Please let me know if you care about my characters.
25,000 years ago
U5b2C, blinked her eyes and closed them tight again. She was cold and wet. Soot from the fire irritated her newborn eyes. Little did she know she had a harmless new mutation in her mitochondrial DNA making her the foremother of all subsequent people with her haplotype. Before she could howl in protest, a warm fur was placed over her and her mom on whose soft belly she rested.
She quickly found her mother’s breast and instinctively comforted herself by suckling. From that vantage point, she gave the world a second look and found herself staring into the loving brown eyes of she who will be the center of her universe for the next four or five years.
Since all was right in her little world, U5b2c fell into a long nourishing sleep giving her mother a chance to rest and heal from the hard work of giving birth.
When she was weaned, U5b2c was given a name, Tara. Tara belonged to a kinship that lived farther north than almost any other people group. This was a time when ice could be seen regardless of how much longer the sun stayed in the daytime sky compared to the darkness of night. Those glaciers were, however, in the early stages of retreat. Although hunters in Tara’s kinship were known to follow game taking them deep into the vast inland coniferous forest for days, Tara lived in a coastal settlement from which the great water could be seen in the western horizon.
Each time the songbirds returned in spring Tara’s mother made a record of her daughter’s progress toward adulthood by marking the height Tara reached at her tallest and carving a little line at that height that was symbolized by a fish icon which was Tara’s mark (these were the days before people knew how to read and write.) According to the old custom, each generation of mothers used the trunk of a hawthorn tree that had been struck by lightning to track the growth of their children. Tara grew tall and strong. During those years in which Tara was busy growing and learning, more and more water was being liberated from ice. When ten lines on the tree trunk belonged to Tara, the melting water created a trickle that rolled over the face of the ice cliff. The water pooled at the bottom of the cliff for some time and was finally able to join a nearby stream. Enough water collected in the eddy to allow Tara to wade knee-deep in the nearly frozen water and cast nets that would almost consistently yield a catch of fish. In winter, when the water froze into ice in spite of its motility, Tara would manage to hack a hole in the thick ice allowing her to fish throughout winter in spite of harsh conditions.
Tara had quickly become a critical member of her kinship because she provided many high protein feasts that kept everyone strong and alert. There was far more to her than being a good fisherwoman, however. She was also perceptive of the spirit world. When their wise woman died, it was Tara the elders chose as shaman in spite of her youth.
Tara was fascinated by the ice caves and would explore them in spite of their obvious dangers. At the mouth of the largest ice save, a sea monster kept vigil with rows of sharp teeth ready to devour anything foolish enough to cross its path. Everyone in her kinship was afraid of it and would dare not look into its inky black eyes or venture past the mouth of the cave that it seemed to be guarding but Tara had looked and discerned that whatever life that had quickened when it hatched from its mother’s egg had long left and there was nothing left to animate what was frozen and had become part of the wall of the ice cave.
There were two types of people back in the time before people learned how to write, the tall agile people who could kill with their spears and the shorter hairy people that were clumsy but more aware of their prey and could anticipate future events by looking for clues of past behavior. These were also the people that left records in their cave-homes by painting pictures to enable future eyes to understand what they had experienced. Of course, the spear-throwers thought themselves better than the quieter artists. Bryn was among the most talented of artists and he captured Tara’s heart when she took an interest in his weaving. She was able to adapt his design to create stronger fishing nets and he took her fish net design and incorporated a knot design for his cave murals. (yes, these were the first Celtic knots.)
Because the tall spear-throwing kinships thought they were better than the hairy artists, it was forbidden to marry one of those inferior peoples. Some people need to feel better about themselves by denying the humanity of others. Tara, by contrast, could see the “In God’s Image-ness” when she looked into Bryn’s eyes. She saw something else that she hadn’t noticed before, love welling up. She was awakened to realize that every act of kindness, every gesture, every, “Do you like this?” and “Take it, it is a gift,” was actually a declaration of, “I love you.” Now, her heart had quickened and she became aware of every little tender gesture and created ways to reciprocate.
The water from ice started to melt and form little riverlets that made their final dramatic descent as a waterfall. Falling water was a new experience for Tara. There was a release of energy as the water tumbled. Tara experienced, for the first time, a new dynamic energy that was previously captive to the frozen glacier. Tara was wondering at the song the falling water made as it crashed into the ice-cold pool of water below.
The Universe was singing a love song. Tara and Bryn could hear it and sang songs to one another with its harmony.
Dynamic is the word. It is derived from the Greek, dynamo. Dynamo is the source of words like dynamite and dynamo which evokes the mental image of energy expanding. Never created, never destroyed. Water, frozen hard in the form of ice was absorbing more and more energy from the sun until it transformed into the fluid water making it animate. Eventually, it would become vapor after absorbing yet more energy from the sun. This was the end of the last ice age and although there have been many ice ages before, the change from solid to liquid and even to vapor was mirrored by the quickening of spirit within the human population. Some of the ice sublimed directly into gas in a similar fashion, Tara was among the first to hear the love song the universe was singing. Little biological flash drives filled with information and coded in the most ancient of languages were coming together. In a dance that is as old as life itself, the little flash drives came together, all 22 pairs plus two large X-shaped pieces each one filled with thousands of recipes needed to make Unique, although the recipes are handed down generation to generation the most precious of heirlooms, each combination is unique, never before and never after. Naturally, she was the second U5b2c and the song the universe sings bore its most beautiful fruit, the fruit of love, reflection of divine.
But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction and while Tara and Bryn’s spirits were being quickened into a consciousness that sought after things more real than what their eyes could envision, there were others that remained frozen and feared what they saw in the eyes of those whose spirits were subliming into enlightenment.
Sharpening their spears, they hunted their own sister because she refused to send Bryn away because he was shorter and not agile. Why couldn’t they see he was the painter of the most beautiful wall murals? To them, none of his talents made a difference, they couldn’t see past their own hate and fear. Even though he made a knot of heart and trinity and promised Tara that he would love her forever. Fear cannot hear the melody of the love song the universe is singing, it knows nothing of the dynamic of awakening life. It is unaware of love and the limitations of love which are none.
The first thing that was done was to spread fear by telling the people lies that Tara was using magic from Samhan. They said she would make their sons and daughters sick and die. They said she was the reason ice was melting and eventually it would become so warm that the great water would start boiling and kill everyone in their kinship. In their minds, Bryn wasn’t human and fear convinced them that he was to be sacrificed. Just like love quickened into in god’s likeness, fear spawned Malevolent who remained solid using expanding gases to create the lift he needed to ride the thermals and survey his territory.
But all of this would take time and Tara and Bryn’s love was starting to show and Tara was keeping her own sweet daughter warm in a furry sling and the winters were shorter and summers were longer and the ice receded and green moss and other plants became plentiful on the island that would later be known for its greenness. When she was weaned, Tara’s daughter was given the name Mara and Malevolent was afraid of her because she, too, could hear the song the universe was singing.
Then it happened, fueled by fear, Malevolent, was able to influence the others such that they were going to carry out the murders but Tara and Bryn were prepared. They were going to hide in the ice caves. The others were afraid of them because a frozen sea monster with rows of teeth could be seen frozen in the ice. The others weren’t sure it was completely dead so they stayed away from the creature and its teeth.
The little family was trying to slip away unnoticed but they were being watched and the fearful ones with the sharp spears were pursuing them and catching up quickly.
When they reached the ice caves, the mouth of the largest cave was completely covered by the expanding waterfall. With no other recourse of escape from their pursuers, all three ran through the waterfall in order to reach the safety of the ice caves.
This is when things happened that could never be explained rationally.
Bryn crossed ran through flowing water to the ice cave and passed the frozen sea monster. Alone. He was alone in the cold wet dark cave in the shadow of the sea monster. He could do little but wait for Tara and Mara. Although he lost track of time waiting, Bryn was dangerously cold and frightened in the shadow of the ice monster and finally, reluctantly went past the sea monster and out through the waterfall and took a spear through his broken heart because the fearful ones were waiting for him.
Eventually the tall spear throwing people managed to kill all the cave painters but some of us carry the memory of them in a language we are just beginning to understand.
Tara and Mara were never seen again.