Children of the Light
Chapter 2: Therefore I am

Copyright© 2010 by Sea-Life

The Cataloochee House, as we referred to our new home, did become a focus of activity, but it was not the business of the Legion which focused there, it was the business of raising our gifted children.

Every member of the Legion had shared my memories, as well as Ginny, Eru and Con's, of Aya, Kes and Beloth, the Ancient Guardians we had so briefly rescued from their fate. They remembered, through us, their stories of how the children of the Choctowineh were raised 'within the Light'. As much as possible, with only five Light-aware adults to share the load, we worked to give that experience to our children. The reality of it was that they soon were forcing us to live within the Light in ways we hadn't anticipated.

< ... Three. Two. One!>

Andy finished counting, and began trying to find Zaia and Riah. They always found the most interesting places to hide. He went back to the place he found them yesterday, but of course they weren't there. He turned and took a new, unfamiliar path, reaching out with his senses for some trace of their passing.

The fact that this game of hide and seek was taking place entirely within his own mind didn't bother Andy at all. The seven year old was already familiar with his mind, and was discovering more every day. He knew that these games he played were as much about learning as they were about fun, but he liked to learn. Learning about things was easy. Learning about your mind was much more of a challenge.

A hint of something registered on his senses, and in an instant he was off in hot pursuit.

Felicia Poole stood in the doorway and watched as Maia and Jeni sat in the cool shade of the patio, looking at chalk markings on the patio tiles. Maia picked up the piece of chalk and added a little to what was there.

<How about that?> She thought to her companion.

Jeni looked at it for a bit, rubbed out a bit at the end with her shirtsleeve and picked up her chalk, adding a new figure to the end.

<How about that instead? Then we finish like this!> And she added three more lines to the bottom.

"Perfect Jeni! Lets try it!" Maia said out loud.

"Okay, I'll play, and you sing the lead part. You sing better than me."

Jeni jumped up and grabbed her Sonox. She stood above the simple score chalked into the tiles, and activated the Sonox, driving it with her thoughts. The simple but clear and pleasant tune was soon joined by Maia's voice, as she sang the words. With Maia singing, Jeni joined in. Together they sang in two part harmony.

Whether its day,
or whether its night
The Light is there
to make things right.

Light is Life
Life is Light

At work or play
Awake or dreaming
The Light is there
Constantly streaming.

Light is Life
Life is Light

In the darkness
Light will guide you
Safe and warm
Light will keep you

Light is Life
Life is Light

As soon as they ended their song the two six year olds grabbed each other in a hug and jumped round in circles, giggling and laughing!

"Jeni Jean Anderson and Maia Poole! What do you think you're doing?" Felicia Poole's voice called out sternly from the doorway to the kitchen behind them.

The two girls, still in mid hug froze at the sound and turned their heads towards Felicia. All three of them stood still for a moment, before finally Jeni, giggled. When that brought a smile to her Mom's face Maia started giggling too.

"We were just making music, Mama!" Maia said finally. "Did you like it?"

"Yes I did girls. I liked it so much I had Ava record it, so we can let everyone hear it at family dinner tonight! Come inside now, its time to get cleaned up for lunch."

Sarah Parkin found her twins Ian and Grace sitting with Serenity McKesson in the sandbox near the raspberry bushes. Th three of them were sitting silently, focused on the sand between them.

"Kids? Its lunch time! Go get washed up." All three of the children looked up.

"Okay Aunt Sarah!" Serenity said. "We'll play some more tomorrow, okay?" she said to her companions. "Grace is ahead 3 to 1, don't forget!"

"Okay 'Ren!" The twins said simultaneously, as they jumped up and ran for the house.

As she watched her twin five year-olds run into the house, Sarah asked Serenity.

"What was the game you were playing?"

"I pick out a grain of sand, and they have to find out which one."

"Isn't that hard?" Sarah asked.

"Well Yeah!" Serenity said, as if it was obvious. "Looking at small things is hard enough, but then you have to get the part of the sand that is Light to show you what else is connected to it. That is really, really hard!. Andy says we need to get good at it though."

Sarah stared at the six year old as she disappeared into the house. She looked at the sandbox again and shook her head.

At dinner that night, the recording of Jeni and Maia's performance was received with great enthusiasm. When asked about the Sonox, Jeni said "My fingers are too small, so I couldn't make the music in my head come out right, so I asked Uncle Constantine if he could make me something."

Serenity's explanation, at Sarah's prompting, of the game that she had been playing with Ian and Grace received a very different kind of attention.

"Andy, having you been keeping secrets?" His mother asked. But from his dad it was "Andy, please share your thoughts with me."

After a brief mental huddle with Andy, Dave announced.

"Andy and I will be joining you at the sandbox tomorrow, Ren. Please give me a thought when you are ready to begin the game, okay?"

"Okay Daddy!" Serenity answered back.

Ginny, Con and I had begun using the little craft we called a hopper for our new facet expeditions just before Andy was born. Ginny had said we need to give her a name the first time we used her, and we had.

We called her Dare.

It was something of an accidental discovery, but we eventually noticed that the facets I picked were more wildly varied from Earth normal when we were airborne in Dare.

This is how we found Archipelago.

Imagine a world without major landmasses. A world of endless ocean, sprinkled thickly with endless chains of islands. That was Archipelago. There were a couple islands that were approximately the size of Madagascar, as well as a couple dozen the size of Taiwan sprinkled here and there. Smaller islands the size of Hawaii on down were too numerous to count.

Two years of satellite survey data made Archipelago seem a paradise. The lack of major open oceans in the tropical regions must have had some effect on weather there. Not a single major storm was detected over the two year observation period. Steady breezes and light rains were frequent, and became heavier during the winter months, but major weather disasters seemed to happen rarely, if they happened at all.

In my mind I saw it as a sailor's paradise, so when Uncle Ambrose and Ia Sardic announced their plans to get married, I decided to give it to them as a wedding present.

Okay, I wasn't going to give an entire facet to someone as a gift. First of all, it wasn't mine to give. But I did immediately make plans to give them access to it.

Step one of my plan was to introduce Archipelago to the Hurlon. Our new friends were not suffering from any kind of population pressure. They did not need to settle new worlds out of any kind of political or social pressure. They were simply endlessly curious and adventurous.

The delicate negotiations to give the Hurlon permanent access to the oceans of Archipelago were only delicate because they had to be kept secret from Ambrose and Ia. We were able to keep the secret, and conclude the agreement in plenty of time to build our first underwater jump gate, keyed to the unique Hurlon gravity signature.

When we first made contact with the Hurlon, we had thought them to be about as intelligent as a the average 8 to 10 year old human child. We discovered very quickly that we were actually dealing with the Hurlon equivalent of young adolescents. The adult Hurlon did not frequent the upper depths, and as a general rule, the truly old and wise Hurlon restricted themselves to the very deepest reaches of Cloudburst's oceans. They weren't obsessive about it though, and as word reached them of intelligent beings from the 'not-wet', they came up to say hi.

The Hurlon did not use names, as we would think of them. They knew each other as unique thought and memory 'signatures'. We were not so adept, so were forced to make up names to use as a sort of shorthand that we used when we spoke of them amongst ourselves. The elder Hurlon who was assigned the duty of being our liaison we called 'Socrates'.

Socrates asked us, shortly after we had met him, if we were from another one of the worlds in the sky, or if we were from 'another eddy in the currents of the world'.

How many times now, had our self-assured assumptions crumbled around us when we were forced to realize that what we thought we understood about our discoveries proved incorrect, and that we were living a reality quite a bit different and more wonderful than what we thought we knew.

The oldest and wisest Hurlon elders gathered in the darkest, deepest parts of the sea, and they slowly cruised the depths, feeding and thinking, linked together in thought. They were perhaps the universe's longest running program of theoretical research. As a pure exercise of mental perceptiveness and sheer, utter wisdom, without benefit of a single machine or tool, with nothing but their own existence to build upon, and utterly lacking in sensitivity to the Light, the Hurlon had long ago theorized the existence of the Light, and the facets.

Talk about deep thinkers!

The thought-sensitive interfaces of our Legion armor and devices like the jump bracelets and even the Sonox that Con had built for Maia and Jeni, were easily adapted to tie in to the Hurlon communications. With that connection made, we were able to turn our very good orbital survey maps of the oceans of Archipelago into perfect, accurate and detailed navigation maps of the oceans of Archipelago.

It was merely a matter of time and commitment. With the Hurlon 'eyes' to assist us, we built detailed and accurate oceanographic navigational charts for an area five hundred miles across, centered on an island retreat with a cluster of palm-thatched buildings and a dock that we built for the honeymooning couple on one of the many tropical islands, complete with a fusion reactor and modern appliances.

Our charting crew had been fifty Hurlon 'youth', whose work for us in this alien ocean was going to serve to complete their citizenship service. We were interested to discover that moving from youth to adult status in Hurlon society required a formal commitment of service to their society. This usually was completed by serving as messengers and as babysitters for schools of Hurlon young, as well as defending against what few predators existed that were willing to attack a Hurlon. Three of that crew were going to stay on, and provide escort service to whichever craft the newlyweds chose to sail in.

The last piece of the puzzle was a bit more delicate. I would have preferred to have just given Uncle Ambrose an exact replica of his beloved Nereid, which we had 'blown to smithereens' as he described it, but the Nereid required at least three hands to sail her, and who wants a third hand along on your honeymoon?

We solved the problem by tying up the Nereid II, as complete and exact a copy of the original as possible to one side of the dock, and the Perse and Tyche to the other side. The Perse was a 45 foot Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 and the Tyche was a 33 foot Schionning Wilderness 1030 catamaran.

The Tyche could be sailed single-handed pretty easily, but the Perse was going to require close cooperation and coordination to be sailed two-handed, and in my mind that would be what Ambrose and Ia would really remember about their time on Archipelago. I absolutely intended to borrow the catamaran for family outings, and hoped to pass my love of sailing on to Andy and Serenity.

The happy couple chose to have a Taluatan bonding ceremony, rather than an Earth style wedding ceremony. Like the best of Earth's rites, it concentrated on the harmonious bonding of two lives and souls with deep spiritual meaning, minus any specific religious dictates.

With Ia having a large family and many friends, both among the Holders of Rhel and otherwise on Taluat, the wedding was held there, at the grotto. We had been to several bonding ceremonies in the past couple of years, they were just as beautiful and moving as anything on Earth. Towards the end of the evening, with all the speeches made, and toasts given, Grandpa A.J., Master Lev and I escorted the couple from the feast. Once we were in a safe location I jumped the five of us to Uncle Ambrose's house on Meadow.

"Uncle Ambrose and Aunt Ia, congratulations again. As your wedding present, the three of us have gotten together, along with the rest of the Legion, and we've secretly replaced the Caribbean sailing adventure you expected to be taking for your honeymoon with something a little more unique." As I spoke these words I jumped all of us to Archipelago, to the living room of the cottage we had built for them. Ginny was waiting for us.

"Welcome to Archipelago." All your clothes are in the Master bedroom, through that door." Ginny pointed.

"You may be wondering where you are, and what this means as far as your honeymoon plans go." I added, walking over and opening the front door. "You may want to come out here and take a look before we leave you."

As I knew he would be, Uncle Ambrose was ecstatic to see the Nereid II. But he and Ia were immediately struck by the Perse, and the fact that sailing her together would probably test their sailing skills at first until they got used to her.

We let the two of them crawl over and through the two smaller craft for a while. Finally I interrupted them and said we had a few things more for them. I jumped a full set of the charts we had created into my hand.

"There is another complete set of these in the Nereid II's chart locker, but these are for use on either the Perse or the Tyche. They are completely accurate, thanks to our friends the Hurlon." Grandpa A.J. said. "Its all in the navigation computer, and there is a complete GPS data system in place, which will prove helpful"

"Speaking of helpful." I said, followed by a quick mental signal to the three Hurlon who had been waiting patiently off shore. They quickly raised their immense bulks out of the water, levitating themselves a good twenty feet into the air.

"These three fellows will be your escorts anywhere you sail, and though we expect no problems, have agreed to stay here as long as you like."

The three Hurlon sent us all a big mental 'Glad to see you'. And allowed themselves to drop, nose first back into the water, making a huge splash, which I knew could have been a lot bigger if they weren't using their gifts to direct it.

We walked back to the cottage with the couple, watching them walk arm in arm, grins a mile wide on both of them.

"You have your bracelets and the door into the Master bedroom is a gate. The fridge and freezer are fully stocked, as is the pantry. We have it on the good authority of the Hurlon mapping crew that these waters are teaming with fish. Congratulations, and we'll see you in a few weeks."

With hugs and kisses all around, we left the newlyweds to their own devices. I jumped us all back to the same private spot we'd left from.

"I'd bet even money that the first thing the two of them do now that we're gone is run back down to the dock and get back to exploring their fleet." Ginny said. "But I"m too much of a lady to peek in and see if I've won or not."

Three months after the big wedding in the grotto on Taluat, we got word from Brin Dolin that Master Lev had been arrested for harboring a fugitive. The arrest had been made at the same time that 'Notices of Criminal Status' and 'Official Notices to Appear for Cause' had been published. The two documents were the Taluatan equivalent of an arrest warrant, and had been issued for the 'renegade' Soul Diver Eru Jehn, as well as his known students, Riah and Zaia Seco.

We sat at the kitchen table over tea and coffee, discussing the news. My Dad had arrived with Grandpa A.J. and Formerio Sabarte to joined Cyrus, Eru and Brin, who had been with us for breakfast. We nibbled on some leftover breakfast pastries and sipped our drinks and mulled our options. Andy had quickly joined us sitting with his Grandpa, and Serenity was on her Great-Grandpa's knee, helping him eat a pastry.

"Explain to me again, Brin, how its come that the revered and respected Soul Divers have wound up being hunted criminals." Formerio asked. "Eru has said it has been a new development since the end of the Dark Times, but perhaps its my not being Taluatan, but it seems so unlikely that your people could go from one end of the spectrum to the other in your treatment of Eru and his fellows, and do so in only a few generations."

"That's just it. The common people of Taluat still have as much love and respect for them as ever. It is only the High Board of Governors and other top level politicians who fear them and hold them out to be evil." Brin said. "No one I've ever met felt that the stated reason: that Soul Divers were stealing state secrets from the minds of our government officials, and using their gifts to exert undue influence on the government's decisions, was true. Every time a secret was supposedly stolen, the accused Soul Diver was already dead, killed while trying to escape or some other convenient excuse."

"At least we've got plenty of time to come up with something. The wheels of Taluatan justice grind exceedingly slowly, to borrow an Earth phrase." Eru said. "As long as Master Lev remains calm he will be fine for now. A case of harboring a fugitive could take years to work its way through the legal system. Of course we could always jump him out of there, but right now the rest of the Rhellians are being ignored by the High Board of Governors, and by their agents. We don't want to do anything at this point that might provoke an aggressive reaction."

"Which brings us right back to where we started. Trying to understand why this is happening in the first place." A.J. said.

"Maybe they have a sneaky one too." Serenity said quietly from his lap.

"A sneaky what?" Cyrus asked.

"A sneaky coercer, like the one we can't find." Serenity answered. "Andy says we haven't caught the coercer who made Mr. Dexter do all that stuff because he's sneaky. Maybe they've got a sneaky one on Taluat too."

From the mouths of babes, chaos bombs can be launched!

We immediately called a full meeting of the Directors, and I pulled in all the Legionnaires, as well as Zaia and Riah Seco. There was no hesitation in making sure to include Serenity and Andy in this meeting!

Brin Dolin called Mor Grestain and Levella Ruk, who we quickly jumped in from Taluat. Ia joined the Taluatan's, and together she, Levella and Mor were floored, as we had been, by the thought of a high-level Taluatan coercer.

With everyone agreed that, thanks to Serenity, we had finally pegged the source of the Taluatan government's antipathy towards Soul Divers, we began to explore our options. We were dependent on the Taluatans for our understanding of how their government and system of justice worked, but a couple Eru-guided memory dumps later, we all had the essentials.

"At least in the West, Taluatan government is much more a top down system. The High Board of Governors is elected, its true, but they are elected for life, and most of the current High Governors were elected over fifty years ago." Mor Grestain told us. "The High Board then appoints the regional governors, as well as the heads of the National Police, the High Court and the National Administrator."

"The High Court in turn appoints regional Chief Justices, who supervise the regional court system. The other judges, as well as the court's agents — what you would call lawyers, both for the court and for the defense, are appointed by the regional governors." Ia added.

"There is something of a cascade effect here, as the Regional governors then appoint the local governors, head magistrates, police chiefs and city administrators, and they in turn fill the local court, police and administrative positions." Levella finished.

"So no person is ever ruled directly by the person they elected, and they have no input into who does directly govern them?" Ginny asked.

"That is correct. This is the system that came into being at the end of the Dark Times." Eru said.

"Pardon me for saying so, but this entire system seems to have been designed as the ideal form needed for a coercer to impose his will on the most people while requiring the least amount of direct interference." Formerio said.

"It pains me to say so, but it appears that you are right, and I wonder at how it managed to elude my notice all these years." Eru said.

"Its okay Uncle Eru." Andy said. "At least it'll be easier to catch your coercer than to catch ours."

After Serenity's having schooled us already, we were all ears instantly.

"Why is that Andy?" Eru asked.

"Well, that whole weird arrangement may have made it hard to notice what he was doing, but doesn't it mean he'll be easy to catch?" He answered. "Dad says we don't know who to watch, and its impossible to watch everyone, so its hard to try and catch our guy, but you just have to watch those High Governor guys to catch yours."

Twice. Twice in one day my children have followed in their dear dad's footsteps and released full McKesson-grade chaos bombs on us poor unsuspecting, minds-stuck-in-the-mud, adults.

We staged our operation on Taluat from a familiar little cabin on a hill near the western ocean. I had to fight back tears when we arrived. I could swear I heard a gentle little 'chirr' and felt a tail brush under my chin. I had to fight them back hard.

Eru and I both were quiet when we first arrived. I'm sure there were even more memories here for him.

We did a quick scan of the nearby area, but found nothing and no one out of the ordinary. We cleaned up the small cabin a little, mostly I played human vacuum cleaner and used a touch of telekinesis to quickly remove the thick layer of dust from everything. We cleared the table from the center of the room, piling it and the two chairs that had sat around it in a pile on the small cot that lay along the east wall.

There is more of this chapter...

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