The Story of the Orb | Episode 3 | The Water Garden — ‘Bewildered in spirit’

The Story of the Orb | Episode 3 | The Water Garden — ‘Bewildered in spirit’

The three men (the old priest was still asleep) arose as a gesture of respect. Aira went to meet them, smiled at Dérop and kissed the face of Diáfana. The latter responded with a delicate caress on the face of Aira and said in a low voice:

‘Vésper is on his way, and he is not alone… Courage!’ Meanwhile the others greeted the elderly woman. She and Imhotep had been friends for a long time, carrying out tasks that were indeed similar or complementary: the latter treated the aches and illnesses of the body and Diáfana dedicated herself to caring for souls. Despite advanced age, her grace was the most pleasant and appeasing, with a delicate sense of humour and good mood, she did not tolerate rudeness. An enthusiast of the arts and erudition, she nurtured a special tenderness for Virtuoso and Erudito.

They were all once again settled on the cushions that Aira was bringing, drinking the steaming tisanes and tasting the delicious little cakes. This time, Aira had added small jars of honey to dip them, and fresh cream for the strawberries. Ebúrneo remained ‘nestled in the arms of Morpheus’, slowly giving signs of awakening. Diáfana rested her left hand on the heart of the priest, in the other she held a stone said to be ‘older than the World, having been the first to solidify, the one which would hold the soul of the Universe’. Sitting with her back to the great entrance, keeping her proximity to Ebúrneo, she interrupts the silence that had set in:

‘Dear D’Ouro and Constante,’ looking at Virtuoso and Erudito, respectively (she addressed them by soul name, for obvious reason), ‘I know that you have been arguing a lot, I hope that it has been worth the time dedicated, that your souls have been exalted, and your bodies have not suffered the harm of unmeasured irritation and provocation, thus giving more work to Imhotep…’ The latter laughed, making a hand gesture as if saying ‘as usual’.

On the other hand, D’Ouro Virtuoso and Constante Erudito became like two disconcerted little boys smiling clumsily, looking at the cakes and nibbling them, thus justifying their silence, since they had nothing to say, and indeed it was wiser of them to do so. They recalled the first thing Diáfana had taught them as children: ‘knowing how to listen is all the more important, so that in the future we are not mere talking heads’. Diáfana, seeming to read their thoughts, said to them:

‘There are things which the trees speak that are not for us to hear. Of the small ones, only the twitter, and that we attribute to the songbirds, then the symphonies, and those we only listen to if we have learned the silence between the leaves!’

‘What shall I do going forward with these two ears that do not know how to listen…? With these two eyes that do not know how to see…? With this heart tired of feeling so much… what shall I do?’, murmured Ebúrneo still lying down, with a sad, slurred voice, while a tear fell slowly in the direction of his ear. D’Ouro and Constante helped him sit up comfortably, and hastened to give him a hot drink and some food, which he gently declined. Imhotep satisfied himself as to the health of the elder, and Diáfana set the ‘soul-stone’ in the centre of the group.

With the unique ability to enter the world of dreams, Dérop was also characterised by the use of science in search of truths, and, in dealing with others, of a disarming human generosity; and it was thus that he approached the temple Guide:

‘Kind Ebúrneo, you need not torment yourself further, it does not seem to me that there is anything wrong with your hearing or vision. You shall listen attentively to all those bewildered in spirit whenever they seek you out; with your vision of the Divine, you shall give them the advice for which they ask you… as for the tired heart, it is a sign that it has done its work, and as for feeling so much, would that not rather be a blessing…? Don’t you think so?’

Ebúrneo had the expression of someone luminously digesting those words. All eyes were fixed on Dérop, his pragmatism wore a subtle poetic meandering. Dérop had long argued that Art and Science lived a secret marriage, making it clear that others before him had affirmed and proven it. According to him, all things complement each other, every question holds within itself the answer!

The atmosphere became lighter. Ebúrneo, still pensive, tasted a little almond and cinnamon cake. D’Ouro and Constante attacked the wild fruits. Imhotep, satisfied at having once more been useful, blew on and sipped a freshly-made black tea. Diáfana had leaned back with her eyes closed, she seemed to rest; the journey there had been long, and her face showed some tiredness, therefore, Aira hesitated before starting again.

At that moment, Dérop, who was next to Aira, felt compelled to look at her: surprisingly her profile had aged drastically, the long hair in golden waves, which the night always darkened looking like old gold, was now no more than a wintry white wig, and, just like the curtains in the great hall previously, it rose in the air in two halves, as though Aira herself were in full flight and the hair were a pair of wings, immobile and serene, like a figurehead… she seemed unaware of anything.

Dérop looked at the guests who were still entertaining themselves, his mother slept, everything seemed to be happening at two speeds, two concomitant realities, and to both he was the sole witness. He extended his hand to touch her fluttering locks and had the clear sensation of seeing his own hand trying to reach back to him, as though in a mirror. Just at that moment everything was undone and Aira, now with her normal appearance, said to him in a low voice, as though nothing had happened to him:

‘Diáfana told me that our son is arriving soon, I assume you already knew that. I feel so happy and light that I am having a difficult time keeping our guests focused on the crux of the matter. Be that as it may, this issue should be resolved as soon as possible, don’t you agree?’

Dérop, still caught up in the recent experience, although this was not the first time that something extraordinary happened to Aira, agreed with a smile, affirming that he too was beside himself with joy at the return of their son.



The Story of the Orb | Episode 4
Southern Vésper — ‘Room to be reborn’

At the island of Nana, Vésper builds precious friendships that will accompany him for life.

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M. Jesus Victor
M. Jesus Victor

Fantastic-realism fiction writer. Born in Lisbon, in the sixties. Several artistic tendencies. Former lead singer in a famous band.

The Story of the Orb
The Story of the Orb

The Story of the Orb is my first novel. A work of impassioned fiction filled with poetry, maybe the first of a peculiar saga with a true Lusitanian touch. An unexpected, thrilling narrative which dives sinuously in fantastic realism, a less-common genre, almost unprecedented in the universe of modern Portuguese authors.

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