The Wanderer, Part 36

Read see the first story of this series here: The Wanderer, Part 1

or the latest story here: The Wanderer, Part 35

Tas slowly woke on his cot, finally not remembering anything from his dreams. He had become very tired of the incessant dreaming and wanted nothing more than to rest in the warm comfort of his companion Yaina in the darkness, but she wasn’t there. He rubbed his eyes that were coated with crusty sleepies and he was as sore as he had ever felt in his life. He assumed it was his last night of good sleep for a while. Today they would reach the monastery and begin planning with Fei, the monastery’s keeper for his last journey into the shadow-realm. And Tas was finally feeling his normal, old self.

The trek took the better part of the morning. Tas walked with Ice in the lead, occasionally feeding his companion the last little scraps of jerky as they went along. The whole group was walking rather slowly and Ice was very focused on scouting the trail ahead. He eventually found something in the forest, but Yao and Yaina were deep in discussion behind them and didn’t notice, though Tas had no idea what they were saying. He was trying to relax and enjoy his clear mind so he simply followed Ice.

They traversed off the beaten path into the jungle, where the bugs were loud and birds were singing high in the trees and calling to each other. Ice quickly led to the base of a large baobab tree and tried to his his claws to climb and jump up the tree, but could get more than a couple hops up. Tas got to the base of the tree and looked up to see two large apes sitting, looking down at Ice. The second they noticed Tas approaching, their attention shifted and Ice stopped his attempts to climb the tree. Tas sat next to his anxious wolf friend and was content to look up at the large, very intelligent looking animals. Then the primates descended down the giant tree, obviously interested.

Tas waited patiently, but Ice wasn’t quite as docile. He started to pant and pace anxiously, though the apes paid him no mind and jumped the last couple meters to crouch softly on the earth.

Then, to to the surprise of all, they spoke.

“we know of your journey, friend, Tas and wish to warn you of your supposed friends at the monastery. Your journey is perilous and you should trust no one. Especially the monks at the monastery. Friend will become indecipherable from foe as you continue deeper into the nether.”

“what should I do?” Tas said, shaking his head in disbelief at what they said. How could he continue if he didn’t trust Fei, or Yao, or Shu.

“Wait, observe, and watch all around you. Only your friend here is trustworthy.” They both looked at Ice with a certain interest that Tas couldn’t place.

A soft rustling came from the thick of the brush deeper in the jungle, and from the dark shadows a tiger appeared. This was the cat that Yao has sensed earlier. Ice was on edge by Tas’ side; he could feel his apprehension, though his white furred friend was silent.

The cat approached silently, and the apes appeared to also be apprehensive, though unreactive.

“I have been watching your journey for the past few days, boy. I have been interested in you and what you are doing. Tell me, why is it that you travel so far? Through my domain, nonetheless.”

Tas replied slowly, knowing the cat wouldn’t want to hear anything short of the truth. But how much truth should he share?

“We are returning to a place that was destroyed by the likes of a dragon. Do you know of what I speak.”

The tiger hissed, spitting wildly. “yessss I know of this enemy. I have lost several of my hunting grounds to the dark fire that this demon began.”

“Well,” Tas said growing sure that the tiger wouldn’t eat him after he told him more. “I am going to slay him.”

At this the apes panicked and Ice followed. The cat crouched and immediately sprung at Tas, claws outreached and teeth barred. But the one of the giant primates had grabbed a rock, and slammed it into the face of the tiger. The other brought his arms around the neck of the tiger and Ice simultaneously attacked the tiger’s throat, ripping through the flesh. The ape with the rock continued his assault until the tiger’s body convulsed. The whole ordeal took but a minute.

The apes looked at each other in confusion, but also a shared communication passed between them that Tas could see, but didn’t understand.

“The enemy will take all forms of being, my young friend. Travel lightly, and again, trust no one. Except your friend here.” They looked down warmly at Ice, who continued to drink in the blood of the tiger. After he was finished, the apes took the corpse up the tree and bid them farewell. Ice and Tas returned to their perilous path to continue to the old monastery.

After a short time of returning to the monastery’s path, Tas could see the small road winding up to the hillside to the stone walls at the base of the monastery’s overhanging garden. He was happy that they had almost arrived, but there was no sign of Yao or Yaina. They must have travelled before them.

Paj and Shu greeted them at the recently rebuilt entrance, undoubtedly having foreseen his arrival. They both looked rested and recovered, though apprehensive. The garden, however, looked very overgrown compared to the last time that Tas was there; the bushes had grown thick and the grass was peeping through the dirt on the paths. The rest of the monks where nowhere to be seen. They could only see Fei on the balcony, looking out at them as they rose to the courtyard. His large smile put them all at ease, though after their recent debacle, Tas was skeptical of all of his old friends.

The two monks, Tas and Ice walked up the spiral staircase together to meet Fei. Yaina and Yao had arrived previously and were a little uneasy. Tas explained what had happened with everyone. Fei continued his smile at first, but his smiled waned as he learned of the tiger’s attack and the apes warning. Yao brought light back to the conversation immediately. “well, you’re not dead yet! Maybe I should push you off the balcony and speed up the inevitable!” Tas felt a warmth and fondness grow through him for his master. He always missed this nonchalance when Yao wasn’t there. The feeling inside gleamed like the light from the sun.

Fei took the chance to continue lightening the atmosphere: “Welcome Tas and company, make your selves at home. Paj and Shu will prepare a couple of rooms for you.” He bowed deeply. “We will meet this afternoon before the sunset. In the meantime, Tas, why don’t you go with Shu in the lower levels of the garden? You will be undoubtedly very happy to talk and catch up on what has been happening in the last month while you were traveling. Fei winked and walked away, Yao in tow and Yaina slowly followed after with Paj. She looked back at Tas with a light smile as she left. Tas could tell that she was worried for him. He knew they would be planning for later that night.

Tas walked down the balcony and headed towards the gardens with Shu, his first monk teacher. It truly was becoming wild in the monastery, even some smaller trees had begun to grow and there were swarms of insects moving about; everything was dissheveled. Tas had to swat at them to keep them off of his face, but it was nearly useless.

Shu moved into the center of the lower terrace and together they began meditating and oom’ing without even talking. After several minutes of quiet, they opened their eyes and Shu’s smile split open wide, eyes squinting against the light. Tas smiled back

“Tas is that you?!? I’ve missed you my friend!” and he immediately arose to embrace Tas. Tas was a little startled, but settle easily into his friends weight. He certainly was sore from the stress of his long journey.

“I’ve been traveling a lot Shu.” Tas said slowly. “I am so tired and I’m not sure what to do other than go back into the nether and face what’s there for me.”

Shu replied slowly, “well, my young friend, there are only two ways that I know of to rejuvenate the body. The first, is sleeping. If you haven’t had any of that, mediating can restore your energies in a similar way. Let’s mediate for a time, and perhaps you will feel better!”

Tas was in position to refuse. He desperately wanted his energy back. He had woken up with so much and now there seemed to be none and the sun was still high in the sky. Shu and he sat for a short time, before Tas grew impatient. Shu wasn’t saying or doing anything but sitting there breathing deeply. Eventually Tas’ patience ran out and he sighed to get up.

Shu sat him back down, and smiled, “not yet my friend. We will sleep while you are awake! Breath deeply with me and lets restore your energies.”

“But I need to sleep to truly heal and regain my strength.”

“these limitations are made up by your mind my friend. Breath with me slowly and deeply and you will find the sleep that you need.”

So Tas tried to sit still and breath deeply and after a time, he felt himself falling into a deep trance. The light inside of him grew bright and he soon felt as light as a feather. Shu continued to breath next to him, but his breathing was making Tas tired, and soon he felt himself lay back and drift off, darkness once again surrounding him completely.

New Growth in 2019

Busy Busy, Busy…

Lately, I have been consumed by starting a landscaping business, too busy to make music or work on my website. I started this new landscaping business and am working now as a designer landscaper in Sacramento. It’s hard work, but certainly pays the bills in a way that I don’t think yoga ever could. The only rich yogis that I’ve ever met are the Jois’ and they have an incredibly tightly run business in Mysore, India.

Landscaping is my Future

I love yoga and I might love making music even more. I am continuing to teach indefinitely, but as I said in my last article, I do have to scale back my yoga teaching from 8 times a week to 5. Teaching 5 yoga classes every week will still give me the opportunity to improve my teaching while doing a full time landscaping gig.

Creation is the Priority

I’ve always loved making stuff. These new planter beds that I have built in old Roseville are some of the coolest I’ve ever seen. I am learning how to create high quality, long lasting landscapes. Learning is my priority and I’ve gotten good at using concrete and also at working with dirt and grading, plants, drains, and the whole process of putting together a nice backyard. But I also bought a guitar recently and have started playing, learning chords, and am going to start learning some songs soon. Even though I am busy, I am busy doing stuff that I love so I always have more energy! Until its time to fall asleep.

The Cost of Artistry

Honestly, life has been completely exhausting lately. I fell asleep at 9:30 on New Years. I had a couple beers, but man I can’t party worth a shit anymore! But I guess thats a good thing! I like waking up early anyways, so heading off to work at 5 or 6 isn’t a big deal at all. Only I have a really hard time staying up later, which is pretty weird for me. I’ve had mild insomnia for as long as I can remember. My New Years resolution is to work on staying up later, so I can have more social fun time! Also, to play a few shows in 2019, something I didn’t get a chance to do in 2018.

Finding Balance between Passions

My yoga practice has actually been revitalized in a big way by landscaping. I need it to take care of my joints and relax my muscles which get overworked on the daily from using power tools and you know, repetitive pounding motions. I think I have found a trifecta of things to do that I love!

Looking Forward to 2019

Expect more landscapes, different mediums of sharing my art and blog articles in 2019! Apologies for not writing in a while, but I’m excited to continue blogging. See you on the yoga mat…

Thanks for reading,

Elliot

Journal Update: Finding ways to Create

Updates from the Thunderdome

This is going to be more of a personal update, I’m may just be probably almost about to go on a rant.

This week someone grabbed my phone from the back of the yoga studio I instruct at and trashed my phone. They didn’t even sell it or anything. Just ruined it. What a waste of an amazing piece of technology, humph.

So now I am blessed to have no phone enslavements and am just doing my best to simply continue onward. It’s just kind of disheartening to feel like my space was dishonored and some idiot who can’t even properly steal things trashed my stuff. I even think I know the person that stole the phone and I’m just disappointed in the whole situation. What a fucking waste of time! Nothing is more useless than some of these entitled, poor americans who feel like they deserve things and aren’t willing to work hard for anything.

The NFL is a great equivalent to this. What the fuck are those players doing? I don’t even think they really know what they are fighting for/against. I really feel like it is far more of an anti-establishment movement than an anti-cop movement. I mean, Obama is far more of a reason that minorities in this country are suffering than cops are; he basically tried to enslave the citizens of American to the corporate government allied banks. Worst president since Regan imho, and that is completely nuts, considering the Bushes were in office. The American media are huge liars, in so many aspects. What a bunch of idiots. But it’s probably this way simply because the banks & government own them. Watching the news has become so toxic, they literally just lie and embellish the entire time. So I only watch HBO now. WOOHOO WESTWORLD IS AMAZING!!! (just started yesterday) and I just watch a tiny, itsy bit of netflix here and there.

So here I am just spending all of my time creating yoga classes and music and writing and painting as much as I can, but I have also picked up some work trimming in GV to pay the bills. But now I have to figure out this whole phone thing, because I use it for all my music in yoga classes and I have been wanting/preparing to start a youtube channel for about 3 months so I need to camera. So yeah, money money money. BOO. I hate money :/

Always Working Hard on Yoga Instruction

I am still teaching 7 yoga classes a week, at East Wind Yoga in Auburn and Roseville and am constantly improving my delivery of cues and my dialogue. I am passionate, it is a calling, I love working with the yogis more than anything else. I am breaking through barriers, learning how to connect on deeper levels, and am teaching people how to use, honor, and appreciate their bodies as they learn to use them sustainably. I feel like it is part of what I am meant to do here. Maintaining my own practice while I teach is the most difficult part of this, but I am making it work. I could use another trip to India, honestly. The space that I had to practice there last time was nothing short of blissful.

I am writing a book that I am really excited about and am going to turn it into a beginner youtube tutorial series. It’s called, “Practice Yoga” and will be 25 chapter, or 25 days of practice. The idea is to “work up” to the final day, which is an advanced adaptation of the intermediate series of Ashtanga. I will also start a workshop for the primary series pretty soon here. Definitely excited for those things.

Exposing ‘the E.T.’ and the HAZE Album

Right now I am trying to use twitter and not getting any traction. Music is hard to submit to others because it is so unique and I really feel like people don’t give new, unique music a chance from people who are completely unknown.

I’m not playing any shows right now, which makes it kind of rough for me cause I spent the vast majority of my free time (whenever I’m not teaching yoga) to make music. I just wanna dance with the partiers!

For a few months I have been starting a youtube channel for ‘the E.T.’, and soon I will start live streaming out to all of my followers from my production sessions. I’m also considering making some sound design and mixing tutorials, which could be a really cool addition to what ‘the E.T.’ can bring to fans.

Oh and make sure you check out my HyperDrive music video, I think it’s the best one yet.

Letting go of what isn’t necessary

There’s no point in stressing out over my phone. At least something worse didn’t happen, but it is so damn annoying to have to spend my time on that, when I have so many other projects that I am working on. Oh yeah, I’m also finishing another painting! This one is super cool 😀

Lessons in Confidence and the Immediate Future

Right now, I am in the grind. Simply trying to get better at everything that I do, from teaching yoga, to writing music, to this blog, to creating new media for people to digest. I want to be able to offer the highest quality of service (because that is what I value) and want to be able to deliver before I start taking major leaps of faith, i.e. my first show as ‘the E.T.’.

When I step on stage, I want to have full confidence in my ability to deliver my message. If the audience doesn’t like it or appreciate it or whatever, that’s fine, but I want to appreciate it. Otherwise, what is the point? So I’m letting my confidence build and build as my skill level rises and can’t wait to see where all of these amazing projects take me.

Thanks for reading, happy Monday everybody! Tomorrow night’s yoga class is going to be fun, the class is going to be one of the most challenging ever!!

 

 

Adapting to the State of the Present

Life is fucking complicated out there. There are a lot of aspects of living nowadays that should NEVER have existed in the first place. Good food is expensive and bad food is subsidized and really, I think this is one of the biggest things to fix in our culture. Life for us humans is very complicated, we have to know how lots of different things work in order to operate successfully in our everyday lives. Cellphones, Cars, Computers, and all of our modern technology can be a bit insane sometimes and it catches up to us through stress an in our bodies. Thank the gods for yoga.

I find myself splitting my time between things constantly. It’s great for someone with ADD, but very difficult to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. Whether its between driving, staying connected to my body, splitting time between Auburn and Sacramento, or splitting my time between yoga, landscaping, and music, my website, landscaping writing, painting, or doing all of the other forms of art that I love to do. Recently, I found myself painting without any real reason other than the need to let go by creating something cool. But it gets tiring to be unable to focus on any one thing for an extended period of time. I try to keep a priority of yoga first, money and survival second, and music third. So far, its working out fine.

Teaching yoga is now a constant. 8 classes a week and I am getting more and more skilled at disseminating my message. I am striving to offer the best possible yoga classes to the students that attend and I think that I am doing a great job of expanding the comfort zones of the people that choose to spend time learning about yoga with me. Most people have very weird perceptions of what yoga is supposed to be.

I realize my own need to continually innovate and am actually finding the need to slow down and ground into teaching what I know. Sometimes I get distracted with the need to constantly feel like I am creating a new experience for people and I need to focus on simply creating and learning during the process.

Music is strife for me and I love every second of it. The industry is very difficult to break into. I feel that my music continues to evolve drastically, culminating in my latest release for an ill.Gates Remix Contest that you can check out below. The track is very unique, the picture links to the track. I also have about 5 other tracks that I will be releasing to my soundcloud very soon.Ill_GATES_remix_comp_theet_entry

 

 

I find it incredible how disconnected my culture is, despite all of the different ways that we try to connect, our connections have become more superficial than ever. We drive so so much. and it’s difficult to find ways to connect with newer people, especially with the amount of judgement that people just throw out randomly at strangers. But I think that I am meeting the people that I need to meet, it is just not happening as fast as I’d like it to. Big surprise, I guess.

Ultimately, I think all of the art that I am creating right now will take time to flourish, I still feel that I need a couple more years of learning in order to get to the levels of sound design, mixing, and composition that I want to be at. I feel very confident in my yoga, but ache to return to India and practice in the room full of silent Ashtangis teaching myself the second series.

The East Wind summer challenge is where I find my time going and I look forward to the yoga classes that I get to attend rather than teach. I am always working on expanding my practice and love to spend time simply enjoying my breath work and learning about the intricacies of my body. So hopefully see you around the studio!

Journal, Updates, and Developments for the Start of 2017

journal

Dear Journal, 2016 was a long year…

For the past year I have been making music and teaching yoga for my full-time jobs. I haven’t written about it at all, but now I want to journal about it a bit. Although music doesn’t pay yet, yoga has become a sustainable profession for me. I can pay my bills now, which is fantastic! Teaching yoga is really a fun way to make a living. But my situation now is the result of three years of hard work that no one will ever see or appreciate in the way that I do.

How Did I Get Here?

In 2014, after I finished my teacher training, I began to teach yoga for free. I probably have journal articles on here about it. I had two karma classes a week and used those classes to get my teaching chops. I remember how nerve-racking a lot of those first classes were and how difficult it was to get the ball rolling with my confidence level, projecting and inflecting my voice, and figuring out how to teach people the yoga I had learned for the last 5 years or so. Now, I get to enjoy some of the fruit of all that hard work. I’m not out of the grind yet by any means, but I feel that I am being rewarded for all of the hard work in my past. Karma is nice sometimes.

Making it Work

Last year, many of my days were filled with landscaping and doing odd-jobs and such just to survive. I didn’t have much money after India and its taken me a while to figure out how to make money without feeling like a slave to some corporation. Now I am teaching 9 classes a week and am loving it! I believe very strongly in putting lots of time and thought into my art forms and the added classes will help me to get my classes to the quality that I want for my students.

Onto the Future and 2017

2017 is going to be a year of growth, even more so than last year. I am recording more yoga classes, planning on starting a youtube/instagram video/photo series, and make music all the time. Now I just have to find ways to travel a bit on the days that I can to keep myself exploring. That is the one part of my life that I miss tremendously and can’t wait to get back to. Exploring new places, things, and ideas is my favorite thing to do. The lack of travel is probably the biggest reason I haven’t been blogging as much lately; traveling stimulates my mind in ways that make me want to write and share my experiences.

My First Yoga Workshop

I am going to do my first workshop in a couple of months at East Wind and am hoping to get a framework built for a class that I could do monthly (on the ashtanga primary series). Connecting with individuals in the yoga space and learning about their journeys is one of my favorite things about yoga. I am hoping that workshops will be a great way to spread my message to the neighboring studios and to expand the yogi community. My message is also getting clearer as I do more yoga. Fear drive us away from the peace that we all crave. My trip to India was intrinsic for realizing my teaching methodology; I am going to have to go back sometime in the next couple of years to continue to study myself. Although right now I have no idea how I am going to make that happen.

La Musica

Music is going phenomenally (check out my soundcloud). The sound is tuning in quite nicely; technical expertise is really starting to show in the tracks that I produce. My biggest improvements to make are working on composition. Melodies, Chord progressions, timing, verses, and vocals. I have one song right now, AUTO, that I am super excited about; I think it’s by far my best work yet. But I also think that with a new song every couple of months.

ElliotTelford.com (coming soon!)

I have decided to consolidate my websites/blogs into one brand. It’s simply too difficult to pay attention to multiple sites and all of the other shit that I have to pay attention to all at the same time. All of my music will be available on this website, very shortly. PadaYoga is changing to ElliotTelford.com, so I can have a more unified web presence. I will also continue to upload free yoga classes and music so there’s lotsa free stuff here.

The Wanderer Series

I will be finishing the wanderer (my first book) in the next few months as well. That will be available here, although I’ve decided to take the series offline until the book has been completed. In my opinion, it’s not fair to drastically change the plot lines, relationships, or the story in front of the audience, so I want to take it offline to work on it. It is my first book after all. I am also working on more music videos for my music.. which isn’t time-consuming at all. Not like it takes an hour to render, then an hour to upload, then an hour to process, or anything CRAZY like that… sigh

Someday, I will work with visual artists to make my music come alive, but today is not that day, nor is 2017 probably that year, though I hope it is!

The future of this blog is bright! Let me know if I missed anything 🙂

Elliot/the E.T.

The Wanderer, Part 35

alpine_trail_mountains

This story is part of a series, this is the thirty-fifth part.

You can read the first story here: The Wanderer, Part 1

and the most recent story here: The Wanderer, Part 34

Tas still ached from the nether. He walked through the light snow and hauling his heavy pack over his shoulder followed Yao through a winding mountain path. He could see the vast expanses of green below in the valley and was enthralled by the shades of color in the sunset. It was only raining on the mountain. Yaina walked with him, whispering in his ear jokingly about Yao’s hunched demeanor and how he looked slightly like a lama when he ate. Laughing made him feel better; Yaina had realized this after the first day and had been working at cheering him up ever since; she was starting to become more successful.

Tas was beginning to feel a craving sensation deep within his stomach; for the past days he had felt sick, but today he was finally starting to feel better.

“You think that the cravings will subside?” Tas asked the old man.

“Maybe…” Yao’s voice trailed off. “If you avoid using it completely. The second you re-enter the dream world, or call on your shadow magic your cravings will be reinvigorated, perhaps even more powerfully.”

Tas frowned. The magic came at a price; but he would simply use it as little as possible. Only when he needed to.

Yao said suddenly, “let’s go hunting; Yaina get the fire and cooking supplies ready and we’ll stay here tonight.”

The trees towered over them as they stalked through the woods; Yao would stop at certain trees and examine their moss, but most of their time was spent looking at the ground for footprints. Ice eventually caught a scent and began his tracking; Tas knew he would find something soon so he simply continued to wander around the trees and look for any signs of animals that weren’t ground squirrels or birds.

Ice eventually caught a rabbit, brought it back and Yaina and Tas began to prepare it together. They had become quite a cooking team during the cold winters in Bahar, Tas would gut it after Yaina skinned it, then she would decide how to cook all the different organs and cuts of meat. Tas had become quite skilled at cutting meat; his knife skills in general had improved vastly from the past year of hunting and dealing with the furs and bodies of the hunted. Yaina was the best preserver Tas had ever met; she could turn any meat into jerky and Tas had always found the spices she chose to be delectable.

Ice continued to catch two more rabbits, one much larger than the other two which Yao prepared over the open fire. Yaina salted and spiced the first rabbit’s meat then moved onto the second smaller rabbit. Tas worked quickly, cutting slices for Yaina to spice, but his stomach hurt from the withdrawals from magic. He could feel the waves of pain ascending up his spine, until eventually he could hear them in his head. He put down his knife and sat down, un able to move because of the pain. Tas slowed his breathing and began to focus on elongating his breaths. He felt the pain move back down his spine slowly, until eventually it disappeared into the bowels of his hips.

He re-opened his eyes to see Yaina staring at him intently. She had always tended to his fevers and when Tas was sick during the long winters, Yaina was always the one to take care of him. Yao didn’t even try to help anymore, he sat intently and patiently watching whenever the need arose for Yaina to take care of Tas.

“You look faint, Tas. Do you feel like you don’t have any energy?” She said quietly, holding his hand tightly. She smiled as he opened his eyes for a few moments. to look back at her.

“I feel drained. Its starting to get hard to stand.” Tas felt the world starting to go dark. He had been able to keep the feeling away, but it was back now, and stronger than ever. The pain had returned in his abdomen with a vengeance. His breathing turned sharp and ragged as he felt his side begin to cramp.

Tas let out a cry of pain; he felt as though his side had been stabbed with a burning knife. He clutched his ribs and rolled on the floor screaming in pain. Yaina stopped him from rolling and turned him to his side and comfort him, but it was no use; the pain was excruciating and Tas was simply reacting now; not even thinking of what he was doing. Suddenly he felt a cooling sensation spreading from his forehead into his neck and spine. He opened his eyes to see Yaina holding a wet cloth up to his head and he could feel the heat dissipating from the front of his skull. Tas’ body was trashed; he has bruises everywhere, his legs were hardly working and he felt like he hadn’t slept in weeks.

“It’s good that we’ve decided to spent the day and night here.” Tas overheard Yao say to Yaina. He was sleeping after the ordeal, but he could just make out their voices against the howling of coyotes and wolves in the background. It was a full moon.

“Do you think we will be safe out here uncle? Will the wolves find us?” Yaina sounded concerned. Tas could hear the tension in her voice and it comforted him. She wouldn’t leave him. Yao would.

Yao’s voice, however, was almost indifferent. He didn’t seem to care at all about wolves or Tas lately and was constantly looking at the sky as if trying to finish some kind of puzzle. Tas knew that he was up to something, but he dared not ask what; Tas had his mind filled already by Arcartre’s words of prophecy and the looming shadow of Melkar’s inevitable return. Tas felt that if they talked about such things, they were bound to curse them to happen sooner. Yao seemed to hold no such fear.

“The wolves may find us, but they would be the least of our worries. I am more concerned with bears and cats; I am nearly certain there is a cat stalking us as we speak.”

Ice perked up his head at the mention of a cat, almost as if he understood. Immediately he got up and began to sniff the camp for scents, moving further and further out while circling the camp.

Yaina sighed, “Well at least we have one protector.” She gave her uncle a wink and a sideways glance, then turned away to hear him curse under his breath.

“How many times have I kept you safe from harm, my most precious flower?”

“Countless.” She said quietly. “And I’m sure there will be many more, my sometimes loathe-some uncle.”

Yao laughed, obviously unaffected by her pretended lack of appreciation. Tas began to understand a little bit more about why they seemed to be so indifferent to each other; it was all an act.

“We will be safe here.” Yao said confidently. “Now get some rest, we will have to leave in the morning and we are fast approaching the monastery grounds. Tas, you’ll want to get your strength back as fast as possible. Once we are there, Melkar will know.

Tas nodded his head, then turned to his side and closed his eyes. Sleep came easily to him that night, the darkness seemed far more welcome than usual; much to Tas’ appreciation. He sighed and let the night pull him into the depths of his dreams.

The Wanderer, Part 34

The Wanderer, Part 34

This story is part of a series, this is the thirty-fourth part.

You can read the first story here: The Wanderer, Part 1

and the most recent story here: The Wanderer, Part 33

Tas woke suddenly in a fever; Yaina held him and was holding a cool cloth to his face. For a moment Tas felt wild and uncontrolled; the shadow surged in him. Slowly his nerves calmed and his vision returned; at first the light was blinding. Yaina cared for him as he regained his thoughts; she told him where he was and what had happened. She had found them in the cave until she was whisked away into the nether herself. His mind moved to Arcartre and the monastery.

Yao seemed to have read his mind and began talking, “we will need to leave in the morning to head to the monastery. Fei will no doubt want to prepare for the… inevitable.”

Tas pushed to get up, but was stopped by his own fatigue. His head pounded and his chest ached; the pressure was overwhelming. He wanted to speak, but couldn’t.

“We will leave once you feel better Tas. Yaina and I will take care of you, go to sleep now. Once the sun rises we will head for the west.”

Tas loved to watch Yaina work; she was so skilled and gentle, but also fast! Her applications, the bandages, oils, and medicines seemed to be used in perfect harmony. She was cooling his fever now with ice and certain fragrances; as well as heating his feet to stimulate circulation. Her hands moved in a blur as she tended to Tas. He laid back, sighed deeply and softly fell into a deep sleep.

Tas woke  up with drool hanging off the side of his mouth. He was alone, Yaina and Yao were nowhere to be seen. For a moment, Tas panicked. He hadn’t liked the last time he was alone and in the dark.

He sighed, remembering the last 24 hours with Arcartre and the nether. He remembered his hands becoming liquid fire. He had felt so alive there; now he felt weak, meaningless, void of energy, and numb. The colors were so indiscernible, he couldn’t seem to make out shapes or anything else around him. Everything was dark.

Yao seemed to know that something was wrong. He moved to help Tas to get up off the floor, but Tas’ frame was too heavy for the old man to lift now.

“Tas, I’m not sure what I should do.” Yao said hesitantly.

“Leave me for a minute.” Tas said slowly. His mouth didn’t feel like it was working properly either.

“What are you experiencing Tas? Since getting back I feel better; but I was sick before, the last time. Are you feeling sick now?”

Tas nodded his head. “My head is pounding and I can’t think straight. There seems to be some kind of layer of fuzziness over everything making it all blurry. Especially the lights.”

“You are recovering from your shadow form; no doubt it took hold over you when you were flying Arcartre and likely before as well.” Tas nodded silently again.

“We can’t stay here Tas; we have to get moving to the West where we can meet with Fei and Paj and the other monks to decided how we should prepare for what awaits us. We have a lot of work to do and no doubt Melkar is already on the move to counter our plans to summon Arcartre from the nether. Fei will havent plenty of his own thoughts to discuss on the matter, no doubt.”

“Well then let’s get going Yao. You don’t have to wait on me, I will be stronger than you have ever remembered me to be. The mountains and the cold made me strong so just guide me.”

Yao nodded, then began to prepare. Several furs and packs of supplies to prepare for the long trek ahead; Tas easily remembered the weeks they spent climbing up into the mountains from the jungles below; the long and arduous treks through the jungle, the ascent into the evergreen trees and of course, his first experiences with snow. It was hard for him to believe that a year ago he had never even see snow; now it was like the back of his own hand.

Yaina was cooking their last meal as Yao finished the packing. Tas was still resting on the floor, doing his best to focus on his breathing and to recover for the long journey ahead. He was supremely happy that Yaina would be with them; her cooking skills were nothing short of majestic and in the wild Tas knew that she would have an even easier time making amazing meals out of nearly no supplies. In Bahar, she had made the most amazing food from just snow and small bits of grass and some slices of venison; her stews almost brought tears to his eyes as he remembered them. Suddenly Tas began to feel energy flowing back into him, but not enough to get up.

“I need food Yao. My body is completely out of energy!” Tas was nearly crying, his stomach was hurting so bad.

“It might be better if you don’t eat right now Tas.” Yao said with certainty. Tas looked back at the old man in anger. How could he keep food from him at a time like this? This was not a good time for Yao to be playing one of his games.

“The nether energies have made your insides dark. Allow the darkness to consume itself and wait for the natural balance of your body to return!” Yao was exasperated. Tas couldn’t ever remember seeing the old man in this kind of anguish.

“Okay, Yao. But this better not be another one of your games. I feel like I can’t stay awake any longer unless I eat.”

“Then rest Tas. We will leave when you wake up.”

Tas did his best to sleep over the next hour, but the agony in his stomach didn’t allow for it. He pulled down his sleeve several times to look at his shadow-scar and eventually he came to the conclusion that it was the scar that was making him hungry, not his own will. He sighed, this type of spell was not something he had ever wanted, or even known could exist! He continued to try to sleep for another hour, but simply couldn’t. It was as if he was too tired, his body ached too much and there was starting to be a pain in his joints.

The pain worsened over the next hour, Tas had to bite on a rag to keep himself from yelling at the top of his lungs. He felt his insides starting to sizzle and burn up, the heat was intense. It was almost as if his body were coming back to life, but more intensely. He continued to grasp against the pain, biting against the rag and letting his body convulse and do as it wished in response to the pain.

After a while, the pain subsided then ebbed and flowed away into the far reaches of his body. He felt his mind move into darkness and his body finally was able to relax. It wasn’t long until Tas was feeling almost nothing and he turned his head to the side and closed his eyes.

The Wanderer, Part 33

dragon: the wanderer, part 33

The Wanderer, Part 33

This story is part of a series, this is the thirty-third part.

You can read the first story here: The Wanderer, Part 1

and the most recent story here: The Wanderer, Part 32

Tas and his scaly new mentor soared through the ripping winds, tearing into them with as much force as they delivered. Tas was exhilarated; he lost his breath every few moments. Tas’ wyrm scar rippled with purple flame and smoke from it billowed into the air over his shoulder as he gripped the dragon closely. He was empowered; he  could feel his eyes pierce through shadow, rock, and mist alike and his arms gripped with strength he had never felt before. They seemed to be able to zoom in infinitely, he could see details about the shadowy tundra below him. And he felt an incredible fiery power surging through him on the back of Arcartre.

Do you feel the shadow surging through you Tas? Its power can be overwhelming; try to moderate your consumption.

Tas’ looked down to see that hands were shaking violently as he held on. Not only were they shaking, but they seemed to be burning. He was so strong, but completely uncontrolled. He held onto Arc so tightly, he could feel his breath struggling. He pushed inside of himself and began to breath through his nose as Yao taught him. As he did, the world  around him slowed and he could feel his body calming down. Tas could feel the energy concentrating inside of him, pulsating with the waves of his own breath. Time seemed to slow and Tas mind melded into the dragon’s as they soared.

They shared memories, mostly, and emotions about particular places and people. Yao was of particular interest to the dragon, but Tas refused to talk more unless the dragon did and neither of them seemed to care much about the other’s opinion.

Tas could see through Arcartre’s eyes; the dragon was scanning the horizon, then pushed against the air time and time again to ascend and see higher. With his mind he pushed the dragon’s wings to flap harder their strength began to combine. Then everything went black.

All of a sudden the dragon spoke, or rather thought to Tas. His head was swimming.

You are stronger than I could have imagined, young Tas, apprentice to Yao. Your wound gives you great strength. I will teach you to use it, if you set me free.

Tas woke up slowly to find himself soaring above the cloud with a dark sun beating down on him. They continued to descend. Tas was ready to bargain with this creature; its powers obviously complimented his own.

“I think you are very useful to me, Arcartre. You know about Melkar and his freedom to roam my world. Would you help me to end his conquest? And even if you did, how can I free you? You are a shadow dragon from the nether. Could you even survive in the light of our sun?”

Of course I could, the dragon thought gruffly. Tas could feel the emotion, a scornful and nasty response, one tasting of bitterness. He had become used to the dragon’s great pride. They were unified, in a way that Tas couldn’t explain or understand. He truly felt as though he had known Arcartre for his entire life, though at the same time felt a strong distrust for the winged beast and his sinister nature.

You are right to distrust me, Tas. Don’t forget that. I could survive your world, remember that I can create magic too. Free me, please and I promise to help you stop the evil Melkar.

They continued soaring through the air tearing into clouds and weather for some time longer, giving Tas the opportunity to practice steering the unforgiving nether weather. Tas could feel himself fading, but he paid it no heed. Then as they were roaming, the dragon under him began to shake; he split into 3 dragons and the one under Tas was smaller. They all bellowed shadow-fire down into the sky as they ripped into the clouds. They dove together until the one under Tas shook violently and the larger, singular version of Arcartre was back underneath him.

I can do things that you can only imagine, Tas. Do not underestimate me. Help me and share my eternal power.

Tas took what the dragon said to heart; this was no kitty cat from his local town. Arcartre could destroy a castle with a swipe of his tail. That kind of power would be unimaginable. He would be a king!

Tas loved soaring through the air on the dragon’s back. It was the most exciting thing he had ever done and he had a hard time stopping. Their connection had gotten markedly stronger; Arc was getting good at fast too. Arc flew back to the mountains  over the valley with trees thousands of feet high and tens of feet wide. A dark river roamed in the middle of it, ice chunks were laden on the surface. Arcartre returns to the cliff where they started and dove into a wide spiral. Arc swept his giant wings before landing on the ground in front of Yaina, Yao, and Ice.

Ice looked at Tas apprehensively, but Yao seemed to be at ease, undoubtedly enjoying the incredible sight of the nether at the dragon.

“How can I free you?” Tas asked, pretending to be only mildly skeptical of his own ability to free this monster. He made sure Yao could hear.

The dragon spoke aloud now; his voice hissed and steamed as he spoke. “You will have to create a portal in your world, through a star ceremony. It is the only way to walk between the worlds; at least for me.” The dragon looked at Tas then hesitated. “Unless you are a dreamwalker, apparently, as you are Tas. Through you all of your friends can do as you please and travel between dimension at will.” The dragons snout curled into a sinister grin.

Yao looked gleefully up at the dragon. “How do we know to create this ceremony, dragon? What are the specifications?”

“Paj will tell you,” the dragon said confidently. “Certainly he is back at the monastery by now. And Fei will be able to help as well. Obviously, this will attract Melkar.” the dragon hesitated. “We have a history. However, this will also be your opportunity to banish Melkar, and anyone he brought with him back into the nether,” Arcartre said curtly, another grin forming. There was something so sinister about the dragon that it made Tas question trusting in the beast at all. But he brushed it off and remembered how Melkar could have already destroyed Bahar. He needed this ally.

He also wondered about this teachers and the monastery. It was decimated when Melkar attacked and Tas couldn’t imagine that the monks were already back there. But he supposed there was nowhere else to go.

Yao motioned for Tas and Yaina to come over and walk with him. Ice trotted alongside both of them, continually looking up at the dragon.

“Tas, it seems we have met our ally. If the dragon is loyal to his word, we might not even have to battle Melkar at all.”

“Do you think that Arcartre is the stronger?”

“I think its likely. But I also think that Melkar is very sly and cunning and that he will likely hear about our alliance from his spies.”

Yaina stood next to Yao, finally speaking loudly against the wind.

“When you go back to the monastery uncle, I want to come with you. There is nothing left in Bahar for me.” She looked resolute.

Yao was surprised for a moment, then agreed. “Yes, you are a part of this now, Yaina. As much as I dislike admitting it, it’s the truth. We can’t leave you to be discovered by Melkar.”

“Well, we better get going,” Tas said curtly. He began walking again and heard Yao behind him shuffle to catch up.

Yaina laughed quietly to herself and they were on their way against the tearing winds until it all faded to black.

The Wanderer, Part 32

The Wanderer Part 32

The Wanderer, Part 32

This story is part of a series, this is the thirty-second part.

You can read the first story here: The Wanderer, Part 1

and the most recent story here: The Wanderer, Part 31

Tas was standing, walking through a field with freshly tilled soil. The sky was blackened and it was night and he knew he was dream walking.

It was so dark… Tas could feel his forearm hurting; he pulled up his sleeve to look closely he saw that the wyrm tattoo on his arm was smoking. But the smoke seemed to fade right into the dark mist that surrounded him.

His eyes began to adjust to the darkness and to pierce through the shadowy mist. He could see that the landscape was nearly empty, but also that it seemed to be pulled apart by the wind. Everything seemed to turn to dust in the shadowy mist that threw itself into the spaces. He looked closely at his own skin and sighed. His skin was resilient to the shadows, but he was in the nether. But it was glowing.

Once again he felt empowered by the shadow. He closed his eyes and felt a rush flow through his spine, and he stood a bit taller with more energy than he could remember having something in his hands.

He suddenly remembered how he arrived, and looked up only to see the darkened sky twinkling back at him. He wondered if something else was behind this; he felt like it was no coincide he had arrived here. He scanned the horizon, mostly in futility. The entire landscape seems to be deserted except for the tundra plants and clouds of swirling, dark mist. The moon was high in the sky, but was only a sliver so that it could barely be seen and provided no useful light through the thick misty shadows.

He walked into the hazy wind slowly, pushing against it onto the horizon. On the path there were hills and Tas figured that if he elevated himself, he could at least get a feel for the surrounding area. But he wasn’t hungry or tired, or thirsty; he felt like he’d just slept all night and eaten plenty the night before.

He walked quickly through the hard tundra, and didn’t even look up as he walked quickly ahead. He heard a flapping sound above, him; something was stalking him. He looked up to see a small dragon flying above him, starting to descend to his level. Rings of smoked blew from the creatures nostrils and his eyes pierced into Tas’ as he dove. The creature got closer and Tas could see his horns and tendrils extending into his scaly backside. Then he saw the claws and teeth, which looked sharper than razor blades.

Suddenly Ice appeared on the horizon, his normally white fur was now completely black and seemed to flow with the wind, without being affected by it. Even his eyes were black now and Tas was a bit taken aback. But Ice sniffed him and curled around his leg as usual, then jumped up to lick Tas directly in his right nostril. Tas had no idea how the wolf had gotten here, but he wasn’t surprised. Ice hadn’t come to them by accident; Yao had hammered that into Tas’ brain. Ice was a part of his destiny.

Ice was watching the hovering dragon as it circled, ready to attack. But when the horned and winged beast landed it looked at them without menace, its stance was completely defensive and the dragon buried itself in its own wings.

Then, it spoke,

“Tas and Ice, I presume. Welcome to my cave. It’s quite spacious for me, but I have learnt disdain for the wretched nether.” The dragon snorted and huffed plumes of smoke into the tearing wind and his eyes were wildly chasing the clouds in the sky.

“Yes, I am Tas, this is my companion, Ice. His wolf snarled at the beast as Tas motioned to his white haired companion. The dragon continued to look defensive, but Tas could see the creature’s eyes glinting with the desire to talk. He took a step back and felt a push of hands at his back stopping him. He looked behind and saw Yao driving him forward. Behind him, walking slowly was Yaina.

The dragon looked even more curious now, it stepped closer and said in his slimy and slithery voice, “Yao, how wonderful to see you again!”

Yao laughed heartily, seeming unconcerned about the dragon’s presence. “You are the first to have said that to me in a long time,” Yao winked at Tas. “So you have brought the boy back into the nether. To set yourself free?” Yao looked sternly at the dragon.

“Yao, I am hurt,” the dragon said with dismay. “Have you not know me to be of noble intention? Haven’t you felt the abundance of my generosity?” The dragon’s voice had sharpened over the length of his speech, sounding terrifyingly unappreciated at the end.

Yao laughed. “I suppose I have not, dragon. Perhaps a demonstration is in order?”

The dragon looked incredulous for a moment, then a deep grin formed across his face like a breeze sweeping through a valley in preparation for a storm. His teeth glinted and the dragon replied, “Of course, Yao. It would be my pleasure.” The dragon looked as if in deep contemplation for a moment. “Though I do wish you remembered the sword I gave you when you fought against Melkar. As I remember, it helped you to slay him.”

“It did,” Yao replied, “but it also destroyed itself in the process, almost killing me. You think I would be so quick as to give my apprentice to your will without first knowing your intention?”

“My intention is the same as yours, Yao. To end Melkar.”

“I do not wish to end him, dragon. What then, is your name? And are you a demon?”

The dragon’s chest puffed as he heard Yao say the last word. He truly looked hurt now. With a slow and depressed sounding air, the enormous shadowy dragon responded “I am named Arcartre; it means sly one in my parent’s tongue. I am a shadow dragon, slave to the nether since times that are now forgotten; however, once I was a black drake. But that was an age before.” Images circled of dragons and men fighting together, red, green, and yellow banners. “There was once many dragons in your world, Tas; though I suspect that now, there are very few.”

“Do you wish to put a stop to this shadow fiend hunting your both or do you prefer to be pursued by this wretched shadowy demon for the entirety of your existence? That creature, might I add, is much different in creation and purpose than myself.” Arcatre huffed again.

“You know this answer Arcartre. Did I say that right?”

Call me Arc, my young friend.

Yao spoke suddenly, “I remember you more clearly now,” Yao looked at the dragon with squinty eyes, “you nearly betrayed us at the end of the battle. It didn’t seem to matter to you much if Fei lived or died.”

The dragon looked cold heartedly at Yao, “I did what I had to do to survive, Yao. Let me give your apprentice what I could not give to Fei.”

Yao huffed. Then nodded. Tas walked forward to greet the dragon properly.

Arcartre looked at Tas playfully at first, then entered his mind. Tas sat and his eyes rolled back into his skull.

Hello boy. It is a shame we haven’t met until now, but I will show you the way that the shadows ebb and flow. You may yet become a great weaver, if you are properly practiced. For now, you will spend your days in the nether and learn what I have to teach you. Unless you wish to die at the hands of your foe.

Tas looked at the dragon, but said nothing. He didn’t have to; he knew that this creature would teach him things that he could never unlearn; and things that Yao didn’t know. Tas looked at Yao, hesitantly. Should I follow this beast Yao?

“As much as I wish I could say no, I don’t think we have a choice Tas. Melkar could find us any day in the Bahar. And you must be strong when that twisted creature comes after you.”

Tas looked at the dragon with some excitement now; there was no turning back. There had never been any turning back. He thought of his mother and father in his village and knew that they would want him to go further, to push himself to his fullest potential. He thought of his mother the night before the fire and knew, this was his path. “Show me, Arcartre. What do you know of the shadow?” The dragon lowered his head and neck and Tas climbed on. He put his right hand in the center of the dragon’s wings and felt his mind enter into the dragon’s.

Arcartre leapt into the air and with a sweeping flap of his wings launched them straight up into the dark winds of the nether.