Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cypress - Gen 9 Ch 7

After that transcendent moment at the hidden spring, Star and I spent every moment together that we possibly could. She showed me all her favorite places, but I have to admit, I missed most of the scenic panoramas due to not wanted to take my eyes off her precious face for even a moment.

Every morning Magic and I would head over to the well-kept little log cabin where she lived with her granny and a multitude of small children who were somehow related to Granny in ways I never quite understood. Usually Star's black and white cat Pixie would meet us at the front steps and escort us to the door.

Sometimes we'd stay to keep Granny company while the little ones were at school, and  Magic and Pixie took the opportunity to become reacquainted.

While they played, I'd ply Granny with questions about the pendants, and the spring. She confirmed what Star had hinted at back when I first met her, that the spring had kept her alive long past her natural life span, in order to preserve the pendant's succession.  She claimed it was not unusual for the pendant holder to wait hundreds of years for a successor to appear.
Eventually though, I'd take Star's hand, and we'd say goodbye to Granny and head off to whatever fascinating new place Star wanted to show me that day.

One day she showed me the high meadow where the wild horses run.
"Shh. This is close enough. We can watch from here. Aren't they beautiful?" She sighed. "I'd love to have one someday. There's no room at my house though."
I nodded in agreement. I didn't say anything, but I promised myself that I would make sure that someday soon I'd make her wish come true.

That day we ended up, as usual, at our favorite spot. It still amazed both of us, that this small piece of real estate was invisible to the rest of the world. We often used it as our own private sanctuary, a place to talk, and sometimes kiss, away from prying eyes.

But today was special, and my nerves were almost getting the best of me. I drew in a deep breath to calm myself, but I couldn't stop my fluttering heart. Star instantly sensed my nervousness. She drew a soft finger across my cheek.
"Cy? Is something wrong?" She asked with concern.
Gazing into her beautiful emerald eyes, I gained courage I didn't know I possessed.

Gently, I took her hand in mine, and slowly sunk down to one knee. Yup, I was going to do this the old fashioned way.
"My shining Star, I love you from the bottom of my heart. I want nothing more than to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

I didn't realize I was holding my breath until she enthusiastically cried, "Yes! Oh yes!"
And all my nervousness melted away as I tenderly placed the ring on her slender finger.

I pulled her close, and we held each other for a long time, just enjoying the moment. Finally, reluctantly, as the sun was setting, we broke apart. I took her hand once more, and we slowly walked the short distance back to her cabin, to break our good news to Granny and the kids.

It was impossible to please both my parents, and Star's Granny. Mom's team was in the middle of playoffs, and Granny had never been on an airplane in her life, and didn't intend to start now. So we settled on the actual ceremony on the shore of the lake in Hidden Springs, with a few of Star's relatives and friends in attendance. There would be a reception in Riverview when we arrived home. Star as always, knew just what to say to calm me down before the fateful hour. as the first guests began to arrive.
"Stop worrying, hon. I'll be right next to you the whole time. And you know almost everyone who's coming, right?"

But in the end, the sight of Pixie sound asleep on one of the folding chairs made me laugh out loud, and suddenly I was relaxed, and ready to go.

Our vows were short and sweet, and I smiled with joy as I slid the shiny gold band onto her finger.

Then she did the same, and it was official. My heart was soaring.

As the sun set behind the mountains, we kissed for the first time as husband and wife.

Granny's kids were the designated rice throwers...

and Magic found a seat next to his buddy - to keep an eye on things, is my guess.

Granny watched over the proceedings with a hugs grin on her face.

I even made a small speech - a first for me.

And then of course came the cake cutting.

Afterward we sat together on the soft grass, and as we gazed up at the full moon, I told her the story of Chang'e, that my grandfather had told me when I was a child.
"And that is why the harvest moon shines so bright, because of the love between Chang'e and her husband."
"Oh, I see her! Look, Cy - there she is!"

Back in my cabin, I was all nerves, and she was suddenly shy.

But in the end, we figured it out, and for the first time, I tenderly made love to my shining Star.

The next morning Granny was at our door bright and early to say goodbye.
"You take good care of  our Star, now. And promise me you'll came back soon for a visit!"

"I'll miss you, dear heart. You take good care of Cy, now, won't you?"
"I will Granny. And we'll be back before you know it!"

Then she gave her Granny one last hug, and we were on our way home. I had arrived alone, with only my pendant to guide me, and now I was returning home with my shining Star, and Magic and Pixie as well. I couldn't wait.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cypress - Gen 9 Ch 6

My search continued much the same, after I had spoken with Louis, and he had cryptically informed me that I would find the answer to my riddle only if I was 'meant to', whatever that meant. 'You will find your secret in the spring.' That's what Emmaline had said. I had visited every spring in the valley more times that I could count, and was on my way home from another fruitless trip, when I saw her.
I had taken a short cut through a small overgrown park, and there she was, standing near an creaky old wooden bridge. Funny, I'd been through this park dozens of times - how was it I'd never noticed that bridge before?

My heart did a quick flip-flop as I watched her skip across the rickety boards. It had been months since I had seen her. But that wasn't what had my head in a whirl. My mind was still trying to wrap itself around the fact that there was even a bridge there. I was sure that this spot had been a wall of dense undergrowth the last time I'd been through here. I surely didn't want her to think I was stalking her, but... there was something going on here, and I needed to figure it out.

So I did the only thing that made sense at the time - I followed her across the bridge. I didn't really try to hide, but she was so intent on her errand, she never noticed.

I stopped short when I saw her approach an older woman, who I assumed must be her granny. I realized then that I had stumbled upon what was supposed to be a private moment, and was about to turn and quietly tiptoe away. Too late - Granny's eyes widened a bit in surprise, as they met mine.
"How interesting. It seems we have company, Star. Come here, young man."

As I tentatively stepped closer, my eye caught a glimmer of sunlight reflecting off a stream of clear water gushing out of the rock formation behind the pair. Star spun around with an expression of total shock on her face.
" did you get here?" She glanced from me to her granny and back to me.
"Granny, this is Cypress - remember I told you about him. What's going on? I thought you said it was impossible for anyone to find this spot - unless.."
Granny smiled knowingly, "Unless they are meant to find it, yes."

"But.. I still don't understand how it's possible," Star continued as if I wasn't there. 
My head was bursting with questions. I glanced around me. I could see my cabin from here. There was no way I could have missed this small section of woods unless it had somehow been hidden. Eventually I focused in on what Star was saying again.

"I thought only the pendant holder could find the spring - and the heir on the day of her birthday," she was insisting to her granny.
"That is the way it had always been, dear heart," I heard her granny answer. "But remember how I've taught you - the old legends tell of a second pendant that was lost in antiquity, and which would appear when the time was right."

I felt almost about to hyperventilate with excitement as Granny turned to me. Two pendants? My journals had never mentioned two pendants. And the pendant somehow unveiled this hidden spring?
"So, young man, Cypress is it?" Granny's words snapped me out of my reverie.
"It seems you are quite special. Tell me how you came to find this place."
Slowly I reached inside my shirt, and closed my hand around my pendant. It glowed brightly as I gently opened my fingers, revealing my prized possession.
Granny clasped her hands together in amazement.
"I never thought I'd see it in my time. It is true, you were meant to be here. Come, you must be a part of our little ceremony."

I felt a little out of place, but I smiled and tried to make the best of it as Star's granny caught her up in a warm hug. I had a million questions, but they would have to wait.
"Are you ready, dear heart?"
"Yes, Granny."

It was an amazing experience to witness Star's coming of age.

She is so beautiful. After a few moments I realized I was staring.. 

... but she didn't seem to mind. We shared a look that seemed to go on forever, but our attention was soon drawn away by Granny's calm and quiet voice.

"Now Star, dear heart, it is time. I've held this pendant far too long. As you know, it was meant to go to your mother, and it was her dying wish that I hold it for you, until you were ready. That day has come at last."

"Here in front of the hidden spring, I give you this pendant, which has been passed down generation to generation from ancient times. May it lead you to your heart's desire."
"I am honored to receive it. I will treasure it always."
I listened in amazement as Star's granny repeated almost the same words to her as my mother had said to me the evening of my birthday.

The short ceremony concluded, Granny turned to me with an understanding smile.
"You must have a million questions, young man, as do I. Ask me anything, and I will try to answer."
She was right about that, I did have a million questions. But there was one that trumped them all.
"Two pendants? How is it there are two pendants? Why did none of my ancient journals say anything about a second pendant?"

"A journal? You have a journal? Is that what led you to this place?"
She answered my question with another question.
"How did you know?" I exclaimed. "But yes. I have three journals. The earliest one is a record of my ancestors when they lived in these mountains. But it only describes one pendant."

"Hmm. Interesting. Your journals never mention 'The Sundering'?"
She said the words as if they were a momentous event.
"There was one mention of something I translated as a 'split'." I answered, trying to recall the journal entry. I think it was the reason they left here for China, although it was never made clear."
"I have no journals, only my stories which were told to me by my mother. One of the stories tells of two brothers - twins - whose mother was the keeper of the pendant. She died on this very spot, before she could pass it on. When the brothers attempted to claim the it, the pendant gave no clear indication of which of them it favored."

"There was an argument, and in the ensuing scuffle, the pendant was split in two. Each brother took a half. The disagreement alienated not only the two brothers, but it also split the tribe. Half stayed here, while the other half left to seek their fortunes elsewhere."
She seemed content to end the story there, but I could tell there was more - she hadn't even mentioned the spring. I pointed to the gushing water.
"What about this spring? How does it figure into the story?"
"The spring. Ah. Legend has it that when the pendant was split, the rocks cracked in sympathy, and the earth shed tears. The spring makes our memories long, and guards this spot from intruders, anticipating the day when the pendant will be made whole once again."

Granny stood there a few minutes, staring off into space. She shook her head slightly, as if to clear away the cobwebs, before abruptly turning and striding off, leaving Star and I behind.
We both stood there speechless for a few minutes, before Star broke the silence.
"This is so exciting! May I see it?"
I drew my pendant out from under my shirt again, and held it up in the fading sunlight. She did the same with hers. Even though the edges had smoothed with long wear, I could tell they had once been part of the same piece of stone. Mine contained a tiny flower; hers was clear amber through and through.

"Do any of you Granny's stories say how the pendants are supposed to be made one again?"
It was obvious that just their physical presence in this place was not enough. Star shook her head.
"I think we will know when the time is right, don't you? Let's not worry about it right now."

She pulled me into a long hug.
"I missed you so much, Cy. My granny insisted I spend all my time studying her stories, in preparation for today."
For the first time since I met her, I felt I could express my true feelings for her, and I gently hugged her back.
"I missed you too."

She pulled away a little, smiling, and wrinkled her nose at me in the cute way she has.
"You missed me? Really?"
"Of course I did. I could barely stand the thought of having to leave without seeing you again."
I suddenly remembered that today was her birthday, and I didn't have anything to give her.
"Wait just a minute. I'll be right back."

A few minutes later I reappeared from the bushes with my hastily assembled bouquet of wildflowers.
"Happy Birthday!" I grinned at her.

"Oh Cy! They're beautiful. Thank you."

Her big expressive eyes met mine, and I felt my heart pounding almost out of my chest.

And then.... she kissed me - a kiss like nothing I'd ever experienced before, that reached to the core of my being and turned my insides to mush. And I kissed her back.