Of Dogs, Birth, and Great Ladies; part the OneSun, January 14, 2007 - 2:52 PM
Around him, the landscape was blank. White. Barren. Like an empty page. There was the sound of scratching, of lines being drawn into virgin terrain. A velvet chair appeared before him like a white rabbit. Smiling, he turned, dropping into it's soft embrace. After a moment, he looked back at the screen. The Audience, as he'd come to call them; were waiting. Their two worlds existed in different references of Time, he knew this. To them, he stayed the same. But to him, their faces changed, constantly; as his tale was read, and re-read time and again.
He folded one leg over the other. 'So! Here we are. I suppose you'll be wanting the Story of Grandmother Wolf; or, 'How the Griffin got his familiar', right?"
Most of the eyes behind the screen remained expressionless. He imagined that they were confused; did they know he was speaking to them? A few others sparkled with droplets of lightning, flashes of Understanding. They stared at each other through the screen like animals regarding each other through glass. Griffin wondered which of them was more free. He smiled inwardly at the answer that echoed back from his heart. Opening, his lips danced open; forming the magick words ...
"Once upon a Time .... about a month ago; I realized it was time for me to manifest a familiar. I'd always been friend to all beasts. My Nature's much closer to theirs. Since, like ... forever. Their language is much simpler than humans; you know. Less unnecessarily complex. Truer to itself. In their company i'd always found asylum ... magick. For years i'd found myself giving healings to them; finding places of honour and sacred relationships all over the world. I remember this one champion beast who was the familiar of a great warrior I knew down in the Islands of Magick. He'd been struck by a car and I healed hijm on Anini beach under the moonlight. Another time I used my magicks, in conjunction with the Circle; to heal my sisters guardian beast, Misun (one of my packmates). Even more recently I rechannel venom that had gotten stuck in Tonkay, the other of my sisters guardians. * That * was an adventure in itself, which led to all sorts of lectures from the Oracle on better technique (the venom got a little into my sister and I had to shift it out; hassle). Other times ... well, there have been a lot of them. Canus the Dog god and I have been friends for a long, long time. He used to be called Anubis, you know."
Griffin paused. Again that strange scratching sound; like sharp feathers against leather; filled the air. A moment later, space softened, and an endtable appeared next to the chair; a pitcher of amber-coloured liquid atop it. He reached out, taking a long drink. "Water. So important. Like Love." The water flowed down his throat, pushing through sluice gates of feeling. Having a beast companion was a long thing in coming; already he could feel the pattern signature of the wolf aligning with his own. Things were rawer, more primal, already. He could feel himself shifting to accomodate the new experiences. He continued.
"Anyway, last new moon I finally felt it was the right time to cast for a familiar. We sat around the circle in the temple, blending our colours together. I scrawled some doggian sigils on a parchment and linked it with Misun and Tonkay. Bathed it in energy and sent the ripple to echo out into the realm. And, true to form, I forgot about it until one of the priestesses reminded me that i'd cast it. So, oh ... probably a couple of weeks goes by, and i'm feeling more and more doggian energy around me. Wherever I go, manifestations of the spell were reverberating, picking up strength. I'd travel down to the Dam, doggians. I'd go on a road trip somewhere; doggians. All around me. Watching me from behind windows and not. Beautiful and powerful. And, fundamental, beneath them, the tonal signature of Canus himself. It was so very, very cool. Around that time, close to the full moon, I figured maybe I should research dogs in the flickerverse. On the 'net; as it's called by a lot of people. It was ... really interesting. It never really occurred to me that so many people would be into breeding dogs, putting them into shows (which was a little weird for me). Apparently there's dog pounds and shelters and everything. Even moreso, a lot of people get worried about overpopulating with the doggians which ... I just didn't think about. Anyway, there's a lot of dogs."
Again the pause. In the background, nearly a featureless whiteness behind Griffin, shadows started to form. Little points of dark that seemed to be moving forward from the far horizon. Quickly they came forward, growing in size, shifting from featureless blobs of dark colour to reds, tans, blacks and browns. A moment later they came into closer view; hundreds of dogs of all shapes and sizes, all trotting happily across the landscape. Where their feet fell, the blankness was imprinted with a pawprint of deep colour like splattered paint.
And there were many of them. Many. Quickly, they began playing with each other, ducking and feinting and leaping in great piles of fur. Underneath, the emptiness began filling as larger and larger splots of canine artistry began raining down. Sometimes the beasts would cram themselves into each other; playfull nipping; but never biting; rolling around in mounds of chaos. As they did, they left huge swaths of mixed browns, greens and auburns which began solidifying, taking shape as vast fields of dirt, bushes and grasslands. A pack of bull terriers crashed out of the newly formed foliage; leaving a trail of wet browns that suddenly shot up; growing leaves; growing wide; making a forest. Two sleek chocolate labradors run zig-zags through the grass, their paws pushing into the earth like a melon; pushing out water like juice. The water quickly filled the imprints left by their paws and expanded, flowing behind their lightninglike movement into a beautiful river of blues and greens.
And so it was, within moments, the entire landscape had changed. Griffin sat in a plush chair (with an endtable) in the middle of a vast field. Behind him, rolling hills and emerald-topped forests dotted the landscape. All around him, lying attentive on the ground; was a vast circle of dogs. Great dogs, little dogs, dogs of black and brown; dogs of tan. Long-haired dogs, short-haired dogs, all of them watched him intently. Then, a grouping of twelve wolves, some of them grey, some of them black and brown, some red and some white, came through the ranks, swirling slowly, pacing the circle, spiraling inwards. Barrel-chested and powerful, they moved silently through the dogs around them, getting ever-closer to the center. As they reached the end of the circle; only a few feet from where Griffin sat, they arranged themselves around him; and sat; ears attentive. They were bigger than the other dogs, more primal. Something unchanged flashed like sharp knives in their eyes. It spoke of forests, and hunts, and things once lost but never forgotten. Like winter; and wild; and free.
Griffin got up, walking around the chair. Slowly, he opened his hand to each of the wolves; meeting their gaze. A feeling of oldness crept through him, of knowing. For a second, he could the wind, flowing through his hair; pulsing through his heart. It felt like music, like pulsing basslines and the best dancing he'd ever felt. Inside; his heart shuddered faster, rattling along it's tracks. Like a roller coaster it fell, then swooped up, and fell again; hammering at it's bone cage as if it could push itself out into the world. He finished the circle, giving scent to each of the great beasts before settling back into his chair.
"Things like that almost always confuse me. It's the way things work in this Age. So, after casting the spell and finding myself scouring the flickerverse, I got bored. Reflections past the screen are so inorganic. But, at least, I felt the resonance-signature of doggian energy around me. I could feel them, the bred dogs. There was something ... lacking in them. Too domesticated, perhaps. Also, the thoughtforms of humans were * all * over the realms. Peoples ideas about them; shaping them in * their * image." He shivered then, as if throwing off something dirty; or at least confused. "Anyway ... I don't think much about it. Once the feeling got weird, once it got clogged and adjusted for this Age, it didn't feel right; so I dropped the flickerverse and went to sleep. So. In the morning, I found myself led to an organic market here in Tahingaard. A place called 'New Moon'. Yes ... just like the spellwork. I pull into the lot. Immediately there's a puppy who trots over to me; taking solace between my legs. He knows it's a safe place. His humans are standing by him, watching. I give him a few scratches behind the ear; his scent changes, warm and safe under my protection. A few moments later, another beast comes into the parking lot, a wolf-something mix. Female. I can smell her approaching; as can the puppy underneath me. He gets nervous; watchful; torn between staying safe with me or going with his humans. I wish him good fortune and walk over to the other beast. She's nice, immediately coming over to get my scent. After a few moments, I go inside in search of some lunch."
Griffin reached over to get a sip of some water. Getting up from his chair, he walked over to the wolves holding space at the innermost edge of the circle. Again that strange scratching sound, of words carved into space; of worlds being formed in swordplay and penstrokes. Small bowls of natural rock literally grew out of the ground before them. Picking up the carafe of water, he poured each of them equal portions. As he poured, feeling again washed through his chest, out his heart. It poured with the water, a river of emotions. Strangely enough, no matter how much he poured, the carafe remained full. Licking the wet bounty before them, the wolves nodded their approval. For a moment Griffin wondered, would he have to pour water for * all * the beasts present? But no, even as the stray thought wandered, the ground itself opened, making similar receptacles for all the doggians, filling from the moist earth beneath it with water. 'From the stream' Griffin thought suddenly, seeing the imagery of a great system of veins, capillaries of liquid running like fingers beneath the ground. He smiled, sitting back down on the chair.
Griffin wrinkled his nose. "As soon as I get inside, there's this horrible ... horrible scent. Olives. Don't like 'em. Never liked 'em. The air was thick with it; burning my nostrils. I pushed through it, getting to this sandwich place in the back. I order a chicken thai noodle something-or-other; specifically asking the chef not to give me shrimp. I leave, taking my lunch with me. A few minutes later, I head down to the city to feed Noble; my truck. Giving him some gas, I open the bowl and sure enough ... it's shrimp. So I spend a moment debating whether or not to inflict that olive-smell on myself again. Hunger won out, and I head back. As I enter, well ... let's just say my eyes were watering. The chef is apologetic. He mentions, 'wow, after you asked me not to and everything', unsure of his own actions. My magick senses flare up, * obviously * i've been led back here for a reason. As I leave, a voice calls to me, asking if I was the one looking for a dog. I say 'yes' and i'm directed by the voice, a guy named Ethan, outside; to investigate his pup. As I go outside, there's another wolfish looking beast, far more private than the others. Normally doggians will come over to say 'hey' to me, to bond. This one didn't. She kept to herself; sniffing out grubs, or dryads, or whatever from a nearby tree. Ethan comes out. He tells me she's mostly wolf, and they usually only relate to one person, their pack leader. Also it turns out that my erroneously made shrimp noodle bowl ended up in his possession. So, I think to myself, 'fine, energy bridges'; feeling the exchange of information moving through the ether. He tells me that he got his wolf from a breeder North of there, a few hours north of Reno; the closest city beyond the protective mountain barriers of Tahingaard. * And * .... he just * happens * to have her number on him."
"So I call. A gruff male voice answers the line. Immediately I can feel his auric signature; mountain man; dog totem. Not a talker. But he talked to me. Name of Charles. I get images of him, a great bear of a man, good-hearted, moving about around some dog kennels. Apparently, his woman, Grandmother Wolf, was down in Reno getting food for the beasts. I say i'll call back the next day; no reason to nab her when she just returns from journey down to the city. A day passes, and I end up calling her sometime during, oh ... sometime during the painting of my bedroom (red and gold. As we're speaking,I feel the energy shift. Immeiately I flow into magick space; well ... a certain kind of magick space that only happens when the ground is fertile enough for that kind of conversation to blossom. We talk about shapeshifting, about dogs being the essence of loyalty; and she shares with me some of her Lore."
Griffin got up from the chair again. He turned his attention to the assembled dogs. "Hey guys ... check it out. While i'm writing this, finishing this magick journal, i'm travelling up to Grandmother Wolf's to pick up North for the first time with the Oracle and Cerronus. Very cools. He turned his head suddenly, listening. "Cerronus was just asking how I got the number for people so far out there (we're driving through the brushland plains and small mountains north of Reno);and I say,'magick'!. It's cool ...." he kept his attention on the dogs; "in that other world we're passing a major rock formation with deep reds. Headed north, always north; to pick up the North. But... that's in the Present; or the Future, I guess from where we're sitting here."
The dogs listened attentively. It wasn't the words, but the wash of feelings that accompanied them. This was, after all, their Story as well. And they felt it.
Griffin shifted his attention back. "Grandmother Wolf had some interesting Lore. When she was a child, she told me of a time she was playing with a baby bear; innocent and happy. Her father, worried for her safey at the bottom of the hill; noticed a mother bear up by the treeline. Frightened, he called to his daughter, startling the baby bear. Pushing away from her to get to it's mother; it slashed her with it's claws; marking her with bear-magick. Another time, she went down to the river and a mountain lion came up for some water. Sensing it's need, she poured a bucket of water for it. Again, the parents got frightened. But I knew ... as she told me, that it was * their * fear, their lack of connection to Nature. I smiled, painting my room. There were other stories, of course. She'd visited a trapped eagle in a zoo, with a single wing. They smiled at each other past the bars and the eagle came over to her, plucked a feather from it's remaining wing; and gave it to her through the bars. At the time, the zookeeper was astonished; normally the bird avoided people. It was her gift, a recognition from the animal spirits. In yet * another * piece of Grandmother Wolf Lore, there was a dangerously vicious red wolf that a native american friend of hers had. He kept it in a large metal cage. As a little girl, she walked into the cage, unafraid; and played."
"As we spoke, I told her of some of my Lore, the things that made up my Storyline; my Origin. Pretty soon, the energy of the conversation came down to loyalty, to it's display ... or not; and how two beings with strong Dog energy related to that. With every passing moment, I had greater respect for her; this creature, like myself, from the Age of Myth. Now, around this time I had to go get some food for Kimburly, one of the members of Circle. She was the bethrothed of Dax; a Prince of Tahingaard; and had recently given birth. One of the other members of Circle, Lady Cedar; is a doctor of aurveydic medicine; and a new mother. She had the inspiration to bring food to the new mother for a few weeks, every night the responsibility of a different member of Circle. That night was mine. I got the directions to Grandmother Wolf's from her, and resolved to charge it the next day."
"But now I had to get some food for Dax and Kimburly and their new daughter; Alagna. Truth be told, i've been known to burn milk. I'll be the first person to praise myself when it comes to oh, say ... certain kinds of magick; but other spheres, well ... creatures like myself tend to be very, very good at particular things; and somewhat confused outside our sphere of influence. So I head back to the New Moon; intent on getting some organic food from the same excellent souls that "accidently" gave me shrimp; thus leading to Grandmother Wolf's number. I get there; and feel a psychic colour; get sushi. I order some, asking for extra 'Aloha'. People in the north don't always get that. It's groovy when they do, 'cause then it * does * have extra Aloha :) .... So I get to Knightsguard; the castle of Prince Dax. I lived there for a month before I made my way westward to the Aerie; it's a fabulous place; filled with positivity and faith. Dax and Kimburly are planning on creating a magickal day care center there; which is pretty cool." Griffin turned his head suddenly, and a flicker of light cast itself across his face. "Wow .." he murmured. "As I wrote that Apollo just * blazed * down on me in the otherverse. Cool. Never sculpted a wordshaping like this while in mid-quest..... " he shook his head; returning his attention to 'the Audience'.
Then he slipped again. "Sorry guys..." he mused, "the other 'verse keeps pulling me back into it. I feel the magick pulses and then something mythic happens that i'm supposed to pay attention to and ... well, * anyway *, for a second there, we passed a whole field of seagulls, all lying in the auburn grass. Then, at a once, they launched into the air, a flurry of faerytale blacks and whites. But, anyway ... back to this 'verse; and the Story ... "
"So. As I get to Knightsguard, I find out that Kimburly had been craving sushi for like ... seven months or so. Apparently she couldn't have it while she was pregnant. Yay. Right-action-for-me ....anyway; she was with-the-happy. Now, she'd given birth like a week before in a Truckee hospital where the Oracle and a team of midwives took over and brought the magick for a crazy-long 29-hour labour. But Debi (Oracle-debi) kept singing, playing chants, and keeping the energy strong the whole time. It was totally a victory for magick; for a return to the Once-Ways. The doctors in the hospital actually thanked her."
"So the night goes well. The day next, i'm out, headed northwards to the isolated spot where Grandmother Wolf raises the pups. I have to stop and meet with Jesse LeFaye; just north of the boundaries of Reno. As we're sitting in my ride, I notice a magickal golden ring upon his finger. His left ring-finger to be precise. So I ask him. And one Story leads to another."
"Jesse is betrothed to his Lady. He's very committed. Neither of them had the money for golden rings, or even silver; but they got a couple of metal bands to signify their commitment and ward off pursuers :) A while back, Jesse told me, he'd been out wakeboarding. Taking a few good ones into the water, he found that the band had fallen off his finger. He was despondent. It simply wouldn't do, but he didn't know what to do about it. Well .... about a week later, he was hiking through the mountains of Reno. Waaaay off-trail. Suddenly he spied a glint; a sparkle, in the bushes ahead of him. Curious, he walked up. There, wrapped around the branch of a tree like a finger; was the ring. True. As true as the tale i'm telling you now." he smiled. "The ring was beautiful, gold, with silver; and diamonds. Immediately I felt the magicks around it. Gold, for the sun, the masculine. Silver, for the moon; the feminine; and diamond; for the sparkles of True Love. Oh, and while I was on dog-quest; did I mention that Jesse raised pit bulls? That he and I were much closer to the beast-realms, and thus, much closer to each other? Also true." he smiled. "Jesse's a great knight."
"So I leave, and head north. A few hours drive through the same golden yellow brushlands; the same mountains seemingly endlessly far away. It occurs to me that i'm going to Somewhere. As anyone who's been to the City of Dreams in Blackrock knows, 'Somewhere' is most often located in the middle of 'Nowhere'. As i'm headed, I can feel the alignments of energy, the approach of deeper and deeper doggian magick in my Storyline. According to her directions, she lives nearly off-the-grid past a small town called Ravendale. 'Ravens', I think. How appropriate. Now, by this time, i'm surrounded by nothing. Trailers, smallfarms; barrels of hay and cows. Like so many magickal locations, you can't map your way there, it always shows up between zones, somewhere untraceable. Magick is everywhere, thick in the air. Then, as I approach, divination flares around the lyrics of a Chili Pepper Song."
(to be continued)
** (no, those are not * my * hands; that's Grandmother Wolf)
(to be continued)
|add a comment|
BeastsThe Griffin phased in for a moment, poking his head into the nothingness between worlds. "Read on, my Lady. His nature would be plain, as sure as the rising of the moon" and grinned; popping out.