April 9th, 2004

surya

Chaos working II

Part I

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I was sitting in a room, quietly chanting a mantra. Having never used this mantra before, I was occasionally stumbling over the sounds. They were unfamiliar and didn't flow quite right, but it is this stumbling, this tripping on unfamiliar terrain that I attribute the eventual experience to.

I shut my eyes, and I let the mixed-up, lost chant carry me through on its journey. Along the way, my body felt things. My eyes saw things. My muscles ached. The scents of the worlds I fell into were vivid and alive.

First, I spied a mountain. The top of this mountain was my goal, I knew that already. I set off in the correct direction, trudging through mud and ducking under branches. I followed no path, but kept the mountain in my vision.

My foot caught a rock, and I landed face-first in the mud.

I lay still for a moment. There was a rock just under my eye, pushing into it. My shoulder was on an exposed root. I knew my knee was skinned and bleeding.

I put my hands under me, and went back to my knees.

In front of me the mountain still stood, but a line had formed across its center. I stood, and began to walk toward it again. I passed a rose garden, and turned to my right to see the sun glint off the dew on their buds. The smell of freshly opened roses hit me hard, and I smiled.

I knew I should not dally, though, and I turned to the mountain.

Its eye opened.

The line that had formed across it was the bottom of a giant lid, and now its eye stared down at me, angrily. Its fire bruned into my body, and I stood, staring back at it.

I took another step closer, and the eye squinted more, accusing me of some sin I could not place.

I began to walk forward, my eyes fixed on the anger of this mountain-god. I ignored the world around me, focusing only on this mountain, and my eventual conquer of it.

It was then I noticed that each step toward the mountain moved it further distant.




To be continued. . .

===

Other parts:

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII
surya

Chaos working III

Part II

===

I stopped, unsure what to do. Instead of think, I listened.

I heard singing to my left.

I climbed a tree near me, hiding in its foliage. Whatever was coming was larger than me, though the voice was melodious and feminine. I waited for the creature to show itself.

Through the trees stepped a young woman. Her eyes shown with the light of the skies, and her step was light. She would have been beautiful, but for one thing: she was a giant, and eight times my own height.

Her song was lovely though. It was about something I knew, but could not place. What could it be?

The giantess sat down near my tree, and placed her basket under it. She continued singing, and the story in the song opened in my mind like a book.

"There once was a child
Who knew the right steps
A man he beguiled
who knew magic's depths

Pair of boots he stole
That helped him travel
To quickly reach goals
And monsters baffle.

Snitched boots always he
Wore them on his legs
They were verily
Boots of Seven Leagues!"


It was then I knew what she sang of. Seven League Boots would find me atop the mountain soon. If she knew of them, I would be well-advised to follow her.

I looked at her legs, long and shapely. Even at a stroll, there was no way to keep up.

I looked at her apron, but knew she would feel me cling to her.

I looked at her hair, and though it was long and flowing, I feared she would use a comb on it before I could remove myself.

It was the basket I settled on. In it were blackberries. Hundreds of them - no, millions. Though she was a giant, these berries were of a more normal size. Above the berries was a cloth that kept her sleeves from dragging in the berries and staining.

I quietly slid down the tree, and stepped into the basket. I rolled over the berries, and pulled the cloth over me. There I lay, expecting her to pick the basket up.

I lay in the berries for perhaps an hour before I fell asleep. Her songs and beautiful voice enchanted me, and I drifted off slowly, listening to her songs of treasures and brave princes.

I awoke for a moment when the basket moved, but I did not stir. I had been sleeping for hours, for the sky was now dark, and stars twinkled in the heavens above. I looked to the crescent moon, and he winked his conspiratorial wink, assuring me that he would not give my secret to the giantess who was now bounding over the fields with me.





To be continued. . .

===

Other parts:

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII
surya

Chaos working IV

Part III

===

At daybreak I awoke again, and the basket was sitting near a window sill. I pulled the cloth down enough to find that I was alone, before I rolled out. I filled my pocket with blackberries for a later dinner, and moved toward the edge of the table I was on.

The drop was not that far, but it was far enough that I knew jumping was out of the question. I began looking for a rope or another item to help me down, but the door began to open.

I hid behind the spice rack, watching the door with interest. Through it came a large man, carrying a sack and a pair of boots over his shoulder. The sack moved with a startling animation, and my ears detected things beating together within.

The sack was dropped on the table, and I suddenly knew what was inside, for a squawk escaped the top of the bag. It had been birds wings I had heard.

The man set his boots beside the table, and, grunting, stepped out the same door he had come in.

Cautiously, I approached the bag. It was of a heavy canvas, so I couldn't open it from the side. My jacknife wouldn't cut the fabric.

I stepped around to the front of the bag. Another squawk was heard, as well as the beating of wings.

"Master Bird?" I called into the opening. "Can you answer?"

Silence.

"I can get you out, Master Bird."

Silence still.

For a moment, I was confused. I knew the birds wanted out; their struggles against the bag when it was brought in were evidence of this. Yet the bird refused to answer.

It was then that I recalled the words of my uncle: "A bird will never speak to you unless you have fed it. Once you have done that, you will have a friend for life, and he will take care of you to the end of his days."

I dug into my pockets, and pulled out the blackberries I had taken from the basket. For a moment, I thought about dumping them in, but I knew that if I did that, the bird would not know who had fed him. In a moment of decision, I thrust my hand in and waited.

The bag stilled completely for a moment, but soon a rustling began at the bottom of the sack. I held my breath, praying that the bird would not take my hand with the berries, but I knew that was a thin hope.

The sounds of feather on fabric drew nearer the mouth of the bag, and I closed my eyes. I felt the bird's breath on my fingers, and then I felt his beak press against my hand. Another moment of tortured stillness occurred.

The bird then gently took one blackberry from my hand. He waited a moment, swallowed, and came back for another. Things continued in just this way until he had taken each one.

I slowly withdrew my hand, and waited.

"Boy, will you let me out?" came an unsure voice from within.

"I will, Master Bird."

"And you will not cook me? I should not like to be eaten." Hope began to creep into his voice.

"I will not cook you, Master Bird."

"Nor pluck me nor bake me into a pie nor cage me?" the bird asked.

"I will not pluck your beautiful feathers, I will not bake you into a pie where your handsome face is covered in pastry, nor will I cage you where your wings will be useless. I will only release you."

"Then get to it, Boy! The Giant will return shortly, and he means to do at least one of those things!"

I was unsure what to do. "My knife will not cut the sack, Master Bird."

"Then cut the string, Boy. Be quick about it!"

How could I have not thought of that first? My jacknife cut the string easily, and I pulled the bag open.

The bird poked his black head out of the bag. He was a blackbird, obviously, and his feathers were truly beautiful. "I thank you Boy. You are a true friend." He pulled the rest of his body out, and shook himself clean. "At the end of the table you will find your way out."

"But I have looked there, Master Bird. There is nothing but the giant's boots, and I fear they are too large for me!"

The bird looked at me. "Did the giant wear them when he came in the door?"

"He did not."

Master Bird looked at me expectantly. "Why would a man who had just come from outside not wear his boots?"

"He was afraid of walking too far in them?"

"Exactly!" shouted the bird, a little too loud for my comfort. "There is your answer. Now, as I am not keen on being cooked, I must go. Good luck, Boy!"

With that, he flew through the window.




To be continued. . .

===

Other parts:

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII
surya

Chaos working V

Part IV

===

I was lost for a moment. Why would he be afraid of walking in his boots? Too far? Why take them off?

"Seven Leagues! They walk Seven Leagues!" I shouted. These boots were my hope for getting nearer the mountain.

I ran to the edge of the table. I looked over the edge, but was disappointed to remember that the man who wore them was much taller than I. Each boot was twice my height, and I would be swallowed in side them. I sat down, considering this problem.

I pondered the situation for nearly a half hour, simply staring at the boots and wondering how to get into them. I was so enraptured with my own thoughts, that I didn't hear the door open.

"What are you?" came a booming, yet young and feminine voice above me.

I started, and realized that I had nowhere to go. I looked up at the source of the voice, and it was the giantess who had unknowingly carried me here. I was struck dumb with fear.

"You aren't a pixie, are you?" she asked. Her voice held no threat, and this reassured me enough to speak an answer.

"I'm not. I'm a man."

"I've never seen one of those before!" she cried, apparently overjoyed. It was, I thought with irony, just the way a human child would react to a pixie.

"You have now, ma'am. I heard you singing, and thought I should follow you here."

"But I never sing near the house. Father doesn't like it. Where did you hear me singnig? You're too small to have walked her on your own!"

I thought for a moment. "I heard you singing in the forest near the shadow of the mountain with the eye. Your voice was beautiful."

The giantess blushed. "You don't mean that. I mean, I don't sing well. Father has told me so."

"Perhaps my ear is simply better tuned than his. Not all people appreciate music the same way."

She sighed. "I suppose you're right. Did you come to hear me sing again? I would love to sing for you!" The pleasure in her eyes at the thought was remarkably evident, and she seemed so much to want to please me.

I remembered her father, and how I had just let his dinner fly away. "I would be honoured to hear you sing, but you say your father won't allow it. I should like to hear it, but shouldn't we do it at a later date?"

"Oh, I suppose you're right. Oh, where are my manners? Would you like something to drink?"

"I would, ma'am. Truth be told, I'm remarkably thirsty." The giantess stood, and went to a bucket. She searched for something that I could handle, and settled on a thimble. She dipped it in the water and brought it back to me.

"Here you are. Don't drink too fast, this water is magical. It comes from our well out front. It's how we stay young. Each drink will prevent you from aging for an hour. If you take two drinks, you'll start to get younger. If you drink it too quickly, you'll be a child again in no time, and then I almost wouldn't be able to see you!"

I smiled. "We wouldn't want that, would we, ma'am." I took a drink. The water was the sweetest I had ever tasted, and I felt it coat my throat with its coolness, and felt my body relax.

"Would you do me a favour, man?" she asked when I had finished.

"Of course, ma'am. What ever I can. You've been a most generous hostess."

"Would you call me by my name? I don't like the sound of 'ma'am'. I much prefer my own name."

"Of course I will. I would like to think of you by your name. What is it?"

She paused, biting her lip. "You see, man, that's part of the problem. I can't tell you. You need to guess it." She looked almost embarassed.

"Can you give me a hint?"

"No, I can't," she said. "Only one person knows it, and so I'm still here. I can never leave for more than a day. If I do, I'll surely die."

"And I suppose the one person who knows it is your father?"

She looked at me as if it was obvious. "Of course. He named me!"

I sighed inwardly. "Well, then I suppose there's only one thing to do."

"What's that?" she asked.

"Why, guess, of course!"

And so I began to guess.




To be continued. . .

===

===

Other parts:

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII