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(Written in conjunction with Camp NaNoWriMo. For an explanation of what this strange story is about, you can read Obsessed by a Journey.)


The Seeker’s time with the Sentinel in the Temple was spent listening to angelic choirs and reading some of her favorite words from the Sacred Scrolls. But most enjoyable was the time spent in a good hot bath… How long had it been since she had set out? She honestly could not recall. Though it was likely no more than a week or two, it felt like a lifetime. For truly she HAD been looking for the Creator all her life, since she was a small child of eight or nine. There had been times when she felt she hated the Creator and wanted no part of what the Elders taught in the temple. But as she had grown, she had found her life had very little meaning when she strayed from the path of that passion.

After a dreamless night’s sleep the Seeker woke rested and at peace. She was given fresh clothes and new kid boots to wear, for hers had become worn through from all the walking she had done. The white rose she had taken with her from the Temple Mount, the symbol of the purity of her intentions, had dried and fallen apart petal by petal very soon after she had set out. Her little green beret with the red feather to remind her of determination and courage had long since been lost as was her her pack. But she still wore the homespun cape the Prayer Warrior had given her, and carried the staff that had been her stalwart companion and protection.

It had been a difficult and amazing journey, but the Seeker could sense her hopes of finding the Creator were nearly realized — or not. And whichever it was, she was at peace. After the morning meal she bid her farewells to the Guardian and the Sentinel and set her face toward the harbor to meet the ship soon to come. She had no idea how long it would be before the arrival, but she was no longer impatient to have all the answers. And so she strolled leisurely through the meadows where she came upon another home much like the Retreat House she had loved so much.

On the veranda stood a handsome man who reminded her of the Queen who watched over Retreat House. He was holding one of the great coins from the Queen’s Realm. Dressed in green from head to toe, his breeches and robe were caked here and there with dirt as if he had just come from the fields. It was clear he had been tending the grape vines that grew on the columns of the porch.

He smiled and waved the moment he saw her. “Seeker! Welcome! The Knight passed through here yesterday to tell us of your arrival. Come and sit with me, for it’s long I’ve waited to talk with you.”

Laying aside her staff, the Seeker took a seat on the wall by the vines. She was surprised to see a chest full of golden coins sitting on the veranda but felt it would be unseemly to ask about it.

Seeing her unspoken question the man answered, “They are for the people of the village. We have been harvesting our fruit and selling it at market to help those in need.”

Ah, she thought. That explained his work attire. She liked him even more then. As they talked he explained to her his philosophy of life.

“True treasure,” he said, “is not found in a box of golden coins, but in what we accomplish with our own hands and hearts. There is nothing more satisfying in this life than watching seeds sprout and grow from what we have planted, be they the fruits of the works of our hands or our words.”

For the first time the Seeker was beginning to grasp that her purpose in life might sometimes be no more than planting a seed here and there, a seed of knowledge or hope. Her job was to tend it with friendship and prayer. It was not up to her, she realized, to guarantee its growth. Only the Creator could do that. “All seeds start in the dark, don’t they…” she said to the man.

He smiled broadly and clapped his hand on her shoulder. “Yes, Seeker,” he said approvingly. “And we must not be afraid of that dark, for a seed begins in the dark, but its natural instinct is to search for the light. Just as you have done! Like the gardens of the ground, so are the gardens of men’s hearts.”

With that the King, for so he was of this Realm, hefted the chest of gold onto his shoulder to take his leave to distribute the coins among the people of the village. “Your quest nears its end, Seeker. The ship will reach the harbor by morning. May you be blessed by your Calling.”

When he had gone, the Seeker sat a while longer before setting out. As she enjoyed the sun on her face what was to be her final vision appeared before her. A beautiful young woman dressed in white sat upon a lily above the Waters of Life. Below her in the churning water were three silver chalices. The Seeker knew without doubt what was in the three goblets: love, peace, and joy. Their message was clear. No matter how the Waters of Life might churn around her, these three gifts of the Creator would always be hers.

Then she noticed a fourth chalice sitting on a petal of the lily. What was in THIS cup she knew not. But she had finally come to the place where knowing all the answers no longer seemed as important as they once had, for now she knew there was nothing in her life she could not handle with the Creator’s help. And though the girl in the vision seemed disinclined to take the cup, the Seeker was not. She rose, and taking her staff she set out for the harbor.

By the time she reached the craggy cliffs above that cradled the sea, the sun was setting. From the top of the rise where she stood she could see the ship at a great distance making it’s way slowly toward port. And to her surprise she saw the Mage, accompanied by three of her wands, waiting on the rocks for the ship to arrive. She must have come to meet it, the Seeker thought.  She wondered idly what the woman was thinking. Was she daydreaming about their journey? Wondering what stories they would be bringing? Longing to go on an exploration herself? Or were those questions from the Seeker’s own imagination?

She thought it best not to disturb the woman, and it was obvious it could be a the better part of the night yet until the ship reached shore, so the Seeker turned and descended back into the valley to await her summons.


© Cheryl D. Carter

Part 43 — Strength and Mercy
Part 45 — A Matter of Balance


Picture Credit — personal (see also www.aeclectic.net)