Posted by: jolantru | July 3, 2009

Wave One: The City

The City is named the City. A prosaic name, given by my pragmatic and practical-minded ancestors who set about trying to make their new home hospitable and not given to anything fanciful or poetic. Situated on the curve of the Bay, it is the place where everyone goes to, either by necessity or by choice. The Sea of Dead Ships provides a daunting – if not, frightening – barrier: hollowed ship hulls where the wind rattles through dead metal walls and echoes mournfully of long past stories, of pain and anguish. Many people have to pass through the Dead Ships before entering the outer gates proper and even then, they have to encounter the ghost towns, emptied of people. One can say that the City is protected, in a strange way.

Yet, people still congregate at the City. Silver fish, from the coastal villages, carriages from the Innerlands and by plain walking, journeys on the many roads leading to the City. I have made my own journey in such a manner, on foot.

I have now settled in the middle section between Lambs Quarter and the Schools. Lambs Quarter, the only whimsical name bestowed by our levelheaded ancients, is a marketplace selling vegetables and herbs as well as livestock. It is a thriving area, filled with the normal and the exotic. Most householders living in the City get their staples from Lambs Quarter and do a fair bit of trading. The Schools are the institutions where children and adults study. Many are highly reputable. The one I find myself attending is no exception.

My little room faces the courtyard of one of the Schools and I enjoy watching the students perform morning exercises before trooping into their classrooms for the day’s lessons.

Ah. My room. I have decorated it to remind me of home. Oyster shells, salvaged from the coastal and immensely fashionable Eateries, line the simple wooden mantle and book shelves on the wall. Tiny pearls scattered around, their nacre covering twinkling in the light, provide some form of tactile and visual pleasure. A mobile, made with green and amber glass, swings gently in the breeze. At certain times, when the light is just right, I am reminded of the sea-kelp forests. And at these times, my heart aches painfully and I long to be back with my family.

I am no longer a child. So many things have changed. I am changed. I am still a daughter of the sea and Her waves beat within me. I am still a daughter of oyster-divers and pearl-gatherers and I guard my heritage fiercely. However I have made my choice, decided the path I wanted to take, because it is the best for me.

I am a curler of light and I now have someone to teach me.

~*~

She is the sea-witch who saved me and I have managed to track her down. She no longer lives in her own village, another conscious choice. We all seem to be making conscious choices, especially for us.

When I sit down with her to talk about the lessons of breathing and focusing, I look at her scarred hands. Like my own. The scars twist around her fingers, around her wrists and lower arms – marked by sharp oyster shells. When she lift them up to direct the circles, the scars become vivid white and dance along her arms like little sea-dragons.

She has a name, just as I have one. The men folk in my village make her sound as if she is an ogre, a true sea-hag. She is none of that. She is Auri.

In her School, there are all sorts of people. Children, teenagers and adults: male and female, bonded in pairs or triads or Apart. All of them have stories of their own to tell. All of them are keen to further their knowledge on magic. There are not only the light circles I have grown up knowing; magic can be expressed in other geometric shapes like spirals, chevrons and triskhelions. I have witnessed it manifest in spheres of swirling light. Besides light, there are other forms of magic like earth or air.

I am still getting used to living in the City and meeting so many people in Auri’s School.

~*~

I dream of home nightly and occasionally, I dream of Second Father’s derision. How he has resented my ability and made his dislike plain for all to see. How he railed against the sea-witch and painted a false image of her. He tried to lock me up as a form of punishment, of shunning me. The tsunami changed that. It was the sea’s wrath, Her rage. She has always protected Her own.

I saved him though from drowning and he was soon contrite, embarrassed. For me, the damage was done and my heart burned with the desire to leave. Auri told me months after the tsunami, after my own journey to seek her, that she waded into the debris left behind the sea’s wake to pull me out. No one dared to step in to help. She nursed me while I struggled with unconsciousness and when I woke, she told me about the mysteries and truths.

Perhaps I am a vengeful person, hateful towards Second Father. And perhaps I should find compassion and understanding towards him one day. Even now, I am seized with anger whenever I think about him. I am not sure what my mother would do now with him. She would still look after my half-siblings as we follow our mother-lines more.

~*~

When the dreams get too poignant or too painful, I rouse myself up from my bed and make simple candles out of the oyster shells.

Oyster shell candles

Things needed:

Oyster shells/halves (washed and cleaned).

Wax.

Wicks/string.

Metal pot.

Scissors (to cut and measure the wicks).

Heating the wax (bought from Lambs Quarter) in a metal pot until it is liquid, before filling the oyster shells (carefully). Adding the wicks before the liquid wax hardens. Remember to put the shell candles on a stable level surface.

~*~

The candles in the darkness give me so much hope.

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