The 4 Catalysts: Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 1

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Brave – ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.

Strength – the quality or state of being physically strong.

Intellect – the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters

Part 2

1

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” -Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

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Though the four had lived in a world full of change, they did not feel it, nor did they think much about it. Their lives had been, up to this point, rather monotonous.

Not like the days when their ancestors lived in the four corners. Those days were full of change even the catalysts felt. For a catalyst to actually feel change, it must be on a global scale.

What the four didn’t know, couldn’t know, was that the seeds of change, they, were about to embark on a journey for the ages. One that would have even concerned their ancestors.

The West

Unlike the East, the West was hot. Very hot, and dry, not wet and humid like the East. No, the West was a dry, arid, desert landscape, with rolling sand dunes, and distant mountains, which surrounded the Valley of the Sun.

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It was in this Valley that Lorel, and the People of the Sun lived; and, where the Castle of Sand was located. Like Sheldon, Lorel was the Mage of the East, and as such, fulfilled their obligation to the People of the Sun.

Unlike Sheldon, Lorel preferred to live alone. No Quara running after, nor house servants picking up after them. Just Lorel. Well, Lorel, and Hok, Lorel’s falcon, who, like Lorel, had lived in the Castle of Sand for generations. In fact, Hok’s ancestors had served Lorel’s ancestors for as long as anyone could remember.

Lorel was in their study at the top of the Castle, when Hok flew in and perched themselves just over Lorel’s shoulder.

“What’s the matter, Hok?”

It was just then that Lorel sensed it, them. Lorel quickly made their way to the window overlooking the vast dunes to the East. Sure enough, five riders were making their way to the Castle.

Surrounding the Castle were hamlets, many of them. The hamlets were where the People of the Sun lived. Lived, and thrived. Even though the People of the Sun didn’t take care of Lorel and the Castle proper, they took care of all of the surrounding landscape and hamlets.

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And, though no one took care of Lorel and the Castle, there was one in particular, one tribesperson that looked in on Lorel regularly. Talom was their name, and their dedication to Lorel was complete.

Talom was a senior advisor among the People of the Sun, and was known for their great intellectual prowess. Even Lorel considered Talom one of the smartest people they had ever met.

As the riders approached the hamlets, Talom readied themselves for conversation.

The first rider was young. Younger than Talom expected. The rider gave off waves of arrogance, not surprising Talom in the least. The other four riders stayed back, while the youngster dismounted, and approached Talom on foot.

The hamlet’s inhabitants spilled out into the narrow streets that connected the small homes constructed of sand, sticks, and brush. Children and teenagers raced up to stand behind Talom, while their parents yelled at them to stay back.

The young man approached, and said “Who are you, old man? We’re seeking Lorel, Mage of the East. We’re not interested in talking to the likes of you. Simply point the way, and we’ll pass in peace.”

Talom snickered inwardly. The arrogance of such a boy to suppose he could simply ride up to the Castle of Sand, and speak with Lorel. Funny. Absurd. Talom gathered himself, breathing slowly, patiently, and just as the boy was about to speak…

“Who am I? Why, who are you, young master? We are the People of the Sun. This is our hamlet, which lies in the shade of the Castle of Sand.”

The young horse rider paused, grinned, then stepped back, looked over his shoulder, and said, “Seems like we have an issue here. This old one will not let us pass. What should we do boys?”

While the young horse rider was speaking to his fellow riders, Talom could sense something. Yes, it was Lorel communicating with them through the fire pit just to Talom’s right. Fire was the Mage’s Art, and they could do just about anything with it, including using it to communicate.

“Talom, what’s going on? Why is this boy here with four other men, and those infernal horses? What do they want?”

Talom still breathing slowly and patiently, answered back, “Master, I don’t like these horse riders, there’s something wrong with them. Not sure what it is, but something is amiss.”

Just then the boy advanced toward Talom at an amazing speed, drawing a throwing knife as he did so, and as he was about to throw, a curtain of fire erupted between the rider and Talom. The horse rider almost ran right into it, yet stopped just in time.

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The boy stumbled back, tripped, and tumbled to the desert floor. Now scrambling back towards his horse and the other rides. And, doing so quickly.

As the boy was retreating, Lorel came walking down the narrow hamlet streets towards the wall of fire. As Lorel passed the gathered children, they brushed their heads and shook hands of parents and caretakers, young and old alike.

Lorel then made their way toward Talom, standing right beside them. In that same instance, Lorel withdrew the wall of fire. Hok was sitting just over Lorel’s left shoulder, on the top of one of the hamlets, taking in their Master’s poise under pressure.

“What do you want? You don’t belong here, and are not sanctioned to be away from the Center. The Center is where you live, and where you are to stay. The far reaches of the West is no place for you. Now go.”

The boy stood up, brushed himself off, and called to one of the other men to bring him the pack.

Pack, what pack, Talom thought. Talom didn’t like this at all.

One of the older men brought the pack over, handed it to the boy, then made his way back to his horse.

The boy said, “We were tasked with delivering this to you. It was not an easy journey. Several died. We are what remains of the dispatch. This is for you.”

Lorel took the pack, opened it, and upon seeing the contents, stumbled backwards, almost falling over.

What in the world was the East Mage’s Book of Change doing with these men, and that infernal boy? What was it doing in the West, about as far away as you could get from the distant East? And, oh no, what about Sheldon?

“Oh, Talom, we have an issue.”

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The 4 Catalysts: Part 1, Book 1, Chapter 2

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Commitment – the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

Patronage – the support given by a patron.

Dedication – the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose.

2

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” -Charles Darwin

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Quara’s commitment was clear from a very young age. Take care of Master Sheldon, that’s it, period. Sheldon and Quara had a strong relationship, built on trust and mutual respect, over time. Many envied Quara’s post, Wiki believing that they should rise higher in the Caste system, and take on more responsibilities. Yet that’s not how service worked.

Service was handed out by the tribal elders at birth. As a child grew, they were given instruction over three areas – general education, their service training, and, understanding their patrons Art. And, as Quara was the one selected to serve Master Sheldon, their training in the Art was that more extensive.

Quara moved down the spiral staircase towards Sheldon’s rooms, cautious to be ever so quiet. Cautious and quiet as this was Sheldon’s meditation time, not to be disturbed under any circumstances. On their way down they noticed a shadow playing on the outside of Sheldon’s main room. Light was flickering from inside the room, displayed by the fire in the hearth.

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As the shadow moved back and forth, Quara froze in their place on the stairs. Waiting. Breathing slowly. Moving now again, slowly like their breath, one step at a time towards the Master’s room.

One step, two, three, and suddenly the Master burst through the room, rushing past Quara and up the stairs to the main hall. Quara stumbled back against the wall, sank down, and sat. Waiting. Breathing slowly.

Sheldon dashed through the main hall and into the library. Sheldon’s library was extensive, generationally handed down. There were regular books, tomes, articles, and every imaginable script on and in the history of the world.

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Sheldon moved quickly. Rifling through the books, grabbing a few, then to the tomes, flipping, blowing off dust, then to the articles and manuscripts doing the same, selecting the ones needed.

They moved all the items gathered to their desk, sprawling out the papers in an array to get the best look. Sheldon lit a couple more candles as the day was dank and dark, as it was often in the East at this time of year, well, at most times of year.

Meanwhile, Quara, catching their breath, hurried up the stairs, through the main hall, and into the library after their Master.

Quara burst into the library and said “Master, what is this all about? You nearly knocked me down the staircase. You gave me an awful fright!” Sheldon did not respond, and continued to study the papers, and books strewn out all over the desktop. Concentrating. Breathing, slowly.

“It’s not hear, I cannot find it, Quara!”

Quara, of course, had no idea what Sheldon was talking about, so probed, “Master, I don’t know what you are talking about. You are supposed to be in meditative practice. I am confused.”

Sheldon continued to search through the papers, combing books, tossing them aside.

“I know it’s here, Quara. It has to be.

Quara stumped, decided to take a different approach. “Master, why don’t you sit down for a moment, and breathe. You know that it will come to you then.”

Sheldon, not fully hearing Quara, yet sensing reasonableness in the docile way Quara was approaching them, sat down on the floor, closed their eyes, and breathed. Slowly. In, and out. In, and out.

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Quara stooped down, sat on the floor across from their Master, and did the same. Concentrating. Breathing, slowly.

5 minutes, turned into, 10, which turned into an hour.

Sheldon opened their eyes, looked at the strewn papers and books littered across the library floor, looked over at Quara, who was still eyes shut breathing, and sighed.

“It’s no use, Quara, I cannot remember where it is. All these years, the Book of Change has been in this library, and now, it is gone. Poof. Gone. I don’t understand it. Cannot understand it.”

Quara slowly opened their eyes, looked at their Master, and also sighed. “Master, I know not where the Book of Change is. Surely it is here. It must be. Where else could it be?”

Sheldon sighed again. Rose to their knees, stood up, and walked over to Quara, lending them a hand, pulling them up.

“Oh, Quara, I am upset, and concerned. That the Book is not here is unsettling, and I fear, not the most unsettling thing that has occurred today.”

Quara looked at their Master quizzically, “Master?”

“In my meditation today, the light brought me a Vision, one that I dare not say overmuch about. Yet know that, though I do not feel change as others do, there are great changes coming, Quara. Changes that will affect the entire world. Nothing will be the same. Nothing is the same.”

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Quara started to shake. When the Master had a vision, which did not happen often, something was definitely wrong with the world. “Master, you are frightening me, and I do not understand your meaning.”

“No matter, Quara. It is time. Time to visit the West, and see Lorel.”

Now Quara was more than concerned. Was frightened. “Master, you can’t really mean that. You’ve never travelled to the East. In all the years you have been Master of Castalistidom, you’ve never traveled to the East. Not ever. Oh, Master, you are truly frightening me.”

Sheldon began picking up the papers and books from the floor, organizing them on the desk. They stopped, hands braced on the desk table, sighed, head hanging.

“Of course, you’re right, Quara, and yet, it is my duty to do so. There are only 4 Books of Change on the entire planet. One in the West, South, North, and, well, one that used to be here in the East, yet is no more. We must travel to Lorel. We have no choice.”

Quara, still confused, looked their Master in the eye, chin tucked in, back straight and said, “Very well, Master. I will inform the staff, and get your affairs in order. When do we leave.”

Sheldon smiled, maybe grinned.

“Why, Quara, we are leaving right now.”

Quara, head hanging a bit now, sighed again, picked up his head, and said,

“Very well, Master. Then I’d better get busy!”

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