Spiritual Safari (Chapter 2)
Night fell on the jungle after a long and adventurous day of foraging and avoiding predators. All of the homins retired for the night after the adults used large broad leaves, leafy branches and moss gathered to make their nests. Up in the highest treetops they could find, the children cuddled up next to their parents before going to sleep. Somachi laid in the same moss laden bedding as his father but unlike him, the young man was still awake thinking out saving the girl from the predatory raptors. Often when his mind was keeping him awake, he tries to listen to the sounds made below in the jungle.
Tonight, sounds of the rainforest were different than what he was used to. Somachi looked over to where his father was sleeping. “Father, there’s something out there, should we see what it is?” echoed in his mind. Before he touched his dad, he stopped his hand and retracted it. “What am I doing?” he thought to himself, “I’m supposed to be one of the men of this tribe now, I can’t have him do everything for me.”
From there, he decided to move out of his nest and move out into the darkness of the night. Somachi crouched as he moved along one of the great branches keeping their dwelling stable on the tree. He looked up to the starry sky to navigate but even the celestial lights couldn’t break through the pitch black understory below. Luckily he remembered his magic skill, and once again summoned the mystical flame in his palm. The brilliant azure glow emitted from the magic substance floating just above his hands was more than enough to see around him in 3 foot radius.
Climbing slowly down the trunk with one hand open to see the way, he stopped at the last branch he could see. He wrapped his tail firmly around it and hung below it upside down shining his light towards the forest floor. A few beetles scurried away but with nothing threating, Somachi landed and slowly walked towards the source of the rustling. As he walked he found what looked around him and found a lot of the trees had some of their bark stripped off. He gulped as he tried to figure out what could possibly be doing this.
He made his way past the foliage to an open clearing. Light from up above was provided by the full moon, stars and nebulas dotting the sky and reflected in the lake. With the ambient lighting, Somachi dispelled the magic in his hand and walked near the river bank to take in the sights. He watched the fireflies as they danced around the night sky flickering on and off.
Interrupting the moment was the return of rustling Somachi was following before. The curious homin make a break for the nearest bush he could find and crouched behind it for cover. At a bit left of his spot, out of the brambles came a mysterious figure walking towards the rushing brook. He took a peek around his shrub to make it out. It was a humanoid looking figure but it seemed too tall to be a homin and there was no sign of their signature tail behind it. It also wore some strange clothing over its body whereas everybody in Somachi’s band either had a loincloth or none at all.
Deciding to get a better look, he crept as softly as he could towards the person’s path until it stopped near the edge of the trees surrounding the water. It was here that he noticed the being was holding something in one of its arms. The other arm was raised in the air as flame similar to when the homins summon their magic appeared in its palm. However the familiar flame did something that Somachi was not prepared for. It became a strange circle in the air lined symbols and runes he didn’t recognize. With a sudden flash, the writing disappeared and a tremor radiated from where the caster was standing. Up from the ground, a mass of bamboo stalks grew straight into the sky, forming a pillar that was almost as tall as the trees. The mystical being placed what was in its arms inside of the summoned structure.
All this caused Somachi to fall backwards as he tried to process what he just saw. He was used to everyone that he knew making their own projectiles or crafting temporary things out of magic but this was something completely different. It definitely wasn’t a homin doing this, that’s for sure.
The drop of his body on the ground alerted the mage towards his presence and immediately the two met eyes. Now Somachi had a clear view of the adept magician in front of him. He could make out from the facial features and hips that she was likely a female. In fact, she appeared to be a tall olive skinned woman and resembled a homin but not only was she too tall, the toes of her feet were small, all together and pointing forward.
Her bright hazel eyes glared at him with an interesting mix of surprise and confusion. In an attempt to avoid them, Somachi’s sight shifted to her odd dress, as he noticed strange shining rings from her ears and a reddish low-cut midriff-baring blouse. She also had wavy raven-black hair down to her waist, just above a low-waisted long skirt with a slit up the side. The light from her hand faded into the night as quickly as it came as she put both of them to rest on her hips. Her head titled up slightly as she asked, “Who are you?” Somachi’s mouth hung open as he heard the question echo in his mind but no sign of her mouth moving. He clenched his fist and got up from the ground to stand as tall as he could in front of her to reply, “I am Somachi, and I’d like to know what you’re doing here.”
Avoiding his question she stared at him as she inquired in his head, “How old are you?” He wasn’t sure if it was her or the jungle heat but he was starting to sweat under pressure. Hesitant to give her his true age, he responded, “I’m an adult in my band. Now again, what are you doing with those bamboo stalks?” The woman continued her own series of questions, “Are there any other homins with you?” Somachi was letting his frustration show as he gritted his teeth and raised his voice, “No, I’m the only one who came and they are far away from here, know tell me what you are doing with the trees and that thing behind you.” His fists where again radiating the flare now taking a violet-fuchsia hue towards the top.
She made a small laugh, the first sounds he heard from her that wasn’t in his head. She returned to the mental conversation with him with a smile to her face, “My, aren’t you a brave little one. Lucky for you, I have no intention of interacting with you and your people or causing harm to this forest.” Her own hands were generating a mystical flare similar to his own only it vanished and reappeared as a circle filled with more odd symbols underneath Somachi feet. “So I think you should calm down, you don’t want to hurt yourself right?” she asked with an air of superiority and holding the same innocent grin as before.
Realizing there was no chance of intimidating the mystery woman, he dropped the aggression and his magical charge. The stranger did the same and turned towards the plant structure before continuing their talk, “You don’t have to worry about this, I’m only keeping something precious to me safe. I suggest you do the same with those you love.” Before Somachi could get a word out, she vanished right in front of his eyes. The shock made him stand back and call out, “Are you still there?” With no response and no sign of anything malicious about her words or in the pillar of bamboo, Somachi made his way to return to his nesting area.
Back up in the treetops and laying in leaves, he found that his band was up during their period of nightly wakefulness. The children were playing a small game, the men were talking and the women were picking hanging fruits and flowers for the morning. As he returned to his father’s nest, he found him meditating. Preecha exited his trance as his son approached and asked him where he was when the others awoke. He asked his son where he was but Somachi just replied that he was looking for things to eat. The young homin wasn’t sure whether the others would believe a mysterious woman sprouting plants and disappearing from sight would be in the forest. After an hour or so, the homins went back to their nests to finish sleeping through the night. Even Somachi was finally able to rest though before he slept, he still couldn’t help but wonder about what other mysterious beings the jungle had to offer.