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The World Walkers: Quiar: Mothar: Yasmina: The Jaguar Moonjumper
kajones_writing

Posted in return for a poem by Elizabeth Barrette – if you’re interested in a setting rental or character adoption then these will be the sorts of stories you’ll receive. (Email me for more information on the barter system.)

Travelling the worlds had changed her. Yasmina knew that and that was why she’d put off returning for as long as possible. Learning about the fae had stopped her from believing that they’d known what they were doing when they created the worlds and were instead guessing. It was going to be difficult to keep that knowledge a secret, but she had no other choice. Saying anything against the fae was sacrilege, which would end badly for her, as well as for her family. Her father’s priesthood was too important to him for her to damage his standing in any way, even though she knew so much more than they did, and it made her wonder what the other Moonjumpers were thinking when they sat in a temple listening to yet another sermon about the wonders of the fae.

Sighing, Yasmina stepped through the door that would lead her straight to Mothar, but thankfully not straight into her home village. It was a short walk between the two, that would probably have taken a few minutes on any normal day. Going home, after spending nearly three years away, wasn’t normal, so she made the most of the time, because she had missed Mothar itself. At the beginning she’d missed everyone she’d left behind as well, until she started learning about the Web, the worlds, and the other races.

Part of Yasmina, the part that loved her family, sometimes wished she’d never journeyed at all. If she’d never stepped through that first door accidentally she never would have known, but once she did she felt the need to travel. Convincing her family had been harder than she expected and even as she packed a bag her mother was trying to convince her not to go. Being back on Mothar had her wondering once again why they’d all been so against her going, unless they knew the effect travelling would have on her somehow. The question was one she’d have to ask, because she wanted to know more about her family, after finding out that the ability to use the natural doors often ran in families.

Breathing in the scents of Mothar once again Yasmina wished her country was different. She loved it, but she didn’t want to stay there. It was a visit, nothing more, and once she’d shown her parents she was still alive she was leaving again. There was no chance of them being able to convince her to stay, because the Web had more to offer her than Mothar did. One of her main hopes was that she would find somewhere she felt comfortable enough to make a home, rather than spending all her time travelling, but she knew she was in danger when she stayed in one place for too long. Luckily she met someone on the first world she travelled to who gave her a charm that changed her.

As Yasmina got closer to home she took the charm off. The melting sensation as she transformed from a bipedal woman into a quadrupedal jaguar was strange. Being quadrupedal again was also strange and that was another reason she was leaving again as soon as possible. Carefully she placed the charm into her bag, terrified she might lose it, before starting to move in the direction of home. She didn’t want to be stuck in her old form. It wasn’t who she was any more. Breathing deeply she bounded, even thinking that word made her feel uncomfortable, into her village and felt everyone turn to stare at her.

From somewhere Yasmina managed to summon the courage to keep going. The temple wasn’t far away, which was where her father was going to be, and she’d pushed away all her worries by the time she was at the door. She couldn’t stop herself from wondering what they’d all been thinking, but it didn’t really matter all that much. None of them meant anything to her any more, not really, even though she kind of wished they did. If they still did she hadn’t changed as much as she thought she had, but she’d looked at them and realised none of them knew anything apart from what they had been taught by their priest, who also knew nothing about the Web.

Yasmina’s father was their priest. It had been horrible to realise exactly how little he really knew about the fae and that she would never be able to teach him what she knew. She’d never be able to teach anyone on Mothar… she thought for a moment. Maybe she could teach Motharans about the Web, if she was careful about how she did it, but that was a thought for another day. One when she was standing in the doorway of her father’s temple, preparing herself to lie to him about the fae.

“Father,” Yasmina called, stepping into the temple, unable to get used to being quadripedal again. “Are you here?”

“Yasmina? Is that you?” A older male jaguar, beginning to look a little grey in the muzzle, stepped out from one of the back rooms. “We were beginning to think you’d never return, daughter, but you have good timing.”

“Why?”

“Your mother’s brother has also returned from his journey. None of us have seen him since just after your birth and now you’re both here. It must be a sign that something good is going to happen.”

“I never knew mother’s brother was a Moonjumper.”

“Your mother doesn’t like to talk about him. She feels that he’s brought shame upon her family because he chooses to live on another world, but I enjoy hearing his stories. Just as much as I will enjoy hearing yours.” Her father took a couple of steps closer, so it was possible for Yasmina to see into his eyes, and there was a glint in them that made her wonder if he was as oblivious to the truth as he appeared to be when he was sermonising. “I hope you have some at least, Yasmina. You have been away for a long time.”

“Father…”

“Not yet, dearest. Let us go somewhere a little less public before we talk.”

Turning, Yasmina saw a couple of the older members of their village standing in the temple doorway. “Of course, Father.”

“I’ll need a few minutes to gather up my notes, because I was planning my next sermon.”

“Take as much time as you need.”

Nodding, her father turned to go back into the back room he’d been working in, while Yasmina looked around the temple. It was still beautiful, even if it didn’t mean as much to her as it did to the rest of her village. Slowly she padded towards the pulpit, thinking about the fae and why it was they worshipped them. They may have created the Web, and Quiar, but that didn’t make them worth worshipping. Maybe there was another reason. Before she started travelling she never questioned why, because she never knew she should. Worshipping the race who had made their world made sense, until you realised just how useless they really were.

“What are you thinking, dearest?” her father asked as he stepped out of the bag room again, this time with his sermonising bag around his shoulders.

“Nothing I should talk about here,” Yasmina replied, glancing at the growing number of watchers. “When we get home I’ll tell you everything.”

“Home may not be a good idea straight away. I’m working here because your mother…” He sighed. “She’s cleaning and if I got in her way I’m pretty certain she’d clean me too.”

“Mother’s stressed.”

“Yes, she is. Families are not always easy to deal with, dearest, and she’s heard her brother’s stories too.”

“Which is why she tried to talk me out of going.” Yasmina looked at her father. “I’m just not certain why you did the same thing.”

They began walking in the direction of the door and the watchers scattered. “I did it for your mother, even though I knew you’d never stay once you got the scent of adventure. When you were a girl you were fascinated with the idea of travelling around the world, which wouldn’t have worried your mother as much, but then you stepped through a door and found yourself on another world. I’ll be honest and tell you that a part of me didn’t want you to go because it meant my little girl was growing up, even though I never would have stopped your from doing what was right for you.”

“I never wanted to worry Mother, but I could never have stayed home when I knew that I was a Moonjumper, and I’m glad I went. It’s changed things for me and I regret that a little, even though I will never regret having a chance to do something so wonderful.”

“We knew it would.” Yasmina felt his eyes on her, so she glanced at him and he gently tapped her shoulder with his tail. “Knowing how much it changed the life of your mother’s brother was part of the reason I wanted you to go and your mother didn’t. I don’t think she ever wanted you to change, because you’re her only daughter.”

“I kind of want to apologise to her, even though…” Yasmina shook her head. “Mother isn’t going to take it well if I leave again, is she?”

“Probably not, dearest, but you have to make the right choice for you.” He sighed. “Just promise me you’ll return more often that your mother’s brother does.”

“I’ll try to. It’s just on some worlds the time passes much faster than it does here and it can be hard to remember how long I’ve been away.”

“Where have you been?”

“Gaelom, Kniroch and Athare. I spent the most time on Gaelom, because I was on the second world and then I managed to make my way to the fifth world, so it was a little like being on two different worlds, although the geography is almost identical. Apparently the even worlds are mirror images of the odd worlds, so I want to try to get to an even world next.”

“What was it like being on Athare?”

“Luckily the door I used came out on one of the other continents, so I didn’t have to worry about the Council, but travelling the worlds in general is scary. I kept thinking I’d get arrested when I stepped through the door because there’d be someone waiting for me.”

“It’s unlikely that will ever happen,” a different, unrecognisable, male voice said.

“Yasmina, this is Gunthar, your mother’s brother. Gunthar, this is Yasmina, your niece.” Yasmina could hear the smile in her father’s voice, so she knew he was glad that the two of them had finally met. “I’ve brought you to Gunthar’s cottage because it’s the best place to talk about things that are better not spoken of in public.”

“He means my wards,” Gunthar explained. “No one from outside will be able to hear a word we say because they won’t be able to get close enough. I learnt how to make them on another world.”

Yasmina looked at Gunthar and found herself staring into the eyes of a jaguar who wasn’t entirely a jaguar. He nodded at her, as though he could see the same thing in her eyes, before they crossed some sort of boundary. As she could feel it but couldn’t see it her guess was that they’d just passed through the wards. It didn’t seem to have affected her father, though, so she couldn’t be sure, although, when she thought about it for a moment, it probably had no effect on him because he’d been through them before.

“Technically the cottage belongs to me,” her father said as they got closer to the cottage in the distance. “Gunthar isn’t here often enough for it to belong to him and your mother didn’t want to have her name on the deeds, so I did it.”

“Adina still doesn’t approve of the choices I made, does she?”

“No, and now she feels like it’s your fault that Yasmina is a Moonjumper.”

Gunthar sighed. “If she wants to blame someone she should blame father or maybe grandmother. They were also Moonjumpers, even though they both chose to spend the majority of their time on Quiar. I just chose to make the most of the gift I’d been given.”

“As well as marrying an outsider, having children with her, and avoiding Mothar almost as though it’s some sort of dangerous creature.”

“Mothar is a dangerous creature.”

“Gunthar…”

“No, Haidar, don’t. We both know that this worship of the fae is stupid at best and dangerous at the worst. Those who think we were chosen do whatever they want because they can. No one here will stop them, the Walkers want nothing to do with Quiar most of the time so they won’t stop them, and if anyone says anything against the fae they either have their mind wiped or they get executed.”

“I’m not going to argue with you. You know better than me what the fae are like and maybe we shouldn’t worship them, but changing Mothar must happen slowly if it’s going to happen at all.”

“Sorry, I don’t have the patience for slow change.”

“I know.”

Gunthar opened the door and they stepped into the cottage, which should have been dustier than it was, so Yasmina knew that her mother had been there to tidy, even though she didn’t agree with the choices her brother had made. “You shouldn’t have brought Yasmina to me. If she chooses to continue travelling it’s going to be my fault, even though she’s probably already made her choice.”

“I have,” Yasmina said, curling up in front of the fire in a way she hadn’t done since she left Mothar. “After you’ve seen the worlds it’s impossible to stay in one place and…” She shook her head. “Mothar isn’t home any more.”

“Neither is your jaguar form, right?”

Yasmina looked at her father, who’d taken his notes out of his bag and seemed serene, as though he’d expected everything that was happening. “No, not any more.”

“Don’t worry about me, dearest. Gunthar has told me about the charms and the charm maker who has a house not far from the door. He’s doing a good thing for the Moonjumpers from Mothar, because I can’t imagine you having as much freedom to travel around in your jaguar form.”

“Apparently he’s been there for centuries,” Gunthar said, “ever since the first Moonjumper travelled from Mothar to Gaelom, but I don’t know if I believe him.”

“Knowing the fae I think anything is possible,” Yasmina replied, shrugging.

“Was it hard to find out that the race you’ve been worshipping didn’t deserve it?”

“To begin with it was and with Father being a priest…”

“I’ve known for a long time that the fae aren’t who we want them to be,” her father said, writing in one of his many notebooks. “The problem is no one else knows and that means I have to act as though I am the priest I was when I first started sermonising. Acting is much easier than I thought it would be.”

“You could do more to change Mothar,” Gunthar muttered.

“I could, but then I’d probably be executed. I’m much too old to have my mind wiped and I know too much about the fae, the other worlds, and the Web to be permitted to survive. Personally I’d rather be alive and acting as though I believe the myths about the fae.”

“Some of them are different,” Yasmina said, standing up for her father, because she thought he’d made the right choice even if Gunthar didn’t. “I’ve met fae who may not be worth worshipping, but they are much better people than the majority of their race.”

Nodding, Gunthar sat down next to her father. “I have too,” he said, sounding much less angry. “My wife has fae blood, so I know that some of them are good people, and it’s the people of Mothar I’m really annoyed with.” He sighed. “They have their minds so full of their belief that they don’t want to listen to the truth about the fae they worship and sometimes I wish I could put an end to it all.”

“One day maybe our religion will change,” her father said, as serene as ever, “but I don’t think it’s something you can force upon a people who don’t want it. As more Moonjumpers learn the truth and pass that on to the people who will listen it’s entirely possible that at least some of the Motharan people will begin to live a different life.”

“Does it bother you than you can never introduce your wife to your family?” Yasmina asked, changing the subject to something a little less explosive.

“Sometimes,” Gunthar answered, tapping his tail on the floor, “but I have a family on Gaelom and I’m happy there, so I don’t have any regrets for making the choice that I did. What are your plans for the future?”

“I want to travel more.” Yasmina laid her head on one of her paws. “Living on Mothar, now, feels impossible after all I’ve seen, but at the same time I’m not certain about settling down on one of the other worlds either. Maybe I just haven’t found the right place yet…”

“Or the right person.”

Yasmina nodded. “There was someone I met that I felt could be a friend, but I think I’m worried that if I settle somewhere the Council will be more likely to find me.”

“It’s unlikely that they will ever find you. The Council don’t really bother searching for demons unless they are having a major effect on one or more worlds, and if that happens they will hire someone to do the job for them. Really they’re nothing more than a horror story told to scare people off using the natural doors.”

Mirrored from K. A. Jones Writing.



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It's really exciting to see a Quiaran Moonjumper, and to meet a jaguar since they're well-respected in Motharan culture.

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