Another Unwanted Visitor, Part 2
Location: Talon’s Lair - Location Unknown
Timeline: The Year of the Apocalypse - 22 January 2012
When Beth arrived the difference in light levels was astonishing, it was almost as black as a moonless night. The sound of a babbling brook could be heard and the smell of desert wild flowers lingered in the air. As her eyes adjusted she could see that she was standing inside a small rocky alcove leading to a larger cave, which was still obscured due to the low light levels, and around her was a crudely drawn white chalk circle. Inside the circle was the word STAY.
Bethany walked into the circle, and the dark room, and her eyes went weird on her as her powers were freed again. As everything went strangely colored, cool and warm spots marked by uneven reds, greens, and blues, she squeezed her eyes shut and brought the palms of her hands to her eyes. “I really need to figure out how to make that stop,” she muttered, frowning.
The Indian Shaman came through the portal soon after her not wanting to keep the girl waiting long, lest her curiosity lead to her demise. “Make what stop?” He asked when he arrived.
The tactical teen turned and glanced up at Dyami, the irises of her eyes swirling with color, that not so subtle hint that her powers were active. She winced when she looked at him, and sighed when she said, “I...my eyes do weird things. I can see in infrared sometimes, and sometimes I see bones in people. Sometimes everything goes kind of purple and weird.” Bethany shrugged again, then continued, “I haven’t told anyone at the Tower. I already feel like a bug under glass there. Like I’m nothing more than some weird lab rat.”
“Well, for now we will keep that our little secret, but I do advise you tell Syn at some point. It may be important to understanding yourself better.” Dyami stepped past her and said, “Wait here while I let the guardian of this place know we have a visitor. She has never met anyone else so I do not know how she will respond at first. Stay inside the circle no matter what happens. She can not touch you as long as you do.”
“Sure...” Bethany said, suddenly unsure about her decision to make the trip through Dyami’s strange portal. She stood in the circle, being rather good at following orders, and watched the shaman through her strangely colored vision. She saw glimpses of a rather large creature between the flora and stone of the cave that she had found herself in, and suddenly found herself holding her breath, wondering just what she’d gotten herself into.
The shaman walked ahead into the cave, and when he was about ten feet out he called to the darkness, “May light shine where it wills.” Bioluminescent ferns on the ceiling lit up a pale green, casting a shimmering, eerie light over the very large cavern. Bethany could see trees, bushes, and man sized mushrooms, large multicoloured crystals stuck out of the rocky ceiling at odd angles and a small stream bubbled happily through the center of the cavern. Dyami pulled a rather large carcass from his small pouch and dropped it on the floor in front of him. “Come I have brought you food.”
Out of the patch of trees in the center of the room lumbered a very large bear. Larger than any bear Beth had ever seen. It was covered in short brown fur, had massive claws, and a head that was almost two feet wide. It’s face was more teddy bear like than grizzly, and it approached Dyami with a goofy almost playful looking smile on its face.
Seeing the young girl it stopped mid-stride, the hair rising on its back, lips pulling back menacingly to reveal ten inch dagger like canine teeth, and let out a low “Wompfh” warning and looked to Dyami.
Talon raised his hand. “Stay your wrath my child. She is a friend, but first let us thank the spirit of the one who has died to feed you.” The bear calmed visibly at the Shaman's words, even lowering its head with Dyami as he said words of thanks to the deceased animal's spirit. When he was finished Dyami said, “Eat and be filled”. The bear never needed to be told twice.
Bethany managed to blink the strange shift in her vision away, and was awed by her surroundings. A very real fear crept up her spine at the sight of the gigantic bear, and her mouth dropped open as Dyami fed it. She found herself chuckling at the thanks offered over the corpse that he had offered to his cave’s guardian, having done such things many times, thanking the Creator for the lives sacrificed to keep her fed. Something that her mother had been very adamant about. “Wow,” she said, her tone breathless as she tried to come to terms with everything that she was seeing.
“According to scientific belief, this bear’s kind died out eight thousand years ago. I found her as a cub over a hundred years ago. She is an American short faced bear. The largest bear species ever to live.” Dyami reached out and scratched the bears enormous head. “She is quite unique, much like yourself. I have kept her safe for all this time. The two of you have a lot in common, young one. Do you want to meet her? She will not harm you now that she knows you are a friend.” Dyami motioned her forward.
The green-eyed girl nibbled at her lower lip for a moment, then took a tentative step outside of the circle. “Umm, shouldn’t I wait until after she’s done eating?” she asked, her voice quiet and awed. She stepped up beside Dyami and marveled at the sheer size of the bear in front of her. “She’s huge. She’s amazing,” Bethany said, that fear mixed with the excitement of seeing such a creature right in front of her face. “Animals were always better to me than most people were. At least you know that they’re unpredictable, they don’t lie to your face. They are what they are and if you don’t know that, that’s on you...”
“Now is the best time while she is distracted,” Dyami laughed and continued, “just do not try to steal her food. Go ahead you can give her a good scratch. She will love you for it.”
“Okay,” Bethany muttered, and cautiously approached the gigantic animal. She reached out slowly, allowing the bear to see her movements, and laid a hand on her enormous head, rubbing it gently at first, then moving on to scratch at its head. “Oh wow,” she breathed, then laughed softly, her heart racing with the adrenaline of touching such a predator.
The bear, for it’s part, didn’t pause in its feeding, but there was a subtle change in the position of her head that gave away that she was enjoying the attention. Dyami was watching closely and had a hand on the gigantic predator, just in case. “Shall I show you around a bit? You have the honor of being the first non-Shaman to ever see this place.”
Bethany nodded, scratching the bear behind the ears one more time as she glanced around the cave. She laughed softly, an ache in her chest reminding her of her own cave in Nevada. “My cave wasn’t anywhere near this full of life, but I miss it,” she said softly. “I spent ages studying the stars so that I could put the gems and stones in place. It may seem silly, but they’re aligned to my birthday.” She blushed softly over that fact. Not even Jon knew that. “Why would you bring me here, if no one else has ever seen it?”
“To be honest, I know how you feel. Trapped in the modern world, yearning to just get away. I knew something like this would help you. And I want you to trust me, so I show you my biggest secret showing that I trust you.” Dyami showed her the worked stone, worn with time but definitely carved with tools, “This place was carved by the hand of the Sky Brothers. Gifted to the Shaman of these lands when man was first brought here. Sacred to our people.”
The Shaman lead her a small pool of water in the center of the cavern. “Try some you will be pleasantly surprised.”
“The Sky Brothers?” Bethany asked. She didn’t know much about Native legends, so she wasn’t really sure what he meant. “Like, angels, or something?” The young woman went to the small spring and knelt down next to it, putting her hands in the cool water. She smiled, again remembering her own cave that had a little offshoot where a spring filled a small basin in the limestone. She filled her hands with the clear water and sipped at it, unafraid of what nature had to offer.
She sighed when she felt refreshed, rejuvenated. “Oh... no plastic taste, no strange additives that make it less thirst quenching,” she nearly whispered. She was surprised when a few small cuts and bruises that she’d manage to give to herself during her tyrades seemed to vanish, and she blinked a bit before looking up to the shaman. “That’s not anything my spring did,” she said, her eyes widening a bit.