Watcher (Nea’s Story) – Chapter 1

I have decided to use this blog as a way of sharing my creative outlets, no matter what they may be. Unfortunately my sewing has stopped. I haven’t sewn anything in over six months due to what I am calling emotional paralysis. I’m hoping by letting my creative juices flow in other ways I may get my sewing mojo back. So, to get started, here is the first chapter of a story I have been working on for a while now. Enjoy 😀

Watcher – Nea’s Story

Chapter 1

It started long ago, before you were born in fact. Although this is not my story, it could be in many ways. I tell this story so that you may know the many have known, so that you may know those that I have loved and hated. This is their story. Most of them are the nobodies of history and yet they are the embodiment of it. Through them I have recorded times, learnt customs and made discoveries that the rest of the world has known, celebrated and then forgotten.
But to truly tell this story I must tell of the very beginning. Where my journey began, how I was drawn into this endless life and the mission that comes with it. How I became known as The Watcher.

I was born over two thousand years ago, in a small village on the Aegean coastline. It’s name has been forgotten and it’s people have long ago been scattered. My family was large, as most were then. My mother loved us all and tried not to form favourites, although we all knew that Anton had a special place in her heart. Anton was one of my three older brothers, and although he was almost six years older than me, I believed him to be the one person in my family who truly understood me. He was also the person who brought me into this unending life that I now live. But we shall get to that soon enough.
I had five brothers, three older and two younger, and six sisters, two older and four younger. My mother worked tirelessly to care for us and we did all that we could to help. My younger sisters wove wonderful rugs and blankets and formed beautiful pots from the earth, to sell at the markets in Athens. My older sisters, Azeth and Olivera, helped my mother to keep a home worthy of envy and to prepare amazing meals from our, often meagre, means. My brothers worked in the fields and ports near our home, bringing back what little they could to help the family and their own wives. That is with exception of Anton, who was the scholar and sometime figurehead of the family.

The true patriach of the family was, of course, my father. We seldom saw him. He was a sheep herder for a local merchant and only came down from the hills when the stock were to be taken to market and sold. When he was home he was either a harsh man, whom noone could please, or when drunk on the food of Dionysis, a soulful man, full of poetry and song. At those times his words could be so beautiful. They could lift you to the heights of Olympus, drop you back to earth and then plunge you into the depths of Hades.

Of all the people in my family it was Anton with whom I identified most. With him I shared a passion for history and science, as well as for poetry and song. Due to my gender, I was unable to be educated in such subjects. My brother was determined that this was wrong. “For” as he often orated when drunk on wine and food, as much as from his latest lecture “anyone with your passion, Nea, should be allowed to express and enjoy such learning, be they man or woman”. Few people agreed with this and had they learnt of my brothers teachings to me and my passion to learn I would have likely become an outcast within the community, or worse yet, been banished from the village of my birth and life.
However, such threats meant little when I found such learning so exciting and wonderful. Anton would often draw me away from my afternoon chores to tell me about the great ruler who had been the subject of his latest lecture, or to describe the theories on the stars he had just heard. My mother, being the woman that she was, would often just wave us away with a smile, knowing that the time spent learning with Anton brought me so much joy.

One afternoon as I was working with my older sister Azeth to prepare for the evening meal Anton appeared in the kitchen doorway in agitated and excited state. He beckoned to me with frantic gestures, whilst I silently pleaded with Azeth to be released from my duties. Understanding that nothing would get done until I had spoken to Anton, she took over grinding the maize and quietly told me to hurry back and finish helping her. Anton and I thanked her and then raced to one of our favourite places on the shore to talk. Anton’s excitement was near explosive as we reached the shoreline and flopped down beneath the shade of our favourite tree. Out of breath, but desperate to tell me of his exciting news, Anton blurted out “You can get an education too. I’ve found a way!” I sat there stunned. Was this some kind of cruel joke? I must have misunderstood. Girls’ learning more than poetry and song was unheard of, and anyway, father would never allow such a thing. Anton saw the stunned look on my face and burst into fits of excited laughter. Once he had himself under control he began to explain his outburst. He had been taking lunch with his good friend Balti and they had been discussing the days’ lessons in history when Anton mentioned how much I would have enjoyed hearing the days tale. To this Balti asked if Anton had ever heard of the Temple of the Goddess and the work that occurred there. Of course everyone had heard of the temple and Anton told him so. The Temple of the Goddess was a small group of woman who worked to help the sick and less fortunate in our small community. They also learned many skills that were seen as unfit for women, such as archery and trapping game. Because of this they were often ridiculed by the men in our village, “Imagine, women who believe they can hunt alongside men”. However, these same men had never attempted to put an end to these activities, for reasons which were often speculated upon in the early hours of the morning, when wine and food had long been flowing, and rational thought had long since ceased.
Balti smiled, “You remember my cousin Illsa?” Anton did, she was as little older than me and had been working for a local healer for sometime.
“Well” Balti continued “Not long ago she was recruited by the Temple of the Goddess.”
Balti told Anton that just before she entered the Temple, Illsa came to visit him. She had told him that in her first few weeks at the Temple she had learned more about healing than she had learnt in all her time working with the healer. The sisters had also asked her if she knew of other girls who would be interested in learning. But since that visit Balti had not seen nor heard from Illsa, and neither had any of her family.

Anton looked at me. I was totally stunned. He took my hand and looked into my eyes. “Nea, this is your chance to learn and to see as you have always wanted”. I can still remember that moment. It seemed as if fantasy and reality were going to collide. But the breeze continued to rustle in the leaves above, and the afternoon sun sparkled on the Aegean as it had done for centuries and as it would do for many more to come.
My thoughts whirled, of course it was all fantasy, even if such a group did exist father would never allow it. It could never happen.
“Nea” Anton whispered “It is possible, I spoke to one of the sisters this very afternoon. She wants to meet with you.”
“I have to go” I whispered back “Azeth is waiting for me. Mother will be wondering where I am. I must go.”
Anton just looked at me and sighed. I know now, he must have understood why I had to leave, but at that moment I thought he must have believed me to be crazy. To walk away from him when he had just handed me the possibility to live my impossible dreams. In my mind it was too easy. It couldn’t be true.

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