The Preparation II
Grij’er awoke chuckling. It was a wonder that he even attempted sleep anymore. He would get more accomplished if he just sat and meditated when the sun departed. His visions and prophecies had been coming with increasing regularity. His book of prophecy was filling up fast, most of Grij’er’s written words were a complete mystery to the apprentice prophet. He needed his rest. Obviously his lack of sleep was affecting the accuracy of his visions.
This last one was outrageous in its content. It had to be a dream and not a vision: Master Hatr’er and Master Likk’op sharing a meal together, voluntarily, and talking civilly. It had been dark outside, it had been a private affair in one of the meeting halls below the Others’ Council Building. Of all the Masters in either field, those two were the last ones who would dine with the other. The grudges between the Mage Grove and the University went deep, it had ripped apart families. The grudges were long held and bloody. Many prophets had commented on the grudge and had filled their books of prophecy with each bloody renewal. Not Grij’er though, he dreamed about peace between the two disciplines.
Grij’er rolled over and tried to find a comfortable position on his pallet. Grij’er would tell Kinta’mi of the dream tomorrow morning. She would enjoy the irony as well. For now, Grij’er needed his sleep.
Oz wandered up to the Temple of History. The late night walk helped him clear his head. Every time he visited the temple, the simple beauty had awed him. He was awe-struck even now and wanted to bask in it. Buffy and Spike were hopefully asleep in one of the upper champers. Even their bedroom was a historian’s delight. This was what the Furlings had been, could become, and with any luck, would become. With each visit, Oz saw a little more of the treasures stored here. They were unveiled to him, piece by piece. Artists had painted and sculptors had formed. The culture was so very rich and deep and extensive. Chappi’rik and the other towns had barely scratched the surface of their potential and past. This time a beautiful weaving hung on a previously blank wall. Oz was proud to see it. Curk’id, Oz’s frequent bodyguard, had gifted Oz with a more beautiful one created by his wife. The Furlings had improved in some of the arts. They would catch up on the others someday. Oz kept hoping to find some kind of sheet music, or the local equivalent, to play with. After all, the mathematics behind musical chords were the same everywhere in the universe. So far, he had been disappointed.
This time a whole new room opened up to Oz and it wasn’t the music room. It was the Room of Healing.
Oz could see nearly every book that lined the walls. The bookshelves traveled all the way to the tall ceiling, ladders were ready for lift an inquiring mind to the upper shelves. So much knowledge just waiting to be absorbed. Equipment was out and about; all so much more advanced than anything Oz had seen before on Earth or in the Khams
hospital. The Room of Healing was full, waiting and ready to be used. Like an ER, it stood poised, anticipating the carnage. Up to now, all the plans had been exercises, war games, empty plotting and ‘what if’s’. Oz had known that it would not last but he had hoped that they might have a little more time before the war games became real, bloody and deadly, before the ‘what if’ evolved into ‘what could be’ or ‘what would be’ or ‘what is now.’
The Room of Healing was visible now.
Like the rest of the monastery, the Room of Healing would only be seen when it was about to be needed. Oz had planned on spending some time in the Temple of History playing his guitar and mulling recent events, ordering it all in his mind. Now he would have to travel back to the Hospital and wake the Other Healer, Master Sonke’ne. She, her Masters and her apprentices would need to start learning the Old Healing techniques straight away.
Oz sighed and did an about-face. He would lead Master Sonke’ne and her entourage up to the Temple and then sequester himself in another room. He had to think. He needed to think and to plan. He didn’t want to see the peace end. He was slowly tying himself to Khams
. Our Territory was becoming his home and he didn’t want his new home to become war-torn and ravaged. He had traveled through war zones on Earth. He remembered the dead bodies stacked like cordwood and the dead eyes of the survivors. No one escaped war. He remembered the people starving. He remembered the lost limbs; those who limped through life, the walking wounded. The wolf in him had deemed those people as easy prey, the slow ones that would make a good meal. Oz didn’t want that for the Furlings. They were so proud. They were the predators, Oz didn’t want to watch them become prey. They had accepted him. His wolf instinct saw prey in the weak and his human heart wished to show mercy to the less fortunate. The Furlings understood the duality of his being. They shared the characteristics. They had created a society that embraced both parts of their nature. They had created a society that embraced Oz as he was.
Even the very forests that he now walked through called to him, welcomed him, and invited him. The night fowl hunted and sang. The unfamiliar melody wrapped around Oz’s soul. His fingers twitched with the urge to transcribe the bird’s song into something that could be played on his guitar. He had a feeling that other Furlings would appreciate the attempt.
Oz supposed that it was something that he could do after... the war.
He shrugged. It was as worthy a goal as anything else was.
Healers now, the time for the musicians would come.
Master Kinta’mi drank her tea and stared at the dew collecting on the grass in the last hours of the night. Such a slow process, so needed. Water was so vital to life, but it could take as well as give life. By next week, the frost would seep down the mountainside, and the growing season would end in Chappii’rik. Then the snow would arrive, the slowest and most deadly predator of them all.
Winter was coming.
She felt her apprentice, Grij’er, stirring and then heard his gentle snoring. She stroked the soft leather of her prophecy journal. She was nearing the end of the book. This book was slimmer than any of the ones before. It was not any less important.
She was recording the changes of the Furlings; the tiny trees that redirected the river rapids. Bending, broken, dead, but still all were important players. They all changed the trail of the rushing water. She heard the roar of warning in the distance. White water was around the next bend of the river.
And yet, it was just another part of the river. Why wail at the river, at the future for being what it was? That was not the way of the prophet.
It was time to stand firm.
That was the way of the Furling.