The Crystal Skull

THE CRYSTAL SKULL

Even as a young girl, she was able to tap into a primal self, a mind, a sovereign and sentient personality living within herself. This was part of a magical tradition the women-folk of her family had known and practiced forever. By necessity, or fall under the blind and ruthless sword of the Inquisition, they all dutifully attended Church and muttered the empty prayers and liturgies of the power hungry fools while being completely mindful of repelling the stench of their false magic.

She most enjoyed working with the nature spirits, and when near a creek she could conjure enough prismatic light in the mist to project mental imagery onto the mist in rainbow patterns, and then connect to that primal, animistic self nested within her being to give the imagery the force of life. Her uncle was a glass-grinder, and sometimes he would teach her about the new mathematics of light-bending, of opticus scientia, and in that fairly new science she could see the truth of their own ancient science and its rich myriad associated disciplines, where white light is refracted into the seven-hued rainbow. Sometimes sacred geometrical sigils would then precipitate from the mist and fall to the ground, made of a substance that was quite like ice but neither cold nor wet. Putting her fingers to it, fast before it redissolved into nothingness, she would taste it and absorb its essence into her being. And then it would slowly fade. This essence would bring such a charge of beautiful energy, feeling and idea, that she would swoon and lie down in the grass and leaves, dizzy and intoxicated.

Her mother taught her how to gather plants, being diligently mindful of the plants as essence of God and not solid things, but etheric phantoms of intelligence, like intelligent and self-aware smoke gathered into what appeared to be mistletoe, or mandrake root, or wormwood or hemlock. Her mother and grandmother taught her that everything we see with our eyes carries within it, behind the deception of the senses, a true and clear awareness of itself and its place in the flow of All Essence. Then, upon harvesting the plant, flowing gratitude from the heart-wheel to All Essence, acknowledging roles of self, of inner self, of plant and Allness, while speaking soft words that could be heard by the animistic inner self, constantly reminding it of purpose, of connecting awareness to awareness, itself to the essence and purpose of the plant.

At times, when the fields and crops were parched, the bishops and presbyters of the towns and villages would be called upon to intercede with God on behalf of all the lay, be they poor serfs or their landowners, or even the so-called nobles, and beg and beseech and cajole a fickle god of Christians through their abominable prayers for glorious rains to fall from disagreeably pretty cerulean skies.

When the land’s thirst stepped beyond naturally acceptable conditions, she and her mother would strike off into the forest, carrying implements of spiritual purpose and mindful communion in their rucksacks. As her mother taught her, and as her grandmother had taught her mother, they would inscribe a circle in the ground with a staff which had been made self-aware through the gifting of mental essence. While the townfolk and clergy thought they were walking sticks, they were most surely implements of great power, especially when carefully hidden stones were affixed by sinew to their crowns.

Then it was a matter of being within the circle and calling forth first fire, then water, then air, then earth, which is the mind of the soil and rock and sand. The amiable and excitable sprites, excited by the energy being generated, also gathered to see if they could help. Deva spirits held within the mineral and plant forms of any location would rise to recognize that a need was known, and would flow their essences into any bless-ed operation. Then came the prayer of Mother Earth and Father Sky, to conjure and flow waves of unity into everything within reach of their eyes, for unity of being was the only way to instantly cause a thing to be part of this world.

From time immemorial, they had always been taught that the gathering storm was within, and so long as it could be seen with the inner eye it could be caused to materialize in the outer world, reflecting the image of the inner eye. Then came the need to conjure a feeling, feeling the ungathered storm itself, feeling love and gratitude for the ungathered storm, and feeling the storm’s simplistic and majestic awareness becoming aware of them, aware of who the midwives birthing it were. The storm’s own burgeoning awareness was the harbinger for its coming into being, of course. It was this way with all things, large and small. Form follows energy: energy follows thought: thought follows idea.

Then came the will, the will of middle self, to motivate and command energy carried upon the waves of the inherent force of the image itself. The energy would motivate the inner image to become the outer image. The great secret, as she had been taught, is that the outer image was still within the thought of a larger self within which she herself was nested, and therefore she was merely imagining a storm to traverse from one type of sense to another type of sense, eventually to the maya, this hallucination, all people share together, making her imagination become their imagination, causing a shared imaginative figment.

Then came the Voice. Summoning it from the Locus of True Voice in the body, the command is issued upon the moment you know the deed is done, yet to be precipitated into this world. You know the deed is done because the joy from the sense of accomplishment arises from within. This feeling, and the Voice, causes a potential future moment to start its journey towards now.

Within minutes, sometimes hours, the clouds would gather and darken, and then their love would pour forth and the rains would come, nourishing the crops in ways the townfolk and clergy would never understand, not in this embodiment, anyway.

The storms never outlasted their welcome, and the townfolk would gather in the Churches and give thanks to their capricious deity, one who childishly demanded worship as a trade for withholding punishment.

She was taught that it was good the blind were kept in the dark, for now anyway, because if any of them became aware that these women had brought the storms, the stake and the fire would be their lot. The irony was a shared jest among their circle of women. Their kind were reviled and hunted and murdered by the very people whose food was blessed with their rains. Such secrecy had been necessary for the past thousand years as their world had devolved into a senseless morass of absurdities, ever since Christianity had begun to spread its visceral reek across the land, the mental sickness settling into every nook and cranny of everything under God’s vision.

Theirs was a tradition that dated so far back into the mists of forgotten time, it was as much a miracle they still remembered as it was they had survived. Mariam the Magdala had brought to their Southern Shores the Ancient Magic, and had founded schools to keep the traditions living. Her husband, the now famous Yeshua, was also a Master Magi. Among Mariam’s patrons was her uncle-in-law, Joseph the Arimathaen, the rich tin merchant who had land and holdings in Britannia. Together they had founded Schools of the Mysteries all over the lands and kingdoms and principalities of the Continent and Britannia.

Theirs was the tradition given them by the wife of Yeshua and their offspring, and their offspring as well, the several-generations-removed offspring of whom became the most feared and hunted family that Roman Catholicism had ever set out to eradicate. Indeed, the power hungry Catholic mongrels hunted the children of their self-made deity, Yeshua, but never into extinction, as the magic and cunning were so far beyond their ken they couldn’t have ever known what they were facing, which elementarily included the ability to be invisible to certain eyes.

The schools still lived, but not in any official capacity. So far underground had they had to go, they had divided into individual cells with coded means of communication used in the streets of any village, town or city. They could communicate with their sisters via mental messaging, however, which simplified in the organization of relegation of tasks, such as storm gathering and health giving to those who were not sympathetic to Rome. They could heal anyone, of course, but it was a risk to help those of the forced state religion, as Rome had turned everyone into an informant in exchange for favor or possessions or coin.

Although she herself had not yet mastered the ability, her mother could move things with her mind, or vanish from one spot and re-appear in another. These would be the balls and sticks of their games. Their games were their practice in the sensible world, but the real practice is within the mind. While her friends were taught enough of the language to pray, she would piously bow her head, shield herself from the toxic muck of the prayers, and practice true and clear imagination.

Alas, their secrecy had served them well, and all those poor blind fools walked around in abject poverty thanking a cruel god for the scraps they had been sneeringly tossed from the table of divine bounty. Meanwhile, their kind had to be cunning in their efforts to fit in, to look hungry, and poor, and downtrodden, when in reality their health would shine from their naked skin when bathing in the forest streams, and their wealth was God’s willing gift for the asking.

Most times marriage presented problems. Very seldom could a husband be allowed to be aware of their tradition. And so being superb “masters of the kitchen” was their ruse, as gathering herbs, spices and some vegetables meant long absences of foraging in the forests. On their husbands they would use their magic to keep them unaware, sometimes planting images in their minds to keep them ignorant and self-assured of being in charge, as every man of typical adult adolescence required in socially conveyed fashion.

Some of their kind lived in the forests and were huntresses, completely unknown to the wandering dead, those who’d forgot how to be truly alive, which was almost everyone, and they sensed when kin from urban centers were in the vicinity. They would use the second awareness to locate them, and to gather with them, and together they would commune in nature, and command essence, practicing their arts. The wild huntresses would give them meat, and home they’d go with it to feed their families, and to project into the husband’s mind a believable tale accounting for the fresh meat.

She was pretty, and engaging and quiet, studious when nobody watched. For her education alone she could be put to the engulfing torch. As she came of marrying age, a man she neither liked nor found attractive took a leering shine to her. While he seemed pleasant enough, there was a lascivious sneer behind that lying face, so she avoided him. Her mother counseled her to refrain from doing magic on him, to refrain from putting thoughts in his head to turn him away from her, as it was becoming understood that he could be of some service to their ever-secret cause.

He was a man of serviceable wealth, with a small tract of private land granted his family by the local diocese. The original purpose was to construct an abbey, but it had become a winemaking operation with pious and self-righteous overtones instead. His family was a continuous bootlicker for the local diocese as a means of gaining more and more favor, and with the potential of such a position, organized societies of men who were kin could massage circumstances for political and religious leverage. So, in keeping with the universal system of self-sacrifice, she allowed herself to be courted by this primped and ass-kissing dolt.

After an acceptable stretch of time, among their kind it was agreed she would marry him. They consulted the star charts and could see that the essence that was his True Self could be used fruitfully in varying ways, and their star charts were compatible enough to strike and maintain the type of natural harmony that would be needed to carry out their work.

She was taught that allowing the blind to believe what they did was their safety, as those awake always see the sleeping much more completely than the sleeping see themselves, thus easily manipulated for purposes far beyond their comprehension. There were men and women in the world who truly guided the world’s affairs, and they were kin, and secrecy was a necessity. Oh how they longed for the day when the natural order would be restored upon the land.

“I do so, willingly,” she said, looking her husband in the eye on the day of their wedding.

And he had said just as much to her, “I do so, willingly.”

Today, she fancied him handsome, for he did look the part, and he did seem genuinely happy. For her part, she was happy to serve The Order.

“Husband, please be gentle with me,” she said in their bedchamber. “I am a maiden, still fresh.”

And then he had veritably raped her, brutishly, as the prevailing attitude of maleness called for. She was left crying in a pool of blood, while he brusquely said, “That disgusts me” as the door slammed behind him.

On their life went together, and his ambition elevated him in the ranks of the affairs of society and government, and his family holdings swelled. Hers was now a sheltered life, where she could come and go but only to the lands, manors and properties in the city. That her mother was well-loved by the family made it easier on her, especially in the undercurrent of affairs of their Order. They could easily pass coded messages to reinforce their mental communications.

“I have something in my possession,” her mother had said to her one day while riding the large spread of her husband’s family’s land in the Languedoc, “that has come down to us from our ancestors near the Dead Sea. It was found by Gerald during the First Crusade beneath the Temple Mount.” Gerald was her mother’s first cousin, an adept in their arts, but also an ordained bishop trained in the skills of war. He was on the surface a pious Poor Knight of the Temple, a Templar, their order championed by Bernard of Clairvaux, a powerful Catholic Bishop, but who also in secret belonged to their far-flung Order. Gerard, of course, was also a skilled sorcerer in secret. “It was found in a reliquary wrapped in a hidebound map, pointing its origin to Qumran.” Qumran, near the Dead Sea, was where Yeshua, now called Jesus, was trained in the ancient arts for his first seven years as a student, starting at aged seven.

“It’s a skull made of pure crystal,” her mother had continued. “It was made by Those Who Came Before and holds within its memory some of our greatest secrets, and some we don’t even understand how to understand yet. We have located a place here in the Languedoc where it should be buried. That place is on the grounds of an old abbey owned by your husband’s family. There they stash much of their wealth they don’t want the church, or the governor, to know about, and so it is guarded, which is also to our advantage.”

“I see. And the reason to bury it?” she had asked, quite reasonably.

“The Church has its witches too, and this can’t fall into the wrong hands. We have recorded written languages, symbols, passed into our inner eyes, only a little do we understand, and now it’s time to pass what we have recorded onto The Order’s librarians to see if anything in the old parchments can shed light on what is being divined. They have months’ worth of work ahead of them, and so it’s time to hide it…for now.”

Their horses stopped at a creek and stooped to drink.

“It’s a very powerful object, easy to detect for anyone with higher sight. Where your husband’s abbey is located there is a water ley nearby, well concealed in trees, where there is much light fire. It will perfectly conceal the skull within its radiance. It is very difficult to tell the difference between the two.”

On their mounts they crossed the stream and dismounted. From a little alcove made of granite rock so prevalent in the region her mother withdrew the crystal skull, which was wrapped in thick silk. Pulling back the folds, she handed it to her daughter. It was beautiful, about the size of an adult male brain. It had glints of pink shot through it, which then turned golden when rotated for examination. Her mother was right. It produced a tremendous fire. As she held it, she could hear the faint sounds of spoken words in a tongue she couldn’t understand with the mind in her brain, but could begin to with the mind in her heart and abdominal wheel, or chakra. With her inner eye she could see golden symbols scribed upon what looked like black tar parchment.

“We are hoping,” her mother whispered, still in awe over the object’s power, “that with your sight you will continue to record the symbols whenever you get a chance. This means that you would bury it shallowly, but with cunning and protection, and we have right to use magic to conceal it from the dolcecen,” which is a long lost word used by their kind for “walking dead.”

“My daughter, we have nothing but time, and this is one that will long be cataloged with The Order. Use your cunning to get to the burial location whenever possible. Since it’s the abbey they guard, and the location is some distance off in the trees, you should be able to work undetected. Our hope is that you establish such a rapport that you won’t need to hold it, and look in its eyes, in order to divine its secrets. That way you could make your recordings anywhere, but if possible it would be best to commit them to memory instead.”

Her mother handed her written instructions on how to locate the water ley, replaced the silk-bound skull in the rock alcove, and they remounted and rode off, her mother still talking. “If you are ever discovered, they will torture you and purify you in flame, as you know. But what is important is that we will prepare the way for your crossover. Our desire is to strengthen your body of light so that you can navigate the death realms with the lucidity and reason you now possess. We will have made contact with a spirit which can help with the continued decipherment, and there will be words only your reasoning self will recall in order to locate this spirit. That way, even if caught, you can continue our work from the other side of the veil.”

“How completely filial,” she had said with some justified disdain, an attitude she was adopting from her would-be royals-in-law. Throwing her red hair aside, she fixed her mother with the stare of a predator, though half in fun. “Am I but a pawn?” The Order always had precedence, no matter what happened physically to its members. And now here she was listening to her mother speak about her death from this world in purely strategic terms. It was just too surreal.

“Ach! Don’t be silly, my Daughter,” she had said, slapping her across the wrists with the slack of her reins. “You know what’s at stake. So please, just continue what you’ve been taught. Your inner fire is so beautifully strong and adherent to the center fulcrum.” This was a reference to her channeling the energy burst of sexual climax into her body of light, but this wasn’t something she could do with her husband, for his essence wasn’t nearly high enough for such a sacred operation. No, this was something she did on her own, and she had learnt much in the doing…the practice, as it were.

Over the course of time she worked her husband’s mind to give her leave to join with trusted servants and family soldiers who would travel to the abbey to stash gold, silver and, in some cases, receipts, bonds, contracts and other such financial instruments. This usually called for an overnight trip, and so pious did she pretend to be that she begged leave from among them to pray in the forest alone. The servants, and especially her handmaiden, loved her dearly and truly with their hearts, and she had their trust, and they hers, which she had built over the first three years of her entrapment in marriage.

Thus far, she’d bore a single daughter, for she understood how to time conception and use her will to decide the gender of a child. This was decided by The Order. She was still only twenty years, so there would be yet another daughter, and then, finally, a son, to assuage her increasingly surly husband’s disregard of female offspring as anything but a nuisance. But this son would be rightly tempered by the strength of two elder sisters, standing in union to keep him from becoming too…well…male.

Such a beautiful and radiant charge of light fire did she build and radiate from her being, some even took her to be something of a saint, for they could sometimes see a glow about her. She secretly giggled at their blindness, but at the same time thought them endearing and lovely in their simple sincerity.

Sometimes they would all come this way, in the vicinity of the abbey, on arranged hunting excursions, for sport, and she would on one occasion feign the mild vapors and place herself before the fire, shivering under a bear-skin, and on another occasion feel the canny need to pray, and on yet another occasion feel the need to craft a wall-hanging. Her ruse was perfect, for near the chimney in the main…what was formerly a chapel, was a door that was not even five-hundred paces from the skull’s hallowed grave.

On one of the many money-stashing trips, most of it gained from taxation of serfs and money-changing with the merchants, her handmaiden decided to walk the same direction she seemed to always go when wishing to be alone for prayer in the forest. Her lady always seemed so soft and white, and lovely and refreshed when returning from prayer, she fancied there must be a secret there, in the forest. Her attitude was playfully curious, for she expected to find nothing of any note or value, but maybe she would find a beautiful young man! A handsome wraith! A prince of another realm!

It was midday as she fairly skipped towards the forest. So seldom did her lady make the trek there was not even a path. Beyond the tree-line she was in the thick of it. Here there were dapples of sunlight playing upon the ground, carpeted with pine needles and ferns and grasses and small wild flowers, the air so fresh and clean. It was so beautiful here. She thought she detected the faint smell of incense, and instinctively she followed the breeze, daydreaming about a boy she had never met.

Between the trees she could see what looked to be a figure hunched over. It was surely just a rock, but it was a wonderful clearing where she could lie in the Sun, drink in the day. But as she got closer, she could clearly see movement, and even closer she could see this hooded figure had suspended over the top of it a pentagram made of wound pond reeds. This immediately shocked her into a terrible fright, causing her legs to lose feeling. The figure was rocking forth and back, muttering words she couldn’t make out. And then she realized…oh Great Father of Heaven! It was her Lady! Her lady practicing rituals of the Devil!

Catching her breath, she forced her legs to move despite the fact that she couldn’t feel them, and she began backing away, keeping her eyes fixed on the cloaked figure, her Lady, terrified nearly beyond reason.

 

 

She had found some flat-faced rocks on which she could use charcoal to scrawl some of the symbols that seemed more difficult to commit to memory, and then she would simply turn the rocks face downward over holes she had dug to keep from soiling the faces holding the writing. She had just finished and stood when she heard a cracking noise and a quiet hubbub of motion some distance off. She turned North and walked at least three-hundred paces before she turned and started in the direction from which the noises were coming. It was now voices and clumsy armor clad footfalls. Of course she had the option to make herself invisible to them, but why? There was inevitability about this. Soon it was apparent that there were several of the soldiers and two servants walking more or less aimlessly, officiously looking for signs on the ground though not one of them knew the first thing about tracking. Then she could see her handmaiden towards the back of the small train.

Then they spotted her. “Ah!” one of the soldiers said amiably, “what a Godly day for a walk, M’Lady!”

“It is indeed, and for solace in the bosom of prayer!” she proclaimed with shining and pious joy.

“The Savior so sayeth!” another of the men proclaimed.

She had a very strange feeling about this. There was an overt formality here, but there was also her instincts. It was just too much that her handmaiden rounded out this bizarre little band. And so, pretending to navigate the brush, she wend her way to a sunny opening about a hundred feet from the skull's burial location. The troop followed suit. Soon they were all face-to-face, pretending mightily to smile.

The soldier grasped her cloak and said simply, “Tie the witch up.”

Without so much as a flinch in any feature of her face, she glanced knowingly at her handmaiden and then fainted dead away into the ferns.

 

 

Her husband was in red-eyed, tortured, unhinged torment, yelling through the bars of her rock-hewn prison, the only light from flames somewhere outside. “They have already informed the prefect! And his best friend was an Inquisitor before coming here to live! There is nothing…nothing I can do! Why do you not deny these charges? They’re absurd! Aren’t they absurd?”

“Oh, my dear Husband,” she whispered, harboring a secret that she daren’t smile about. “There is much in this world you don’t understand.” Immediately she regretted the error in thinking.

“That I don’t understand? You’re just a stupid wench! A womb for my seed! What could you understand that I don’t?” he shrieked, spittle flying from his face. And then his face fell under the weight of the horrible things he’d just said. “I…I’m…I didn’t mean to…oh God…!”

But she realized that in spite of her internal humor her error was in forgetting to protect The Order. “Well, look at it,” she said softly, detouring the conversation, gently putting her palm against his bearded cheek. “No matter what I say or do at trial nothing is going to stop the inevitable. If I am proclaimed innocent, I’ll have to prove it outright with some ridiculous illustration deemed in the Church’s eyes to be a sanctioned ritual. If I invoke a saint and can float above the ground, I am saved! And failing that, I am to die. If I am proven guilty, I’ll be purified in flame. Denying the charges only dignifies those idiots’ claims. Don’t you see?”

“Damn them! Damn them straight to hell! I’ve never believed their fable of a Savior! He was just a Jew!”

“Ssshhhhh. They’ll hear you, and you’ll be joining me, leaving our daughter parentless.” She leaned closer between the bars to his face and lowered her voice. “But I believe, Husband, and it is into the Savior’s arms I shall willfully and gratefully pass. This is what everyone in our lives, all those we love, must believe to their very souls. I will die with a rosary in my hand, a prayer on my lips. They must believe me innocent so that our daughter can grow without fear or torment. I’m at peace. But here is what is important for you to do. You must be on their side. You must be strong. You must look upon me with pained disgust, and be of an attitude that, while terrible, what must happen must happen. Your dear young wife must be put to the flame, for purification, and as much as it pains you, if you could, you would light the fire. You must be steady in the strength that you exhibit to my accusers. You must not show them any fear, but you also must not defy them. Do you understand?”

“What about our daughter?” he begged, his voice quivering. “What shall she do without her mother?”

It was so beautiful to see him this way. It was the first time, ever, that she had seen him stripped so completely of the false outer shell. He was, alas, completely honest in this moment. “Be certain she spends as much time as possible with her grandmother. That is all she will need for temperance, subtlety, refinement and certain types of learning she cannot learn from the tutors, a learning only a grandmother can give. Can you promise me that? That is all I ask of you.”

“I love your mother. She is as my own mother. This I swear: Your mother shall help in all possible ways with her rearing! Please ask anything else of me, My Love.”

“That you don’t mourn me, but instead celebrate my passing into the Realm of the Father, for it is glorious. Try to do everything, please, everything, in your power to help our daughter understand that as well.

“And one last thing, re-marry as soon as you can, but by God be it for love.”

"I swear these things to you, my love!"

 

 

As she was standing there, bound to the stake, the sticks and logs arrayed around her feet and shins, she thought about these last requests made to her husband. She knew of course that mourning those who pass just holds them to the world, and upon her passing she was immediately to set upon a mission in that world to locate the spirit-person who could help her decipher the skull’s symbols. It would require a special ritual on the other side to break free of their mourning essences. If necessary, she was ready for it. Her mother had set into motion specially designed commands to shield her from as many of her loved ones’ mourning as possible.

She would also carefully select her husband’s next wife, with her own mother’s help, of course. Sometimes being in a body helped a great deal in understanding, as neither of these two dreams could easily be negotiated when not fully present in either.

Their plan was for her to pass her discoveries to The Order through a type of entranced writing. Since her capture and arrest, she realized with some delight that her abilities had become significantly more acute, and so the mental communications with her mother had been quite clear. Since they’d already established their entire plan beforehand, none of those details needed poring over, and so their communications had been of love, and comfort, and peace.

Her mother had not come, for so blood-thirsty were these brutes she would most certainly have been arrested as well. Her husband was powerful enough to secret his mother-in-law away, and would make all due arrangements for her to spend time with her granddaughter.

It was time. The feeling of good cheer here was reprehensible. These “dead-walkers” were all here for a morbid fascination borne of a bevy of beliefs they didn’t even fully understand. Nor did they care to. This was powerfully wrought subservience passed from one generation to the next. Clear in the back there she saw her handmaiden, whose face was an ashen mask of horror, regret, terror, guilt. She mouthed the words “I forgive you, Sweetheart” to her, and the girl burst into tears.

With her chin strong and set, she regarded the cheering throng with neutrality, with regal slits for eyes. She could see them all, the poor things, so blind and slovenly and confused by the world. And there sat her accusers, all clumsily falling over themselves in an attempt to gain political leverage over this momentous event. The repercussions had gone in waves all the way to Paris, and there were men here of obvious great power and influence she didn’t even know, who’d traveled some distance to witness this righteous purification.

It was their arrogant mugs which took her to a mental place she had no plan to go, but in going there she found a tingle of satisfaction. She stretched and clenched her fingers, her hands bound at the wrists behind her back and the stake. So tempted was she to send a death essence into them…and yet their blindness was issuing her forth into a plan of action on the other side that was so far beyond their comprehension they were incapable of even beginning to understand it. In short, they knew not that they were pawns in her plan.

But there was an idea, a thought, one that was perfectly within the bounds of her knowledge, her magic, and that was that she would block out the pain, using her skill, and deprive them of their almost lascivious satisfaction at the purveyance of torture and death that would sicken the most depraved souls could they see all the way into the belly of it.

No. They would not have that satisfaction. She would smile until the pain became too great, and she would then leave the body to slump against its restraints, dead and unscreaming, devoid of satisfaction for those who actually believed they possessed power over her. Poor stupid things.

The logs were set alight, and the flames began to build. With her discipline she blocked some of the pain, quite to her surprise, actually. But then an emotion built in her. She actually felt like singing, like opening her mouth to let a tremendous light pour forth. Sweat sheened her face, and she felt the emotion taint her cheeks. She saw her handmaiden cover her face and run off, crying inconsolaby.

With all her will, she closed her eyes and forced herself from her body. It was even easier than she’d been taught. Mayhaps our invisible selves understand when it is time and thus clear the way for a fair transition upon stormless spiritual seas. She hovered some distance from the pyre, above the cheering crowd, and looked back in horror as her body began screaming in pain, begging in animistic tones for mercy! No no no NO! her disembodied mind screamed. Don’t give them the satisfaction, you traitor! What is doing that?! She wondered in a type of mercurial horror.

And then she recalled that her own lower self, the animistic one, the simpleton within, wouldn’t, couldn’t know or account for what was happening. And now she felt a pang of guilt for leaving it behind. She could see that it didn’t know what to do, that it was torn between leaving the body and staying with the only abode that it knew. She thought herself over to the pyre and whispered to it, “Come with me, little one,” and took it by the semblance of a hand and led it away from the body, which then did indeed, and finally!, slump against its restraints.

She looked around for an opening. There. Through it she went, hand outstretched overhead like an avenging angel, her childlike simpleton in tow.

It was done.

And now the mission to better understand the Crystal Skull.

 

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