Chapter 9: "Rest" and "The Great City"
The city was alive; hundreds of people lined the streets, singing praise to the sky and dancing wildly. “Hooray for the travelers who have come on the wings of blackbirds!” they shouted. “Rejoice in those that fear no evil!” Several citizens sprang forward to relieve the travelers of their packs and provisions. “Let us give you proper welcome,” they said with accommodation.
The Old Man blushed at the attention. He had known, somehow, that they would arrive in this place. It hadn’t necessarily been a vision from the Woman. But the moment that the city had come into view from the mountainside, the Old Man knew that it was just where they needed to go.
There was much celebration in the city streets that day. Even after their exhausting journey, the Old Man and his companions happily joined in the festivities. It was all for them after all. Who could have known that they’d be ushered in like heroes simply because the birds had flown with them? Though it did seem a fitting end to a journey of such mystique and wonder.
As the Old Man slept that night, he found his mind called away to a different place entirely. He was briefly back at the place where he had first met the Woman. He found himself seated in the same chair across from her once more. This time there was no food, no music, and no celebration. The Woman’s song rang in his mind as it filled the area with beauty and calm. The Old Man could almost see the melody; each note rippling across this dreamed reality. But her lyrical presence did not bring congratulations or thanks or rest.
Instead, the Old Man learned of the journey ahead that still remained. The Great City was merely a waypoint—a gateway to their real path. The guide’s work was just beginning and he would need to lead them all again very soon. This city would be their last taste of civilization for a long time.
The dream was clear enough to him. They would have to confront the greatest mystery in all the world…they would have to take to the sea.
As the vision faded back into the normal dreams of the mind, the Woman’s song echoed one word again and again.