Thursday, February 16, 2017

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learning to burn, part 23

Please start at the beginning!  And remember... this is my very first writing.  There may be some strange and odd notes about my thoughts... or lack thereof!

“Menspar. It is battle of mind to mind for the mind.”
“That doesn't sound like a good idea. This is the best plan we have?”
“It is the only plan. We must not return to the place of your dream unprepared and without knowing for sure we must go there. There will assuredly be too many of them there.”
The two quietly prepare. Os lays Eminghare down close to the rock wall of the outcropping and well under the roof. Ofonode puts the fake Binia down outside the roof and puts himself between it and Eminghare. Os sits very near the head of the invisian with whom he will battle.
“Please keep your flame in your hands while I am engaged with this one. If you lose control, I will be at the mercy of it because it will know and I will not… if that happens, it could harm my body while we still menspar.”
“Great. No pressure or anything. I mean… sheesh! I haven't had good control of my flame, like, ever! How can you put yourself in such danger?”
“Because our circumstance calls for bold action. And I trust you.”
Ofonode feels warmth flood through his body. He feels like he's grown a few inches over those four words. The flame in his hands grows brighter and the invisian shudders.
“Wow… I think my fire may be even stronger when my emotion is positive!”
“That does seem likely. I'm glad to hear you think it may be so.”
Os puts his hands on either side of the other invisian's head and then looks up at Ofonode and winks before closing his eyes. After a few minutes, Ofonode feels the invisian shudder. He immediately feels concern for his friend and watches as the flames in his hands seem to diminish. Before their intensity changes too much, he changes his thoughts and reminds himself of the intelligence and competence of his friend. In fact, he knows that he would not have made it so far in his journey if not for his companion. Surely, he will make it through this challenge. Ofonode feels so sure of it, he feels like his assurance in a palpable thing and looks at his hands to find them brilliant with many colors of flame and the invisian seems to shiver in his hands.
As he studies the invisian he holds, while also carefully monitoring the flame in his hands, he is startled to realize that its Binia-camoflage is fading. As he watches, it completely disappears. He realizes that the invisian lying in the sand is a shockingly beautiful female invisian. How could someone so lovely be so bad?
The fake Binia shivers and begins to shake in Ofonode's hands. As he watches her, she shifts among many forms. Each form, though, is more like a shadow over her own form rather than a complete change. Ofonode feels shocked to see a couple human forms that look familiar among the many other shapes the invisian shows. He wonders if these are all forms she has taken and feels certain they must be, but decides he'll ask Os when his friend is back.
A couple hours into the menspar, Eminghare wakes. She comes to Ofonode and gently rests a hand on on of his stiff and slightly shaking arms. He startles and heat floods into his hands, especially the one connected to the arm Eminghare is touching. She raises her hand and the heat decreases.
“I'm sorry. I tried a few times to ask what you were doing, but neither of you heard me, I guess.”
“No. It's okay. I guess I was just focusing really hard.”
“So, what's going on? Oseratin hasn't moved even a little since I woke up. I'm not even sure he's breathing. And why is this one here instead of Binia?”
“Well, I guess we lost track of Binia after Os picked you up while we were still running. This one, we're guessing, took her place to mislead us so the others could capture us. Os is trying to find out where Binia is and whether we can do anything to get her back. I'm sure he is alive. He has to be.”
“Yes. I'm sure he is. Will we know something soon?”
“I have no idea. He's been at it for a few hours now. I have no idea how long it could take.”
The female invisian begins to shake again and Eminghare looks alarmed.
“Does she do that often?”
“No. Only a few times. Every time she's shaken that much happened at the very beginning… right after Os went in to find out what he could find. Maybe that means something good...”
Eminghare nods. “Is there anything I can do?”
“Yes! I'm thirsty as heck and getting seriously hungry….”
She disappears behind him and reappears with her hands full. She puts the canteen down first and then the backpack. “Would you like water first?”
“That sounds wonderful!”
Eminghare helps Ofonode drink from the canteen. Then opens the pack, sifts through the things in it, and pulls out a bag of travel cakes. “I think this is pretty much all there is now. There might be different types, but all the bags feel just like this one.”
“That's fine. I'm so hungry I'm sure it doesn't matter what I eat just so long as I eat.”
The cakes are small enough that Ofonode can eat a whole one with each bite. He wants more than the three he eats, but refuses any more because he has no idea how much longer they have until they reach their destination.
“I know you're still hungry. You don't want to eat because you don't know how long this is going to take and it's extending our travel time, right? You're worried.”
“I think worried isn't entirely accurate. Aware and wary, I think are more fitting. Worry would drain my flame. Being wise doesn't.”
“I see. But what do you mean… drain your flame?”
“Don't you see the fire around my hands?”
“Um… I guess it's a little brighter than normal. Why?”
“What do you mean?”
“You always look like you're on fire compared to most people. The flames around your hands is brighter now that you mention it, but it's always there. That's why it's been so difficult for me to trust your friendship, you know. My mother taught me to be wary of the ones who burn.”
“Oh. Wow. That's… kinda crazy. I mean…” Ofonode feels shocked and slightly confused and completely at a loss for words.
“What's going on with your hands?”
“Well, I guess I've been learning a bit more and in a rather intense lesson-type-situation to control my flame. To me, I do not look like I'm on fire. The only time I've seen my own flame is when I was angry before now. I think my flame might be even brighter when I feel very strong good emotions, but I'm still not entirely sure how to make it flare without first feeling angry.”
“You sound like stories my mother told me….” Eminghare almost whispers, “What else have you learned?”
“Well, I didn't have any control of my flame at all when I left my village. I still don't, really, but I'm hoping to figure it out. I guess, while I've been holding this invisian, I've been trying to control the intensity of the flame in my hands. It's a lot harder since you touched me. I guess I have a lot of work still to do to have good control even while interacting with others.”
“Yes. It's always easier to control ourselves without distractions and disruptions.”
“So… you said something about your mother telling stories. What's that about?”
“Oh, well, you know. Mothers tell stories, right?”
“I don't know. My parents died when I was very young.”
“Gosh, I'm sorry. I totally forgot. Didn't your Aunt tell you stories?”
“Sometimes. Mostly as part of a lesson.”

“Yeah. My mother did that, too. I guess she liked to try to teach us right before we went to sleep. So, she told stories and talked about them at bed time.”
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