Throughout November I’ll be concentrating my posts on Welcome to the Valleys in honor of NaNoWriMo. If you’d like to catch up on this story, the first post of this story can be found at this link
“What’s so important about how I spell my name? I’m sure there’s plenty of Jeremys in the The Valleys.”
“Not really,” Ama muttered. “Jeremy is a rather unusual name in The Valleys, and when it’s used it’s almost always by one of the most senior senatorial families.”
“Because it sounds like your name could end in a ‘y,’ lad, it’s considered to be a brash declaration.”
Ama answered. “Of being a Prismatic.” When Jeremy offered no sign of recognizing the term, Ama explained. “It’s important you understand this Jeremy. How shall I explain?”
Talum actually raised his hand. “Oh, allow me. I do so love this topic.”
Walter rolled his eyes, but Ama nodded for Talum to continue. “Oh wonderful! Terrin, go right ahead!”
Terrin’s expression was akin to a puppy which has been cornered after being naughty. “Healer?”
“Tell Jeremy about the Prismatics. You came to my school, I’m sure you remember the story.”
“Well, yes, but…”
Talum smile brightly. “Well go on then! There is nothing more gratifying for a teacher than hearing a student cite a remembered lesson!”
Terrin sighed. “Yes, healer.” He cleared his throat and stood up next to his seat. Taking a deep breath, Terrin began a recitation which he had clearly been made to memorize.
“The Prismatics are the origin of humans on this world. They were the ones who discovered how to open the portals and planned our exodus. They gathered all those who were lost, persecuted, and abandoned and brought them to The Valleys where they could be free.
“In The Valleys the Prismatics began to develop other abilities. They could see colors which revealed the deeper world. They learned to touch and calm, and to heal. They studied the deep parts of the world and brought forth the first evercoal. From it they formed the evertorches, which constantly bathe us in light. They tamed animals and brought them into our service and companionship. They built a great city of lights, where everyone lived in peace and harmony.
“But their power grew and grew and grew until many common folk began to worship them. Others grew wary of the Prismatics and formed an alliance to pull them from power. These people brought the enemies of humanity. They began the Extinction War, which nearly brought our race to an end.
“The few Prismatics who survived the war realized their power had inspired jealousy in others, so they said the themselves, ‘Let’s spread our strengths by gifting different aspects to others. With our power is weakened, people won’t be afraid. If our power is spread out, people will learn to share the aspect of power with each other.’
“So, in the light of a rising Sun, they bent their light into the colors which guide the disciplines.
“From red flowed the knowledge of plants, medicines, and the sense of calming. In this way the Am healers were born.
“From orange flowed a love of wild creatures, nature, and the voice of summoning. Thus, the Em healers were created.
“From yellow flowed the understanding of time, seasons, and the gift of starsight. Struck with vision, the Im healers bound their eyes and yet still see.
“From green flowed the knowledge of the body, the causes of pain, and the nimbleness to mend broken flesh. So the Om healers became bound to the people.
“From brown flowed a love of machines, building, and wisdom of solving. And the Um healers were released to rebuild the world which had nearly been destroyed.
“From indigo flowed a desire to explore, govern, and the breath of illumination. Those who received the indigo were called ‘Pathfinders,’ and they rebuilt society up from it’s ruins.
“The last color the Prismatics wished to bestow to the people became weak as the Sun set. It’s light faded, and thus the gifts of violet were lost to the world.
“Saddened by the loss, and yet encouraged by the strength of the gifts they passed on, the Prismatics departed The Valleys. In this way they hoped never again to inspire the type of jealously which brought about the Extinction War. With their departure also went the sacred names of their tribe. And so, in honor of those who gave up themselves for the good of all, the letter ‘y’ has never been used in the names our children.”
With that Terrin nodded to Talum and returned to his seat. The green-robed healer was smiling at his former student, but Jeremy didn’t share his happiness. Instead, he felt a surge of fear rising up within him.
“You’re saying, I’m one of these… ‘Prismatics?’”
Walter nodded. “It seems that way, lad. The story’s a bit more cut and dried than reality. In the past, even after the Extinction War, there were a few people who possessed the gifts of multiple lights. Pathfinder healers were rare, but not unheard of in that generation right after the war. At least, that’s what we’ve been told, our history is a bit murky.”
“Yes it is, isn’t it? I’m really going to have to find time to write my book.”
Ama patted Talum’s hand. “Talum, not right now, please.” He looked at the gaze being shared between Walter and Jeremy, mouthed an “ohhh,” and remained silent.
Nodding thanks to Ama, Walter continued. “So, even with you seeing the colors and making the stones glow, I just thought you must be some sort of throw-back. You seem to come from elsewhere, so I just though you must have come to us through portal. But you’re name, Jeremy, tells a different story – and this changes things.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just look to your left.”
Jeremy turned to find Michael bowing to him on one knee. He pushed back his chair slightly, as if to separate himself from the unnerving gesture, and looked at the guard in confusion. “Michael?”
“I am yours to command, Lord Jeremy. Tell me what you wish.”
“Seeker beliefs, lad,” answered Walter. Walter picked up a spoon and threw it at Michael’s head. “Get up, Michael. The last thing the lad needs is a awe-struck devotee.”
Michael returned to his seat, but Jeremy noticed he was uncomfortable doing so. Ignoring the twinge of loneliness this insight sparked, he turned back to Walter.
“What do you mean ‘Seeker beliefs?’”
Walter leaned in Michael’s direction, inviting the guard to explain his own actions. When he neglected to speak, the old trader shook his head in frustration. It was left to Ama to answer.
“Seekers believe the Prismatics are still out there, somewhere beyond The Valleys, watching over the world which was formed from the ashes of their defeat. They believe one day they will return to us and restore both knowledge of our forgotten past and the light which has been denied us by the fading Sun.”
“And… that’s who I am?”
“It appears you may be a Prismatic, yes. Whether or not you are the long-awaited restorer of Seeker belief remains to be seen.”
Jeremy returned his gaze to Michael, who lowered his own eyes somewhat. “Micael, what is it you hope I can do for you?”
“Violet must be restored if we are to understand our past, Lord.”
“Surely, Lord, you must know. That must be why you’ve come!”
“Michael, you’ve been with me for two days now. You know I barely remember my own name, much less how to give you what you want. I’m just me.”
Michael nodded. “If you say so, Lord.”
“Michael, if you call the lad ‘Lord’ again I’m going to throw more than a spoon at you. Whatever Jeremy may be, he is first a young man who needs our help, not your religious devotion.”
Michael looked at Jeremy, as if pleading for him to overturn Walter’s words. When the youth nodded, however, Michael frowned slightly and said quietly, “Yes sir.”
Jeremy, hoping to return to a more comfortable level of conversation, broke the uncomfortable silence by saying, “There’s just on thing I don’t understand.”
Ama cocked her head and grinned. “Just one?”
“Well, more than one thing, but just this one for now?”
“What’s that, lad?”
“Well, Mr. Talum, you’re an Um healer. Right?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“So, why are you wearing green robes?”
Walter roared into laughter along with Ama, and even Michael smiled. Terrin, fearing his town’s healer was being mocked, frowned slightly.
For his part, Tallum sat up in his chair and said, “Sometimes it helps to wear another healer’s color.”