In the early morning, Kassara opened her eyes first. She was surrounded by clouds and couldn’t see more than a few feet in any given direction. The cliff face they climbed last night was only four feet away. She could not see the edge. As for what lay ahead, there was no way to know. It was covered in a blanket of fog. Letting the others sleep, she pulled out the message card Kelne had given her at Presence’s house. It read: “Strengthen your intuition with practice.” She thought about that for a moment. How was intuition going to help? They needed the mist to lift so they could see the best route forward. Before they had left on their climb, Kelne had told them to meditate for fifteen minutes each morning and that it was okay to start with five minutes.
Kassara’s view of meditation and intuition was fairly negative. She thought it was a waste of time. Surrounded by pea-soup fog with her companions still asleep and not wanting to let Kelne down, she figured, why not? She had nothing to lose. Could it make a difference?
She cleared her mind to the best of her ability and remembered the route they’d been told. Kelne had told her to expect this. He said meditating and clearing your mind felt like having your eyes wide open as you tried not to see. Kassara didn’t get discouraged. She pretended she was looking at a white piece of parchment. She kept bringing her mind back to that. And then she focused on the message card. How do I practice intuition, she wondered. She continued to focus on the white parchment paper in her mind. She felt lighter and began to settle into a comfortable feeling. When she figured she’d had just about enough, she realized only a few minutes passed. She was back to her to-do list. What were they told about the ridge? Which way did they turn once they were up there? She wanted to pull the map out. Okay, back to the white parchment with a couple of deep breaths. Intuition, why did she need to practice that? She’d just ask Tahendra. She was intuitive enough for both of them. Back to the parchment paper and more deep breaths. She continued this mental battle for about ten minutes altogether and said to herself, I tried it. It wasn’t so bad. Kelne said it mattered. I’ll try again later today.
She got out of her sleeping bag and silently climbed out of the tent. She walked over to the cliff’s edge. What if this fog doesn’t clear today? I guess that’ll make us use our intuition, if I have any. If we survive the rest of the climb, I might trust it. As she looked toward what she assumed was the rest of the cliff wall, she saw something in the mist. Who or what was that?
Kassara froze. Was someone there? A carving in the stone? She wasn’t sure what to do next.
A young Kalendrian woman stepped out of the fog. She was incredibly muscular and agile, as if she spent most of her time on the rock walls.
“Hello,” Kassara said.
The Kalendrian woman smiled and nodded in return. She bowed her head in respect, and Kassara bowed back.
“What are you doing here? Can I help?” Kassara offered.
“It is urgent. Have you felt the quakes?”
“The moon. She is weak. She needs our strength to repair her energy zones.”
“Has anyone found the problem?” Kassara asked.
“I do not know. Nobody can tell. It just started getting worse.”
“Thank you for letting me know. Do you know Kelne and Beacon?” The woman nodded. “They were worried too. I will tell them what you have said.”
“Thank you. You are the travelers?”
“Yes. We have come together. We have a lot to learn. We want to help,” Kassara said.
“Thank you so much. Many people appreciate that you have come.”
“Do you know the shamans? What do they say?”
“They have diagnosed a problem of energy networks with the Shaman Moon. I do not know more. If we work together, we can solve this problem.”
“I agree,” Kassara said.
The two bowed to one another again. The young Kalendrian woman disappeared back into the fog as she descended to the valley below.