It is said music has the power to touch the soul. On this night, it touched
much more, and in many ways. As Force Master Rath saw in his own visions, the
eerie, doleful melodies triggered numerous memories across the globe, across time
and space portals. Some relived memories would be bittersweet; some quite puzzling.
For two individuals, what would be seen or sensed will end with each asking, "How
and why could that have happened?"
By virtue of a magical broadcast, those lands beyond Oz, in Nonestica proper, could pick up the recital in its entirety. In Ix, in a compound deep within a red mountain, the bear Varan, one of the sorceress Sirenna's latest "projects", listened as the Emerald Quartet began the second movement, the main theme based on an earlier composed lieder, "Death and the Maiden."
Varan, seemingly lost in a long ago memory, closed his eyes and imagined how life was before he came to Ix. How long had it been since he even sang the song? A voice whispered in his ear, "You will regain what was lost. Be patient."
He heard that voice before, the voice of a Jedi. He turned his huge black furry head, gazed his brown eyes into those of Jedi Master Adi Gallia.
"Adi," he asked, "how much longer? How long before the enchantment is broken?"
"Be patient, Varan," cautioned Master Gallia. "The great change is at hand, but it takes time."
In his Gillikin Country cabin, Major Spikeblade also waxed some bittersweet
memories. He thought he had blotted it all out, but the pain and grief he endured
that fateful night, when they came for his wife and daughters...
And she was still safely locked away, deep in the cellar, away from prying
eyes and wagging tongues. Oh, the horror she must have felt the moment the torch
lit the pyre. She had to have felt it, for the Force runs strong in her. Even in
her shelter, safely tucked away at Maison Naberrie, she sensed what was happening
in far-off Paris. She had to have heard the citizens' shouts of protest and
outrage, and the screams of pain as my wife and two daughters burned to cinders.
I wonder if her brother felt it, too. Even across the debris of time and space, millions of years removed from 1481 Paris, surely the brother felt that pain and terror. Perhaps not, but then again, the Force does run strong in the entire family. Surely he felt it, sensed his sister's protectors facing charges of witchcraft, and all because of the false witness of a man who professed to be my friend. He happened by one day; we were not at home. He took advantage of our absence, deciding to find out for himself what "secrets" we kept in the house. He found the cellar and espied the child, but she never sensed his presence. Then he told them, he told them all, and in turn that information found its way to Paris, to the Minister of Justice himself.
Naturally, such a sight, during that particular time period where superstition and fear of the unknown were commonplace, would raise many questions. I suppose seeing a living, breathing dinosaur, centuries ahead of their remains' discovery, would give some pause, even cause some to suspect my family dabbled in black magic. Well, my wife and two of my daughters are magical, but not in the evil sense. I suspected Mathena was Force-sensitive when I met her, but she called it magic. She said being a real witch, capable of performing actual spells and charms, actually protects her from the backwards medieval mindset. That talent would help her, and my girls, at the worst possible time.
In light of the catastrophe to come, I had to move fast. My only son and other daughter I sent to Lyon, for their safety. The child in the cellar? I moved her to another safe place on the property, where they would never find her. No one ever knew of her presence for a year until the Gypsy, la Esmeralda, on the run from Minister of Justice, took refuge in my home. There she saw little Bren and immediately asked how and why I came into possession of such an unusual creature. Esmeralda was, to my surprise, quite curious of the dinosaur, even interacted with little Bren and was taken aback when the child actually spoke.
How sad that Bren was not long for this world. Nevertheless, after the horrors of Frollo's madness were far behind us, Esmeralda returned to Maison Naberrie one last time to visit little Bren. The child told the Gypsy much of her life and family, even described, in detail, what happened that night she disappeared from her valley. Then Bren died in Esmeralda's arms and became one with the Force...
Rewind to the Jurassic Period, to the Great Valley...
"You still miss her, don't you, Dad?"
"Yes I do, Littlefoot. Even after all these years, I still do, and I've always wondered if she's still alive. We never knew what exactly happened to her. She just vanished."
"Did you try to find her? Like you tried to find Mom and me?"
"Yes, and I looked everywhere. All the herd searched but found no Bren. Odd, there were no Sharpteeth around, no egg snatchers, no Fastbiters. Bren wouldn't simply run off; she was far too young to wander on her own."
A sad Bron gazed at the bright Night Circle, allowing his eye to wander
to the Dreaming Star, hoping that, maybe, his sister would miraculously
reappear after so many years since her disappearance. He wished for that
much, but Bren never came home. Then again, the land had dramatically
changed since, many families had lost loved ones, and some herds simply,
out of need or accident, split up. Perhaps Bren was taken in by another
herd, and Bron, traveling with his own herd, had yet to cross paths with
her. Maybe she was there, at the crater during the "Bright Circle versus
the Night Circle", but she never made herself known.
In a way, Bron blamed himself for not fetching Bren that night. She left the nest to be with her friend Korie, a corythosaurus who, Bron suspected, had to have seen what happened to Bren. The girls often sneaked around seeing each other at a time when most child dinosaurs played with their own kind.
"Korie could have seen something, anything, that night. Maybe she didn't tell us because she feared getting into trouble with her parents."
Littlefoot, catching his father in deep thought, asked, "Korie? She lives here in the Great Valley. Did she know your sister? But you hardly speak to Korie."
Just as Bron prepared to reply to his son, he heard something in his head. Whatever it was sounded so beautiful yet haunting. It so reminded him of Bren, and he pondered if she heard such things, too.
That's funny. It sounds like Bren, but it's not her. It's deep, mournful, mellow...I don't think I've heard anything like it before...
"Dad?," said a puzzled Littlefoot.
He had never seen his father so lost in deep thought. Wow, he really misses his sister. I'll bet if I wished hard enough, Aunt Bren will come to us, alive and well. Maybe she has a husband and a bunch of kids. Hey! That means I'll have cousins! I'm wishing, wishing...
Several feet away, at the Threehorn nest, Topsy stirred uneasily. Another disturbing and confounding sleep story, only this one involved music; at least it sounded like music, but nothing like he'd heard before. Still drowsy, still in a half-dozing state, Topsy aroused himself, careful not to disturb Cera or Tria. He'd never sleepwalked before, but there is a first for everything.
After strolling across the Valley, he climbed to the top of bluff overlooking the Mysterious Beyond. Those sounds still in his head, Topsy began to sing in a language he, or any of the Great Valley herds, had never known. Even the song would not be composed for millions of years, yet the melody, the diction, the intonations, were perfectly performed. In his deep baritone he sang a song of Death coaxing a young maiden to follow him. Only, in this case, the maiden refuses, allowing others to believe Death had won.
Gib deine Hand, du schön und zart Gebild!
Bin Freund, und komme nicht, zu strafen.
Sei gutes Muts! ich bin nicht wild,
Sollst sanft in meinen Armen schlafen English translation:
Give me your hand, you beautiful and delicate form!
I am a friend, and am not come to punish.
Be of good cheer! I am not savage,
You will sleep softly in my arms!
Littlefoot and Bron heard it, wondering whatever possessed Topsy to burst into
song like that. Subsequently, nearly everyone else in the Great Valley stirred
themselves awake, listening to the normally gruff and bluff Threehorn vocalize so
poetically, so lyrically. Cera stared at her father in disbelief; he'd never done
anything like this before, asking, "Daddy? Is that you?"
Not far away, Grandpa and Grandma Longneck looked at each other in puzzlement.
"What's has gotten into everyone?," asked Grandma. "That is the second time
he's done that. Yesterday Mr. Thicknose did the same thing, only a different song."
Grandpa nodded, commenting, "Even I've heard beautiful music in my head. So have more of our herds. Bron has confessed of hearing such music. It is a mystery we may never solve."
"Perhaps," said Grandma, "we should ask the Old One about this."
Grandpa thought it over, wondering if those visits from Ricar Tasou, the Jedi Knight, had anything to do with the strange things happening all over the valley. His questions were partially answered the moment the Force Ghost of Jedi Master Adi Gallia appeared. She said to them:
"As I assured another who questioned the sudden oddities, the Great Change is at hand. In time your Valley shall come to know why such phenomena exists. Be patient, and believe the impossible, for it will show itself very soon. May the Force be with you."
Back in Ix, Varan sighed. Intermission was nearly over, and here he was alone in this secluded lair deep with the red mountain. Staring at the giant viewscreen, wishing he was there in Emerald City, in the recital hall, the great black bear shook his head. No, even if Adi reassured that things will eventually be right again, will it ever be the same? Surely, when the enchantment breaks, she may not remember me at all; it's been that long ago, right after...This is all too muddled and confusing. I hear she's to begin Jedi training, at least that's what the Wizard said when he and that other gentleman were here last week. They wanted to interview Sirenna, but she wasn't here. She had gone to Ev one last time to recruit more for the grand army.
Recruits? She needs no recruits! Sirenna and Kaliko built this army, and it's almost finished. Odd-looking things, those soldiers; they walk on two legs but talk funny. And they're not mechanical like Tik-Tok; they're of circuitry and run on a big generator hidden inside the mountain. Too bad the Wizard and his friend didn't discover that army as Kaliko moved it to another place in the compound. I think the person giving Sirenna and Kaliko orders lives in Oz. How else could he or she know what's going on in several places? That person has it all planned out. An attack at dawn, on the expansive green fields which surround Emerald City. The army will march from Ix, across the desert, through Winkie Country...The Deadly Desert won't kill them as the soldiers are machines...
Varan, weary from worry, pushed such thoughts from his mind, returned his attention to the viewscreen, concentrating on the final selection.
Now this is one I've hadn't heard in ages...
So lost in the sights and sounds he didn't know he and the compound was being watched, for just outside the barred window, a small probe droid recorded every detail. It then sped to the mountain's other side, through an tight crevice, and into the secret room where the army waited until needed.
Copyright©2007 by PRP