The Claiming of Shiva
By Kate Lorraine
"O forlorn man, be still.
Here you need grieve no more; you need not feel
your life consumed here, I have pondered it,
and I shall help you go."
-Calypso, The Iliad
She had been drifting for centuries in this soft womb.. She had been dreaming the most ethereal reveries. She dreamt of times of yore, the time before she had been taken here and left to lie in this catatonic state until the end of time. She remember things in the deepest crannies of her mind, where the memories that were closest to fantasy. She saw the smiling face of the Great Hyne here to liberate her from her sweet dark prison inside the warmest crystal ice. However, whenever she awoke she was still here, trapped, nothing more than a floating psyche, drifting across dimensions and time.
Was there a reality? What exactly was the shade of cranberry red? Had she really ever tasted the bleeding fresh blackberries of spring? Perhaps they were all just a product of her imagination and this was all there ever was, hollow nothingness.
Then came a knocking, one day, a knocking on her chamber's glass door.
She opened her eyes.
The light came like two daggers.
There stood a man's form before her.
She felt his fingers before her face, brushing the ice away. Sweet leather like black skin brushed against her cheek and gently removed the chips of ice that had hugged her face for centuries.
She saw him watching her as her face adjusted to the light.
A curious look.
A young boy.
She moved, rather she twitched, jerking her right arm free from the icy chains. She yanked her neck back and shook the shards away from her flesh. Flesh? She was made of flesh?
"What's your name?" he asked her gently, unafraid.
She had a name. A name. Shiva. Yes, that was what they had called her. Shiva. Lady Shiva, before she died.
"Shiva." She told him gently, moving her purple lips to form the words. He leaned forward to chip away the ice with the dull end of his heavy gunblade. The ice shattered and her leg was free. Shiva tried to yank her other limb from the ice but found her effort futile.
"Why are you setting me free?" she asked suspiciously.. The boy, he was young, he did not appear to have come with dark intentions in his heart.
"What else would you have me do?" he asked her, equally apprehensive.
She eyed him uncertainly.
"I'm a being of great power young man."
"And you are trapped here, in ice?" he asked as he stood up erect before her.
She jerked at her leg again, rather embarrassed that it did not come free.
"I'm waiting, for something," She told him. "I'm waiting for the end of time."
"That's a long time."
"Yes," she replied frustrated. "But I must because the Great Hyne encased me here and I must remain here until she returns."
"The Great Hyne disappeared over a thousand years ago.."
That silenced her. Shiva could not speak. She stood there in shock. It had been a thousand years? It did not feel so long. Yes, her sleep had been long but surely not a thousand. Not a thousand long years.
"Do you want me to help you?" He asked gesturing to her other leg.
"A thousand years," Shiva whispered in disbelief.
"You did not know?" he asked, lifting an eyebrow.
"No," Shiva replied, almost on the verge of tears. "No I had no idea. I didn't think she would abandon me, us, the ones who no longer had mortal bodies."
"You are a guardian force aren't you?" he asked her as he looked at her sympathetically.
"What's a guardian force?" She asked indifferently.
"It's a spirit that guards a mortal from harm."
"I see," Shiva replied. "I guess that's what I am then, this guardian force."
"You were trapped in that ice for a thousand years Shiva?" he asked her.
She eyed him with a look of ferocity but he was not intimidated. Such a youth, he was not like the ones she remembered. He held his blade loosely at his side, relaxed but poised, an enigma always.
"I was sleeping, in the ice," she told him as she ran her fingers nervously through her purple locks. The years of confinement within her glassy tomb had turned her skin to a light blue and her hair to a deep violet. It didn't matter. She was far more powerful now as she able to maintain her image before him, her solid form so that he could see her.
"Was it pleasant?" he asked her.
"Than I am sorry to have disturbed you."
She saw the genuine look of apology upon his face and it made her want to laugh. Such a strange young man, courteous, trite, and proud. Oh, she wanted this one. This one, she had to make her own.
"I'm not sorry you disturbed me. Tell me, young one, what is it that you are? A Shepard? A wanderer? How is that you have stumbled upon my resting place?"
"My name is Squall Leonhart," he informed her with a quiet nonchalance. "I'm a student at Balamb Garden, a candidate for SeeD and a prisoner of my own life."
She chuckled and shook her long fingers free of ice.
"I see but surely you must be going now. Your parents, will they not worry?"
"I'm an orphan," he told her with irritation. "No one worries about me."
Shiva frowned at him but her heart softened. Sympathy overcame her as well as admiration. A strong will, a noble character, a cynic's heart, what a interesting combination. An orphan, such a pity, such a terrible pity.
"I want to help you, Squall Leonhart." Shiva said with kindness in her voice. She wanted to hold him like a mother would a child but she could not because the coldness of her skin would burn his flesh. She could not caress him as she wanted but she could offer him the last thing she had to give - power. Oh and such magnificent power she could give him, if only he deserved it, if only he would take it.
"Let me help you," Shiva offered once again. "Let me help you escape from your prison as you have helped me out of mine. Perhaps as I follow you about this much changed earth, I too would find what I am looking for."
"And that is?"
"The Great Hyne." she shrugged, as best as a goddess could shrug. "It sounds impossible but I would like to try. Surely she can't have abandoned all of us to become . .guardian forces."
"What do you want to be?"
"No," Shiva corrected. "The question is where do I want to go."
"The other side where the dead were meant to go."
"I see," the boy answered as he reached over to take her hand. At that moment she flared her hair on all sides out, demonstrating her full power. The ice that still clung to her body flew from her body like bullets from a gun. The crystal around her other leg cracked open like a ripe melon. She removed her limb easily.
She smiled at him then, smiled and reached out her hand, for him to kiss. He was her new caretaker, her owner, her prince.
She disappeared into thin air as he stepped out of the cave to rejoin his group. She walked beside him although they could not see her. His perky young blond instructor was waiting for him, standing there with her arms on her hips.
"We thought you died in there, Squall." She said mockingly.
"The cave collapsed." he answered.
"Did you find anything?" the young one with the baggy jeans asked.
"A guardian force."
"Really?" The instructor asked excitedly.
"I can't see her," the one with the spiky hair said.
"He must not be fond of you," the instructor said with a smile on her face.
Her companion did not bother to correct them. He merely followed them as they walked. Shiva followed by his side. There, she remained faithfully, beside the orphan boy.
One day the Great Hyne would return.
However until then, she would follow this boy and be his guardian.
Dedicated to Mags for everything. I would dedicate AMOW to you Mags but that just seemed a bit inappropriate lol. Hehe. J/k. Love you always.