The Alder Library presents
Written with the inspired vision of Crane R. Rings and the Sierra Alder Authors
Literary fiction about a tribe of peaceful amphibians who live in a solar system distantly in the milky way galaxy. This is a story about relationships, ethics and a soulful way of life.
An excerpt of the book is presented here!
Eaulden dove gracefully unto the twin shadows of the spindly argum leaves, the sacred food of her people. She saw a rainbow of light permeate the thin leaves, the light of two suns shimmering upon the waves of the surface. Eaulden, carrying an intricately woven basket that her partner, Uben had created for her, waited amidst the blue green underwater plants.
The people of her tribe could breathe the air as well as the water, being amphibious in nature. Soon the group caught up with her. The tribe always gathered argum leaves as a unit. The green and yellow amphibians gently shook the plants with long hollow reeds, and a young aywehn fish swam out from amidst the underwater forest, away from the food gatherers.
Eaulden swam next to her quartet of which she was one of four. As Imli and Amas carefully shook the leaves for any sign of aywehn fish, Eaulden and Uben collected the leaves and placed them through a latch in their basket's side. Once the baskets were full they motioned to their partners and swam back towards the shore. The amphibious creatures were bipedal, having two long arms and legs, at the end of which were seven digits with membranes growing between, allowing them the ability to swim quickly under the water, while still giving them a way to grasp with fine motor skills. Along the spine of the back were arranged several finlike growths, helping them balance as they swam. They had gills along their sides, as well as a streamlined nose and mouth with which to breathe the humid air.
These complex beings had an intricate society. Yet they had no name for the culture from which they derived their heritage. They lived in families of two adults and usually one to five children. They built long houses on the surface in which to dwell on land and swam during the day to gather food and exercise.
A four story marble building with colourful patches looked out over a cliff, farther along the shoreline, where the waves spent themselves against porous rocks down below. The building was their school, hospital, law office, library, community hall and museum. They were a fortunate people. They had no need for a jail or an army. If someone broke a major law, which was rare, that person was asked to spend time in meditation, until they resolved their dispute with the person whom was wronged. The person who broke the law was requested to meditate as a loner for a while, away from the traditional quartet, but still recognized as a member of the community. The community prayed with the lawbreaker, which helped them regain a sense of belonging in the tribe as well as with their family. They never fought with other tribes and had no need for military might. The tribes that surrounded their small community were also tight nit, and all the people practiced pacifism, respecting the quiet moments between work, learning and family duties.
The number four was sacred to these people. The four directions, south, east, north and west were reflected upon as significant, as the large sun, known as the Noee Star rose in the west, set in the east and if one placed ones hand over ones muscle valve known by us as the heart, one would know where the south lay and it’s opposite, the north. This of course is the reverse to one living on earth, but similarities to our lives remain. We shared that mysterious domain known as dreams, an important part of their lives.
Dreams of brilliant yellow-green lightning bolts, as big around as the trunk of a circa tree, which the tribe utilised as timbers for their long houses, haunted Eaulden over a period of several days. The tribe measured time by the amount it took the small sun, called the Mae Star, to orbit the larger sun, the Noee Star. It took 2070 days for the small pale orb to go around the larger reddish yellow disc, the new year occurring as the large sun eclipsed the smaller star. They divided this by nine, making two hundred and thirty periods of nine days every revolution of the smaller star. The reason for basing their celestial calendar this way was because their seasons fluctuated as the distance of the Mae Star grew shorter and longer.
The lightning made the sea glow, and she could hear ghosts singing in the rumble of the thunder. Low, undulating umbles of laughter and intrigue. She decided to ask an elder for advice concerning her lightning dreams. After consulting Uben, her partner, they started out along the path to the community building, on a day when neither of them were scheduled for classes. As they neared the complex, she noticed that the ancient aeilsh trees looked as if they had been seeded by her dream lightning, arcing and jutting in twisted green forms, bark peeling from the branches. They utilised the fine membranes of the aeilsh bark as a form of paper in their school, and the leaves of the argum provided an iridescent green ink. Quills from the aywehn fish provided a writing utensil that was quite efficient, and advanced students meticulously copied ancient library books every year. Uben suggested consulting the librarian for information about the significance of lightning, and they made their way through the corridors of the community hall, past the classrooms, towards the center of the building, where overhead, a large luminous slab of thin marble allowed light to enter from the twin suns.
They asked a wizened elderly librarian if she could help them find information about the source of lightning and what its role was in nature. The librarian, who introduced herself as Elder Yian, took them to an immense long desk with books arranged both below and above it, tip toeing to reach a musty fraying volume that looked to be quite old, saying, “I’m glad you have an interest in rare natural phenomenon such as lightning. It gives me an excuse to dig up this old tome, as it is getting to be that time where we should copy its contents before it becomes illegible.” She placed it on the desk and gently opened it. Eaulden noticed that her hands were traced with creases and wrinkles that only one who had seen many moons pass would have. The elders were revered in their community as the keepers of knowledge and cultural ways. Eaulden then remembered an old memory of her early childhood and asked the elder if she used to work with Elder Beue, collecting bark and processing it for paper. Elder Yian replied, “Why yes, of course! How is Beue? You must be Eaulden, why you were just a tiny thing when you would visit us with your mother and father. You always showed a great interest in the process of making parchment. Have you continued your studies in paper making, Eaulden?”
Eaulden smiled with the elder paper maker and librarian, “Yes, I study it now as a hobby. Elder Beue helps me create home made books that we print for our family and friends. I enjoy it immensely. I’m studying that subject in my education, as a possible career.”
Uben interjected, “I fell in love with Eaulden’s books, then I realized I was in love with the book’s maker. She really does have a talent for creating well crafted and thought provoking literature. You may not have known that she is the co-author of several intriguing books of fiction. I have been helping her finish her books.”
Elder Yian asked, “And what is your name young man? I do not believe we’ve ever met.”
“My name is Uben. I am Eaulden’s husband, and we live not far from here along the Mae Star trail. Perhaps you could join us for lunch, and we could show you our book collection?”
“I would love that, Uben. How about on my day off, which occurs the day after tomorrow?”
“That would be nice,” interjected Eaulden. “We live in the blue green striped house where the Mae Star trail meets the circa root trail.” Eaulden also asked, “Can we take this book home? I heard you mention that you will need someone to make a copy of it, and I would be willing to do that, as I have been practicing at school.”
“Well, we usually don’t allow the books to go out of the library. But since I know your family and you have offered to help us archive for the library, I will ask Maia, the head librarian if that is all right.” Elder Yian took the book up to a low flat desk where a brightly dressed woman sat cross legged, writing in a large voluminous tome. They conversed quietly, and she nodded her head in assent to the special request. Elder Yian gestured for Eaulden and Uben to follow her into the hallway. On the way she picked up some materials for Eaulden to begin her project of writing the much needed archive. Carrying the pens and paper, the young couple waved happily to Elder Yian as they followed the path home.
Again we greet the number four, this time in the adult lives of the people of two suns. There was a marriage of two sets of male and female partners. Both the females and males had marsupial like pouches, reminiscent of the male sea horse, who carry the young in a pouch. They also shared the trait of mammary glands with which to nurse their young. The females could produce an egg every rotation of the Mae Sun and would place an egg in the male’s pouch, who would then fertilise it within his pouch when a child was deemed to be born. Sometimes the young children bore root like gray patterns on their epidermis, which usually faded by the time one reached adulthood. Eaulden had recently placed an egg in Uben’s pouch. It was the first child for them, and they were excited at the prospect. They had decided on the name Ulen for their soon to be born child and looked forward to teaching the young one life’s mysteries. The soon to be mother and father had the help of their parents who lived nearby when they needed it. They often visited and supported their children.
As Eaulden and Uben walked through the entrance to their humble abode, a dual shaft of light from a skylight above lit the room, cascading colourful shadows upon a harp like instrument tuned to twenty four notes within an octave. The instrument, a weuen, covered a three octave range, having seventy two strings. Uben went to a clay oven in the middle of the room and placed several twigs and larger branches upon some embers, stirring a pot of aromatic luan tea, made from an herb they grew in their garden. It tasted somewhat like ginger, if you or I were to taste it, yet milder in character. It had an energizing affect and was sipped in the morning and mid afternoon. He poured four clay cups full, and called into an adjoining room, “Tea’s on! Are you up for practicing for our next performance?”
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