2012-01-27

richila: (Default)
2012-01-27 10:33 pm

Dreams Chapter 1

 

"Gi, I just had the strangest dream, Shri trailed off as she turned to look at her husband. For a moment it seemed that his black hair and navy blue eyes were replaced with blonde hair and green eyes. The faces were similar, but the one she saw briefly was younger in fact. Shri shook her head sharply as she recognized the face. "Why would she be dreaming of Asha's husband Ioachim?" she wondered. She'd had the strangest dreams since she became pregnant, but rarely did they wake her up.

 

Suddenly shivering, she needed her husband's arms holding her and his voice rumbling in her ear. Shaking him, she called "Gi, wakeup." Before he was fully awake, Girard was reaching for her, pulling her to the warmth of his body. With a sigh of contentment he tucked Shri under his chin and tightened his arms around her. Calming in the warmth of his arms, she slowly let herself fall back to sleep.

 

 

 

"Ioachim, no, Iov, don't leave me," Asha was sobbing in her sleep. Iov gathered her into his arms murmuring endearments in his native Russian. His English gotten much better during the last five years married to Asha, but when he was worried he always reverted to Russian. Looking at the clock, he wondered if Shri had awakened Girard as well. Being married to identical twins had

 brought him closer to the other man than he would ever have believed possible.

 

 

Shri awakened secure in her husband's arms. Despite her broken night's sleep, she felt rested. In fact, she felt better than she had felt in the last month. Counting back, she realized that she had passed the first trimester and hopefully had left all of the morning sickness behind her. She stretched enjoying the warmth of Girard's body next to her own. She still couldn't figure out why they had waited so long to marry. She had loved Girard from the time she was a little girl. Why on earth did they wait an entire year after Asha's marriage to marry?

"Well, at least they were going through their first pregnancies together" she grinned to herself at the thought. Thinking of Asha reminded her of the strange dream or vision she had the night before. But looking up at her beautiful husband, she was distracted and began a series of nibbling kisses along his chin and neck.

 

Girard became aware od his wife's warm wiggling body as she began her attack on his chin and neck. He had just decided to pretend to be asleep when the nibbling was replaced by licks as Shri abandoned his neck and worked her way lower. Knowing he couldn't keep up the pretense, he lifted her tiny body up into his arms. Leaning over her, her delicate beauty took his breath away. Her golden brown eyes were laughing up at him brimming over with mischief. Her dark blond curls tumbled around her pale gold shoulders, pulling her closer with one arm he buried his fingers in the curls that he loved to play with. So felt so little against him, he marvelled that he could still span her waist with his hands while marvelling at the curve of their child beneath his palm.

"Good Morning love."

"Good Morning Beloved," Gi's voice was a little deeper than usual. "I trust that you slept well," he said arching a brow at her. Shri just laughed and put her face up for a kiss which he was more than happy to give her.

 

"Yes, I slept very well even though a dream woke me up," she said when they came up for air. "I want to tell you about it. It was such a strange dream."

 

Girard remembered feeling Shri stir in the night, but she had just snuggled in when he reached for her.

 

"Let's get comfortable first." He pushed the pillows against the headboard and sat back against them before pulling Shri into his lap. "That's better, he said with his arms wrapped around her.

 

Shri sighed contentedly as she settled in. "I dreamed I was living somewhere else-but it was home to me. The strangest thing is you weren't there. How could any place be home to me if you weren't in it?" She tipped her head back to look up at her husband puzzled. "And, when I turned to wake you up, I saw Iov’s face instead of yours. Isn't that strange?'

 

Girard felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. There had always been the possibility that she would remember, but after more than five years they had all come to believe that it was in the past. It was that fear that had kept him from marrying Shri at the same time that Iov had married Asha. Both girls had wanted a double wedding. It was his choice to wait another year. But after waiting so long for his beloved Shri, one year seemed a small price to pay to be sure. He was glad she couldn't see his eyes. "I need to call Iov," he thought to himself.

 

 

 

Deep in the woods outside of the Vale, Amina rose to build up the morning fire. She would awaken her aunt soon; they would need to start their journey. Her sisters had need of them.

 

 

Shri was in the shower when she heard the phone ring. She wondered who would be calling so early, then smiled wondering which family member had called. Maybe it was Amina, no she wouldn't use the phone. Ducking her head under the warm spray, she marveled at the fact that her youngest sister preferred a life in the wild to a life with modern conveniences. She was glad that Aunt Nefertari was with her while Uncle Mstya was in Europe doing research. She was glad that Mstya had finally convinced Nefertari to marry him last year. The poor man had certainly patient almost as patient as Girard. Why had that come to mind? She had married Girard as soon as he would after Asha's marriage. Why had they waited after Asha's marriage? Why had they even waited for Asha's marriage? She had loved Girard all of her life. Feeling a little dizzy, Shri grabbed her terrycloth robe from its hook and returned to the bed. The covers had been smoothed and folded down for her.Waving her hand at the bed, the covers raised invitingly, A little smile curved her lips as she lay down and went back to sleep as the covers tucked in around her.

Girard was on the computer sending emails to Ioachim and Mstya when the phone rang. He caught it on the first ring, as he expected it was Ioachim.

"yes, Shri woke in the night, but she was more confused than disturbed." he listened then responded"Yes, I know, but we knew that they might remember someday."

"I agree, I think it is the pregnancy here as well. I sent you and Mstya emails just before you called." An email alert brought Girard's attention back to the computer. "I just got an answer from Mstya," he scanned the email quickly before reading it aloud over the phone.

Amina told Tari that we were needed. She will be with Ioachim and Asha by this afternoon, if Ioachim will pick her up at the _____ airport. Tari and I will be with you by tomorrow. I was about to email you when I got your message. We will be flying commercially to conserve energy." Girard laughed softly, he knew the kind of energy being conserved had nothing to do with being "green". He breathed a sigh of relief knowing Amina was going to help Asha. Amina might be the smallest physically of the sisters, but she had the greatest talent. Of the three, she was the only one who knew exactly had happened over125 years ago. She was the keeper of their history.

 

Girard ended the call with his brother in law feeling a lot happier. It would be good to see Tari and Mstya again. It had been almost 2 years since the wedding and they were stillon their honeymoon. He smiled to himself, when you lived as long as they did a decade with your love was but a moment in time. As many years as it took those two to find each other he didn't blame them. He wasn't surprised that they had waited so long; he knew that the right one was worth waiting for. More than that, the right one was worth fighting for. He smiled to himself as he remembered the first time he met his love. Who knew one small girl would change his life so.

 

 

 

 

In the past...

 

 

 

Shri was running from her sisters as fast as her five year old legs could carry her when she ran into something that felt like a wall. "Why was there a wall in the middle of the road?" she wondered as she sat on the ground. She was slightly stunned and could tell that there would be a lump when gentle fingers lifted her chin and she found herself looking into the deepest blue eyes she had ever seen.

 "Are you alright little one?" he asked her. Shri had been too tongue-tied to speak. Girard had lifted her into his arms and carried her home. With those eyes and hair and skin, she had to be one of the triplets he had heard about upon returning home. He had heard how bright and mischievous they were, no one had mentioned how enchanting the little ones were. He hadn't seen Nefertari in years and this would be a good reason for a visit.

 

Tari shook her head as she led Girard to the chaise to set down Shri while she went for a cool cloth to help the swelling. When he tried to set her down and step away, a little hand wouldn't let go while golden brown eyes pleaded with him to stay. He patiently held her hand until she dropped off to sleep.

 

Tari motioned Girard to the kitchen. Once there he took a seat at the table while she prepared tea for them.

"You are looking well Gi, what brings you back to the Vale?"

"It is home after all, I take it the little one's are your brother's?

Tari just laughed, "Those scamps are the loves of my life."

"We would have done well together Tari.

"No we wouldn't have, we would have been together just to not be lonely. We don't have to be married to spend time together."

"I suppose you are right. I have never raised children, I think I will stick around a while and see what happens.

 

Later that evening, Asha decided to play a trick on their aunt's friend. The girls all dressed the same and told him different names. He picked Shri out of the lineup by name, and remembered her sister's names as well.

 

From that moment on, Shri had known that Girard would be the man she would marry someday. Every so often she would say to him, "Wait for me Gi, I am growing as fast as I can." He always answered "Take your time little Shri, I am not going anywhere."

 

The years from five to ten years old passed happily for the girls. They were full of life and mischief and well taken care of by Tari and Girard. Shri and Asha were identical, to everyone but Tari and Girard, but the girls were all of a height and build. The night of before their tenth birthday the girls could barely go to sleep. On their tenth birthday, they would discover what their talents were.

 

 

  Before going to sleep that night, Asha had wondered who she would marry when she grew up. After all, in just five years they would be old enough to marry if they wished. Shri was ready to start planning her wedding; if Gi would ask her and Tari would let her. She giggled herself to sleep and thought no more of it. (But, that night she had her first dream of him, the blonde haired green eyed boy that she was destined to love.-Describe the dream)

 

 

 

Asha was in a new place. Somewhere nearby, she could hear a roaring that she had never heard before. The sky was different here. She looked around carefully to figure out the difference. There were no trees. All of her life she had lived in the Vale, deep within the woods. The Vale itself was in a clearing, but she had never been able to turn in every direction and not see a tree. The ground around her was hard and rocky, why didn't her feet hurt she wondered. She looked at her feet and saw that she was wearing boots. She laughed aloud, Tari always tried to get her to wear her shoes at home and now she was dreaming footwear on herself. She kept walking and as she topped a hill, she saw the source of the roaring, it was the sea. Asha had never seen the sea, but she recognized it from the books Girard brought them back from his travels. It was the movement of the water that made the sound, he had explained to them. Asha was fascinated. She looked around and found a large flat rock to sit on and settled herself to watch the sea.

 

 

It was comfortable and warm sitting there on her rock. Asha decided to lay on her stomach and watch the sea. That was her last thought before she fell asleep.

 

A gentle hand shook her shoulder and a voice called in words she didn't understand. Asha opened her eyes to sunlit gold and the greenest eyes she had ever seen. As, her vision adjusted she realized the gold was a riotous mop of golden curls that framed his face. She was so delighted that she smiled and he smiled back. Asha was about to speak, when she heard Amina call out in fright.

 

 

Asha sat up in bed suddenly and looked over at her younger sister. Disoriented by the vivid dream, it seemed strange to waken to the dark instead of the sun and the golden haired boy she had just met. Slowly, she got up and went to comfort her younger sister.

 

 

Amina was frightened. No matter how hard she tried, her sisters were out distancing her. They weren't running, but somehow they were young women and she was still only ten. They started out walking together as always, with her in the middle a hand held by each. After they had walked for a while, she noticed that her sisters had gotten taller, older; they were young women and she was still just a child. Then, the young men started to follow them. Finally, two very tall men were walking next to them, one dark, one blonde. When the men took their hands, her sisters dropped her hands and walked on without her. She tried to call out, but they never stopped and never turned back.

 

Amina woke up sobbing. In an instant, she felt Asha's warm arms surrounding her. Moment's later, Shri had joined her twin holding their baby sister."Shh Amina, we are here. We will always be there for you."

 

 

Asha and Shri met eyes over their sister's bed. Shri nodded and turned toward the door. The twins had always understood each other. Whatever it was Asha wanted to tell her would only upset Amina after her fright. They would leave the door open in case Amina woke so she could join them for cocoa in the kitchen. Right now, she need sleep more than cocoa or late night chatter.

 

 

While Shri built up the fire in the stove, Asha got down the chocolate for grating. They each had their tasks when it came to late night treats. Usually, Amina would prepare the mugs and put out the cookies or cake to nibble, but tonight it was just the two of them. Shri was about to pour the milk when Tari appeared at the doorway, pour enough for everyone, she said. Shri did as she was told and replaced the small boiler for a larger one. It would take longer to heat, but that was fine with her. Tari gathered the mugs and plates then took down a second bar of chocolate and grater. Shri and Asha smiled at each other; it had been a long time since a family cocoa time. Soon Girard came in the door with a basket of cookies, which he placed on the table. Scooping up the bowl of grated chocolate, he carried it to the stove and stood pouring it into the milk slowly as Shri stirred.

 

Tari looked around and smiled watching her family together. In a little while, she would go get Amina so that they could all share the late night treat.  The girls were still too young to realize that it was the companionship and working together that made it special. Looking at Girard and Shri working together at the stove, she saw a connection between the two that Gi wasn't yet aware of. He was in for a shock when his little Shri grew up. Looking at Asha, she saw a young fair man in her future, but he was still unclear. It was only Amina who puzzled her; her future was completely nebulous. It had never happened to her before and she was planning to discuss it with the others after the ceremony tomorrow. As Asha took the rest of the chocolate to Shri and Girard, Tari went to the bedroom to get Amina. Looking down at her youngest niece, she made noticed the tear tracks that had dried on her face. In the twins Tari could see the promise of the young women they would become, but all she saw in Amina's face was the baby she had always been and it troubled her.

"Amina, wake up sweetness, she said as she gathered her into her arms, "We are having cocoa.

"Amina smiled drowsily at her aunt and asked "With cookies?

"Yes, with cookies" Tari laughed as she carried her to the kitchen.

 

Amina looked around the kitchen with a smile. Everyone she cared about was here. Ten is the perfect age to be. I wish it could always be like this. I don't ever want to grow up. If I grow up then it won't be like this, she thought to herself. No late night cocoa all together, no picnics in the woods, no it is better if I stay like this, if I stay ten nothing will ever change.

 

After cocoa and cookies, the girls all headed to bed. Asha and Shri were glad to see that Amina was much happier than she had been earlier.

"Remember tomorrow is our ceremony, Shri said. On that happy thought the three girls settled into bed and were soon fast asleep.

 

 

 The next morning was dawned beautiful and clear. The girls woke up to the smell of biscuits baking and jumped out of bed eagerly. There on the hooks next to the door hung their gowns for the ceremony. Shri's gown was dark red, Asha's orange and Amina's was yellow. Each girl had been allowed to choose the color for her gown. For once it would be easy for everyone to tell them apart. They dressed in their everyday clothing because the ceremony didn't start until the afternoon. This morning would be spent reviewing the words of the ceremony with Tari and then getting ready.

 

The girls had each picked an item for the birthday breakfast. Shri had asked for strawberries, Asha for biscuits and Amina for sausages, So they had biscuits and sausages with strawberry jam and lots of strong and sweet tea to wash it down. After breakfast, they made short work of cleaning the kitchen and then gathered all the items they would need to the kitchen table. This would be the first time each girl wore a long gown and her hair would be dressed in an updo made of three braids. Tari would be doing each of the girls' hair while they would take care of grooming the hands and feet for each other.

 

 

Tari started with Amina. She had the thickest and curliest hair and she didn't want to be tired when she got to her. Amazingly enough all the girls had exactly the same mix of gold and brown in their hair resulting in a very dark blonde color. Their hair was too golden to be brown and too dark to be simply blonde. Each girl was to have one braid down the center and two braids that looped. Tari had mixed a fragrant oil for each girl and added of few drops of Amina's to the water to help keep her braid neatly groomed. Tari smiled to think of the surprised faces when they realized that Amina's cloud of curls resulted in a braid almost to her waist. The side braids would loop to just above her shoulders. While Tari did her hair, Shri massaged scented lotion into her skin on the right while Asha mirrored her motions on the left.

Amina had never felt so pampered. Yes, ten was the perfect age to be she thought happily.

 

Next, it was Asha's turn and finally Shri's. The time had passed quickly with much laughter and then it was time to dress. Carefully, the gowns were lifted and eased past the braids. Tari helped them lace up each other and then quickly donned her gown of lavender. A knock at the door signaled that it was time to go. Girard was standing outside resplendent in a blue that matched his eyes with a wreath and small bouquet of white rosebuds with a single bud for each girl to match her gown. Tari placed and pinned the wreaths while Girard gallantly presented the bouquets.

 

Tari led the way through the streets of Vale. As they passed each home, more people joined the procession. Halfway to the Grove,where the ceremony would be held, Girard started the song.

 

(need to write the song.)

 

The Sun whose beams most glorious are, rejecth no beholder

And your sweet beauty past compare, made my poor eyes the bolder

Where beauty moves, and wit delights, and lights of talent blind me

There O there within the Grove, that is where to find thee.

 

The girls were thrilled as they walked together between Tari and Girard. They had heard this song many times for others, but it was different when it was being song for you.

 

It was all that Shri could do to keep her hands still and her feet simply walking. Not too fast, not too slow, just as they had been taught. But hardest of all was not singing. Shri loved music, singing, dancing, playing instruments anything that had to do with music. It was so hard not to join the singing, but she knew she musn't.

 

 

Asha wanted her flute. She knew the perfect counterpoint to play to enhance the music. Tari had told her repeatedly over the last few months that she would not be allowed to play her flute during the procession or the ceremony to follow. She sighed inwardly and made sure that she was still keeping pace with her sisters. Her daydreaming often got her into trouble.

 

Amina wished her hair was loose to the breeze so it would

 

cover her face. She didn't like to be noticed, but she did want to know what her talent was. She concentrated to take lady like steps the way her sisters were. Soon she would know and all this would be worth it.

 

 

As they approached the entrance of the Grove, the song became softer and sweeter. In the distance, they could see the four elders all dressed in white. Those at the end each held a white robe. When they got closer, Tari and Girard would leave the girls and go forward to claim their robes. Sometimes the girls forgot that their beloved aunt was one of the leaders of their people.

 

Each of the elders held a different talent. They represented all the talents known to the people. After the Knowing, each girl would be assigned a teacher who had skill in the talent she had to develop. All knew that one must be trained to use their talents properly. Misused talent could be very dangerous.

 

 

The three girls walked forward in birth order, Shri, Asha

and Amina. Two elders walked forward to meet her

 

Seeker what do you seek?

 

I seek to know

 

What do you seek to know?

 

I seek to know the truth

 

Whose truth do you seek?

 

My Own

 

Come forward then

 

Shri walked forward three paces and turned to face the crowd keeping her hands loose at her sides.The Elders stood on either side of her facing each otherhands stretched toward each other surrounding her with bodies and arms.

 

 

A sheer veil of pink and blue moved between their bodies and arms covering Shri, slowly color bloomed from her body a rosy glow enveloped her. There were murmurs of delight from the crowd has her colors danced with the blue and pink surrounding them.  A Dancer, they whispered it had been many years since one who could make items dance had come along. Shri was delighted, it wasn't his strongest talent, but Girard had more skill in it than any other in the Vale. Girard would be her teacher.

 

The Elders pulled back and the colors faded then lowered their hoods, Girard and Carys were smiling at her.

"You will study with both of us, but Girard first, for his skill is greater." Carys smiled at her again before waving her to the side with Girard and returning to her place with the elders.

 

Once again the ritual words were spoken, this time Asha turned to the crowd to be covered in sparkling white and a bright green. Orange rose softly like the break of day to envelope Asha in its caress before reaching gently to entwine with the white and green. A Dreamer the people murmured.

 

As the colors subsided, Sumati and Nathan put back their hoods.

"We shall teach her jointly for her dreaming not only allows her to walk but to heal." Nathan said as they led her to stand next to Shri.

 

For the final time this day, the words of ritual were spoken. Amina walked forward to be met by two elders.

 

Purple and Gold light surrounded her, but there was no responding light from Amina. The purple and gold light receded and the two Elders were joined by a third. This time they formed a triangle around her reaching toward each other pink, purple and gold swirled around her; but again no light from her. A fourth Elder joined with Crystal white light, no light from Amina.

 

Finally the fifth and sixth Elders joined and green and blue were added, suddenly a burst of yellow came from Amina shooting in all directions and dissipating all the other colors. The crowd was dumbstruck. No one had ever seen anything like it. The Elders themselves were startled. They knew Amina had a lot of power, but none of them could recognize her talent. How do you teach what you do not know? Taking charge of the situation Nefertari put back her hood and spoke.

"A new talent has come to the People. Latif and Nathan shall help me to teach Amina to handle her talent." she said confidently. But, she worried within her heart for she still saw no future for Amina.

 

 

(need description of the hall or meadow the dance takes place in-need head table and other tables that are stacked to the side for dancing and a location for the musicians and the refreshments)

 

As the night wore on, Amina spent more and more time alone at the head table watching the others dance. Each of the men at the table had asked her to dance and she had agreed to dance with each of the Elders. But when no one else from the Vale approached her, she had turned down dances from the Elders. Shri and Asha hadn't noticed, they hadn't been off the dance floor since dancing started hours ago. Aunt Tari had been spending time with her until she said that she really didn't want to dance because her shoes pinched. She still sat out every few dances with her niece, but she was a much desired partner and hated seeing the faces fall when she declined a dance. After catching the look of fear in the eyes of a partner when she mentioned Amina, Tari stopped trying to get partners for her niece.

 

Shri was having the time of her life. Dancing now, made up for not being able to dance or sing earlier. She wished she was taller, she hadn't seen Asha or Amina since they all left the table for the first dance. Just then the music ended and she was spun from partner to the next. She looked up to ask to sit this one out and changed her mind. It was Girard and she wasn't about to miss a chance to dance with him.

 

 

Asha had finally gotten a chance to play her flute as she had wanted to all day. Dear aunt Tari had it waiting for her under her chair. After she had danced with the Elders and then with the next three who had asked her, she excused herself to the boys and sought out the musicians and waited for a break between songs to ask to join them. They smiled and agreed since the party was in her honor. They didn't believe she could keep up, but wouldn't refuse her. She surprised and delighted them with the sparkling counterpoint she improvised to their melodies. She knew the songs they played, but was too brimming over with excitement to simply play the melody. When the tempo picked up, no one was surprised to see Asha playing her flute. Asha didn't see the knowing looks passed among the adults. Entranced by the music, she could almost see the sounds that gave her ears such joy. She found herself wondering if the boy could play an instrument. That would be good, she would like to play music with him sometime. Next time, she would have her flute and ask him. In the meantime, she would simply enjoy the dance in her own special way.

 

"You have been very busy little Shri, I have only danced with you twice," Girard teased her.

"And whose fault is that? It's not like I can walk up and ask you to dance."

"It would have been unfair to separate you from all your admirers."

"They could dance with Asha or Amina as easily as me."

"Neither of your sisters is dancing at the moment."

"Not dancing, oh I forgot Asha has her flute doesn't she? But, what about Amina?"

 

"She has turned me down three times, so I took the hint."

"Has she been asked by any others than the Elders?" Shri asked thoughtfully?

 

Girard thought carefully about the evening, he had kept an eye on each of the girls tonight.

"No, she hasn't."

"I think they are afraid of her. When the Elders could only say she has great power, but not what it is; it frightened them. Let's go sit, I am thirsty and my feet hurt. You may bring us both drinks."

"As my lady wishes," Girard answered as he led her back to the head table.

 

Shri threw herself into the chair next to her sister and heaved a sigh of relief.

"You were so right not to dance with those silly boys, they stepped all over my feet. I don't know what I would have done if Girard hadn't 

 

 

come to recue me. He is bringing us punch, if he doesn't bring snacks as well, I will send him back to fetch us some."

 

 

Anima marveled at her sister's gay confidence. She would never dare order a grown man around the way she did Girard. She could see him coming with two cups and a plate piled high with goodies. She sighed, to herself. Once again she had been forgotten. Sometimes she felt her name was so true, she was invisible to others.

 

"Here you are ladies," Girard set a cup in front of each and the plate between them with a flourish.

 "I thought you might be a bit hungry."

"But what about your cup?"

"I don't need a cup of my own. Obviously, I am Shri's slave merely existing to do her bidding. I sit at her feet read to fulfill her slightest whim."

 

Bewildered, Anima asked "What does that have to do with not needing a cup?"

 

"I steal sips from her cup, since I have nothing of my own." Girard laughed and then took Shri's cup for himself.

 

"Gi, give that back!" Shri protested laughingly.

 

Anima laughed softly at the two of them. She was finally having fun and didn't notice the others looking their way drawn by the laughter. What a pretty picture the golden girls made with their bright gowns and sparkling eyes.

 

From across the room, Tari was glad to see that Shri was keeping her sister company. She wasn't at all surprised to see Girard with them. Soon, Girard and Shri will draw half the room to them, she thought with satisfaction. Their joy would accomplish what she hadn't. She would need to make sure the girls all got out among people in the Vale on a regular basis. They were so content together it wasn't unusual for them to stay to themselves for weeks at a time except when it was time to market. She must make sure that the girls went with her to market, especially Anima and that they invited others into their circle.

 

 

 Hey ho, the greenwood now let us go,

Sing Hey and ho,

And there shall we find both buck and doe,

Sing hey and ho,

The hart and hind and pretty little roe,

Sing hey and hoe.

 

Girard had started the round and invited Anima to sing with him and then Shri. It was a familiar tune and by the time they got to the 3rd time through, quite a few people were singing with them and the musicians had joined in. After the last "Sing hey and ho," Girard started "To Portsmouth". After they finished, Shri started "sing we now merrily", which has ten parts and must be sung at least 10 times. After which with many laughing protests, Anima, Girard and Shri insisted they could sing no more for a while. Some of the crowd wandered away, but others stayed to talk about favorite songs and singing.

 

Anima was having fun, she had never sung with so many people before. She was enjoying the conversation as well as the music. Particularly with a young man named Anders, who not only sang, but enjoyed writing poems and songs. Noticing her cup was empty, he went to fill it and returned to continue talking. It wasn't until he was returning that she noticed his limp. So, that is why he is not dancing Anima thought to herself. Only then was she sure that he enjoyed the discussion as much as she did and hadn't been sent by her aunt.

 

As the evening drew to a close, Anders was still with them as they gathered together for the walk home.

 

"If I may, I would like to escort you home." Anders addressed the statement to Tari, as the head of the home. She agreed and it was a talkative group that headed back to the Vale, with people calling goodbyes as they turned toward their homes.  When they finally reach their home, Tari thanked Girard and Anders for the escort, before ushering the girls to bed. As they turned away, Girard spoke to Anders.

 

"Who are you staying with?"

"I have a pallet at my sister's home. She married a man of the Vale."

"I thought you were new here, and I can at least offer you a bed instead of the floor."

"I will take you up on the offer."

 

Once in his home, Girard started the kettle to make tea for his guest.

 

"I didn't see you at the Knowing."

"I didn't think it was right as a stranger, but my sister said it was alright to attend the party this evening. I hope I haven't done anything wrong."

"No, you did it just right. You obviously have a love of music and poetry. Have you studied anywhere?"

" I have been away studying wherever I could, that is why I hadn't been to visit my sister, Audra, before this. I had hoped to find work, but there isn't much work for a poet songwriter and no one wants a cripple for physical work," he said with a bit of bitterness.

 

"What do you think of the girls?"

"They are all pretty and intelligent, especially that little Anima."

 

"Would you be interested in being a music teacher for them? The pay wouldn't be much, but would include a room of your own, food and pocket money. Best of all, you would be off your sister's floor."

 

"I would love to teach them music, I don't know if I can teach Asha anything, she has a natural gift, but I can at least suggest new music for her to expand her repertoire. My needs are few; I just dreaded being a burden to Audra and her husband. She has enough to do with four children without having to worry about her younger brother."

 

"Well, then it is settled. We will talk to Tari in the morning. She had spoken to me a few weeks ago about a music teacher, but we thought we would have to send away for someone. Let me show you to your room."

 

 

Anders sat on the bed and couldn't get over his good fortune. He really hadn't planned on attending the party, but his sister had insisted that it would cheer him up. Oh no, he had forgotten to tell her where he would be. Taking a deep breath, he relaxed and reached for his sister with his mind.

 

"Audra," he called.

"Anders, where are you?"

"I am staying at Girard's. I have accepted a position as a music teacher to Nefertari's nieces."

 

"how wonderful, you will be able to stay in the Vale. I have missed you Anders. It has been far too long since my little brother lived nearby. I want the children to know their uncle."

 

"I will enjoy that as well. Goodnight, Audra, I will see you tomorrow to gather my things."

 

"Goodnight Anders, I will see you on the morrow."