Second Dream

We were back in the cave again. I sat cross-legged on a bed of coals across from her. Between us rested a bowl from which steam gently curled upwards. Pele reached down into the coals and pulled forth a bright orange spoon that sizzled as it touched the liquid inside the bowl. Whatever was in the bowl, however, appeared unfazed by the touch of the scaldingly hot utensil. Pele reached into the coals again and pulled out a small sachet, which she opened and emptied into the bowl. She didn't appear to notice I was sitting there at first, but finally after her concentration drifted from what was going on in the bowl she looked at me and smiled.

"You know, this gift usually passes through the blood of a daughter," she said as she returned her focus to the bowl. "But without question my brothers and sisters chose wisely. There is a strong connection to both masculine and feminine energy within you."

"I'm going to pretend that isn't some sort of backhanded gay joke," I said. 

Pele raised an eyebrow for barely a second. "Who you love is most certainly not a concern of mine," she muttered as she continued to stir. "This isn't about that at all. It's about how you see things. You are closer to your heart than most men, and certainly closer to it than those who seek what you possess. It could..." she pulled the spoon up and eyeballed the dark red liquid which clung desperately to the curves of the spoon even as it slid slowly back down into the bowl."... Even save your life. Although between you and me, one's heart has a habit of complicating things."

I too, stared at the disturbingly blood-colored liquid as it struggled against gravity's pull. "What is that? It moves like it has a will of its own."

"Does its spirit bother you, child? A pity. I was so hoping I'd convince you to drink it with me." She took a spoonful of the liquid and held it up to her lips. Sparks flew out towards me as she blew across the spoon's surface. I flinched. Her smile returned along with a low chuckle. "But I won't make you, of course. Your fate is not entirely chosen for you. Only the circumstances are set forth by the stars and all that surrounds them. Your family and my family are connected not by blood alone."

"So we're... cousins?"

"Of a sort. You have spoken with your grandfather, yes? Did he tell you about Lono?"

I shook my head. "He told me my grandmother's family was very old and that he knew her mother was deeply religious. She was something of a local legend because of her devotion to the Hawaiian gods and goddesses. He called her a 'true believer.'"

Pele nodded. "This is true enough. I heard her prayers and accepted gifts from her kuahu. It is also true that she believed the blood of Lono flowed in her veins."

"And... did it?"

"If it did not," Pele said as she swirled the spoon in the bowl once again, "do you really think you could be sitting here with me right now?"

"I guess not," I replied. "But that just raises more questions."

Pele sighed and set the spoon back into the coals. "For a long time, he was my lover. But all beings have their faults, and Lono's was that he fell in love with those we were meant to guide, guard, and punish. When my sister Hiʻiakaikapoliopele pulled me from my home and banished me in the bowels of Kaho'olawe, Lono took this as a chance to enjoy the... mortal delights of those we protected. Soon, our blood flowed through the veins of the people we watched over. Some of them even got it into their heads that they were one of us." A look of disdain passed across her face.

"I, um, don't make any presumptions.."

She looked back to me. "No, I suppose you do not. And yet, something about you is very different. A great power sits deep inside you, biding the time until it erupts." She grabbed the spoon and stirred her bowl's contents again. This time the heat from the spoon caused the liquid to bubble and hiss. "It's not a good power. It's not a bad power. It's just power. How it guides you, that is the part you will have to decide. But I can tell you it will come out, whether you want it to or not."

"So reassuring," I muttered. Flames bean to rise from the coals. "Then what's the damn ki for? And these stones? Why was my body humming?"

She smiled. "Gods get bored, too. We have our games. Unfortunately we both find ourselves very much pieces in one such game now. And games," she sighed, "always have so many rules. All I can tell you, child, is that the stones share stories that very few can hear, so listen carefully and you may yet walk away with your life..." she pulled the spoon out of the bowl and watched the liquid drip off it. "And perhaps a reward as well." She blew on it. "Last chance for a taste," she said as she offered the spoon to me.

"I think I'll pass this time, thanks."

"Suit yourself," she replied as she tilted her head back and poured the spoon's contents past her lips and down her throat. Pele closed her eyes, shuddered and an orange glow began to pulse from her skin. I could see the fire glowing through the minute gaps in her teeth as her smile slowly widened across her face. Then I saw the fire inside the pupils of her eyes.

"You may change your mind someday. Come back with a vessel and the rest is yours... as long as I haven't drunk it all myself. Who knows," she laughed, "you may even enjoy it!"

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