21) Self Sufficient Monkey

Biltar ap Dyn looked across the fire at Nahvar. Shadows danced behind him on the walls of the cave. The old monk was well into his cups but still quite rational.”How about a pull off that bottle?” said Biltar.

“Not on your life! You need to be drinkin’ that herbal tea and lots of it.”

“Nahvar, I want to thank you for your kindness. I appreciate your healing skills. I’m feeling a whole lot better.”

“Don’t mention it, Bil. It’s not like I had much of a choice. What’s one going to do when a strange light out of the sky dumps two strangers at your feet and says ‘take it from here, I’ll be right back?”

“That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. I was out cold, missed it all, but I’m sure there’s more to come.”

“Where are you from anyway?”

“A little way outside Urbantia 7.”

“That’s on the other side of the mountains! Amazing!”

Biltar looked over at the little girl who was still unconscious.

“What about her? She’s been out for a long time.”

Nahvar squinted his eyes and peered over at the child, who was lying next to them covered up with a blanket.

“I dunno. She’s breathin’ okay and her vitals aren’t too bad. No apparent broken bones nor internal injuries. No head injury. Just out. Maybe it was the trauma and shock of it. If she doesn’t come around soon, I’ll try my special smelling concoction. I use it sparingly ’cause its so damn strong. It’ll make every hair on your head stand up and say howdy.”

“Well, maybe for the time being, we should just let her rest. I think you may be right … shock. Who knows the horror she witnessed.”

“Yeah, that’s what I figure.”

Nahvar got to his feet, staggering a bit, and retrieved a blanket out of the shadows. He tossed it over to Biltar.

“Here. Wrap up. It’s gettin’ a bit chilly. After what you’ve been through, I don’t want you dyin’ from a virus. Drink more of that tea. It’ll boost your immune system.”

Biltar reached for the teapot sizzling on the edge of the fire and poured another cup.

“Where is this place anyway?”

“We’re in a valley next to the northern mountains of Havay.”

“Nahvar, how did you come to be here in this cave?”

“Well, Bil, it’s a long story … but, let it suffice to say … my order, The Renunciates, considers me to be a heretic”

“Why?”

“Because, after carefully studying our history, I said ‘You put the prophets on pedestals of stardom to get them out of the way.’ Then I pointed out to them the fallacy of focusing upon outward personalities and ignoring the inward source of all. And, what made matters worse, I began to see that the distorted religion they preached had a secret agenda behind it.”

“Secret agenda? What was it?”

“Simply put … control over the minds and souls of men.”

Biltar sighed. “Same story in the doctrines and agendas of science, Nahvar.”

“Well … all that’s changing now, I suspect.”

“We’re lucky to be alive.”

“It’s not all luck. You see, Bil, I’ve known that geological upheavals were approaching for a long time and I prepared. For example, I selected this cave because it rests on a solid plate of granite that slides and shifts on the loose clay beneath it. But, when the cataclysm happened, I got caught out in the open and had to hide in a hole. You’ve only seen this one dark corner of my world here. When you’re up to it, I’ll show you around.”

“I look forward to it, Nahvar. Maybe we should try to rouse the girl. I’m getting worried about her.”

“All right. Pour another cup of that tea and I’ll use the smelling concoction.”

Nahvar fetched a couple of pillows to put under her head and opened a little vial.

“Wow! That stuff is potent!” said Biltar.

“I told you.”

Nahvar carefully passed it under her nose while Biltar cradled her head.

Suddenly, she coughed and gasped. Nahvar quickly removed the vial and recapped it.

“Mama, mama,” she cried.

“There, there, you’re going to be all right child,” said Nahvar.

She moaned and finally opened her eyes.

“I want my mother!”

“There, there child, you’re safe,” said Biltar, “we’ll find your mother but she’s not here right now.”

“Where is she? Where is she?”

“I don’t know child,” said Nahvar. “Do you have a papa too?”

“No, he died when I was just a baby. I need my mother!”

“We’ll do the best we can, little one. Here, drink a sip of this.”

Biltar pulled her up a little higher on the pillows while Nahvar held the cup to her lips. She took a couple of sips.

“Drink as much as you can, dear,” Biltar said.

Biltar sat her up and she finished the tea with big slurps. Nahvar poured her another cup and she drank that too.

“Thirsty, huh?” said Nahvar. “Let’s see if you can stand up.”

They helped her up. She was weak but soon able to stand on her own.

“Do you need to use the potty?” Nahvar asked.

“Yeah,” she said.

“Okay, it’s right in the next room. Take my hand.” Nahvar offered his hand and she took it.

Nahvar picked up a lantern and turned it on. Biltar followed as Nahvar led them through an opening into another chamber of the cave.

“My retiring room is right over there behind that curtain,” Nahvar said, “just pull the cord hanging in the middle so you can see. Will you be okay?”

“Yeah,” she said.

She went behind the curtain and the light came on. Biltar looked as Nahvar shined his light around without saying a word.

The chamber was large. At one end, wooden cabinets lined the walls. At the other, all manner of tools and implements were well secured, each in their own clamps. To the side were several locked tool chests. In the middle stood a large multipurpose work table. It had a beautiful wood surface with stops and a big wooden vise. On the table stood a tall wood carving under construction. Shavings were everywhere. The unfinished sculpture was a beautiful woman with long hair dressed in a one piece garment. She had a wide belt around her waist. Her hands were extended out in front with palms up.

“That is beautiful work,” said Biltar. “What is it?”

“Come on Biltar, you’re not that old are ya? Don’t you know a lovely woman when ya see one?”

“Sure do,” said Biltar. “I once had my other half.”

“I’ve got power tools too,” said Nahvar, changing the subject, “but I have them packed and stored downstairs to ride out the big quakes. Besides, I have limited fuel for my generator so I conserve power. I use it mostly for recharging batteries.”

“Thank you sir,” said the little girl returning from the retiring room.

“You’re welcome, sweetheart,” said Nahvar. “Hey, we need to introduce ourselves.”

Nahvar put his hand on Biltar’s shoulder. “This is Biltar, I call him Bil, my name is Nahvar.”

“Hi, I’m Nelyani. I’m twelve. What’s that funny old robe you’re wearing?”

Nahvar laughed and said, “That’s called a ‘monks habit’ dear. Don’t ask me why it’s called a ‘habit’. I guess its because my religion teaches that its a good habit to put on clothes everyday and not run around stark naked.”

“Why does it smell so funny?”

“Uh … a little … accident dear … I had a small bottle in my pocket that broke.”

“What’s a monk?”

“Well … a monk is a kind of … spiritual monkey … monkey see, monkey do.”

Nelyani laughed. “You don’t look like a monkey to me.”

“Looks can be deceiving, child.”

Biltar laughed. “You’re a pretty self-sufficient monkey, Nahvar!”

CONTINUE: 22) Total Destruction

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