Chapter 47:     Ladies' Man

Transcribed from dictation, ADAM speaking--

It's almost dawn.  I've been playing guitar and singing and I can 
FEEL the haka boiling through my whole system. I'm also just 
realizing what a powerful secret weapon this guitar is, being not 
only genuine MAGIC, but also a great example of satisfyingly nasty 
and impure NokhSo technology.  The Best of Skesk! 

So, where were we in the story?  Oh, yeah...

While on one of his rounds teaching various pupils Atli, Dagrolyt had visited the "city of Aket" and petitioned for me to be his Initiate in the Sha-haka discipline. It was granted. I thought: "Cool, now I can learn magic!" "Right, but to do that you must first control haka and to do that you must first learn..." Learn the basics, naturally. So Atli and wrestling became my life for the next month. I was a whiz at Atli, being just words, it was that other subject that was proving to be a challenge. "You've got to call up your haka!" Dagrolyt kept telling me when we were wrestling. "I still don't even know exactly what it IS!" I kept telling him. "Haka, haka! As in Sha-HAKA. That which IS, that which FLOWS, that which DOES!" "Ra, ra, but that doesn't tell me WHAT it is!" Jeez, it was frustrating. Especially since I had almost sensed it under the influence of shyøma, but not when straight. Then he would wrestle me down, throw me, spin me, drop-kick me. I just couldn't catch on. I would stand right, move fast, grab at him...and miss, because he had already swept my feet out from under me. I would roll up to my feet...and they would be swept away again. "Look," he said, "we've got to do something about this. You'll never make Sha-haka doing it so badly. And it's so simple: all you've got to do is get control of your HAKA. Come with me." He took me out of the cavern, down the mountain to where the trees grew. There he found a fallen hemlock maple tree and ripped all the branches off it. The idea was that I would walk on it, keeping my balance as the tree bobbed with each step due to the natural springing action of wood. I've always had good balance, so I had no trouble doing that. But then Dagrolyt started jerking the tree sideways, out from under me and I'd fall off. Again, off again, over and over about four or five times. "My turn," he said and bounced up onto the tree. I tried and tried to shake him off, but it couldn't be done. It was like he was part of the tree. "My haka comes up from the earth, then through this tree and into my feet, from there it flows through my body and on out my fingers and connects to those other trees, so I will not fall. Now you do it." I stood on that tree and tried to imagine some FORCE doing all the things Dagrolyt said it should. I spread my arms to the trees and imagined ropes of energy; I sucked at the tree with my feet. Nothing. Shake the tree, I fall off. "I've NEVER seen anyone have so much trouble with it. We teach this to children. It's so simple." He was getting exasperated. "Maybe it's my NokhSo life. Maybe I AM ruined, maybe I HAVE no haka!" "If you didn't have haka you'd be dead," he told me, "so it's there, just not flowing to anywhere else." I always seem to go to school with a disadvantage. In Monroe I couldn't read, in Squatchland my haka wouldn't flow. Adam the Problem Student. I began to wonder if I could ever make Sha-haka at all. Seemed I was always a misfit, no matter where.
That month seemed to pass quickly, the full moon came around. The next Kha-rat was hosted by Dannat once again, in a clearing near that cave where I had first arrived among the Nokhontli. At that time I could only overhear the Kha-rat while lying wounded, unable to participate, but this time I was included. I greeted people I was beginning to know and Magga was there although we didn't crash into each other's arms, since women and men are kept apart until the orgy begins. The snow had passed by then and it was raining hard, so we never saw the full moon, but we all knew it was there. The Kha-rat took place anyway, we ignored the rain just like everybody in Seattle does. My initiation to the mlønoli continued, this time the Questioning was from the women, and I had to wrestle the men. Besides a couple of compulsory Questionings about Atli, the women were mainly interested in two things: One, that I sing some songs. And Two, that they'd heard how I'd given Magga the yøramma of her life without any shyøma at all. She'd obviously been telling everyone. The women wanted to know how I could do that. Cultural difference, I explained, I was raised with another sexual perception, that of romantic love. They were REALLY interested in that. So I admitted to everybody that it only worked if I was more or less in romantic love with a woman. Magga was almost blushing. As for the dreaded and feared Wrestling: I won all of my matches except one! That one was to old Dannat, he was just too BIG to throw, but all the rest I won. But you know what? It's all a FARCE! The initiate always wins--because he's not stoned on mushrooms and all the other men are. Nobody can wrestle like that. And anyway, they don't really WANT to beat you, just feel your haka without embarrassing you too much. Other than that, it was like the other Kha-rats, dope and sex. I caught Magga several times around and we spent a few days together afterwards. But that morning it wasn't Magga who woke me up to lead me off for some privacy. It was Mawa, the younger of Dannat's women. Actually, it was rather awkward; I was sleeping with Magga, we'd come together again and again the night before, almost ignoring any others because we were...well, it was only each other we really wanted. I'd done my duty to several women, but it was like a duty too, the whole orgy thing was already becoming just too impersonal for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being a prude, I had's just that I'd rather have had fun with one woman than twenty. And I'd been with Mawa too, which had actually been pretty nice, she'd always been affectionate to me, even back when I was wounded and Dannat didn't want his women to talk to me. I couldn't help noticing how she was one of the few women in that rut-fest who seemed to be aware that it was me with her, she'd even smiled, wistfully perhaps. Most of the women had been snarling animals. But when Mawa woke me, I was cuddled up with Magga and that's where I wanted to be. Her shyøma was my favorite and I was ready for more fun with her. I didn't want to go with Mawa. "Uh...well, sorry Mawa, but I really want to be with Magga just now." "Please. I need to talk with you. Alone." I still hesitated. Magga was still half asleep, but she said, "Oh go on with her, Dadamet. Then come back to me and we can yøramma some more." Then she fell asleep again. Okay, so I went. I figured we'd just talk about whatever it was-- she'd been one of the women who Questioned me most the night before. We went to their cave. I was going to be businesslike, find out what she wanted, get back to Magga quick because I was horny. Of course, shyøma was still going on everywhere. "So Mawa, what do you want to talk to me about?" "I..." she hesitated, looking at me with eyes full of emotion. I was afraid she was going to say "I love you", although I knew Nokhon women didn't say that. I was about to back away, wanted to be faithful to Magga, you know. She started over, "Your mother, Mayala, was my sister." "Whaaat?" Got me that time. "We were sisters, our mother was allowed two children." Up to now almost every male I'd met told me how they had enjoyed to yøramma my mother and not much else so all I ever learned about her was that she was a really great piece of ass. I had so many questions, I didn't even know which to ask. " was she like?" Even as I asked, I thought that it was the most stupid question of all: she'd been just another Nokhon woman who obeyed the Atli and screwed everyone at the Kha-rat, conceived ME and was killed for it. But Mawa had another set of answers for me. "Mayala was special. Very intelligent, sweet and kind. Everyone loved her. And every male wanted her because she was such a wonderful yøramma, some even went crazy over her, but she never chose any of them; she would rather become Sha-haka-ma. "When we were little, she and I used to play that we were earth- mothers. She had a talent for it, truly magical. But once she came of shyøma-age so many males were pestering her that she almost couldn't ever be alone. "When she finally went to Aket to study earth-mother magic, she was looking forward to a period of celibacy as enforced there, but the Elders decreed that she had traits they needed to breed a certain kind of child--an Orator--and she had to obey. "After she became pregnant she avoided going to any more public Kha-rats, preferring to spend the Ma-mløt-klys with a small group of good friends. They had to hold private Kha-rats in secret places, or too many males would come just to yøramma Mayala. Finally she did accept a danat, but he had to leave her before you were born. So I came to be with her. "Mayala had not really desired to have a child while she was yet so young herself, but once you arrived she loved you more than anything ever. And I loved you too, little Baby Dadam." "You and your mother had two season-cycles together and by then it was becoming quite clear that you were indeed an Orator, as had been intended, because of how quickly you were learning to speak. But then..." Mawa touched my hand, there were tears in her eyes. I held her hand too. "Now comes the tragedy?" I asked. "Yes. She was commanded to take you to a secret place towards the sundown, alone, down to the lowlands where the Nokhontli live. She was supposed to meet someone there. But she never returned." "Commanded?" I wondered, "Ordered to travel through NokhSo-land alone with me? Commanded by whom?" "By the Absolute Nine Elders of Shamballah, but she was not afraid." "Well, she should have been. My mother was killed by a NokhSo hunter.... Dj'iss! do you think that was part of the Elders' plan?" Mawa hesitated again, as if this was something she wasn't supposed to talk about, then said, "No one knows, but it IS rumored that you were bred specifically to be raised by the NokhSoli." I couldn't help it, had to ask the forbidden question: "Mawa, who was my father?" She looked scandalized, but then realized that of course I was a half-Nokhso cultural nincompoop who didn't know any better. But then she was gracious enough to ask, "What do you mean?" It would seem like a straightforward question, but not to squatches. Mawa told me why that is, but I'm still not sure I believe in her explanation: Which was that Nokhon family lines are matrilineal, fatherhood is an inexact factor due to the way they breed. Her explanation (and the same one I keep getting) was that a female is impregnated by several males assigned to mate with her for specific genetic qualities, so they are each only "percentage" fathers. The tricky part is that their collected sperm is somehow mixed and matched right inside the woman's womb by a coven of witches (or Shah-haka-mas) in a magical ceremony. They supposedly "blend Auras" to get the genetic mix they want and the conception is then allowed to happen. Anyway, that's what they believe. I was tempted to consider this nothing but the stupid superstition of a very primitive society, although I had by now learned that a lot of their magic really does work and when you consider just how weird everything ELSE is about the Nokhon's sex-life--shyøma, absolute birth control, total promiscuity...I mean, okay, why not a little more weirdness? But I still believed that an actual biological father could only be ONE male. The Sha-haka-mali claim to be able to taste genetic traits, but since they can't do DNA tests how would they ever know? However it works, they have no tradition of individual fatherhood. So Mawa told me that my mother had been mated with four males to breed an Orator, but she never knew who those men were. "Although Mayala did take a lover named Daklakht," Mawa said, "just after the time of conception, who MAY have been one of the four males. "He was a magnificent man," "a highly respected Alutna agent and Sha-haka, but he was assigned away to the Highest White Mountains just before you were born. He was still gone when Mayala perished and, of course, by then you were living with the Nokhsos." "Daklakht, you say? Perhaps I should talk with him, where can I find him?" "He is far away again on Alutna business, although he may return any day. But he has changed since he was your mother's lover, now he is the highest ranking Alutna-Jii and some say he has become cruel and bitter. You might be careful what you say to him." So there was no "father" around just now for me to look up. Anyway, that was the story she knew. It ended with us holding hands, family reunited, sharing a tender moment. And Mawa's shyøma so nice, her eyes so compelling--almost begging--her body so open... We just had to fall together for a while. Well, it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. That's right everybody, I screwed my "Aunt". Of course, the Nokhontli don't care about that, since there's no possibility of inbreeding anyway and none of my Nokhso rules of sexual morality seem to apply there. I couldn't help it, Mawa desperately wanted that closeness and so did I. At least it was something real. When I went back to Magga she was screwing an old friend of hers. I didn't get jealous, in fact, my Nokhso guilt was relieved. And I got to be next anyway.
After the Kha-rat, Dagrolyt and his two women and I travelled with Mastinta and her girls, including Magga, back toward their hilltop bakhl. It was an overnight walk. We were too big a crowd to stay together in daylight (airplanes passing over us now and then), but gathered after dark. Dagrolyt and Mastinta did a sort of travelling workshop in magic together for those of us studying Atli and magic and whatever. Magga and I didn't learn much, got left behind a lot, but we'd catch up. It was a great trip, even the weather was nice. The air was also still half-ripe with shyøma so Magga and I had been frequently dropping behind to have sex, although we began to wear it out and the last half day we just talked. But as we neared the point where our groups would split up I just had to have her one more time. She was amused, if not especially horny, but it ended up being a special event for her. Magga had an orgasm. Never in her life--and I have no idea how old she is, seems young but must be at least 30--out of all those Kha-rat orgies had she ever experienced a finishing climax. She’d heard of such a thing from other women in loving relationships, but had never yet experienced it herself. I had just assumed that all the women at the orgies were coming non-stop--they certainly SEEMED to be-- but according to Magga, as long as the shyøma is flowing there is no end to the craving; it’s just more, more, more. Which can be kinda fun, I do admit, but if that’s all you ever get… It’s raw animal rutting, you wear out but are never quite satisfied, with no final explosion of relief and contentment. That’s what Magga finally got for the first time, her own personal sexual fulfillment. She liked it. Anyway, that made me her favorite stud, so she asked me to come visit her more often. Well, I felt flattered, of course, but assumed it was pure luck. I‘m no expert lover, hell, I’d been a virgin until the month before, what did I know about satisfying a woman? I’ve never… no wait, scratch that. I know where I learned it. I’ve been learning it all my life with…uh…well, you know who. It was simply a matter of looking her in the eyes, talking with her, being affectionate, touching her nicely, respecting her feelings. All that stuff that simply never happens at a Kha-rat orgy. When we parted ways, Magga and I almost couldn't, but we both had our lessons to learn and we'd be seeing each other again. Misma and Myrøla went on with the other ladies on a more direct route towards our new home in the valley than the one Dagrolyt and I were going to take, we'd meet up with them back at the bakhl. Dagrolyt had his rounds to make and I wanted to come along and see just what it was he did in his official capacity as Sha-haka. "Good, then," Dagrolyt told me, "You've been among Sha-haka and experienced the highlights of Kha-rat, so now you can see how the common Nokhon lives."
Our first stop was at the bakhl of Damekh and his woman Mabna, who were pretty common all right. They lived under a hollow tree, which they could just barely both squeeze into if it stormed. They bobbed their heads respectfully when they saw Dagrolyt coming and smiled shyly when I was introduced as His Initiate. The woman Mabna offered us some dried ota and we politely shared it with them, squatting by their tree. Damekh began talking about Atli right away. So Dagrolyt as official dwayarat, teacher, began reciting Atli from the point at which Damekh was along in the lesson. Mabna and I weren't allowed to listen. Me because it was farther along than I had gotten in the text yet, I was years behind any adult Nokhon. And Mabna because she was a woman, supposed to receive it from her man. There were all sorts of rules about studying Atli, that it must be learned in order and be taught by another of higher rank, so we had to leave. She took me down to a place she knew by a small creek. I didn't know what to talk to her about, but she only wanted to talk about Atli anyway, so we managed a polite little conversation. It was obvious that she was a devout disciple of the teachings and so was Damekh. Maybe even over-pious. They reminded me of lower-class unemployed hippies. All they wanted to do was get high on Atli and go to the Ma-mløt-klys orgies every full moon. I didn't bother asking what they did around there, because I was sure they didn't do anything but scrounge for food and entertain themselves with Atli. I'd go crazy living that way. Mabna knew who I was from the Kha-rat. I hadn't recognized her, but she reminded me that she and I had even had yøramma a few times. I wasn't sure if I should be embarrassed or not, but she didn't seem to mind. She wasn't pretty, well, to me anyway, but I knew that while the shyøma was in the air all women were literally breathtaking. The sun went down. Dagrolyt was still reciting Atli and would all night maybe, so Mabna and I had to spend the night together. I'd just had three wonderful days with Magga and really didn't want to end up having sex with Mabna just then. Nothing against her, I just wanted making love to retain some value for me. Fortunately, her shyøma had ended for the month so she wasn't horny and didn't expect me to be. Anyway, she just wanted to talk--a lot. "You wanna be Sha-haka, Young Dadamet? Me too once, wanted to be Sha-haka-ma and yøramma with the Sun, but it'll never be. My man Damekh was going to be Sha-haka too. That would've been cool, but he didn't pass the Tests. Oh, he was very good at Atli and wrestling and okay at yøramma. Just couldn't endure the Enduring." "What happened?" "He went to Sacred Aket, to the caverns, where they gave him a kosh that made him see how awful the world was if you had Knowledge and how nice it was if you didn't. He chose to ignore Knowledge, 'cause like it says in the Atli: Knowledge is the Child of Good and Evil, but for He who does not Know Both Parents, that Child is a Demon..." She kept pulling obscure passages of Atli into the conversation; it got pretty hard to follow. Mabna thought it was lucky for me that I'd escaped the evil NokhSo world, said it must have been terrible being held prisoner there all those years. "Wasn't so bad," I said, "they're people too, some bad, some good. My own NokhSo family are very nice people." She couldn't help curling her lip in a disgusted little sneer. "But they're so tiny and ugly," she insisted, "hairless, weak, ugh! And they use those monstrous skesk-machines that make so much noise and swallow up the world. Horrible creatures!" She even shuddered dramatically. "My man and I lived farther down the mountain long ago, in a much nicer place than this. We had a bigger hole and there was a lake. But one day the NokhSoli came in with their skesk-machines and cut down all our trees and stacked them up to live in. Dead trees! And they made a Way connecting our lake with all their other Ways, and there came many many of them. We had to sneak away. "That's why I can't ever be a Sha-haka-ma. I came to hate the NokhSoli too much and I would have stayed to fight them, but my man dragged me away. They are so little and puny, I could have broken them all by myself. But a Sha-haka-ma must not feel hate, or her own ssysk will destroy her. The Atli says..." We slept beside each other under a tree when it started drizzling. She cuddled up to me, but I didn't mind, as long as she didn't rape me. It must have been a few hours before morning when Damekh called her name and she went back to him. Dagrolyt didn't need sleep, he was charged with haka, so we set out for the next stop before the sun came up. When we said goodbye to Damekh and Mabna, she called out to me, "See you at the Ma-mløt-klys, Dadamet--we can yøramma again then!" Again, I wasn't sure if embarrassment was in order, but Dagrolyt gave me a dig in the ribs, "Kha, kid, she likes you!"
Well, the sun is up, birds are singing and looks like it's going to be a beautiful day. But what I need to do right now is get some sleep. I'll continue this later.

Chapter 48

Adam out of Eden