REGIONS OF THE HOME-WIND by "Twilight".
"I am going, O Nokomis,
On a long and distant journey,
To the portals of the Sunset.
To the regions of the home-wind"
(From Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha")
Greetings to all who read here. I am Rethiko, Chief Recorder of The First City of Planet Alterion, in the year 800 EA.
The following communications, from two of my former assistants in the Great Hall of Records, have been permanently enrolled within the Central Data Bank of Alterion. Any who read these, in present or future times, will gain important insights which may illuminate a future pathway.
Peace be with you.
Rethiko of The First City.
To: Chief Recorder Rethiko,
It is with the greatest respect, and some regret, that we must inform you of our departure. Our research within the Great Hall of Records, under your tuition, has taught us much. Unable to resist the temptation, in our free time we continued with searches of our own, encompassing materials stored well beyond our designated limits.
We discovered, at last, what we have always instinctively known was waiting to be found. Hidden deep within the data banks was evidence of the origins of our ancestors. This knowledge has been protected and kept a secret from the people of Alterion by order of the Great Chiefs. You may be privy to their reasons.
We now feel a strong urge to act upon what we have discovered. To this end we have enlisted the help of an old friend who studied with us in our youth. Now an Astronaut of chartered craft, he will provide transport for part of the vast distance we must travel, he will also make available the means for us to complete the second part of the journey independently.
Regular reports of our experiences will be communicated to you via Starcast. We hope that you can forgive any wrongdoing on our part, and that you will try to understand what you must surely look upon as nothing but a reckless adventure.
Farewell Chief Recorder. Peace be with you.
DRUID and CHEROKA
This is transmitted from "Onedin Star", a spacecraft normally used to convey essential materials to Alterion from other planets in the System Ra. On this occasion it travels to a more distant galaxy to collect consignments of rare minerals
Cheroka and I both experience feelings of strangeness. We realise that for the first time in our lives we shall be independent. Away from the protective and supportive systems of Alterion, many new and challenging possibilities beckon.
Accommodation inside the spaceship is cramped, the space suits we must wear felt restrictive at first, for these suits are quite unlike our light robes.
Within the Great Space Spiral we experienced brief loss of consciousness, as if falling into a deep dreamless sleep. Wonderful vistas now appear from the observation deck.
The Astronaut warns us to adjust the instruments in our suits and relax our bodies as the spacecraft enters outer Cosmos.
Peace be with you.
Now in deep space, the sight before us becomes ever more amazing. Such beauty and vastness, a limitless expanse of stars which shine more brightly than we have ever seen.
We are using the long journey time to study maps and scripts copied from the Great Hall of Records. The planet on which our spacecraft will first land was known in ancient times as "Mars". There we must disembark and detach a lesser craft from the main spaceship. Druid and I will then continue our journey in the small vessel, using programmed instructions, and an Autonaut to assist navigation to our final destination.
Mars is part of a group of planets which circle a star anciently called "The Sun". This group was known as the Solar System, in a galaxy known as "The Milky Way". According to records there was once a thriving mining community on Mars, but because of difficulties connected with the Martian atmosphere, the planet was abandoned.
Counting the passage of time in space is difficult. Alterion time is no longer useful. We have settled upon a method of numbering our periods of sleep. Our bodies are biologically programmed to take regular rest, this is the only reliable method of time-counting we have available to us.
Peace be with you.
After many periods of sleep we are now within sight of Mars, the planet seems shrouded in a dull red glow as we approach. Thoughts of our continued journey into the unknown make us nervous, but excited. Emotions alien to us on Alterion are starting now to surface. Throughout our lives, as you are aware, we have been taught to suppress strong emotion, to remain calm, retain peace within ourselves. Recently we have struggled to understand why these teachings are given such importance on our planet.
Peace be with you,
Rethiko of Alterion to Druid and Cheroka - Responding via Starcast.
The Covenant of Peace and Tranquility was drawn up in the year 01 EA. As you may have learned through diligent research, the Covenant stood as a promise, and a tribute to the strength and courage of the people of a dying planet. A planet left desolate by wars, the after effects of which intensified a wave of natural upheavals which were already occurring. Greed, hatred and the mishandling of the planet's resources were major factors contributing to successive catastrophic events. Greed, hatred and catastrophe are words alien to you, and the people of Alterion. I trust you may never know or experience their full meaning.
The First Great Chiefs were themselves refugees from the dying planet known as Earth. They had suffered equally, or perhaps even more, than the people they helped to escape. Vows made, when a new home for their people was established, reflected an absolute determination that violence between any rival factions must never be allowed to occur again. The Chiefs made solemn vows to protect the new planet home, to educate their people in ways of peace. Meditation, calmness, pureness of thought, and a gradual elimination of strong or violent emotion is the thread which has run through life on Alterion. Many generations have lived peaceful, healthy and happy lives. Issues of conflict, on the few occasions they have arisen, have been taken to The Great Chiefs of Arbitration. Their decisions are never questioned, they are men and women of wisdom, deep insight and psychic powers.
In your present circumstances it becomes necessary for me to break my rule of silence on these matters, to make clear the reasons behind our Covenant of Peace and Tranquility. Neither you nor I know what might await you at your destination. The information I have given may be of help.
And now I take leave of my pilgrims. Go forward in peace and safety.
Rethiko of Alterion.
Fourth Report - recorded by Cheroka
We thank you for your kindness Rethiko. Your words have brought even more certainty that our pilgrimage is essential. What awaits us on planet Earth is unknown. We must summon some of the courage of our ancestors. When first they set foot upon Alterion. What awaited them was also unknown. Their bloodline flows through us, courage is awaiting our call.
The smaller spacecraft, in which we are to continue our journey alone, has been detached and prepared. After one sleep period the main spacecraft departed. We have checked equipment stowed on our small vessel. We have portable lights, clothing for a variety of climates, implements of sedation to use should we need to calm any violent creatures, also a selection of medicines.
We shall now continue to our final destination: planet Earth.
Peace be with you,
Fifth Report - recorded by Druid
We have now been travelling towards planet Earth for 10 sleep periods.
This spacecraft, though small in size, is extremely powerful, and has been programmed to find the most rapid route to our destination.
Today, for the first time, a tiny spot appeared on the navigation screen, the instruments tell us that this is planet Earth! We estimate that 30 to 40 more sleep periods will bring us close enough to see the planet clearly.
We meditate to access peace and patience. Our Alterian training helps, but it becomes ever more difficult to remain unmoved at the thought of what lies before us.
30 more periods of sleep have passed. Planet Earth can now be seen clearly in the observation bay. A wondrous sight! She is blue - a beautiful, intense blue, much bluer than the Alterian sky. Powerful ancestral memories seem to speak to us as we gaze upon our destination.
Few outlines of land are now visible, we have, so far, been unable to relate them to our maps. We fear that many things will have changed since these maps were produced. Copies of astronomical charts will be our main guide in calculating direction on Earth's surface.
Peace be with you,
Sixth Report - recorded by Cheroka
We disembarked slowly, wearing pressurised helmets to check the atmosphere. Instruments soon indicated that the air of Earth is clean and suitable for our systems. It was a moment of absolute joy to remove our helmets and take in first breaths of the air of planet Earth, the true homeland of our people. Sweet, clear as the crystals we find in the hills of Alterion. Sharp as the beak of an Alterian Wildjay. Cool as water from the springs of Mount Alteria.
The spacecraft has come to rest in an area of flat ground. There are hills and mountains in the far distance. In the near distance, some mounds of stones. Green vegetation lies tangled all around. There is silence. The sky is deep blue, and the star they called The Sun shines down, just as Ra shines down on Alterion. We feel the heat through our space suits and long to discard them.
Sitting on the ground, feeling the warmth rise through our bodies, we stripped off the space suits and wear only loose, short robes.
Among some piles of stones lying just beyond our craft, we saw evidence of ornamental carving, decoration which must have been made by people of Earth, so long ago. We placed our hands on the stones, allowing vibrations from the minerals to enter our bodies. It is possible that these stones once formed parts of buildings. Perhaps a great city once stood here. These were the kinds of intuitive signals we received. Vibrations are strong on planet Earth, and in tune with our own, giving us confidence for what lies ahead.
Peace be with you,
Seventh Report - recorded by Druid
Near to the craft, we watched the Sun disappear below the horizon. As the sky grew dark, more quickly than on Alterion, stars and planets appeared. The night sky is very beautiful! There is one Moon, somewhat larger than Alterion's two. It shines down very brightly, almost a complete disc. Studying star charts, we have identified what the ancients called "The North Star" or "Polaris". For a temporary method of estimating direction, we noted where the Sun fell beneath the horizon.
Cheroka and I enjoy heightened mental communication here. We know from our studies that few people in ancient times used this ability. The leader of our First Great Chiefs was one of the few. We were fortunate that she encouraged those she led to learn, use, and teach these precious skills to young successors.
The air grows cold quickly as darkness falls. When the Sun rises again we shall note its position, then adjust the craft's controls so that we may hover just above Earth's surface, and begin exploring.
Peace be with you,
As the Sun appeared we completed modifications to our craft and began to travel towards the mountains. The Sun was high overhead by the time we approached our destination.
The ground had become softer, less dry, with a regular covering of green vegetation. Small trees, and coloured flowers lined the edges of a narrow stream of crystal clear liquid, which looks like water. We stopped the craft to examine it. The liquid is, indeed, water. Results obtained after testing left us in no doubt. We took our first taste of Earth's water: delicious!
Further into the foothills, small insects began appearing on the navigation screen, more evidence of life here. Druid sped the craft along, higher, enabling us to cover more distance before the Sun once again descended.
As darkness fell we arrived at the edge of the highest mountains. When light returns we shall continue exploring on foot. The temperature has dropped, space suits will be needed, for warmth and protection.
Further evidence of life has appeared in the damp ground on the mountain-side, imprints which may be footprints of a small creature.
In a clearing, surrounded by enormous rocks and tall trees, we saw the ruins of what looks like a roughly-built shelter. There are carvings on nearby rocks. We shall inspect more closely when light returns.
Peace be with you,
The clear fresh air and physical exercise have affected our systems. We slept so long that the Sun was already high when we returned to the mountainside to inspect the carvings.
Crudely carved inscriptions appear to be names. There is also a recurring symbol, a vertical pillar with a horizontal pillar across it; we remember that this sign was known as a "cross", and related to what some peoples of Earth called "religion". This was a concept we found incomprehensible during our researches. Perhaps this place marks a location where people died, or were laid to rest in the ground. It was, perhaps, intended as a memorial.
Higher on the mountainside the air became colder. We were amazed to see in the distance, and higher still, what appeared to be smoke. Could it be possible that humans have survived here, and still live in these mountains? A more likely explanation, we thought, was that the hot sun had caused some dried vegetation to blaze.
Cheroka has fallen onto sharp rocks on the mountainside. Her legs and arms are badly torn. I left her where she lay in order to return to the craft to collect medicines. When I returned Cheroka was no longer where I had left her. She could not have walked unaided. I fear she may have been harmed. I shall search the surrounding area. My heart begins to pump vigorously - this is what I always imagined that fear would feel.
Peace be with you. I hope to return with better news soon.
Rethiko of Alterion responding to Druid via Starcast
Your latest report concerns me greatly. Please feel reassured that if Cheroka has been moved, then it would seem that something, or someone was trying to help her, not harm her. Bear that thought in mind, my pilgrim, as you search.
You mentioned, in an earlier report, the Earthly concept of religion. I will say little now, as I know that your mind must be preoccupied.
For thousands of years, before the migration, most peoples of Earth held belief in a "creator" known by a variety of names and worshipped or respected in various ways in different areas of the planet. Each religion used a framework of rules by which its followers were advised to live. Most retained ancient texts written by their founders.
We have learned from research that religions evolved over long periods of Earth time. They gradually moved away from their original purpose, of promoting peace, harmony, and a healthy way of life. Teachings of two widely followed religions strayed so far from their origins that followers began to destroy each other. This undoubtedly was a factor instrumental in bringing an end to Earth's period of civilisation and, as far as we know, life on planet Earth.
On planet Alterion, as you know, we believe that only life itself is sacred, that it arises from an interconnected universe, of which we all form a part. We are all creators. Peace has enfolded our planet for 800 Alterian years. We flourish, we have created our way of life from a wilderness.
These are matters to keep in memory should you find planet Earth proves still to be populated, however sparsely. The descendants of any who survived terrible destructive events might retain ancestral memories. It is well that you stay aware of this.
Proceed in peace and safety.
Rethiko of the First City.
To be continued.....
For Music Monday - a musical interlude, and a song of the right flavour to match the story being told: a great bluegrass version by Iron Horse of Elton's Rocket Man