Welcome to my little corner of Sorachan's Tanjia. If you have not yet become enthralled by her world, I highly recommend that you read at least the prologue. www.dolldivine.com/stories/Sorachan-3940 I hope you enjoy my portion of her glorious creation.
PART ONE - INTRODUCING LIRI'EL
Liri'el the Healer: www.dolldivine.com/Azaleas-Dolls/SaralynArati-2857145
Born into a family of minor aristocracy, Liri'el was a treasured only child despite her near albinism. She was not, so far as anyone knows, a plague-pale baby, since her mother had not been noticeably ill during her pregnancy. The fact that Liri'el's eyes were icy blue instead of purple also argued that her white hair was spontaneously occurring. She is from an island archipelago where recessive traits crop up more often, but her parents moved to Kei-Larr when she was little, and it was there that she began to feel so very different from the other children. There is no medical evidence indicating, or even implying, that the albino daughters born during the terrible plague that spread over Tanjia from a few centuries before Liri'el's generation to several after it, carry the disease itself, but nevertheless, Liri'el has had to learn to accept being stared at.
These circumstances may or may not have factored into Liri'el's choice of profession, but her skills as a healer make her respected in spite of her "mutant" genes. At about 31,200 she is young to have gained full healer status, but she threw herself into her studies after the transport accident which caused her husband's death.
At that point in her life, Liri'el was ready to leave the Academy, set up her own medical practice, and start a family. "No," her husband urged her, "go ahead and complete all three phases of healer lore; I can support us with my music. In fact, I've been asked to play for the Emperor during the festival next year."
"Congratulations to the selection committee for their good taste in choosing you. That's very exciting! But aside from a few rudiments, I don't expect to ever need trauma training. Why don't we decide when we know how well received you are by Imperial audiences?" Yet, sadly, that was not to be, so Liri'el did as he had suggested, and went back to school.
Young Butterfly Dancer: www.dolldivine.com/Four-Elements/SaralynArati-2881250
Liri'el has always been something of a prodegy, although neither her parents nor she herself pushed her to excell, or finish school tasks earlier than her peers. Always tall for her age, Liri'el recalls performing the dance of the butterflies in the spring welcoming ritual. She was quite young for the honor, but moved with pure joy among the other girls. Soon after that came the move from the Chenowith Archipelago to the city of Kei-Larr.
"It's too good an opportunity to pass up Eyava," Liri'el's father D'afith was saying. Liri'el wasn't trying to listen, but she couldn't help hearing the excitement in her parents' voices.
"A teaching position at the Kei-Larr Higher Learning Center would certainly pay better than botanical field work," said her mother. "And it would be a chance to educate the rest of Tanjia about the unique and richly varied plant life we have here. Still, there's your jeweler's business to consider, and I hate to uproot Liri'el."
"I'm sure people appreciate fine jewel craft in Kei-Larr as well, and my family will continue to see to it that I'm provided with the highest quality pearls. Also, you know what we agreed about sheltering our child; I think perhaps it is time."
Liri'el would have turned and fled then, had her mother not summoned her, "Come on in, sweetheart. We all know you're there."
The young girl's eyes were wide as she came into the room. "Do you understand what we were just discussing?" her father asked.
"Are we going to visit aunt Nur'yati in the city? How long can we stay?" she answered uncertainly, but trying to be as enthusiastic about the prospect as they seemed to be.
Liri'el's parents locked gazes above her head. "For the season at first," her mother replied, "and if things go well, maybe permanently,"
Liri'el's Aunt Nur'yati: www.dolldivine.com/Other-Dolls/SaralynArati-2888882
The reactions of the other schoolchildren in this new and strange city were a severe trial for Liri'el. Naturally slightly shy and self-contained, being shunned by her peers exascerbated these tendencies to the point that she rarely spoke outside her family. However, just when her parents were about to conclude that they had made a terrible mistake, Aunt Nur'yati stepped in.
Younger sister of Liri'el's father, her small family fortune is in pearls, but instead of working in that field, Nur'yati became first an herbal healer, and once that requirement was met, an experimental pharmacologist. Being herself considered eccentric, she took a novel approach to Liri'el's withdrawl; she administered no medicine, but rather gave the child leave to follow her and even help her with her research, provided that Liri'el did not disturb or distract her.
Several days passed before Liri'el worked up the nerve to ask, "What's that?" Her aunt surprised her by answering thoroughly and exactly. Liri'el's young mind devoured and digested this information, and finding it good, demanded more. "Why are you doing that? What is this for?" and most important of all, "When can I come back tomorrow?"
"When you have at least half of your regular schoolwork done," was always Nur'yati's reply. So Liri'el began to whiz through her tedious class assignments, and was soon completing projects that were high above her elementary grade level, in addition to absorbing the foundations of herbal medicine which her aunt was providing.
D'afith and Eyava were delighted that their daughter seemed to have found her calling in life, but insisted that she take some time to spend away from studies entirely, and relax with the family and on occasion the few friends roughly her own age who she had managed to keep from the island chain or make new, there. "After all," they convinced her, "if you plan to promote balance, you need to have some idea of what that is."
New Horizons: www.dolldivine.com/Other-Dolls/SaralynArati-2889023
It was decided, when Liri'el was in mid-adolescence, that she should travel to the Imperial Academy, since she was now more knowledgeable than her teachers, to recieve the certification and sign of an herbalist. With the tattoo still fresh on her shoulder, she was immediately given clinic hours and began her lessons in disease prevention.
So thus was Liri'el when whe first met Pa'them, both of them newly arrived at the Imperial Academy for further instruction. The boy, similar to her in age and yet to hit his growth spurt, was slight and skinny, a good foot shorter than the girl, who was tall and skinny and awkward, with her hair not long enough for her rank due to a tiny laboratory fire. Liri'el was still painfully shy around others and now doubly sensitive about her hair; healing was her only passion. She had never much cared about the fine arts, nor been interested in boys, until one night she walked back to the dormatories through the water gardens, and there she heard Pa'them play for the first time.
The boy was very much in love with his music, to the exclusion of almost everything else, sometimes even food. But his heart opened palpably when he played. "This is a gift which cannot be taught," Liri'el thought. "Yet why would he ever look twice at me?" she reflected morosely.
But it was not long until he forgot to eat one day and fainted, and was taken to the student infirmary where Liri'el was on shift. "When she heals," Pa'them thought in turn, "her intensity is like a flame, and it is a gift that cannot be taught."
An Open Heart: www.dolldivine.com/Other-Dolls/SaralynArati-2889019
"What happened with you today?" she asked. "Did you just get so caught up in what you were doing that it escaped your attention that you were hungry?"
Pa'them blushed violet. "More or less," he admitted. "You know how sometimes the music is so wondrous and powerful that it carries you, sweeps you away, higher and higher until nothing but the music itself, pure and holy, exists."
"No," Liri'el answered. "I'm afraid I don't." She handed the boy a large bottle. "I'm going to give you an herbal concoction with lots of nutrients and protein. I want you to drink a glass every time you switch instruments that you are practicing. And this is just to make up for the energy defecit you've accumulated. You still need to eat at least one hearty meal every day."
Pa'them similed, and for her the room lit up. "Make it easier for me to remember; have dinner with me." And he promptly blushed vivid purple again, a little shocked by his own forwardness.
"Tonight?" Liri'el asked incredulously. He only blushed more fiercely, but nodded. "But... you barely know me!"
"I know, and that's almost as big a shame as your never having been taken out of yourself by song. Perhaps I can remedy both." For a moment his heart shone in his eyes like it did when he played.
"All right," she found herself saying. "When? I mean, what time?" And again he smiled that way that made the room brighten.
Liri'el as a Bride: www.dolldivine.com/Sari/SaralynArati-2878728
Pa'them was as good as his word, and the better he got to know Liri'el, the more he realized that he wanted to spend his life with her. She soon found tht she could indeed be carried away, by Pa'them's music as well as by the young man himself. The couple had to wait for a considerable while before Liri'el, slightly the younger of the two, was of age to be married. Happily, each saw the wisdom of taking it slowly, and if they used more of their study time together kissing than reviewing lessons, they were both intelligent enough that it did not hinder their learning appreciably.
Liri'el looked radiantly beautiful in the traditional silvery-white gown, with lavender and aqua-green sash over her shoulder honoring Ki'konia, worn as was the custom in the Chenowith Islands. Although she always has the support of her own family, Liri'el's in-laws have never really approved of her. Neverthless, Pa'them's younger sister Yu'shika and Liri'el's good friend and fellow albino in the healer program, The'uki (LadyLeaf's OC), stood by the bride.
"Liri'el, now that you are married, you'll have to stop sneaking messages back and forth between me and my husband, Mii'kuo, in the library books you borrow." The elder woman had also a child, a daughter just on the brink of girlhood; The'uki was forcibly separated from both as a political hostage. All contact was forbidden, even though they sometimes saw each other in the halls of the Imperial Complex.
"Do you imagine that Pa'them does not know I've been helping you? He approves, believe me, and would do his share if music scrolls were an appropriate hiding place."
"But Liri'el, if you're caught you two could be kept apart as we are, or at the least he would lose status." It was clear that The'uki was genuinely worried about her friend.
"Ask him yourself, then," Liri'el said. "I think the watch on you is a lax one and worth the risk, but share your concerns," and Liri'el beamed, "with my new husband and see what he says." In response, Pa'them approached Mii'kuo about music lessons for his young daughter, Mi'isuka, and received Academy sanction.
Liri'el's Late Husband: www.dolldivine.com/Azaleas-Dolls/SaralynArati-2879045
Pa'them was well on his way to becoming a celebrated musician, able to play virtually any instrument with proficiency, but specializing in strings which are plucked or strummed. He inherited all of his mother's astuteness, but not her cold calculation.
Nor was he heir to his paternal parent's foul temper, although Yu'shika has a touch of that. No, Pa'them was indeed extremely sweet. He was a bit absent minded like his father, so not a perfect or ideal mate. Still, he and Liri'el were very much in love and happy together for the nearly 9,000 years of their marriage.
Being a composer, Pa'them often wrote love songs and lullabyes, ballads and bits of silliness just for Liri'el. Her favorite verse of all of these goes like this:
"Sail on silver girl.
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
If you need a friend,
I'm sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will ease your mind."
(In this reality, all rights go to Simon and Garfunkel. Give it a listen.
Liri'el in Deep Mourning: www.dolldivine.com/Azaleas-Dolls/SaralynArati-2879298
After the tragic death of her husband Pathem, Liri'el considered putting off, or even quitting, her healer training. She might well have done so without the encouragement of her parents and her aunt, and especially the unswerving loyalty of her friend The'uki.
By that time, The'uki had already completed her herbalist training and was studying the prevention of disease. Even though The'uki was older, the two women had bonded tightly over their shared lack of pigment, and similar family backgrounds. So Liri'el threw her black gloves into the ocean and concentrated on learning twice as much as was expected of her in half the time. The'uki also had her own experience in facing separation from her husband, as well as her child, and her understanding was invaluable. Yet Liri'el believed then that she would dedicate her life entirely to others, because it seemed impossible that she would ever love again.
"Madam, we regret to inform you..." the officials had told her, but Liri'el could never remember which words exactly they had used after that. At first she could not accept that there was no mistake, that it was truly her husband, Pa'them the musician, who had died. Accidents were so rare in these modern days.
Finally, as the news began to be absorbed a little, Liri'el looked about her and saw that she was still standing, since she had refused to sit, in the healers' conference room in the clinic. Moving as though her limbs were suspended by wires, she calmly walked to the door and opened it. "Shock," she diagnosed herself; "I'm in shock."
So aloud she said, "Shock. Fluids and a sedative, please. And fetch a replacement." The care attendants present appraised her with a single glance. One hurried to comply, while the other remained at Liri'el's side. "And fetch The'uki," she added. "And fetch a replacement for The'uki." Then she giggled somewhat hysterically, and simply sank down on the floor where she was.
Liri'el Watched Over: www.dolldivine.com/Azaleas-Dolls/SaralynArati-2866775
Sometimes Liri'el fancies she can see images of Ki'konia, Mother Goddess of Tanjia, out of the corner of her eyes. She knows that it's only her imagination, but this gives her a reassuring feeling and renews her faith.
Even as a small child, Liri'el always possessed a quiet but deep reverence for the divine, and in fact, during the period in which she rarely spoke, the young girl was seriously considering a priestly life. However, the enthusiasm she quickly developed for the healing professions convinced Liri'el that service rather than contemplation was her true calling. As a result, she now helps others with the same sense of sacredness and light within her that she receives from religious observances.
If she had not had a last minute patient to care for, Liri'el would have accompanied her late husband on that fateful transport, and would have died with him. Sometimes she feels guilty about being happy to be alive, but as a healer, Liri'el believes that all life is a gift to be cherished.
"Are you sure you're strong enough yet, my dear, to attend the Festival?" Glai'laren, Liri'el's mother-in-law, asked with apparent solicitude. "After all, it has only been a scant year since..." and the older woman elaborately dabbed at at her made-up eyes, "since my sweet baby was taken from us"
"They'll be playing some of Pa'them's music. I must go," Liri'el answered resolutely. She would not display her grief, or what it would cost her to take a seat among the musicians' families, to anyone, much less to her disapproving in-laws.
"No one will think the worse of you if you remain at home, or cloistered at that temple you favor. At the very least, I think you should wear your widow's gloves and veil."
"Out of respect for the dead, or so that my hair will be covered?" Liri'el demanded, but caught herself before she further lost her temper. Glai'laren made a show of delicately drying her eyes again, but failed to reply.
To Be Of Service: www.dolldivine.com/Neptune's-Daughter/SaralynArati-2907895
Liri'el has been tattooed with the mark of a full healer on her shoulder, which ironically, after working so hard to master all three disciplines, she rarely shows completely. However, it is her great honor to be of service, from the lowliest of patients to the highest ranking clients.
Once she had graduated, though, Liri'el felt that she could no longer dwell where so many memories of her life with Pa'them lingered. Accordingly, she said goodbye to her best friend The'uki, promised to communicate often and visit when she could, and returned to the city of Kei-Larr where Liri'el's family yet resided.
Both The'uki and Liri'el knew that it was not likely that a successful existing medical practice would allow either of them to join; too much stigma was still attached to their albino hair. However, Liri'el had hopes of working among the poorest of the dock hands and menial laborers until she could establish a reputation with her exceptional skills.
But her late husband had one last surprise in store for her. On her last day at the Healing Academy Clinic, Liri'el received a message recorded several centuries previously. "Hello my love, and congratulations on becoming a full healer!" the image of Pa'them said. "I know you want to wait until after the Festival to decide, but I think you're worrying too much again, sweetheart, and I've just had the most brilliant idea. While it may be traditional to give women jewelry for the special occasions in their lives, it seems to me that, since you're already so beautiful, what you could really use most now is a well equipt healing practice."
"Therefore, I'm dedicating the profits from some of my music to this fund. Every decade, more or less, I plan to record an update for you, if I manage to keep this a secret for that long. I can't buy you patients, of course, but your aunt Nur'yati has promised to look around discreetly when the time comes. Anyway, enjoy your present, my Liri'el, my Silver Girl, my wife!" And how could she say "no" to that?