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Rina: The Warrior of the Rose

By Aneta Skirko

Dear Reader,
Allow me to introduce Rina, one of the Warriors of the Rose and a passionate wanderer. Her mission is to descend into the Abyss - a dark and immense place where everyone has a chance to undergo a process of inner transformation. The Depth has many faces; different ones for different individuals and everything what happens within its realm, happens because of the wanderer. If you would like to accompany Rina in her adventures in the Miniland - inhabited by the Minilanders - creatures internally dwarfish; to hunt the brotherly animal with her; to meet with the Rainbow-walkers or only watch the silver transparent saddle- rhino and Rina's loyal companion walking and grunting joyfully, you are very welcome. Maybe it will change your life too...

Primaeval Forests... Hunting the Brotherly Animal.
The warrior and the girl wandered towards the Abyss; mirror depth where shapes, cycles, phases of breath of parallel worlds reflected themselves. The Depth was called "dimensional unattainability" because dwelling in it was giving an impression that something that was close was becoming distant and something that was distant was getting closer. One has never attained certainty. All senses of the body lost sharpness in the face of too many possible incentives. Therefore somebody descending into the Abyss must have trusted the sight of his own intuition in order not to stray in the endless labyrinths of the Depth.

Rina was about to pass the test of a warrior; descend into the Abyss and come back with the light of the sun within her. Innocence of a warrior did not indicate the strength of the muscles nor the proficiency in fighting with a sword it was rather mastery in gathering of restorative force and keeping it stored as long as it was possible.

The land lying at the foot of the Abyss was covered with the primeval forests, full of trees resembling creatures turned upside-down since the heads of the trees were not reaching the sky but their roots. Among the leaves enveloping the earth a tired wanderer could get some rest staring at the twisted creaking roots. The trunks of trees carried written on them primeval stories of warning which only few could read. Avin had that ability which was very useful when he himself was passing the test of a warrior. Alone in the upside-down forests plenty of lightrises and lightsets, preparing himself for the encounter with the Abyss. The roots of the trees kept on rustling about sneaking time. Time at the foot of the Depth has never passed away; has always been the same amount for everyone. Everything has happened at the present time as the past and the future didn't matter for the wanderers. In the Abyss one didn't pay attention to the passing away like in the worlds outside, the order of events could have been met by chance somewhere in the meadow or near to the watering-place; untamed and wild slipped away in a flash, out of horizon of vision.

The creatures dwelling in the Depth hunted the time; shooting it from a bow passing through the net of events and ripping its continuity. They kept on stealing the force lurking in the time and feeded themselves with it. Wanderers - warriors learnt how to discern the passage of time from a different perspective in order not to become its victims trapped without a way-out. However, it was allowed to hunt only the brotherly animal which was bound to the hunter a life-death bond. Where did that knowledge come from? Each hunter had to find it in himself; spend in the primeval forests suitable amount of days; observe; sneak and finally look at the eyes of the brotherly animal. It was said that it was the only moment when a warrior could see in them his own life; things which passed away and shadows of things which were about to happen. Shooting the arrow, a hunter was the least important creature of all because hunted some part of himself boasting about his past and his future. A lot of hunters wept bitter tears since it has never been easy to kill something that was close to us.

Rina also had to feed herself with the meat of time in order to be able to descend into the Abyss. No one could accompany her in facing this challenge so Avin left to visit his friends in different parts of primeval forests. It was the first time that Rina was alone. She had to hunt her flock and look at the eyes of her animal. The girl heard of scary darkness of primevel forests after the lightset; strange voices misleading ears and marring the rhythm of thoughts. There were not any trodden paths, routes in the forests; vegetation was regrowing rapidly. One lightrise and one lightset were sufficient to remove all traces left by wanderers. Anybody could rely only on his senses, since it was the inner voice of intuition which was needed to survive and to hunt the flock which was constantly migrating to new places. The upside-down forests kept on changing their shape all the time; stories written on the trees conveyed the same teachings with constantly new words.

Rina sat by the crystal-clear stream which softly removed dryness from stones while each tiniest splash of water echoed around the near rocks. The shadows of flying birds landed upon crystal isles flowing from its springs to the unknown space of the ocean. Suddenly, one of them started to grow close behind Rina's shoulders and became an outline of a person filled with darkness. The girl shivered taken by surprise. Soon somebody's warm fingers were interweaving Rina's hair with subtleness of refreshing blows of wind, bringing silence and relief from fear. The girl heard a voice whispering in her ear, "My pretty warrior, let your neighing in harbors ships gallop into the blue spaces, with a melody of drops crashing in jugs, with the last breath of grasshopper drying upon the blade of grass, may the swords cutting fog let you see the farthest horizon of things, swim with dolphins of stars through the scariest darkness of gaping mouths of madness and loss. Before you face the deepest depth, kiss the earth, remember kiss the earth to come back to its surface. Now, my dear, look at me..."

Rina obeyed the voice. She looked at the woman, neither young nor old, having ruddy face and piercing eyes; long flowing hair; dressed in a gown touching the ground, with pockets full of herbs. The girl didn't know if a mysterious lady wasn't only a hallucination of her mind; ailment of senses lost in the upside-down forests. The woman took Rina's hand and leading it through her body made it more real.

"What's your name?" asked the girl.

"Call me Ambivalence because I'm a harbor of contradictions. Look, there is a border going through my hand that twists like a river; bends and straightens; one side of the border inhabit flocks of shining birds and the other one possess the flocks of hideous birds. Sometimes I let them mix when under the clouds they spread their wings. It is said then that Ambivalence shepherds her flocks too softly.

"I have never met a shepherd of contradictions before," remarked Rina.

The mysterious lady smiled and said, "Avin had asked a favor of me, that's why we met. I picked some herbs for you which sharpen the intuition. Infuse them and drink. They will help you to scent your brotherly animal. Good luck!"

Suddenly, Ambivalence ripped her garment and jumped into the shimmering stream; her body sprinkled with countless quantity of drops sucking in by greedy rays of light while her hair turned into the wings which flew to the blue sky. Rina stayed alone accompanied by fragrant herbs. She lit the fire and prepared the infusion. It was the right time to find a shelter. A tiny crevice in rocks occurred to be perfect place to watch outside world and become to it invisible.

When Rina was a child she liked to disappear in narrows between wardrobes, in gaps darkened by the presence of stored things, at the foot of armchairs, under the bedspreads. From hiding she could endlessly listen to the conversations of adults, to their words carelessly thrown away out of their lips. Rina didn't understand why the birth of thoughts was accompanied by indifference and boredom, why one couldn't hear then the sounds of trumpets and shouts of joy. With the passage of time she realized that there was a Lady of Locked Doors or a Lady of Grey Paper in front of eyes invited to her home among other guests and all who smiled at her and stared at her have never said anything interesting. Avin knew her tricks; always when he made up a nicely smelling word Lady's eyes were lighted with desire to eat it then he threw his word away behind the window and Mrs Boredom as a starving dog followed it. Warrior's stories fascinated little Rina because they were full of stormy streams and scent of immense spaces.

Darkness in a crevice was softened by rugged light of fire; the girl reminded herself of her past under the soothing influence of herbs. She was stroking its fur, hair by hair while the brotherly animal howled to the moon a song about its hunter and life-taking arrow. With the last sounds of song Rina was embraced by a dream and closed inside of it till the lightrise. The following day, thanks to the sharpened sense of intuitive scent, the girl knew that her brotherly animal was browsing somewhere near so she set out to find it. On a meadow, under the blue sky, she traced the flock basking in the light. Rina sneaked quietly and examined with her eyes lazy shapes of animals. She didn't look for her past too long; an animal with white stripe stretched between its tail and ears was delicate and shy; scented her presence and hid itself in scrubs.

Rina's eyes filled with tears because the challenge that awaited her had the size of a giant and the power of crashing avalanche. The girl had to first tame the animal and then shoot the arrow. Avin mentioned that the last dance with the brotherly animal teaches a warrior patience and makes him ready to undergo the transformation. It was the point of a journey when Rina couldn't withdraw and come back home to lead the life of unaware ones.

One shouldn't play with the Abyss because it has a power to swallow up forever. If you make one step towards her you must continue till the last one.

Since the brotherly animal gradually got tame with the presence of a hunter, with each following lightrise, Rina was sitting closer and closer to the browsing flock. She watched it for hours and finally the girl became for animals an obvious manifestation of the world, not more dangerous than shimmering stream or colorful flowers. The brotherly animal unconsciously trapped its paws in the snare of tame, losing its watchfulness and caution. It looked at Rina more often and even was coming close enough to sniff at warrior's garments. Sometimes the girl could sink her fingers in the fur of the past to recognize forgotten shapes and scents. With each passing by ray of light Rina was establishing a stronger and stronger bond with the brotherly animal at the same time preparing the death-bringing arrow.

The climax point of a dance between a warrior and its past appeared at the right moment for both of them. When Rina strung a bow the brotherly animal was piercing her with its eyes diving deeply inside of her and listening to its death coming from afar. Warrior's body trembled but didn't miss the aim. Shot, the arrow stopped the heart; Rina's past fell down dead to the soft grass and soon disappeared completely. The flock scattered in all directions of the forest. The girl was standing without motion; she felt that energetic brightness poured into her and filled to the borders of her body.

Rina turned around hearing Avin's voice, "Come on." He said nothing more because there wasn't any word suitable for this moment. Each warrior had to go through his death in silence even if he could only crawl upon the ground scratching off the wails of his pain. Death has never been the piece of cake for anybody. Rina's soul got stuck under the surface of her body; it wasn't curious of the world outside. It needed the tempting scent of herbs which could bring relief. Avin was picking them up in gardens of the Abyss and using them as an antidote in case of lessened sensitivity of a soul.

The above passage is an excerpt from Rina: The Warrior of the Rose by Aneta Skirko, published in paperback earlier this year.

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