One of Seven
Ch. 3 in “The Book of Grumby”
By Rick Merriman as Grumby
Mootill awoke into another dream. He knew it was a dream and knew that this time his reverie would be of Siberlee. Here there was no passageway as there had been when visiting Traesha. There was no darkness in the other direction – there was no other direction. Light was everywhere, but it came from nowhere, and filled everything.
The room was a perfect circle with no visual doors or windows, and the ceiling had a suffused soft brightness. The floor was a gradient, gradually changing from midnight blue to pure white in its center. In this innermost circle was an empty pulpit. That is where she will appear, Mootill surmised. The curved walls were covered with representations of all manner of plant and beast – made from beaten gold and silver. These metallic walls reflected light back and forth on each other magnificently, but never so much that it hurt one’s eyes. All was awe inspiring and natural at the same time. This is as it should be, Mootill thought, because this is the house of Siberlee, the Mother of Nature and all that is Good.
Why am I here? he wondered. Every other time I have dreamed of Siberlee it has been in the forest, not in a chamber. Why am I here now?
The chamber was 20 paces across and seemed to be divided into seven segments. At the outermost wall all but one contained elaborate chairs made of mahogany, luxurious leather, and fine woven silk. The last contained no chair, but only several large silk covered pillows – with the exception of the silk covering, they were not unlike the ones he had in his own lodge. Mootill knew that this area was designed for him. The other six areas would be for those with only two legs.
“Lay on the pillows” he heard her voice in his mind, “be comfortable.”
“Siberlee?” he asked, as his tail twitched slightly.
“Yes.” She responded, appearing from nowhere next to the pulpit.
Like his previous dreams, the Goddess Siberlee was in her Human form. Despite only having two legs, Mootill found her beautiful. She wore a simple white wrap and her skin was snow touched by a pink rose. She had ample bosom and wondrous curves travelling from her slender waist, out over generous hips, and down her shapely thighs, Her hair was golden ash that picked up silver highlights from everywhere in the room. Even at a distance of 10 paces he could easily see her eyes were blue. Not the dark blue like Traesha’s, but a soft light blue, not unlike the color of Araf, the blue moon in the evening sky.
Mootill did not lay down but bowed to The Mother of Nature. “I am honored you have taken the time to spend with me,” he said. Then, as Fur custom dictated, he moved his tail between his legs showing Siberlee was the dominant of the two.
“There is no need for that,” Siberlee told him “Please lay on the pillows, we have little time for formalities. Soon I must depart to help the others in your party.”
“My Party? What party? Do you mean the Clan of the Gentle Ones?”
“No Mootill, I mean the other six who will one day fill the seats in this chamber. You will be their leader … If certain things come to pass. It is foretold that only the seven champions will be able to stop Mernac from descending into darkness during the coming Sap Wars”
“No Mother, there must be some mistake I am not strong or wise enough for such a fate. I am bound to become the leader of my clan… but I am not even sure I can complete that task, let alone becoming the leader of these champions.” Mootill flattened his ears to the top of his head and finally did lie on the pillows as Siberlee had suggested. “In previous dreams you told me part of my leadership ritual is to kill Eetoo, the travelling Grayfur. Mother, how can I do this? I have always been taught never to kill.”
“Yes Mootill, It is difficult to understand, but kill him you must.”
“Even before, I did not want to comply,” Mootill whined like a young cub, “and now… now Traesha has come to me in a dream and shown that my village will be attacked, and wars will start if I complete this task. If this is true, how could you, one of our Matron Goddesses, ask me to bring about such terrible things?”
“You must not listen to Traesha, you know well that she is a succubus and agent of Barak. Have you not been taught this in the Book of Goldenfur?”
Mootill thought of the ancient tome which was kept in the lodge of Oomba the wise one. It was over 1,000 pages and spoke of the Fur history, their beliefs, and practices. Only Goldenfurs were allowed to read its pages, but all color of Fur were bound to adhere to its teachings based on the interpretations of the Goldenfur. In several places there were references to Traesha the Dark Faerie succubus. It was written that she sucks the life from Goldenfurs in their dreams – especially just before and during their leadership ritual.
“Yes the good book warns me of Traesha. I was wary at first, but I looked into her eyes and saw the blue twinge of truth – The Book also tells that when this is seen by a Goldenfur the teller is uttering the truth.”
“Is truth not always truth?” Mootill asked, rising to a sitting position by standing on his front haunches.
“Yes and no.” Siberlee paused before going on. “Mootill, I know you are tormented by doing what is right based on what you feel is the truth – or more to the point, doing what you feel is good. You are very torn and confused. This is to be expected – many are involved, and many seek to influence you – this only amplifies the confusion. Remember however; Oomba, myself, and the Good book of Goldenfur have been with you all your life – we tell you one thing. The succubus with her history of deceit has now come and tells you otherwise. You will have to decide – is this decision so hard?”
Mootill took a moment to think before speaking. All Siberlee said made sense, but so had what Traesha said. He remembered sometimes questioning the Book of Goldenfur and how Traesha had pointed out how some of its teachings might be wrong. He also remembered the bond he began to have with Traesha. How she had shared with him that when she came to Mernac she was a Fur just as Mootill is. Traesha had even inferred that Siberlee may have her own agenda as she was primarily the Matron of the Human Race not the Fur Race. What am I to believe? his mind screamed.
“Mother, even you and Oomba contradict your own teachings. All my life Oomba has taught me to respect life, revere it, never to take it… but now both you and he are asking me to kill. I do not understand!”
“Mootill, there is a great war brewing. Not only on Mernac, but in the heavens and the underworld. Soon, very soon, war will be raging. What we ask may stop this… or at least lessen the effect. On leaving the land of dreams you must seek out Oomba and give him a message from me – tell him that you are the one.”
“I will, Mother but the one for what?”
“The one to become the leader of the seven. We had thought it may have been another. If he was the one, we would have had more time to prepare. But we were wrong. I hope now that we are right, and there is still enough time for you to learn the lessons needed to succeed.”
“You can be wrong, Mother? How can that be? You are a goddess.”
“One of twenty gods – sometimes what the other Mothers and Fathers do counters what I have done. Almost nothing is absolute.”
“So, what Traesha told me of the wars may not come to pass?”
“No, This part is true, there is no changing it. Fate is difficult to understand – even for the Mothers and Fathers. Sometimes destiny can be changed, but only when very unlikely circumstances occur. Sometimes there is no changing destiny no matter what is done. Luckily, The One often shares with me which is which. I suppose The Other does the same with Barak and thus the reason he sent Traesha to interfere with your destiny – though I am surprised Barak and Kragle would allow their succubus to let you know of their plans.”
“No plans were divulged, just that a war would ensue if I killed the Grayfur… I looked into Traesha’s eyes and saw that it was the truth.”
“Unfortunately, it is.”
“What of my village being attacked and destroyed if I kill Eetoo?”
“This will happen almost immediately upon his death.”
“And if I do not kill him?”
“Who is this Kragle?” The Fur said it calmly but all the time his mind was screaming. I may yet be able to save my village by not killing the Grayfur.
“You may.” Siberlee first answered his thoughts and then replied to what was said out loud. “Kragle is the most evil presence on Mernac in the last five hundred seasons. He is the true son of Barak, the Father of Darkness.
Some 40 seasons ago Barak possessed the body of Argan Iros the king of Kezia and impregnated Illana, the queen. A set of twins were born; Kragle being first born, and Hogdin the younger son by only minutes. Kragle was always drawn to the darkness, even in early years, despite both his mother’s and my attempts to intercede. Luckily, we were more successful with Hogdin the younger son, though he has been in hiding for many years. He still uses the name Hogdin but does not let anyone know that he is a prince of Kezia. You will one day meet Hogdin, but you can never disclose his real identity until he reveals it himself.”
“Yes, Mother, and what should I know of Kragle?”
“When Kragle was 16 he used an ancient relic called the Blade of Volition to carve a likeness of his sibling. This enabled him to gain full control of his brother. With that control he had Hodgin kill both his mother and father. This parenticide is why Hogdin had to quickly leave Kezia.
Kragle is a master practitioner of Kayz and several of the other magical arts. Most of these he has learned directly from his father. From his fingertips he can spew any number of spells which will instantly burn, freeze, or kill. He can summon the dead, he can force his will on another when they are within sight or conjure up any manner of weapon. His weakness is that he overuses his magic and becomes depleted to the point where it ages him; of this you must make note. It is then he is vulnerable. His other weakness is his endless preoccupation with Tian slave girls he buys from slavers and has transported to Kezia.”
“Kezia is half a world away, across the ocean on the continent of Cathall”
“If he is so far away how can he a threat to us in Ooloo?”
“By the way of man, By the way of magic, and by the way of Barak. Firstly, Men and the Dwarves have built seagoing vessels and many men have already travelled to Ooloo.”
“Yes, I have heard they seek the sap of the Manta trees for its burning properties.” Mootill said. “Boota has told me that many men arrive in Faithmore each day and some may even be moving toward our forests.”
“Yes that is true, but most are not from Kezia,” Siberlee answered, “and most men are inherently creatures of the light not dark so you have less to worry about from them – unless…” she paused for a second and then decided not to finish her thought.
“You should be more concerned that Kragle is a master in the magical arts of Kayz. In doing so he has taken on many apprentices, these he has hidden throughout Ooloo, just waiting for the wars to begin. And with Barak at his side, Kragle will surely call the Ogres, Trolls, and Azemen throughout Ooloo to come to the cause.
“The war is inevitable?”
“So Traesha’s foreshadowing of the wars has nothing to do with whether or not I kill the Grayfur?”
“They do not,” she replied softly. “Traesha always uses just enough truth to remain convincing – the wars she spoke of will begin one day from tonight.”
“The same day as I am to kill the travelling Gray?”
“Will the forces of evil prevail?
“Who are the champions?”
“The Mothers feel almost certain they will be a Fae by the name of Airianna Glowstar, a human called Salina Stallworth, her cousin Vanessa Freeheart, a Wood Elf named Arumbus Talimar, and two others, which destiny has yet to decide upon. The four named we feel almost certain will make the Decision of Good, or already have. So remember these names well. In your travels you will come across them. You can trust them with your life.”
“What is this ‘the decision of good’?”
“It is different for each of the seven. But it is always the decision for the greater good. One where a decision must be made between two or more choices, all which appear to be the right one or the good one. Each of their choices will almost always have a toll on the one who makes the decision. Often, like you, the decision may cause a great loss or pain to the one who makes it, or the ones they love.”
“And what is my decision of good, Mother?
“To decide if you will kill Eetoo the traveling Grayfur.”