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Journey To D'zeron

Jason wakes and meets SeraiEdit

        Jason awakened disoriented as if from a long strange dream. Or perhaps into a long strange dream. 

         Where am I? How did I get here? 

         Smooth grey stone walls, slightly glittering, surrounded him with strength and safety. Greenish morning light filtered in from a skylight in the center of the small room. 

         If I could see the sky, it would be orange. 

         Terran 8. Searching recent memories, he found a blur of dream images, other strange awakenings, hallucinations, pain, fever. 

         What happened? How long have I been here? 

         His pale grey eyes scanned the room searchingly. The mattress on which he lay seemed to be on a sort of shelf, extending all along one wall. Featureless grey walls rose at his feet and head. The corners were rounded. On the wall across from him, only about 6 feet away, was an open door, and next to it a smaller shelf. ***[would there be things on the shelf?flowers, maybe?]. Even the smallest movements hurt. He could turn to see the wall behind him, but he knew it was there, hard and smooth against his back. He was wrapped in a blanket, of some cotton-like material, smoothly woven. It was soft and comforting. He felt his face with his fingers. His muscles felt as unsteady as his vision.

         I’ve lost my glasses. What is this bandage? What happened?

        Memories spun and staggered back foggily through times between then and now, dizzy confused timeless hours --days maybe-- lost in pain, confusion, delirium, fever. Someone speaking “Hold him very still, Harris” —Lenn? No. Younger and less cold, but he looked a lot like Jonathan—They were stitching up his face with a curved needle which was made of a wildcat’s claw, and silk thread. Harris was holding him. It hurt. A lot. How long ago? Hours? days?

        Jason pulled the blanket closer around him, felt it soft and comforting against his skin, He closed his eyes and felt his awareness slipping away again.

       When I wake again I won’t remember this. Harris will be here, and the butterfly girl.

       Where is Harris?What happened?

       vague dreamlike memories blurred painfully in his mind. Dreams and strange confused half-awakenings, Harris holding him in dreams, telling him to wake. ‘trust Serai’,  Harris kept saying, ‘eat, drink, live. Please stay with us.’ 

       Serai. The butterfly girl. She was a fever dream, no doubt. Harris spoke of her to make me want to live, and my fever brought her to life in my delusions. 

        Like Harris, she was woven in between his dreams and awakenings. 

         Maybe she’s a dream sprite they created to help me heal. Dream healing. Why not? It’s D’zeron. He smiled at the thought, and pain shot though his face. He closes his eyes, stilled by the pain. He actually knew very little of D’zeron medical practices. Could she be real? Of course not! 

         Jonathan said the temple was used as a hospital. I’m sick, this must be the temple. That makes sense. But old dreams and fantasies of D’zeron mixed and confused with delirious memories.

        Punishment for all my daydreaming. I have to sort out objectively which parts are real.

        Laying motionless, Jason opened his eyes and looked around again. The wildcat kitten he fought for Marrisyl was curled up on the bed beside him. Why do I dream this kitten? Does he represent the infections in the scratches which began this fever? Jason tried to sit but the pain in his head laid him back down. Fighting helplessness, he tried speaking. Sometimes dream-sprites will explain themselves. 

        “Hello again Kitten. Did you bring me here?” his voice was a strange whisper. It didn’t feel dreamlike.

       The kitten startled, hissed and glared, hair raising slightly on his back.

       “Why do you lie beside me if I am not forgiven? I never meant you any harm, I needed Marrisyl for Harris. I gave you fish. ”

       The kitten rose and bolted from the room, only to be immediately replaced by a young D’zeron woman dressed in a long multi-colored silk gown and carrying an intricately painted ceramic cup. Serai. if the kitten represents the source of my illness she represents healing. He turned his eyes to meet hers and smiled painfully.

      “Jason!You’re awake!” 

       A magical creature. She can’t be real. Strange dream, but this part is nice. “Why am I here with you and this kitten?” He asked in the language of D’zeron.

      “I am Serai” She replied smiling seductively, moving closer. “Chathalen the healer brought you here. You were hurt.”

      Chathalen, Tersh’s son. Jonathan’s grandson --the man who sewed my face--. I think that part was real.

      “I’m here to take care of you. I’ve brought you a drink.” she held the cup out to him, smiling. “you saved Kitten, and he saved you.”

      A dream healing sprite, just as I imagined. Jason closed his eyes and covered his face with his hands, feeling the bandage, and the stubble of beard which had apparently grown while he was unconscious. 

          For How long?

         I’m Rip Van Winkle awakening into a world transformed. He vaguely remembered a crowd of  D’zeron hunters gathered around him, they were demanding something from him, but he refused, he only wanted to see his butterfly girl. A strange nightmare. He turned his eyes back to her. She was standing close beside him, holding out the cup. Maybe she could explain it all, if he could just keep his attention gathered in this place long enough.

        “Where am I really, butterfly girl?” he began “I’m dreaming that I’m in the temple of D’zeron, I’m dreaming of you, --you’re a dream sprite designed to heal me, aren’t you?--but where do I really lie sleeping? Am I dying? Is Harris alright?”

          She returned his questioning gaze with a sweet, affectionate smile, and perch on the edge of his bed. He pulled away, careful not to touch her. He wanted to touch her, to see if she would fade away, and –well--- he just wanted to touch her. He didn’t because he felt quite sure she would disappear, or turn into a monster, and he wanted her to stay even more than he wanted to know if she was real. 

          Should I just enjoy this dream and take comfort in it? If they created a dream world to heal me why strive against it?  don’t know what happened but I know I need to heal. I should work together with the dream healer.

        “You are not dreaming or dying, at least for now, Jason Scott-Harris. This is the temple of D’zeron. You were ill, but you are better now. Harris is with Chathalen. They’ll be here soon. They’ll be very happy you’re awake.” 

        Chathalen. My nephew; Tersh’s son. Of course; .the man who was sewing my face.

        Serai smiled sweetly and touched his face, sending shivers through him, and unexpected longing. She felt very real. 

      “Your fever is down. Here, drink this now. Let me help you.” 

      She rose and helped his sit up, her arm around his shoulders, Her warm breath and loose brown curls brushing softly against his face. She sat close beside him, holding him. For a moment, his vision darkened and he thought he would pass out again, but Serai the dream sprite kept calling him back, steadying him. The warmth of her body so close to his, the smooth silk of her dress against his bare skin, her hands strong but gentle on his shoulders, all filled him with dizzying strange feelings, which both blended with and confronted the dizziness of moving to sit up. He passively cooperated, blushing, embarrassed and confused. 

        When he was finally able to gain his balance and, propped with pillows, hold himself upright, she handed him the cup. “You were so pale from loss of blood when they bought you, like you were carved from ivory. Your skin is still lighter than any D’zeron man but you are less pale now.” He met her gaze and tried to smile back but his face hurt too much. She grinned back, and he imagined she was holding back the impulse to hug him, though he couldn’t imagine why the dream healing sprite would have such feelings.

       He tried to will his head to stop hurting, stop spinning and his vision to clear, but they didn’t. Strange dream, not fully lucid; I can’t quite control it. Dreams are different here. He looked up at the patch of orange sky he could now see above the skylight, wondering, Does D’zeron have clear glass? So many questions he was looking forward to asking, as soon as he was well enough. He drank the thick, sweet liquid. It was unfamiliar, but pleasant, and warm. Serai seemed very pleased that he had consumed it, and that pleased him. He passed her the empty cup, feeling stronger, and she helped him lie back down, her gentle touch on his skin again confusing and embarrassing him.

         “Serai” He pronounced her name reverently. Her answering smile justified his reverence. “you are a beautiful dream sprite”

         “This is not a dream. Can you not tell the difference between dreams and waking? I’m sorry. You are still confused. You are awake but your mind is not yet healed. You must rest. Heal. Please. Go back to sleep now. You’ll be better soon.” She looked concerned.

         Could this be real? Even a skilled dreamer can dream that he’s not dreaming. Why does the dream-sprite lie to me? How would this deception help me heal? But I’ve never had a dream like this. I don’t even recognize the man with the bandaged face in the bed in D’zeron temple talking to the butterfly girl. Perhaps that man is a dream-sprite also.   

       “When I lived in Florida I had a dream about a butterfly girl,” he told her. “dreams are different here.”

        “Harris told us of your dreams.” 

         He frowned. It hurt, but not as much as smiling. Why would Harris share something so personal with strangers? He gazed up at her, Beautiful, Magical. He grinned painfully in spite of himself. How could Harris not? She was a perfect butterfly girl, taking care of him, feeding him, helping him not to die. 

       This isn’t a dream. 

       He laughed. “I’m not dreaming, am I, Serai? There really is a butterfly girl in D’zeron. You’re not a dream sprite, you’re just a healer, like Chathalen.” 

        “I am a weaver. I raise fiber-producing animals. Sheep, rabbits, butterflies, spiders…”

        “But you took care of me? Why?”

        “You are my husband.”

        “Your husband? No.” He stared in wide-eyed disbelief then turned his eyes away. “Surely this is just a dream.” He whispered sadly. 

        Taking hold of his hands and kneeling beside the bed, placing herself into his field of vision, she smiled reassuringly. “Jason, my love, you killed a wildcat and gave the honor to me as your kinsman because you were still too sick to honor her remains. We will be married in the village meeting as soon as you are well enough. After your trial for endangering the village. But the marriage is legal as soon as we both agree. This is not a dream.”

        “I’m to be tried for endangering D’zeron, and then get married?” 

        “Right. D’zeron loves you, It’s just a formality, there’s nothing to fear.” She leaned over him, gently touching his face. “You are even more beautiful awake.” She watched him with silently awe, leaving him to his own thoughts for a moment.

         Jason stared past her at the grey stone ceiling not knowing what to say or what to think. Prophetic dreams can bring themselves to life by changing our choices. Reality and memory spun around him. The consequence of my fantasies. He closed his eyes, and still spun. He tried to reach for the wall to stop the spinning, but she was holding on to his hands. The gentle warmth of her firm grip steadied him, and he tightened his grasp around her hands. He had imagined and dreamed of arriving in D’zeron many different ways. Never like this: confused, unconscious, and….already married to the butterfly girl?

        How did I come to this? he tried to remember.

        A video-call from Alexandreil. Excitement, apprehension, anticipation. EarthStation Mexico, HomeStation, the Marrion Jay. 3 months in space, 3 days in Jai-ten, Fire-serpents on the dream plane. Marrisyl and the forest, the river with Harris. 

      Harris was better that night but the scratches were infected and I knew the fever was rising. I was hoping to arrive before he realized how sick I was, so he wouldn’t be afraid.

        Extricating his hand from hers, he examined the bandages on his chest, and then his face.  “That kitten’s mother scratched my face, and Chathalen sewed me up, by the river, In the forest, right?” 

         “Yes.” she replied, gently pulling his hand away from the wound “You were lucky. Her claws missed your eye, and Harris cleaned your wounds well before Chathalen arrived. You taught him well, and he learned well. You will have an honor scar. I will make sure the village knows you are an honorable man.”

         Honor scars were scars received in saving someone’s life. In D’zeron, they gave you great status as a hunter. “What makes you think I am an honorable man?” Am I honorable? have I endangered D’zeron?

          “Harris gives you honor.” She stated with absolute certainty.

          He smiled painfully. Harris. Maybe that was reason enough. The kitten was chasing shadows by the door, it’s pale brown fur patterned in black like the shadows of the forest. Jason remembered razor sharp claws slicing through his skin on the beach by the waterfall. Those wounds still burned. The Mother cat would have been terrifying and beautiful. “Why did I kill her?” 

       “She left no choice. If not for you Harris would have died. If not for Harris and Chathalen, you would have died with her. She lives on in our family. You honored her life by giving her remains to me as a marriage token. I have cared for your kitten, and for you. 

         I am married, because I killed a wildcat to protect Harris? What kind of law is this?  Jonathan didn’t warn me; not that it would have helped. 

       With a surge of homesickness, Jason imagined Jonathan laughing about his situation. “Serai, I’m sorry. You are beautiful, and very kind,” 

       I want you. I want you as I’ve never wanted anyone before. 

       Seeing her clearly for the first time, he realized that he remembered lying delirious, not knowing who or where he was, and she was laying on the bed beside him, her arms around him, her body close and warm, comforting him in the darkness. She had been there, holding him close. Coaxing him to eat, to drink, to live, and… to give her children? No…that couldn’t be right. 

      “I am not your husband Serai. I don’t even know you. I’m not ready for marriage. Marriage is a serious commitment.” 

       Even delirious, no matter how desperately I wanted you and even though you are a butterfly girl, I wouldn’t agree to marry a complete stranger, would I? 

        Serai was unperturbed “Harris and Chathalen told me you would say this.” 

        They stared at each other silently, hands still clasped together. 

        “Your brother said I would have to seduce you. He said it might take time. I told him he might underestimate my skills at seduction,” she stated matter-of-factly.

         “Harris?”

         She nodded

         “So he’s alright?”

         She returned his smile. “You love him as much as he loves you. You are honorable brothers. I am honored to your wife”

        “You are not my wife, butterfly girl.”

        Her enthusiasm dimmed only slightly. She flowed towards him like multicolored liquid, her silk dress pooling on the edge of the bed, her warmth and his awareness of her warmth and his desire for her rising as she approached, intoxicating as her body touched his even through the blanket and her clothes.  Terror and joy rose within him as one, but above all that, passion, as she leaned down over him. I should pull away, escape from her, this isn’t supposed to be happening. Yet he couldn’t bring himself to do anything but receive the ecstasy of her touch, melt into the pool of colorful liquid that was her. She lay down close beside him. She kissed him, and he received her passively. Nothing existed in the world but her warmth and his desire. I am still delirious. This is not real. Dreams have no consequences.

         Chathalen’s voice in the doorway brought him back to the surface of that rainbow pool, woke him from that dream much sooner than he would have liked. “That’s quite enough Serai. He is seriously injured and still needs to heal. You promised you would come get me if he awakened.”

         She rose, pouting “He had questions. What could I do?”

         “You could do as I asked and come get me so we could answer his questions together in less stressful ways.”

        “Welcome back, little brother.” Harris grinned, ducking to enter the much too low doorway behind Chathalen, with Marrisyl clinging to his shoulder.

        “My husband is stronger than you realize, Chathalen.” Serai replied defiantly, sitting close beside Jason, holding his hands.

       Chathalen stepped forward to observe his patient. “He is awake much sooner than I expected and he looks much better. You have done well, Serai. But he’s still weak. He needs rest. There’ll be time enough for…” he gave her a knowing look  “…questions --when he’s better. Too much strange information won’t help him heal, and he’s no use to you if he dies.” [Jason reaction to this objectification by Chathalen]

       Her warmth withdrew quite suddenly, leaving Jason longing. 

      “He’s not dying.” Said Serai. 

       Marrisyl began chattering warnings as the kitten emerged from a dark corner in pursuit of Serai.

       “If he died, that would be terrible for you, wouldn’t it, Chathalen honey?” She wrapped herself amorously around the tall young healer. “Because I would be all your problem again.” Chathalen recoiled, trying in vain to push her away. She melted through his arms, both in approach and in retreat, and left him shivering as if trying to shake the memory of her from his body. [Jason’s emotional reaction to this…terror? he’s jealous of Chathalen, suspicious of Serai being not that interested in him, just manipulating him.]Serai gave Harris a quick hug, which he returned affectionately, and she walked out the door without looking back.

      Jason gave up trying to sort his feelings and lay back on the bed in total exhaustion.    

      Harris laughed.

      “Serai!” Chathalen glared after her and she turned back smiling innocently.

        A brief silent conversation passed between them, as If they had links. Returning sheepishly, she leaned over Jason, touching his hand. Exhausted and confused he gazed up at her expressionless with tears in his eyes. Her touch was gentle and soothing, though still warm and He remembered her lying warm beside him, holding him, comforting him. He wanted her. He missed her.

         “I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you. Chathalen is right. I will try not to rush you. I have to leave now but I’ll be back whenever you want me.” He tried to hold on but she dissolved through his still weak fingers and in a swirl of rainbow silk she was gone. He shivered.

          “Don’t worry, Jason. Serai teases me like that all the time, just because she knows how much it annoys me, because she knows I would never choose her.” Chathalen reassured him, speaking in English now. “She’ll be a faithful wife to you. She was very loyal to her first husband.” 

        “She’s been married before? She doesn’t seem old enough.”

        “She married young; he died soon after. She’s been desperately lonely, but until now there was no one she wanted. So she flirts with any man she knows for certain doesn’t want her. She knows I am promised to Allissa, so she bothers me more than anyone. It’s good she has finally chosen to marry again.” 

       “So you’ve kept me alive just to keep Serai from annoying you?”  I am a pawn in everyone else’s game, with my next move already decided.  “What if I don’t want to be married?”

      Chathalen and Harris exchanged worried glances, and Chathalen continued.

      “Then you won’t. But give her fair consideration, Jason. Once set into motion some things cannot be turned back. Maybe you can step out of the current of the river of your destiny, but it’s eddies will throw you against the rocks, and eventually you will tire and lose faith and be swept back into the current, battered and bruised.”

        Jason wrapped his arms around his bandaged chest. “Am I not tired and bruised enough for you yet?”

        “I apologize, Jason Scott-Harris. I was negligent as a healer to subject you to such a traumatic awakening. Most men recover better in the care of a loved one, Serai is very skilled, and diligent in caring for you. You took comfort in her company while you slept. But I would not have left you alone with her this morning if I thought you would awaken. Please allow me to correct my mistake. 

        “I wouldn’t say traumatic.” Memory of the warmth the light the scent the taste of her owned him for a moment and lit his countenance. “Merely confusing.”

       Chathalen smiled and sat down on the edge of the bed. “Good. Let’s start over.” He held out his hand to Jason in what he understood to be the gesture of introduction for Americans. “I am Chathalen, son of Tersh, Healer of D’zeron.”

        Jason shook hands tentatively. “You’re my nephew.”

        Chathalen nodded “Harris has told us about your journey. You have been unconscious and fevered twelve days. You have several deep scratches on your face, which should leave you with a quite impressive honor scar. You bumped your head quite hard when the wildcat fell. That seems to have healed. Infection from the older scratches on your chest caused your fever. But you already knew that part, didn’t you?” He touched Jason’s face “And the fever seems to have passed now. How do you feel?” 

        Jason examined his face with his hand again, struggling to think clearly enough to comprehend the implications of Chathalen’s words. An honor scar. The bandage was uncomfortable, and the cuts hurt more each time someone directed his attention to them. He tried to sit up, but the motion made his head spin.

        “I’m okay, I guess. Very tired. Sore. A little dizzy. Very confused. 

        “You killed a wildcat. Do you remember that?”

        He shook his head, and the world spun. “Serai told me. Everything is a bit of a blur.” 

        “I’d be surprised if you did remember clearly, but we were not sure what to expect from an alien. Rest now. Next time you wake we’ll talk more and I’ll check your wounds.”


from Graphinc novel Jason wakes upEdit

Serai, with the cat following, walks into Jason’s room carrying the smoothie. He’s still asleep. She sits DOwn on the floor patiently. the kitten just jumps onto Jason’s bed and licks his face, because the kitten know he is to blame for Jason’s illness. and then later on JASon gets alot better than what he was last night so he wakes up. 

Serai says “you’re awake!” she jumps to her feet and Rushes towards him.

Jason is startled, He tries to scoot away and Yells “Stay away from me! Who are you?” he looks around him. “where am I?” 

“You’re in Dzeron. in the temple. I’m Serai. the butterfly girl. I brought you food” she held out the cup of smoothy towards him. kitten snuggles up to him as if trying to comfort him. 

Chathalen walks in the room and says “why didn’t you tell us he was awake?” and she says, I didn’t have time to tell you he only woke up a minute ago. and he had questions.I couldn’t ignore them. 

JAson looks at the catm pets it instinctively. says “hey, you’re the kitten from the beach by the watterfall. how did you get here? 

Kitten crawls into Jasons lap and curls up, purring. 

“ we brought him with us because he could not survive in the wild without his mother after you killed her, and the other cats would have been angry if we had let him starve.”

jason looks at CHathalen, like he was confused. 

“you probably don’t remember much ‘ says CHathalen. “what’s the last thing you remember? 

“harris?” Jason looks arround the room, questioningly. 

“he’s sleeping, he’ll be in soon I’m sure.” explained CHathalen. so, what’s the last thing you remember? YOu mentioned the beach by the waterfall. do you remember anything after that.?”

we traveled up the river. I was starting to get sick, I was worried about Harris.” 

“do you remember the mother wildcat?” 

no, the kitten was alone, I was catching fish for it, it seemed hungry.” he looks arround the room, sees Marrysil perching on a shelf. He smiles. “Marysyl” she catters down at him and the cat hisses back. Jason moved the cat aside, and then CHathalen picks up the cat. and takes it outside, sutting the door behind it. 

marrysil flies down to Jason. 

Jason remembers...I saved her from that kitten, the kitten scratched us both. my scratches were starting to get infected and I had a fever, that second night on the river. I don’t remember much after that, I guess.”

He looks at chathalen, feels the scratches on his face. “what happened?”

“if you don’t remember, we don’t know exactly, but as neer as we can figure, the kittens mother tried to eat Harris and you stuck a long stick in her mouth as she atacked, and basicaly she killed herself.  but the village hunters consider that you killed her, so you are a hero to them now. 

He stares unbeleiving. 

and you chose me to perform the ritual for the dead wildcat, so I am your wife now. says Serai, she tries to aproach him but Chathalen hold her back. jason stares at CHathalen WHAT???!”

CHathalen glares at Serai. “Serai, stop. you are not helping. give him time. I think you should leave us now.” 

“no protests Serai. chathalen turns to Jason “do you want her to stay, Jason?” 

“no” says Jason

oky then, says Serai, sadly. she looks at chathalen”ell me when I can come back.; 

oh and he’s his food. he should eat, now that he’s awake.” 

she leaves. she goes home. 

she meets Harris on her way out. what’s up asked Harris. “He’s awake said serai, but Chathalen made me leave. 

I’m sorry, said Harris. we’ll come get you soon.”

Harris goes in. He grins at Jason, Harris walks over to Jason and says “hi”He hugs Jason, Jason does not hug back. “I’m glad you’re ok I was kind of worried about you.” 

and Jason gives him a strange look. and goes “harris?” [Questioning like is that really you harris] but then 

“It’s evening.” Chathalen says. “You should rest. you should drink this, he holds out the smoothy--and then you should rest. you’re not well yet. we’ll explain everything in the morning. ok? “

“Ok” says Jason. he drinks the smoothy and goes to sleep. 

Serai goes to watch the moon rise before she goes home. 

She’s lost in thought as she walks to the high cliff, she does not notice that Tersh is following behind her. 

then Serai goes home, tersh stays behind at the cliff. Serai never notices that he was following her.

Chathalen talks with JasonEdit

    “Jason? Wake up. Time to eat.” he felt someone shaking him gently. “Hey--Jason?”

     “Harris” Jason opened his eyes and sat up so suddenly that Harris had to catch him, to keep their heads from crashing together. They embraced tightly for a moment, and when they let go, Jason had tears in his eyes, realizing he hadn’t really even greeted Harris since he regained consciousness. “Harris…” he couldn’t find the words for his feelings, though his mind was much clearer now.

     “I know Jedi Jason, I’ve missed you too.” 

     Jason smiled back silently and looked around, to Chathalen, standing beside the bed, and to the door…

     “She’s not here.” Chathalen explained impassively. “She went home to take care of her animals and her apprentices. She does have other responsibilities, which she needs to get back to. But she prepared food for you, which we have brought, and she’s anxiously awaiting whatever news we will bring of you, especially if it includes your agreement to marry her, or at least to let her visit.”  

      “Thank you”

      “How are you feeling?”

      “Hungry.” Jason replied, grinning, “what did you bring me?’ His face still hurt but he didn’t care, he grinned anyhow.

      “Good. You couldn’t eat much unconscious. Serai made liquid food, the sort of stuff she would feel to baby animals, I guess, and got you to drink it. Serai can convince a man to do anything, even if he’s almost dead. 

      “Anything except to convice you to marry her?” 

       Chathalen replied with exasparation, “Are You still worried about that? Don’t be. you’re the only one she ever really wanted. She does that all the time and she knows how much I hate it. That one was probably for you, hoping it would make you jealous or something. Serai, for all her sincere concern, can be rather mean sometimes. Whatever it takes to get her way.”

      “It worked I guess.”

      “Are you ready to marry her then?”

      “No. I wasn’t saying that, just…” He blushed, and turned back to Harris. They both giggled, 

       “ Okay, boys, if we’re just going to act like silly children, I’ll leave you to it. I have no patience for that and I have lots of other things I ought to be doing. Here.” Chathalen said sternly, as he handed the food basket to Harris, then turned to Jason. “Eat what you can. You need food to get your strength back. You don’t have to eat it all at once. 

        “Harris, I’ll be in the library. Come get me when he’s done eating, and when you’re all done being silly.’

     

        With that Chathalen left. Harris and Jason both watched silently until he was out of sight, and then dissolved into childish giggling again. 

      “Chathalen, for all his healing skill,” began Harris, imitating Chathalen’s voice perfectly, “and all his loyalty to D’zeron, He’s still an angry young man with no patience. He can be sort of mean sometimes.” Then he continued in his own voice, sadly. “I love that kid, Jason, he tries so hard, and his destiny hasn’t been easy. I hope in the end he gets what he wants.”

       “What does he want?” 

      “Allissa. And a normal life. Not an easy combination.” replied Harris, and then he grabbed Jason and hugged him tight again. “I’m so glad you’re back, Jason.”

      Then they sat back and just stared at each other for a time. 

       Jason broke the silence “So, here we are in D’zeron. We made it. What next? Are you going home soon?”

      “I did contact Sen’tran shortly after we arrived, and let him know we were here. I was so scared, Jason. I thought you were going to die, and Chathalen thought it was pretty likely, too, but he still wouldn’t let me contact Sen’tran, until he knew I wouldn’t ask him to come heal you.”

      “And he was right. I didn’t need Sen’tran. I’m okay now.”

      “ I know. But if you had died here, when we could easily have saved you…”

      “Don’t talk like that Harris. I’m fine, see.” Jason stood up, and wrapped the blanket around himself like a toga. “I’m find except I haven’t been given any clothing other than bandages”

       “Hey! Where are you going? Sit down and eat before Chathalen yells at me for not feeding you.

     

 **** describe the food**** D’zeron food would include small amounts of meat, preserved in ways which do not take refrigeration. meat of small animals more than larger animals. fresh water fish and shellfish, forest plants, water plants, milk, flowers seeds leaves and roots. they might have things like simple and spoons, forks [perhaps with two tines] carved of wood bamboo, other plant materials such as seedpods,  they have ceramics, perhaps including glass? [could they have glass and not have metal?]

they would probably use flatbread, like torillias. they would cook over fire. a lot of their food would be eaten raw this time of year. They might use some sort of bioluminescence for light? it could also be wove into the cloth. 

He felt stronger, and less dizzy but still unsteady. 

  

         ***Harris tells him the story breifly as it happened, after the night on the river, which he remembers going to bed. Harris would have been sleeping close to him, and fully aware how sick he was, but not talking about it because he was aware Jason did not want to talk about it. [Jason did not want to talk because he was afraid to scare Harris, but he was scaring Harris by not talking, and by having a fever. He does not realize how much medical knowledge Harris has.] 

Jason is feeling much better, and Harris takes him to walk around the temple a little bit, perhaps even outside a little, and then Chathalen comes and gets them and takes him back to bed, telling him not to do too much too soon.

 Chathalen adds a few comments from the time when Harris contacts him, and when he arrived to help take care of Jason. (I’ll detail here only whatever part I don’t detail as it is happening, and just what is needed to Show Jason’s feelings about the events he experienced but doesn’t remember) ***

        “We are part of Zair Thaleil,” explained Chathalen “One community of life. To her you were not of the village, not of the forest, perhaps a threat, or simply easy prey for a desperately ill mother hoping to feed her child. We brought you here because D’neira had already welcomed you as my kinsman. You belong to D’zeron now. We will answer for your actions.”

         The healer’s physical resemblance to Jonathan was comforting and familiar --My Nephew. Jonathan’s grandson-- but that familiarity also made Jason homesick; he desperately wanted to tell Jonathan about Chathalen. And to tell his mother about Serai. [I need to detail all of D’zeron culture and technology before writing this part, because this would be his introduction to it so it must be full of wonderful exotic discoveries, which will thrill excite and sometimes scar him, put him off balance, and fulfil his longing to see this place, after what he has learned from Jonathan and cause increased stress of culture shock in unexpected ways]

{to what degree is Jason aware of how rude it is to speak of social things and would he know it is allowed in the temple, or would some of their conversations confuse him? to what degree has he warned Harris about D’zeron customs?

       “Serai said I am to be tried [find a better word] for endangering the village.”

       “Our children forage in the forest. These cats are the most dangerous creatures in Zair Thaleil.[explain why, includg something about them being more sentiant than other creatures, vague referances to their dreaming ability, which is considered a higher level of sentience, But CHathael would not tell Jason this in a way that he understood, so Jason would still ot realize kitten could dream until he dreams with Kitten and Serai] Our alliance has always been tentative. They will be wary of us for a time because of this, so we must be wary of them until we have proved we mean them no harm. This is a serious transgression, it will endanger children, and slow down out foraging, because the children will have to take adults with them to protect them while foraging and adults cannot travel as fast as children in the trees.”

        “I bet Jason can, he’s really good with trees.” suggested Harris. 

         Jason laughed. “Probably not as good as D’zeron children , but I’d like to try.” 

         “I hope Harris is right about you Jason.” said Chathalen “Allissa was our best forager, and since she’s been gone a few weeks, we were already getting behind, without this extra need for caution. We could use your help. Your presence with the foragers would ease the minds of the parents greatly. Most of the foragers are children of the hunters clan, and the hunters Clan has great respect for you.”

      “so I could prove myself to the village this way? And they would no longer condemn me for endangering the children?”

      The village will not condemn you. You killed with honor, in defense of your brother. The village hails you as a hero. All who have come to know you speak in your favor. But there is still the matter of your marriage. You will dishonor yourself and Serai in the eyes of the people if you break this commitment. Especially in the eyes of the hunters, who claim you as part of their clan.”

        “How can I break a commitment I never made? I never agreed to this marriage.”

        “We understand. D’neira, and Harris and myself all witnessed that your choosing of Serai was accidental. But in the hearts of the hunters, you are bound. When we kill, we honor life by preserving or consuming the remains of our victim or returning them to the forest with respect for the life lost. The cerimony is closely related to the farmers spring ritual of the burning of the roots, where the stubble of the last years crops are burned to free the ground for the new crops”

       “I am aware of these customs. I would have done it [what exactly? describe his idea of it here] if I could. How can a marriage honor the dead?”

       “By bring forth new lives” Harris laughed, and Chathalen glared at him irritably

       “No. It isn’t like that. Don’t confuse the matter Harris”. 

       Harris leaned against the wall by the door and stroked Marrisyl’s fluffy tail, looking down at the floor. 

        Chathalen continued. “You could not perform the ritual, nor could your brother. I needed to tend your wounds and Tersh neither knows or respects hunting rituals. When a hunter gives his honorable conquest to another hunter it is a very serious declaration of respect and kinship; they share the honor of the kill. These wildcats are the most formidable creatures in the forest, but it is rare very for a wildcat to be killed honorably because they rarely attack, and they are highly sentient. We do not kill them unless we have to. Yours was the first to be killed in this generation. To kill in defense of another is the highest honor.”

        Jason ran his fingers nervously along the edge of the bandage an honor scar. I never expected to be a hunter in D’zeron.

        “The hunters insisted your choice must be freely made, and Harris agreed you would want to choose for yourself. But you were unconscious. While we discussed this with the hunters, you woke. Do you remember?”

       “Not clearly, but I can imagine. I realized I was in D’zeron and said something about a butterfly girl. They thought I meant Serai because her name means butterfly.” 

       Harris grinned. “That’s exactly right Jason. You found your dream girl.” 

       “Or she found you,” Chathalen nodded solemnly. “When you said her name, Harris told us about your dream, but many people were gathered, mostly hunters, and few speak English. There was no time to explain or to think it through. Someone had to take care of the creature’s remains and your kitten, and someone had to take care of you. Serai was capable and willing. She raises animals so she knows how to respect the dead and care for orphans. Everyone wanted to help, but even more we wanted Serai to have a husband, even an unknown alien, or especially the beautiful young hero she likes so much, who stood bravely against a wildcat three times his size to protect his sleeping brother. 

      Jason tried to interrupt but Chathalen stopped him and went on. 

     “You fear we will make you do this against your will because it is best for the village. You fear that we aren’t considering you needs or feelings. This is not so, Jason. You are part of our community.”

       “I am?”

        “Harming you would harm us all, and helping you helps us all. Serai knew your proposal was not intentional but she wanted you to live. She honored your wildcat to help you live, not to obligate your marriage. She took care of your kitten, because she cared about the kitten. She took care of you, because she cared about you. She’s been a good wife to you, Jason. I know you haven’t chosen her yet, but Serai has set her heart on you and cared for you lovingly for many days.” 

         “I know. I don’t remember much, but what I do remember is mostly Serai and Harris trying to get me to eat.”

         “Good. Than you understand how much she loves you. We did not allow her to help with the more intimate tasks, but she fed you and held you while you slept, like mothering a sick child. Taking care of someone in this way creates a bond.”

         Being taken care of does also.

        “She’s very emotional and whimsical sometimes, as you have seen, a little bit inconsiderate sometimes, but she has her greatness. She is strong and determined when she sets her heart on something. She’s also a spontaneous dreamer, as my mother was.”

        “A spontaneous dreamer?”

        “She has the ability to enter the dream plane like those who are of dream keeper linage, but she has no such linage, so she’ll never become a dream keeper, and never be allowed to use that ability. An intelligent, educated husband who could share dreams with her would be a great blessing. Choose her and she’ll be a devoted wife, and you will keep your status in the hunter’s clan; break your bond and she’ll be very disappointed, and so will the hunters.” He let the weight of Serai’s disappointment settle heavily on Jason before adding “However, she’s survived many other disappointments; the deaths of her parents, her mentor and her husband. She’ll be ok.”

       The thought of disappointing Serai horrified Jason almost as much as knowing the village of D’zeron was determined to see him married at the next village meeting. He wanted to protect her; to take care of her as she had taken care of him. He wanted to end her loneliness, to never leave her, to heal her grieving. But more than all of that, he just wanted her. 

       This is wrong. Things like this don’t happen, especially not to me. This must be a dream. Some strange D’zeron type of dream my dad didn’t know about. “Where is she?”

       “She’s gone home to take care of her animals, remember? Rest now. Don’t worry; this doesn’t need to be answered right away. We’ve told her to stay away until you are ready to see her. Give yourself time to heal.”

         His words filled Jason with desperate longing to see her again. And more than just to see her. Any mention of Serai submerged him in feelings much larger and more powerful than himself. He was grateful to be given time apart from her to clear his thoughts. But he missed her painfully when she was gone.

        I am losing myself in her. I can’t let this happen. I have to hold onto who I was, who I really am. I can’t marry a woman I don’t know. This isn’t who I am. Was it like this for Jonathan and Sh’harra? Jonathan hadn’t shared many details about his marriage. Jason had never asked. Marriage never interested him.

           Chathalen rose, gathering up the dishes from Jason’s meal.  “I’ll leave you. your brother will find me if you need anything, or when you are ready to see Serai. You should rest. Let him rest Harris.” 

Harris and Jason talkEdit

    “Jason? Wake up. Time to eat.” he felt someone shaking him gently. “Hey--Jason?”

     “Harris” Jason opened his eyes and sat up so suddenly that Harris had to catch him, to keep their heads from crashing together. They embraced tightly for a moment, and when they let go, Jason had tears in his eyes, realizing he hadn’t really even greeted Harris since he regained consciousness. “Harris…” he couldn’t find the words for his feelings, though his mind was much clearer now.

     “I know Jedi Jason, I’ve missed you too.” 

     Jason smiled back silently and looked around, to Chathalen, standing beside the bed, and to the door…

     “She’s not here.” Chathalen explained impassively. “She went home to take care of her animals and her apprentices. She does have other responsibilities, which she needs to get back to. But she prepared food for you, which we have brought, and she’s anxiously awaiting whatever news we will bring of you, especially if it includes your agreement to marry her, or at least to let her visit.”  

      “Thank you”

      “How are you feeling?”

      “Hungry.” Jason replied, grinning, “what did you bring me?’ His face still hurt but he didn’t care, he grinned anyhow.

      “Good. You couldn’t eat much unconscious. Serai made liquid food, the sort of stuff she would feel to baby animals, I guess, and got you to drink it. Serai can convince a man to do anything, even if he’s almost dead. 

      “Anything except to convice you to marry her?” 

       Chathalen replied with exasparation, “Are You still worried about that? Don’t be. you’re the only one she ever really wanted. She does that all the time and she knows how much I hate it. That one was probably for you, hoping it would make you jealous or something. Serai, for all her sincere concern, can be rather mean sometimes. Whatever it takes to get her way.”

      “It worked I guess.”

      “Are you ready to marry her then?”

      “No. I wasn’t saying that, just…” He blushed, and turned back to Harris. They both giggled, 

       “ Okay, boys, if we’re just going to act like silly children, I’ll leave you to it. I have no patience for that and I have lots of other things I ought to be doing. Here.” Chathalen said sternly, as he handed the food basket to Harris, then turned to Jason. “Eat what you can. You need food to get your strength back. You don’t have to eat it all at once. 

        “Harris, I’ll be in the library. Come get me when he’s done eating, and when you’re all done being silly.’

     

        With that Chathalen left. Harris and Jason both watched silently until he was out of sight, and then dissolved into childish giggling again. 

      “Chathalen, for all his healing skill,” began Harris, imitating Chathalen’s voice perfectly, “and all his loyalty to D’zeron, He’s still an angry young man with no patience. He can be sort of mean sometimes.” Then he continued in his own voice, sadly. “I love that kid, Jason, he tries so hard, and his destiny hasn’t been easy. I hope in the end he gets what he wants.”

       “What does he want?” 

      “Allissa. And a normal life. Not an easy combination.” replied Harris, and then he grabbed Jason and hugged him tight again. “I’m so glad you’re back, Jason.”

      Then they sat back and just stared at each other for a time. 

       Jason broke the silence “So, here we are in D’zeron. We made it. What next? Are you going home soon?”

      “I did contact Sen’tran shortly after we arrived, and let him know we were here. I was so scared, Jason. I thought you were going to die, and Chathalen thought it was pretty likely, too, but he still wouldn’t let me contact Sen’tran, until he knew I wouldn’t ask him to come heal you.”

      “And he was right. I didn’t need Sen’tran. I’m okay now.”

      “ I know. But if you had died here, when we could easily have saved you…”

      “Don’t talk like that Harris. I’m fine, see.” Jason stood up, and wrapped the blanket around himself like a toga. “I’m find except I haven’t been given any clothing other than bandages”

       “Hey! Where are you going? Sit down and eat before Chathalen yells at me for not feeding you.

     

 **** describe the food**** D’zeron food would include small amounts of meat, preserved in ways which do not take refrigeration. meat of small animals more than larger animals. fresh water fish and shellfish, forest plants, water plants, milk, flowers seeds leaves and roots. they might have things like simple and spoons, forks [perhaps with two tines] carved of wood bamboo, other plant materials such as seedpods,  they have ceramics, perhaps including glass? [could they have glass and not have metal?]

they would probably use flatbread, like torillias. they would cook over fire. a lot of their food would be eaten raw this time of year. They might use some sort of bioluminescence for light? it could also be wove into the cloth. 

He felt stronger, and less dizzy but still unsteady. 

  

         ***Harris tells him the story breifly as it happened, after the night on the river, which he remembers going to bed. Harris would have been sleeping close to him, and fully aware how sick he was, but not talking about it because he was aware Jason did not want to talk about it. [Jason did not want to talk because he was afraid to scare Harris, but he was scaring Harris by not talking, and by having a fever. He does not realize how much medical knowledge Harris has.] 

Jason is feeling much better, and Harris takes him to walk around the temple a little bit, perhaps even outside a little, and then Chathalen comes and gets them and takes him back to bed, telling him not to do too much too soon.

 Chathalen adds a few comments from the time when Harris contacts him, and when he arrived to help take care of Jason. (I’ll detail here only whatever part I don’t detail as it is happening, and just what is needed to Show Jason’s feelings about the events he experienced but doesn’t remember) ***

        “We are part of Zair Thaleil,” explained Chathalen “One community of life. To her you were not of the village, not of the forest, perhaps a threat, or simply easy prey for a desperately ill mother hoping to feed her child. We brought you here because D’neira had already welcomed you as my kinsman. You belong to D’zeron now. We will answer for your actions.”

         The healer’s physical resemblance to Jonathan was comforting and familiar --My Nephew. Jonathan’s grandson-- but that familiarity also made Jason homesick; he desperately wanted to tell Jonathan about Chathalen. And to tell his mother about Serai. [I need to detail all of D’zeron culture and technology before writing this part, because this would be his introduction to it so it must be full of wonderful exotic discoveries, which will thrill excite and sometimes scar him, put him off balance, and fulfil his longing to see this place, after what he has learned from Jonathan and cause increased stress of culture shock in unexpected ways]

{to what degree is Jason aware of how rude it is to speak of social things and would he know it is allowed in the temple, or would some of their conversations confuse him? to what degree has he warned Harris about D’zeron customs?

       “Serai said I am to be tried [find a better word] for endangering the village.”

       “Our children forage in the forest. These cats are the most dangerous creatures in Zair Thaleil.[explain why, includg something about them being more sentiant than other creatures, vague referances to their dreaming ability, which is considered a higher level of sentience, But CHathael would not tell Jason this in a way that he understood, so Jason would still ot realize kitten could dream until he dreams with Kitten and Serai] Our alliance has always been tentative. They will be wary of us for a time because of this, so we must be wary of them until we have proved we mean them no harm. This is a serious transgression, it will endanger children, and slow down out foraging, because the children will have to take adults with them to protect them while foraging and adults cannot travel as fast as children in the trees.”

        “I bet Jason can, he’s really good with trees.” suggested Harris. 

         Jason laughed. “Probably not as good as D’zeron children , but I’d like to try.” 

         “I hope Harris is right about you Jason.” said Chathalen “Allissa was our best forager, and since she’s been gone a few weeks, we were already getting behind, without this extra need for caution. We could use your help. Your presence with the foragers would ease the minds of the parents greatly. Most of the foragers are children of the hunters clan, and the hunters Clan has great respect for you.”

      “so I could prove myself to the village this way? And they would no longer condemn me for endangering the children?”

      The village will not condemn you. You killed with honor, in defense of your brother. The village hails you as a hero. All who have come to know you speak in your favor. But there is still the matter of your marriage. You will dishonor yourself and Serai in the eyes of the people if you break this commitment. Especially in the eyes of the hunters, who claim you as part of their clan.”

        “How can I break a commitment I never made? I never agreed to this marriage.”

        “We understand. D’neira, and Harris and myself all witnessed that your choosing of Serai was accidental. But in the hearts of the hunters, you are bound. When we kill, we honor life by preserving or consuming the remains of our victim or returning them to the forest with respect for the life lost. The cerimony is closely related to the farmers spring ritual of the burning of the roots, where the stubble of the last years crops are burned to free the ground for the new crops”

       “I am aware of these customs. I would have done it [what exactly? describe his idea of it here] if I could. How can a marriage honor the dead?”

       “By bring forth new lives” Harris laughed, and Chathalen glared at him irritably

       “No. It isn’t like that. Don’t confuse the matter Harris”. 

       Harris leaned against the wall by the door and stroked Marrisyl’s fluffy tail, looking down at the floor. 

        Chathalen continued. “You could not perform the ritual, nor could your brother. I needed to tend your wounds and Tersh neither knows or respects hunting rituals. When a hunter gives his honorable conquest to another hunter it is a very serious declaration of respect and kinship; they share the honor of the kill. These wildcats are the most formidable creatures in the forest, but it is rare very for a wildcat to be killed honorably because they rarely attack, and they are highly sentient. We do not kill them unless we have to. Yours was the first to be killed in this generation. To kill in defense of another is the highest honor.”

        Jason ran his fingers nervously along the edge of the bandage an honor scar. I never expected to be a hunter in D’zeron.

        “The hunters insisted your choice must be freely made, and Harris agreed you would want to choose for yourself. But you were unconscious. While we discussed this with the hunters, you woke. Do you remember?”

       “Not clearly, but I can imagine. I realized I was in D’zeron and said something about a butterfly girl. They thought I meant Serai because her name means butterfly.” 

       Harris grinned. “That’s exactly right Jason. You found your dream girl.” 

       “Or she found you,” Chathalen nodded solemnly. “When you said her name, Harris told us about your dream, but many people were gathered, mostly hunters, and few speak English. There was no time to explain or to think it through. Someone had to take care of the creature’s remains and your kitten, and someone had to take care of you. Serai was capable and willing. She raises animals so she knows how to respect the dead and care for orphans. Everyone wanted to help, but even more we wanted Serai to have a husband, even an unknown alien, or especially the beautiful young hero she likes so much, who stood bravely against a wildcat three times his size to protect his sleeping brother. 

      Jason tried to interrupt but Chathalen stopped him and went on. 

     “You fear we will make you do this against your will because it is best for the village. You fear that we aren’t considering you needs or feelings. This is not so, Jason. You are part of our community.”

       “I am?”

        “Harming you would harm us all, and helping you helps us all. Serai knew your proposal was not intentional but she wanted you to live. She honored your wildcat to help you live, not to obligate your marriage. She took care of your kitten, because she cared about the kitten. She took care of you, because she cared about you. She’s been a good wife to you, Jason. I know you haven’t chosen her yet, but Serai has set her heart on you and cared for you lovingly for many days.” 

         “I know. I don’t remember much, but what I do remember is mostly Serai and Harris trying to get me to eat.”

         “Good. Than you understand how much she loves you. We did not allow her to help with the more intimate tasks, but she fed you and held you while you slept, like mothering a sick child. Taking care of someone in this way creates a bond.”

         Being taken care of does also.

        “She’s very emotional and whimsical sometimes, as you have seen, a little bit inconsiderate sometimes, but she has her greatness. She is strong and determined when she sets her heart on something. She’s also a spontaneous dreamer, as my mother was.”

        “A spontaneous dreamer?”

        “She has the ability to enter the dream plane like those who are of dream keeper linage, but she has no such linage, so she’ll never become a dream keeper, and never be allowed to use that ability. An intelligent, educated husband who could share dreams with her would be a great blessing. Choose her and she’ll be a devoted wife, and you will keep your status in the hunter’s clan; break your bond and she’ll be very disappointed, and so will the hunters.” He let the weight of Serai’s disappointment settle heavily on Jason before adding “However, she’s survived many other disappointments; the deaths of her parents, her mentor and her husband. She’ll be ok.”

       The thought of disappointing Serai horrified Jason almost as much as knowing the village of D’zeron was determined to see him married at the next village meeting. He wanted to protect her; to take care of her as she had taken care of him. He wanted to end her loneliness, to never leave her, to heal her grieving. But more than all of that, he just wanted her. 

       This is wrong. Things like this don’t happen, especially not to me. This must be a dream. Some strange D’zeron type of dream my dad didn’t know about. “Where is she?”

       “She’s gone home to take care of her animals, remember? Rest now. Don’t worry; this doesn’t need to be answered right away. We’ve told her to stay away until you are ready to see her. Give yourself time to heal.”

         His words filled Jason with desperate longing to see her again. And more than just to see her. Any mention of Serai submerged him in feelings much larger and more powerful than himself. He was grateful to be given time apart from her to clear his thoughts. But he missed her painfully when she was gone.

        I am losing myself in her. I can’t let this happen. I have to hold onto who I was, who I really am. I can’t marry a woman I don’t know. This isn’t who I am. Was it like this for Jonathan and Sh’harra? Jonathan hadn’t shared many details about his marriage. Jason had never asked. Marriage never interested him.

           Chathalen rose, gathering up the dishes from Jason’s meal.  “I’ll leave you with your brother again now. He’ll find me if you need anything, or when you are ready to see Serai. You should rest. Let him rest Harris.” 

Jason talks with CHathlen abt marriageEdit

    “Jason? Wake up. Time to eat.” he felt someone shaking him gently. “Hey--Jason?”

     “Harris” Jason opened his eyes and sat up so suddenly that Harris had to catch him, to keep their heads from crashing together. They embraced tightly for a moment, and when they let go, Jason had tears in his eyes, realizing he hadn’t really even greeted Harris since he regained consciousness. “Harris…” he couldn’t find the words for his feelings, though his mind was much clearer now.

     “I know Jedi Jason, I’ve missed you too.” 

     Jason smiled back silently and looked around, to Chathalen, standing beside the bed, and to the door…

     “She’s not here.” Chathalen explained impassively. “She went home to take care of her animals and her apprentices. She does have other responsibilities, which she needs to get back to. But she prepared food for you, which we have brought, and she’s anxiously awaiting whatever news we will bring of you, especially if it includes your agreement to marry her, or at least to let her visit.”  

      “Thank you”

      “How are you feeling?”

      “Hungry.” Jason replied, grinning, “what did you bring me?’ His face still hurt but he didn’t care, he grinned anyhow.

      “Good. You couldn’t eat much unconscious. Serai made liquid food, the sort of stuff she would feel to baby animals, I guess, and got you to drink it. Serai can convince a man to do anything, even if he’s almost dead. 

      “Anything except to convice you to marry her?” 

       Chathalen replied with exasparation, “Are You still worried about that? Don’t be. you’re the only one she ever really wanted. She does that all the time and she knows how much I hate it. That one was probably for you, hoping it would make you jealous or something. Serai, for all her sincere concern, can be rather mean sometimes. Whatever it takes to get her way.”

      “It worked I guess.”

      “Are you ready to marry her then?”

      “No. I wasn’t saying that, just…” He blushed, and turned back to Harris. They both giggled, 

       “ Okay, boys, if we’re just going to act like silly children, I’ll leave you to it. I have no patience for that and I have lots of other things I ought to be doing. Here.” Chathalen said sternly, as he handed the food basket to Harris, then turned to Jason. “Eat what you can. You need food to get your strength back. You don’t have to eat it all at once. 

        “Harris, I’ll be in the library. Come get me when he’s done eating, and when you’re all done being silly.’

     

        With that Chathalen left. Harris and Jason both watched silently until he was out of sight, and then dissolved into childish giggling again. 

      “Chathalen, for all his healing skill,” began Harris, imitating Chathalen’s voice perfectly, “and all his loyalty to D’zeron, He’s still an angry young man with no patience. He can be sort of mean sometimes.” Then he continued in his own voice, sadly. “I love that kid, Jason, he tries so hard, and his destiny hasn’t been easy. I hope in the end he gets what he wants.”

       “What does he want?” 

      “Allissa. And a normal life. Not an easy combination.” replied Harris, and then he grabbed Jason and hugged him tight again. “I’m so glad you’re back, Jason.”

      Then they sat back and just stared at each other for a time. 

       Jason broke the silence “So, here we are in D’zeron. We made it. What next? Are you going home soon?”

      “I did contact Sen’tran shortly after we arrived, and let him know we were here. I was so scared, Jason. I thought you were going to die, and Chathalen thought it was pretty likely, too, but he still wouldn’t let me contact Sen’tran, until he knew I wouldn’t ask him to come heal you.”

      “And he was right. I didn’t need Sen’tran. I’m okay now.”

      “ I know. But if you had died here, when we could easily have saved you…”

      “Don’t talk like that Harris. I’m fine, see.” Jason stood up, and wrapped the blanket around himself like a toga. “I’m find except I haven’t been given any clothing other than bandages”

       “Hey! Where are you going? Sit down and eat before Chathalen yells at me for not feeding you.

     

 **** describe the food**** D’zeron food would include small amounts of meat, preserved in ways which do not take refrigeration. meat of small animals more than larger animals. fresh water fish and shellfish, forest plants, water plants, milk, flowers seeds leaves and roots. they might have things like simple and spoons, forks [perhaps with two tines] carved of wood bamboo, other plant materials such as seedpods,  they have ceramics, perhaps including glass? [could they have glass and not have metal?]

they would probably use flatbread, like torillias. they would cook over fire. a lot of their food would be eaten raw this time of year. They might use some sort of bioluminescence for light? it could also be wove into the cloth. 

He felt stronger, and less dizzy but still unsteady. 

  

         ***Harris tells him the story breifly as it happened, after the night on the river, which he remembers going to bed. Harris would have been sleeping close to him, and fully aware how sick he was, but not talking about it because he was aware Jason did not want to talk about it. [Jason did not want to talk because he was afraid to scare Harris, but he was scaring Harris by not talking, and by having a fever. He does not realize how much medical knowledge Harris has.] 

Jason is feeling much better, and Harris takes him to walk around the temple a little bit, perhaps even outside a little, and then Chathalen comes and gets them and takes him back to bed, telling him not to do too much too soon.

 Chathalen adds a few comments from the time when Harris contacts him, and when he arrived to help take care of Jason. (I’ll detail here only whatever part I don’t detail as it is happening, and just what is needed to Show Jason’s feelings about the events he experienced but doesn’t remember) ***

        “We are part of Zair Thaleil,” explained Chathalen “One community of life. To her you were not of the village, not of the forest, perhaps a threat, or simply easy prey for a desperately ill mother hoping to feed her child. We brought you here because D’neira had already welcomed you as my kinsman. You belong to D’zeron now. We will answer for your actions.”

         The healer’s physical resemblance to Jonathan was comforting and familiar --My Nephew. Jonathan’s grandson-- but that familiarity also made Jason homesick; he desperately wanted to tell Jonathan about Chathalen. And to tell his mother about Serai. [I need to detail all of D’zeron culture and technology before writing this part, because this would be his introduction to it so it must be full of wonderful exotic discoveries, which will thrill excite and sometimes scar him, put him off balance, and fulfil his longing to see this place, after what he has learned from Jonathan and cause increased stress of culture shock in unexpected ways]

{to what degree is Jason aware of how rude it is to speak of social things and would he know it is allowed in the temple, or would some of their conversations confuse him? to what degree has he warned Harris about D’zeron customs?

       “Serai said I am to be tried [find a better word] for endangering the village.”

       “Our children forage in the forest. These cats are the most dangerous creatures in Zair Thaleil.[explain why, includg something about them being more sentiant than other creatures, vague referances to their dreaming ability, which is considered a higher level of sentience, But CHathael would not tell Jason this in a way that he understood, so Jason would still ot realize kitten could dream until he dreams with Kitten and Serai] Our alliance has always been tentative. They will be wary of us for a time because of this, so we must be wary of them until we have proved we mean them no harm. This is a serious transgression, it will endanger children, and slow down out foraging, because the children will have to take adults with them to protect them while foraging and adults cannot travel as fast as children in the trees.”

        “I bet Jason can, he’s really good with trees.” suggested Harris. 

         Jason laughed. “Probably not as good as D’zeron children , but I’d like to try.” 

         “I hope Harris is right about you Jason.” said Chathalen “Allissa was our best forager, and since she’s been gone a few weeks, we were already getting behind, without this extra need for caution. We could use your help. Your presence with the foragers would ease the minds of the parents greatly. Most of the foragers are children of the hunters clan, and the hunters Clan has great respect for you.”

      “so I could prove myself to the village this way? And they would no longer condemn me for endangering the children?”

      The village will not condemn you. You killed with honor, in defense of your brother. The village hails you as a hero. All who have come to know you speak in your favor. But there is still the matter of your marriage. You will dishonor yourself and Serai in the eyes of the people if you break this commitment. Especially in the eyes of the hunters, who claim you as part of their clan.”

        “How can I break a commitment I never made? I never agreed to this marriage.”

        “We understand. D’neira, and Harris and myself all witnessed that your choosing of Serai was accidental. But in the hearts of the hunters, you are bound. When we kill, we honor life by preserving or consuming the remains of our victim or returning them to the forest with respect for the life lost. The cerimony is closely related to the farmers spring ritual of the burning of the roots, where the stubble of the last years crops are burned to free the ground for the new crops”

       “I am aware of these customs. I would have done it [what exactly? describe his idea of it here] if I could. How can a marriage honor the dead?”

       “By bring forth new lives” Harris laughed, and Chathalen glared at him irritably

       “No. It isn’t like that. Don’t confuse the matter Harris”. 

       Harris leaned against the wall by the door and stroked Marrisyl’s fluffy tail, looking down at the floor. 

        Chathalen continued. “You could not perform the ritual, nor could your brother. I needed to tend your wounds and Tersh neither knows or respects hunting rituals. When a hunter gives his honorable conquest to another hunter it is a very serious declaration of respect and kinship; they share the honor of the kill. These wildcats are the most formidable creatures in the forest, but it is rare very for a wildcat to be killed honorably because they rarely attack, and they are highly sentient. We do not kill them unless we have to. Yours was the first to be killed in this generation. To kill in defense of another is the highest honor.”

        Jason ran his fingers nervously along the edge of the bandage an honor scar. I never expected to be a hunter in D’zeron.

        “The hunters insisted your choice must be freely made, and Harris agreed you would want to choose for yourself. But you were unconscious. While we discussed this with the hunters, you woke. Do you remember?”

       “Not clearly, but I can imagine. I realized I was in D’zeron and said something about a butterfly girl. They thought I meant Serai because her name means butterfly.” 

       Harris grinned. “That’s exactly right Jason. You found your dream girl.” 

       “Or she found you,” Chathalen nodded solemnly. “When you said her name, Harris told us about your dream, but many people were gathered, mostly hunters, and few speak English. There was no time to explain or to think it through. Someone had to take care of the creature’s remains and your kitten, and someone had to take care of you. Serai was capable and willing. She raises animals so she knows how to respect the dead and care for orphans. Everyone wanted to help, but even more we wanted Serai to have a husband, even an unknown alien, or especially the beautiful young hero she likes so much, who stood bravely against a wildcat three times his size to protect his sleeping brother. 

      Jason tried to interrupt but Chathalen stopped him and went on. 

     “You fear we will make you do this against your will because it is best for the village. You fear that we aren’t considering you needs or feelings. This is not so, Jason. You are part of our community.”

       “I am?”

        “Harming you would harm us all, and helping you helps us all. Serai knew your proposal was not intentional but she wanted you to live. She honored your wildcat to help you live, not to obligate your marriage. She took care of your kitten, because she cared about the kitten. She took care of you, because she cared about you. She’s been a good wife to you, Jason. I know you haven’t chosen her yet, but Serai has set her heart on you and cared for you lovingly for many days.” 

         “I know. I don’t remember much, but what I do remember is mostly Serai and Harris trying to get me to eat.”

         “Good. Than you understand how much she loves you. We did not allow her to help with the more intimate tasks, but she fed you and held you while you slept, like mothering a sick child. Taking care of someone in this way creates a bond.”

         Being taken care of does also.

        “She’s very emotional and whimsical sometimes, as you have seen, a little bit inconsiderate sometimes, but she has her greatness. She is strong and determined when she sets her heart on something. She’s also a spontaneous dreamer, as my mother was.”

        “A spontaneous dreamer?”

        “She has the ability to enter the dream plane like those who are of dream keeper linage, but she has no such linage, so she’ll never become a dream keeper, and never be allowed to use that ability. An intelligent, educated husband who could share dreams with her would be a great blessing. Choose her and she’ll be a devoted wife, and you will keep your status in the hunter’s clan; break your bond and she’ll be very disappointed, and so will the hunters.” He let the weight of Serai’s disappointment settle heavily on Jason before adding “However, she’s survived many other disappointments; the deaths of her parents, her mentor and her husband. She’ll be ok.”

       The thought of disappointing Serai horrified Jason almost as much as knowing the village of D’zeron was determined to see him married at the next village meeting. He wanted to protect her; to take care of her as she had taken care of him. He wanted to end her loneliness, to never leave her, to heal her grieving. But more than all of that, he just wanted her. 

       This is wrong. Things like this don’t happen, especially not to me. This must be a dream. Some strange D’zeron type of dream my dad didn’t know about. “Where is she?”

       “She’s gone home to take care of her animals, remember? Rest now. Don’t worry; this doesn’t need to be answered right away. We’ve told her to stay away until you are ready to see her. Give yourself time to heal.”

         His words filled Jason with desperate longing to see her again. And more than just to see her. Any mention of Serai submerged him in feelings much larger and more powerful than himself. He was grateful to be given time apart from her to clear his thoughts. But he missed her painfully when she was gone.

        I am losing myself in her. I can’t let this happen. I have to hold onto who I was, who I really am. I can’t marry a woman I don’t know. This isn’t who I am. Was it like this for Jonathan and Sh’harra? Jonathan hadn’t shared many details about his marriage. Jason had never asked. Marriage never interested him.

           Chathalen rose, gathering up the dishes from Jason’s meal.  “I’ll leave you with your brother again now. He’ll find me if you need anything, or when you are ready to see Serai. You should rest. Let him rest Harris.” 

from Graphinc novel am meeting after Jason wakes upEdit

Serai goes to watch the moon rise before she goes home. 

She’s lost in thought as she walks to the high cliff, she does not notice that Tersh is following behind her. 

then Serai goes home, tersh stays behind at the cliff. Serai never notices that he was following her. 

****

Serai goes back to the temple as soon as the sun rises. first she puts a quick note to let the students know that she’s gone. 

Aubyn arrives first. she picks up the note off the table, and reads :

I’m not home because I am at the temple. “ Aubyn closes the note and puts it back on the table. there’s something on the back of the note. it says. there will be a meeting this morning. 

she wonders what the meeting will be about, and goes to take care of Serai’s animals. she looks out to see if the signal flag is out. before that she is writing, or reading a book. 

she sees the flag go up, so she goes to the meeting place. Perry is there, she goes and greets him. she puts her arm over his shoulders. he says Oh, Hey AUbyn. How are the bunnies and the spiders? 

she shhhs him because the meeting is starting. D’neira and Chathalen are leading the meeting. D’neira speaks. As you know, two aliens arrived several days ago. one of them was very ill and we feared he might not survive. He has, however awakened and will be introduced to the village as soon as he is well enough, and at that time they will both be assigned a place a family and a profession. they will remain in the temple until that time. if you have any questions, you may come to the temple and discuss them with Chathalen. that is all. and she withdrew back into the temple, Chathalen followed her. 

everyone left. 

         

  

  



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