As this story draws down on the site, my own story starts a new. I intend to have Children of Legend up for free on amazon about a week after chapter 15 comes out on the site. I can’t use KDP as they won’t do it for free so I will be releasing this one through smashwords.
It is impossible to find a picture of a girl with silver eyes and black hair but I always imagined kid Angela fishing at a pond like the below graphic for today’s chapter. Enjoy!
Chapter #12: Perception of Energy
July 9th, 2020-CE
Angela glanced downstairs. She was usually not allowed down there very often. Her room was on the main floor. There was only one room on the main floor. Angela thought it was odd that she was on the main floor. Usually, with one room on the main floor and her nearing adolescence she figured her grandmother would have put her downstairs. Such was not the case. Her grandmother had taken the downstairs room since before her mother was born. Her room was her mother’s room when she was Angela’s age.
Today, she felt adventurous. Her grandmother was tending to the store and she was curious as to what went on down there. Her mother always forbade her from going down to the basement. She never could figure out why. While her grandmother never forbade her from going down, she did ask that Angela respect her privacy and leave her room alone unless her grandmother was there.
July was a warm month. The upstairs living room and her room each had a room air conditioner. Considering that it had managed to reach 108 today, everyone in the city had their AC’s running which caused a power outage in their area. The inside of the house was already starting to heat up. She needed to escape the heat in the power outage. The basement seemed like the logical conclusion
She was right. The basement felt nearly thirty degrees colder than the upstairs. She wished she grabbed a glass from the upstairs kitchen on the way down. She shrugged and figured that she would go back up into the furnace that was the main floor if she got thirsty enough.
She also wished she remembered to take a light. Despite her new sight, it was far darker than she expected in the basement. She caught movement out of her left eye as she started to turn back to the stairwell, “Mentor, is that you?” She questioned in response.
“Yes. You have been keeping up with the exercises but it will still take you some time to adjust to the darkness down here,” Mentor replied, “This place is older than you, of course. It is also older than your grandmother. If you extend your Nwyfre, you can feel it.”
“Is that why it is so dark down here?” Angela questioned in response.
“That was how they constructed root cellars in the early twentieth century. There wasn’t so much a need for windows. Windows let light in. Where there is light, there is heat. People used to have store food down here so it wouldn’t get cold. They also used to store coal down here. Sniff the air, you might still be able to catch a whiff of it, if you are careful,” Mentor explained.
Angela took in a deep breath through her nose. She didn’t smell anything out of the ordinary at first. She caught the strong scent of sandalwood and sage grass in the air from previous rituals her grandmother must have performed in the basement. The smell of many different incense clung to the wall and formed a cloying scent that wouldn’t leave her nose no matter how many breaths she took in through her mouth and out her nose afterward.
She didn’t catch the smell that Mentor was talking about. She didn’t know if she was being taught another lesson or if this was a trick that the spirit was pulling on her. Her gray eyes looked around. When mentor didn’t move, Angela could hardly spot her. In the darkness, she was next to impossible to see unless she was moving. At the moment, Angela surmised that the spirit was standing still and studying the human.
Her eyes slowly adjusted to the light as she walked to the back corner of the basement. There she saw a room that had a dirt floor. The rest of the basement had a concrete floor. She was confused why this room had a different floor than the rest. She wondered if the rest of the basement once had a dirt floor and this room was left unfinished for some reason.
She knelt down and touched the soil on the ground. At that point, she finally smelled the faint carbon of coal on the ground. She didn’t see a trace of it on the ground but she could smell it, “Do you know what this part of it is?” Mentor questioned, “Why the floor with this part of the basement is bare?”
Angela shook her head, she sensed a trap, “I do not.”
“That small window in the corner faces the street. It used to be a coal chute. This part of the basement has never been paved,” Mentor replied.
She felt the ground. It was cool to the touch and hard. She expected it to be soft instead of firm. She glanced around to see if she could see the spirit but she could still see nothing. Instead, she heard Mentor’s voice again, “While you could perform Telluric Nwyfre cleansing while standing on the concrete floor, there are many who prefer standing on the ground.”
Angela glanced around, trying to see where Mentor was, “So grandmother Nwyfre cleanses? How come I have never seen it?”
“How early to do you get up in the morning? She is down here when she cleanses her Telluric Nwyfre so you don’t know when she would do that.” Mentor replied.
“There is nothing else for you to do here,” Mentor stated, “As you would state; the power is out. It is way too hot to play outside. Nothing else to do but to cleanse.”
Angela rose to her feet, “I don’t have any shoes on and I don’t want to run upstairs.”
“You don’t need to have shoes to cleanse,” Mentor stated, “In fact, some would argue that you should have your shoes and socks off when you cleanse. In either case, the room with no floor is a perfect place for your cleansing, don’t you think?”
Angela nodded and placed her feet on the dirt. She could feel the cool temperature of the dirt soak into ankles and legs as she stood there. She spread her feet along the bare floor to take her stance. She held her hands at her side and closed her eyes. She breathed out then took a slow breath in after a moment. As she took the breath in, she raised her hands up over her body. She breathed out and threw her hands into the air and back down to her side.
The cold of the floor spread through her body as the Telluric Nwyfre washed through her body. It made her feel calm. It made the remaining sweat clinging to her body feel cold despite the heat around her even in the basement. She took a few more of these breaths, each slower and calmer. Each with her eyes closed and her mind clear of thoughts.
When she was on the ninth cycle of cleansing, she heard Mentor’s voice, “You must be getting thirsty. I have some other exercises for you to try.”
Angela opened her eyes and glanced around, “Should I get some water first?”
With her eyes adjusted, she could just barely make out the outline of a figure leaning against the wall. Mentor shook her head, “I don’t think you have to do that. There is plenty of cool water in the ground beneath you.”
Angela arched an eyebrow and asked, “Who am I supposed to get to this water and what am I supposed to store it in?”
“Not many people can do this but I think you can it,” Mentor commented, “Your goal will be to fashion a cup out of the sand, make it as hard as rock and polished. After that, pull the water through the ground and place it into the cup. You should be able to drink it after that. It will be filtered by the sand if you do it right. If it doesn’t look clear then ask me for next steps and I will help you out.”
“Assuming I get that far,” Angela commented in response.
“Well, you won’t get very far with that attitude. You have to be determined and you have to perceive that you will succeed. There is a movie where they make a good comment about the difference between doing, not doing, and the myth of trying.” Mentor responded.
Angela nodded and her gray eyes glanced down at the sound beneath her feet. She knelt down and held her hand over the sand. She pulled with her Nwyfre and hoped that the sand would move or start to pile up below her hand. She cleared her mind and focused on channeling her energy through the ground and into the soil then back up through her hand again to attempt to accomplish it. She opened her eyes a moment later and saw that nothing changed.
She glanced up at mentor, “I can feel the energy moving into the earth and back out of it but I don’t see anything happening. I can feel myself picking up some other energy as I do it. I don’t understand why nothing is happening, however. What am I doing wrong?”
“There is more to it than just drawing energy. Your body is also the channel, not just the mind and the energy. You can direct most of the flow of Nwyfre with a disciplined mind but the rest of it You will have to offset with movements. Try moving your hands like you are fashioning a cup from clay. Only the wad of clay is much bigger than the up you are fashioning.” Mentor explained.
Angela thought about what the spirit teacher meant. She had worked with clay on a pottery wheel in class once. There were slow and subtle movements that helped shape the clay. In this instance, the sand was like water without the clay. The difference was once someone added water to the dirt down here, it would remain dirt and just turn into mud.
She placed her hands down and by the ground. She envisioned that the Nwyfre she controlled and channeled was the spinning wheel and the clay was the dirt beneath her. She tried to mold the dirt upward but the dirt refused to bend to her will. She heard a slight chuckle from her teacher, “What are you trying to do?” She asked.
“You told me to work the dirt like clay, that’s what I was doing,” Angela answered.
“Be more forceful. This isn’t a pottery wheel at the moment, a lump of clay, you have to work it before you can get into the precision stuff,” Mentor advised, “Pulse your Telluric Nwyfre down to your hands and punch down at the ground when you do that. Imagine a block of dirt rising to the surface when you do that to guide the Nwyfre.”
Angela thought about what the spirit said for a moment. She bunched up her hands into fists and reared back to punch the ground. She punched the ground, just before her fists connected, she pushed her Nwyfre forward mentally. The result was a small square slab of the dirt rising up out of the floor. Angela was disappointed with the result, she wanted an entire cube of dirt to rise out of the ground, not a small square lob of it.
Mentor, however, became slightly more visible with the result. There was excitement and joy on her face, “Not bad. I didn’t think you would be able to get that much so quickly. A few more pushes like that and you should have enough to work with to make a stone cup.”
Angela shook her head and pondered what went wrong, “No, that wasn’t right. It only bent to my will because I forced it. I should have been able to do much more than that with the amount of energy I put into it.”
Mentor glanced up at the young shaman, “What do you think would be a better way?”
Angela shrugged and was asking herself the same question when she thought about her science class in school a few months ago. They did cover plate tectonics and how the earth moves. Earth quakes happen when a point along the fault line between two plates becomes stuck. As the plates continue to move, the plates store up energy along that point until it reaches a breaking point. That was when an earthquake happens.
With everything she had been taught so far, shamans channel energy and that energy was supposed to work with nature to help bend it to the shaman’s will. While what Mentor suggested did work, it seemed too forceful which was why the result was so weak. She had to rush nature, not counter it.
She was surprised that Mentor was not pestering her as she sat there in thought. She wondered if the spirit could sense that she was working the situation out in her mind. In either event, she was close to an answer. Earth was supposed to be solid and unmovable in most situations. Time allowed wind, water, and its own forces to eat away at it and change the landscape. What she needed to do was to speed up and control that process, not force a mound up through sheer will.
She spread her arms out and held the back of her hands parallel to the ground. She mentally pulled the Telluric Nwyfre in the ground into her body mentally. She envisioned a heavy load in her hands, she wanted to lift it up. In doing so, causing a shift to make that column of dirt come up to about cube level.
She didn’t move until her feet and legs felt like they were made of stone and unbreakable from the Nwyfre. Slowly, she started to lift. The ground beneath the entire house, and she was sure the entire area, started to shake. Her eyes opened wide when she stopped and the shaking stopped with it. She glanced at Mentor. She was more visible now than she had been before, “I think you reached too deep with that one. You might back off on whatever you are doing.”
Angela nodded, “For a moment there, it felt like I was the Earth.”
She pushed some of the Nwyfre that she collected back into the ground. Her legs didn’t feel unbreakable anymore but they still felt like they could support the world. Again, she concentrated on lifting a heavy weight. There was no shaking, this time, as she pulled up but the square slab moved up slowly becoming more cube shaped like she hoped.
Mentor was mostly visible now, very clear to see compared to before. She leaned in to inspect the cube, “Nice. Now the easy part is done. You have to shape the cube into a cup of polished stone now.”
Angela glanced at the spirit in disbelief, “You call that easy?”
“Well turning that cube of hardened dirt into rock without rushing it into a pile of sand first will be a lot harder than brining the hardened dirt to the surface like that,” Mentor stated in response. She put her hands around the edges of the cube, “You will have to turn this into a circle and then compress it. Make it a vessel. This would be where that clay working like method you tried might come in handy.”
Angela nodded but her face carried some annoyance, “Why didn’t you tell me to make it circular from before I started this?”
“I thought you knew what you were doing,” Mentor replied, “You can still make it work, you will just have to re shape the cube now.”
Angela glanced down at the block and tried to figure out how she would plan this next part out. She would have to turn the cube into a cylinder then compress it down into a hard rock. After that she would have to hollow out the inside and make sure it was water tight. The final part would be polishing it. She had to do it quickly.
She placed her hands around the cube. She started to circle her Nwyfre between her hands and started to work her hands as if the cube of dirt was clay. The cube started to obey and slowly started to transition into a cylinder. It was slightly taller than before but that would work when she started compressing it down.
When it was to the point where she was satisfied, she envisioned a cylinder of energy around the column of dirt. She pressed her hands up to the cylinder of energy and willed it to compress and tighten around the cylinder of dirt. She placed one hand over it to compact the top so it would not spill out of the top of the field.
As she worked, surrounding the column with energy on all sides and compressing it, the column of dirt shrank and looked more like a carved small stone column. It didn’t take her long to finish. When she released it from the Nwyfre she used, she could suddenly feel the heat coming off of the stone she had made. She reached back with her hand and started to pool some Nwyfre into her hand when Mentor reached out, “Stop! What are you doing?”
“The stone it hot, I was going to blast it with air to cool it off,” Angela answered as she reversed the flow of Nwyfre in her body.
Mentor shook her head, “If you cool it off to quickly the stone could fracture or shatter. You don’t want to do that, you have come so far. Take the heat out of it, swap the Nwyfre in your body for the Nwyfre in the stone, that should quickly cool it down without fracturing it.”
Angela nodded. She couldn’t put her hands near or over the stone. She placed her hands on the ground around it and rested on her knees. She started to mentally perform a similar cleansing ritual that she had done earlier. Instead of cool earth feeling filling her body, her entire body started to sweat as if she was put into a steam cooker. After a few minutes, she managed to sweat through her white shirt.
She stopped pulling Nwyfre from the stone and glanced up at Mentor, “Am I done yet? I feel like I am in a blast furnace!”
Mentor nodded, “You should be able to grab the stone now.”
Angela rested herself against the concrete floor of the rest of the basement. She was now too far away from the stone cylinder she made but she didn’t care. She needed to cool off first. She rested there for a few minutes before she felt like she was okay. Her clothes now felt sticky against her skin from all of the sweat. If she was thirsty before, she was definitely parched now. She couldn’t wait to finish this task.
She sat up and grasped the stone cylinder. It still felt a little warm to the touch but heat was not radiating off of it like it was before. It was about the size of a normal glass except that it was a solid column at the moment. She sat it back down and placed her hands high over it. The last part of this task was to make the glass hollow and polish it.
She pushed down, funneling Nwyfre down and into the sides of the cylinder as she did. The center was pushed down and the glass widened as she did this. When she was done, she had the rough image of a glass that needed to be polished. It was also radiating heat again.
She went to work using her Nwyfre to polish the glass, moving over it fast as if it were wind without it actually being wind. The outside of the glass became smooth and shiny in a few minutes. She placed a hand over the inside and did the same thing with the inside and bottom of the glass. Soon after, it looked like a professionally made but plain looking stone glass.
The heat was not radiating from it anymore. She carefully touched it. It was cool to the touch. She picked it up and looked at it, “I’m going to go upstairs for some water, I am exhausted.” She glanced around. None of the night lights along the lower outlets in the basement were on, “I am surprised that they haven’t gotten power on yet. It must have been over three hours by now.”
Mentor ignored the comment about the electricity being out, “You could go upstairs for water or you could learn how to draw it from the ground. The water in the aquafer is pretty good, you could also learn how to pull water from the water table and filter it through the sand.”
Angela shook her head, “It will have to be some other time. This task of making the cup, it has wiped me out. I need to rest or grandma may find me on the floor when she gets home from work.”
Mentor nodded, “Sometimes the best thing to do is to know your limits. I also wanted to see if you knew how to say no, that you have reached your limit. Let’s go upstairs for a drink.”
Angela took the glass and rose to her feet. She led the way upstairs into the 108-degree house. There, she crossed the short distance to the kitchen sink and filled the glass she just made with water. She took it to her lips but before she could drink Mentor cautioned, “You might want to take some sips. You could be dehydrated and the last thing you want to do is make it worse by making it go down then back up again.”
Angela nodded and took a couple of slow drinks. As always, her face blanched at the first taste of city water. She was suddenly thinking it might have been a good idea to learn how to at least filter it before drinking it. She took a few more sips and could feel the cool water sitting in the bottom of her stomach. She sat the glass down and glanced outside, “Why does it have to be so hot today?”
“It’s summer,” Mentor stated in response.
Angela walked over to the back door and opened it up. She walked outside. While it was hot outside, it was slightly worse inside the main floor of the house as the sun had been beating down on it all day. It normally wouldn’t have been too much of a problem except the power outage had kept her from running the air conditioners.
There was not a cloud in the sky, “If it would only rain…” she said to herself.
She glanced around to see if other people had the power out. She could hear that there was nothing running on the sparsely populated block but she wanted to make sure. She saw nothing as she stepped through the gate separating the front and back yards. Most of the cars had also gone since it would be cooler to drive around or find a place with running power as opposed to sitting in their houses that had turned into ovens.
“If it would only rain,” Angela stated.
She got an idea at that point. She went back into the back yard and closed her eyes. She reached out into the air and felt the hot air around her. She could feel the wind high above her head and the slight moisture in the air. She pulled on the wind and moisture. After a couple minutes of concentrating on that, she could feel the sun’s rays diminish as they hit her face.
She opened her eyes and saw that big, fluffy clouds were starting to form all around them. It definitely felt cooler around them now. The wind had started to pick up. A couple minutes later and the clouds became dark and gray. She could feel a couple of drops of cool rain hit her skin.
A hand touched her left shoulder. She glanced around and saw Mentor standing there, she felt solid now, “You must stop. The storm will get frighteningly stronger as you fuel it.”
The rain started to come down hard at that point. She nodded. Mentor glanced around as the rain started to come down harder, “You should go inside.”
Angela shook her head, “The rain feels nice and I already sweated through my clothes anyway. I think I will stay out here and enjoy it. If the storm starts throwing hail at me then I will go inside.”