As Asyrra lifted off and away from the Traders’ Village, I felt the awesome rush of wind on my face – and the ever-present drop of my stomach. Once we were flying, however, it was a most glorious experience. Asyrra was half-again as large as Ikthar, and soared as if there were no resistance against Her wings and sparkling blue-sapphire Presence. Riding upon Her was so gentle that I let go the saddle grips, and spread my arms out as if to fly. I closed my eyes and sank into the peaceful bliss radiating from Her. For many minutes – a feeling of forever – I simply enjoyed this experience, and then, She quietly interrupted my thoughts.
“Child, we’ll be at our resting Place soon. Perhaps you would like to view the change in scenery.”
I opened my eyes, and looked down. We were actually soaring above the grand snow-covered peaks of the Meslynia Mountains… apparently in the Northern range. The southern part of these mountains seldom held snow for any length of time. This was very beautiful!
“Where is it that we’re going, Asyrra?”
“It is a Place nestled between the two highest peaks of the Northern Range of the Meslynia Mountains. We will be there in a few minutes.”
“Why am I not cold?”
“I am projecting the warmth I radiate about you as a Shield. Works nicely, yes?”
“Yes, indeed. I hadn’t even realized you had done that. Quite a subtle bit of magic, that.”
“Hold on, now. The landing is a bit tricky with the winds.”
And so I strapped myself in tightly, and clung to the saddle’s main grips, as She angled downward and banked towards some unknown destination. I truly could not see any hint of civilization, no matter how it was defined. All I could see was rocky precipices, deep crevasses, and snow… miles and miles of snow. Suddenly, She swooped down and hovered (I’ve never seen a Dragon hover!)… and while I was regaining my heart and stomach, I saw we were over an ever-widening crevasse of immense proportions. She was lowering Herself in imperceptible increments, as the icy updrafts viciously whipped past us in challenge. Then, it seemed as if the side of the mountain just opened up in front of us. As I looked more carefully, I could see that a natural snow-laden overhang was protecting some type of cavern below and within it.
But it was more than a Cavern. As we neared, I realized the space inside was larger than the Oberon’s Village – huge enough to easily accommodate Asyrra’s size with room to spare. The incredible golden light that glowed everywhere, as if infused within the walls and all else that existed here quickly distracted my gaze and thoughts, however. As I squinted my eyes somewhat, I was given yet another surprise. What lay before me was an actual entire city! And the city, itself, glowed with that same golden luminosity. I was awestruck, and just stared – my mouth forming a silent, ‘Whoa….’.
“Time to get off, Child. We’re here.”
Her voice roused me some from the vision, and I carefully – if distractedly – climbed down from the saddle. Looking across the vast tarmac, I saw a man (Human, I think) running towards us. As he neared, he shouted, “Welcome, Ladyhawke! Welcome, Asyrra! How wonderful to see you both!”
In my mind, I spoke to Asyrra. ‘He knew we were coming?’
‘I had given him notice. Unwise to land here unannounced. Lethal.’
‘Why does he call me, Ladyhawke?’
‘Ask him. I don’t think in the ways he does, Child.’
And then he was upon us. He hugged me generously and warmly, then stepped back and grasped my hand and shook it enthusiastically, as if I were some long-lost prodigal daughter finally come Home.
“Do I know you, sir?” I politely asked him.
“You do not remember me. Yes, that is the truth of it. I see. Well, no matter. My name is Idan. I am your Guide here. Welcome Home.”
“Well, perhaps a Waystation. It is all in Intent, anyway. So, what do you think?” And he stretched out his arms as if to embrace the entire golden city.
“It’s glorious. It’s beyond words. Is it all made out of gold, then? Even the cavern walls?”
“Gold?” He seemed genuinely puzzled. And then… “Oh, gold! Oh, I get it! I keep forgetting the perception when I stay inside here for too long a time.”
And then, turning to look at Asyrra, he said, “You need to come and take me flying more often, you lazy, bad Lady Dragon!”
I waited for him to go up in smoke. I thought to myself, ‘He called Asyrra – this magnificent sapphire-blue Spirit-Dragon – bad???… and is not being roasted alive for such blasphemy???’ I was incredulous.
Then I heard Her response: “Decrepit senile old Human-wannabe, be careful that I don’t be ‘bad’ all over you.”
There was humor behind both their repartee, and I had thought I couldn’t be any more amazed by all of this unfolding before me.
“Explain the ‘gold’ to the Child, Monk.” And then Asyrra closed Her eyes as if to nap.
“It isn’t gold, Ladyhawke.”
“It is the holistic aura of this Place. All the sentient Beings that reside in this Place are at a certain level of spiritual development. All the resident Entities here exist in that constant state of Being you have experienced a few times and named, ‘Heaven’ or ‘Heaven-like’. Even the rocks sing at that vibration. Can you not feel it?”
“Well, yes, now that you mention it. I was feeling many deep subtle energies that made me tingle, and want to sing, but I couldn’t identify the cause.”
“It is why I said to you, ‘Welcome Home’, for in truth, this is quite close to that Ultimate Destination.”
“But not quite?”
“If it were exact, you would not see it; you would be it.”
“Oh. True enough. What name do you call this Place?”
“By consensus, it is called Siombhala. Others like you have visited, have seen what was revealed to them, and given it many names. But for you, the Place shares its Name with you… Siombhala.”
“It’s glorious! Way beyond words and expression, really. I think I could stay here for a week, and not be able to communicate what I’m experiencing.”
“Stay as long as you want. Indeed, I am welcoming you to stay long enough to raise your own energy to this level… just to get a taste of it. You are known to be able to integrate the energies around you, assimilating them into your awareness, responses, and Knowing. Sometimes to your advantage. Sometimes not. I’m surprised you haven’t used Chameleon as your Name, yet. But, in any case, you have been invited and welcomed by all the Sentience co-existing Here. You are free to explore, share, experience, question and play to your heart’s content. If you notice some space where you would like to rest, just point it out to me and it shall be yours for the duration. Oh, and by the way, I call you, ‘Ladyhawke’, because it is who you are, though you hesitate to be identified as a character in someone else’s imagination.”
And that much was true. It seemed like putting on airs, or ignorance, arrogance, laziness, to take the name of a character in a movie. But, I let that go, and scanned the low-rise city around us. We had walked to what seemed to be the central courtyard, with a dazzling fountain spraying liquid gold rain a dozen feet into the air. I slowly turned around in a complete circle. I was still stunned by the awesome brilliant beauty of this Place, and wondered silently why it was not visible against the dull blacks and whites of the mountains, one step pass the cavern’s opening.
“One reason is the ledge. We deliberately chose this Place because of it, and then enhanced its interior. It welcomed us in. The other reason is that there appears to be only solid rock to those Outside, who have not been invited in.”
He answered my thoughts as if I were speaking them out loud, and I knew I had to begin transitioning to a closer resonance of this Energy, so I would seem less the Child.
“Truly, you are no Child. Except in Asyrra’s eyes, of course. But, then, in Her eyes, everyone is. So, tell me, where is it you would like to stay?”
I had been searching as he spoke, and replied, “Up there, on that ledge with the bit of cave behind it. Do you see?”
“Oh, yes, I do. There is an easy way to that place. Follow me.”
At first, I could hardly see any path, but as we walked, it opened up before us, as if in invitation. Like magic.
“Yes, it does seem like that. But in a few days, you will be a part of what appears magic, and it will begin to feel quite – forgive the expression – ‘mundane’ to you.”
At my hesitant tone, he turned to look at me. “What is it?”
“Are you sure I belong here?”
“In three days’ time, you won’t even have to ask. But, for you now, the answer is ‘Yes. Of course. Or you wouldn’t have been invited.’ Here we are – your ledge, and your new resting Place.”
It was then that I realized that the cave, as I had thought it was, had become a cozy room with a thick mattress and comforter to one side and other small furniture and curious knickknacks set about the other side, all in a welcoming way.
“The Cave knows you, and has prepared itself as a Place for you. How wonderful, don’t you think?”
I could only stare in amazement as the meaning of his words sunk in. The Sentience of the Cave had prepared, had manifested, what lay within, as if with deep knowledge of who and what I was.
“Get comfortable. Rest awhile. I will come back at your request.” And with that, Idan grabbed hold of an energy-line and rappelled back to the floor. I watched him wander over to Asyrra, and then I looked away and back to my surroundings.
I wandered through my ‘Home’ that the Cave had made for me, marveling at the specific items and curiosities it knew would intrigue and comfort me. Then, I went out and sat on the front ledge. I had also “chosen” this Place because of the small waterfall that cascaded in whispering glitters a bit to my left off the wall. When I finally got Still enough to Listen, I could hear genial conversations of welcoming from both the Waterfall and the Cave. It was incredible, and beyond sharing the merest hint of what Truth existed here. My cup was truly running over.
I played my hand through the Waterfall, sensing even deeper yet, its consciousness, and connectedness to All… as well as its sincere welcoming of me. Then, I laid my other hand flat on the Cave’s exterior wall. It was as if I were now connected to a Current – almost electrical in nature, but far far more – and though I knew an incredible amount of information was passing through, I could not recall much but glimpses best revealed in dreams.
After a while, I walked to my bed, and lay down for a long deep sleep.