“You must be proud of your exertions!” she said. The power in her words was akin to a duelling challenge. (The time warp flashed me into my happy collaboration with that beautiful fitness trainer, when I imagined that lithe, toned form excelling itself at the Olympic High Jump as her prelude to our delicious consummation.)
“I am the saviour of the world, maker of scattered islands – like magnified lumps of lava.
In the icy lake, our passionate heat turned to the purest vapour; our bodies melted into the purity of the water. The exertions of our perfect consummation, in the water, and then on the shore, paralleled and mirrored our conjoint contesting of the elements. The steam instantly turned solid.
“You have a legend of an angel who appeared in the sky, and saved your comrades. I was that angel, showing supreme compassion to an enemy, hoping my example would transform an enemy into a loving ally. Come; now, having defined our contrariety, we must reveal and fuse our true beings, our fleshly souls: cast off those veils and shields.”
The latent earthquakes and volcanoes, rumbling at the extremity of my hearing, or in my unconscious, mutely echoed the depth of my foreboding about the impending revelation. Although I had been a victor in so many other struggles, I felt ecstatically submissive in this one, raised my arms and held my breath in total surrender. Her skill in undoing my armour was worthy of any trained white man. “We are supremely adaptable; we learn avidly from those we observe and oppose”, she whispered, her teeth gleaming in her smile. As I saw the chain mail and the cuirass lying there, discarded, I saw that the rust had all disappeared.
Deft hands tenderly peeled my sweat-ridden leather and cotton; it was lovely to be nursed without immediate wounds to distract from the exquisite sensations.
I looked up towards her breasts, to see the matching metal, discs, chains, bangles – an array of gold, silver and jade; I sensed their resilience beneath their cover. She read my response with total ease; with a radiant smile, she whispered “do as you have been done by.”
My hands trembled a little as I delicately negotiated the pins and clasps, but I succeeded in making a harmonious pattern of them, like a crown at the head of my discarded armour. It was good to have had some experience at the Covent Garden Armoury.
The face of a full moon, reciprocating its radiation on Tegualda’s face and eyes, beamed its glittering reflections, as if casting off a diaphanous robe, to reveal the perfect body of its illuminated rocks, bouncing back and forth around the elaborated grid of our variegated metalwork – steel, bronze, silver and gold – its luminosity almost suggesting that it would all come to life, radiant in the flames of their smelting, almost as two armies facing each other. In turn, the beams flooded our faces, giving an external flourish to our luminous vibrancy charged from within.
She took my hand, and made it caress her sealskin robe: “please do the honours”. I lifted it at the bottom. My hands reached up inside it until they could feel her firm but still slender waist. Repeating my earlier gesture, she raised her arms in surrender and conquest, the robe clouding into a transient veil over her noble features.
Then Tegualda cast off her gleaming white cotton camisera for me with all the challenging flourish of a toreador. She tamed me and fired me simultaneously with her lovely self-revelation.
The walls of my time-capsule were fractured. There glistened across the world, ricocheted back and forth across the centuries a composite of the world’s beauties, celebrated in poetry and song, painting and sculpture, melted, distilled and poured into one vibrant, impassioned, soul-suffused body. Egyptian and Grecian statues and mural figures melted into an array of Hollywood dream sublimities deeply embedded in my memory. This was a spiritual earthquake, embracing all history and culture, the distilled essence of all artistic striving poured into one giant goblet. My euphoria melted into a vision of our two peoples euphorically turned from war to love. I could hear a rumbling accompanying of us, similar to a distant earthquake, but radiating benign, divine approval.
“We have at last met each other’s match. In our earlier lives, we were both adored, out of reach to so many, counterbalanced by our own unattainables. Now, through ourselves and each other, we can reach full, harmonious synthesis.”
Her pure teeth shone forth, near-iridescent: “You know our people’s trials of strength, the holding up of heavy logs – I believe some of your northern tribesmen call it ‘tossing the caber’. So now your strength must be poured into the font of love. A true, deep love will be the final honour to grace my widow’s mourning – a bonding with the agent of my widowhood.”
The upper lips echoed the lower lips; I saw a luminous giant conch shell, bright pink, in a nearby lake. I strained down to retrieve it, and held it aloft.
As we struggled, competed in perfect harmony, the young fold mountains rose anew in our background; with a metaphysical rope we had bridged the span of geological time, in the process going through a whole gamut of shape-shits, embracing all the biological forms. We had willed ourselves and each other into unicellular status, and then gone the whole gamut from amoebae to primates.
She squeezed my biceps, and beamed with gratification."Your muscles have grown to their full strength, but your strength is in harmony with tenderness". Then her skin turned through tan and purple to the boldest scarlet to match the subterranean massage. With that flush of colour, her body also grew translucent, so that her inner organs and bones were revealed as in an X-Ray. My own body embraced and then reflected her translucency; she flooded me. The reflections intensified the inner light. With an extra gaze, she said: “My redness is generally a harbinger of death. But now, through our sacred bonding, it is transmuted into an affirmation of life. My husband’s life will meld into yours.
“This completes my experience. One great step towards the development of my wholeness was my embracing of your Greek moon goddess Selene – centuries ago, your ancestors plied the mighty oceans to reach and infuse my ancestors – with loving truths, not with fire and the sword.”
Let me tell you my real identity: I am the reincarnation of Auchimalgen, the moon goddess, wife of the sun, my silver purity the distillation of his gold. Her survival, her re-embodiment as assured through centuries of bitter conflict, for our Gods war with each other, and ravage the earth, making waves of human hatred echo the volcanoes and the earthquakes.”
“In the beginning was the evil serpent Cai Cai, who rose in fury from the deepest ocean bed, dragging the waters up with her in waves, to flood the earth. Her good twin Tren Tren was in a long slumber, in a lofty mountain fastness among the highest peaks – well above the snowline. The desperate people, in search of enlightenment and salvation, scaled the glaciered mountains, some falling to fractures and deaths. In vain they raised a desperate unison chant to arouse Tren Tren. Cai Cai's minions, the pillars of Thunder, Wind, and Fire, pile up the clouds to make rain, thunder, and water. But the floods do not silence the incantation. At last the people grow weary. But I, surging with energy, perform a lithe, writhing dance, echoed by my reflection in the ice. With my movements I make echoing cries of joyous laughter. Glimmering light and rippling sound awaken Tren Tren, who also begins to laugh, and beams her benign presence down the mountainside.
“Cai Cai and her minions had trailed the people. Face to face with an aroused Tren Tren, they were convulsed with terror, and slid down the mountainside like a living landslide, to the middle foothills, leaving the people briefly to rally in peace.
"Cai Cai’s wrath is re-kindled when she is no longer face to face with Tren Tren. In her rage she shatters the earth’s crust, scattering islands all over the sea. After a brief subsidence, the water climbs ever higher, trying to flood Tren Tren’s mountains. But Tren Tren pushes the mountains up toward the sky and the sun. As a result of this wrench, Cai Cai and the Pillars of Thunder, Wind, and Fire fall from the mid foothills into the absolute abyss below, where they are silenced, sentenced forever to dumb rumblings.
“So, as my reward for arousing her, Tren Tren made me Mistress of the Tides. Cai Cai tried to take her vengeance by sending the Mapudungun sea monster to destroy me. But I always won my combats. I prevailed against that monster, and then wore its skin as my shield. Cai Cai also awakens in response to tsunamis, and supplements them with her own waves. But remember always that Tsunamis are activated by earthquakes; the traumas of the sea are rooted in the land.
“We will do our rituals to confront and overcome the four pillars; we shall enact the loves of air, earth, fire and water.
“Look at that rainbow: it plunges into the centre of the earth. And we shall embrace its full spectrum, be the jewelled solidity behind its every shade. Now we must brave the elements: First to the volcano.”
Forests near the volcano have been burned by pyroclastic flows and lateral explosions. Large parts of southern Argentina and Chile have been coated with ash.
“Many volcanoes cause misery, but there are blessed ones. Far to the north of this land is Momotombo, which your people tried to baptize, to bend him to your religion. He rightly refused, claiming that your religion had human sacrifices, but were not honest enough to name them as such.
“We can have a respite at intervals in the hot springs of Pucon.”
There was another, gentler bonding of our warmed and soothed bodies, our inner fluids echoing the spring waters, tender clinching in the benign warmth – our perspiration seemingly magnified, then cleansed.
Tegualda then brought me a round wooden platter filled with red-capped mushrooms: “You must absorb these and their magic in order to blend perfectly with my plans. With these I gained control of Eponamon, a being of great strength and potential for evil, weaned him from the service of Cai Cai.
“Then we must negotiate the earthquakes (“Richard Allmendinger of Cornell University and his colleagues now find major earthquakes of magnitude 7 or greater apparently caused the crust in northern Chile to crack permanently.”)
“Now our people will call a machitune, to consult the gods and goddesses; some of them will be flown in from beyond the ionosphere. Know that this will be a struggle, for most of the gods are malevolent. Already you have sensed some of their machinations: there is Ngurvilu, God of the lakes and seas. You have felt her ripples in your waters. She takes the form of a wild cat, with a sharply barbed tail, which can menace all humans in her elements. There is Pillan, god of fire, thunder and war, who bonds human conflict with the action of the elements – chief engineer of Cai Cai. There are many others. In any direct confrontation, I shall prevail, for they fear me, and I temper them, but they are always making devious manoeuvres around me. I suppose it’s very similar to your world really – you have your peace conferences with hidden fangs resonating in the cupolas.
“You have succeeded in the long jumped over the hurdles of time. You are ahead of your time, ahead of yourself. After many orbits have gone full circle, you will revisit this scene as an archaeologist, excavating and researching yourself. This hard groundwork now will stand you in good stead for those later centuries which you have fled, but to which you will return.
“Are you afraid of earthquakes? It is only natural that you should be. They feel uniformly malignant, like the machinations of Cai Cai and Pillan. They are expressions of energy which are sometimes channelled into destructive ends. But with the right mediations and meditations, that energy can be benignly harnessed to serve the ends of Tren Tren. We shall be her agents on earth: our passion can act as a magnet for its benign redirection. You cannot be unaware of the constant actions of terrorists. Some of their acts are performed with good intent.”
She seemed to have a better grasp than I do of my own civilisation – perhaps only attainable by an outside observer, and one of the cosmos greater than that of anyone in my past – a true cornucopia of knowledge.