A Psijic’s Measure: Moon Hallowed, Another Name

Author: Cathy Tea

Cat Littlebird

Nerraba, outlander, n’wah. Filthy elf, thief, cannibal. Milk-drinker, limp staff, coward. Soul-shriven. Vestige. I have been called these names.

And also: Brave-toothed, steel sword, Bosmer. Beeko, cerum, champion. Mystic, mage, hero.

The names roll easily off my back. I am as much one as the other.

But one title tempted me to claim it as my own, though I knew well by then that no words can name us once we slip through the rifts of time to become Unnamed. Yet this term played a chord that chimes the inner cathedral, where my soul resides–that same soul they claim was stripped from me. Something in me responded to the sound, and I knew then that not even Molag Bal could steal a soul, no matter what they say. Something in me awoke. And in walking the path laid out by this name, I remembered myself. My sister. I remembered that change brings us back to ourselves.

Moon Hallowed.

My father and I followed moonlight as it traveled up the stream through the meadows outside Haven.

“Look, Cat,” he said. “Our path is laid down for us.”

“Why do we follow the moons, Ata?” I asked.

“For wonder,” he said.

We came to a clearing where a dozen thunderbugs sparkled, lightning shooting between them.

“What are they doing, Ata?”

“The moon dance. It is for light! Look! They change!”

They shone white, silver, pure light. And with a crack, the charge between them lit the clearing. The flash shot us back, twenty-eight meters!

“Are you all right, kyne?” my father asked as we scrambled to our feet.

“I’m fine, Ata.” Every hair on my father’s head stretched out, crackling with electricity, pulling the follicle so his scalp looked boiled.

We laughed when our breath returned. “Well, we are alive then! Even if we are changed! The Moons will do that!”

We sat on the bluff while our hearts settled into a steady beat.

“Do you see how the moons always change?” my father asked. “They grow full and fat until they spark! And then they grow lean, and the sky is black.”

“But they always come back,” I said.

“They do. But are they the same?”

They were and they weren’t.

“There is another moon, kyne,” my father said, “the dark moon.”

“I can’t see it.”

“No, because it’s dark. But it is there. It’s there to bring the two moons together. Without it, they would wander the sky, always straying further and further apart.”

Moon Hallowed: I yearned to cling to this title, the same worn by all before and after me who walked alongside the Champions down the Two Moon Path. That was one name that meant something to me.

I walked with two sisters, Shazah and Khali, twins born during the rare alignment of Jone and Jode that allows the third moon, the dark moon, to appear. That is the alignment in which the Mane is born, and of the twins, only one could go on to assume that role. It fell to me to choose which one.

“This one was a father’s kit, too,” Shazah told me. “Khali stuck by our mother’s side. But for Shazah, it was to please Father, always.”

“Was your father a warrior?” I asked.

“No, that was our mother. And so my sister grew to love battle. Our father was a healer, a wise one, and so this one grew to love wholeness, peace.”

I thought of my father, wandering with me at his side, and his words of moons and change, to follow shadow and light, and our mother, who roamed the forests with Twig, bow in hand, to hunt the senche tiger.

Shazah walked with me through her childhood, the streets littered with sick and dying as the Knahaten flu festered in gutters and alleys of Orcrest.

“I was so afraid,” she said. “Father’s friends, his team. Each one succumbed. And with each husk, this one feared the rising of Dro-m’Athra.”

In the shadows of her memories, mist figures stirred. “I feel what you feel,” I said to her, my breath catching, my heart an ice block, my gut of empty iron. “Should we leave?”

“Leave, no. We must press on. These are but my fears, when I was a little cub. So many bodies. So much death. My father died. Our friends, his team. But he said that I should move forward. This one needs to look ahead. There is so much waiting to be done.”

At every step, Shazah would pause, to look about, to face the spectres of corpses, sick and dying, to remember her father. “He never gave up,” she said. “Even when he was sick himself. He said the Mane asked it of him, to help the others, to use his skill. What else is life for? And so he gave up his life in answering his call.”

“But maybe we can find a way to do what we’re here to do without such sacrifice,” I suggested.

“No,” said Shazah, “that is not what this path is for.”

She told me, when the time would come, that I would know who to choose, among her and her sister, which should go on to become the new Mane, and which should stay below, in the realm of Dro-m’Athra, to contain the Dark Mane.

“It must be me,” she said. “This one knows the darkness. My sister, she is strong, a warrior, and she is also full of anger. Such anger will serve her well, when she is leading our people. She will transform it into power, into strength. But here, below? No. Anger cannot diffuse hate. Only love can do that, Hallowed.”

I knew the truth of her words. I thought of my sister. She would have been grown by then–did she pour the hunter’s sharp focus into anger? How did she respond to cruelty, to murder, to slavery, to our fate?

I did not respond with anger, but I suspected, even then, that Twig did.

In Shazah’s eyes, I saw my mirror. It was not a hard choice: Only one who meets adversity with love can contain, and then dissolve, hate. The love that shone in her eyes, for it, darkness was no match.

Khali would go on to become a strong leader, this I knew. Containing the Dark Mane would have destroyed her, but guiding her people through battle and into peace? That would make her.

When I left Shazah below, in the dark realm, her eyes shown brighter than two moons, and she thanked me, Moon Hallowed.

That is why that is one name that I claim, because it was spoken with love. Only one other name has been spoken to me, by one other person, that resonates, also, in the key of love: Kitty.

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GloPoWri – Song 25

Summer in Coldharbour

Summer in Coldharbour
never comes.
What black daedroth
devoured the sun?

The ammonia stench
–soulless husks
in azure plasm–
no water, no pure

blue, but the blue
of freezing of
death of
devouring the sun.

Sharp bite
of voidstone ingots,
bitter on the air,
each breath stings.

More than clanking
chains of fetters
and anchors–
the silence

that settles
like frost
in your bones.
Coldharbour, alone.

Don’t look for
summer in
Coldharbour.
Don’t expect

the flash,
the brilliance
the spark
of Darien’s sword

Don’t expect it
but you will find
it. The shield that
brings Meridia’s sun.

Daily Prompt: “write a poem that:

  • Is specific to a season
  • Uses imagery that relates to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell)
  • Includes a rhetorical question, (like Keats’ ‘where are the songs of spring?’)”

–from Na/GloPoWriMo.

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NaPoWriMo 2019

A Psijic’s Measure: Promises to be Kept

Author: Michael/@Shishwik

Aliasandrya

I seem to be losing hope… How long must one be true to a promise to those who are no longer around? What care do THEY have if you fulfill it or not? Will they know? My questioning of the gods goes unanswered, but that is not new. Who can know the will or ways of the divine? Or really want to… I have been searching for Cat and Twig so long I have lost the importance of the quest in my heart. Why are they important? Why did my parents die for this? All these gods-be-damned questions! What is happening to me?

I am beginning to believe I must leave Vvardenfell, though this is my home. My heart aches at the thought. I can intimately recall every rock and tree, each man and beast… though the island is huge, it feels very tiny at this moment.

I head to the Tel Mora wayshrine, since it’s relatively close. I am in this area of the island helping where I may. Be that through diplomacy or dealing death, always searching for my sisters. As I step up to the shrine and start to perform the invocation that will trigger its magic, I feel a push/pull. This is a force akin to the gentle hand I felt previously. Unseen. There the similarity ends. This time there is a palpable anger involved. As if I have warranted retribution from the force.

What right does this being or power have to be angry with me? Have I not done all I can do to hold true to my promises? Have I not bled and suffered and killed in the years of trying to accomplish something I do not fully understand?

As I fume in my head, I realize I have been walking some distance. Unconsciously fighting the pull, or push.

Tears are streaming down my dusky cheeks, salting my lips. I am close to curling in a ball and giving up. Gods, powers, and parents be damned. As I let loose a moan of frustration and rage, I come to a tree.

With a ladder.

Leading through a platform.

The force vanishes. As if I only imagined it. I am surprisingly bereft of even its angry company. I must be going insane.

Yes. At least I hope so. I can no longer stomach the uncertainty and sadness that have become a pervasive part of my life recently.

I grudgingly climb the tree, and after standing amid the scene on the platform, I take a seat. Seemingly left vacant just for me. Something begins to happen. Something I haven’t felt in a long time. Wonder.

I begin to wonder at so many things. How long have these two been here seemingly undisturbed? Who are they? Who is lighting the torch? The pumpkins are fresh… Is there really someone out in my beautiful homeland taking care of these two oddities? Why? For how long?

Was a promise made? And I’m hit with a mental bolt of….something. A tenuous grasp about answers to questions I have asked so many times.

I spend a day going over every conceivable inch, nook, and cranny of this mysterious open air tomb. I find few clues. Around the bony remains of the necks of both people, hidden beneath their robes, there hangs a necklace. Each with a different inscription in ancient Dunmer script.

One reads as follows: If you do not die for something,
The other: then you choose to die for nothing.

The poignancy of this statement does not elude me. I realize I have been letting doubt about my ability to find Cat and Twig cloud and darken my self confidence in the ability to do so. Leading me down a path of surrendering. Quitting. Spitting in the face of my mother and father. Thumbing my nose at the power that seems to know me better than I know myself. Forsaking my promises. Which leads me to why I believe I am here now. That which the caretaker of these two surely knows. Promises mean something. Even to the dead. For in our keeping of them we acknowledge the sacred vow they really are. We hold a vision of the time they were made to the other person. In that memory they still live. Still hopeful that the promise will be taken care of. To the one the promise is made, there is no responsibility in our fulfilling it. Only hope. Hope that you or I have the willpower and integrity to follow through.

Hope blooms eternal with the essence of longing, dreams, and desires. Promises to be kept.

Cat, Twig, you are the living embodiment of my promise. I choose to die for you.

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GloPoWriMo – Song 5

Photo of Cat Littlebird and a Bosmer in the crafting area of the Hollow City.

Lament of the Hollow City

I travelled a city
where everyone has lost
someone. The more the pity
the more the cost.

I sought my sister,
the blacksmith his brother.
She’d been there. I’d missed her.
Hollow eyes seek each other.

I faced the blacksmith,
he turned to his anvil.
“Have you anyone to be with?”
“Stay here, if you will.”

In shared defeat, I find a friend.
We can’t cure grief, but our hearts we can mend.

Daily Prompt: “write your own sad poem, but one that… achieves sadness through simplicity,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

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NaPoWriMo 2019

GloPoWriMo – Song 1

Screenshot of Cat at edge of water

Self-Portrait as Cat Littlebird

Mudcrabs skittle
at water’s edge

two shells
round, glowing
double moons

This life could have been
nestled in a home in a tree
if fate hadn’t shot
through on an arrow

Now you
cross Nirn,
path unknown

And I wander
at planemeld’s edge

Daily Prompt:Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poetic self-portrait. And specifically, we’d like you to write a poem in which you portray yourself in the guise of a historical or mythical figure,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

Author’s note: I’m participating in GloPoWriMo, a poem a day to celebrate April as National Poetry Month! You can join, too! Just check out the Na/GloPoWriMo website to find (optional) daily prompts. Whether you’re a practiced poet, or, like me, an inexperienced poet, if you take part, at the end of the month, you’ll have 30 poems under your writer’s belt! 🙂 Let me know in the comments below if you join in (with a link, please), so I can enjoy your poems!

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NaPoWriMo 2019