WARRIORS OF THE WAY
THE MAN WITH SKY COLORED EYES
At the sound, I reached for my sword and quickly pulled it from it's sheath. Bounding to my feet, I took my battle stance and stood at the ready, daring the voice to be real and to show it's face. Confusion came to me when long seconds passed and no one appeared. Surely I was still lost in a dream or worse, the sickness had taken me again. Years ago it had been, and still I remembered it's days and nights of helplessness and mystery. Without warning, the sword was taken from my hand and thrown aside in a movement so swift I could not have prevented it had I been a hajvoni. (one of the race of giant men of Hajvon.)
I struggled to pull away and the stranger grasped me tighter and pushed the hair out of my eyes to make me look at him but I did not wish to see. "Why, you're only a maiden," he said softly, "Barely more than a child." At that, I kicked backwards hard enough to do damage and felt freedom within my grasp as he moaned and let go of me. Hitting his chest with my head, I unbalanced him and turned to run but fast as lightning he was upon me and caught my cloak and down into the soft grass I fell.
Before I could upright myself, my eyes caught the gleaming, magical glow of the object in one of the broken stones and I lay mesmerized and powerless. All earth and sky passed away and I entered into a realm of unknown origin and purpose and opened a door of gigantic height and width and went inside to see wonders no tongue could speak of. And then I remembered no more. When once again my eyes could open and my mind think sensible thoughts, I looked around to find myself in a strange camp, covered in blankets, pillowed on softness, with the sun hanging low now and far across the azure sky. A fire was burning some distance away and the smell of food cooking made me hurt with homesickness and hunger. I tried to sit up but fell back down and lay there puzzled at my weakness. What had transpired, I could not say. I understood nothing and remembered less.The sickness, surely. I felt afraid and at the same time, strangely peaceful. Awake and simultaneously sleeping. I closed my eyes again and tried to recall....anything. I listened for the voice inside me to say again,"Someday you will know."
And just as it should have come, another voice near at hand broke my reverie and kindly said, "I do not have a table and chair, but do you care to dine? I do not have a cup and bowl but what I have is thine." A poem from my childhood! My nurse had recited it to me sometimes at mealtimes and I would quote the next verse and she, the next, a lengthy piece of prose about hospitality and selflessness. I was speechless with surprise! "I do not have a coat or cloak to shield you from the rain but I have love enough to give to help you bear your pain." I quoted from memory and softly said aloud. The moment was sweet and comforting and yet brought all the more confusion to me as I thought on it.
I opened my heavy eyes to see a man beside me holding bread and meat and a flask of water, reaching in my direction, his form looming against the sky. Up his length my eyes traveled and rested upon a face I had never seen and yet somehow knew. He was tanned from the sun and smooth and hard and beautiful in a way I could not describe. His hair was dark and shoulder length and his arms were muscled like the warriors' in my father's training fields. Tall, he seemed and powerful like the Muhatni, but not as fierce and cruel as they, at least at the moment but then I remembered not the actions that had brought me to this blanket. Something in me did not want to look into his eyes but I forced myself to look and felt inside me, the same yielding in him.
We looked. And stared. And looked away. And back. And froze in time as moments passed and memories stirred and breathing stopped. I felt alive as I had never felt before there in the trap of his eyes like a frightened rabbit, caught. Never had I seen such eyes! I looked above his head at the intense blue of the skies and back into his face in wonder and gave a questioning shout that winded down into a whisper and went silent. "Th..th..thine eyes!" I finally gasped and held them with my own until he ducked his head and set the food aside. He softly laughed in answer, "You have never seen eyes that were not brown, have you?" And I shook my head and tried to look down at the ground but to his face my eyes flew of their own accord.
"No, I did not know that eyes like thine existed but only shades of brown have I yet seen." "I know 'tis quite a shock for thee to discover," he said, "In all thy travels....through unknown lands and.....perilous..places. And yet, I must confess, in all of mine, I never seen such wondrous eyes as...yours." And my heart raced at his words and I turned them over and over in my mind, wondering at their meaning. How did this man know of my travels and of my perilous adventures? He spoke as though he knew and yet he could not. I looked into the sky once more and back into his face as he picked up the flask and put it to my lips. "Drink." he said and I drank and fell back upon the pillow, drowning in the azure blue I had never seen looking down upon me with human kindness. I felt sleep overtake me once more and down I fell into it's soft white clouds like lamb's wool, marveling over the magic and dreaming of the man with sky colored eyes.
TO BE CONTINUED IN EPISODE FIVE