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As the travelers looked at it, the divide seemed very deep and wide. Having learned to check for illusions before planning her approach, Tahendra whispered, “I see you” as a request for the magic to reveal itself to her. Nothing changed at all. There was no magic here. This canyon was real. Steep walls on both sides left a gaping crack in the plateau. The only choice now was where to cross.
The land was identical on both sides—except if they stayed on this side, they couldn’t meet up for the Full Moon Ceremony. It was a full moon tonight, and they had a long way to go.
The river at the bottom of the deep canyon explained the geographic scene before them. It was steep and dangerous. A mistake could be deadly. The rope was inadequate.
Kassara spoke up. “What is the divide for you?” she asked. “We all have them, don’t we? If we get clear on one internal divide, maybe it will be easier to cross this physical one. Do you think that’s our assignment for getting across this place? I think that’s what Beacon would expect of us. Right now, after so much mayhem, he’d want us to think about something and learn. My opinion.”
“You’re reading Beacon in order to figure out to get across the divide?” Jaime said. “No wonder you do so well in school. Good call, Kassara. I bet you’re right. That sounds exactly like an assignment he’d come up with.”
Sam thought about Kassara’s idea. “Oh dear. You mean internal conflicts? Where you think two incompatible things, right?”
Tahendra closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She breathed slowly and imagined crossing the divide.
“I fear my leadership will fail,” she said aloud. “So I hold back, and I’m less effective. My divide is to give myself credit. Sohm said don’t trip over others. Lead them. He’s right. That’s my divide.”
Kassara spoke next.
“I’m stubborn when I know I’m right. I know you’re all smart and capable and have different perspectives. I’m impatient to make things happen, so I don’t always take other people’s views into consideration. I think that causes tensions and a divide.”
Jaime and Sam were quiet. They both thought to themselves, I’m stubborn too. They thought for a while.
Tahendra and Kassara looked more carefully at the divide, wondering what it was made of and how they might climb down and back up. Could they build a bridge?
Jaime spoke. “My divide is wanting more respect from others without giving it to myself first,” he said. “Deep inside, I wonder what I am doing and why I was chosen. I know I can do this. You saw me get angry. I was angry at myself because I promised…” He broke off. Looking up, he saw a huge eagle came out of the clouds. It was the same eagle who mind-spoke to the travelers earlier, the one who gave an entire series of images to Tahendra and told her to lead. The one who spoke to Jaime with the image of the Kinizar Waterfall.
Sam’s eyes were closed. “I hate talking about my weaknesses,” he finally said. “It makes me feel stupid because I’ve got a ton of them, and this place challenges me. Those Winds of Doom were crazy. In the bog the Grizzled Queen made the Winds of Doom seem like an eternal optimist. Crazy for real. She nearly did me in. I have to try something new.”
He opened his eyes and saw the eagle was flying toward him at that moment. “Very wise,” the eagle said and looked into Sam’s eyes. “Keep this knowledge and work towards making that shift. It has begun. That is how you close the divide within. As for this one, let me take you across. Please climb on my back.”
And with that, the eagle took Sam across the divide while the others watched. As they crossed, Sam looked deep into the divide, into the chasm no one could cross alone, and he thought about how happy he was to have his companions and the assistance of this beautiful bird.
One by one the eagle carried each traveler across, giving them confirmation and affirmation that they were indeed on the right path and said that he believed their quest would be a huge success as they shared their knowledge.
The four landed on the far side of the divide. It looked like they might make it to the Full Moon Ceremony, after all. All four wolf pups were waiting for them. They took Wolf Trails to get past the Divided Lands. Kassara saw the boys’ packs on the wolves.
“Nice. You’re packed up,” she said. “I have no idea where any of my belongings are. I don’t really need them. I’m wearing Maureen’s clothing. Her shoes don’t quite fit, but they got me this far.”
The divide is steep and wide, and yet must somehow be crossed by the wisdom within.
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