The World Above the Sky
a fantasy romance adventure novel
by Kent Stetson
“Wonderfully exotic and hopeful. The book (The World Above the Sky) is wildly descriptive. It is magical; you start to convince yourself that a spirit world exists. I once heard it said that when you read Saul Bellow you don’t see any point of writing again. Those sentiments come to mind when I think about what I just read.”
– British physicist and Blogger, a.k.a. Controlled.
The year is 1398.
Two young lives are about to change forever.
The World Above the Sky tells the tale of a young woman of French and Scottish ancestry whose lineage stretches back beyond the Christ and Mary Magdalene, past the kings David and Solomon, past the man/god Pharaohs of Egypt to the dawn of time itself. The Royal and Holy Blood flows in seventeen year old Eugainia St. Claire Delacroix’ veins. She is the living flesh-and-blood embodiment of The Holy Grail.
In Mimktawo’qu’sk’s veins runs the Ancient and Honorable fire of Grandfather Sun, the healing power of Grandmother Moon. His is The Blood of The People, blood as potent with magic as the living bones of the world beneath the earth, blood rich in the mysteries of the earth world, the sky world, the star world, the ghost world and the world above the sky.
Eugainia is transported from certain death at the hands of Antonio Zeno and her Inquisitional enemies in fourteenth century Europe to the safety of the New World.
Highland Scot Prince Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, Baron of Rosslyn, is Eugainia’s protector and champion. He clings to the Knights Templar dream of establishing New Arcadia in the new world with Eugainia St. Claire Delacroix enthroned at its beating heart. Prince Henry commands a fleet of twelve vessels in a perilous winter crossing of the North Atlantic.
On the Atlantic coast of present-day Nova Scotia, Canada, stands Mimktawo’qu’sk, the handsome, recently widowed young chief-in-waiting of the east coast Mi’kmaq people.
Mimktawo’qu’sk watches as Eugainia is carried ashore. She is weak, near death, suffering the last stages of a difficult pregnancy.
Mimktawo’qu’sk summons the powers of the Earth and Sky Worlds: Eugainia’s nurse companion, the elderly Morguase of Kirkwall and Brodgar, summons the powers of the Celtish Gods and the God of Abraham and Isaac.
Mythologies blend. A new cosmology emerges. Peoples unite as love blooms, until persecution and pursuit threaten the young lovers and the dream of a New Arcadia.
The freedom for which she had yearned was finally hers. Why was she suddenly so driven to bind herself to someone else, to commit everything to this young man with whom she shared no culture, no spiritual tradition, not even language? She who had soared with the holy dove to the pinnacle of her people’s spiritual yearning? The consequences of this union, she feared, would be yet another burden, this one everlasting. No one knew better, or more greatly feared, the implications of the word eternity than she. This was no ordinary man, this Mimktawo’qu’sk. Had the Goddess found her God?
With one last wash of the red cliffs, the sun slipped into the sea. The land began to cool instantly. Eugainia unrolled a beaver robe and drifted into a shallow, restive sleep.
On a dream-time moonlit beach, not this one on which she slept on this island called Apekwit, but a granite cove on a distant coast to the north, Mimktawo’qu’sk threw flat, hard stones into the grey rolling sea. Though distant in the dream, his voice was near. She dreamed his thoughts, as clear to her and as present as though he stood not beside but, somehow, inside her. The farther I throw this stone, she heard his dream-voice say, this perfect round stone which I choose with the greatest possible care, the farther I throw it, the more Eugainia will admire me.
Why does he throw those stupid stones? she wondered. Why won’t he come talk to me?
Swift as thought, without moving a muscle, she was behind him. Not high in the realm of illusory dream time. Not on the shore of some distant land. Not asleep in a dream. Here. On Apekwit. In a dream awake and standing.
This island. This beach. This island. Him. Standing before me. You.
When he turned, Mimktawo’qu’sk’s quick regard was a question.
He stepped inside her.
Eugainia didn’t find it at all odd when he bent down then straightened through her torso, as though she were a column of smoke without substance in which he had taken habitation. Her body didn’t resist the intrusion. Rather, she felt herself expand to absorb him. He bent, her with him this time, to choose another stone, a flat, round smooth stone the size of his palm. He turned back to sea, stepped away and outside her, prepared to throw the stone.
Eugainia felt bereft. She cried out in her sleep, terrified. I will be alone forever. She woke. The sky had cleared. Night had fallen. A small fire burned nearby, sputtering sparks high into the air where they faded, like unborn children, like her born-dead child, lost in the stars.
Mimktawo’qu’sk, very real, stood distant at the tip of an outcrop in rising water.
Under the full moon, the Sturgeon Moon of late summer, Apekwit gave up her heat to the night. The offshore breeze flowed inland, light and steady, cooled pines which began to whisper. A night-bird sang. Mimktawo’qu’sk’s voice flowed through Eugainia’s thoughts, in a tongue she recognized, a tongue she knew no mortal man or woman, none but she and Mimktawo’qu’sk would ever speak.
If I throw this stone out past the fifth wave, his thought resonated inside her, you will touch my arm. I’ll turn, lift your chin…
He yearned to turn to her and lift her chin but knew it was too soon. He struggled, held his gaze to the horizon.
Don’t turn to her now, fool. The beauty of the light of the moon on her hair will cause your eyes to weep. I’ll strike the moon by accident. It will fall from the sky in a shower of stars and crush my bursting heart.
He leaned, inclined laterally, and cast the stone. The lustrous hank of black hair, normally braided with tight precision, fell loose around his shoulders. Black bolts of tattooed lightning glistened on the oiled skin of his flanks. As he tested the weight of the second stone, the tattooed serpent form, sinuous on his forearm, seemed to climb as the muscles below the skin flexed and stretched. River and stream tattoos, blue and green, flowed up his belly where they merged with clouds afloat on his upper chest, flowed over his shoulders and fell, etched as rain on his back.
A densely packed flock of shorebirds, preparing for long days and nights of migration, swept low, close to the surface. Wheeling swiftly as one, they obliterated the reflected moon. Nearby, the cry of an unseen loon….Beyond that, the barking of a solitary seal.
His powerful calves, tight thighs and buttocks flexed then contracted as Mimktawo’qu’sk launched a second stone. He straightened to watch its progress. The stone skipped the surface in declining intervals until it slipped below the surface leaving barely a ripple.
Eugainia stepped out of the beaded doeskin dress Keswalqw had made for her. Her hair fell and fanned loose at her waist. She walked naked down the beach toward Mimktawo’qu’sk.
Mimktawo’qu’sk turned to her, still some ten or twelve paces distant. His urge to stride up the beach and possess her faded at the sight of her moonlit beauty. Was he worthy of her sweet red mouth? Would she offer the tender breasts for which he yearned, curtained now beneath by the honey-coloured hair curling down past her slender waist? Would the long tapered legs part in ecstasy for him? Would his child swell the flat belly and narrow waist until they rivaled in girth then exceeded the full circle of her broad hips? Would she invite him to drink from the salt ocean of her dreams until his thirst was quenched, if only for the moment, then let him drink again when thirst returned?
Could she love him as he loved her, Mimktawo’qu’sk wondered?
Fragments of an ancient Celtic air rose in Eugainia’s memory. She refashioned the lyric, as a cobbler at her last transforms skin and hide. In my dream I make a pair of shoes for you, Mimktawo’qu’sk. Made from the skin of a loon. You, my love, are the seabird who soars where I may follow. In my dream, I made for you a pair of gloves…made from the skin of a fish. For you are the whale fish and I am the sea, which you alone may enter.
He turned away. He cast a third stone.
In my sleep, the plover and the curlew spoke your name. Now I am awake. Your strong right arm throws perfect stones far into the sea. I’ll touch this strong arm of yours. You’ll turn, touch my face, I’ll look into you bright black eyes. You’ll hold me close. Your hand will cup my breast. You hand caress my belly. My thigh…
She touched his shoulder. Mimktawo’qu’sk looked deep into her moon-washed eyes. They did not waver. Mimktawo’qu’sk felt himself swell, then rise.
“I’ll make for you a purse, my love,” she said aloud, “of morning dew and whispers.”
Mimktawo’qu’sk bent to choose the final stone. “If this stone goes past that round red rock—I’ve never thrown a stone so far—I’ll turn and greet you. I’ll see the white moon in your grass and sky-coloured eyes. I will kiss your high white brow. I’ll press my mouth to your rowanberry lips. I will shout love! I will show you the north and south, the east and west of my heart, my heart that beats for you. We will join our bodies and our spirits. We will make a spirit quest. You’ll give me your Power. I’ll give you my Power. Together, we will gather Power. We’ll share Power. As one, we’ll walk the Six Worlds of L’nuk, The People.”
He gathered his strength. He launched the stone. The spinning sandstone disk skipped the surface in long intervals, losing no power or wavering in direction. The stone gained momentum as it passed the red rock outcrop, sped across the water below the wheeling birds, flashed beyond the last ripple of the moon, fell from sight far beyond their range of vision.
Mimktawo’qu’sk turned, amazed, to Eugainia. “Never have I thrown a stone so far! I believe it’s still going! Ha!” He cupped her face and gently kissed her lips. Before she could respond, Mimktawo’qu’sk threw back his head. “E’e,” he cried. “E’e!”
He splashed through the shallows, then dove beneath the surface of the black water. Eugainia followed. The late-summer miracle of light and water had finally bloomed. She dove into the spiraling trail of phosphors in Mimktawo’qu’sk’s wake. As though waiting for the lovers to ignite them, in their billions, the late-blooming phosphorescent plankton, radiant pinpricks of light, shimmered blue and green, streamed from their fingertips, their hair and their eyebrows as the lovers sped beneath the surface. Trails of light shot like falling stars past Eugainia’s unblinking eyes, swirled in eddies around her breasts. The white length of her shone, awash in luminescent brilliance. She rose to the surface and floated on her back beside him. Or did she? Was that great field of light the stars? Or was she still underwater, face down, eyes open, absorbing a million points of phosphorescent light? Stars. Yes. Black sky and water. Yes and yes. And the moon. Yes. She was on her back. She was floating.
Mimktawo’qu’sk, sleek as an otter, slipped from view. Eugainia felt the delicate ripple of a current along her back. Or were his fingertips trailing down her spine?
Still fully submerged he urged her legs apart. Eugainia did not resist. Light coursed from Mimktawo’qu’sk’s hair as his head broke the surface. Eugainia opened herself to him.
Mimktawo’qu’sk buried his face in the salt sea of eternity.
Authors Rights & Copyright Note
It takes 10,000 hours to master a craft. The same to excel in any profession.
I presume as reader and writer we share a commitment to natural justice and the betterment of humankind through literature and the arts. To honesty and hard work. And a sense that we’re all in this together. We are all our brother’s and sister’s keepers.
Writing is arduous and demanding. It is also exciting and, when well done, both entertaining and uplifting.
Years of insight, experience and plain old-fashioned hard work bring you this play. I hope you enjoy The World Above the Sky. I hope you will treat it like any other book. Buy yourself a copy. Then share it with a friend or loved one. If they enjoy it, encourage them to ask their friends to buy a copy. Every one benefits, more work is produced, more folk are entertained and so it goes…
1) Unauthorized digital distribution beyond your purchase contravenes international copyright law.
2) This is how I make my living.
Enjoy Eugainia and Mimktawo’qu’sk’s great and growing love.