FHD Remix Chapter 14
Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 13: Glie's New Mayor; Spread of the White Wings; Oops!
Chapter 14: A New Bird; An Old Trap; The Light of Rain
[Features Gratitude, by Nicole Nordeman, twelfth track on her album Woven & Spun, 2004 Sparrow Music. The second verse has been completely changed, along with words to obscure the Saviour's name. The author wrote the discovery of the light of rain three days before hearing this song for the first time.]
Tatakai stands in front of the Great Gate, the one downtown. Several buildings next to the wall have been abandoned because of the new rules handed down by the Communicator just before he died; buildings that were too close to the wall.
<Why would he break one of the oldest rules we have ... do not have both doors in a suit room open at once> she weeps quietly. <We are fortunate that only one enemy made it through.>
"They are late," Shimoni says. All three are dressed in the bells they wear while in the Haibane Temple. Shimoni is on Tatakai's left, Yaiba on her right. Other than the bells, they are dressed normally. The humans whisper about Shimoni's new white wings.
"They are never late," Tatakai groans, "This is the first time I've ever seen the gate open more than ten seconds behind schedule."
Yaiba, from Tatakai's right, says, "I'm still pretty new here, can you explain things?"
"The Toga conduct trade with the outside," Tatakai explains, "All the books in the library came from the Toga."
"Knowing what's outside," Yaiba moans, "explains the library's content."
A raven comes down from the top of the wall and lands on the ground in front of Tatakai. It looks at her, as though it knows her, as though it misses her. Tatakai hasn't shared the part of Rakka's histories with anyone; the part of those histories that describe the ravens as sentient beings.
In short, there are two types of reincarnated beings left in the world of Glie: The haibane, and the ravens. Both have advantages, but are tremendously limited. Haibane have all the abilities of humans, with most of the skills that they had from their previous lives, but no specific memories. The haibane are almost entirely incapable of reconstructing history.
The ravens, on the other hand, remember all the names, events, settings, and faces from their lives, but have a near total inability to communicate. Without any hands, they can't use their skills. They are also completely immune to delta radiation. <Toga with wings,> thinks Tatakai.
The few haibane that knew the Saviour from their previous lives, can't recall his name or symbol. They can't recall the setting of his death. What Tatakai and Yaiba do remember, is that he died of a broken heart. The grief of being separated from his Father was so great, that regardless of the other injuries he had at the time, which were quite grievous, the emotional strain of losing that connection with his Father caused his body to shut down. Yaiba knew in her previous life that the plasma from his blood filled the cavity around his heart, which could no longer beat under the pressure. While, at the time, his baffled executioners could not comprehend what happened to him medically, witnesses described in an ancient text that his dead body was stabbed in the chest, and water came out along with his blood, the evidence of how he really died.
This raven knows his name. It has scratched at its feet, one line, and now works on a second, two thirds the length of the longer one, and crossing it at right angles one third of the way down.
Tatakai stoops. The raven finishes, looks up at her, blinks twice.
"Who are you?" she whispers.
The raven starts doing a bizarre dance, and repeats it over and over again. Tatakai recognizes that it is drawing four katakana characters with its bill:
"カマベル ... カマベル ... ka-ma-be-ru … ka-ma-be-ru"
"Campbell," Tatakai whispers. Then the raven takes off.
At this moment the gate opens. Tatakai looks dead ahead, at that moment most curious as to whether the outer gate is closed.
It is, and she breathes a sigh of relief.
The first Toga that staggers through the gate clutches the stub of his arm. Tatakai grabs Yaiba to keep her from running to help.
"It isn't safe," Tatakai whispers.
The Toga's face is covered, hiding must be great anguish. The three haibane stand at attention as he approaches. Tatakai greets him by raising her hands, wringing the bells on her wrists. The other two follow suit.
The Toga shakes his head, no.
Tatakai parts her hands and signals in her now-fluent Toganese, "Communicator is dead. I am battle," she gestures to Yaiba and then signs, "is blade." Gesturing to Shimoni, she signs, "is downward." What Tatakai signs next causes the seven injured Toga to recoil in fear.
"You," Tatakai signs, "have betrayed us."
Tatakai then puts her hands palm to palm for a moment, then separates them and holds the palms towards the Toga. Her wings start glowing brightly, which terrifies the Toga even more.
With a brief thrust of her hands forward, a bright flash. The moment eyes can see again, over thirty wraiths can be seen scattered all over, most thrown against the wall by the light commanded by Tatakai. Of the seven Toga, only six remain standing. One was thrown against the outer gate and now lies in a smoldering heap.
"He betrayed you," she signs.
As the enemies vaporize around them, Tatakai gives Yaiba a nod. Yaiba goes from Toga to Toga, one at a time praying with each, and with her light, heals each of all injuries, no matter how grievous. As the first, the leader with the missing arm has his reappear in perfect shape.
"Thank you," the Toga signs, "for your mercy."
Yaiba hands Tatakai the radio she recovered from the leader. She listens, but understands no Aramaic.
Tatakai frowns as she signs, "You are no longer free ... you will be confined to the Tower of the Haibane Renmei indefinitely ... to care for its garden ... it will be lonely. The entire Haibane Renmei is dead, murdered by a creature like the ones you let through."
Finally, Tatakai asks with her hands, "What's on the cart?"
The Toga invites her to look. At this, the raven crows and returns to Tatakai, landing on her right wing. It croaks softly as Tatakai adjusts her balance.
"I'll be careful, then," she says. Tatakai draws back the slightest corner of the tarp and looks. Her wings twitch in recognition. The Toga watch nervously as Tatakai reaches quickly under the tarp.
The raven flies away as fast as it can. The weapon starts beeping, quickly, and getting even quicker over the course of a few seconds. Suddenly it stops. Tatakai pulls the tarp from the device.
She holds, by its trigger, the super-cannon she wielded so skillfully in her previous life. "Someone out there is trying hard!" she exclaims as she lifts it, and strokes the familiar tool of her trade.
"This device," Tatakai snorts aloud, "is useless." She ejects the plasma bottle from it and then drops it back on the cart. Then she turns to the Toga and signs what she just said to them, adding, "You saw the light."
"After I wasted all your captors, you could have warned me about this trap!" Tatakai signs angrily, "Why should I let you live?" She claps for the community watch.
"Take them to the Haibane Temple and lock them in," she orders. She walks Joe, Yaiba, and Shimoni through the conversation she had with them.
Yaiba sighs, "That weapon looks so at home with you."
Tatakai answers, "This would look as at home with you, I'd wager" Tatakai lifts a faded orange auto-defibrulator from a corner of the cart.
"Wow," Yaiba takes it and examines it for a moment.
"It really does look at home with you," Shinomi cheers as Yaiba opens it and takes a look at what's inside.
Closing it, Yaiba sighs as she drops the device back on the cart, "Useless."
"The Saviour's light really does it for you guys, doesn't it?" Shimoni asks.
"Oh, absolutely!" Yaiba smiles. Then she adds sadly, "But even if it didn't, the battery and skin pads are missing ... it doesn't work."
"Likewise with that," Tatakai gestures towards the BFG 9000, "The targeting system has been removed and it has no projectile chips. The only thing it is capable of doing is exploding, and with only a fraction of the effectiveness of that one blast of the Saviour's light to wipe out all these wraiths."
The three leave the cart of junk lying next to the Great Gate and start the long walk back to Old Home.
She lives in one of her own small houses. Menmo and Yaiba still lives in the East Wing of Old Home, but Shimoni and Tatakai have moved to the North Nest, along with several of the children. Each of the North Nest homes is a simple five metre square designed to accommodate up to 3 people, assuming its three tiny bedrooms are actually used as such. It has one floor, rests on a four square adobe stem wall foundation laid one metre below grade making it easy to bear on the solid ground. The roof is a simple, single pitch sloping towards the back, draining into eavestroughs and blue rain barrels. Shimoni has built five nest homes with help from hardy Young Feather boys and girls, as well as a couple of generous humans living in the West District around the old bakery.
"God, I'm really new to this," Shimoni sighs in her darkened room, praying. "I'm in charge of Glie now, and we may have lost trade with the Toga, the river level is dropping, and it's not raining enough. How are we supposed to feed ourselves? I-I mean aren't we supposed to trust in you, but are we supposed to stand around and starve to death?"
<The first rule of Glie is far older than Glie itself,> she hears a whisper in her mind, <One who does not work, shall not eat.>
"What am I supposed to do?" she cries, "I work lots, but windmills and nest houses don't make food, Saviour."
<The soil and land Glie has for its small population are more than enough, Shimoni.>
"Saviour," she pleads, "What about water? We need rain to do this, please."
<According to your faith, it shall be given to you in the same style as it is with your sisters Tatakai and Yaiba. The rain is at your command.>
In the East Tower's guest room, Menmo struggles with the piano, learning a new tune she found in the library, tattered old sheet music marked in unfamilar Latin scipt with some sort of "SCD" date on a sticker at the top of the first page. With Glie's drought deepening, she isn't without tears as she sings.
"Send some rain, would you send some rain
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking
In the shade
"Would you send a cloud, thunder long and loud
Let the sky grow black, and send some mercy down
Surely you can see that we are thirsty and afraid."
"Really?" Shimoni, in her house, asks, standing up, goes to her shrivelling plant on the window sill.
"Just a little, please." Water comes from her hand to gently water the plant. "Sukoi!!" she gasps. Holding her hand up to the window, "How much can I-"
"But maybe not, not today, maybe you'll provide in other-"
The shattering sound causes Menmo to jump from her keys, and suddenly she can hear the flow of water outside.
It takes Shimoni a few moments to sort out the event. The firehose-like stream was exactly as she had imagined it. The window is shattered, Shimoni's standing flat against the back wall, still shaking from the startled jump. Menmo runs out of the guest room wondering what the racket was.
"Oops," Shimoni says.
Menmo and the children following her stare in disbelief at the huge elliptical wet spot in the courtyard, and the busted window it must have come out of.
Shimoni runs out of her house and answers the question Menmo has written all over her demeanor, "The Saviour's light, the Saviour's light!" she cries joyously. "I need to practice a bit, but watch."
Shimoni generously sprays the yellow grass that was having so much trouble sprouting this year.
"Wow!" Menmo weeps with joy. The kids are overwhelmed. As Shimoni continues to water the grass, Menmo falls to her knees and sings through tears the rest of the song.
"But maybe not, not today, maybe you'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case...
"We'll give thanks to you, with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for you
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If you'll never send us rain."
Yaiba follows, and looking at her, Menmo feels an overwhelming need to sing a verse for her light, but the song didn't have one for hers. The second verse was lost sometime in the dozens, perhaps hundreds of years the song sheets sat idle in Glie's library. Menmo, regarding her wings warmly, decides to wing it.
"Heal our wounds, Father, cure our ills
Be the place where we might not need pills
For our fragile bodies You designed for
Us to use.
"Would you end our pain, Saviour end our pain
Be the comforter of my heart and brain
Father, You can see how much we need your aid
"But maybe not, not today, maybe you'll provide another way
And if that's the case...
"We'll give thanks to you, with gratitude
If we stay lame, we will crawl after you
Bless the lessons that will keep our hearts in stead
If you never heal our pain."
Menmo turns towards the temple and sings another verse of the song, realizing that the Saviour has decided his style of provision for Glie.
"So grant us peace, Saviour, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight.
Not all of the wall is visible, but Menmo looks thankfully at the part of it she can see from Old Home.
"Or maybe not, not today, peace might be another world away
And if that's the case...
"We'll give thanks to you, with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in you
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need, if you never grant us peace."
Next: FHD Remix Chapter 15: Objects In Mirror, Orders to Follow