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ee. Collaboration.


                I was taken to her den. What else to call it? A mound? It’s a rocky cliff with an overhang above my head. With an entrance at ground level from a ledge too small for anyone standing. Crouching down to enter? A cave? As I crawl in, I see many animal skins. Animal furs. Animal rugs. I see pots of grain and pots of water. Plants covered with berries in soil; pushed and packed against a moss covered rock wall. I see hanging pods all around me. Burning incense in several places.

                Turquoise stones of many sizes were meticulously placed in one area along the rock wall of this cave. Flowing water seeped from one side of the rock walls and down into the turquoise stones placed below; forming a pond with crystal clear water rippling about ankle deep. As I peered into the pond, I could see in my reflection the mark that was on my forehead. The mark made by the medicine man when he set me free. In my reflection, I saw a gold swirl. About the size of a silver dollar. I looked at the woman and pointed to the mark. “What is this for?”

                We were speaking the same language. Although, it was foreign to me. I can’t explain it any other way. I was speaking her language.

                She replied, “That is the sign of Nephela….” As she touched my forehead with soft hands, she continued, “Nephila is the golden silk of the orb-weavers. The goddess, Nephele. The goddess of hospitality. …The weaver of the ram's gold. The golden fleece of the ram is upon you. That is a mark of royalty. It is an insignia that you are predestined. It protects you from harm by all Shulon until you are given to Nephele. That mark is why I hastened you to follow me. That mark is why I promised the medicine man double his bid to purchase you.”

                As she withdrew from me, she said, “Please remain here.”

                “Wait. Who are you?”

She replied, “I am Cloud Nymph. The daughter of the expanding clouds.”

                She left the cave like a mirage. She appeared to walk directly through the rock walls of the cave. I immediately hastened to touch the wall; to find a secret passage. There was none. It was solid rock. How did she…?

                Can I trust this woman? Is she? A woman?


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