Ma-Iki and Ao-Tia have a destiny. It carries them through some fearful adventures on the shores of their homeland, then sends them on a voyage halfway around the world in search of the promised paradise, Bahli. With a small band of their tribe they soon find that the world is much larger and even less friendly than their wildest dreams could foresee.
Ma-Iki and Ao-Tia stood in the center of the clearing, back to back, their eyes closed and their faces turned toward the jeweled vault of Baba-Lim. Arms outstretched, they held their palms up so as to be able to best absorb the energies of the stars as they passed through them. Pio walked around and around them, a thick smoldering clump of herbs in his hands. Each time he came around in front of one or the other he would pause and hold the heavily smoking mass directly beneath their noses and they would inhale deeply of the magical aroma. The smoke seemed to go up their noses and directly into their heads, there creating a feeling of pure peace and comfort. Thus relieved of all worldly cares their spirits began to soar to those very stars that now fed them with their silver white light, and they were gifted with visions from the gods.
His part in the ritual done, Pio stepped back and let the two shore dwellers relish the communion with their gods and goddesses. He and his apprentices watched with startled disbelief as the couple, their shoulders touching, began to rise from the dark soil beneath their feet. They hovered there a moment, their feet a hand's breadth from the ground, then they slowly settled back down to their original positions.
Pio and the others gasped in unison. Only one other before had he ever seen able to do that. His own father, Pas-Na, he who had passed on the bird staff to Pio as time and old age took him to other lands farther on. He had been able to levitate himself on rare occasions. Pio had seen this five times in his life. Now he had seen it six. This time two people, acting as one. He knew it was a sign.
Ma-Iki held Ao-Tia's hand as they walked down the misty pathway that led to the huge stone structure before them. Double doors of massive wooden construction rose ten heads high above them. The hinges were made of that shining stone that melts, this in a bright color as golden as the rising torch of Allo-Bar. They stopped directly at these massive doors and stood waiting. Beneath their feet the clouds slipped past between them and the stars that floated directly beneath, and Nini-Ao's white-silver face shone far to their right, a smile broad across her soft countenance for the two mortals that now stood at the gate of Bahli-Hai.
A sound of what must have been giant Ca-Hoos arose from behind the towering doors. With a loud and ancient sounding creak the wooden portals began to very slowly swing inward. A mist cold as the coldest night spewed forth at knee level and quickly engulfed the pair. They grasped each other and held close as the doors continued opening to the now near deafening sound of the Ca-Hoos. Then the doors stood wide open and before them a thick fog bank rolled with such depth that it appeared to be a solid thing. The Ca-Hoos stopped and the fog split open as if suddenly pushed by some massive and unseen and unfelt wind.
They gasped and hugged each other closer. A pair of eyes, as blue as the clearest days upon Her surface appeared, and they saw the face of Maga-Po-En before them against a cloudless azure sky. She was translucent, and all of her was shaded in various hues of blue. Her thin lips moved and a sound that was more akin to surf and wind came forth, yet Ma-Iki and Ao-Tia found that they could easily understand the Goddess's words.
"Only once in many ages comes those who will make that which will stand through the ravaging gales of time," she said softly, speaking on that gentle sea breeze that carried the aroma of fresh saltiness. Her words were golden sunlight sparkles on the rippled surface of Her liquid being, and they sent waves of rapture through Ma-Iki and Ao-Tia. "You two shall do that which will be remembered and spoken of from one generation to the next until this time is done and another has begun. Until the light of Allo-Bar is forsaken for simpler ideas, and until the people have turned from the world that created them in false arrogance at their own created wonders. Until this time shall the deeds of Ma-Iki and Ao-Tia be spoken of about the fires of their people and any people that they might touch. So it is decreed by the fading lords of the nether regions. You are our special children. Carry that gift in peace and in love, and never raise your hand in anger nor violence unless it is without other recourse that you are found. Do you understand this revelation, Ma-Iki?"
He struggled for his voice and managed a hoarse, "Yes."
"Do you understand this revelation, Ao-Tia?" The call of gulls and Dahl-Finn could be felt more than heard in that soothing voice.
"I do, Goddess mother," Ao-Tia said in a tiny voice.
The stars twinkled above them as they both opened their eyes at the same time. The vault of Baba-Lim was clothed in ebony of the softest weave, the entire garment studded with the shining jewels of those stars. NiNi-Ao sailed on her crescent canoe across the tree tops. They could almost hear the soft music that she played into the magic that was the night as it echoed from star to star to star.