Chapter 03 - The Shaman

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Across the world we know, and many we do not, traveled the Left Hand of Light. Always searching, chasing the Dark even as it contaminated his soul. 

—Bellamy Clayhaus Martin, Prophet of the Light.

The sun waned in the western sky, bleeding orange and red across the quiet desert.

Michael had come far and had crossed many times since that first night. Every time he returned more tainted than the time before. It darkened his soul, threading it with veins of shadow.

He sat on the porch of a shabby, dust-stained house in the middle of a vast desert. He could see why some were drawn to this limitless open space. It was pure, seared daily by the sun and caressed nightly in equal measure by the moon.

The rusty screen door squeaked open and from inside the house a bronze-skinned woman in her 20's quietly brought tea and set it down on the porch beside him.

The woman was young and beautiful, like an angelic being from the old stories, and she was irresistibly drawn to his light and also perhaps to his darkness. She had the lustrous hair of her cousin the raven, and full lips as warm and dry as the night air they breathed. They had been talking for hours after Michael found the small farm and explained the purpose of his visit.

"I feel as though I've known you my whole life," she said with a smile. "I am Elu, granddaughter of the shaman Yatokya," feeling comfortable enough with this travel-worn stranger to finally introduce herself with her true name. Though she did not say, Michael knew she was under the tutelage of the old woman in the ways of the physics and magics of this universe. "Are we from the same tribe?" she asked.

He knew that by this question she was not asking whether she and Michael were biologically related. Her question referred to a higher plane. Because hers was a young soul, and because Michael needed to see the old shaman, he answered with sincerity and without deception as a teacher instructing a new pupil. "What do you see when you look outside your home into the world?"

With a finger she brushed her hair behind an ear and took a long look about. "I see the eagle, the yucca, the coyote, and the serpent."

"You are wise because you see life," said Michael. "This is the way of your soul's tribe. Most see only the sand and the rocks and the tumbleweed."

"What do you see?"

"I see an ancient ocean that once churned here in the material world, but is no more. I can still feel its power. The land is still lonely for it." He looked at her. "Your soul is not from my star, but perhaps in this life we may yet call each other friend."

She looked at him, and he knew she wanted him. He was familiar and comfortable despite the dark secret he secluded in the mists of his heart. He sensed from her heartbeat, from the way she touched her lips, and from her aural emanations that her natural desire to know the truth of his mysteries confused and aroused her corporal body. He did not attempt to dispel it. He needed this girl if he was going to find the shaman, who he knew was protected by spells of cloaking and misdirection.

"Why do you seek my grandmother?" asked Elu.

"I'm looking for something only she can help me find."

Elu pondered this truthful yet elusive answer.

"When may I see her?" Michael asked.

"Tonight," said Elu. Michael knew she had been evaluating him, wanting to be satisfied he was an agent of the Light and not of Darkness although it had taken her some time to come to her conclusion.

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