Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lina Olaria - Hand-maiden

Name: Lina Olaria

Role: Hand-maiden

Lina’s life had always been that of the road, traveling with her family in their vurdon along in a band of Dom. When she was a child, she would sit at her grandfather’s feet by the fire as the early darkness descended upon the old traveler’s camps. She listened to his many stores of how her people had lived on the legendary Mountain of Kurbat before they were impelled to journey to Northern India, where they traveled the roads and slept under the stars. Her grandfather taught Lina how to live in the world as natural human being, to be wise and generous.

Her grandmother taught her to dance, and Lina’s steps mesmerized those who came to hear the lilting music of her grandfather’s violin. When she danced, all who saw her felt life become more intense, the loves and hates of other worlds passed before their eyes as they were drawn into the rhythm of the dance. Lina lived in great happiness with her grandparents, roaming from place to place just on the village outskirts in the mountains of Northern India, entertaining with stories and dance, gathering and selling the magickal herbs, living free.

A few weeks after her first blood, Lina woke under the stars having dreamed of Siva, the Lord of the Dance. She saw Him beckon, heard his wild, fierce, song, and went willingly as He gathered her up and whirled her through the lights of the heavens. She danced birth and death, creation and destruction. As the lights spun around her she felt His breath hot on her eyes and face. She heard the words, “See.” From that point on, could not help but hear the Akashwani, the voice from the sky.

Men and women began to seek her out, to find what their futures held. She would read each face, each palm, scry the leaves or the pearly green prehnite crystal she often wore around her neck. Although she answered each question truthfully, her responses rarely answered the question the seeker thought he had asked. It was both a stone weight and a blessing of the God to see.

One cool, gray day as she and her grandmother were cooking at the fire, Lina felt warmth from the stone of prophecy against her skin. She straightened, closing her eyes and listened to the sounds of her people crying out against the coming Islamic conquerors. She tried to warn her grandfather and the others; many of her band heeded, fleeing into the west. But her grandfather was a stubborn man and refused. When they came, they destroyed the old and enlisted the young. Hearing of her ability to foresee, they took her with them.

Lina would have remained with the invaders had Siva not come to her in the cold dry desert night. “Arise, walk,” He had said and thus she did, taking nothing with her but the sandals on her feet. It was in this way that she found herself entering the gates of the city Ireem as the sun dawned the next day. As she walked through the market place, looking for something to eat, a richly attired woman accompanied by three servants stopped her. The woman reached out boldly to lift the pendant from her neck. “What is this?” the woman had asked. Lina touched the woman’s hand as she held the milky crystal and began to speak, telling the woman of her five sons and the glory they would bring to Ireem. She did not speak of their deaths. The woman looked at Lina shrewdly, “A soothsayer,” she murmured, the directed Lina to follow her to the palace, to be brought before the Princesses and presented to them as a handmaiden.

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