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Old 04-26-2008, 11:45 PM   #1
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Earth, Sky, Fire and Rain - Chapter 31 (27/4/08)

The saga continues...

Disclaimer: A work of fiction.


end of chapter 30:
--------

"... I came here because I'm afraid I've been deluding myself about these dreams, and I just want them to stop..."

"Then we need to talk about them, Lisa."

"I can't do that with cushions! And stop using my name, Bridget! I'm sorry."

I picked up my bag, and walked out. I couldn't face talking about everything in so much detail with that woman. That thing with the cushions... god. Who does that? It was crazy. I nearly laughed.



-----------
Chapter 31:
-----------

I don't think Glen was happy when I told him I wouldn't be seeing Dr. Mossman and her cushions any more. He agreed that the cushions were ridiculous, but I think he was hoping that everything would be all right, if only I saw a counsellor. But as seemed to be the case with everything lately, it wasn't that simple.

"Are you going to try someone else? Someone you get along with better?" Glen asked me.

"I don't know. Maybe I should just try to get over the whole thing and learn to deal with it on my own."

"I thought you were trying that before," he ventured. "If those dreams are having such an impact, maybe it's something you can't deal with on your own."

"Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence."

"Don't be like that... I don't blame you for being affected, they sound horrible. And I know you wouldn't have lost that job if there was anything you could have done to prevent it."

"I'll never know now, will I. No second chances there." My voice was flat.

"Come on, love. I do miss how you used to be, you've not been yourself since all this started. I'm worried for you."

"I know, I know you are. Maybe I'm just not ready to bare my soul to a stranger. It was hard, even saying what I did to Dr. Mossman."

Glen sighed. I did, too.

"What do you want to do for your birthday?" he said after a minute.

The eighth of March was approaching, and with it my thirty-eighth year of life. I didn't feel like celebrating at that moment, but maybe I would change my mind in a couple of weeks.

"I dunno... It's been a while since we've been bowling. We could all have a meal somewhere, and bowl a couple of games afterwards."

"Sounds good."


As if to underline my failure in counselling, I dreamed again that night.

Voices clamouring for answers, raised in concern, shouting to be heard over one another. Elders and everyone else alike, gesturing wildly, faces turned to me with expressions of confusion, worry, anger, grief, and bitterness.

In the months since the circle had been completed, disaster after disaster had befallen the village. The moon had barely turned once in its cycle before the first signs of blight were seen in the crops, which quickly spread. Ewain had acted swiftly, demanding that the blighted fields be burned, to stop the spread of the disease, so he said. Flames had roared into the night, smoke billowing into the sky. Ewain had watched with an unreadable expression, and I had watched him, wondering if I'd ever known him at all.

The day after the fields had burned, I had found ashes scattered inside the stone circle. Ashes covered the whole village, it was true, but the wind had not been blowing towards the hilltop. I had swept it clean, and buried a sacrifice of now-precious grain, trying to avert more disease in the crops.

Next, livestock had begun to sicken. Perhaps the ashes from the burning crops had made them sick, but many died before the healthy ones were successfully isolated. The herds were much reduced, and people began to worry about the coming winter. If the frosts came early, there would be no time for a late harvest of hastily-planted replacement crops. Not all the fields had burned, but it would be a lean winter.

The newly planted crops failed to sprout, though. I went over the fields, conducting rites and rituals that were supposed to encourage bounty and fruitfulness in the Earth, but I'd never felt the land to be so unresponsive. It was as if it were dying, or dead. I was more frightened than I admitted to anyone.

And Ewain watched.

Then Hali's fever had returned. Three other people had fallen ill before she died. That had been yesterday. Panic was threatening to overwhelm the village. I had to stop it, somehow.

"Why is this happening? What have we done wrong? We built the circle, and things are worse now!"

"My son is burning with fever! He doesn't even know my face..."

"Why are the spirits angry?"

"I don't know!" I cried, unable to deflect their questions with vague half-answers any more. There was a brief, shocked silence, before the babble resumed.

"Eleri would have known." They all seemed to be saying that.

"We should not blame the Ritemaster entirely," came a deep, commanding voice. Ewain strode into the light of the fire in the centre of the village. Every voice fell silent, and stayed that way. I eyed him warily. We'd barely spoken since the circle was finished, and he was defending me?

"It is not her fault, after all, that Ritemaster Eleri died before she could pass all of her knowledge on. Neither is it Mag's fault that our harvest was poor in the season that followed Eleri's death."

There was muttering as people recalled that winter. More than one person seemed to think that it could easily have been my fault, inexperienced and young as I was.

"There have been other things, since Mag became Ritemaster," Gwenna spoke up. "Fewer animals born, more disease. More wolves taking lambs and calves." She was looking at me with hard eyes. I felt betrayed.

"Her own son died," someone else mumbled. "She has brought forth no more life since then."

"I will find a way," I said, desperately. "There must be a way of bringing back the goodwill of the Earth. I will find it."

"There speaks a Ritemaster," Ewain rumbled. "You know there is a way. You will not flinch, no matter what is required?"

"Of course not," I said, staring at Ewain. A strange light seemed to burn in his eyes, but I'd seen it often recently. "I will meditate, consult the spirits."

"Very well," he said, as if something had been decided. As if I would not try to correct the imbalance!

Only after everyone had dispersed for the night, did I realise that I had failed to point out the damage that may have been caused by the deaths during the circle's construction. That perhaps that was the cause of the spirits' disquiet. That Ewain was as much to blame for that as I was.


----------------------------------------
"Oh my god. Oh my god... Where the hell is he..... Hey, wake up! Where's your phone?"

"Mmmnn... Zuh...? Ungh. Waitaminute... Please don't batter down my door. Augh... what time is it? And what's wrong with your phone?"

"Nice robe. The battery's flat, I can't find the charger... I have to..."

"You weren't going to call your wife, were you."

"You don't understand! The circle's not finished after all... Ewain was expecting something to happen, but it hasn't and he needs more... he's going to..."

"Wait up a moment, there. I'm still half asleep. Let's go to the kitchen and get some coffee."

"But, I have to..."

"No, you don't have to. How many times has that woman told you to leave her alone?"

"She doesn't understand either! I need to warn her..."

"And how is it that you've been gifted with all this understanding? We mere mortals should stand in awe of you."

"Oh, shut it..."

"Would you like milk?"

"No. I don't want milk, I don't want any bloody coffee."

"You want to harass some presumably innocent Welsh woman, though."

"She's English, actually. But at least you don't think she's leading me astray."

"I don't think Lar should have spoken to her, no. And to be led astray, one must make the decision to follow. Either way, it's your responsibility. There you go, sugar's over there. Now, drink up and explain to me what's got you so rattled."

"Never mind, forget it. You don't believe me anyway."

"If you're going to get me up at this ungodly hour, hammering on my door and demanding telephones, I think I deserve to hear what all the fuss is about. I couldn't see the others putting up with all this mystery if you were staying with them. Out with it."

"Look, I'm sorry about this. I appreciate your putting me up, while... until this gets sorted out, you know that."

"I know."

"It's just... it's so real, I AM Ewain when I'm dreaming. I don't want to be him, you know, but I'm afraid I'm starting to think like him. I mean, I look at you and I think 'Water'..."

"...Pardon?"

"Back then, everyone had an element. You were a Water person or Earth or Air or Fire. They worshipped elemental spirits. And they – well, Ewain at least, could usually tell who was what just by looking at them. And now I'm starting to do it, and I don't want to! I don't want to turn into him..."

"I don't think you need to worry. Your first thought was to warn that geologist; regardless of whether or not you're dreaming the same things, that doesn't sound like something this Ewain character would do. Of course, if you are dreaming the same things, I doubt warning her will do any good at all, especially if she doesn't want to hear it."

"I suppose not."

"Oh boy, I know that look. I can't stop you from doing whatever you think you need to, but I'm just saying that calling her is a bad idea."

"I'm not going to call her, don't worry."

----------------------------------------


The upcoming birthday celebrations forced me to do something I'd been avoiding for weeks – open my email. Yes, I could call everyone up, but without that written invitation, I knew several people would probably forget. The advent of the digital age had certainly seemed to impart something like ADD to some people.

I hadn't gained any more enthusiasm about celebrating another year of life, but I told myself firmly that it would do me good to get out of the house, catch up with my friends, and enjoy myself for a night.

Even though I knew what I would find, I still sighed as a screen full of emails from Ed appeared before me. He'd been sending one every two or three days from the looks of things – probably every time he had dreamed about the village. I hesitated for a long minute, but finally I opened up the most recent one and read it.


'Lisa,' Ed had written.

'This is ridiculous. I've typed out and deleted this email twenty times, but none of them sounded right. Perhaps there's no easy way of saying this, so I might as well just say it. Ewain wants Mag's blood in that circle, and maybe her life too. He doesn't care about the welfare of the village. I wanted to warn you, because you're going to dream it, whatever happens. It probably won't do any good, in terms of stopping it from happening. And you're probably not reading this anyway, so maybe I'm wasting my time. But I can't just sit here and do nothing.

'I keep telling myself I'm not going to email you any more, but each time, I make an exception. There's something more going on here, and I can't shake the feeling that we will need to do... something. If only to make the dreams stop. I don't enjoy them any more than you do, I don't like having that psychotic man in my head, I can't stand the idea that I might begin to think like that. The thought of what might still happen in these dreams – or what DID happen in that village – is frankly terrifying.

'I don't know why I bother writing, sometimes. I know you don't want to hear these things, you want me to leave you alone. That's why I haven't called again, but that's just details, perhaps. I know I shouldn't be contacting you at all.

'All right, I'll stop. I hope you're well. And my regards to Glen.
- Ed'


I laughed. 'I hope you're well'. And I imagined that last sentiment was well-flavoured with sarcasm.

It was a hollow, shaky laugh, however. Ed's words had rattled me, despite my best efforts. Not only that 'warning'; it almost sounded like a threat, but that really was impossible – even if Ed had any control over Ewain's actions in his dreams, he couldn't affect mine, and I certainly had no say in how my dreams unfolded. More's the pity. The other thing that brought that sour taste of fear to the back of my throat was how deeply Ed seemed to believe this. Did that make him gullible, or me blind?

That I felt this fear at all made me worry even more. On some level, despite everything, I believed him. Somewhat. And I did not want to dream Mag's death. The dreams had to stop, and now.

Hands still shaking, I fired off half a dozen terse invitations to friends, and then looked up another counsellor. I picked one almost at random, and made an appointment then and there. I hoped nothing drastic would happen in the dreams in the next two days.

Almost as an afterthought, I replied to Ed's email.

'Ed,
'I'm seeing a counsellor. I suggest you do the same.
- Lisa'


He could read that however he liked, I thought.

-------------------------
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Old 04-27-2008, 02:23 AM   #2
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oooooh good chapter, im worried !
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Old 04-27-2008, 03:17 AM   #3
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she's not dying with mag is she?
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Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 04-27-2008, 01:08 PM   #4
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i like it.
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Old 04-27-2008, 01:50 PM   #5
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I was reading this while listening to THE beach clip in the background.
Rather erie and dramatic.

Well done Alisaura
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:35 PM   #6
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Re: Earth, Sky, Fire and Rain - Chapter 31 (27/4/08)

Quote:
Originally posted by Alisaura


'Ed,
'I'm seeing a counsellor. I suggest you do the same.
- Lisa'

-------------------------
Ouch.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:41 PM   #7
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At the risk of quoting Michael Kelso -

BURN!
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by sue4u2
I was reading this while listening to THE beach clip in the background.
Rather erie and dramatic.
I may regret asking, but what is "THE beach clip"? Is it something to do with leaked clips of new material that I'm avoiding like the plague cos I don't want any album spoilers?

Glad you liked the chapter, anyway!


Thanks for reading, everyone More tomorrow...
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