Grigori told us many things as we sat there. It was then that we were startled by movement in the bushes beside us. Grigori was not.
“Welcome. I have been watching you and waiting for you to reveal yourselves. You must be very special Selamlic to have been blessed with the Gramarye and taught the mysteries of the Glamour. You even have remained hidden from the Sisters. Come out now for this is the time.”
From the nearby trees came two horses being guided by two men. They were dress much as we were and when we saw them we recognized them. The were Selamlic from the temple. There names were Brishen, which means born during rain and Usher, which means doorkeeper. We were speechless in our surprise.
“No need to be shy. Please give us an accounting of yourselves. I assume that you too were sent by Magu but in your role as protectors of the Daughters.”
They left their horses and walked up to the fire kneeling down. Salome offered them the brew and after taking a few drinks it was Brishen who spoke first.
“It is so very good to see you Grigori. Yes, you are correct. Greeting to you also Daughters. You have brought us on quite a journey. As Grigori has said, we have been taught the Glamour. I understand this might surprise you because Daughters do not learn that we and others are taught such magic until they reach the days when they choose to go to the temples of the Daughters Wyrd. Usher and I were chosen for this task not by Magu but by the High Priestesses Letha and Ajax. If it had become necessary we would have revealed ourselves earlier. Thankfully it has not. We have been told once you have found Grigori we are to return to the temple unless you wish us to remain.”
My sisters and I were still a bit unsettled as I looked at Grigori indicating I wished for him to speak for us for the time being.
“Well my brothers you will camp with us tonight and tomorrow we will discuss such things. For now relax and socialize so we may get to know each other better.”
And so it was that we sat together around the fire as the night engulfed us. We learned a few personal things about Brishen and Usher. They are older then us but in general we knew them because they had been around us our entire lives. All of us were very weary and it came time to sleep. It was a relatively warm night and Brishen and Usher simply unsaddled their horses and threw sleeping bags on the ground.
Grigori, Brishen and Usher were all up before my sisters and I and we were greeted warmly with cups of the brew and food as we rose to joined them. Grigori wasted no time in telling us about the day before us.
Today you will meet quite a number of people from many different place. I am sure you will be amazed and perhaps a bit overwhelmed. Do your best to remain levelheaded. There are two most important people you will meet today. The first is a woman known as Nahdi. Her people are known as the Apsaalooke. She is a seer like Mamu for her people. The other you will meet is Pythia. I am told your seeres and High Goddesses know of her. You have been told your ission was to find me but more importantly it is to meet Pythia. Don't let her appearance or demeanor distract you. She is more powerful than she appears. I have a plan for you as an introduction and will illustrate how you may choose to help us and perhaps you may choose to travel with us. Besides the Glamour I know you have been taught the old practices of Durga and her sisters used in her early campaigns with the Marabunta. Behind us a few hours are people of the army we are engaging. It is a small advance scouting mission for them consisting of six men and two women who are soldiers with powerful weapons you will be unfamiliar with, so be very careful.
At a good time soon I wish you to perform the Glamour and surrounding these scouts I want you to use the magic Durga used to confuse and disorientate her captives in those days gone by. Once I introduce you to Nadhi and Pythia I wish for you to go and gather them and bring them back to where we will be meeting. Do you feel you are up to such a task?”
We all looked at each other and we were in agreement. As we packed up camp we discussed our plan of finding them and accomplishing the task. Much of it was to be planned on the spot as we saw what we were dealing with but we were sure it would be done as Grigori asked. We were very excited about meeting Pythia and we broke camp swiftly. Grigori told us we would be where we were going in just a very short time, less than an hour. The forest was lush and beautiful. Much thicker than the forests around our homes and temples.
We had been traveling for a short while when Grigori told us to Glamour. As we rode we began seeing people but they did not see us, only Grigori. Some greeted him while others seem to pay no attention. It was evident he was comfortable with them and they with him. Shortly later we came to an area with a gathering of people. It was then Grigori told us to uncloak ourselves. The crowd backed away giving us a wide birth. There was an immediate strong and mixed reaction to our presence. There was a women standing there with her arms lifted to the sky making a blessing. We later learned that this woman was the seer of the Apsaalooke named Nahdi. Another woman walked up and stood beside her. This was our first sight of Pyhtia. Grigori dismounted and knelt down in front of Nadhi as she dropped her arms and finished her ritual.
I remember what he said perfectly, even though we did not at that time understand all he was saying. To be clearer, at the time of this writing, I have learned to access a visual account of events that are left on the face of time on the Great Record from the Netherworld. So much is not actual memory but the viewing. To continue, as instructed we remained silent and keep our heads and faces hooded and bowed as Grigori spoke.
“Seer, I know you know who I have brought with me. They have seen you also in their visions. They have traveled far to see you and Pythia. Inktomi the spider god was instructed by Great Mother to weave our paths together. I understand that your and the other seers guides have told you to beware of the Sisters and your people may be fearful. But I say to you they are not as the stories tell. I have lived among them as brother, lover and servant. They are not with evil intent like Coyote but they are Wahkan Wahchinksapa like you.”
Then Nahdi spoke back to him but I could not hear. This frail and old woman had a look in her eyes as if she could see eternity unfolding. She looked at us intently for an uncomfortable minute before saying, “Women of the Desert, follow us. I wish for you to sit in our counsel.” She turned followed by Pythia and then others. We left our horses in the hands of Brishen and Usher and we walked with Grigori. It was only about thirty yards and we were in front of a dwelling that is called a tepee. It was a cone-shaped tent made of what appeared to be animal skins wrapped around wooden poles. It was about eighteen feet tall, much taller than the others near it that were about ten feet tall. There was smoke coming from the top of it through flaps. As we entered everyone sat on the floor in a circle conforming to the shape of its base.
Once we were sitting Nahdi said she wished for us to speak first because they all knew each other but were were not. It was a very strange moment for many reason and my sisters and I were transfixed on Pythia for the most part. I was overcome and before I knew it I was talking and saying this like I had never said before, later realizing I was listening to and channeling words coming directly from Magu. This had been the first contact we had made with her since we began the journey.
“We are representatives from the Desert Daughters of Agamede. Our lands are to the south near Yellowstone. We honor the Gods and Goddesses of our namesake and our seers are guided by them. Pythia is also guided by some of these same Goddesses. It is they that have shown us the visions and told us we must aid Pythia in her endeavors. That is essentially why we are here. We are fortunate to know Grigori, who you call Chi Mamu. He has facilitated our joining greatly. Our destinies are intertwined. His, our and yours. The fabric of this intertwining can either be tight or loose depending on what we do today. Even loose this tapestry is one we share and the future can take many forms. Only parts of the picture are revealed with each pass of the shuttle. Even the Goddess has little control of the future. It is for us to decide. She suggests and guides, showing only possibilities and we trust in the Moirai to assist the weavers. It is they alone who know our fates. I myself am not a seer. They remain in our temples and pray. If and when they are needed they will be with us. It is determinate on the outcome of our talks and alliance.”
We learned later that our words and terms were not understood by the others in their entirety but later Pythia explained because she did understand. In a vibrational way Nahdi understood, listening intently. My sisters were all taken by surprise at this. It was then that my sisters and I began a link of communication beyong any we had before. We could hear each other's thoughts when needed. What Pythia had to say a bit further along was mostly understood by us but not all at the time. Her words were directly meant for us. But first there was a pause and then Nahdi spoke again.
“We have known you from our visions for generations. We repeat the stories of our ancestors about you. You are known to us as yee naaldlooshii, ones who walk in different skin. Also many called you Skadegamutc or Powaqa, the ghost-witches. We the Akbaalia seers of the tribes do not fear Powaqa or yee naaldlooshii for the most part because we are protected from their magic by Great Spirit. But the our people still fear. Our seers have not been given enough information from Great Spirit to tell us what to do on this day. I will take the word of Grigori, who is akin to you, that we wish us no harm. It has been decided in this situation my judgment will be followed and we will continue to beseech him for guidance. I wish to hear what Pythia has to say and I and my people will act according to her plan.”
Pythia seemed to look into each and every set of eyes before we heard her first words. And her eyes had that same look that Nahdi's had. That gaze into eternity.
“I am pleased to welcome the Daughters of Agamede. All the plants that grow upon the earth call out to Agamede for her blessings. Agamede whispers to my sister Tess but she has yet to hear her voice clearly. I see Magu, gyne and seer, gazing into her crystal ball. She is here watching us now. I see High Priestess Letha and High Priest Ajax of your temple lighting the candles on your alters. I see High Priestess Letha and High Priest Ajax of your temple lighting the candles on your alters. I see Selamlic and Whitter and Telos. with your Marabunta at the ready and Haylan with the others preforming their duties. The Mistresses and neophytes are all well.
“Like Magu, I too seek clarity of form and substance. We walk the Sacred Labyrinth together. All our peoples are streams flowing into a mighty river heading toward the sea that surrounds the Isles of the Blessed in the realm of Elysium. The nymphs of the Underworld swim with us, singing their songs, reassuring us that all is well. In this moment I sanctify our alliance and I can hear the sound of the Moirai passing the shuttle once again through the Threads of Fate on their Sacred Loom.”
I was still being influence by powers beyond myself when I spoke again and at the same time I surprised Brishen and Usher by being in their minds and they understood and carried out my wishes.
“I have sent our helpers to do a short task and they will return soon. Until then perhaps one of you could tell me about plans you have been working on. I know they must be many. From that knowledge we can determine how best we may fit in and assist. When our men return we will show you something that will help you understand us better.”
A man named Mani began speaking. He had already been prepared to deliver words about the current situation so it was a perfect moment for us. Grigoni had told us some but we learned more from Mani. Mani was from the same place that Pythia was from. Later we learned that some of this was new information for others in attendance and that this was the first time that Pythia had met Nahdi. In his talk he said he would leave it to Pythia to tell us more about this place called Genesis.
Mani talked for an hour. He gave some lessons on the geography of the area, what they knew of Alexander's army. He mentioned the plan to capture of his warriors and what they planned to do with them. He spoke of the abilities of Pythia and her sister Tess and how central to all they were doing was to the overall mission. His suggestion was for my sisters and I to speak with Pythia to gain a fuller understanding of what she and her sister Tess were doing. Later we learned what this was and it made clear the request Grigori had made of us.
After Mani was finished I heard sounds outside and knew that it was Brishen and Usher returning. I spoke once again.
“I hear our brothers outside and if you would could you all follow me outside. When coming here we had a basic understanding about your mission and Alexander's army. First thing I wish to show you is this.”
We were graciously followed outside. Brishen and Usher were there with all of our horses. There was the unspoken understanding between us and I said nothing. We disappeared from their sight for less than a minute and then reappeared. This startled everyone but they were given little time to even react. As Grigori had wished, earlier we had captured theses soldiers with the Glamour and had them wandering unseen in a netherworld in the woods nearby. We left for that brief moment to gather them. When we reappeared the the six soldiers were with us without their horses looking very confused. I then spoke once again.
“As I told you earlier, I am not a seer. But I and my sisters do have other gifts from the Goddess. One one those is we three and our brothers, have the power to create an illusion and have others see it as real. We call this glamouring and is has been taught by our teachers for at least two thousand years. Another gift we share is we can reach into a mind and make suggestions and those whose will is not strong are susceptible to those suggestions. These men and women we came across in the plains below and we knew they were Alexander's warriors. We glamoured ourselves and sat with them. We then entered their minds and suggested they they had forgotten who they are and what they were doing. We have left them in this state of confusion and told them to follow us for the answers to their questions. They have been out in your woods wandering aimlessly since this morning and we just went and found them to bring them here to you. We do not know how you wish to proceed but any time you wish we can lift their illusion and set their minds to their normal processes. All this was done with by suggestion of Grigori.
“We use the Glamour to disappear from view, but some use other means. We simply confuse the mind. But there are those who use colors most people cannot see with which they cover themselves. These colors which allows them to reflect no light and observer's vision passes through, registering that nothing is there. There are those who are very wise, and they are few, that can move their bodies from place to place.”
It was then that Pythia was looking at us but I could see no emotion in her eyes. Many of the people who witness this stepped back in visual fear, except the ones called Guild, who were Pythia's people. When she spoke her words were directed to Nahdi.
“I suggest that your people take them to a place Mani can show them where they will be held safely. We will go there together at the conclusion of this council when you can release them. My sister Tess and I will take over from there, after which we will talk more. For now I feel this council is over. Do you all agree?”
My sisters and I were directed by Pythia to follow Mani, as well as all of those who were in the tepee council and the prisoners. We came to a building nearby outside of the area of tepees. Mani and a man we came to know as Gawonii led the captives inside. Pythia told most to wait but asked me and my sisters to join her and her sister Tess inside. Once inside Pythia ask us to release the minds of the captives.
What happened next was a most amazing thing. The captives were frighted and still attempting to make sense of what had happened to them. One by one Mani and Gawonii sat them in a chair. Pythia and Tess held hands surrounding a captive and without saying a word we could see an aura of light surrounding all three. This activity only took a few minutes and each captive would begin to cry deeply. Some even fell off the chair and curled up into a ball on the floor. This ritual they call their Sacred Fire.
Pythia led us out leaving Mani and Gawonii inside. Once outside Pythia said, “It is done.”
She then spoke to some people nearby and directed them to care for the captives. Pythia asked Nahdi if she, her companions, my sisters and I could use the council tepee to sit and continue talking. Nahdi said ye. This is when we first met Ira, who was Pythia's mate. We discovered that we all had many things in common. We heard about Pythia's magic. We were told all about Genesis and it's dichotomies of science and ancient ways and their many philosophies. Pythia practices many rituals similar to ours. We heard that in Genesis they know of some of our Gods and Goddesses and name people and places after them.
We learned that they have seen a Goddess that our teachers have also seen with the eyes of this world. Pythia called her the Woman in White. To us she has many names but most often is called Eithne. She is the mother of the Triple Goddesses, Badb, Macha and Morrígan. We heard how Pythia, Ira and Tess traveled with Pythia's father to the Lands of Fire and met Eithne in a cave there. This was before they had met Grigori. This was also the first time we had heard of those Pythia calls The Gatekeepers.
One of the most important things we learned was what it was that drove this man named Alexander to wish war with Pythia and her people. In Genesis there is a man named Griffin who is Tess's father. He is a man of science. In the early days of Genesis, after the Great Turning, he created what they call the Elixir. The Elixir gives people of Genesis extended and very long lives. There is little disease in Genesis also because of it. For instance Pythia told us her father, whose name is Kether, was at least one hundred and thirty years old at the time. This Elixir is what Alexander desires to possess.
We sat there for hours together. I spoke at the end about Grigori, who they call Chi, and his long association with our temple and ancestors going back three generations. We suspect that Grigori's history goes back even further than that. It was time for the evening meal and we all left the tepee. Grigori said that my sisters and I could stay the night with him in the tepee Nahdi had prepared for him. Pythia asked if one could be made ready for Brishen and Usher. We went to the area where food was being prepared for everyone and sat together and ate. After eating we asked Pythia if we could be allowed to join her. She said she was going to ask us the same. Her plan was that She, Tess, Ira and Grigori were to leave soon and travel in search of Alexander with a small group of their warriors who they call the Chindi. They are a special type of warrior with highly rated skills. Other people were going to be doing other preparations. We agreed without hesitation to join them. Beside wanting to help we wanted to see Genesis and they were eventually going to be there.
We went to bed early and we nor Grigori had much to say at that time. We slept extremely comfortably that night. We woke in the morning and joined others again to eat. We felt very pampered because all was ready for us. Others also had been caring for our horses, even Brishen and Usher's. We felt a bit self-conscious because we were being stared at. I felt like doing the Glamour but resisted the urge. It was decided that after we ate that Brishen and Usher would do well to return to our temple or if they wished they were welcome to go with Mani and join the other warriors and continue with them. Brishen and Usher chose to remain.
After the meal we all were standing together. First we said goodbyes to Brishen and Usher. Grigori said he had something to do but before he left he would take Brishen and Usher to Mani. Grigori disappeared often, usually without notice, and we came to accept this not questioning him. Then we, Pythia, Tess, and Ira stood for a moment. Pythia's mate Ira said he would like us all to follow him in to hours and join in a group ritual. But beforehand Pythia left to have a private meeting with Nahdi. Grigori was now gone. Tess had gone off with a friend of hers, now our friend also, named Ahi Adra. Ahi Adra is a member of the Apsaalooke tribe of Indians like Nahdi. I do not know where Ira went.
This left my sisters and I alone. We spent the time wandering through the camp in silence watching the people and looking more carefully at the tepees and their symbols. We are very interested in symbols and use them daily. But the symbols on the tepees and horses were unfamiliar to us. I drew many of them in my personal journal to share with the Daughters when we return home. Eventually Ahi Adra and Tess told us their meanings. Another thing about symbols. Pythia, Tess and Ira have numerous tattoos. We did not see them until the first time we all bathed together in the tubs in a place called New Eden. Pythia and Tess have a very interesting one on their forearms. It is a three inch circle of blue with a single dot in it's center. We were told it was the sign that they were part of the spiritual order of Genesis called Omni Fidem. In time we learned about more tattoos and their meanings. All the orginal survivors of Genesis, called the Tillers, have what they call Bindi on their foreheads. It is a single blue dot between their eyes. These tatoos are for people to imediatly know something inportant about the other and what they enjoy, or do or believe in.
An hour passed Grigori came to us and ask us to follow. He led us to a open meadow area just outside of the camp. It was beautiful with many flowers still in bloom. We and Grigori were the first to arrive. Pythia soon appeared before the appointed time. Pythia said she wished for us to talk before the ritual Ira was planning. So we all sat down together, except for Grigori who remained standing.
We talked more about Grigori and how we call him a Watcher which we consider a position given by the Gods. She wanted to know more about how strong our powers of foresight were. She told us more about Genesis and we spoke about the Elixir and debated whether one would wish to live forever or not, a debate that is part of the teachings of Genesis. It was then we learned that they had not taken the Elixir and that it was not offered to their citizens until they came to the age of forty. We also learned that Genesis would just give the Elixir to Alexander if he asked so this war was unnecessary. We talked about the Glamour and shapeshifting as believed by Nahdi and her people.
And we talked about death, a subject in which Pythia was well versed in many ways, although she had not seen its face often and she did not understand, at that time, killing. Not even of animals for food. The people of Genesis are mostly vegetarians. I told her that we are not opposed killing.
Grigori had been silent. He then said it was a good moment for him to give Pythia a gift he had for her. He reached into his bag and pulled out a flute, handing it to Pythia. My sisters and I recognized it as being made by the Redeemers and he told her so. At this time she new little about the Redeemers. These flutes are made from the bones of the dead. This one was decorated with colorful beads with a crystal attached at its end. Grigori told of how these flutes are sacred objects to the Redeemers. Pythia tried to play it for the first time and it was clear she was new to it. I told her that we too use these flutes in out temples for spiritual dance and ritual along with drumming. This led into Pythia telling us about music and art in Genesis.
It was past time that Ira had wished to do ritual. He, Tess and Ahi Adra arrived at the same time. Ira had been with Tess and Ahi Adra with what he called his coup stick and they helped him embellished it. He proudly displayed it to the group. It looked very similar to our magical staffs.
Ira was anxious to begin the ritual. This was a simple one that my sisters and I know well, one of meditation. Ira gathered us in a circle. Ira said his intent was that he believed it would bind us together and help us feel our individual energy signatures. We held hands and just as he planned we all felt the flowing of that energy through and around us. He revealed that this was not something he was at all used to but her had been working on strengthening his netherworld powers. It came to pass that Ira did find that other sight eventually with the help from Pythia and the spirit of the birds.
Grigori was visibly uncomfortable with this exercise and spent most the time sitting there watching. Pytheia, Josie, Salome and I had no trouble at all connecting with each other and once this connection had been made it has never been broken unto this day. There were no secrets between us on a deep level, although we have to interpret some of what we see and feel because the messages came in pictures more than words. We have found, if wanted, we can see through each other's physical eyes. We were directly connected with Magu and so was Pythia. Magu was watching but sent no messages or advise but Pythia said she could feel the trust Magu had in us and our judgment. Pythia told us later that she had seen saw images that showed Grigori with us and others of the Daughters that interested her very much. In later days we learned that Pythia did not know many things about Grigori.
This ritual took perhaps an hour and then the gathering turned into more general conversation. It was decided that we would leave in the morning, set up our own camp and begin to walk the woods seeking out Alexander and his warriors who they knew were close. We returned to main camp and Pythia told Mani of her plan. We spent the rest of that day and night organizing our packs for an early start in the morning, going to sleep before many. The last days had been so full and we were very weary. For me the night was dreamless.