Author of the award winning sci-fi series, Shiva XIV, Lyra is a dreamer of worlds far away. More books include The Artist, a wild tale of love, madness, and redemption, as well as The Rainbow Serpent, a re-imagining of Adam and Eve. Further information about Lyra’s stories, music, and more can be found atlyrashanti.com.
Shiva XIV (book 1):
Let’s Take a Look Inside
Lost in thought as he walked, Ayn didn’t notice the strange creature following him. It wasn’t until he almost tripped over it that he could see something was there. For only a second, he thought he saw a strange blur of white and gold. It looked like a cat of some kind, but he wasn’t certain. One second, the creature was there, and the next, it was gone!
He wondered if he had slipped back into lucid dreaming. Meddhi-Lan would be so embarrassed about me right now, he thought, disappointed in himself.
Then, there it was again. The white and gold cat thing – just briefly in focus for a moment on the side of the street. This time, however, it seemed as if it were smiling at him. Now Ayn knew he was dreaming.
Ayn stopped dead in his tracks, then looked around. He had heard a voice speaking directly into his mind!
“Please! Save me!” begged the mysterious, childlike voice yet again.
Ayn looked ahead at Zin who was casually walking without any notice or care about the strange voice.
Ayn gulped and begrudgingly decided to answer back in his mind. “Um… who are you and how may I save you?”
“Well,” purred the voice in his mind, “I suppose you could answer me a riddle.”
“A riddle?” Ayn silently replied.
“Yes!” said the voice, “a riddle!”
“I’m sorry,” said Ayn, “but I’m not very good at riddles.”
“Oh, well,” the voice said, disappointed, “I guess I’ll just be trapped here forever.”
Ayn looked around to see where the voice was coming from, but all he could see were street vendors and random passersby.
“I’m over here!” cried the voice in his mind.
Ayn began following the voice, using only his gut feelings. After a few moments of concentration, he could vaguely make out the shape of the white and gold cat creature he had seen before, and it was indeed trapped.
The poor cat-like animal was caged inside of a wooden box that was sitting on the back of a metallic, plasma-powered vehicle. How the creature managed to get inside the box was a mystery to Ayn, but he was trapped there nonetheless.
The vehicle was parked on the side of the street without a driver in sight. Ayn wasn’t sure if he should be getting involved, but at the same time, he wondered how often a person is psychically asked for help by a cat.
Ayn looked around to see if anyone was watching him. When he believed he wasn’t noticed, Ayn dropped his bag and ran over to the creature. Bending over and gazing directly at the animal, Ayn could see it more clearly.
The creature wasn’t really a cat, though it shared similarities, such as its ears, paws, and tail. However, upon closer inspection, Ayn could see that the mysterious animal also had tiny talons on its feet, as well as small wings that were chained together with a plasma-powered lock. Ayn looked into its nearly human-looking eyes and felt sorry for the poor cat-bird creature.
“Don’t just gawk at me!” said the strange animal. “Get me out of here!”
“How did you even get in there?” asked Ayn cautiously. “Weren’t you just behind me a few moments ago?”
“No, silly boy,” replied the cat-bird as it bent back its ears, “you must have been dreaming! Now help me out of this box!”
“How can I do that?” asked Ayn innocently.
The animal sneered and cocked its head, looking at Ayn as if he had asked the stupidest question in the universe.
“Aren’t you The Bodanya?”
Ayn was shocked that the creature knew of his true identity, and he began nervously looking around, wondering if anyone had heard the animal’s question.
“Don’t worry, Ayn. No one but you can hear me. In fact, not many can even see me… unless I want them to.”
Ayn was amazed and intrigued. “How is that possible?” he asked the cat-bird.
“Enough of you asking me questions! I am the one who asks the riddles!”
Ayn shook his head. “Alright then,” Ayn replied, “ask me what you want.”
The creature smiled, then looked deep into Ayn’s blue eyes. “Let’s see if you can answer me this,” said the cat-bird. “Why is it, with all my powers to control time and space, I am somehow still unable to escape this metal trap?”
Ayn didn’t know which part of the riddle to think upon first. His mind immediately jumped to the idea of the creature having powers that controlled time and space, and yet, Ayn’s heartfelt sympathy when it came to the cat-bird being trapped in a cage against its will.
The creature stared at Ayn with expectant eyes, waiting impatiently for an answer.
“Well,” Ayn slowly began, “first, I would need to know how it came to be that you were caught inside such a cage.”
The creature cocked its head and looked at Ayn with a sneer. “How can you ask me such a silly question?! I was caught by magic, of course!”
Magic? thought Ayn, stopping himself from giggling.
“What’s so funny?” asked the cat-bird.
“I… I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in magic,” said Ayn, matter-of-fact.
The creature snorted, then shook its head. “Well, you’re in for a big surprise then!” said the cat-bird with a sarcastic chuckle. “You’ll find out how wrong you are soon enough though,” the creature purred. “Now, stop asking me foolish questions and solve my riddle!”
Ayn gulped and looked around again, searching for Zin with his eyes. However, Zin was nowhere to be found. Ayn feared he had become separated and began feeling light headed at the thought of being alone in such a big city.
“Concentrate, Bodanya!” commanded the cat-bird.
After a deep breath, Ayn cleared his mind – the way Meddhi-Lan had taught him. He began using a technique that The Dei priests called “Symbol Touching.” The technique involved closing one’s eyes and imagining a symbol, or an image of any kind, at which point, if you focused on the feelings the image gave you, answers and truths would inevitably come.
At first, Ayn didn’t see or feel anything, but when he let himself imagine the cat-bird, and its unfortunate situation in the cage, Ayn’s mind began seeing a vast amount of images, almost at once. In his mind’s eye, he saw the creature in chains, being lured into the metallic cage with offerings of brightly-colored, sweet tasting fish. However, the image quickly changed to an entirely different setting. It was a planet… a wasteland.
Ayn intuitively sensed that it was the once great, but now mostly abandoned planet of Sirin. He didn’t know why he was seeing such a strange vision. Nevertheless, he let his mind wander further into the Symbol-Touching, for he could feel he was close to an answer to the cat-bird’s riddle.
Just then, he saw more cat-like creatures, though they were much, much bigger. In fact, they were like gigantic lions, but with wings, and all of them had stoic faces that seemed to Ayn similar to the priests of Deius.
As Ayn saw himself approach the giant cat-birds, they surprised him by turning their enormous heads in one direction at the same exact time – all looking directly at him. Their eyes seemed to glow, and Ayn wondered what they were trying to tell him.
Then Ayn remembered something Meddhi-Lan used to say: “When you want your dream-image to explain its meaning, simply ask it what it wants or feels. It will more than likely tell you. Dream-symbols are always honest, but you have to be brave enough to ask them honest questions.”
Ayn took a deep breath and gathered his courage. “Excuse me, magnificent creatures,” he addressed them in his vision. “May I inquire what it is you want to tell me?” The giant cat-birds all pricked their ears back at the same time like they were hearing a strange sound they had never heard before. “Do you understand my question?” asked Ayn.
After a moment of silence, he saw them simultaneously open their mouths wide. Ayn wondered if they were going to give out a loud roar. Just in case, Ayn covered his ears, and as he suspected, that’s exactly what they did. The roar, however, was even louder than Ayn could imagine. It was so loud that his ear drums felt like they would bleed.
Oh, please stop! Ayn begged in his mind, hoping they’d hear him telepathically. Unfortunately, they didn’t stop. The roar became so thunderous that it felt like Ayn would pass out from the intensity of the vibrations. When he could stand no more, Ayn heard something else within the roar; it was almost a whisper, as if a tiny voice was mixed inside the deafening loudness. When Ayn tried to fixate on the whisper, everything seemed to go completely quiet. He then heard what the whisper was saying: “Save us. We are slaves to time. Please… save us.”
Shiva XIV Copyright 2014-18 Lyra Shanti
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Her are some of her other books: The Artist
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In this passionate drama, all forms of art mingle with the sacred and profane as one man searches tirelessly for redemption. Will he succeed or will he drown in the raging storm of his soul?
The Rainbow Serpent
In the time before humanity as we know it, there was a garden, a tree of knowledge, and a serpent who sought the truth.
A re-imagining of the “fall” from the snake’s point of view, this unique novella is a spiritual fairy tale for the ages.
“Flawless in composition, the story is plainly, yet eloquently written with beautiful imagery that reflects the universal truths of life, transparent as the colors of a rainbow.” – Eva Pasco
“A tender, compassionate tale that joins the hearts of creature and human being as one and the same.” – Neil
“This is a lovely spiritual fairy tale for all ages.” – pearlhunter