I lived an entire lifetime walking the world of Hlad. I had felt a beckoning, a calling within my breast to turn my face toward this hereto previously unknown planet. I was drawn to it for reasons I was not initially aware of yet I could not ignore its request. Stepping foot for the first time upon its rich soil was like coming home. And in fact, the people who live there had expected me to arrive and were therefore waiting for me, as if my arrival was foretold in prophecy.
The world itself is as varying and diverse as our own home world of Terra. Much of the terrain and flora are so similar as to appear as like a close sibling to our ancient world. The animal life is similar, though not quite as much so. It is the people of Hlad that I immediately found intriguing and delightful. My initial journal entries shed some light on my thoughts through the years. I will share just a few here.
Within a dozen steps of my new world, I am greeted by a handsome race that I would describe as appearing like cousins to the long extinct Elvish race of ancient Terra. They are tall and thin and pleasant to behold. Their skin a bluish-silver tone and long straight hair almost exclusively in the blue-black color, though I did catch some dark browns as well. They stand on average in the two-and-a-quarter meter height. They have the humanoid form very closely except they have gills along their necks which allow them to breathe both above and below water. They have a second set of eyelids which are used while underwater. Their fingers are webbed and their feet do not have toes. They communicate through easily recognizable gestures interspersed with a gentle flowing tongue.
I have lived among the Haavron (as they call themselves, a name meaning water-walkers) for nearly a year. Their language was surprisingly easy to learn, even for one such as I. The people use voice as well as hand-gestures as a means of communication, leaning more toward the physical side than the vocal. They immediately accepted me as one of their own, in a manner of speaking, and I am quite fond of them. They are gentle, industrious, and not without humor. I have so much more to learn from them and have no desires as of yet to move on in my travels.
Today marks five years living with the Haavron. I have never felt at peace not walking about and yet here I am completely content. There are days that I believe I will never set foot on any other planet. And I am comfortable with that. I am a part of the people and have learned their ways, though I always strive to learn more. They accept me, despite my handicaps, such as my lack of gills and small stature.
I have spent the better part of four years traveling around from continent to continent with a small group of like-minded people. The planet is beautiful and much of it raw. There are villages dotted along everywhere we go as the Haavron live simply and responsibly, choosing to live in communities no greater than five hundred souls rather than like the sprawling cities of Terra. They genuinely care about the world they live on and work organically with it rather than infecting or raping. The people look to their future just as much as their past. I am constantly in awe of their forethought into how they live their lives in relationship with the world around them.
Though we are different species, I still feel as much Haavron as I do Human. Today is the day I am joining myself to another as a life partner. Though we cannot partake in all manner of life, as we are of course different species, we both are united in mind and soul and spirit. We both believe that we complete one another and we have the blessing of our community’s elders for this union.
I have never met another soul like she’erhrak. We are as one. I am happier today than any other day in all my years wandering. This is my purpose now, to be with she’erhrak, complete and whole, yet both.
Last night, I laid to rest my heart, my reason, the one who called to me across the heavens, my joy and one love, she’erhrak. I honestly don’t know what one does when their lungs are shredded and their heart is buried and the light fades from their eyes. I am a dried up husk. I will try to remember the good days for the sake of my grandchild and my community. But I am empty now.
I am an old man. I have lived on Hlad for nigh on sixty years, breathed, grown, watched friends die, enjoyed adventure, adopted a child, raised them and saw them joined and sat a grandchild on my knee. I have invented a breathing apparatus to allow me to walk the waters with my lover and friends. I have judged my neighbors justly and worked alongside them. I have lived, truly lived, a good and long life.
I am more blessed than I could ever hope. But the fact is, these last months without my beloved she’erhrak, lover and fulfiller of my heart, I feel myself fading from this world. My eyesight is failing. My lungs weaken. I don’t want to leave and yet again, I don’t want to rest my bones here. I have felt the call to walk the worlds once more and I have decided to go. Tomorrow, I say good-bye to Hlad, which means beloved in our language. I want other Travelers to know about this world. I would be selfish to keep it to myself.
This entry I am writing from a different world, just days after stepping off Hlad. The most extraordinary event occurred when my body shifted from that world to this one. Time, they say, is relative. And so it is. I stepped off that world over 90 years old. I had ailments and even I wondered how I could even think to attempt another walk.
And yet, I underwent a transformation. The years fell away and when I contacted again the Universal Time, I found only weeks had passed not years. Hlad, it seems, is in some sort of a time tunnel. I won’t pretend to understand what happened or how. I can understand time operating under different laws in different places. What I do not understand is how my body underwent the change, though my mind and memories did not.
How is this possible? What science explains this? Will we ever really know?
I will leave you with this parting thought: I chose, for the sake of this summary, to not include my lifetime of journal entries, the whole story of Hlad. For that is, in and of itself, its own story in its own right. Someday, perhaps, I will share it as well. she’erhrak deserves that much, rather than as just a footnote in a Traveler’s log. I could truly fill books with all I learned and saw and experienced on the lovely, raw world of Hlad.
Hlad shhhlie hran toa naa
Taenay houmpah shra tokay
Hlad zhine toa nata
Zhroke tony fa tloo’k
(Beloved you filled all the deepest parts of me
I will ever be grateful
I will ever be true
I will forever hold you in my heart and mind
Beloved you emptied yourself for me
There will never be another for me but you)
tara caribou | ©️2019
This is part of my ongoing collection of Explorations of the galaxy.