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* The Library - Fiction for the Heart *

The Gathering
Ch. 10 - A Way To Bring Them Home

In the days that followed, Girda continued to heal, and although she still carried her sword at her side, she left off wearing her heavy armor, seeming to be content in just her leather tunic and leggings.

Magda and Mara pressed her with questions, wanting to know how she had found the valley.

"I don't exactly know," Girda said, frowning and shaking her head. "The last thing I remember before this was a great battle in an open field. The enemy took the form of a pack of wolves. Huge, they were, and black. The leader had jaws of steel and fangs that dripped red with the blood of my fallen comrades."

She paused and Mara shuddered.

Girda rubbed her brow. "I had comrades? I don't remember who they were…" She passed her hand over her face and looked around at them. "Well, anyway, I remember being bitten… gouged and torn, by the leader of the beasts. Right through my armor his teeth sank down to the bone. When he had me down, the devil tore through my weskit and ripped out my entrails and ate them while I watched. I knew I was dying."

She shuddered and closed her eyes. "There was blackness, and then I was wandering in these hills. For a long span of days, I think. Maybe weeks, I don't know. I wandered aimlessly, mostly unaware of where I was, or even who I was. But then a saw a warm glow on the horizon, and I followed it. It sort of pulled at me, right here," she pounded her chest with her fist. "Then, quicker than I thought possible, I was here, standing outside your circle, and Mabel was howling."

She trailed off and looked around at them. "What?" she asked, seeing they were looking at eachother and speaking with their eyes.

"We've been trying to figure out how to … magnetize our valley," Magda began. "We have to bring the others to us, so we can all heal…" and she told Girda about how Miri and Sara had come to the valley and shared their stories, how they had eventually become one. She told her of the Lonelies, and that they knew there must be many many more "others" out there, alone and hurting. She told how Mabel had come to the valley. She told her of the Voice and its assurance that they could draw the others to them.

"We tried everything we could think of," Magda said. "Nothing worked."

"Maybe it was my fault," Mabel hung her head. "Maybe it's because I wasn't helping. Maybe I was … holding you back, restricting you. I was awful afraid."

"You were mad at us too," Mara pointed out.

Mabel looked up, startled. "I was?"

Magda nodded. "You were angry at me for not honoring your feelings about the Voice, remember?"

Mabel's eyes grew wider. "I was angry?" She took in a deep breath and looked at Girda. "I was angry," she said again. "I was! I was afraid AND angry!"

Magda frowned. "Maybe it would make a difference if you helped. But, I think we just don't know how it works yet."

"Or maybe ...," Mara said as she stood and began pacing around the circle. She stopped suddenly and looked around at them. "I think," she began, then paused and resumed her pacing. They all waited patiently. "I think, maybe we don't really need to DO anything. Except what we're already doing." She stopped and looked around at them. "I mean, think Magda. Remember what happened just before Mabel became visible? You were crying about how you hated being afraid. And when you were done, we could see her."

She paused and looked at Mabel, then turned back to Magda. "Maybe because you didn't hate her so much anymore."

Magda stood up, excited. "And then, when Girda came, it was Mabel's feelings that ... what? drew her? Or maybe it's that her fears were being let out and healed, so it allowed room for Girda, somehow?"

Girda snorted, "Maybe it was just a coincidence."

They all looked at eachother, trying to find answers in eachother's eyes. Magda was silent for a moment, letting her truth-sense feel into these new ideas.

"I don't think so," she said. "It feels like the more we heal around our circle, the more we remember and share, the more... substance we have."

"Substance?" Girda asked.

"I don't know what else to call it," Magda said. "Like, the more we heal, the more we are. And the more we are, the more we ... " she faltered, at a loss for words.

"Generate?" Mara offered.

"Like heat?" Mabel asked.

"Vibrate?" suggested Girda. "Like an engine, revving?"

"Yes, both, but more than that too," Magda said. "I don't have the right words. I can feel it though, I can feel more substance in us."

Mara looked at Magda hopefully, "Do you think this is what the Voice meant? Do you really think this will draw the Lonelies to us?"

"I do," Magda said firmly. "I really do."

"We should still try, we've GOT to call to them, or something," Mara said. "We should keep trying everything we can."

Magda realized Mara's heart was so broken and longing for all the rest of her sisters out there suffering, she would never stop hurting until she knew they were all safe and sound. She reached out and squeezed Mara's hand.

"Of course," she said.

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