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* The Library - Fiction for the Heart *

The Gathering
Ch. 1 - The Valley

Out of the dim time there wandered a small dark wizened creature. If she had a name, she didn't know it. If she had a home, she couldn't remember it. She was alone and wandering, and had been for many long years.

For many years she crept from place to place, hiding from the eyes of men. The sun parched her hair and cracked her skin. The moon chilled her bones and stirred an aching in her chest. The long road had bent her back and callused her feet. The constant fear and hiding made her eyes dart about warily. She was crouched and thin and pale as old bones, light as a feather and utterly, utterly silent.

After many long years of wandering, she followed a river that wound its way deep into the folds of the mountains. After some days, she realized she couldn't hear any sound of men. Still, she went on, deeper and deeper into the mountains and forests… and there she found a valley. A sheltered glen, ringed by trees for shade and filled with soft grass to lie upon. . The river ran through it and on the far side, there was a cave. In the cave she discovered wonders - a warm pool fed by hot springs from beneath the mountains. The walls, a pale rose quartz, seemed to glow softly. From beneath her feet she felt a deep, slow rhythmic thrumming, like a great, slow heartbeat of the mountain itself.

She didn't know this would become her place of healing. She had no coherent thoughts then. But she felt something totally and completely unfamiliar. At first she couldn't identify it. It swelled in her chest, it made tears flow down her cheeks, and the first beginnings of a sound came from her tightening throat… a strangled groan that turned into a sob. She sank onto the soft ground and sobbed, clutching her knees and shaking. When the sobbing subsided she was finally able to give the feeling a word.


She felt safe for the first time that she could remember.

Here, she could let her tears flow. Here she could break her silence and not be afraid. She gave a great shout to the sky, and from that day, began her healing in the secret glen of tears.

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