A Cat's Tale

The Willworkers say that the world is made out of belief. The Garou say, the world is made of spirit given form. The rest of the world is mostly content with the fact that the world IS. I won't delve into that question here, I am quite sure that all of you have your own ideas about the matter and are not sharing, and anyway, I'm only going to tell you a story, and a secret, not spit philosophy at you...

So let's just say, there's the world and people who believe in it, and there is Gaia, Mother of All, Mother of the Triad, and she knew -- she knew about how all things must come to an end, she knew about circles and turnings and about balance that cannot be maintained forever. And she called upon her sister, Moon, and Moon's Magic made the Shapeshifters out of man and beast to serve Gaia as her Sword and her Eyes, her Taletellers and Keepers of Secrets and her Laughter, and to hold up the balance.

But balance is a delicate thing, brittle as glass and as easily broken, and as Gaia looked at her sister Moon she wondered, how shall I be reborn if balance fails me? When the tide turns on me, how shall I return from the darkness? I am like a cat without a tail, prone to fall.

This time she did not call upon Moon, but wandered far away into the realms where ideas are tangible things, where questions can be touched and answers might just wander down the road. And there she met Herself. But it was not her living, breathing, feeling self, covered with trees and oceans, Mother to All, but the idea of herself, the possibility. She lifted her hand and reached out to touch the image, and the image shattered under her touch like a mirror. So she picked up the pieces and walked home, having found an answer in a riddle like an egg in a nest.

She looked at the broken pieces of her image, a stash of bright, glittering jewels full of promise. What was she to do with them? What use was putting the possibility of herself back together while she was still here? And then she knew.

These pieces had to be stored, had to be kept safe for as long as the world turned, for as long as Gaia, Mother of all, lived and breathed, for as long as there were fish in her oceans and trees on her hills, for as long as stories were told. Only after Her death should they be put back together to re-create the possibility of herself. To re-make her image. To be reborn.

But how could that be done? Who would keep the pieces, keep them save and unharmed? Not the Garou for sure, because they would use them for war. Not the Cats, because they would use them for gossip. And who of the Changing Breed would still be around after the Apocalypse had come and gone, anyway? She needed creatures of all possibilities, beings who were free -- free to choose, free to create, free to keep the glittering sparks. So she called to the Humans and some of them came. They were not better than the rest of them, nor were they worse, some were cruel and some were compassionate, some were wise and some were foolish, some were of noble spirit and some petty, but they came to her in dreams of the living earth and they never remembered afterwards.

To each of them Gaia gave a piece of her image to keep it. And she gave them a gift of Weaver, her spider-child, to be resilient beyond all mortal endurance so that they could not be destroyed save by one of their own kind. She gave them a gift of the Wyrm, her serpent-child, to be driven by the urge to hunt and destroy their own kind for the prize of the glittering Gaia-pieces of power and possibility. And she gave them a gift of the Wyld, her dancing child, to be able to go and live and change and never be bound.

And than she sent them back to live among humans, to choose their ways, to choose among the myriad forking ways of possibility, to see Gaia in her glory, yet never to know her name.

Just as they would never know their parents nor their children, not their brothers nor their sisters, because their purpose is to live and to fight and not be bound. But while Gaia lives they are born, and each time one of them is born they gain a piece of Gaia's image. And each time one of them dies by the hands of their brothers and sisters a piece of Gaia’s image is gained by the victor and power is given back to the circle, strengthening the balance, helping to keep the world turning, helping Gaia remember.

And in the end, after the Apocalypse has come and gone, when Gaia herself is dead or corrupted, when no more of the keepers of her image are born, these children of her will continue to fight, driven by the power of the Triad, of What-Has-To-Be, and collect pieces of what has been and might be again, until there's only one of them left. And in this one all the pieces will come together and out of possibiliy Gaia will be remade.

This is my story, the secret I give to your for your hospitality. Mind, it may all be a lie -- I'm a teller of a lot of strange tales. But you might have met the people I spoke of. Keepers of secrets, keepers of stories, keepers of grudges old as the trees, as vulnerable and persistent as the grass, knowing their destiny but not their purpose. Listen to their stories, keep their secrets and treat carefully around them, and keep in mind that Gaia is old and wise and full of trickery and may yet surprise all of us.

© inge, 1998
with thanks to Sandra MacDonald who had the idea...

Neither the Highlander nor the World of Darkness setting or mythology is mine, they belong to Davis/Panzer Productions, Inc; resp. White Wolf Game Studio. I'm just borrowing them to play some and mean no harm.

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