149.1 \ 341

The multi-level ceremonial dais was set up in the Reception Hall. It was an impromptu prep mockup for an imminent ceremony with unspecified parameters. Soleil had not exactly been announced. They rested in the breath-holding phase for media explanation of the new change in the ruling family. People weren’t all sure what had happened. The day was hardly out. But, there was a tea service and cushions waiting on the top platform, and the atmospheric lighting was adjusted to a soft spotlight. The hall was otherwise empty.

The central doors were opened to let in just the two Magus sisters, Soleil and Mireille. Companionably somber, they walked abreast toward and up the tiered platforms. They wore smooth grey attire. Under the spotlight, they each took a cushion seat and arranged their preferred bolster on a serving set.

Once they had each taken a sip, Soleil spoke, confronting the crux of the discussion. “I won’t be accepted well enough for effective rule. I’ve been figuring through this from my newly forged perspective. I was able to take this much this far, but – things are now very different. You know I learned a lot about the job, and about myself in preparation for the job. This is not a scenario, and this cannot unfold automatically.”

“You got to know a lot of people, the people. As much love as they’ve shown you, I feel that if anyone, you would recognize and be able to honestly admit impending error. Still, it’s a thunderous assessment. Soleil, this whole time, nobody really thought that you wouldn’t become Queen. But, I hear what you’re telling me.”

This was like when they play-acted royal court as children. Now, they were acting on royal court matters. It was a long path from childhood to statehood. “My mind is in a different place now, a very different place. I carry too many feelings of mistrust, that may have been rightly earned. I remember when it was easier to know what I would do, but that doesn’t mean I can trade in my experience to restore that. I have some ideas, but not of the long-expected kind.”

“There will be many kinds of uproar,” said Mireille over the edge of her cup, “amongst contingents.”

“Oh, yes. I’ve imagined many of the labels. Some strong ones will include the word ‘traitor.’ The amount of explanation I present may not matter against certain likely unending difficulties, regardless of the necessities I’ve faced.” Soleil eyed Mireille as she set her cup down. “I don’t believe these problems would hound you, as they would me.”

“People haven’t had enough prior notice to carry as many problems with me – though in your protracted absence, I began to feel some weight of expectation.”

148 \ 340

The breeze went still, the scent of a flower floating from the ground far below. Sword balancing out at an angle, as though it may yet come to life and hurt her too in this moment alone, Soleil walked over to the scroll on the floor. The pen lay near it, and she picked it up with her free hand. She examined the details of its fine craftsmanship, then pointed it at the signature frame at the base of the document. With detachment, she traced the shape of a curlicue laid in activated carbon-rich ink. She looked at the pen in her palm, then the blade sprouting from the hilt clasped in the other. Holding both, she walked out onto the balcony and tilted her face up to the light, pupils widening to take in the revelation. She spoke to the painted sky.

What does it mean to be
in a story? One can be
in a story about them,
or not about them.
A story is like a place,
a story is like a time,
but is neither – it could
be a dimension, inasmuch
as a thought has dimension
along an axis; there are
people who have a
dimension for their thoughts,
where changes occur.
Do real things happen in
stories the way stories
happen in real things?
Is a story a form of
transcendence, making us
greater than ourselves?
Does one’s existence carry
more meaning for others
through story? A reflection
for others, if they are
courageous enough to see
themselves in such a way.

Can one get out of a story,
or having been in it, will one
forever have been in it?
If lives are more than stories,
do stories become more
than lives? Do they happen
about us, without us?
Who possesses a story,
the character or the one
who comprehends?
Who makes a story –
universal forces, characters,
the messenger, the recipient –
or all? It seems to me
to be all. There are
characters behind the
characters – we could call them
people, but that may confuse
between the people in the story
and the people outside the story.
People outside the story may
be in the story, as the story
becomes a part of
something outside itself.
Time passes from paragraph
to paragraph, and a story is
part of a life, a companion
that knits time into a single
piece, marking remembrance.

Time is long or short, within
a time that is long or short.
A year may have passed like
a week, or a month, or a day
where we were. Maybe
something shifted while we
sat and perceived.
What is in service to a
story, and how is a story
in service? Is perception
the only thing that links it
all together? Stories also
disappear or die; like people,
they have a life and they fade.
Like people, do they live on
in the ripples they make?
Is there an imprint of this
perception left on reality –
maybe to be reformed in a
new person outside the story,
who sees themselves in
another story? Is a story
what’s left behind? Like a
chalk outline filled with flowers –
but an outline of several people,
or billions, rediscovered
outside of its event like the
ruin of an ancient building,
something for our feet to
stand in, and wonder for
ourselves. When the rain
falls, the flowers open while
the stone melts a little more.
There was something that
made a mark in passing,
like ourselves, something
that briefly was everything.

147 \ 339

Acamar replied in reflection.

I know the gate
between places;
I am the gate
between one state
and the next,
in some senses.
A place is not like
another place, and
states of being differ
The between
is not either.
Something happens,
and another state of
being is reached.
Sometimes there is a
somewhere or a something.
We may not know what
it is, though it may be
defined to us by wondering.
There are also nether
betweens, such as myself.
Not even I claim
to know all such matters,
just that I am familiar
with the indefinable.
It is part of my core.
What holds things together
by holding them apart?
Is it a force or a thing?
Am I a thing or a force?

I believe that I may have
been present here on
multiple orders of importance.
The chaos of your crisis
created a circumstance
that made my being call to
itself with exceptional draw.
This occurrence, event –
condolences – adjoined
to my realm, unto
unknown reaches.

There are layers,
and levels, and
boundaries, and walls,
and veils, and gates, and
doors, and there was one
here, and many.
Ways through are
all different.
Sometimes the passage
is what you call time,
elsewise it may be
change in form,
in mind, in state.
It may form itself,
and is also the gate.
I may be the movement
and the moved.

With this, the shifting ebony Dragon circled ‘er architecturally-sized coils once. Indicating direction, Acamar shifted again. Meeting eyes with Soleil once more, the Dragon went and joined the revelation.

146 \ 338

As though knowing things she didn’t know, knowledge she couldn’t understand but could sense, it came out in a stream of consciousness. This may have been coping, or coming to terms – feeling without letting it overwhelm. She spoke from the universe to her soul, to another and to everything. She explained herself and explained it to herself, holding the sword. She said it to the Dragon, the sky full of Dragons, the city, the world, anyone, and no one.

Where story meets story,
apart from where story meets reality,
story is both a part of reality
and between realities.
I’ve seen and experienced
visions of the between,
where the dark and light
begin to interact and form
patterns with the mist.
There is the skin of reality,
and behind that is a vastness.
Where that skin peels away,
there could be another.
Though dark and light separate,
they are bound to each other
where they touch.
In that tiny layer
along the edge of the fractal mass
exists a screen upon which
plays the events of life.
We call that reality.
How does one fractal speak to,
or reach the edge
of another, separate fractal?
Are they truly separate?
Does a reality that’s a part of
reality need to be seen as
another reality in order
to be recognized?
Is that what happens at the end,
at the beginning?
There are moments when
it feels like one is in a story.
Sometimes I, for one,
might rather not be –
isn’t that when difficulty occurs?
Sometimes people want to be
in a story, because
stories are important.
They’re how we learn important things.
Everything important has a story
of its importance.
When is a story told to prevent,
when is a story told to encourage?
In a story, what is true
and what is real?
Who does one hope to be in a story,
and who do they end up being,
according to someone?
It can be important for
a story to end, somehow,
though there is often a way
it can continue.
The ending, a goodbye;
a release of intent.
Now all can be as they
would otherwise like to be,
now that they are no longer
bound to each other,
or to destiny.
Freeing, it may at times be,
but people may also despair
from the lack of meaning
in living without narrative.
Narrative makes life
a part of something.
Suffering may be given purpose,
though damned for a reason.
How do people find the echoes
of what time forgot,
when they know that somewhere
a key to their experience exists?
Where can a mind travel
from within its own dimensions,
what can it see,
what veils can it pierce?
Is a story a reality,
or an unreality?
There are ways that a story can
link places that shall never meet,
except through their commonality.
Story is full of others,
but there are others behind the others.
How deeply can one
fall into a story,
how long can they be trapped in it?
For the duration that it
takes to hear it?
For the time it takes
to transpire in its world?
It’s like there’s a place,
where stories and knowledge exist,
but there may be many such places.
Perhaps each has its own place,
like a plant.
Are there coordinates, locations,
addresses for each?
How does one connect
to these places from one’s own?
Those said to invent stories
may really be inventing a way
to see stories – connecting them
with the linear mind,
the golden thread that finds us
the one we need, the thread
of individual awareness.
Reality dovetails.
There is likeness,
because we seek likeness,
see selves in others.
Others from other places,
others from between.
Real and not real,
maybe more real.
The certainty of a feeling
one has never felt for oneself,
but for another as another.
How is it known when it’s time
to tell a story?

145.7 \ 337

Above and below, within and without, the resurgence of the Symbias trees in the care of both Aquarii and Vedani burgeoned. In the nurturing process, the rapidly maturing growth realized its innate interconnection. This inevitable, yet still surprising awakening came in an energy rush of interplanetary vitality.

The effort of growth saw fulfillment: the joy of being heard, recognized, and understood; a pride of belonging to each other and to others; and the surge in shared power. There was that sense of the same tree body becoming a new body, and the same world being a new world.

Symbias have a special gift for simultaneity, and they spontaneously celebrated themselves in such a manner. They linked, not just in consciousness, but in their existence – awareness in the trees’ breath. In taking a breath together, something happened all at once throughout a broad universe – as it sometimes does, unpredictably and remarkably.

The Symbias sang, they who could hear each other. Such song had nurtured peoples, bridged planets and stars, and filled space with life. So they were doing, again, as they had before. Life, though never the same, sometimes does the same things – a Symbias kind of humor. Here they are again, with grand delight in pure presence.

It was felt, it was real, in a shared instant with all their relations, individual and dimensional. Change came with the simplicity of growth, touching all that it could reach. Ah, youth! The aetheric Symbias also burst into brilliance in the Vedani aetherscape. The wave effect of this energetic light met the doubled Spheraeonic tympanum field, with phenomenal result.

Soleil, Magus gritting her teeth against the forces in conflict, she held Dusk-Arrow with its tooth in Grant Vario’s back as Raev Sturlusson gripped him in embrace. The three still hovered, twisting in midair. In the instantaneous throes of surge after eldritch surge, the inner core of the phronium ingot, pinned between the hearts of enemies, turned molten.

Soleil felt a powerful tug of energetic current fix her and her weapon into the directional asterisk of velocities. Bolts of rainbow white light exploded, crackling and glowing into a static formation around their convergence. A blinding plane expanded, shattered, collapsed, and enfolded in dimensional directionalities. The three of them flickered, everything flickered, and it ended. Soleil and Dusk-Arrow fell to the parquet, alone under the gaze of the Dragon. A drop of blood remained on the sword. The signed scroll lay where it had been placed.

With due reverence, Acamar kept silent while Soleil regained her bearings and collected her wits. ‘E looked at er coils, where someone had just been telling his legendary account. Thereupon lay a scale newly edged with silver. Soleil was bringing herself back to standing, still gripping the hilt. Stabilized, she looked up and through the open windows, at Acamar, and the revelation in the morning sky beyond. Meeting eyes with the Dragon, she began to speak in a voice that came from someplace far away.