When I was a kid, there was a phrase that meant “great!” It was, “Out of sight!”. “Man, this cheeseburger is out of sight!” usually, “out-a-sight!” I was going to to call this painting “Friends are out of sight!” because friends are great, and each of these 3 friends are there for each other even when they are invisible. Ghosts dissappear, black cats can’t be seen in the dark, and the moon seems to disappear once a month. With these three particular friends, they are still right there even when they can’t be seen, but real friends are there for you even when they’re not actually there. You know they will stand up for you, and encourage you, and protect you even when you are apart. Now, that’s “Out of sight!”
How did I end up living in a tent, dressed like some cosplayer from some medieval drama, complete with swords, daggers and cloak? Certainly the gypsy fortune-teller had a lot to do with it, but it started with the cloak. Back when I lived in reality, My wife, my son & I all decided to dress as Jedi for Halloween. Oh, it was my idea. I got some brown wool cloth on clearance at the local fabric store. I was all, “I’m bringing cloaks back!” They’re warm, they look cool, I’ll get my wife to make me one and I’ll wear it all the time!
I never wore that thing after Halloween. Until it came time to leave.
That first night, I knew it would be cold. I couldn’t afford a motel. I took the cloak, but it over my puffy coat, and took the dagger from the cutlery store in case I ran into trouble. That dagger was a show piece. Meant for display. It was a miniature of a two-handed sword. I was going to display it but it never got put up. The sheath was made of wood. Not very practicle. I feared if it came down to it, the blade would probably break.
I was wrong. That thing is still one of my deadliest weapons. Sharp, long and as strong as any blade twice it’s size.
Anyway, of course it snowed that first night. My wool cloak really came in handy. I lived in Oregon so there are woods everywhere. I just found a wooded area and crept into the lee of a bush, wishing I wasn’t sober. Morning found me back in town at Starbucks, wondering what I was going to do with my life. I felt no motivation for anything. I had spent my life to that point working one low paying job after the next, trying to get work that my art degree had prepared me for. Then I got married and we had two children, and now that part of my life was over. I was never going to work for some bullshit low wage job again. I had basically chosen to be homeless, and I was trying it out.
I’ve found a lot of homeless people have similar thought processes. It’s a hard pitiless existence, and whatever pride we can find, we hold onto.
Those first days are kind of blur. Did I go to the fortune-teller that first day? was it later? I’m not sure. In the past, I had avoided them, even though I was fascinated by the idea of them. I figured they were mostly fake, expensive charlatans, and if some were real and I got one of those, I didn’t want to know what they would say. Now, it didn’t matter. Hitting bottom can really open your eyes.
I still had some cash on me, and I was pretty out of it, mentally. Going to a psychic when you don’t have a roof over your head is a poor financial decision. But desperate people do weird things.
I was wandering the streets as the sun sunk down, bathing the town in the sacred blue glow of twilight. There was a small house among the commercial buildings nestled back behind a small yard. There was a neon sign in the window. PSYCHIC. I’d never seen it before. Maybe it appeared from another dimension. Maybe you see things when you’re walking that you don’t notice when you’re driving. I felt compelled to go in. What did I expect? An old lady in a flannel shirt with big crystal rings? A man with long hair in a ponytail and a calm voice with cds of himself playing singing bowls for sale on the side?
She was small. Smaller than me, and I’m 5’4″ and thinner than tin foil. She had on a pale blue blouse. The kind that has a big neck with elastic so it can be worn at the shoulders. She had a patchwork skirt that showed her ankles when she walked. She had the scarf over her hair and the hoop earings, and olive skin. Now Gypsys are from where? They’re called Roma, which sounds like Rome or Romania. My money would be on Romania. Gypsy is short for Egyptian, but I think that’s like calling Native Americans Indians. Her eyes were mesmerizing. Were they big? I think so. That’s how I remember them, but my memory plays tricks on me.
“I am Olga.” she said as she answered the door. She gave me the once over, Cloak, slept outside last night, no shower, no shave, although I have a mustache and goatee, so that’s not as noticeable on me. People either stare or look away. She didn’t seem to think I looked out of sorts.
“How much?” I asked, ready to bolt if it was more than a ridiculously small price.
“Have a seat,” she said, and smiled at me for the first time. Maybe all is not lost, I thought. “Have a glass of wine with me.” she said.
“I don’t drink.” I said.
“This isn’t a regular glass of wine. It’s special.” She pulled out an unlabled bottle with a wicker wrapping around the bottom and two glasses. It was red. She didn’t pour an excessive amount. Well, I’m already homeless. I thought, and she smiled as if she had heard me.
“You are on the Path.” she said.
Though she be small, she is mighty and fierce. Discount her fury at your peril for her purpose is just & her will is unbreakable.
Alive is a land which lurks in the mist
Afar is a font where the fairy folk fly
Many are the men who murmur, “It does not exist.”
For fear of the foe who flit by the eye
Some say the secret to seeing the fae
Is to speak what you seek at the end of the day
As the daylight dusk darkens & purples the sky
The stars start to sparkle & you solemnly say:
“Ethereal elves, spirits & sprites, pixies & brownies and fairies delight
Dryads & naiads, sirens & sylphs;
Tuatha de Danann, Come visit tonight!
A light hum emanated for the dew covered daisies and daffodils springing in the meadow
A glinting, gleaming gossamer flicker of flying, flashing feathery fluff
Was the only glimpse of the sundrenched lemon drop sprite
Spinning lazily in the early morning light.
As the slow, sultry summer sings sunny, slothful Saturday
The shadows sweep silently, stealthily, sinkingly, towards sunset
The twinkling twilight tells its tale of the tail end of the day
And darkness descends.
When dusk’s disc disappears, drowning in darkness
Shadow upon shadow shields the secrets seeking solace, silently safe from sight
Never knowing comfort Hardly hearing howling horrors
Hiding, biding, biting
crawling, calling, bawling
Through the night.
Falling fearful foul, freak fancies flying; filled with fiery fright.
Call the faeries all the fae, luminous and bright
glimmering with glamour
glittering and gossamer
and glowing with delight
Banishing the banshee
Shining hope and joy
And life & love & light.
On that moonless dark night
Oh, how the nightmares come
In mists and in shrouds
With long curving fangs
And glistening malevolent eyes
Beating their bat wings
The gargoyles growling tails
Twitching they descended upon the babe, to feast upon his fear
The Fae, they were waiting
Ready with bows & blades
& pikes & spear to defend the boy child from the demonic host
In that babe’s room of smiling suns & plush bunnies, the battle ensued
Silver flashed in the dim light and arrows flew
Sharp teeth & claws, forked tails & gleaming eyes
The battle was fought and shone in the sleeping babe’s dreams
Shrouded in shadow, the muffled thumps and clash of blades frightened the child
As any haunting horror
The grand production featured the fae and the demon battle
The violence fed the fevered visions of the innocent.
The sorcorers had come for the dragons in the early days. Before Incarnate even. They came with their greed and their small minded prejudice. They judged dragons to be evil so they could point to an enemy to rally people against. Dragons were hunted and feared. They were nearly invincible, such was their power, longevity & wisdom. Their compassion was unmatched, yet man found a way to test its limits and go well beyond. The shortsighted cruelty, the unnecessary violence. The relentless pursuit of dragons to the ends of the earth, seeking their utter annihilation. All to justify their need for control.
Dragons were hard to kill. A dragon can withstand an entire army of humans in a straightforward battle. Which is probably why humans refused to engage in them. They claimed to be reasonable and compassionate; indeed, this was the definition of “humane”, but they did not behave that way. It was not in their nature at all.
Entire forests were burned to hunt them down. Their young, murdered in the shell. Starvation, dehydration, madness. Waged generation after generation. Until the few dragons left lived as ghosts, invisible, without leaving any tracks, no traces. Living in the most inhospitable climates, in the darkest secret places, almost resembling the monsters they were depicted as.
Although Yendor had been conscripted into the Armata Rebellis by force, he felt he had joined unofficially the day he met Danse. The memory of her hit him from within, a burst of pain in his chest. He could picture her; just her face: dimly lit, dirty, miserable. His fault. He didn’t even know how to go looking for her. He shook her out of his mind. Danse had taught him to fight, to engage his magical energy into the effort. The Armata had taught him battle. The brutality of it. He did not relish it, but understood its necessity. In order to defeat Incarnate’s Armata, it would take an Armata. These boys were trained, disciplined, and vicious. They would probably be crushed. But if he could get close to Incarnate, if the Armata could keep him focused on them, he might be able to get in a lucky shot; whatever that meant.
These thoughts meandered through his mind as he marched with the troops through thick, viscous fog. The men were superstitious about any natural element, whether it was in their favor or not. The fog, they mumbled was conjured by sorcerers, lurking nearby waiting to ambush the Rebellis. At times the fog was so thick Yendor could not see anyone else. He could hear them laughing disembodied nearby and then they would materialize, as if from another realm. The fog seemed to whisper with them, saying nothing in particular; just sowing fear. And then, with a sudden inhalation, it sucked itself away, into the shadows, leaving the men spooked.
They were descended upon without mercy. sorcerers and warriors, moving as one attacked from all sides. Their numbers were legion. Yendor had his sword out and cut with precision. A brute smelling of earth and shit hacked through the man on Yendor’s flank and came at him frothing at the mouth. He lofted his bloody axes at Yendor, the weapon still dripping with the blood and gristle of Dante, the man Yendor had shared breakfast with. Yendor’s fear turned to icy hatred and parried the axe with his thin blade, enchanted, glowing and with Yendor’s pain and anger surging through it. It cut the axe clean through, then took the eye, brain and life of Yendor’s attacker in one lethal thrust.
A sorcerer saw Yendor’s action and turned his attention to the wizard. The stink of the earth opened up under Yendor, and he fell, lurching to the side to escape the chasm. Before he could regain his footing, the sorcerer was on him with a mace. Incarnate’s favored weapon. The sorcerer wielded the spiked sphere with blinding speed and deadly accuracy. Yendor got his shield up barely in time, but it blocked the blow edgewise, so that the shield crushed under the blow and the mace rammed into Yendor’s left hand. Yendor didn’t feel any pain at first, and that is probably what saved him. He turned into the attack instead of away as his instincts told him, and kicked the looming sorcerer over his head. He leaped to his feet and faced the enemy. The mace began to glow with a heat summoned from pure evil. Another swing of that would be the end of him, Yendor knew. He thrust his sword without magic or thought straight at the necromancer’s heart. There was a hiss as black smoke emerged from the wound, staining the blade.
Yendor had finished his chores, more or less, and had found himself a secluded area not far from camp. Everyone thought the life of a traveling musician was a romantic, drunken celebration that never ended, but only went from town to town. Still technically an apprentice, Yendor knew that this was a myth. There was laundry, and squabbles, food to be prepared, wagons to be repaired, and endless travel. The troupe Yendor traveled with was a large one, and Yendor’s mentor, Waters, was an elder of the troupe and expected Yendor to behave like a grown up for as long as he could remember. Now, nearly an adult, Yendor was still treated like a child. Not that he had any ill feelings toward the grizzled old man, indeed Waters had been Yendor’s only real family since birth. His parents had apprenticed Yendor to Waters as a babe, which it turns out is fairly uncommon. Aparently, his birth parents had wanted to get rid of Yendor imediately, although Waters would always chuckle, shake his head and claim it wasn’t like that; but he would never elaborate. Which wasn’t like Waters at all. Waters was a born storyteller. This was something a traveling musician needed to be. It was also something Yendor was not. He was a skillful player, and had a good voice. But Yendor struggled to write songs that connected to people.
Lately, Yendor had had to face a new problem. His instruments would not behave. They would go out of tune, sound loud or vibrate uncontrollably. It had something to do with Yendor’s emotions. His mood, his ability to control his own temperament seemed tied to his ability to control his oud, the stringed instrument Yendor was most adept at. Waters had never seen anything like it and many in the traveling band of performers, dancers, singers, mummers, fortune tellers, acrobats, actors and other miss fits thought Yendor should be left behind, because they thought his bad luck might be contagious.
Waters had finally said, “Sometimes a problem is in how you look at your problem. You got to ride this thing out. See where it takes you. If you can’t squelch it, maybe you can harness it. You can’t stop the wind, but you can make a sail and travel the seas with that wind at your back.” Waters stroked his scraggly beard, which had, like the hair on his head, gone white.
Yendor’s ouds had been breaking, so he made one more solid. The belly was just a kind of way to make the music carry, and Yendor seemed to be able to make the strings vibrate louder even without the hollow body. Slowly, Yendor had found ways to coax the music back into his oud. He could use the oddities to his favor, creating a more expressive sound than traditional musicians could do.
The air had chilled all night so that the dawn was crisp, brisk and broke with a clear crack of light, which had been looming just under the horizon. At the pier stood a figure, protected from the chill by his woolen cloak, kept in good repair, despite its age. The man had come to pier to fulfill his life’s purpose. He looked out onto the Tao as the tide ebbed an flowed like the breath of the world. There was a calm on the surface that belied the turmoil beneath.
That calm was broken by the frantic cries of a desperate man. Panicked and shaking, the man careened through the village searching for a solution to his problem. The midwife was delivering in the neighboring village and the man’s wife was in labor. The babe was breach and both the child and its mother were like to die without help. The cloaked man took up his staff and went to the father-to-be’s aid. This was what he had foreseen.
In the hut of wattle and daub, the wife writhed upon the bed, sweating the sheets. Leaving his staff at the door and pulling back his hood, the stranger showed his face to be lined with age, the creased shadows pulling away from the candlelight. He ripped the mother’s skirts to expose her to her swollen belly. Who have I invited into my home, thought the father. The ancient stranger placed his withered hands on her abdomen and she calmed. The glow seemed to come from inside the womb, lighting the old man’s hands orange around the edges. He moved his hands in a circular motion as if turning a wheel. The woman arched her back and the babe was born quick and simple.
As the old man took up his staff and replaced his hood, he smiled. “He will be the One.” he said, without need of further explanation. “What will you call him?”
“Yendor.” was the reply.
I am the Blue Dragon. I serve the Blue Light; whose physical manifestation is the Universe: the One Voice, the Eternal Word, the Infinite Sound. All things are revealed by the Light. All shadows are created by the Light. Love is the Way of the Light. Either one serves Love or one opposes Love. One cannot claim to serve Love through hate. Anger and fear are the absence of Love. Love is omnipresent. There is nowhere it is not. It does not shirk; it does not hide. To be unable to feel its presence is delusion. It is we who turn away from the Light. It is constant and never abandons us. It is The Energy; The Force; The Power. The Source of all. Love is indiscriminate. Love is not concerned with what name it is called, or what rituals it is worshiped by. Love does not favor one over another. Love does not punish. Love wants you to be happy and healthy. For this to happen you must conform to Love. Love cannot be ruled by you. You are a manifestation of Love. There is no intermediary.