Priorities and Memories
Teresa M Shafer - For books that kindle thought and ignite the imagination!
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Priorities and Memories

This was in the original manuscript but, it has undergone many changes and will still undergo many more. It is in part a history of the world as Lena knows it and a history of Michael. I am having some trouble working out the details on the world part, but Michael's story is pretty good. I originally was going to make Lena a simple enabler but, my opinion of her changed when I began to write about the twins. They needed something to cling to besides an insane father. Hence Lena needed to have a stronger personality and she needed a real purpose. So, what I did is I took what I had already written and then wrote in Lena's side of the story. Thus giving the seemingly random or strange actions some depth and reason. I'm hoping that readers will see Lena as an unsung  hero when I am done.
 
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Priorities and Memories
 
 
While Jacob was contemplating the irony of the new Conclave Council and his dubious assignment, many floors down and on the other side ofthe massive structure Lena stood on the precipice of the building looking out from an empty balcony doorway towards the valley far below. It was a long way down, she thought to herself. The view was amazing from here. She rubbed her stomach. She wasn’t showing yet but she knew that they were in there ,and she was showing them around their new home. Doctor Miller had encouraged her to take walks and get some exercise, but he wanted her to be very cautious. He couldn’t be certain but, it was highly possible that Doctor Lutrova had been correct, that she was having trouble carrying a child because of stress, both mental and physical. Either way Doctor Miller wasn’t taking any chances. Lena wasn’t exactly confined to her room but, she wasn’t allowed to run wild either.
 
Lena liked this room with its magnificent view of the valley and the mountains on the far side. From here she imagined she could see forever. Perhaps if she looked long enough and hard enough she could fall into the nice peaceful view and wake up in a world where there was no war. Maybe she could find a place where she and Michael could live happily with their daughters, and without magic. It was a pleasant dream. But, the wind chose that moment to tug at her dress and remind her that she lived in this world, where the door that she looked out from was devoid of glass, and that she was a fugitive here just like everyone else.
 
A fugitive… on our own planet… how had it come to this? She knew the history of course, about the small insect like creatures that had come to Earth presumably by mistake and had chosen to stay. Another alien had followed them here and they had stayed as well. But unlike the insects, which were called Winiks, the odd lumbering creatures that followed them, the Zalyns really didn’t want to be here. But, their ship had been irreparably damaged when it fell from the sky. The Winiks ship on the other hand was supposed to still be in orbit. And their drop ships came every day from the sky to deliveranother round of hideous nightmares for the defending Earthlings to fight. It seemed to be a never ending flow of fresh enemies. The earthlings lost ground and people, lots of people, every day. But, the Winiks wouldn’t just finish the earthlings off, that was something that no-one could understand.
 
At the end of the day it didn’t matter what the Winiks motivations were, was anyone still alive to care about tomorrow, is what reallymattered. Settlements were over run and the survivors retreated. Cities were deeply infiltrated and the survivors retreated.
 
Once, before the Winiks had come, the Sinarri had lived in peace and in secret in their cold northern forests. The Dwarves had lived in peace, and in secret in sprawling underground cities and the Humans had also lived in peace in small communities that were spread across all but two continents on the planet. But, war had come and the smaller communities had fallen within days and the larger ones had run. There was no hiding from the technology that the aliens had used. Millions had simply disappeared. But, on this continent the large communities had all run to the same location. Each time that they retreated they found another abandoned city to call their own for a time. So the city would teem with life once again and lie silent when they had to retreat again, silent except for the nightmares that searched for those that didn’t or couldn’t run.
 
The Winiks had destroyed all of the satellites that had been left in Earth’s orbit. But, the local radios and communication devices continued to work and they had saved countless lives. Humans had come flocking in to central locations on each continent by the hundreds of thousands and then the Dwarves had come out of the ground by the hundreds of thousands as well, no-one knew how the Winiks had found them but they had, and finally after weeks of slaughter the Dwarves simply appeared just outside of cities all over Europe. The Sinarri made their appearance in a single European city with fewer than fifty thousand left of their entire race a week later. According to the Sinarri they had numbered in the millions when the Winiks arrived. For some unknown reason, the Winiks and their nightmares had no compunction about killing Sinarri.
 
So here they all were Humans, Dwarves and Sinarri all together and fighting desperately to save what was left of the planet. Now as far as anyone knew those that now lived in this mountain fortress were the last of the sentient native inhabitants of Earth.
 
Lena thought about all of this while she took in the view. How small her troubles seemed in comparison to the plight of the Earth and its remaining defenders.
 
But, to her they were huge. She was pregnant with children that she knew very little about. She was fairly confident that Michael was the father and she was the mother. Beyond that, she had not a clue what the mad Doctors had done to the embryo’s before they were implanted.
 
Michael was another problem all its own. He had been a normal loving man before he had suddenly taken sick and fallen asleep for three days. When he had awakened he had magical powers. They had gone to the Doctors and asked what had happened. But, they had little helpful information that they could give to the young couple.
 
The virus was fickle. That’s what they had said, the virus was fickle. Michael and Lena had not even been born when the virus had been unleashed. Its effects had been passed down to them from their parents. Lena’s parents had been some of the lucky ones that had simply gotten sick and recovered. Michael’s parents had been touched by the magic. His mother was very strong in the powers while his father had been average. Both had been killed in the wars when Michael was only five and his brother was three. His brother had been born a Witch and was taken by the Council of the Kingdoms when his last parent had perished, and he had never been seen again as far as Lena knew. Michael had been left to fend for himself on the streets. Had it not been for a kindly old lady who lived in a sewer tunnel Michael would not have seen his sixth birthday.
 
Michael spent the next six years learning how to fend for himself and the old woman. She showed him how to kill an animal, dress it andcook it. She showed him what plants were edible, how to gather them and how to cook them as well. She showed him how to make medicine from plants and how to repair his clothing and even how to make some of it. And when she died she showed him how to accept death as a common denominator and to move on. He buried her in an old cemetery, scratched her name onto a weathered tombstone that had lost its original inscription centuries before, and he moved on.
 
After a few months on his own he found a man who needed someone to help him to gather supplies for his work. He was a carpenter and the Council had commissioned him and a few of his friends to make trebuchets and other war machines. It was with this man that Michael had learned a trade that would keep him alive and regularly fed. His boss found Michael to be very useful in more than one area as his wife had died in an attack, and he was a horrible cook. For convenience Michael moved in with the man and the two gotalong famously. Four years later this man died, when he fell from one of his own creations. By this time Michael had already been accepted as a carpenter in his own right. He buried the man next to the old woman and made a tombstone for him as well. And then he moved on. 
 
A few more years passed and Michael met Lena. She was the daughter of a local baker. How they had missed meeting when they lived so close for so many years they never figured out. All they knew or cared about was that they had an immediate attraction to one another. Lena’s parents were thrilled for her. In less than a year they were married and trying to make babies. But for some reason Lena could not carry to term. With each failure Michael became more and more distant and increasingly critical of Lena.
 
Eventually he was blaming her for their lack of children. Lena allowed everyone to believe that she was so distraught at her inability tocarry a child she readily accepted his criticism as valid. Her parents tried to console her and offered alternatives like adoption to the couple but Michael wanted his own children not some trash off of the street. Lena mentioned his own history to him once. He beat her senseless. She never mentioned it again.
 
Michael gradually began to blame Lena for every failure or perceived failure that the couple suffered. He often told her that before hehad met her his star was rising, but after they were married he had been cursed. The Council had not renewed their contract for war machines, never mind that the Kingdoms had realized that inside the city their defensive efforts had been wasted. Because of this Michael was forced to work at rebuilding old homes for the masses that still lived in the streets. He hated rubbing elbows with thestreet trash but he had no choice. Lena once heard him tell his glass of spirits that he felt as if his past was being rubbed in his face and he hated it and her with a burning passion. It was the direct opposite of how much he had once loved her. Lena knew that he was just drunk, he didn’t mean it.
 
Then he had gotten sick and the fickle virus had changed him even more. Now he had power. He had the power to force his star to rise and for a time he loved Lena again.
 
But his elation was short lived. She had never carried one of his children to term and now that he was magical he simply must havechildren. His obsession grew and his fragile mind was unable to handle the power.
 
It was different having magical power thrust upon you later in life than it was to have it from the beginning. It wasn’t long, a year or sobefore Michael was looking for someone in the medical community to help him fix his wife. Lena would never know if Michael found Doctor Lutrova or if the Doctor had found Michael. All she knew now was that she was pregnant with twins, her husband was insane, and she was still in love with him.
 
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Live well and be good to each other.

2 Comments to Priorities and Memories:

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