Not least among these earnest dreamers was Ella, the perfect beauty who now found it difficult to keep her mind focused on the task at hand. When she allowed her thoughts to stray, her mind could see only the strong, dark face of Laoch before her. He haunted her soul as sh traced the sun worn lines in his brow and followed the shape of his nose down to the square set of his jaw and always-always-she would then see his full lips part in a half grin, just for her; but if she allowed herself to venture below his broad shoulders, she couldn’t bear the power of her stirring. What if it was not he who had called out to her last night? The very possibility would be more than she could bear and she gasped.
“Ella! What are you doing?!” A loud clatter and sharp pain in her foot ended her reverie as she realized she dropped the jars of herbal mixes she was sorting for the night’s ceremony. It was a miracle that nothing had been broken, least of all her delicate foot. She hoped it wouldn’t bruise. Quickly and quietly, Ella stooped to pick up the scattered herbs and return them to their designated jars. Her heart pounding, she suddenly felt exposed, as though all of her thoughts were strewn across the dirt along with the dried flowers and leaves.
It was Servia who knelt beside Ella, helping to retrieve the remnants of her pride along with the spilled goods. Always it was she that appeared to offer aid, assistance and comfort to her female companions-never questioning, never berating, only quietly stepping in to fill a need-or a cup-whichever was most urgent in the moment.
“Thank you dear, Servia.” Ella whispered. “I do not know what I was thinking when..” her words fell, broken, as Servia touched her hand gently, letting her know there was no need to explain. Ella gazed at the female who seemed so wise and yet so innocent as she carefully sorted the scattered herbs. Not as tall as Ella, she was also lovely and yet not as exquisitely proportioned. Her chin was a bit too round and her hair had a sort of wild wavy texture that kept it at odds with her body, so that she always appeared to have just come from some manic sprint in the woods. Her skin was smooth and dark just as Ella’s; and as she looked up to smile at her friend, Ella realized anew just how handsome she truly was and that this rich beauty came from somewhere deep within. When the female’s smile spread across her face, she became a vision of total loveliness difficult to express once the smile had faded from it.
“There,” said Servia gently, “not a lost blossom. I needed a way to rest my legs after standing so long there at the tables.”
She nodded towards the long wooden planks that were being prepared for their feast and ceremony. So many fruits, so many meats-and the flowers! Looking at it, Ella could not fathom where so many lovely blossoms had been found; for it seemed in that moment as though all of the flowers on Domhan must surely be lying upon their tables! Servia was in the party of females chosen to gather blooms for the ceremony; and although there were several who went for this purpose, Ella was wise enough to know that it was mainly Servia who gathered the majority of them while the others chatted about the ceremony and the joining as they stopped to munch berries or dip their toes in the river water; and of course Servia didn’t mind. Ella had not heard her utter a word of complaint in all of their cycles on Domhan. She seemed to have arrived with the understanding that work was to be her joy and that the act of giving comfort and assistance to others would be her purpose. It shamed some of the other less inspired females to be in her presence; and at times Ella would hear them criticize her in their fear of being thought less productive. In these moments, the Huntress would step forward to help Servia and thank her for the gifts she offered to all of Espera, shaming the others for their idle jealousy. Then, the chattering would cease as they realized the folly of their careless words.
And yet again Ella was grateful to her dear friend for this kind, generous nature. They stood and returned the jars to the table as they surveyed the fruits of their labors. Both felt somehow apart from the commotion as the others continued to busy themselves with food preparations and more chatter about the coming blood moon and their future lives with the Jinetes. Ella reached her free arm to place it around Servia’s shoulders and gave her a squeeze. “It is beautiful, is it not? I know how carefully you chose the blossoms and arranged them here- for their fragrance, their delicate beauty and their living essence. None here could have done the task with more perfection. Truly it is your gift, Servia.” Servia glanced at the table and then back at Ella. A slight flush crept up her neck and flooded her face as she smiled at the female she admired so much. She never did anything to be praised; and it made her a bit uncomfortable to receive such compliments, even though she knew it was meant in appreciation. This she humbly accepted with a grateful heart. Ella’s arm fell from Servia’s shoulder and they returned to their work, chatting quietly about the coming ceremony.
“Ella, do you think that all will be as prophesied under the blood moon tonight?” When her friend remained silent, Servia continued nervously. “What I mean is, will we really…each of us in Espera…be finally joined with the companion of our heart from the village of Jinetes?” Ella sensed the hesitation in Servia’s voice, an uncertainty that seemed uncommon for her. But then they had not had many intimate conversations because she was forever busy tending to matters that, well, needed tending to.
Ella had to admit that the same question was lingering somewhere deep within her own soul where it had lain, unrecognized and unspoken for fear the answer would prove more discouraging than the uncertainty had been. But when it came to Ella’s friends, she could always find the words of truth that lay deep within. This had been the reason Mother Palabra took her in as the helper she needed in the way of Spirit. Ella only knew that she sometimes felt unworthy of such an honor. Quietly, she continued sorting the herbs, searching her soul for guidance in answering Servia.
There. Now she had made them both feel better; for in her effort to comfort and uplift Servia, Ella had also revealed to herself the truth she held within her soul but that somehow seemed often elusive to her own questioning mind. Both females stopped talking as their minds became filled with rich images of the future lives they would have on Domhan with their companions. As they continued to work, they began to hum softly, soon affecting the entire group as every female joined in their gentle music, each adding her voice to the soft melody until soon it became a chorus-a lilting sound that rose above their heads and danced on the breeze blowing over the dense woods and into the village of Jinetes.
Eolas watched Laoch among the others, seated in the center of the Riders like a true leader and, more importantly, like a long missing tribesman. He couldn’t recall ever seeing his friend laughing so heartily or looking so strong. He was telling some tale now, for all gathered about him were watching intently, his face animated and arms spread in a gesture. Suddenly the Warrior also stopped, hands frozen in the air, and cocked his head to the side, his arms falling. He held up a bronzed hand calling for silence from his companions. In that moment a smile played at the corners of Guia’s mouth as the sound followed vibration into their midst. Laoch’s eyes grew wide with wonder and he gazed upward, seeking the source of the magic. Drifting from above, as though sung by the Goddess herself, floated the sound of mesmerizing female voice. The melody was fluid but not organized in any particular way and it began to hypnotize each warrior and huntsman as it fell on their ears. There was total silence over all of Jinetes. Only the burning fires crackled in defiance of the melodic intrusion.
From across the field, Eolas stepped forward, lifting his arms to the bright early skies and shouted to the heavens.
“Spiorad Mor!” He shouted the name of Great Spirit. Guia joined him in the call to Mor, followed by Laoch. Each of the others followed in turn until all held arms upraised, tools and spears, bows and arrows, all pointing to the heavens above. They shouted the name of their Creator in appreciation for the gifts of Domhan. Over and again they called until their cries became a joyous roar that shook the trees at the edge of the woods and rose into the wind where it joined the melody of Espera. The sound drifted upon the clouds, rising higher until it reached the Essence of Eternity where Inion knew complete love in its Vibration.
“Thank you, my Leanai” came the thought of Mor.