A mahogany shaded woman emerged from the grove of trees to
his right. She had a wide nose, full lips and was dressed in a thigh
length garment made entirely of overlapping feathers. Her kinky hair
was braided atop her head. Gold ornaments hung from her ears, neck
and arms.
She had the voluptuous body of a young girl. But her large
dark eyes held knowledge no girl could ever possess, and she had all
the earmarks of a preternatural creature – though friend or enemy,
Joie couldn’t tell.
He decided not to stay and find out.
In one fluid motion the warrior rose and leaped on to his
“Joseph wait!” She stepped forward and spread her hands,
palms outward, as a gesture of goodwill.
Despite the danger, he was curious. And she was lovely.
“That’s close enough!”
Joseph is not my name. Who is he? Your dead mate? Or
perhaps a favored slave?”
“I have a message for you…for who you will become leagues
from this day.”Her voice was soft and melodic – like a song.
Intrigued, Joie leaned towards her, a smile playing about his
lips. “Speak beautiful fortuneteller, if that’s what you are.”
“You are needed in Topaz.”
“Topaz? I have never heard of it.” Suddenly he couldn’t look
away from her strange eyes… or urge his horse to a gallop. She is
bewitching me!
 With dawning terror, Joie realized he might never
leave the forest.
“The city does not exist here, in your time. But your future self
knows it well, and it is to him that I speak. You must journey to find
your heart’s desire, Joseph to find the one you long for.”
Now the enchantress‘s brows drew together in anger. Her
voice doubled in volume echoing through the woods. “I’ve visited you
before! Why have you ignored my commands? When you awake,
remember my words and hark unto them! Go to Topaz, we will speak
again at that time.”
She turned and disappeared into the forest.
Centuries before the Time of Legend, Sorre’s Copper citizens had
been warriors and hunters. Now its inhabitants grew vegetables, and
herded sheep and goats; for Sorre was the chief supplier of crops and
animal proteins for the New World.
Joseph had lived here his entire life. His parents had taught him
to grow corn, beans and peas. He’d leaned to listen to the wind to predict
the weather, to put his ear to the soil to hear its heartbeat.
And he learned that all creatures have a soul, no less worthy of
respect than his own. These were the gifts Mata, his mother, and Lowe,
his father, had given him.
His grandfather had shared these values too and other gifts as
well – tales of long dead warriors and bloody battles; of evil magicians
and shape shifters; and of a war between good and evil that never really
Joseph stood on his porch for a moment, enjoying the illuminae’s
first light. Then jumped down, and crossed the street to his grandfather’s
As he mounted the steps, an elderly man opened the door and
stepped out, his lined face breaking into a smile when he saw Joseph.
Ripple had an aquiline nose and coffee colored skin. Thick black
hair laced with gray was spread over his shoulders, and he wore a flannel
shirt, jeans and boots.
“Good morning, Joe.”
“Good morning, Grandfather.”
The old man sat in one of the two wooden chairs, and took a
pipe from the table beside him. “I knew you’d come to see me this
Joseph sat down next to him. “How?”
“Because it’s almost time for you to make your journey.”
The young man slapped his thigh. “Damn, you’re amazing! How
do you always know what I’m thinking?”
Ripple chuckled. “An elder’s intuition. She came to see you
“Last night.”
“So what are you waiting for? Go to Topaz, find your destiny.”
Elbows resting on his knees, Joseph rubbed his hands together.
“Just like that huh?”
“Why not?”
“You don’t think its crazy for me to move halfway across the
New World, because of a dream?”
“I think you’d be crazy not to. I’d have left the first night she
visited me. Besides you were never meant to be a farmer. You hate it.”
The Copper youth laughed. “Yeah, I do hate farming. But what
about you, with all your stories of blood and magic. How can you settle
for,” he waved his hand, “this?”
“I’m an old man. I enjoy the illuminae setting in the evenings, the
fresh air; the peace and quiet. That is enough for me,” Ripple winked,
“that, and the frisky widow next door.”
For a while they sat in silence.
At length Joseph said: “I’ve got some credits saved. I guess I
could take my paintings – see if I can find a buyer. You’ll hold my land in
trust until I return?”
Ripple puffed serenely on his pipe. “Sure, I’ll take care of it but
you won’t come back…not as a farmer.”
Karla boarded the trolley and took a side seat. Leaning her head
against a crooked arm, she gazed absently out at the city. Citizens riding
bicycles, and a few on horse back passed the trolley. Auto taxies idled in
front of wooden houses, and black garbed enforcers were making their
morning patrols.
Topaz, like all New World cities, was a hodgepodge of the very
old and the very new.
Four hundred years ago, before the Time of Legend, war and
crime had almost destroyed the planet.
The Book of Records told stories of citizens hiding under their
beds, as taser fire shattered their windows – stories of gang wars, of
entire city blocks destroyed by explosions – of a world dying of the
toxins that filled its water and air.
But in the year of our One 3075, war, crime and pollution didn’t
Contamination of the environment was illegal. Recycling was
mandated by planet law.

Copyright 2009 Valjeanne Jeffers all rights reserved

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