"It was kind of you to come, Nika; had I known the weather would be this bad--"
"Do not fear, Xaniir; I foresaw the blizzard and set out in plenty of time."
The older matoran smiled. "I am glad of that. Will you take some tea?" As he poured out two steaming mugs of sweet liquid and set them on the table fashioned out of carved bone he added, "I suppose you are wondering why I sent for you?"
"It is not for me to question your actions, elder." Nika replied respectfully.
"Let me ask you something, Nika; what is it you fear most?"
The young matoran of sound did a double take. "I'm sorry?"
Xaniir repeated the question patiently. "What do you fear the most?"
Nika laughed. "I'm a hunter, a skilled provider for the village. I kill Laepa deer every day, and I ride on a Skovlaki bird. I'm not afraid of anything."
Xaniir shook his head. "Even the oldest and most powerful Zuluska bear in his mighty den is afraid of the torches and spears of matoran. All beings have a fear buried in their hearts. What is yours?"
"With respect, elder, how does this help me understand the dreams?" the younger matoran asked, a faint tone of impatience in his voice.
The old matoran fingered his bone staff. "These dreams are not the same with you. For me, for the others of our village, dreams are no more than stories that are strange the moment we wake. But for you... You saw the blizzard four days before it came. You saw the mad Shadir wolf attack Anahav, the Raddat moles getting into the smokehouse, even the Palgus whale being beached, all before any of these things happened. You are a Seer."
"Yes; I have known that for many years, Vam." he replied, using the matoran word for leader or respected one. "The whole village knows that. The dreams make me a better hunter."
Xaniir nodded. "But you did not know that your dreams can be controlled, made to show you what you wish. You might even learn to see them in your waking hours."
Nika's eyebrows went up in surprise. "Why did you never speak of this before?"
"It... It is dangerous to command the dreams." the old De-matoran answered slowly. "There was a Seer when I was young; he was called Mikha. He controlled the dreams - he could see days into the future without an effort. If he strained, he could even perceive what the next year held. But Mikha was proud and stubborn. He did not acknowledge his fears. When at last he saw something he feared in his future, he tried to escape the future. He did everything he could to prevent what he had seen."
Although he was not often interested in stories that were not about hunts, Nika found himself intrigued. "And? Did he prevent the future he saw?"
"No. In trying to prevent that event, he set it into motion. It was because of him that the Jarakh-Gul, the smiling ones, came here to Avernii."
Nika dropped his clay cup on the floor in shock. "He brought them here? The Jarakh-Gul have killed four of our people in my lifetime! They move the rocks and the sea, and make strange things happen in our heads. A Seer brought that on us?!"
The howling winds outside the earth hut seemed to echo the hunter's anger. The sound of ice whipping over the frozen plain was still discernible by the De-matoran's keen ears, even behind a wall a bio thick.
Xaniir sighed. "I am afraid it is so. Because Mikha did not know how to deal with fear, his fears became real and hunted him. It is the danger of a Seer's gift."
Nika ran his hand over his eyes. He had never guessed that such a great gift could cause so much pain and evil. Could I do something akin to that? Could I bring something as evil as the Jarakh-Gul here? He suppressed a shudder, thinking of the hideous smiling ones, whose spines were exposed and mouths never ceased to grin.
"Yes, you might." Xaniir said softly, as if reading his thoughts. "That is why, before I teach you to use your gift, I must show you how to deal with your fears."
Nika nodded. I will be better than Mikha. I will not be a Seer that ruins his people.
The elder leaned back in his sling chair of woven grass. "So, then; what is it you fear?"
A long moment of silence followed as Nika searched his mind. At last, he answered quietly, "I think I fear a future in which I am no longer needed, Vam."
Xaniir smiled for the first time that night. "You have chosen your fear well, my friend, and I pray to the Great Spirit that such a future will never exist. But if it did, if you saw it coming, what would you do?"
A second pause came over the room, the silence broken only by the crackling of the fire and the moaning of the wind outside. "I suppose I would find another place that needed me." the younger matoran said. "I would leave Avernii."
"Then," Xaniir stood up slowly to put his hand on Nika's shoulder, "you would truly be the bravest among us. It is a good answer, and a truthful one; though I have sometimes scolded your boastful tongue, you have the heart of a Skovlaki - ready to fly out into the storm to save her chicks."
Nika smiled, amused at the comparison. "My fear... How will I control it?"
As he sat back down, Xaniir laughed. "Such a feat is not mastered in one night over a cup of tea! I will teach you, but it will be many years perhaps, before you are a true Seer and can foretell more than a few days. Are you willing to be taught?"
"I am." he answered firmly.
"Then let our lessons begin."
Edited by Steelsheen, Jan 26 2013 - 05:51 PM.