Direction Returns

Upon escorting Islana from the lake to her tent, Ch’Truta gave Sister Locust an official bow. When he rose, Ch’Truta grinned.

“May you rest well knowing Ch’Truta watches over your safety tonight, Sister Locust.” The voice was sincere and passed as a loyal subject ensuring her security. It should, as he would see to it.

Returning to his tent, Ch’Truta was at ease. His relationship with Islana advanced today. Ch’Truta was secure in her love for him. The doubt of Islana not feeling as he did was gone. It was replaced by the warmth of her love.

Also gone was the anxiety of the spirits of the swamp abandoning him. They had sent them a messenger. The spirits still saw and approved. Uctilo’rhu was watching over him through the spirits.

He spent the next few hours in meditation. He wanted to honor Uctilo’rhu for his faithfulness. During the meditation, Ch’Truta fell into a trance. It was the first this had happened without his poisonous concoction. Ch’Truta welcomed it, seeking direction from the spirits.

He stood in the midst of the Great Swamp, fog swirling about its surface. He heard the murmuring of hundreds. Looking into the thickness of the fog, the spirits materialized. First one, then dozens, to hundreds. One of the spirits stepped forward.

Ch’Truta knelt before them, bowing his head in humility. He felt a boney finger lift his chin and he looked into hollow eye sockets. The spirit’s finger left his chin and pointed toward what appeared to be two jewels. One green. One brown.

“Beware!” the spirit intoned.

Ch’Truta pondered the meaning of the two jewels. He focused upon them, suddenly seeing them blink. It was that moment Ch’Truta realized them to be eyes. A forked tongue flitted out of a mouth, just before the eyes. It opened its mouth, revealing fangs just as it struck out at Ch’Truta. At that moment he could hear a laughter that sounded familiar to Ch’Truta for some reason.

Ch’Truta started opening his eyes. What had the serpent represented? What did the eyes of two colors mean. Did the forked tongue speak of a dual word. A falsehood presented as truth? He knew the spirits were faithful. He would know when the time came.

Exiting his tent, Ch’Truta took a seat outside. He held the spear before him, watching over her. No one would bring her harm tonight. As far as he could help, no one would ever bring harm to her.

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