| The land rumbled again, and he stopped his running so fast that he almost tumbled over into the ditch in front of him. Swallowing hard, he looked around at the forest that surrounded him, and squinted into
the fading light. He was now abandoning his use of vision and instead depending on his sense of the land passed down to him through generations of hunters and gatherers in his families’ clan, to lead him on. The world was growing darker and darker each day, the sun no longer rising or setting; the birds no longer chirped nor sung and he hadn’t seen any animals passing for days. His tribe could no longer hunt or fish, and slowly they were starving to their deaths unless he told them to pack up and move on to different ground. It was up to him, and that was what scared him more than anything; it was him whom everyone depended on for life and growth. Barely passing adulthood, when his father was killed in a river incident a four season rotation ago it was him who had to rise up and take his place. The black tattoo that wrapped right below the shoulder of left arm, as if it were a bracelet, traveled across his back twisting and turning like a snake ready for the kill and stopped after the furthest end of his right shoulder blade showed his commitment to the job of leader of his people.
Many nights he had twisted and turned feverishly in his hut desperate for an answer to come to him in his dreams, yet sleep was only caught for a few restless minutes, dreams barely possible. He sought days alone, pacing and dancing for the advice he needed; this wasn’t a small decision, this was the land lived on for generations, once moving, leaving their dead, homes, and entire lives behind in an instant. It was now time for him to find out if it was indeed the time for his people to move and sought the attention of the one he would only listen to.
Quickening his pace, he began to walk into a trot jumping over logs in his path and pushing the tall weeds in his way. He was strongly built and tall, careening over most of the littler ones in the tribe. His muscles flexed with every twist and turn he made; his long wooden spear confidently by his side moved with his arms as he clutched it tightly, not willing to lose it in the underbrush. Finally he began to slow and now more cautiously, he walked step by step towards the clearing before him.
The calm pool of water was a resting place below the waterfall which was a good number of yards away with a current that still pulled you down until you entered something of a river and the cycle began anew again. He had played there many times as a boy with his friends, now seeming like such a long time ago. He carefully stepped into the edge of the water letting his body adjust to the cool temperature. Closing his eyes, he listened carefully to the sounds of the rushing water in the distance that splashed over the rocks and ran down into the pool. It was ancient water that was used to give life, and take away life, one of the main sources that his people needed to survive. It was here that his women came to give birth, and here that his priests stood to give their offerings to the spirits. Gently, he took another step into the water which in turn grew towards his knees, the current gently tugging at him. He took a deep breath of air, slow and deliberate, and began to feel the pulse of the earth beat through him, demanding him to move with the voice. Thump…thump…thump…
Slowly he began to sway. He knew the words to this unspoken song; he knew the beat to this unheard drum.
Earth fire dance
Spirit of life guides me
Sing the life, spindle of words…
“Jaden?” a soft voice spoke from behind him. He knew the words of his love.
Spin the words, spider of life
Ageless timeless tearless endless…
He turned slowly, his heart beating hard in his chest as it did every time he saw her, as though it was the first time they had ever met all over again. He remembered the way he was swimming in the night, naked as he had swam every night since the day of his birth, the full of the two moons hanging over him letting him blow out his burning candle to save for another time. As silently as she ever had, she had suddenly been there, standing before him and stole his breath sealing it with a deathly kiss and as if there was never one before her, there was never one after her.
Earth fire dance
Web of death, catcher of life
Spider of your kingdom…
Jaden now rested his eyes on her, her beauty almost deathly, flawless and raw, he could almost feel her surrounding him making him ache like nothing else could. Her crystalline blue eyes caught the light when there was none to be caught, and never failed to make him feel short of breath just by the glimpse of them. Her eyes were the most amazing thing about her.Now, they were staring into him reading everything he wanted to say to her before he could.
Wind stone air fire
Build the walls of your hearth
Protect this weave, network of souls, entanglement of life…
“Trinya, my love, come to me.”
The song drummed hard through him, his blood ran warm throughout his body, his pulse beat with the dance, he ached for the earth to dance with the sky. Trinya’s eyes never left him as she walked towards where he stood in the water. Her ripped cloth skirt which was the only item of clothes she ever wore dipped into the water as well, her already wet black hair long enough that it too touched the water and the strands that didn’t cover her milky white chest, trailed after her. She was able to walk towards him without worrying about the water’s pull because she was one of the water-people; she was a water god.
Endless song of birth and life…
Trinya stood before him, silent, and stared deep into his eyes as he fell back into hers. She reached up and tugged on his cloth shirt and he moved his arms so it could be removed easily. Then, she ran her fingers down his hard stomach and untied the knot that his ritual cloth skirt used to signify his power in his tribe. Stepping closer to him, until he could feel her breath on his lips, with her eyes never once removed from his own, she pulled off the garment from around his waist and it dropped into the water as something he couldn’t see pushed it to the side of the pool. He shivered from the cold of the water and Trinya moved closer warming the front of his body with her own.
“My sweet, sweet Jaden…” she said softly and slowly met her lips with his own. His tense shoulders relaxed for the first time in days, and as he began to lose sense of time and place, his own need desperately fluttered to the top of his mind before it would totally disappear temporarily while in her presence. Painfully, he pulled away from her, lowering her eyes until he finally looked up into her understanding look that she gazed upon him.
Spider of forgotten ways…
The song began to fade as he realized he had to use his time this night wisely. “Trinya, I feel the drums. I hear them like I haven’t in so long…they sing for me tonight. Please, dance with me Trinya,” he said, almost begging, and slowly she nodded.
He closed his eyes once again matching his pulse with the beat. Trinya faded from his mind, and felt the water around his legs began to disappear with the only feel and sound coming from that of the drum. He began to move with the drum, swaying gently to the beat that the earth made itself. The song began to come louder, and slowly he lifted his legs one by one, step after step after step, into arc positions, exotically arching his back to face the sky, then leaning forward to gaze into the reflection of the sky into the earth. Faster the song began to move. He moved with the drum. The earth spun around him, and he danced the dance of the earth.
Earth air fire
Dance the dance of the drum
Weaver of forgotten past
Hear my call
The song beat harder and faster, he no longer paid attention to anything that did not match the beat of the drum; only did he feel Trinya beside him matching her own movements with his own. She moved just as fast behind him, thrusting her body into the same dance positions as he. Stronger and more complex his movements became, reaching the climax of the song, his heart felt as though it would burst right from his chest. He felt it flow through his vains, harder, faster, he dug his heels into the earth moving quicker than he had before. The climax drove him pressing onward, his warm blood flowed..
Threaded lives, souls of the spirits!
Head the call of your ancestor
Dance of the earth!
Dance of the spider!
The web of death
The web of life!
He moved with the drum.
The drums stopped just as suddenly as they ever had before, and he almost dropped from the high of the song he had been on. He plunged weak onto his knees in the water, as did Trinya beside him, and he surfaced in the water silently for a moment trying to catch his breath. Breathing heavily, beads of sweat rolled into his eyes and down his chest mixing with the water, the silence around him was deafening. The beat had left him more lost and confused than before, but he now knew what he had to do. Finally, he looked towards her as she wiped her sweating forehead with water and moved towards where she sat. Grabbing both her shoulders with his hands, he pulled her towards him, his mouth met hers, desperate, searching, their kisses fell deeper probing for the warmth and security he needed. Her love filled him with a need for reassurance and comfort and before he wished to tell her what he was going to have to do, the desire to make love in the water overcame him and any other priority on his list would have to wait. There they remained until an even darker morning light awoke them in each others arms, than any of the previous days had ever shed.
With her back to him, he slowly trailed his fingers down her spine, then back up again tracing her arm, marveling at just how beautiful she was. They had pulled themselves out of the water a while ago and laid next to each other on the banks next to the water. Dead leaves laid beneath them cushioning the ground and becoming somewhat of a blanket. Gently, he leaned forward and kissed the back of her neck sucking right below her ear. She softly moaned appreciatively. He smiled feeling that little boy in his jump with joy for his ability to make the woman he loved happy and satisfied. He moved lower to kiss her shoulder, she reached over to maneuver her arm back around his neck until she faced him and stared right into his eyes, the blue in her own dancing wickedly.
“My, my, someone’s a bit feisty today,” she played and he grinned in spite of himself.
“I know, I know. I just can’t get enough of you,” he replied, now facing her began to pull her closer to him so he could kiss her ear.
She closed her eyes falling silent to him, and sliding her top arm under his own to more comfortably position herself. “Love,” she muttered, arching her head back. When he didn’t reply, she said it again and finally got a small noise of acknowledgement from him. “Love, what’s going on? Why have you come to find me? Where have you been the past few days? I’ve missed you so…” She trailed off as he began to kiss her bottom lip.
Between kisses he responded, “My love… I’ve missed you …so much too…”
“Where have you been?” she urged on, “I’ve been so worried about you. I heard speak of you leaving and felt the earth beneath me change; I worried you had left, fearing the worst.”
He pulled back with a hurt expression on his face. “Left? I would never have left without you! Nothing else comes close to what you mean to me, love. Nothing else. The moons rise and set on you, the world would have to die first before I let harm come to you; every breath I take, every song I sing, every dance I step is to get through another day only so I can be with you and bask in your love and warmth, smile in your radiance and cradle your head in my arms one more time.” Jaden looked into the dark sky with a distant look. “Many things have been changing and I’ve been carefully trying to decide if moving would be the best thing for my people. Everyone’s life lays in my own hands, everyone depends on me to…to…lead them on. Love, I danced last night for answers. So that the choice that I was going to make would have the approval of my father and his father before that and so on and so forth.”
“Did the answers come, my love?”
He nodded slowly still gazing towards the sky. “Yes, they came,” he replied softly. “They were the answers I had hoped to avoid yet wished to receive all at once. The Ancestors told me to leave. They told me the end of the world was here…the world was to die again…that my people must move on or else fail in our people’s journey to defeat the evil of man. That I must go the way the animals had gone, and take us and go further and deeper than we ever had before.” Turning from the sky, he looked at her sharply his eyes as dark and deep as they ever were before. “It is now that I come to you and ask you. What is it you believe I should do? You know anything you have to say I will listen, anything you wish of me I would do.” Almost pleadingly he continued, “Trinya, what do you wish me to do?”
She laid next to him silent for a moment aware of his eyes on her that waited for the response that would change his people’s entire future path if she be against what he wished to do. It was a heavy burden for someone who knew she could take her own feelings and take her own wishes and put them before anyone elses in an instant. Instead of his people’s lives she could be saving, it was hers and Jaden’s she could be sparing. She swallowed hard, blinking back tears. “I wish you to go, Jaden. With all my might and power I want you go and save your people, their future is on your shoulders love and that is not something to be taken lightly.”
He nodded slowly. “I know, love. You will come with me. We will go…we will move tonight.”
“Jaden, I…I cannot.”
He choked on his words feeling tears of his youth threatening to spill over on his cheeks. Trinya pulled his head closer to her chest and gently ran her fingers through his hair. Finally, he said, “Then I will leave.”
“I would do anything to go with you, Jaden. Anything, but I cannot leave my waters, I am what I am, although you are who I am. No matter how far you go, my love, no matter how our lives end, our story will not. Your soul and my soul…”she put her hand under his chin and raised his face up so his eyes met hers,” your soul and my soul are the same. My love will travel with you, ageless, timeless, tearless, endless. I will feel your pain, I will mend your hurt, I will breathe my breath into your lungs each day you live until you live no more. I will climb the highest mountain in the sky to watch over you on your way, I will swim the furthest seas to push you to where the waves break and you can glide to the clear waters edge safe once more. I will whisper in the wind so you may hear my voice when you fear there is no one with you anymore.
“My love is stronger than this day, than this lifetime, than this world, or the next world, or the one after that. My love…and your love, will see us through love, so we can be together once more. Because my love is ageless…”
“I’ll love you, forever,” he whispered into her ear.
She wrapped one leg around his waist. “Jaden…” she murmured, tears running down her face and shoulders, “give us one last time together…” and stole his breath for the last time.