Spirit Council of the Ancients

The Cove: A week had passed and the bear claw wounds had healed on both Malcolm and Alex. Thin white lines were left with no redness or puckering at all. Still, they were distinctive enough to be noticed if one was close enough and inclined to. Two days after the incident Malcolm took Alex for a walk and as best he could for a child of two, he explained some of what the marks meant. The knowledge imparted to him by the Spirit Bear was slowly emerging in understanding. Some immediately and some in time. Malcolm had a more precise outlook on things and he would share this knowledge with Alex, it was also strengthening a bond between them that went even beyond father and son. He would share this knowledge with his daughter also but not as in-depth as with Alex. Ailish had her own calling, this he knew, but hers would emerge in time. He now, in the least, knew how to help guide her. Ailish would be more like Wind in the Trees, that thought alone sparked another in that linking. He had a strong feeling Ailish would learn from her, Lorelei and Andrew mostly. Alex would also learn from the others, there would be a definite overlapping.

Life's routines gradually went back to normal after this very surreal experience. The staff was careful not to say too much but the whispers between themselves did flow in a way for them to adjust to this strange experience. They did know that even if they spoke amongst themselves it was not to leave Barrach Manor. They had become very protective of their kind Lord and his adorable children. That excessively strong pull may have released Malcolm, that drove him to the conclusion with the Spirit Bear, but a new drive had taken its place and this one was more of discovery in what was imparted to him. Ideas came easily now to act upon, he was even learning how to distinguish them from ordinary thoughts.

The main way was that when they birthed within his mind, there was that faint echoing of the drums that came with them. He was beginning to understand what the drums meant....they were a confirmation in this way. He had slept well enough this week in passing, since he was marked, but this morning's dawn did find him up and down at the lake like he use to do ritually. The mists were still there to rise in that flowing way of theirs but there was no longer the pattern and shapes that had once been....there was a deep tranquility over the lake now instead. It was finally at rest. 

As the orange and golds started to streak the sky with the rising of the sun, Malcolm was already in his canoe and untying the ropes. The paddle soon dipped deep into the warmed waters to have that streamlined vessel cutting through its sleek surface, effortlessly....gliding him across the lake. His focus was on one idea that held him this morning and the coil of expectation had the muscles taut across his stomach. The glass quality of the lake's water had him in short time guiding the canoe around that bend to the twin lake.

Once around and near the now vacated Eagle's nest he lifted the paddle to place it in the canoe. The young eaglets had grown and had taken flight with their parents. They were seen often in the skies above here and over the other side of the lake. This lake in its entirety was their domain in claim along with the forests and caves that surrounded it. The Eagle and the Bear seemed to rule more these lands than the wolves, whom were sparse now but still a part. The deer and smaller woodland creatures were plentiful too, there were many bears but more black bears than any other....the more docile of that species. Occasionally a boar, bobcat, mountain lion, puma, were seen too. Like the time before, Malcolm let the canoe find its way as he relaxed....even if that coil of anticipation was still there in the pit of his stomach.

The canoe drifted way down past the point where the Eagle's nest was, like before that unseen current had it to stall, then turn at an unusual angle that brought him into that hidden cove. Unlike before, the canoe continued on to the area where that archway of trees formed a darkened forest door just beyond. It took but two strokes of the dip of his paddle to have it slide into the wet sand where the water's edge gently lapped against the shore. He was up and out as he pulled the canoe farther up to wedge it there, more out of habit than necessity here. Once completed he was around as that dark blue gaze pursued this area beneath its scrutiny, memorizing it. He was soon making his way up the sandy shore, past the bramble that started to that opening of trees. Here he paused again.

He could feel the difference already as the quiet of the forest beyond beckoned him further. As he moved through that archway it was like he was being enveloped in a new sensation. Besides the cooler quality of the air, there was that deep earthy pleasant scent to fill his senses. A different kind of pull was here for him, not so anxious but more a welcome home. There was a peacefulness that touched to his very soul. It wasn't as dark as it had seemed, once through and shards of sunlight slanted through the leaves of the trees. Patterns played upon the bark of the trees forming various animals....or he was just once more very fanciful. It was the trees that patterns of such were displayed that he followed, leading him deeper into the woods.

The patterns finally stopped as he found himself in the heart of the forest, its very beat he could hear as those distant drums again. He knew then he was where he should be.....but why....still had to be discerned. He stood where he was as he made a slow circle around until an unusual huge oak was noted. He was facing West according to the position of the sun but there was more that made this tree unusual, rather the area around it. 

There was a circle of stones of varying sizes that roughly made a circle around the tree, about a six foot distance from the center. There were smaller trees, saplings, to form a semi wall just outside of this grouping. Twelve in all were counted and only one side seemed to form a fanciful door in the way the sapling branches curved. He approached from the East to stand at the mouth of this entranceway. He knew instinctively to make an offering there before proceeding. The small pouch that held some tobacco was taken from his pocket and a pinch of its contents to fall to the ground. Only then did he stepped through. It was like walking into another dimension in this vortex, the air was drastically cooler but not cold. He felt an overwhelming sense of greeting from all four points of the compass. From the East, where he entered, came the sound of drums in a certain pattern around three of the stones to that side. Three presences felt in the brush of a breeze. Mal noted an owl's feather resting there that he felt inclined to take up. He stepped further to face North as another pattern of drums was heard and three more presences made known to take up those seats. Here a patch of wolves hair was found, that too was now added to his collection.

Full circle would be made when all was completed as he now faced West and another pattern of drums echoed, three more were gathered to those seats. He could feel them move each time like a breath released to unsettle the otherwise stillness of the air along with a different pattern of drums. Here he was gifted with an Eagle's feather to be found at the base of the middle stone there. Lastly he was facing South as another drum pattern filtered but this one contained more as he could hear this time the chant in an ancient tongue. A patch of bear fur was found here and that too now added to his collection to make it complete. As each gift was taken, so in return a pinch of tobacco was left until all four were now held in his hand. One more pinch was left to fall at the base of the great oak in the center where he now stood....waiting.

The quiet of the forest crowded in, silence surrounded like a blanket for what seemed a very long moment suspended in time. It was time given for Malcolm to become centered. A breeze finally filtered to brush along his arm with a voice to follow. "Welcome Shaman." It was the voice of Wind in the Trees. No tea was needed here, for no words were orally spoken and the communication of minds held no barriers in understanding. Then the greetings followed, Eagle Eye was there along with ten others, names given each in turn as the Council of Ancients accepted him in. He was to keep these names sacred to this vortex here. Once the greetings were done, three of the Bear - three of the Eagle - three of the Wolf and three of the Owl, Malcolm took council with each in turn.

Although each had a different story to tell in getting acquainted there was an underlying current present between them all that was the same. It was bittersweet in the telling and the Hope they all clung to became clear. Their People was a way of life in a greater understanding than just the greed and need of the individual. They were not the only People with this way of understanding, there were others whom were seeing the same fate, clinging to the same Hope. The "I" had become greater than the "We", the world was becoming disposable in this self-centered need. The disease of Spirit was deeper than its symptoms which showed themselves in lies, slander, degrading of others, stealing on various levels, the focus on just themselves and the devious means to achieve such, the cling to the macabre and darkness of thought. On a larger scale it showed itself in the breaking of laws or worse, altering them to protect the guilty, the innocent falling to the waste side. Wars resulted, wide scale destruction and the list went on in this vicious cycle set into motion.

The Balance was broken and it became harder not to fall within this unseen chasm, to remain a descent human being. It became harder "To Dream the Impossible Dream." Mankind was meant to falter but he was also meant to learn from his mistakes, not cover them up, not blame them on others, not continue to make the same ones over and over. No 'one' was perfect, no 'one' was expected to be perfect but to strive for perfection. The Hope was that the Balance would be restored and the "I" becoming the "We" again.

In understanding the way of life as it was meant to be, there would come the understanding that if mankind worked as a whole in the need of all, so too would the need of the individual be achieved. The other was a lie in just the "I" and a black hole that would never be filled, all consuming instead. The Hope was for the ancient great leaders to return, each People had their own signs of these comings that would have chaos put asunder into clarity of purpose again and of a destiny meant for all. *Many are called but few are chosen.* was not chosen by another but within each individual in that gift of choice given to all. "Gifts", abilities given were not good or evil in themselves but how they were used by the individual. To whom much was given, much would be expected and many would fall short in their misuse. There was one redeeming quality for the "I" and that was an individual could make a difference for the "We".

Many hours passed without Malcolm even being aware as he was counseled. Dawn had melted into midday and was quickly on the heels of dusk. Time was not of importance here only the knowledge to be shared. Time was of the physical, not of the Spiritual wherein eternity was not an endless amount but the lack thereof this physical concept, even the concept was not stable. There would be future councils but this one had finally come to an end so that Malcolm could digest all that was imparted him without an overload. Both hands came to rest against the Great Oak as he leaned in with a touch of his forehead to its bark. It was then he learn, amongst other things, this was the very oak Eagle Eye had been tied to that time. Malcolm could feel the power within this life form....one of the few ancient living trees still here to guide. The Council was adjourned as the winds swept....and Malcolm had the gifts of this important session to add to his pouch. He was soon to leave by the way he came, to the East, as he emerged back to his present. It was then he noticed the passage of time in this interim but there was still light to guide his way.

The patterns were different on the trees with the changing position of the sun and his path too then followed a different way around to where he entered the forest door. Nearly to his destination, had dusk to fall and sunlight wane, he slightly stumbled over something in the underbrush he didn't see at first. He thought it was a tree stump until it moved and the sound that came was more of a weak growl in pain, barely heard. He crouched down sweeping the brush aside with a hand, to find the form of a bear cub barely alive. A runt from the size of it too and he knew when he touched it to discern its condition....the male cub had been abandoned according to the rule of survival. Some rules were made to be broken within a higher purpose as Mal carefully lifted up the near lifeless form of the cub to cradle in those strong arms. He soon stepped through that forest tree door to make his way down to his canoe.

Night had fallen by this time but the moon was there to shed its pale light, enough for him to see by. The canoe was soon gliding its way back to the other side of the twin lake with each deep long stroke of the dipped paddle. Barrach Manor soon came alive as Mal came in carefully carrying the lifeless bundle of fur. All had been concerned for he had been gone so long but held their tongues in questioning the Laird. Ailish and Alex were as excited as could be with their father's find and the barrage of questions followed him as he took the cub to one of the spare downstairs rooms. A makeshift bed of straw was soon gathered and brought with even a blanket to put over the cub. He did let the children look but kept them from touching the cub for its condition. They tried to give it warm goat's milk but there was little response. Mal knew he needed to find Lorelei or Andrew to help, until then they would do their best in trying to get the cub to take in some nourishment and keep him warm. They had been given a gift this night that would make an impact on their future.

(C) Copyrighted - This Story in its entirety is original by this writer, all rights reserved. Pictures on this page are copyrighted by McHugh Graphics

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