Chapter 3: The Feast
The morning came to the village and Mongswai found himself laying with NeeNee in the forest, her on one side with her arm around his chest. They had had a lot of fun during that night. Them and most of the other villagers. Mongswai was thinking. Was it actually twenty years since he had made the first travels? Well, it was, according to the calendar. But still, this young woman had only waited for him in two years. According to the diary he had been making, it was almost four years ago. He knew, that this world had the measures for time as in the real world, so what was this all about. He would actually be, let's se. He was 45 years old, but if the time she said was right, and it was, he was quite sure, he would be about 23 in this world. He had never seen a mirror in this world, but he knew there was a water-hole nearby, as they had bathed in it the day before, so he slipped slowly out of NeeNee's arm, and walked to the water-hole. There was no wind at all, and the surface of the water was, yes, like a mirror. He used it as one, and a man, who had nearly passed his childhood looked back. He was so surprised, that he almost fell in the water. He was actually handsome. He thought. He thought a long time. He thought that if he was actually 23 in this world, one would not have to thing for a long time to figure out, that the 26 years he thought he was, when he entered the first time, was reduced to 13 years. Not weird, that people had looked at him in the way they did. When he entered the first time, he had not thought of it, even though he had actually become a kid. His mind, though, was still the age he had from the real world. He must have sounded funny, talking almost philosophic to some guys at the marketplace in one if the cities, he passed through a year later. He had been bargaining with great cunning, much greater than his obvious age.
Suddenly, he felt a pair of arms around his neck. "Admiring ones looks, are wee?" It was NeeNee, who had awakened in the meantime. "Come", she said. "The rest of the village is waiting for us. They have finished making the Feast of the United Souls". "The what?" Mongswai wanted to know. "Here, we have a party for the men and women, who are united in soul, and this is the Feast of the United Souls". "You mean…" "Yes," NeeNee said, happily. "We are united. We were last night". As they walked towards the feasting hall, she told him about the way they are united in their village.
When they entered the feasting hall, the rest of the villagers were already there. Mongswai looked around. The feasting hall was a quite big but low-roofed cabin, twenty-some metres long, with a long table in the middle and a small one at the end, in a way, so they formed a thin T. NeeNee walked up to the small table at the end of the long one. She called for him to follow her, and he walked with her, past all the villagers, who sat at chairs. These chairs were, it looked like it, anyway, made for each person. All had different, but all beautiful carvings. They were made from one peace of wood, and did not have legs, like the ones on most living room chairs we know. As they came to the end of the table, he discovered, that a chair was made for him. "As I said before: I have been waiting for you", NeeNee said. It was kind of funny. The chair was carved with the things he had done to help NeeNee and her father, the Shaman, and actually described, how he had done it. Another carving was added not very long ago, he could see. The tree was still almost white, and it was not quite finished yet. It was a carving of the dance the night before. Someone had been busy this morning. "Do you like it?" NeeNee wanted to know. "I am honoured. I am speechless. How can I ever repay you?" he said. "You can start by sitting on it", she said with a smile. He did, and to his surprise, it was actually quite comfortable. Something pillow-like was on the seat, so he didn't have to sit directly on the wood. NeeNee put her own chair at his right side and sat down. He looked to his left side, and found that the Shaman had taken seat there. He guessed that this was a great honour, but he did not do anything. He had been in the world for some five years of his life, but he had not been in this village more than about five days: Two days helping NeeNee from her coma, and three days more on a trip, where he had passed through the village and stayed there for three days. He had made that trip before he met the Shaman and his daughter, so nothing happened on that trip.
Almost suddenly, a ceremonial silence fell over the hall, as two men and two women came in the big door at the other end. They walked two and two, each pair with one woman and one man, and each pair carrying a staff made out of wood. They were holding the staffs in a quite special way: They were both holding it, and the woman's left hand was at the top, then the man's right hand, then the woman's right hand, and then the man's left hand. The pairs walked town each side of the table and stopped as they stood behind Mongswai and NeeNee. NeeNee made a sign for Mongswai to do just as she did. She raised from the chair, and stood with her hands down the side, and Mongswai did the same. From his left side and her right side was now handed the staffs. NeeNee took it without looking at it, and Mongswai did the same. She stood and looked at the door, Mongswai could see through the corner of his eye. He could hear the two pairs stepping back to the wall, and as they did this, another pair entered the hall. They were holding hands, but as they stopped at the end of the table, they let go, and walked down each side of the table. They were dressed in the national dresses of the tribe: A peace of cloth slapped around the lower part of the body, and a cape around the neck. The woman had apart from the other things, a peace of cloth around the chest. This peace of cloth was beautifully decorated with pearls and applications. The man and the woman were each carrying a bundle of cloth, which Mongswai figured out was probably another set of the clothes. It was, because as the new pair walked up behind them, NeeNee started to take of her clothes, and signaled for Mongswai to do the same. When they stood completely naked, they were dressed by the pair. When this was done, the pair stepped back to stand besides the other pairs. A small bowl stood in front of them, and a small, very sharp looking knife laid at each side of the bowl. NeeNee took the knife, and Mongswai followed. This was one of the things she had told Mongswai on the way there. They were almost synchronised in their movements, as Mongswai held his right hand and NeeNee her left hand over the bowl, and cut a small rift in the arm, looking to that they did not hit the big vein, as they could die from that. When a couple of minutes had passed, the bowl was almost half filled, and they raised their hands, and the pair, who came with the clothes put a peace of cloth around the wrist, where the cut was still bleeding. NeeNee took the bowl and drank a small bit of the blood, and after this, Mongswai did the same. They stood now, with their staffs in the hand reaching away from the other. NeeNee took Mongswai's hand and they raised them.
At this point, the Shaman raised from his chair and started talking: "Mongswai and NeeNee are of one blood. The fulfillment of The Prophecy has just begun, and Mongswai and NeeNee have a long journey to make. Mongswai has agreed to help us against the threat of the child. But before they can start out on their journey, we have a party to finish". He spread his arms and said: "Let the food be brought in!". As he said this, ten men and ten women came in through the door, carrying each a big palm-leaf with food, and behind them came five men and five women more carrying look-through containers with a light green fluid. He had tasted the fluid before. It was a drink that was used on almost the entire Negative Dreamstate, the world he now knew was named Oushla. It was made from the berries of a bush named Nee-shanch, maybe better known as dream-berries. It is a kind of berries, that, if eaten, bring dreams to life. Or should I say, illusions seem more real than illusions normally do. The berries are dark purple, but the wine that is made using them is this light green color. The wine can be compared to a sweet white wine in the real world, only it is a little more sweet than that, because these berries were a lot more sweet that the ordinary grape used for white wine in the real world.
Each pair at the table had a container of the wine placed in front of them, and the food was placed on the table in the middle. People started to take the food, which consisted of meat from more than one kind of birds, snake and lizard. Bread made from seeds of a kind of grass that grew very fast and tasted very good. There were a sauce made from the leaves of the Nee-shanch plant. That and of cause the fresh dream-berries, which have something like the same effect that the dream-berry wine have. They feasted to long into the night, and the two moons of The Negative Dreamstate had risen to be in the top of the heavens half globe before Mongswai and NeeNee were guided to the hut build for them by the villagers.