Friday, May 29, 2015

Bonus Scene 9 - The Restorer

After Chapter 32 Linette:

 In the pale glow of first light, families gathered slowly in unnatural silence. Even the youngest children stepped with muted tread, as if a misstep or snapped twig would bring instant destruction down on them. No begging to run off and play, no complaints about a delay in breakfast, no teasing of siblings. Fear strangled the breath from everyone.

I shivered and wrapped my cloak more tightly around my shoulders as I waited under towering pines in the center of the village. Lukyan hobbled up the path from his home, gray and haggard. He’d led the spiritual life of Braide Wood with an inner strength that usually belied his age. Whatever small well of courage I’d held onto drained away at the sight of his trembling, frail steps.
I hurried to meet him and offered my arm. His weight dragged heavily on my elbow, but he lifted his chin.

“Ah, everyone has come. Isn’t that good?”

I managed a wobbly smile. “You always longed to see people this eager to call on the One.”

He patted my arm. “This was a wise plan. Will you lead us in a morning song?”

Fear and grief tightened in a chokehold around my throat. I tried to muster a confident assent. Instead the words I wanted to hide spilled forth in a desperate whisper. “I can’t do this. I can’t sing. Not now. I can’t strengthen their hearts when mine…”

When mine had died. Dylan was gone.

I hadn’t even been able to wrap his body. I had no cairn to decorate. All I had was Tristan’s stark report, the words that changed everything. My world stopped that day in Lyric. Everyone else kept moving. Transports continued to run. Guardians trained and prepared. People whispered about danger. The threat to our clan held everyone in rapt, frantic focus in recent days. But to me it was all a distant fog.

Even if Hazor overran Braide Wood, could I really hurt any more than I already did? Some small part of me would welcome an enemy syncbeam piercing the place where my heart used to beat.

Lukyan’s eyes squinted with compassion. “This will be the most difficult gift you have yet given the One. And so the most precious.”

But a morning song? So full of joy and praise. A celebration of hope? I shook my head. “I thought I could…maybe later…”

“Have the Verses ceased being true?”

“Of course not, but—”

“When we face the deepest pain and most dire threat, we most need to look into His face. Linette, just look into His face and help us all see Him this morning.”

Families had stepped closer. I felt their eyes on me as I stared at the rocky ground. Not far away, lehkan troops rode resolutely to confront the enemy at Morsal Plains. Susan, separated from her loved ones, rode with the guardians, ready to lay down her life. Deep in the woods, Kendra and Kieran and their father were setting up their disruptor, hoping their hard work of the past days would make a difference. This might be the last morning that all of us would meet here in Braide Wood.

I had no courage, no strength to offer them. But Lukyan was right: I could at least look in the right direction and encourage them to do the same.

As if I were in the vaulted Lyric tower, I lifted my face and stared upward. Tree branches gave way to an eternity of soft light. I drew a breath and sang.

Giver of life, Designer of beauty
Precious are days, granted by You.
First light invites us to walk in Your mercy
Steps full of joy, Your blessings are true.

The first lines were slow and barely audible, forced past the choking knot in my throat. But by the end of the verse, a warm whisper of voices gathered together and lifted the melody with me. The song was so familiar that even the youngest children were able to join in. We continued singing, and Lukyan stopped leaning on me for support.

A gasp filled the silence between lines, and I spared a glance down. Soft mist gathered and surrounded us. The voices around me grew stronger. Perhaps mine did too. The pain still throbbed through me, but a stubborn, precious grain of joy burst open as well.

The mist surged, moving among and over the people, touching us all with more intensity than even the mists in the Lyric tower.

Dylan’s death had crushed me. Impending death terrified us all. Yet the breath of the One was in the mist, and it reminded me that even beyond death there was hope and life.

With another deep breath, I drew that life into my lungs, into my being, and lifted my face to the sky again to sing.

No comments: