The Battle of Inktomi was one of the shortest battles of human history and yet also among the most important ever fought. I, Aja, and my friends Josie and Salome were witness to this battle. We are part of a society that practices magic and its ceremonies and rituals passed down to us from what our history tells us was known as Medieval Europe in the seventeenth century of human history.
In our present world our first founders were people known as Desert Daughters of Agamede then we were called Daughters Wyrd. Over time our seers connected with others like us and we became the Desert Daughters to some. This being that the others we eventually met are identified the Mountain Daughters and the Sea Daughters based on where they cities and temple are located.
What shall follow is a chronicle of a time and journey undertaken by my sisters Josie and Salome and I. Some is from memory. Some from seeing the Great Record from the Netherworld.
No one fully understands why our ancestors survived the turning of the Great Wheel (the Great Turning) or why the fates allowed our kind to survive the destruction that befell the world. But we do believe there is a special reason and purpose why.
In the beginning of this tale we were sent by our seer Magu to travel north to a strange new land and meet a friend Grigori, who would introduce us to one named Pythia. All seers from other temples saw the same vision of Grigori and Pythia and so we were chosen to go because our temples were nearest to where they were.
To our new friends we three are known as The Sisters by most, but some know us by our names. Grigori and Pythia know us by our names. Also seers who from peoples we had not known before also now know us well. There are those who also fear us, such as the Redeemers, who live south of us. They call us The Desert Owls and consider us magical beings akin to the Djinni and call us such. Also they call us the Waay women. They also fear Grigori and consider him as such because he is our friend and believes and practices many things we do. For the most part the Redeemers avoid us.
Another reason I was chosen for this journey was the fact that Grigori is my great grandfather, a fact that had been hidden from me my whole life until my journey. Grigori did not tell me until shortly after we came to Pingora.
It began one day when after morning ritual Magu called us to her room carved into the side of the cave that is our temple and is our home. Her room sits near the alter.
We call the alter room the Enclave of the Wise. The alter is a simple one, round and fashioned from a stalagmite that rises from the floor of the cave. It has upon it our sacred athame. This had been fashioned from bones collected by our ancestors with black flint for a blade. The goblet was made of silver and had been found in building in what is known as the Land of Fire to the northwest of us where a five inch diameter piece of lava that sits on the alter also came from. There is a very old feather from a desert golden eagle wrapped in colorful thread adorned with gemstone beads. Each day someone is chosen to go outside the temple and collect new dirt from the surface of the land in a bowl and place it on the alter for the morning ritual.
This place lies in the mountains and is eighty miles north of our original home. The place further south is the original home of the Daughters Wyrd which we still call it. We still have a temple and people there but they are mostly older than we are. In time some of the students here will go there for more study and perhaps choose to stay the remainder of our lives. The caves and lava tubes are much like these but it is much more desert like there. It is from there we travel to see the Redeemers or to get food and other supplies.
For the most part after ritual people are left to do their own rituals except those who are chosen to be students of Magu and others teachers of the temple. We are chosen as student when we turn thirteen and are taught until we are twenty. After that some are chosen to be teachers themselves. Josie, Salome and I are of the former. I am older than them and had been teaching at this point for eleven years. It is not until we are forty that we may go to the Daughters of Wyrd.
Magu finished the morning ritual with her common ending of “Mar sin sé a bheith!” meaning “So May It Be”. Most of those there left to start their day and duties but as we were turn away we were halted.
“Aja, Josie and Salome please wait. I have need to speak to you.”
Magu stepped down from the landing and the seven steps that were in front of the alter. As she descended we sat on the floor together. There are no chairs there because during ceremony it is considered respectful to stand. When ceremony is not being done we sit for teachings from our teachers. When need arises there are tables and chairs in a room near the Enclave of the Wise.
“I have asked you to wait because I have something very important for you to do. I and the other Vates have seen something in our dreams and visions. To the north there are things and people moving toward a future that concerns us. To understand this more we wish for you to go where this is occurring and report back to us of what you have seen. Your powers of seeing our visions and dreams are strong and we have determine you would be the best students for this journey. Perhaps you too may become Vates while there. Like the future that is forming we cannot see if this is true and where it will stand. We only know it is important to watch it unfold closely beyond dreams and visions.
“Lethe and Patala have been preparing horses, provisions and tools for your journey. This will be the ultimate test of your survival skills we have taught you because the journey will first end near six-hundred miles away and take perhaps until fall. If all goes well perhaps forty days. What happens then is up to your judgment but in your meditations we will hear what you have to say and see some of what you see depending on the power of your connections.
“Over the years you have met a man named Grigori who visits us from time to time. It is he you will be seeking. To assist you as a guide and compass Patala has a pouch that belongs to Grigori that at one time he was very fond of. Align its vibration to him and it will lead the way in your meditations.
“I tell you this with little notice because we wish you to leave this morning as soon as possible. We know you are up to the challenge. Collect your staffs and some clothes for cold and hot weather. Also any small personal items you wish and then join Lethe and Patala outside. No questions. Our love and hopes go with you. Now, get started.”
We stood and only bowing we walked through the Enclave of the Wise to the far end where our own rooms were, also carved into the wall like Magu's. I gathered a few things as instructed. First I grabbed my winter cloak. It was hooded and black and reached to my ankles. All three of us have the same item. In a place south of us are people who we trade with for food and goods. Our male companions traveled and do the trading for us as do the Daughters Wyrd. It is one of their specified tasks. Next I grabbed my staff, also similar to Josie and Salome's. These are our ritual staffs that help us direct some of our magic. They are forty-four inches from tip to tail. At the top they hold a quartz crystal the we each must find ourselves in the mountains surrounding us. The rest of the staff is painted with the colors blue, then white then black to represent the Three Worlds of our existence. The upper, middle and underworld. The crystal is used to balance and focus these three worlds. When we are hiking we have found other non-magical uses for them. Something that is a gift from Grigori that we all possess is Pixie-Dust. Such a magical thing made by Grigori from special mushrooms he has discovered. Our teachers do not deny us the use of it but they caution to make it seldom. As far as Grigori has said it is a psycho-active compound in a mushroom that did not exist until after the Great Wheel had its major turning. Josie and Salome also took this with them. I also took a book I have been writing in for many years. Once I had these things I went outside.
Josie and Salome were already there. Lethe and Patala were holding the reins of the horses whose backs were saddled the the saddlebags look full. There was also an extra one attached behind the regular ones. Lethe and Patala were smiling and it was Patala who spoke. Patala by the way is a Daughter and Lethe is a Selamlic, the name used for the men who live with us. Patala was beautiful and soon will go to study with the Daughters Wyrd.
“For most of your travels it will most likely be dry. But if it does rain there are waterproof covers for you as well as sleeping bags and a blanket. The horses will find food along the way if you wait to camp in the proper places. Do not hurry because we have allowed plenty of time for you to find Grigori. Keeping the horses happy must be a priority. The extra bag is for your clothes and other items you chose to bring. We also have attached the sheath to hold your staffs along side. We know that Magu said no questions but if you have any short ones I will answer them.”
For all three of us we were in a whirlwind and had not had the time to digest what was happening so we were speechless. Patala and Lethe knew what we were thinking which caused the both to laugh. We mounted our horses and began to ride north taking a path we knew was well used for this journey but few have traveled it far. As we left Patala and Lethe wished us safe journey.
The sun was to the right of us and soon would be behind. We rode for a while before we stopped to talk, perhaps for an hour. The smell of the earth was so aromatic and savory and the hooves of the horses stirred the dirt, increasing the fragrance.