By Dolores J. Nurss

Volume VI: The Rift

Chapter 15




            I dreamed the Christmas battle, in detail, most especially the emotional detail, first of the incredible joy of the folk customs, the sense of sacred celebration, the tremendous soul-relief of it, and the dancing around Lufti.  Then the weird thought hit me that his ghost will always dance there, the thought first pleasing me and then disturbing me—where did that come from? And then the happy dream turns into a nightmare as the attack falls upon us, the fear and anger and the overwhelming sense of betrayal and grief, of having something so precious snatched away from me!  And Kiril gets hurt and I turn into a fury, a killing machine, and the rest becomes a blur, a very gory blur.  The sort of dream where you wake up wondering if you’d have any friends left if they ever knew that side of you?

            So of course I felt compelled to write it up.  I don’t get a nice, tidy, respectable life.  So I make the best of fate; if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it up proper.  I’ll get everything right, find the right words, get the pace down just as it needs to go, till it conveys what I felt in the dream, as accurately as I know how.

            And then I realized that events in Toulin must inevitably happen simultaneously to this!  That I’d have to braid that in, and fling all my careful pacing out the window.  I spent months going back and setting everything up for this, and then another month rewriting the same few pages to try and make it work.

Because the Toulin stuff also comes from dreams.  I will go into that in more detail after the next chapter. (The bit about the headmaster drumming on a burnt old beam came from a shorter, different dream from the main one continued in the next chapter.  A new, more hopeful beat from this “different drummer” from the scavengings of a shattered past?)

And then I realized Zanne’s mission wove in, too, that in fact the thing wrong in Vanikke came directly from the goings-on in Toulin.  So that had to go into the mix, bringing the stew dangerously close to the lip of the cauldron, so to speak.

And then I started to think that Lisa would have to have been artificially blocked to not get pulled in as well, what with her being a telepath who has bedded two of the three guys involved and psychically linked with the third.  (Naturally, when Lisa didn’t get the Toulin mission, she would have gone on some other.)  But of course she’d break free of any such blocks at this point when the psychic energy reached maximum.  Which means a whole ‘nother mission which I either have not dreamed or it’s buried in dream-reports not yet computerized, leaving me to piece it together from logic alone.  She would be blocked, a prisoner.  It would take extreme conditions to succeed with someone as powerful as her—damper-nets only worked on Fireheart before the mindchange.  Ohhhh no!

Getting back to the Christmas Battle dream.  I have recently learned that war nightmares in those who have not served in armed forces often have to do with the battle within of someone very angry about past wrongs yet unable to allow hirself to consciously admit to such anger.  So it gets internalized and blasts against the person hirself, causing depression and self-loathing, not least because of the buried secret of being angry at people one should not feel anger towards.

Like most children, I loved Christmas!  My brother and I would eagerly wait the moment when Grandma would bring down the Christmas decorations, stored in boxes up in the crawl-space between roof and ceiling, and invite us to decorate the tree and the house with her.  I just loved doing that!
            Then one year, when we had entered our teens, yet still eagerly awaited the invitation, she brought down the box, thumped it on the table, and instead of inviting us to decorate the tree, cursed us out for being lazy and leaving all of the Christmas work to her.  The message was clear: we had officially grown too old to be allowed to enjoy Christmas anymore.  There would be no pleasure allowed in decorating tree or home; we must henceforth look at it as a chore demanded by custom.  Presents would henceforth come wrapped in guilt.  Songs of comfort and joy would be listened to in grim hypocrisy.  Every Christmas thereafter Grandma would stump around the house complaining over and over the blasphemous words, “I hate making Christmas!”  I used to yearn to smuggle a little tree into my room and decorate it with joy in secret, but I feared discovery.

(Not that any of this is a big deal compared to those who have seen real abuse.  But it’s symbolic, the poisoning of joy and faith and the satisfaction of effort for a happy cause.)

My first Christmases away from home were spoiled by anxiously running around trying to do everything “correctly”.  Gradually I remembered that Christmas was supposed to be a celebration of a sacred birth, not a chore.  The trappings had been permanently damaged for me, and didn’t mean much to my Pagan husband, so I finally let go of them.  After that my Christmas observations became almost solely religious in nature, and I find that very satisfying.  We didn’t do church on Christmas in my childhood, and so nobody could ruin it for me.

Then, this year, my husband, God bless him, brought out of storage a big blue tub of all our old Christmas decorations, and invited me to “play” with them.  And the joy rushed back!  I am in the process, at this writing, of decorating the house, however pleases me.  Christmas doesn’t belong to my old family.  I don’t have to do it by their rules.

In the dream, I can now see that Lufti acts out my desire to actively, intuitively, practice Christmas with joy, holding onto the innocent delight of childhood, and Kiril suffering a wound while trying to protect him is what happened to me emotionally.  But the violence is mine.  It is my own anger that desecrates Christmas for me.  If I can outgrow that anger I can enjoy the traditional trappings of the holiday again.

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