[Continuing the theme of my Epic Fantasy, ‘The Daighacaer’ (“Day-gar-care”); Extract from Book I, Escape from Mount Vilipend]
[Pronunciations: Weda’Sel (as it is spelled); Tirǽche (Tir esh); Urus (Ooh roos); Je Jarc (Jay arc).
Background: Tirǽche has been ‘spirited’ away by On’Desira of The Order of The Watchers from Urus and the group into the Realm of The Lighte. She has not been told of the reason for this. The Watcher, Je Jarc is with her outside The Temple of The Lighte. Tirǽche finds herself inexorably drawn to The Temple of The Lighte and decides to take a closer look. The Lord Dayl is one of a duo of Deities who, together with his sister, The Lady Dawne, reigns on behalf of The Lighte.
“As Tirǽche walked towards the building, she felt an uncanny influence drawing her in and she quickened her steps. The urge to run almost overcame her but she used every bit of her willpower to continue walking and tried to slow her steps.
‘It’s bad enough that this whole landscape has about it an ethereal and surreal feeling, but I’ll not easily be coerced into doing that which is so against my inner wisdom’ thought Tirǽche. Nevertheless, Tirǽche started walking even faster as something within the building drew her inexorably to itself.
Fear trickled into her consciousness and not all her thoughts of the building being The Temple of Lighte lessened it. She was almost at the wall when she dug her heels into the paving and, perspiration beginning to drench her clothing, refused to move.
“You feel you are in the midst of peril and disturbing events. Yet you must remain true to your principles and insightful ideals. You resist. Yet, you resist with courage, Tirǽche Raeldysce. You were ever one to remain faithful to your sense of justice, and in like manner, you are true to your inner being. You will soon find yourself free of this period of adversity.”
All the blood drained from Tirǽche’s face and she felt herself slump to the ground.
‘More riddles’ she thought, but this time, terrifyingly, the words were from a deep, booming voice which reverberated throughout her whole being.
She tried again to get up but, try as she might, she couldn’t raise herself. Tirǽche looked up to ask someone to help her to her feet. There was no one at all. The people who had been walking near her and who had given her comfort that she wasn’t on your own, as she made her way to the building were nowhere to be seen. She was absolutely alone. She stared at where Je Jarc and Ilin had been sitting. Not only were they not there, the whole area was empty. There were no tables and chairs, no people milling around. She was staring at she knew not where but it certainly wasn’t any place she recognised.
Shock engulfed her once more as the thunderous voice continued. “For a moment in time, you shall wait within and occupy yourself only with inconsequential things. You shall be victorious but not yet. Use this period within to question everything you see and feel. You are being equipped and you shall be equipped to suit your purpose and your future. Fear not, Tirǽche, you shall regain your strength and your success shall be the success of all.”
“Who are you?” asked Tirǽche in a tremulous voice.
“Who I am is of no consequence; know only that I am who I am. Who you are is, however, of the greatest consequence. Enough! Stand and enter within.”
As easily as lifting herself on her hands, Tirǽche got to her feet as if she’d never had a moment’s problem in doing so previously. She looked at the walls of the building which seemed to be pulsing with a life of its own. She could see no door.
“There is no entrance.”
“Oh child, you are lost indeed. The Darkenighte is accountable for so much harm. Until you are able, I will assist you. Seek for the way from deep within The Knowledge of Ages.”
Tirǽche did so but found nothing. She began to say so but saw, to her amazement, that, without knowing how, she was standing within The Temple of Lighte.
She looked around her in amazement and asked “how did I get inside?”
There was no answering voice and, somehow, Tirǽche wasn’t at all surprised. She was on her own within The Temple of Lighte to find answers to questions she didn’t even know she needed to ask and certainly did not know how to ask.
As she looked around her, Tirǽche thought sadly of Urus, Sháine and Weda’Sel. Would she ever see them again? She missed them so much. Tears clung to her lashes.
She didn’t understand any of what was happening to and with her since On’Dísera, Jatan and Je Jarc left the camp with her. Being taken from her loved ones was difficult, yet, if she only understood what was happening in her life, perhaps she could tolerate the sadness. She felt lost and very alone.
Slowly, Tirǽche turned once more to look around her. The Temple was different from anything she’d ever known. Different too from anything she could discern from within The Knowledge of Ages. The hall in which she stood was divided into two sections; an inner area which appeared to be lower than the outer edge. The walls shone golden and prisms of light shone from the iridescent, gossamer drapes which adorned them. The drapes were embossed with the most beautiful and natural fauna and flora which looked as if they were poised to step out of the material and join her. What was most striking, however, was that the embossed scenes cast coloured shadow images on to the flawless white mineral floor.
She nodded vaguely to herself as she thought ‘the shadows are so colourful. How amazing. The images themselves appear to be alive’.
Tirǽche was entranced. The effect on her of the beauty within which she stood was truly awe-inspiring.
“I feel like I’m standing within the aura of a perfect universe” she mused aloud as she cast her eyes downwards once more. For a long time she couldn’t take her eyes off that floor.
Images of a crimson and gold fire danced beneath her feet. Tirǽche could almost hear the crackle of the flames. As she looked up, fowl of all kinds flew through the blue of the sky and then plunged into an indigo sea inhabited by swirling, whirling water creatures. Land creatures too appeared to prance and gambol amongst shimmering trees and flowers. The ascension of The Lord Dayl shone with such burnished splendour that Tirǽche, who at first found herself compelled to stare at it, had to turn her eyes away, just as she would have done if she’d looked up at The Lord Dayl in all his magnificence.
Eventually Tirǽche shut her eyes tightly. If she was ever going to find out what she was doing in the Temple, and as much as she would have liked to have spent her eternity within the visual beauty of that chamber, she knew that she would have to start to move around.
Strangely, when Tirǽche opened her eyes, she was still in the same position within the same chamber but nothing felt the same. The scenery was still as breathtakingly magnificent as it was when she first saw it, but she was conscious of, rather than saw a slight and subtle shift.
‘It almost feels as if I have been absorbed by and am part the vision itself, looking outwards towards the chamber in which I am standing. That can’t be possible.’ Tirǽche laughed mirthlessly, shook her head and said in frustration. ‘Who am I trying to convince? Nothing in this whole place falls into the sphere of ‘possible’ or ‘impossible’. In the words of On’Dísera, ‘I am where I am’.
As she spoke, Tirǽche looked about her again. She put her foot forward as if to move towards one of the animals. Her foot quivered, became totally translucent and then suddenly went completely lame causing her to fall ignominiously in a heap to the floor.
“What was that?” Tirǽche looked at and held her still translucent and useless foot. She rubbed it to try and get some feeling back into it but couldn’t. The most unnerving part was that she could still see right through it. The shock of being able to see right through her foot numbed her. She knew her foot was still there because as she touched it, she could feel its outline, despite it having no substance to it. If she had for a moment thought that the experience was only imaginary, her pain and discomfort when she tried to stand disillusioned her of that thought immediately.
“You are looking in all the wrong places, Tirǽche” whispered a calm, quiet voice.
Tirǽche swung around to confront the speaker but there was no one in sight. Before she could say anything, the voice started speaking again.
“If you try to walk away in any direction again” it continued “you will, in the most elemental manner, find yourself absorbed by your surroundings, Tirǽche. I urge you to not attempt to do so. I tell you this in truth not to alarm you but for you to understand. You are a critical pivot and your unique abilities are greatly needed right now in Faeré.”
‘More riddles’ Tirǽche thought as she shrugged, as much a rebuttal of the person speaking to her as for her supposed abilities which were by all accounts of such critical importance. If she had had any special abilities, of which she had never been aware, she had no recollection of them and, she surmised, any such abilities would most certainly have been destroyed during her time in Mount Vilipend and the horrors she experienced while she was there.
Tirǽche needed answers. All she had been given since her abduction were riddles and what she perceived to be misinformation. If there were answers at all, there was one place where she would find them. Tirǽche relaxed and felt herself enter into The Knowledge of Ages as a vibrant fulfilment washed over her. She sank into her memories. Yet even in that sacred place, she found no knowledge of any special talent at all.
She lifted her head to speak but before she could, the voice, now filled with authority, said “You shall not be lost through ignorance, Tirǽche; either your own ignorance or that of anyone else. I shall guide you.”
“If I were in any place other than within The Temple of Lighte, I would have found your words, coming from someone who has not even had the courtesy to show or present themself to me, presumptuous. What is it about you Watchers, because I presume that you are one; that you enjoy keeping yourselves hidden while you spout riddles?” said Tirǽche a little tartly. Before the voice could answer, Tirǽche continued. “Nevertheless, it appears that, for whatever reason, you are more conscious of me than I am of myself, so I accept your guidance.”
“You are without doubt as wise as I have been led to believe” said the voice with a hint of laughter in her voice. “You may not like the situation in which you find yourself, but you will work with whatever solution is available to you. That, Tirǽche Raeldysce, although you may not know it, is an uncommon ability.”
“In your experience, I dare say that may be true” retorted Tirǽche. “If you were to spend any time with those with whom I was travelling before I was abducted and brought here, you would very quickly learn that what you believe to be uncommon is exceedingly common among my people and my peers.”
“I really do expect that I will at some stage have time to spend with your people, Tirǽche but they are not important for now.” The voice continued over the sharply inhaled breath which Tirǽche simply could not control. “We have no time to discuss the merits or otherwise of what you call your ‘abduction’, Tirǽche. We have a lot to do, for, although not of your making, you have been idle for too long and Faeré has desperate need of you, even though I do know you don’t understand this right now. Sit awhile and rest and then you shall lean on me as we journey. Your foot will recover in time but not now, not yet.”
“Will you show yourself to me?” asked Tirǽche in a far more subdued voice. She was still very aware of how On’Dísera and the other Watchers had approached Urus and herself, and she could still mentally feel their restraining force and strength. She was out of her depth and, if she’d not known it before, one look at the floor through her translucent foot confirmed it for her. She was not going to attempt anything reckless.
Tirǽche wondered too what could have come over her to react as tetchily as she had done. That was something which Urus would have done but not her. ‘Well clearly it is something which I would have done’ she thought. ‘In fact it’s something which I did do. I shall have to apologise to Urus for my thinking that he was unable to control his emotions when On’Dísera confronted him.’
“To not attempt anything unwise is one of the answers you seek, Tirǽche. To answer your question, I shall show myself to you when you are ready.” The disembodied voice sounded quite gleeful. Tirǽche tried to control her irritation.
‘Yes, I definitely owe Urus an apology’ she thought and then said aloud “That doesn’t really make any sense at all. How can it be an answer if I haven’t yet fashioned a question?” The slight edge she’d uncontrollably had in her voice as she began to speak dissipated quickly as she remembered Urus, and she completed her question sounding poised and interested. The tinkling laughter of the owner of the voice even made her smile. That surprised her.
“Do you have any concept of where you are, Tirǽche?” The unexpected question hung in the air for a moment.
Tirǽche replied quite calmly, she thought. “Yes, I know exactly where I am, as do you. I’m in the entrance chamber in The Temple of Lighte.”
“Do you really know that, Tirǽche? Yes, you are indeed in The Temple of Lighte and yes, you did start your crossing in what you believe to have been the entrance chamber, although it was only you who believed that that was where you were.” The voice chuckled as Tirǽche swivelled her head. “You can look again, and it will make no difference,”
Tirǽche bridled unconsciously. She knew where she was. Of course she knew where she was. Everything was exactly as she’d first seen it, except for her foot which was still painful, strangely translucent and not functioning.
“Look around as much as you want to, Tirǽche; you will still believe you are where you believe you are and what you thought you saw when you arrived. Yet where you think you are, although it is certainly somewhere, is now merely an illusion laid bare.”
There was no quiet laughter now from the voice. Tirǽche thought back on something which had earlier caugh her attention. ‘What did whoever owned the voice mean by where I’d started my crossing?’ she mused. The turn of phrase was startling and for some reason which Tirǽche could not understand, it worried her – a lot. She had the impression that there would be no more mirth and that everything from now on would be in deadly earnest.
“It was and it is” said the voice as it responded vocally once more to her thoughts. Tirǽche wondered if she would ever get used to having absolutely no privacy, even in her thoughts.
“When you are ready, you will realise that nothing is truly private in the sense that you understand it to be. True privacy is found in true understanding. False privacy comes from a lack of understanding which is found in the understanding of that lack of understanding.”
“What I would really like to understand is the riddles in which everyone seems to speak. Is there no natural speaking among you people?” asked Tirǽche.
“What is natural to you may not be natural to others, Tirǽche. Your understanding is coloured by everything which has happened in your life to bring you to where your understanding is at any point. What appears convoluted and requires further thought sometimes proves the easier to understand.” The voice laughed when Tirǽche made a sound much like ‘harrumph’.
My choice of poem for the situation in which Tirǽche has found herself is:
It is only with one’s heart
That one can see
It is only with one’s heart
That one can know
It is only with one’s heart
That one understands
That what is essential
To the human eye