The Reluctant Siura: short story
PREGNANT WOMAN by Maxine Ellis follow her on instagram @synergys.designs
The Elders had Called O’lela to the compound. It was an offence, punishable by banishment to the Outer Rim, to disobey the Elders.
One week had passed since the Call. No one seemed to know where O’lela was.
A delegation of Seekers was ordered to find her. They had travelled thousands of miles into the Siura Zone in search of O’lela.
“We have not seen her since the Call,” her father told the Seekers.
“Lela doesn’t listen to anyone. You won’t find her here.” This was from N’iama, O’lela’s best friend.
When the Seekers reported back to the Elders, they were furious and convened a meeting of all Seekers and Elders.
“Perhaps we have not made it clear,” the Leader of the Elders Counsel began. She was squatty, her fat, tight calf muscles peered through her woven white wrap.
“Perhaps our traditions should be given to the goats and pigs of Earth. Siura know the consequences of their actions yet they dare to disobey the Order.” An indiscernible noise buzzed through the crowd.
“I’mhom please step forward,” said the Leader.
I’mhom was a tall, lean Seeker, whose white locks reached down to his ankles and swayed elegantly as he walked. He had been a Call Seeker for 12, 000 years and was considered the most thorough amongst the present consort of Call Seekers. If anyone could find O’lela it would be him.
“You must return again. The Counsel entrusts you with this serious charge. Find her.”
I’mhom bowed before the great Leader, knew it was not his place to refuse or speak. As he stepped away from the Leader, still in a half bow, he felt a strange sensation on hearing, “you cannot ever return to this compound if you do not find her.”
Days of reaching into the Core of the Siura Zone, piercing through the veil of the many hearts closest to O’lela had not shown him anything. He wondered whether he was losing the Power. He was becoming frustrated and decided to inflict a sanction on the Core. The Core was called to the Ritual Centre, which was used for preparing the Siura for all their major transitions in the Realm of Ancestors.
There was a sacred order in the Realm, at the top of which sat the Counsel of Elders. Below them, were the Master Builders, who were somewhat like administrators that provided the Elders with messages about what was taking place in the Earth Zone; who was nearing their next transition, who was soul searching and so on; the Truth Seekers were strict upholders of the Secrets and Traditions on Spiritual Enlightenment – each had come to their post after transcending Earth Consciousness through meditation at each incarnation. The Call Seekers formed a bridge between the Siura and their Earth Vessel when it was the Siura’s time to return. They worked with the Master Builders to align Vessel with Siura. Without the Siura there would be no alignment between those of the Earth Zone and the Ancestral Realm. Siura were devotees of the Order, conduits of transmitting the directives of the Counsel to ensure equilibrium between the Spiritual and Physical Realms. They had not experienced enough incarnations to remain permanently in the Ancestral Realm.
The Fallen belonged to the Outer Rim. They were once Siura, part of the Core but instead of serving their Earth Vessel, had squandered their Earth Time, leading the Vessel to further memory loss and misalignment. Not everyone in the Outer Rim were Fallen. Some had been reluctant to take up the Call, forcing the Counsel to banish them.
Unless you were fortunate to be among the first to arrive and get a place under one of the mighty Astral Trees at the Ritual Centre, you suffered from the intensity of the heat, breeze being infrequent in this part of the Realm.
“Are the Elders to be forgotten and disrespected by Siura? Do our traditions mean nothing? Is the Order to be destroyed? Do you think our practices are outdated and stupid?” I’mhom addressed the Core.
“If so you are no different from our Earth Wards who rattle and shake, and do not pour water for us and remember.”
A palpable hush, contrasting the buzz from the meeting with the Elders, was cast over the Centre. There were no gestures, not even to feign fanning themselves in the hope of strumming up breeze.
“You know that every Order in the Realm have their limits. We Seekers have used our Powers with no effect so far. The Elders are tired of your disobedience. You have left us no alternative but the Decree you will understand well. If you do not reveal where you are hiding the one they call O’lela we will summon Blindness to the community for a thousand days.”
The cries gushed round the Centre as though some river bank had burst. Large hand and body gestures replaced the hushed stillness of moments ago. Shouts and curses were hailed against O’lela’s family; some were flung into the faces of the Seekers too.
“Master, don’t you think this decree is beyond excessive.” N’athatu was a Trainee Seeker who assisted I’mhom. Seekers often chose telepathy to communicate between themselves when they were in the Core. This was for expedience because it allowed them to simultaneously speak to the Core and each other.
“One thousand days of blindness if O’lela is not found immediately,” I’ mhom repeated, whilst at the same time telling N’athatu, “they know where she is. They are making fools of the Elders, and us. The Elders have lost patience. How long must the Vessel wait for this foolish girl?”
No one wanted a repeat of this decree. Blindness in the Core made the work of aligning Siura and their Earth Vessel impossible, adding needless incarnations to the Siura’s total Earth Time. If Siura is Blind their Vessel would become much more confused than when they had lost their memory at birth. They would fall into all kinds of misfortunes and because they could no longer lead them due to their Blindness, the Siura would instead be led by the Vessel, often resulting in Spiritual Decline for both.
Though they were being vilified by their fellow Siura, urging them to “give up the girl,” her family had no idea where O’lela was.
The River was dressed in a fabulous sheen of gracefulness. Her ripples were gently resting so that a perfect quality of stillness stretched as far as O’lela could see. This was her favourite hiding place – the quietest place in the Zone, where she would sit for hours in deep contemplation. It was one of many Mediation Zones for heightening communication between Siura and Vessel. And it was here O’lela first meditated and made her choice of Vessel. It was believed by everyone in the zone that the selection was perfect. And if the Vessel responded well the alignment would set in motion one of the greatest changes in the lives of their Earth Wards; many would remember; many would arise.
Most Siura avoided it because in the stillness of the water they could hear the pleas of their Vessels. Vessels didn’t use the River for alignment, as they should - that is to be perfectly still in the midst of constant movement. Instead they moaned and pleaded for all kinds of things that would lead them further away from their alignment. They misunderstood the purpose of stillness. Though she was thousands of miles from the Ritual Centre, O’lela heard I’mhom’s decree. She didn’t feel ready for the journey, to meet a new Ward, to begin again.
From as long as she could remember her parents had told O’lela that she was special. This was because unlike many in the Core she could assume all Six Aspects that preside in the Ancestral Order. Few Master Builders, Truth Seekers or Call Seekers were born with this quality. Throughout her three thousand years and multiple incarnations she had assumed the Aspect of Truth Seeker, Wisdom Transmitter, Warrior Guard, Protector of the Traditional Secrets, Visionary Channel and Defender of the Just.
The rare ability to assume all Six Aspects was the reason the Seekers, or anyone else could not find her. She was bestowed a kind of self-protective power which made it possible for her to disappear from the various sense perceptions in the Realm, and if she wanted to she could disappear for very long periods – permanently if she chose self-banishment, beyond the Outer Rim, to an inner, unreachable realm.
Though rare, it was usually found in those who had excelled during several incarnations of Earth Time, who had surpassed the limits of oppression, known the vigour of revolution and challenged the vagaries of forces inclined to the destruction of Peace, Love and Compassion. Those who had sought to realign with their Siura in pursuit of Justice for All were Reborn with this quality; rare because the Earth Vessel usually forgot its Soul Purpose and remained unconscious in its Earth cycle. Soon after physical birth it leapt into the shroud of its personality, making the Siura constantly chasing it to stimulate memory and consciousness. This was why – the ungratefulness of the Earth Vessel and its blind exultation of its personality - O’lela was reluctant to make the Journey, acknowledge the Call.
But every Siura knew its time to take up the Call would eventually come. The Outer Rim was impermanent, so too was the Core. Only when they had achieved Eldership in the Ancestral Order could they remain in the Realm; guiding, guarding and listening to their Earth bound Vessels. If the Vessels did not acknowledge them the Elders would find some frightful means to force them out of unconsciousness; often they would send a special Siura to enlighten an exemplary Vessel. The Master Builders had alerted the Elders that the Vessel O’lela had chosen was a perfect match for the task of rebuilding Sacred Unity between the spirit and physical Realms, and the Great Awakening.
Most three thousand year olds had already amassed white hair, though their skin no longer sagged with the remnants of aging, a malady of time spent on Earth. But O’lela’s hair was still dark; her thick locks were neatly gathered into a winding crown on top of her head. She knew that she could not bring the curse of blindness to the Core, shame to her family and worse, disrespect to the Elders – a sign of wilful disregard for the Order.
As she stood before the Counsel – her head bowed, she remembered that she was not happy at the Choosing Ceremony, but it had been some time since she had communed with the Vessel by the River of Mediation. Although she had made her Choice, she dreaded the day she would be Called for the realignment.
“Why have you made us wait,” said the second in command to the Leader. He nudged her shoulder to indicate that O’lela should not be standing.
She slowly struggled to her knees, facing the several arches that comprised rows and rows of Elders, dressed in varying colours that signalled their ages, length of service as Elders, and their most prevalent Aspect. No one knew how far back the rows extended. All the Elders had white hair, cut low, making it difficult to distinguish the men from the women when seen from a distance.
On the opposite side of the arches was a scattering of Siura from the Core, including all of O’lela’s family. Some Seekers hovered in the midst of the Core. Far back behind the Core members and odd Seekers were those from the Outer Rim – who were let into any meeting of the Counsel on the premise that the Elders might be open to their spontaneous pleas for forgiveness and re-cognition back into the Core from whence they had been banished.
From her bended knees in submission before the counsel, O’lela began to speak.
“Lead me for I am errant.” It was customary to make such a declaration of wilfulness when summoned to the Counsel. Had she responded more earnestly to the Call, however, there would have been no need for this supplication.
“You are a child. And even with your special gifts, you are foolish.” This came from an Elder in the midst of the Counsel. It inspired other hisses and curses that seemed to gather momentum, rippling through the arches like a sudden, terrifying swarm of bees.
The first Elder raised his hand. The silence was sharp and in unison as though it was part of an exquisitely rehearsed musical composition.
“You have Chosen. There is no turning back,” the Elder told O’lela, something gentle in his voice.
“It is so. I know,” O’lela said.
“Why are you reluctant now? Would you choose the Outer Rim? Rather than Return?” O’lela felt silly, slouched to her knees, the Elder pressing her for a reason she didn’t see the point in giving. If she knew what lay beyond the Outer Rim, she would use her power now – disappear for good. She felt as though her skin was folding in, as if it was trying to wrinkle from the pressure of having to tell the Elders why she didn’t want to return.
“Speak.” An Elder shouted. Before the collective hissing returned, the First Elder silenced his brethren with a fierce stare. He touched O’lela’s chin. She looked up at him. He urged her to her feet.
“They don’t like the stillness but the clamour,” O’lela heard herself saying the words, but didn’t know what they meant.
She noticed N’iama entering the compound. She sat down beside O’lela’s mother and father. She hadn’t seen N’iama for weeks, knew she would miss her when she returned. And though she might meet her in the Earth Zone, on her own Return they might never again know each other as they do now. She dreaded the feeling; had known it before but never grew used to it.
“My child, you must make your statements clear before the Counsel.”
“The last time I was there, they clamoured for their rights. They begged their oppressors for equality, they shouted for liberty. They raised flags when they believed they were free. They pray still to some strange god and hurt each other. They do not honour the Sacred Unity. They disrespect the Realm. Why should we help them? Few pour us water. And when they do, they dance for days as though it is enough.”
There was a different sort of shuffling and discomfort from the Elders; the snorting and hisses more subtle, perhaps expressing sympathy.
“She is right,” a shout came from the arches, but it didn’t have time to gather momentum.
“Silence!” It was the Leader of the Counsel, who until then had sat quietly observing the proceedings. Her instructions were always met with instant dread. Its force reverberated throughout the arches of Elders and the Siura and Seekers on the opposite side.
“There is no choice. You all know this,” she went on. “Without our Wards, there is no Realm. Every Siura thinks they can forego their destiny. Have you all forgotten your Earth Time, forgotten you too had been Vessels and not many of you sought the Sacred Unity. Be silent I command you.”
A little knot of shame formed into perspiration on O’lela’s forehead. She slowly wiped it, kept her head slightly bowed, waiting for the Leader to address her directly.
“You are not so different from them, my child. When you return here you forget your Earth Time, just as they forget their Realm Time. Your special gifts make it possible for you to remember both Realms each side of the journey. You remark well about the Earth Vessels who do not remember us. But the Sacred Unity can only be achieved with constant cycles of realignment. The time will come for you to permanently perfect the Order from the Realm. For now an exemplary Vessel awaits you.”
She wanted to, but O’lela didn’t look at N’iama or her parents. She walked to the Circle of Greater Elders, where the Leader had returned to her seat. The Leader held the Caul in an opened right palm. It was a very thin, transparent piece of cloth that had the texture of silk, though no one really knew what it was made of. To look back made the union between Vessel and Siura difficult so it was forbidden. Once a Siura was Called before the Leader and sees the Caul there was no turning back. O’lela tried to remember the last images she had seen in the Realm. She raised her head as the Leader placed the Caul over her face. She fell immediately into the Long Sleep that would last nine months of Earth Time, seconds in the Core. During her sleep and new waking, her only memory would be the quiet graceful River of Mediation where she could sit and contemplate her purpose and how best to use her special powers to make manifest the Sacred Unity veiled in the broken, discarded membrane and a baby’s first mournful cry.
Mother and baby By Maxine Ellis. Follow her on Instagram @synergys.designs