Taylor's back and this week she's diving back into her Guardians universe.
That's right, it's the story of Jack and Taylor (not that Taylor, another Taylor).
You know, Jack reminds me a little of my dog. I'll have to tell you more stories about him in the next volume of my memoir, but that's for another time.
Today is about Taylor!
I've also stolen some artwork from her to share here; it's not finished, but it looks so cute I couldn't resist!
Anyway, here's her chapter!
The Last Guardian
The fire was a flash of brightness and color in this dull gray morning. We sat beside it, Taylor crossing her legs on an animal skin, and me resting my head in her lap. I felt her fingers touch the fur on my neck. They ran along the curves of my shoulders, my ears, the bridge of my nose, her touch as feathery as the snow that left frozen crystals on my fur. When her fingers stopped, I looked up at her and saw that she was looking at the sky, her pale eyes closed, flakes of snow landing on her cheeks.
"This must be what stars feel like." she whispered.
I raised an ear and cocked my head. She didn't open her eyes.
"I've always wondered," she began. "What it would feel like if the stars fell from the sky."
She opened her eyes. Her fingers started again, running over my fur.
"Now I know."
I lifted my head to the sky. In all my life, it had never seemed so vast. It pressed down on us in a wall of thick gray clouds. My eyes closed as if preparing for the collision. I saw the darkness of night, and the twinkling of the stars. They were falling. They were beautiful, flickering lights falling from an endless sea of black, as delicate as the snow when they landed on my ears and nose.
Yes, I thought. She's right.
I opened my eyes and looked at her, my beautiful, precious friend. My tail wagged. A rush of warmth flowed into my chilled nose and ears. I felt so filled with pride and happiness and joy that, out of everyone in the world, Taylor was mine. And, I was hers. We were both so lucky- more than lucky. We were blessed to have each other. My girl's soul was the essence of youth, innocence, and purity. This was what I strived to protect, her flawless soul, so fragile and yet so strong. Not for the first time, she amazed me.
"You are very lucky I found you in that river," said the old woman, poking at the fire. "You wouldn't be here if your Guardian hadn't signaled."
She turned, looking at Taylor.
"Jack," Taylor said.
But she wasn't looking at me. Her eyes were turned to the old woman, who patiently waited for a further explanation. After a moment, Taylor spoke up, emphasizing my name as she did.
"If Jack hadn't signaled."
She trailed off, looking down at me. I smiled and winked.
"Yes of course," said the woman, setting a smooth, flat rock topped with steaming eggs in front of us. "And, you can call me Nana if you want."
By the time we'd finished eating, the day became icy, the sun showing no promise of breaking through the clouds, so we went back into the shelter of the cave. It was warmer and we felt better. We snuggled against each other, my girl and I, and listened as Nana told stories and gestured to the markings on the walls around us. When I looked closer, I realized that the markings were drawings, intricate and detailed. I could distinguish one from the others right away; ribbons of amethyst, pink and green, as well as other colors I had no names for, painted with the lightest stroke of a brush. The Northern Lights. My girl had always wanted to see the Northern Lights. She even dreamed about them. Her eyes were fixed on them now, aglow with wonder. I wagged again, my tail kicking up dust from the dirt floor.
"You've seen the Northern Lights?" Taylor asked quickly, not wanting to interrupt Nana.
Nana smiled at her.
"My child," she began, sitting on a flat stone. "I have been to the mountain where the lights touch the earth more times than you can imagine."
Taylor's face brightened.
"How?" she asked.
And thus began the stories of Nana's travels.
She was a nomad, unwilling to stay in one place for an extended period of time. Nana was a crafter who made her own stoneware cups and clay bowls. She carried them in a waterproof pack she'd made after harvesting the bladder of an elk. She lived entirely off the land, gathering berries from bushes and water from rivers and streams. Snares, made with her own hands, caught the occasional animal, and she built shelters out of whatever she could find. It was fascinating that a personcould live purely off of what the earth provided.
Beside me, I heard Taylor give a breathy, "Wow," as she listened, her eyes bright. Nana smiled again. She gestured to the wall of uneven rock beside her, showing us the other drawings. These were forests of thick trees, not unlike the ones in Willow Wood, high mountains, and shivering glaciers, golden hills and soft valleys, everything Nana had described, resting beneath the Northern Lights. Everywhere she'd ever been was painted on these rocks. And yet I could see this beautiful cave was the last of them. Her mortality was in the slowness of her movements, the trembling of her hands, the wrinkles in her face. Her time in this life was nearing an end, but her eyes were like Taylor's, filled with warmth and youth and innocence.
"All of these places," Nana began, looking at the sketches instead of at us. "Appeared to me in dreams."
Was this what my dreams were, visions of places in which Jack and I were to go?
I shivered in the close warmth of the cave, trying to remember all I had dreamed, trying to trace them back to the earliest ones I could remember. They were fuzzy, those dreams, but clear. I could remember Jack running beside me across the beautiful plain of rich soft golden grass that mirrored his eyes exactly. I remembered the walls of ice that surrounded us, brilliant and sparkling in the evening sun, it's colors like those of a shimmering stained glass window. I remembered the other Guardians, their dwellings carved into the hillsides, the air being fresh and almost warm, the ground feeling like a carpet beneath my bare feet. The rest of the story, of how we got there, of why we were brought to Willow Wood where we'd lived all our lives, were too indistinct to make out.