Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Astral Travel (In Search of the Blue Pearl)
From the journal of Eden Bander
Jamaro explained that he’d been cross with his daughter lately, after she’d done a very careless thing. He told me the whole story.
“It was a little over a year ago that I lost my wife – and D’yangi her mother – to an illness that came on her of a sudden,” he said. “Now grief is enough to make a man harsh, to be sure. But D’yangi lost something precious of my Iyanna’s: a pendant that had been a gift from me, which hung on a silver chain and was imbedded with a blue pearl, a rare treasure from the salt waters of the sea.
“After Iyanna died I kept it in a safe box, ‘cause D’yangi always wanted to wear it. I forbade her, but she snuck it out anyway. Then she went swimming in the river, snagged the chain on a floating branch, and when it snapped my Iyanna’s beautiful pendant was drunk by the green waters.”
I’d been nodding, almost hypnotized by the waves that rocked against our canoe, when suddenly I said without any forethought: “I reckon I could find out where that pendant got to.”
See, I’ve traveled before while my body was left behind me, still lying on the ground or wherever. The first time, it happened while Ejol and Gayla were stitching my arm up after a bear had clawed me. I started singing a tune the Oskwai had taught me years ago, with Gayla playing along, and suddenly I got all these strange words that went along with the melody of it and when I chanted them I just floated right up among the treetops. I didn’t feel a thing while Ejol pulled that needle through my skin; I just watched it all from the sky.
“It’s gone, ladie,” Jamaro was saying. “Swept to the Goddess knows where. Probably over the falls and miles and miles from here. Maybe it turned up in the net of some lucky fisherman from Mei-phal.”
But I knew I could find it; I could almost see it in my mind’s eye before I even started chanting. It’s been like that for me lately, the more I look into Sirrus’ Mirror and take his lessons to heart. I started slipping into a waking dream, while Jamaro was still protesting.
“You search all this? Upriver and down? I don’t doubt you’re in good shape, Eden Bander, but I no think you can hold your breath for a month.”
I told him that if he wanted to help, he should stop arguing and describe, instead, the pendant that he’d lost.
He did…and I kept chanting…and an hour later Jamaro wasn’t arguing but cheering. “See it! Hah! In the pool below the rose bushes, right where you said it would be! I could well believe you hid it there yourself with your own hands.
“Let no one treat young Bander like a Madra who’s still waiting for his day to wrestle his first alligator. He is like the Singing Chiefs of olden times! I am so deep in your debt, Eden. I would guess that you’re too modest to demand a service in return. Nonetheless I’ll encourage you to name your price. You have only to ask. For anything – anything at all!”
I told him that there was something he could do in return: he could find it in himself to believe that power like the kind that I’d just demonstrated could be awakened in him, too. Jamaro looked me in the eye and promised that he would try.
And that’s how he and his daughter ended up here with us.
Other excerpts of metaphysical fiction in this cycle can be found on this page: Song of the Twice Born