19. Journey to Destiny

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Just as the stars and moons had dictated, there was nothing left for the children where tracks fell behind their very heels. This journey they were on, a journey forced by the paw of the Goddess herself, had led them through dark tunnels, and up hills, and across forest roads, into the deepest depths of the psyche – and now, to a new chapter of life that neither of them wished to venture.

But that's how life works, Astral thought to himself, as they quietly rode across the culvert, back through the Keeton Woods. We never want to move forward if we do not have to. So it is then that life in and of itself flexes and gestates instances of causation, that forces a mammal's paw. Events happen, and we are forced to act.

No, in fact, it was just the opposite of that. A mammal could go through life simply existing. Meandering through daily life with his brain turned off for the most part, focused on all the mundane tasks in the world that were so important to his teeny tiny little meaningless life.

But then the Goddess Mother Azna would come to decide: No, you are getting far too comfortable in your mundane existence, ol' chap – let's throw some interesting challenges your way, and see just how you decide to interpret and react.

Astral mulled this over.

Will you fall prone and expect others around you to pick up the slack and carry you to safety?

Or will you find your balance and realize that whatever happens next in life is all in your own state of power?

Whether a mammal succeeds, or fails, it is up to that very mammal to make a choice, to act or react, and no matter what happens, it was a mammal's own choice all along: Hullo there! I'm about to push you out of your comfort zone. I don't like how boring you've gotten, so I'm here to make your day a little interesting.

That's just how life worked.

The children. This was their journey, and despite how much Astral had intercepted their journey, ultimately it was not his job to choose where along the path they would go, once life and fate would eventually present to Regina and Dwain a fork in the road.

"Which path will you take, little, naïve souls?"

That was not up to Astral to decide. He could only guide them so much.

For Mother Azna had already chosen their destinies, and no matter which path the children decided to travel, they would eventually circle back and find themselves face to face with what they were meant to come face to face to, in the end – but with great strength from the bumps and bruises of knowledge and experience.

Astral sighed. That's just how life worked.

Still. Something deep in his heart tugged at the pain and compassion he felt. Two children, younger than the dewy grass of morning, forced to navigate this brand new chapter in their lives, without aide, nor help, bolstered only by instinctually-bred stubbornness.

Astral tilted his head back and gazed up into the full of the mother moon as she gazed down upon the forest between the breaks in the treetops. Phalanx let out a hearty fart, but Astral paid him no mind, except for a gently jerk of his reins to keep him steady on the path.

Regina and Dwain were fast asleep in the back of the cart, cuddled up together like two peas in a pod – brother and sister, bundled and snuggled with the blanket that earlier that day had saved their very lives. If not for Dwain, who knew what fate Regina would face?

Astral caught himself when the thought arrived. A wry smirk grew. But that was just how things worked. What happened today was what was meant to happen – no bones about it. The experiences they'd gained today – this is who they were, and life was merely abiding them.

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