As the time approached I debated what to do. Would I stay aboard the ark, or even the ship, or would I accompany the rest to the ground? I saw little purpose with all of the troops. Each of my companions seemed to have far more behind them than the splinter of the man that remained within.
The Ark made me very uneasy. If Zome had not designed it what would it be but another abomination of the corrupt one. Zome the one eyed still lived, something few men would even know to doubt. Grandmother never mentioned the name until after her first falling, when she almost ready for the Mother
's final gift. But she like I had unfinished business.
I was that business. I had yet to see my tenth summer. During the next three years before she finally let go some of the most important lessons to be learned were taught. She had eluded to the boy named Jack I often played with. He had I had been drifting apart for some time and never reconnected until that fateful night.
Now only Jack and I remain beneath the same stars. The ones of the tower seem to have enamored him. That concerns me but if things transpire as my heart feels only he will assure the bargain with Ojanen will hold.
Perhaps with the brief time together I will ask of him how he will avoid making some of the same mistakes. I'd hate to see these dark ones with so much power. It would not be long before one of their own would fall from the Mother
's grace. For now I will let the tower stand, the Mother
will claim it in her own time.
The instincts of the farmer in me called for a simple solution. Allow the cleansing fire of the Mother
's wraith to reclaim our former home. Leave nothing, only the seeds of first plants could claim anything in time. But what has happened will be better in the long run. The Mother
's wisdom is unbounded.
The spirit of the boy is still strong within but the farmer is gone save for who he was by my grandmother's passing. Clive is no more, only "Newon," remains. Grandmother had always told me it had been my name in the language of her people. What passed in the instants as the others passed to immortality finally told me what it truly meant.
I did not wish to remain with Adric and Thorgar. In the moments I stole a glance at the Mother
, Mara and Miranda in the chamber around me I knew it was not yet time to join the great hunt. My work was still unfinished.
I passed into the moonlit forest, my form now no longer a shadow of Nymar but likely his equal. My instincts were still the same as his mighty white figure leap to the rocks before me. I cowered and tucked my tail until he spoke.
"Rise Newon, as I was the guardian of the past ages you now stand as the guardian of the ages to come."
In the next moment I was the boy, who I had been when grandmother slipped a simple leather pouch into my hand. I sat by the fire with the human
manifest of Mara, a scarred white haired warrior, Nymar and a third younger woman I had never met before, Miranda. She smiled at me and her eyes met mine, my human
loins stirred at her attention.
In the voice that had seduced gods and men alike she spoke.
"Clive, or as you will be called among men, Newon, the time ahead will be full of trials. Men are curious creatures. There power lies not within a single quality but in their ability to adapt and learn. For the next millennium my Mother calls on you to guide the men of the world back into her reverence, know my sister's light and to seek the nourishment suckling at my own and my daughter's teats and to know the council of my many sons."
The boy in me found the literal idea of Miranda's teat in my mouth enthralling. She smiled at me with a knowing glance and then I found myself again with four legs. Nymar, Mara and I stood on top of a great mountain looking over what must be the entire world.
"Go to your daughters Newon," Nymar began,"teach them well and send them into the world."
Mara continued, "through them the blood of the first guardians continues into the coming age. As Mother first made the watchers to walk among and watch the curious race of men so might they become. But to do so will require a trial. One that you must watch over. Choose the ones you give this gift well, for those who do not understand are doomed to fall into the sway of the unspeakable one."
"How I judge their worthiness I will seek the Mother
's guidance, but of the nature of the trial?" I asked.
Mara continued, "the gift is imparted as it always has, with a bite. You will taste the blood of your daughters and lead them through the transformation. The pain of the change is great, to fight it leads to madness. Kill any that cannot accept the gift as the Mother
intended no matter how your heart may plead with you. Those who accept the gift must do the same. The gift will enable your daughters to travel swiftly with four legs, to call the packs of the true to their side while being able to walk among men when they need.
Make them understand that anytime they walk on all their legs and the blood of a man is drawn the means of the gift will be given. To leave one alive or unguided will give the unnamed one a new servant. When guided, they will have the strength of the pack with them and with this strength will do the Mother
You must understand this is true of you as well, even though you will never take the form of the man you once were. Only the boy remains, only the boy can walk among men, ever young, as you were on the day you received your grandmother's talisman. So Newon go now and gather your daughters. Teach them first the lessons of your grandmother. Bring them all to know the many gifts the Mother
offers so none fear her final gift. Then take them to the world."
I then found myself besides my friend Jack's side. Whether he understood that the next age had just begun I could not be sure. With his familiarity with the creatures of the tower I would be cautious in what I told him. But I knew it was up to me to council him so the new age did not begin as the last had ended.