks where the Warrior resided but did not stop to meet Laoch this time, although she was well aware of his presence upon Dohman. She knew for all could be seen and known through her window of water. Instead, she made her bed beneath the safety of a large outcropping under the night sky with her sleek, white companion by her side to keep watch. And she had another watcher that night. Laoch saw the pair as they entered his lands and knew she was on her way to the Garden. Although at another moment he might have approached her, something held him back. He had only met one other female and that was M’na, and she had been with Fireann. They had been together in a group. This female traveling alone might find his appearance threatening, and he wasn’t sure about that great white beast who slept at her feet. Laoch had never seen anything so lovely or mysterious; and that night he slept on the ledge above them just so that he could watch her sleep… and be there, just in case she should need him. He planned to keep vigil throughout the night but sometime near dawn he finally lost consciousness; and by the time he awoke beneath the already brightly lit skies, the female had awakened and moved onward and beyond his home. He decided to follow well behind, just in case that overly large tiger decided it had a hunger for a lovely breakfast. After all… what else did he have to do today?
Laoch quickly caught up with the pair but kept a safe distance, for he did not want to startle them. Little did he know that Eagna had been aware of his presence since he first settled himself upon the ledge to watch her sleep the previous night. This stealthy Warrior did not frighten her because his presence had also been revealed in her vision. ‘We shall allow him to play the role of protector’, she thought as she smiled to herself. Life was, after all, about each of us playing our roles and the story unfolding as it may. Eagna reached down and scratched the top of her companion’s head. Its fur was soft and thick; and she could feel its taught muscles relax as she trailed her fingers down around its cheek and tugged on its head. Laoch watched these things in wonder and felt true admiration for this female who could walk with Tigers.
When she caught sight of the thickening foliage, Eagna knew she was nearing Foirfeachta. They looked across a deep meadow surrounded by what seemed an endless forest of trees shooting upward to the heavens. Above them was a lush canopy of deep green, glistening with damp beneath the mid cycle sunlight. Laoch dropped back and began his journey home to the cliffs. He knew the female would be safe once she reached The Garden. Eagna smiled softly to herself as she felt his presence withdrawing; and with an eye on the woods ahead, she hurried onward to her destination.
XXX M’na’s Dream
M’na had also experienced a dream….a strange dream of a splendid spider. The enormous creature was brilliantly white; and the web she spun glistened with crystalline dewdrops. Her legs reached from edge to edge of the glowing web in all directions; and when she spoke the silken threads vibrated gently.
“A Sister is coming to counsel you,” the She Spider said. “The moment is very near for your child to be born. Welcome this and accept the offerings she brings. You must heed her gifts of Spirit as well, for they are sent to you from the Eternal Realm through our daughter, Eagna. There will be in her company a great white beast such as you have not yet seen. Do not fear the beast for she, too, has a purpose, as do all that live on Dohman.”
The spider’s voice began to fade away, overshadowed in her mind by a spasm, like a twinge, within her belly. This awoke M’na from her sleep as she wondered if she had eaten too heavily the night before. Her appetite had been quite good lately, in fact better than that. She gently stroked the their miracle and wondered….but the twinge got no worse and there were no more, so she began her day as usual and forgot about the pain…but not the dream.
The child within her was very active, turning and stretching so that it was difficult for M’na to stand so easily or move about at will. She expressed some impatience to Fireann who only smiled and told her to rest for awhile. After all, she had been working constantly for so many cycles, doing and redoing things in their shelter. Already there was a small place for the child to lie and there were clean skins that Eolas left. There was an abundance of food, the creeks ran freely and there were dried fronds to repair the shelter if the rains came. He assured his fretting companion there was no need to worry. She usually ignored him as she happily moved about, singing to herself, radiant and more desirable to Fireann’s heart than ever before. Today, however, she listened to her companion and made a place to sit in the shade of their favorite tree. There she could meditate upon her dream and consider this strange female that was coming with a great beast at her side.
Eventually M’na shared her dream with Fireann, expecting him to pass it off as worry. To her delight he was amazed, but not surprised; nor did he doubt her word. There were more miracles on Dohman than he could imagine, he told her, and he did not fear harm in any way. How innocent and unaffected they were.. He was glad, however, to have to been forewarned about the beast, having never seen a white tiger before. Fireann had seen many other tigers since his birth upon this world, many countless beautiful and mighty beasts that walked upon its ground. These thoughts caused him to pause and consider the weapons he had hidden safely away beneath the boards of their new shelter. They had never feared any beast, so he chose not to at this time either. He carefully hid these weapons beyond M’na’s view, so as not to alarm her. All creatures on their world had been her companions before he arrived. He didn’t want the weapons either, really, but their new friend Laoch assured him they were a necessary precaution; but only a precaution, for there was no threat to their world. Not yet anyway.
Fireann worked along the wooded fringes of the Garden, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their guests. All morning he labored, using the new tools he and Eolas fashioned, to cut away tangled vines and branches and making a decent path for their guests to pass through. Since they neither came nor went this way themselves, the earth quickly overtook the old path he made when the males visited. When the sun was reaching its peak in the sky, he had nearly completed this task and began to wonder if, indeed, anyone was truly coming. Perhaps M’na was simply so anxious about the coming birth that she had misunderstood the message in her dream. Perhaps the dream had come from too much food. He grinned to himself at that thought.
Eagna raised an arm in greeting and waved, but with the other hand she kept a firm grip upon her companion’s fur, not certain how it would respond to someone new. Fireann returned the gesture with a wave of his own hand, relieved that this wasn’t an apparition or the fantasy of his mate who anxiously awaited the birth of their child. As Eagna neared Fireann, he saw the radiant light in her eyes, and knew instantly that she was truly sent by the Creators. She extended her hand to him and he took it in his own, then lifted it to his lips in a gesture of gratitude as he kissed it gently.
“Thank you for coming. We were told… you would be visiting and we would speak of things to come.” She returned a radiant smile touched with melancholy.
All of eternity delighted in these sensations. More than that, they were all breathless in anticipation of the coming miracle.
“Shall we introduce ourselves to Mother and child?” suggested Eagna. Fireann reached out to take the bundle she carried, and she was more than happy to relieve herself of it after this long portion of her journey. It was a sling of some kind, with handles made of small wooden branches, smooth and blunt at the ends. The sling-like bag was of woven leaves, still green from their recent harvesting, making it a soft but sturdy carrier. He could smell the scent of the herbs within and it invigorated his sleepy senses.
Soon they reached the clearing where M’na sat, crossed legged on a blanket she had made from the soft fibers of her favorite tree-the one which stood at the center of the Garden. There, in the heart of their world, the woods were more ancient and much deeper than anywhere else on Dohman The fibers of these ancient trees were strong and made good covers for their beds as well. Eagna thought they would make adequate tunics also, if needed. Her heart soared at the sight of M’na there, full and glowing with the life she now nurtured.
“Hello, Daughter of Bandia, Mother of the Miracle,” whispered Eagna as she knelt down to look at M’na, who opened her eyes just in time to be eye to eye with the Woman of Wisdom. M’na noticed the female’s eyes were as dark as the earth and flecked with sunlight. She was staring into the eyes of the Night Owl most certainly! Before the female could blink, the Mother of Dohman saw a flicker in those eyes, and it shot straight into her heart. She felt joy, sorrow, regret and ecstasy all at once. Eagna blinked and the vision was gone. M’na saw once more merely simple brown eyes that were flecked with golden glints. The stranger bore a warm, welcoming smile and M’na was growing too excited for formalities now.
“Are you the messenger Inion spoke of in my dream? Have you come to share your own wisdom with me? What say the Mothers about my child?” She spilled these sentences out on top of one anther before the other female could begin forming answers. Eagna lowered herself to sit beside the lovely mother, crossed her legs and reached for the sling that Fireann had placed next to them.
“Yes, dear one, I have come to speak to you of miracles and wonders, things which have gone and how to prepare for the things which are soon to pass.” She hesitated and added, “And for those things which may come.” The very sound of her voice, like water that trickles over rocks in a stream, stirred M’na’s spirit. And also the spirit of her unborn child. It began to leap about so that she could scarcely remain still. Eagna reached out her hand and with soft, fluid motions gently stroked M’na’s belly, grown full with child. Then she began to whistle a soothing sound that quickly stilled its thrashing. “Patience, child,” she cooed. “You will know your Mother’s face soon enough. Let me have my time with her first.” Then Eagna, aware of the empty space between themselves and Fireann, gestured for him to sit beside his companion and take part in their counsel. Fireann was thrilled to be included. So much of what had been happening to his beloved had been foreign to him, leaving him so often feeling like an outsider. (The empty space only barely visible yet, so as not to alert its owner)
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