February 8, 2011 Quest for Titan ~ Chapter One Cascade
Mar shook the sleep from his head as the sun crested over Barian hill.
“I love this time of day,” he sighs.” There is something fresh and new in the air.” He smiles as his world awakens. “Peep” ” Peep.” The chichi awakening to her brood of noisy chicks. “Thump” ” Thump” the lumbering steps of the squawat going to the pool for his morning draught. Mar looks at the rays of the smaller of Titan’s two suns and revels in the warmth and the sounds.
His tree, his home for years, created a nest for him . When he was little, Mar climbed up in it away from the cruelty of his brothers.
Mar’s gift of communicating with his environment has been honed by his reliance on the earth, the trees, the animals. His tree, like a mother, knew what Mar needed. The clan may not have looked after Mar but nature had. “Yes” he thought “they have watched over me as I have become a man.”
His arm gently wraps around a limb. As he has grown into manhood, they share energy and strength. Like a son, he feels her troubles and comforts her as she has him all these years.
It was a sanctuary away from thinking and working and understanding; here was a place he could just be. A place he was accepted.
“Hey plag time to get up lazy one.” His brother Trebil throws a rock up intending to hit Mar.
The rock bounces off the limb near Mar.
The tree shudders moving her limbs in response to the barrage of rocks. Mar feels the energy surge from the very roots. If a tree could get angry, this tree was.
The tree starts to intercept the rocks and bat them back. “Shhhh it’s ok. It’s nothing,” he murmurs under his breath as he caresses the bark.
“Trebil is an idiot; he is the least observant of our family. That boy has no instinct at all.” Mar whispers in a chuckle to the tree. There is a chuckle like shudder at the core of the tree. She knows that Trebil often struck out in violence at Mar to cover up his lack. She can hear the jeers of the past whistle through the trees. A stray but powerful root starts to rise behind Trebil.
“Time to get the water, plag face.”
” Ha ha brother” Mar jumps down quickly or the tree will take action; He does a little dance on the roots.
Mar feels disdain for Trebil and would love nothing better than for him to get smacked by a root. He smiles at his dear friend. He must protect her.
“No one can know about your relationship with the tree or the earth.” Mar hears Jarlon’s voice admonishing Mar. “You are forbidden to reveal any of your gifts to the clan.”
Mar went to the skin rack by the stone cistern where the water was stored. He gathered the four large skins to fill. He knew he could carry more but liked the excuse to get away frequently so that he could go explore the outer regions.
Mar had never wanted to live with his father but Jarlon felt that the clan would never accept him if he lived sequestered from society.
“Part of training for Mar will have to include enduring ridicule.” Jarlon thought.
“Mar do the plag’s work” he heard his older brother jeering
“Woof woof” the young boy, from down by the creek, barked.
“Howl like a plag” one of the clanswomen chimed in with a scowl.
“You arent even as valuable as a plag’s pup. Now go get the water” Mar heard his father call out from down the path.
These sounds were as common as the sun setting over Pegrile; the white stone mountain that carried so much mystery for the clan.
Mar hears his uncle Jarlon speaking in his head, “Do not let others break your connection to the energy of the world. Stay with your energy source it is what made your mother and I strong. You will need to be connected for what is to come in your lifetime.” Mar feels the energy and understands the significance but is eaten away by the taunting.
When he was younger, Mar battled the rejection: “I have passed my ritual into manhood I’m a trained warrior. I’m a scout because of my intelligence and intuition. Yet they taunt me like a child.” What they didn’t know was he could foresee danger.
“The training as scout is perfect,” Jarlon thought . “It tests and perfects his gift.”
Mar’s family was insensitive to the gifts Mar possessed. Jarlon at times marveled that none of Mara’s six other children had any gift. The spirits were wise; they could have dispersed the gifts among her offspring but they realized these big headed, excessively big men were lacking in intuition and mental acuity of any kind. To Petribil, Mar was lacking; to Jarlon, Petrtibil and his spawn didn’t even rate as an inferior race.
Jarlon smiled when Mar had made an observation. “Uncle I cannot read anything from my family. There is no higher energy or communication except with their mouths. I can’t read a thing. ” Mar had thought because they were family there was a block to his senses; no block existed.
“There is no intelligence or intuition in these big-headed people to read.” There were moments when Jarlon wondered “Could she have mated with another? She was gone on that trek for more than a year; it is possible…”
Jarlon could sense the cruel treatment with Mar being the object. “ He must learn.” Jarlon leaned against his tree sadly.
Cruel laughter rang in Mar’s ears as he hurried away. Today his intelligence and intuition seemed like a curse. He heard the words from their lips and their hearts.
He heard it in the air. “He is the cause for our priestess’ and mother’s death. He is a curse.”
He now knew. For a moment he loathed his existence. He shook his fist at the purple streaked sky of Titan. The sky always looked purple and turquoise but today the purple was stronger than usual. He didn’t even notice the bits of red in the sky. Mar would have usually noticed and pondered the reason behind it. He was too busy running down the ochre colored path to the pool .The anger driving his steps, caused this keen senses to dull.
“Ooff” Mar stumbled over something or someone and instinctively rose with his thorn blade ready for action.
He ran headlong into tall and lithe Jana. He may be two years her senior but she is nonetheless trained and skilled as a fighter. Jana squats to a fighting stance, thorn blade in hand. She sniffs the air as if she smells Mar’s anger. She turns her hands palms down a gesture of peace. Mar does the same. At that moment, Jana senses Mar as he starts to relax. What he is infuriated about now she has no idea.
Her steely blue eyes stare as she turns away.
“I have troubles of my own,” she sneers in an atypical response from his tender-hearted friend. Jana is the only friend Mar has in the clan.
As she starts to bound away, Mar whispers in the breeze, “Jana please stay. I’m sorry to let anger cloud my nature. Forgive me for thoughtlessly running you down.”
She feels his words first. Jana loves Mar and his easy nature. He can always make her laugh. His soft words, so uncharacteristic of her clan, bring the beginning of a smile to her lips. The air carries the sounds of his family’s cruelty to her ears. Her eyes now reflecting the turquoise blue of their Titan skies soften in understanding. Turning, she faces Mar with palms up a gesture symbolic of goodwill or forgiveness.
“Come with me to the pool to cool off.” Mar gestures with palms up. Before Jana can decide, Mar grabs her open hand and pulls her toward the pool. This time he is quite aware of where he is going. The sparkling magenta waters are not only cool but they have healing properties. Mar takes Jana to his favorite private inlet. Jana notices Mar’s features; “They are more chiseled. His tall body has always been lean but it is more muscular. Strength ripples through his arms and legs.” At that moment, her thoughts direct her to his obsidian eyes. “Dark and mysterious- like the smooth rock,” she muses. Just then their eyes meet. He grabs her wrist pulls her toward the rock and dives in. She is right behind him. The pushing and splashing reflect the remnants of the child in each of them. Jana is upset today because her family was busy arranging her mating rites to a man she can’t bear. “They say he is the most promising warrior and will be a fine mate.” Tossing around in the wet magenta pool removes her worries. Just then, Mar grabs her and throws her down in a wrestling move on the sandy beach. Their wet bodies heave from the romp. Mar is aware that Jana is different too. Her body is soft with more contours. His hands start stroking her skin. His nostrils flare as he takes in her smell. She smells of the flower grove. Her hair brushes against his chest. “What is this sensation?” Mar feels a longing rise in his being for this woman. “Her eyes are more beautiful than the sky. I want to be part of them. Consume me Jana.” He hopes she can’t hear his thoughts. His hand instinctively goes behind her head as he draws her to himself; their lips touch. At that moment, they hear a deafening explosion and fire seems to fill the air. Three fireballs are racing to Titan in a path coming out of Vir’s Eye.
Vir’s Eye, Titan’s distant moon, looks like she is on fire. Normally the naked eye would be unable to see fireballs at that distance but the atmosphere of Titan is like a clear layer of film. That layer is like a magnifying glass in the sky. Distant planets can be seen clearly by the sky watchers.
They lay stunned on the beach watching. “What is this Mar?” Jana’s voice sounds weak and afraid. She clings to him for protection. “Sadly I know what it is Jana. It is the time. We most go seek Uncle Jarlon. Hurry we have little time.” Mar pulls Jana up; they swiftly run to the edge of the village.