FIC: Blessings Home Chapter 1
This is the complete chapter 1 of Blessings Home. The first part of this has already been posted, but if you read on there's more! If you'd like to learn more about the characters of Gliese, you can read about them on the Another Life Blog.
Title: Blessings Home
Characters: Chandir/Wryn/Enoch; Elden/Misham
Series: Another Life
The fog was dense and heavy as Enoch walked along the path, but the grey of the day couldn't dim his happiness. He was excited to start contributing. The need to contribute to the village had been growing. Chandir and Wryn had made him wait until they were assured that he was healthy enough. No amount of pleading or arguing from Enoch would convince them. Enoch ruefully rubbed his bottom in remembrance of what arguing with Chandir could result in-a sore bottom.
A soft smile graced Enoch's face. Stopping and breathing in the scents of the forest, despite his visions, this was a life he'd never dreamed of. Enough food to fill his stomach everyday, fresh air, and the love of two strong men. And now he had a purpose. Misham was going to show him how to record the visions he'd had all his life. The records would help those who would live after he'd gone to the next life.
Walking on, the path left the forest and the library was a few yards away. Suddenly a red mist surrounded Enoch. Filling all his senses with shadows of foreboding. Dropping to his knees, Enoch cried out in pain and anguish as the library disappeared to be replaced with a place of worship. Suddenly the ground shook as an explosion destroyed the beautiful temple. Instead of the skilled architecture, the building was broken stones, ashes, and smoke. He watched through the red haze as the temple built with love and hope crumbled.
The mist trembled, disturbed by something. Enoch felt arms wrap around him. Holding him tight. Drawing the pain and anguish away from him. Then it all disappeared. The smoke was replaced by the fog of Gliese. The rocks and stones of the desert land of Earth became once again the soft grass of the path. The temple that had lain in rubble had returned to the Historian's library. But the arms around him remained.
Turning over in the arms that still held him, he saw Misham's dark eyes. Eyes that held more pain and fear than Enoch had ever seen before. "Misham," he cried out. "Are you alright?"
"Give me a moment," Misham groaned.
Enoch wrapped his arms around Misham, just as Misham had done to him. He held the trembling man tightly. They lay together with their arms giving comfort to each other as the sun rose and burned away the fog. As Misham's tremors slowed, Enoch's eyes were drawn to the blue sky. He watched as a bird flew over them.
"You saw the temples fall," Misham said softly.
Enoch shook his head. "Only one."
"Only one?" Misham gasped.
"You felt their pain, yes?" Enoch asked. When his friend nodded, Enoch sighed. "I'm fearful there will be more. You shouldn't be with me." He felt his heart break as he broke the tentative friendship before it had a chance to grow.
"No! You need to record your knowledge," Misham cried.
"I will have more! Many temples, churches, places of worship were destroyed. If I can save you pain, I will! I couldn't stop anyone's suffering on Earth, I will stop any on Gliese," Enoch argued. Standing up, he put his hand out to help the other man to his feet. "I will find my place here-"
"You have a place! It is with Chandir and Wryn.....and me!" Misham interrupted. "I will control it! I will find a way to not let the emotions overwhelm me."
Enoch looked into Misham's pleading eyes. He knew he had to be the strong one. He had to deny Misham. He had to-
"Enoch. As I help you, so too could you help me. We could work together to help you record your visions. And." Misham took a deep breath, then said quietly, "You could help me learn to control the waves of emotions that break over me. Please say you'll continue."
Enoch wanted to deny him. He didn't want to be the cause of Misham's pain. With every intention of telling his friend, no, Enoch was surprised to hear the words float between them. "Yes, we'll continue."
Vivid green eyes met dark brown eyes. A silent agreement was made in that moment.
Standing up, the two men walked down the path to the library. Enoch wasn't an empath, but he could feel the relief in Misham. Maybe they could help each other, he thought to himself. And even if they couldn't, Enoch liked the idea of having a friend. He'd never had a friend before. Chandir and Wryn were his partners for life and with their strength and support, he knew he could have a one. The visions had isolated him on earth. But here, on Gliese, he had could have more than he'd ever dreamed of: lovers, friends, and hope.
"We'll go to a back room." Misham's voice broke Enoch out of his thoughts. "The Elders keep a room reserved for me. I can shut the door and keep out any of the emotions that any of the other recorders are feeling."
Enoch nodded and followed his new friend. They were the first ones there, the only light was dim pre-dawn light slipping in from the large windows. Dark shadows loomed throughout the room. The smell of paper and ink surrounded him as they walked between tall bookshelves. They finally came to a door along the back wall. Enoch watched as Misham opened a wooden cabinet beside the door.
"The paper and ink are kept here," Misham explained as he took out a bundle of paper. Enoch watched as he pulled out an ornate wooden box. "We'll keep what you record in this box for now. Once you've written a volume, and that can take years, then we'll have the leathersmiths bind it."
Enoch swallowed. There was more to recording his visions than he'd first thought. His mother had taught him the rudiments of writing long ago, but he'd never put into practice what he'd been taught. How would he record all that he'd seen; the many visions he's had? Enoch stood and stared at the cabinet with the writing supplies, his teeth worrying his bottom lip.
"Enoch, please, my friend," Misham pleaded. "Do not worry so, I will help you."
Through his fears, Enoch saw Misham's face. It was whiter than the paper he held. Enoch's worry had bled into Misham. But he wondered if Misham knew how much help he'd need. He watched as the supplies of paper, ink, and quill were taken out and knew that he'd need the basics of how to use them.
"Sometimes," Misham said hesitantly, "Elden and I will work together. As a team. I tell him what I see and he scribes it for me. Maybe you and I could do that."
Enoch didn't know if his worry and stress had led his new friend to offer to write for him. All he knew was that Misham was offering him an escape and he took no shame in taking the offer. "I like that idea."
Enoch was rewarded by Misham's smile and the sight of the stress leaving the other man's body. They would work as a team, there was no shame in that, Enoch assured himself. He'd already felt enough shame earlier when the vision had laid him low.
"Here," Misham said as he handed Enoch oddly shaped balls of clay. "Would you remove the clay from the crystals?"
While Enoch started the task of removing the clay, Misham explained, "The clay is a compound called MXene. It's an energy conduct that charges the crystals once they've been mined. We use them for light."
As the clay came away from the crystal, the room lit up, chasing away the shadows. With Misham's offer to scribe and the light brightening the interior, Enoch's own stress ran away with the shadows. They entered the small room and to start Enoch's records of the visions that had plagued him.
The room was small devoid of windows or pictures. A wooden table and four chairs dominated the room. The walls were a light grey, the glow from crystals cast a blue warmth of light. The starkness of the room created an atmosphere of calm.
"How do we do this? Do I just start talking?" Enoch asked as they sat down at the table.
After arranging the paper, ink and quill, Misham gently took the crystal from Enoch's hand. "Each Historian has their own preference in organizing their visions," Misham explained as he set the light source in the middle of the table. "I'm not sure how you should organize yours."
Enoch held his breath, pleading silently that Misham wouldn't suggest starting with his most recent vision. Enoch couldn't explain, but he had a premonition that more visions of temples would be coming. He didn't know how he knew, but there were more to come.
"Wait," Misham said excitedly. "Can you tell the difference between the visions of Earth and the ones of Gliese?"
"Yes." Enoch didn't have to think about that. The visions of Earth and Gliese were very different. Any vision that included Gliese was more vibrant. More colorful. More full of life. Enoch thought back to the vision of the meadow and the stream. He'd had it on Earth but had lived it here on his new planet.
"We could start with some of the past visions of what happened on Earth," Misham said tentatively. "Maybe start with the natural disasters, if that's not too painful."
Enoch breathed a sigh of relief. The visions of the catastrophes of Earth were hard, but wouldn't be as difficult as the new one. "I can start with my earliest visions."
Misham wrote as Enoch described the earliest vision he remembered-one of a great earthquake in an ocean. The tsunami that followed destroyed much of the coastline of the continent he lived on.
Enoch patiently recounted each detail as Misham requested more. Misham explained how the details helped with the cataloguing as well as the record book. Then another vision was told; one of a great drought that swept over one area of earth.
The hours disappeared unnoticed by the two subs. Both men were engrossed in the task at hand. With each retelling of his visions, Enoch felt a heavy weight lifted from him. The visions he'd always thought of as a curse were now being written in hopes that they might help other worlds not make the same mistakes.
"The time for midday sustenance has come and gone." Albric's gruff voice startled both men. "I've brought cheeses and fruits as well as bread for you both."
Enoch blushed at the slight scolding, but Misham smiled at the surly man. "Albric! I didn't hear that you were back at the library. Arvad and Perry are doing well, then?"
"Perry is doing very well. Arvad, the foolish Dom, had completely depleted himself caring for his sub. He's slow to gain his strength back. I've started giving them some time together. I take an hour a day to resupply the cabinets," Albric explained.
Enoch watched Albric's face closely. He'd been the one to resist the need to go back to Earth to find the forgotten ones. Enoch didn't understand why Albric had been insistent on taking the two men in and caring for them but his fondness for them was evident in each word Albric spoke. Enoch felt reassured that they were well cared for.
"Make sure all the food is gone before you leave for the day," Albric grumbled at them as he left.
Picking up a purple round fruit, Enoch popped it in his mouth. Juice and flavor flowed like a wave throughout his mouth. He knew he'd never get used to the fresh fruit, vegetables and meat that was abundant on Gliese. Food would never be taken for granted.
"We can continue if you'd like," Misham said around a mouthful of cheese. "As long as we finish it all."
Enoch nodded and between bites, told of the devastating hurricanes and typhoons. Of how the winds howled and swirled; of oceans surging onto beaches and into cities. None of the disasters he talked of were personal. He knew eventually he'd talk of the mudslide that killed his parents, but for today, he only talked of the disasters that happened before he'd been born. As he talked, Enoch worked the clay in his hands. The nonsensical motion calmed him.
Suddenly the crystal's glow blinked twice and then went dark.
"I was so focused on writing, I forgot to get another crystal," Misham said. "It's much too late to get another one now. The sun should be setting! Elden as well as Chandir and Wryn will come looking for us soon."
Enoch knew that Misham spoke the truth. Chandir and Wryn had been hesitant in letting Enoch start the recording. They worried over his health.
"Wrap the MXene clay around the crystal. We'll store it in the charging center," Misham instructed as he gathered up the papers, quill and ink. "We'll leave these here. One of the Elders comes in nightly and resupplies the rooms."
Enoch did as Misham asked and then handed him the clay wrapped crystal. Walking into the library the shadows had come out of their hiding places. The two men navigated through the tables and bookshelves to the front door.
Walking out, the setting sun greeted them in flames of red and orange. The glare of the light hid the walking path. Enoch squinted but the colors brightened. Flames grew taller; more ominous. Dropping to his knees as the vision engulfed him, he watched in horror and sorrow as the church burned. He could hear the cries of fear from the worshippers. They stood watching their place of worship burn. Enoch felt their despair and helplessness.
Slowly as the embers died, Enoch started to feel Misham's arms around him. Turning his head, he saw the pain etched in his friend's face.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," Enoch cried softly. All of the pain, fear, and despair he'd felt in his vision had bled into Misham. So much sorrow had brought both men to the ground.
"Do not apologize for the hatred of others. For the pain that hatred caused," Misham said. "That is beyond your control. We worked too hard. Stayed too late. Your vision took us both by surprise. We are fine now."
Enoch nodded and slowly stood. Holding his hand down to help Misham to his feet, he nodded. They were unharmed. The two visions hadn't stopped him from contributing to his new home. Tomorrow they'd return and continue on.