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Lords of Being

Chapter 41: The Goddesses Meet

by Barry Tannenbaum

New Blood Logs:

Tom Noon's Tale


In Chaos

Voyages of the Nones



Mother Goose Chase

Ancient Oz


Adventures of the Munch

Lanthil & Beyond

After arriving in Hilo at night, we rent a van and Captain Barron drives to Kilauea, passing from verdant cloud forest to the desolation of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. As we enter the park, he asks, “How do you know that She’s going to show up. This place is full of liquor and tourists.”

Rosamund shrugs. “We’re going to invite Her.”

Mabel adds, “I’m sure that there are lots of drunken young ladies who just happen to show up at parties all the time.”

“She could party all night.”

We enter the park and follow Crater Rim Road to the caldera of Kilauea, reputed to be the home of Pele. There’s a peak overlooking the caldera. We park, hike to the top of the peak, and set up the table that Rosamund bought. Hellgrammite starts mixing drinks in the blender he built. It takes a few batches, but he fills the volcano bowl and then puts a shot of 151 in the center of the bowl. Mabel calls out to Pele as she lights it. “Oh great goddess Pele, come join us and partake of a drink for Kilauea.”

No goddess appears.

“We have other drinks for Pele.” Mabel reaches into the box and starts pulling out our other offerings. Still no goddess.

Catalyst suggests that we need to do something on the supernatural level to attract Her attention. Offering liquor is something that any batch of drunken tourist might do.

Simon looks at Catalyst and smiles, causing deVerre to cover her eyes when Simon suggests, “There’s a lot of nice soft glass down there.”

Catalyst shrugs. “Whatever you think might be attention-grabbing.”

Mabel looks at the caldera and observes, “It’s the world’s biggest volcano bowl.”

As Simon climbs down the peak to the edge of the caldera, Neville and Rosamund take a pull on the volcano bowl, using the long straws to avoid the flames. Simon continues into the caldera itself. He reaches down and pulls. The section of lava he’s standing on rises, leaving a depression about 25 feet across. He has indeed created the world’s largest volcano bowl.

As Simon looks proudly at what he’s created, Rosamund senses a large cloud of life coalescing above the crater. Suddenly we feel a huge wave of heat. Simon rises into the air on the updraft.

A giant hand reaches down and picks up the volcano bowl from our table. The hand’s owner is 14 feet high. She takes a good healthy swig and sits down. She’s still 7 feet high, dressed in a red mumu, with a wreath of flowers on Her head. The flowers are luminously red and sculpted out of fire.

Neville offers, “Greetings, goddess. Thank you for joining us.”

Mabel adds, “Welcome lady goddess”

Pele responds, “Hello. What brings you here?”

Hellgrammite replies, “The ending of the world.”

Pele looks at him sharply. “You know about that?”

Hellgrammite introduces everyone, both by name and affiliation.

Pele scans the assembled crew. “I see.”

Hellgrammite says, “Some difficulties have come up with the clogs. Your sister’s land has started to slip into the mundane land and She’s been injured holding it back.”


“Yes.” Pele snorts. Hellgrammite continues, “Your sister has sent us because She says that your land and Hers must be in balance.”

“What an… interesting way to put it. Separated from Herself, you say?”

Simon lands and says, “She’s looking for your help.”

Pele laughs.

Rosamund explains, “Our job is to keep the balance so the world will remain in existence. The imbalance in Her land is preventing us from removing a clog.”

Pele muses, “You have to fix Namaka’s land. You have to fix Namaka. Of course She didn’t come here Herself.”

Simon replies, “She’s coming this way.”

This has Pele’s attention. “Really?”

“I had the impression She couldn’t quite tell where you were.”

“Oh, really? Well that would explain why things have gone a little… slack.”

Rosamund asks, “So you’ve noticed the change?”

“Perhaps a better word than ‘balance’ is ‘tension’. Or lack of it. So the long or short of it is, you’re here as envoys for my sister.”

Simon notes, “That’s not how we started.”

“We need to sort Her out, so She can sort Her land out, so you can sort the land out.” The goddess holds out the now empty volcano bowl. After a moment, Mabel refills it with the mix in the blender, and adds another shot of 151 rum to the center. It relights.

Pele sips Her drink. “Well. I don’t think She had any doubt where I was. I’m not always at home, but…”

Simon notes, “Having seen both halves of Her, perhaps She wasn’t not sure where She was.”

Pele shrugs. “Perhaps. Or perhaps reluctant to approach me on my home ground. And Her power is rattling around loose. Trying to find me.”

“Tension. Remember the balance.”

“I suppose it would really push things over the edge if I monkeyed around with Her powers.” She takes another sip, and then snorts petulantly. “I don’t want any of Her cold, wet powers.” Another sip. “Did She say why She needs to meet with me?”

Hellgrammite answers, “To know the state of your land.”

Simon adds, “To solicit your help. She wasn’t all Herself.”

Pele chuckles. It’s not a pleasant sound. “She can owe me. Yes, that would be better than trying to rip Her off. She can owe me a big one.” Pele chugs the remains of the drink, and puts the vessel down. It’s now shiny black. “I’m not going to traipse around with you. Take the bowl and find Her. Hand Her the bowl, and negotiations will commence.”

Mabel asks, “Is there anything you want us to say?”

Pele grins: “She’ll know soon.” Before we question Her further, She holds up Her hands. “I promise She’ll be able to resume Her duties. We can’t have the world plunging into chaos or excessive order.”

Mabel replies, “Thank you, goddess.”

Pele steps off the peak, enlarges, heats up and dissipates. As the heat starts to fade, there’s a rumble, and Simon’s volcano cup in the caldera shatters. The cup She left behind is slowly cooling.

Simon and deVerre attempt to look forward to when the bowl is presented to Namaka. They see a fair-skinned, female hand take the bowl. Suddenly a brown-skinned female hand is also holding the bowl. There’s a fair amount of turbulence among the swirling fish, and the vision fades. After his recent energy expenditures, Simon is looking a little glassy.

Catalyst goes to lift the cooling bowl. It’s heavier than you’d expect, since it’s now condensed silicon. He walks slowly towards the van, blowing on the bowl.

Hellgrammite leaves a pair of the full bottles, packs everything else up, and puts it in the van. Then he unpacks the bottles, wraps them up in his jacket, and fills the box with sand. The bowl can sit in the sand in the box and not burn anything. We pile into the van and drive back to the airport.

As he drives back to towards the airport, Captain Barron asks, “Did anyone else notice the way Jennifer looked when Namaka started talking through her?”

Neville replies, “She was possessed.”

Captain Barron corrects, “She looked horrified to me.”

Simon agrees, “It wasn’t a good thing.”

“Are you guys able to anything like getting her back?”

Mabel replies, “Once Namaka is all Herself, it should be reasonable to ask Her for Jennifer back.”

“Was the woman that you saw on Namaka’s island someone like Jennifer or Namaka Herself?”

Rosamund replies, “Herself.”

“So She probably won’t want to keep Jennifer.”

“She needs Her powers back in Her original self. And Jennifer is a kahuna.”

Captain Barron allows, “That’s a little reassuring.”

Simon pulls out his phone. After a bit of poking around the net he finds that Rainbow Falls Park looks like a promising place to call Namaka and hand Her the volcano cup. We drive to the park and climb down to the pond with the waterfall thundering in the dark near us.

Mabel holds out the cup and calls, “Oh Namaka! Goddess of the sea! We have returned with a gift from your sister Pele.”

Nothing obvious happens.

Hellgrammite throws the I Ching coins.

Nothing obvious happens.

Neville tries. “Namaka, you said we should call and you would come. We are calling.”

Nothing obvious happens.

Simon suggests that we move over to the waterfall with the cave behind it.

As we approach the waterfall, it sounds like there’s a voice coming out of the water. Simon puts his conch shell to his ear and listens. He hears words but he doesn’t understand, possibly old Hawaiian. He gives the shell to Rosamund. The voice sounds like Namaka on the island. It’s chanting poetry about the sea; perhaps one of Her hymns. There’s an echo from the waterfall. When we get to the waterfall, we can clearly hear a voice chanting.

Hellgrammite takes the bowl and fills it with water from the waterfall. As soon as he wades into the pond, light comes down the waterfall and fills the pond. Jennifer comes out of the water in front of him, like the Lady of the Lake. She’s looking a little glassy. Hellgrammite hands her the cup. As soon as Jennifer takes it, Pele is standing next to Hellgrammite with Her hand on the cup also. Pele looks at him and remarks drolly, “Well, that was quick.”

Hellgrammite replies, “Internal combustion engines are a wonderful thing.” He backs off leaving the two sisters with the bowl.

Pele looks at the other person holding the cup, and then turns back, puzzled. “Who’s this?”

“A priestess who stepped away from her duties.”

Pele replies, “That’s not all she stepped into.”

DeVerre notes, “It seems to have stepped into her.”

Pele frowns. “Well, that won’t do.” She Looks at Jennifer. “You owe me.”

There’s a flash of red and green light. And then it’s dark here. There’s a splashing noise. DeVerre darts forward and catches Jennifer as she crumples into the water. She’s breathing, and deeply unconscious. DeVerre carries her out of the water, and we return to the van, back the way we came. As we walk, the metaphysical entities can feel the blockage slowly begin to unravel.

Rosamund asks, “So the question is, was this a real blockage, or something to do with the old argument.”

Mabel shrugs. “It was a real blockage, made from an old argument.”

Hellgrammite pushes on the blockage, and it fades faster. He tells the others, “Help me push now, so it will go away quicker.” He also texts that on the Courtier net.

With a pop, deVerre disappears. She was still holding Jennifer.

DeVerre, appears in the middle of a table in Dr. Fu’s office. Good thing she’s holding Jennifer in her arms. It’s night here too. However there’s a great deal of red and green light coming in one of the windows. She goes to the balcony. There are a lot of people in a rough crescent on the beach looking at a red flare and a green flare. DeVerre walks to the beach towards Dr. Fu, who’s on the inside edge of the crescent. The crowd moves aside to let her through. When she gets closer, she can see that the flares are red and green female shapes. Every now and again, sparks fly.

Jennifer begins to stir in deVerre’s grasp. She opens her eyes. DeVerre glances at her and says, “It’s all right. We’re back.”

“Back? Where?”


At the word, Jennifer’s eyes widen and she whispers urgently, “Get me away from Her!” She struggles to get down.

DeVerre tries to calm her. “Things seem to be getting better here. And it seems to be getting better because of you.”

“I don’t… I want to get away from here. Get me back to Honolulu. Please.”

“How about Hilo?”


There’s a pop, and they are gone.

Guess who didn’t call ahead? The two women bounce out of Neville’s pocket.

Neville frowns. “I thought you’d agreed to call.”

DeVerre shrugs. “My hands were full. Here.” She hands Jennifer to Neville.

“Put me down!” Neville puts Jennifer on her feet.

There’s a pop and deVerre is gone again.

DeVerre returns again to Nuuamealani, appearing once more in Dr. Fu’s office. She returns to the beach where a number of people are pointing out to sea and going “Ooh!” and “Ahh!”. The horizon is flat and steady. This is better than before, when the horizon was very messed up.

DeVerre mutters to herself, “I wonder where we are?” She pulls out her phone. There are no bars. There are no satellites. This is not the mundane world.

DeVerre walks up to Dr. Fu, who’s still standing on the beach in front of his people, watching the red and green flares that are his goddess and Her sister. Dr. Fu senses her approach. He turns and grins widely. “Ah. Thank you!”

“I tried returning the priestess, but she didn’t want to be here, so I took her back.”

“What happened? Why did she want to go back?”

“I don’t know. She acted as a vessel for Namaka. Which was helpful for us for finding Pele. It seems to have been troubling for her.”

“Especially if she wasn’t prepared for the role. Did she desire it?”

“She was helping, but I don’t think she was ready to take that on. It would have been much harder without her. The whole vessel thing wasn’t part of her plan.”

“She undoubtedly needs some time to recover. Do send her my thanks. Things seem to be fixed, except that Pele is here.”

“We’re not on Earth.”

“As far as I can tell, Nuuamealani is where it’s supposed to be. Where we started. If Pele leaves peaceably…”

“She said that Namaka is now significantly indebted to Her.”

“I can believe that. If they don’t have a fight right here and destroy us all, then everything seems to be the way it’s supposed to be, assuming that the mirage isn’t floating in the central Pacific…”

“So the service you called us for has been fulfilled?”

“Ah. Yes. Your service is fulfilled.”

All of the metaphysicals feel a twang as if some bit of tension has been relieved.

“So if there’s a fight, that would be another service?”

Dr. Fu looks surprised. “You’re available for that?”

“Here’s our card. Call on us if you need us. We’d be glad to help. Of course, you’d owe us one.”

“There’s a lot of that going around.”

Eventually the red light takes off, and the green light ebbs, leaving a Polynesian woman who’s looking out at the sea looking grim. She turns and walks towards the palace. Dr. Fu follows her. DeVerre follows him to the railing of the patio, and nods at the guards. Namaka appears at the balcony railing and delivers a speech in old Hawaiian. At the conclusion, she looks at DeVerre and says, “Thank you.”

Dr. Fu bows. “Thank you very much.”

DeVerre nods and pulls out her phone. There are still no bars. With a pop, she disappears.

DeVerre appears in the van, where Neville was clever enough to leave his phone out.

Jennifer is asking, “I am on Earth. This is Hawaii, right?”

Mabel replies, “Yes, the big island.”

Jennifer is clearly trying to remember what happened. “Is there something about Pele?”

Hellgrammite explains, “Yes, we introduced Her to Her sister. They’ve gone away now.”

Jennifer looks around wildly. “Are you folks going back to the mainland? Can I come?”

Rosamund places a gentle hand on Jennifer’s arm. “You’ve had enough of this?” Through the touch, Rosamund notes that Jennifer’s not far from shock, and she’s very upset.

“Yes. I want way away from it.”

Hellgrammite asks, “So when we get to the mainland, do you still want to be you?”

“I don’t mind being Jennifer Langston. I don’t want to be Namaka.”

Neville asks, “Is there any place in particular you want to go?”

“Seattle, I guess. Anywhere on the mainland will do.”

Captain Barron says, “We can go there.”

“I know people in Seattle. They know me in Seattle.”

Hellgrammite asks, “Would you like any help getting set up in Seattle?

“I’m not ready to think about that yet.”

Rosamund says soothingly, “You can think about that. After you get some sleep. Then we can talk about this.

We get to the plane. Suddenly, there’s a blockage. Neither of the elementals twitches. It goes away. Someone else must have cleared it

As we board, Captain Barron asks, “Where next? Do you want to check out the mirage?”

Neville asks, “Can’t we do that through the satellites?”

Hellgrammite confirms that we can, and seats himself at his workstation to do that. The mirage is gone.

DeVerre says to Jennifer, “You’re quite wet. There’s some towels and blankets in one of the sleepers.” As she guides Jennifer to the back of the plane, she adds, “I thought you should know that everyone back there is very grateful. There seem to be no further demands. You’re finished. They’re very happy with what you were able to do.”

“Finished sounds real good.”

As the pass the kitchen, Catalyst offers Jennifer a cup of (decaf) coffee.

After a quick preflight check, Captain Barron starts taxiing down the runway.

There’s a blockage on the right hand path.

The plane starts to take off.

There’s a blockage on the left hand path.

The elementals don’t notice them. They must be “normal” blockages. But they’re coming extremely close together. This is not a good sign.

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2010
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved

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