Legion of Light
Chapter 8: Copper Ashes
Copyright© 2010 by Sea-Life
My second sleep session brought me clear back around the clock. When I woke up, I realized I was late for my promised return to Maldre's Crossing. I skipped the shower and began to dress in my local outfit when I decided to do a quick mental check on Borthun and Yela. A wave of fear and panic and the unfocused but razor clear rush of adrenaline-boosted senses hit me the second I connected!
I made a quick decision and threw on my legion armor instead, and jumped directly to them.
"Borthun! I yelled. Its Dave!" He looked at me wild-eyed for a second, before recognition sank in.
"Dave, you're late, and we accept, we accept!" He said with a grin. I knew it was the adrenaline talking, but at least he was not completely panicked.
"Where's Yela?" I asked. I could sense her nearby, but the Sun was well set, and it was very much the dark of night now in Maldre's Crossing.
"Here!" She said from beneath a nearby table. She was carrying a bundle of possessions wrapped in a table cloth.
"Do you both have everything you want to take with you?" I asked.
As I asked this, there came a crash from behind me, and I turned to see two men on horses with spears crashing through the cloth wall around the dining area. Before I could react one of them threw a spear. As the spear flew past me I reached out and moved both men and their horses to the first place that came to me, the alley a couple streets over where I usually arrived. I heard Borthun scream as I did.
I turned to look at Borthun. The spear had struck him in the shoulder. He lay on the ground now with Yela holding him. A noise behind me made me turn again and I saw perhaps a dozen foot soldiers with spears and swords running towards the three of us.
"No!" I yelled without thinking, and reached out, for the first time in anger, and whipped every rock and pebble, every loose object within sight into a hurricane of debris that circled around the three of us. Heavy, light, blunt or sharp, thousands of little pieces of debris began pounding and cutting and whipping our attackers. My whirlwind assault quickly blunting their charge and I walked toward them, throwing chairs and tables and other large objects. Several times I saw spears or swords flashing in my direction, and I jumped myself out of the way.
I became my own maelstrom, my thoughts flashing on the image I remembered so well from my first visit to Obsidian. I stopped moving towards the soldiers in front of me and threw the blurred mass of objects in my cloud of debris high into the sky above us, leaving a vacuum of silence around us. With the clear view that gave me, I could focus on the attackers themselves, and with my awareness refocused, I reached out and threw everyone I could see in front of me violently backwards, crashing into the wall of the building, twelve feet from the ground where they fell, breathless, to the ground below.
A spear bounced of my armored side. I turned slightly and saw four soldiers charging me from the side. I screamed, and dumped the closest of them into the nearby sea with a thought. I let the closest of them reach me, and ignoring the sword that raked my chest I grabbed him with Light-amplified strength and crushed both his wrists. The viciousness of my act was like a bucket of ice water on my awareness. I was getting too close, letting my anger and the situation get to me. I threw the remaining two attackers into the sea, as I had the other one.
Finally with a free second in which to think, rather than react, I wrapped my mind around my friends and took them with me to Meadow.
"Ava!" Alert the staff! I'm here and I have a wounded man and frightened woman with me."
<Ginny!> I called out without waiting for Ava's answer.
<Dave?> She answered.
<I'm at the house, I have a person with a spear wound, I need help!>
<Jump me to you!> I had her beside me before she could complete the thought. She had obviously been in bed, and was wearing only a beautiful pair of blue panties. I noticed this in some basic, back level of my brain, as Ginny began examining Borthun. I had reacted so quickly that the spear was still in him.
"Dave, I"m going to need help getting this spear out of the shoulder. Apply pressure here and jump me up to our room!" I did both things, and looked up to see Hoot, Beau, Asa and Loretta all staring slack-jawed at us all.
"Loretta, get me some towels or something to put under him. Beau, Asa. I need you both here, Ginny's going to want some strong hands and arms in a minute to get the spear out.
<Dave!> I heard Ginny's thoughts and jumped her back to us. She had thrown on her Legion undershirt and shorts and was carrying her 'doctor's bag', a gift from Doc Aillard, which apparently is a bit of a traditional doctor thing.
As Ginny began directing Beau and Asa to remove the spear, my head cleared a little more. "This is silly!" I said. "Beau! Stand over there. Asa! You move over there. Ginny keep doing what you're doing and don't touch the spear."
I touched the spear with my thoughts, and Jumped it right out of Borthun's body and into Asa's hands. We all flinched a little as we heard Borthun roar in pain. The spear was out, and Asa stood holding it in his hands like it was a living thing.
I finally took the time to check on Yela, who still crouched by Borthun's shoulder, clutching him.
"Yela," I said to her. "Yela, look at me!" She finally tore her eyes from Borthun and looked at me.
"Dave, where are we, who are these people?"
"Yela, this is my home. The woman who is helping Borthun is my lover and soon she will be my wife." I told her, as I moved her back to sit on the couch a few feet away. "These other people are my employees and friends who live and work here taking care of my home. Can you remain calm, and accept that you are safe, while I go help my wife tend to Borthun?" She nodded her head, never taking her eyes from her mate.
"How does it look?" I asked as I knelt by Ginny's side. She had cut Borthun's shirt clean off him.
"He's lucky. The spear managed to miss any major blood vessels or organs, but that spear head left a pretty big hole, and tore up quite a bit of muscle and connecting tissue. He needs a surgeon, not a newly-minted doctor like me."
I looked her in the eyes and then kissed the tip of her nose. "Will you try something with me?"
"Yes, of course." The love of my life answered that question without a trace of doubt or hesitation.
<Join your mind with mine.> I thought as I reached out and meshed our minds together.
<Join your self with mine.> I thought. I reinforced our connection, wrapping it in Light. Our thoughts and memories and awareness blurred and blended, and we were joined.
As a single consciousness, the world around us seemed to glisten and sparkle with bits of Light, like diamonds and silver at the same time, reflected from everything. My/her gift and her/my knowledge focused our awareness upon the glittering tissues and glowing cells around the gaping wound. I/We poured Light into them, urging them to grow and heal, guiding them as they reconnected themselves into the familiar patterns the body's Light signatures remembered for them. Again and again I pulled the Light into us, and washed Borthun in it, keeping him unaware of his own pain and progress.
At last we saw the last little bit of fresh skin seal over, leaving a bright pink triangle of skin on the shoulder. I washed a Light-borne need for sleep through Borthun.
<It is done. He is asleep now.> We thought to those around us.
<Mary/Mom! Ginny's okay. She's with me. It was an emergency!> I/We managed to think before our unified consciousness collapsed in a flash of Light and then light.
Then blissful nothingness.
I woke up on my own bed, with Ginny beside me. As my eyes flickered open I heard a rustling nearby and turned my head to find Eru looking at me from a chair where he sat watchfully.
"Eru. How long have I been out?" I asked fuzzily.
"Two hours, Dave. You gave us all quite a scare."
I flushed the fuzziness and fatigue from my system. I scanned Ginny from head to toe without having to look at her and with a new understanding and appreciation. She was fine, but still soundly asleep.
"How's Borthun?" I asked, getting up.
"He is fine. He also sleeps still." Eru answered.
"And Yela?" I added as I headed for the shower.
"A bit concerned, confused, awe-stricken." Eru said. "At least we had some ability with their language, so we were able to communicate somewhat. I have been able to guide us all to a much better integration of the language in these hours. An active mind thinking in the language makes it much easier."
I took a quick shower and got dressed. I followed Eru to one of the downstairs bedrooms where they had put Borthun. Yela saw me walk in the door and she flew into my arms! I let her cry into my chest for a little while, staring at Arden and Chet over her shoulder. They both grinned back at me. I pulled back from her eventually, so I could look her in the eye.
"What happened to the Yela I know?" I asked. "She was as tough as any caravan guard, proud and strong!"
"I think that woman died amid the fighting in Maldre's Crossing." she sniffled. "Here in the afterworld there is only this crying wretch left."
"This not the afterworld Yela," I said, this is just another part of the world you know."
"I saw that spear bounce of of you! You were unharmed!" She said.
"Just a special kind of armor, that is all." I said reassuringly. "Arden, come here for a minute, would you?"
Arden walked over and stood beside us.
"This is my friend Arden. Have you two met?" Yela nodded.
I pinched the skin on the back of his hand.
"Ow!" He said, rubbing the spot. What was that for?"
I hauled back and punched Arden in the gut as hard as I could. He smiled.
"That was only my fist, and not a spear, but you see how well the armor protected him? That is what it is, not magic."
Borthun lay sleeping comfortably, his breathing easy. He had been very lucky indeed, I thought as I scanned him. The spear had struck in an area rich in targets, lung, heart, joints, bones, all were missed.
"Have you eaten anything Yela?" I asked.
"Yes, a very good soup, and something called a chicken ... burger?" she said, stumbling over the English words at the end.
"Good! Have you been able to rest?"
"No! I had to stay awake to watch Borthun to make sure he was safe!"
"He is safe, Yela, and he lays sleeping soundly here in a nice comfortable bed. You should climb up there with him and get some sleep yourself, otherwise Borthun will wake up later to find Yela, all droopy-eyed and barely able to focus."
It took a while, and some pleading and promises, but I eventually got her to sleep.
Of course I had to endure the third degree from the Legion while I ate something myself. I too had a chicken burger, and the chicken was not the only thing that was grilled.
"Cyrus, you're Borthun's closest match in size, would you mind loaning him some clothes? Maybe one of your sleeveless workout jerseys would work best for a shirt, his arms are huge. Loretta, you and Yela are a pretty close match as well, if you've got something we can borrow?" We had fresh clothes waiting for our sleeping guests in short order.
Once I was feeling a little more normal, I called Ginny's mom. Our quickly flung thought of reassurance had hardly been reassuring. While she had not exactly panicked, she had spent the last couple of hours pacing her room like a caged beast. By the time I'd gotten her relaxed and feeling better about the situation, Ginny was awake.
"Mom, I just woke up from the sleep of the dead, and I'm starving. I'm getting dressed and Dave will jump me back over there and you're taking me to breakfast, okay?" With those reassurances, Mary was willing to hang up and wait for Ginny's arrival. A quick shower later, Ginny and I shared a sweet lingering kiss. We slipped easily into a light meshing of ourselves.
"Three days beggar boy, three days, and then you owe me some serious alone time. Okay?"
"Absolutely!" I agreed, she did a quick scan of Borthun to confirm that things were fine and then I jumped her back to her mom.
With everything that had happened, it was just now closing on breakfast time here at the house. I checked my internal list of things needing to get done. Other than checking in with Dad and Grandpa A.J. Later in the day, I had nothing except personal items on my list.
I checked on Borthun and Yela again, and decided they had slept enough. I sent a wave of wakefulness through them, and stood at the end of the bed waiting for them to stir.
Borthun opened his eyes first. Seeing me immediately. He started to ask a question, but I directed him with my eyes to the form beside him, and seeing Yela there, beginning to stir herself, the question died on his lips. Then his lips were on Yela, and as she was roused to full wakefulness by those tender ministrations, the kisses became quite mutual. I grinned and cleared my throat.
The two of them sat upright, and Borthun even managed to blush right along with Yela.
"Move your arm Borthun. How does your shoulder feel?"
"Amazingly good Dave!" He said, rotating his shoulder in larger and larger circles adding more vigor as he realized he was not feeling any pain. "It is a miracle! That spear wound should have crippled me if it didn't kill me, and yet here I sit as if it had never happened."
"Oh, it happened, my love." Yela chided, and you have a very interesting patch of skin here that will probably always show proof of your ordeal." she touched the fresh pink skin that would eventually settle into an interesting triangular scar.
"My friends, it is breakfast time here, and I'm sure you are starving. Let me show you the bathing facilities first, okay?"
I walked them both into the bathroom, and of course Borthun spotted himself in the mirror immediately and had to spend a moment examining his shoulder. "Amazing!" he repeated.
"This is a shower" I said, pointing to the glass-enclosed unit. I turned it on, making sure they both saw me turn the tap handle. "This controls the water. Blue is cold, Red is hot. The further in that direction you turn it, the hotter it will be."
I showed them the soap and shampoo, having to stop and explain the concept of a squeeze bottle first of course, pointed them at the towel rack and told them we would be waiting.
"You should have no problems getting into your clothes Borthun. If Yela needs help, come get one of the ladies, okay?"
The simple shift and wraparound dress that Loretta had picked out were not a problem for Yela, other than being a bit tight in the chest. Thirty minutes later I greeted them as they came out of the bedroom freshly washed and dressed and looking pleased with their circumstances for the first time since their arrival.
We joined the rest of the legion in the dining room for breakfast, and our overwhelmed couple were pleased with the scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausages and fruit we were having. The fresh squeezed, cold orange juice was especially admired, more for its coldness than its freshness though. With breakfast over I left Eru to tend our guests and took a moment to usher the rest of the crew into the library.
"Guys, I appreciate the quick response, but I've interrupted all your family plans for the holiday. Let me get you all back to where you were. You've still got three days of holiday time left to enjoy."
One by one they blinked out as I located their destinations and sent them off.
I spent the entire day with Borthun and Yela on Meadow. Borthun and I pitched in on the construction of the stables, and Yela joined Loretta and Eru in the newly enlarged vegetable garden. Having mundane and familiar tasks to occupy them certainly helped. Borthun was delighted with the concept of power tools though, and fell in love with the big DeWalt cordless drills that the Jenkins' were using. Faced with their irrefutable existence, he was willing to suspend his need to understand how they worked in favor of using them.
After lunch I sat down with everyone and asked permission to open up their language channels so that all parties concerned could begin picking up each other's languages. This required further explanation, and it gave me the opportunity to clarify for Borthun and Yela the uniqueness of my abilities, and that most of the differences they saw in the others was due to education and cultural differences rather than special gifts like mine.
When it came to explaining the Light, I discovered they had no difficulties at all with the concept itself. The more naturalistic faiths that both had grown up with adapted themselves to that perspective quite easily.
"You are like the Rock Cat of Cervenne!" Yela announced in the middle of our discussion.
"What is a Rock Cat, and where is Cervenne?" I asked.
"The Rock Cat is a mythical beast that exists only on the slopes of Cervenne, the Great Mountain." Yela told me. "It is a magical creature, solitary and eternal. It is said that the fur of the Rock Cat is the key to immortality, and that you will be impervious to harm, and will never age while you wear it."
"According to the same legends" Borthun added. "its death signals the end of Magic in the world."
"You are like the Rock Cat." Yela repeated. "You are the last of your kind, and if you died, your magic would be gone forever from the world."
"I see why you make the comparison." I said. "But unlike the Rock Cat, I am not a solitary creature. I have a mate, and someday perhaps there will be a new generation of people like me, and that gift will flourish again. In the meantime, some of my gifts are capable of being learned, and some are already shared. Ask Eru to tell you of his life's calling from before we met. He too had the gift of mind-sharing. The knowledge of how to open the language channels in your mind I learned from him."
It was getting on into the middle of the afternoon, and I needed to be somewhere, and very soon.
"Borthun, Yela, I have to leave you for a while. Will you be alright here with The Jenkins? Eru will be here to help with the language problems."
"Yes, we will be fine. We will see you for dinner?"
"Yes, see you then." I walked up to the bedroom and pulled on the Legion armor. I threw my phone and wallet on the dresser. I was always grabbing them with a quick jump into my hand when I needed them, but I saw that as a character flaw in myself and was trying to do better at remembering to take the things I needed with me. It did make it convenient when I was wearing the Legion armor though.
I jumped myself into the Garden on Obsidian. With what Ginny and I had just experienced fresh in my mind, I approached the border and waited until my teacher approached.
"Greetings Dave, I can sense your need. We here in the garden are ill equipped to help you with this area of inquiry. But let us take a walk along this path..."
Two hours later I was waving goodbye to my teacher and walking out through the Garden's shimmering curtain. My questions regarding the new level of mental joining that Ginny and I had experienced remained unanswered. I did have a couple of leads on where to start in the process of doing with the Taluatan fusion reactor what we had done with the fuel cell.
With some time still to kill, I jumped myself to the meditation chamber. If the teachers could not guide me to the answers, I would have to seek the answers within.
I settled into a comfortable position in the center of the chamber, automatically going through the relaxation exercises we had all learned from Eru. When I was ready, I focused my thoughts, and dove into myself.
It took two weeks for the patent applications and article submissions to make it onto the radar of the major news organizations. It would have probably taken even longer if the McKesson Group hadn't sent out a press release announcing the formation of a joint venture with Proto-Tech industries to manufacture and sell fuel cells. Once it did, I was suddenly the center of a new kind of maelstrom, this time one made of publicity and notoriety. I was getting married in less than six weeks and my life was suddenly under a microscope.
I found myself sitting on television sets doing interviews. I did the Today show and the Tonight show, the Early Show and the Late Show. David Letterman was funny, Jay Leno was dying to know if he was going to be able to get a car with one of our fuel cells, Larry King was ... old.
The major network and TV interview types quickly moved on to other things for the most part, at least until we actually began producing fuel cells, but there did exist that hard core contingent of people, ranging the entire spectrum from local TV and newspaper reporters to technology bloggers to the real hardcore conspiracy theorists. As far as their approaches and understanding went, the traditional news people and the bloggers were pretty much on the same track. It was considered highly amusing to us Legionnaires that the conspiracy theorists were actually closer to the truth.
The brief period of the public relations blitz was good for me in a way. It pulled me back into a more normal frame of reference. I was able to put aside the twin discoveries of healing and harm I'd found within myself during Borthun and Yela's rescue. I spent quite a bit of my quiet time exploring these two faces of myself. I leaned heavily on Eru for guidance, and he suggested I ask our warriors how they learned to deal with the emotion of battle and conflict. Chet and Cyrus were a revelation. They understood exactly what I had gone through.
Cyrus told me. "Unless you have been trained to be cannon fodder, You leave your emotions behind, so that when the battle is done you can return to them, and return to society still fit to function within it."