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The Chrysalis Emerges

by K Griffin 1998

Chapter 4

"Darkness is all colours and no colour - it is power or death"
extract from 'The Ancient Book of the Magi'

Chrys awoke to find the warm soft white fur pelt against her back. This time she knew that it would move. She hadn't meant to sleep at all, nor so deeply. Luckily her complaining stomach had woken her, reminding her that she'd not eaten at all since the night she'd spent in the Tavern with Skye.

She crawled out of the narrow opening and settled herself on the flat dirt. She had planned to watch the last moon rise, so a sense of relief filled her as she realised that the dawn had not yet arrived. The Goddess was still ruling over her domain. The moons hung in the sky, full and beautiful.

She heard Ryrf slip out of the den behind her, but he disappeared into the night. The beautiful white creature disappeared amazingly easily into the dark of the night. His movements didn't distract her for long though. Tonight she felt drawn to the Moons. She felt a strange kinship with their silvery presence.

Since she'd started this journey of discovery north, Chrys had felt more and more like she was entering a strange, dreamland. She was sure she was awake, but whenever a moon shone in the night sky, the world seemed to glow with strange colours. Wherever the silver light touched, it drew forth a rainbow of dancing colours as it passed. A voice spoke softly beside her, saying "You see my world the way its meant to be seen, child. Tis a rare gift you have".

Chrys didn't need to turn her head to know who spoke. Her very soul seemed to leap with joy at the presence beside her. Chrys lowered her eyes from the shining discs above her and whispered "Goddess, forgive the intrusion. I meant no harm". Like the gentle tinkling of silver bells, laughter floated in the night air. There was no anger or danger in that beautiful laughter.

Shyly, Chrys turned to look at the silver Lady. Chrys knew the Lady was real. She also knew that her mind was not capable of fully comprehending what her eyes saw. She caught glimpses of a perfect vision, but then the shapes would blur and shimmer and her even her memory refused to hold the vision she'd seen momentarily. She just had the knowledge that it had been possible; that she had managed the correct focus, even if only for a moment.

Chrys shook her head in frustration, then embarrassed, dropped her eyes. She didn't want to offend the Lady with her staring. She felt a hand gently rest on her shoulder and the gentle voice said "It will come. Today it is enough that you know me".

Chrys nodded but stammered a little in her response "Goddess, I know you, but I don't know what to call you."

Again the laughter rippled across the night air. The silver Lady said "Ah yes, my name. Well, that is something you will discover in yourself. I have many names. Kayal is one name you will hear me called. Remember that one, though I doubt it is the one that you will find. Those that name me Kayal, will be your friends". The lady paused a moment and her voice was sadder when she continued. She said "And you will need friends, Child. Dark forces await you in the North".

A strange scream ripped across the night sky. Chrys waited for the Lady to continue, but there was nothing further. Chrys looked around and though she could still feel the comforting presence, she could see nothing. It was as though the scream had broken the enchantment.

She sighed, thinking of all the things she should have asked. Then she giggled as she heard her stomach rumble. In the midst of all this solemnity, the mundane reality that she was hungry stuck her as amusing. As if her rumbling stomach had been a dinner gong sounding, Ryrf emerged from the darkness. In his mouth was a bloody unrecognisable corpse. He placed it carefully at her feet and then moved back, settled himself comfortably and waited.

Chrys looked carefully at the corpse trying not to show her distaste. It was not that killing was alien to her. None could survive in this barbarous land with that attitude. It was the knowledge that Ryrf intended her to eat this bloody corpse, that caused the strange feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Though her past was dim in her memory, she had no memories at all of preparing carcasses for eating and each time she attempted it, a strange revulsion gripped her. She paused, closed her eyes and felt her memory wander back. Perhaps it was the recent presence of the Lady; perhaps it was the hot smell of the fresh kill; she had no idea. She just knew that this night her memories were more available, if she chose to explore them. She felt her gaze drawn to the corpse. Ryrf had come close to gutting the animal as he killed it. The smell of the blood was hot in her nostrils and the deep crimson purple of the blood rich organs seem to pulse in her vision. She could almost see her hands reach into the body cavity, grasp the organs and exultantly take them for herself. As though from far away, she could hear screams of agony and cruel laughter.

Horrified she looked at her hands. They were clean and unmoving in her lap. A shudder passed through her and the connection with that other time and place was broken. She finally braved a glance at Ryrf. He still sat there motionless as though waiting for something important. That familiar anger washed over her. She looked at the Wolf bitterly. "You're doing it again. I understand more than you think, more than I want" she said, "but its not time yet, its not right."

Chrys sensed disappointment in the Wolf. She simply stood and drew her silver dagger. With surprising sureness, she finished the gutting of the corpse, laid the organs carefully out in the moonlight and turned her back. The crimson purple glow in the silver moonlight stayed with her even when she closed her eyes. There was a strange power in that colour. "From death comes life," a voice murmured in her mind.

Chrys set about the chore of building a small fire. The implications of that message, on top of her vision, were too terrifying to pursue. Determinedly she sprinkled some of her precious store of herbs over the corpse and wrapped it inside some wet leaves. She let the leaves singe while the fire died down. The meat slowly roasted in the glowing coals. She was determined to eradicate any trace of that pulsing crimson purple before she ate this meat. She ignored Ryrf. The wall between then was back, caused by her panic at this latest revelation. Ryrf simply sat and waited patiently.

Almost like a zombie, Chrys finished the meal. She had no recollection of actually removing the meat from the fire. Eventually, the trance like state broke and she felt the gentle warmth of the sun on her back. Surprised, she looked up and saw that the morning was half over. Strewn before her were the tiny bones from the carcass. Ryrf sprawled at her side, gnawing the larger bones.

A little abashed by her tardiness, Chrys stood and stretched. As the life came back into her limbs, she reflected on the strange events of the night. Ryrf was not to blame, she decided. He was merely fulfilling his clans directions. She decided that an olive branch was in order. She turned and looked at the wolf. He was watching her intently. Her words were a little stilted and forced, but she managed to say "I'm sorry Ryrf. This is all too serious and too much, all at once. Be patient please". The wolf stood and she could have sworn he was grinning.

Until now, her link with him had been limited to sensing and feeling his messages. For the first time she heard his words in her mind "Ok, then stop being serious and jump on my back". Chrys giggled, and the tension was broken. She hugged him. His reaction to her hug was so typically male that she giggled again. She was sure he had been embarrassed by her show of gratitude.

Chrys considered the offer. "Ride?" she queried, looking a little doubtful. Ryrf nodded. Chrys studied the powerful frame of the Wolf and decided he was strong enough. Gingerly she hitched up her skirt and swung her leg up and over. His first movement almost dislodged her. He stopped and waited for her to settle herself. She could feel his amusement. This time she buried her fingers deep in the long soft fur, hanging on tightly. She locked her legs around him and lay low on his back. This time when he moved, she felt his muscles ripple beneath her as his seemingly effortless lope ate up the distance. This time, she didn't fall off.

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For comments or questions, email Klah.
Last updated: May 25, 2005.