The Road to Cyberia, unknown Date, but sometime in autumn

28 01 2007

I rose from the water and dressed slowly.  I wondered what to do next.  I am alone, in the woods, without food.  But not without wits.  And with a manifestation of the goddess in the guise of an enchanted doll.  Which, I suppose, is really a symbol of my own strength and cleverness.

I started walking, choosing to follow the sun.

At the end of the day I came to a crossroads.  There, the White Knight of Baba Yaga, waited, his horse pawing the ground impatiently, snorting and huffing.  The knight remained seated calmly.  I could feel his gaze from behind his visor.  My face grew warm with a blush.

At the crossroads was also my little wagon, pulled by Jenny.  I met her deep eyes, she nodded her head, “Yes, you may choose” said her gesture.  

My eyes lingered on the romantic hero on his horse.  Part of me thrilled to go with the White Knight.  I could feel myself being pulled up behind him in the saddle, clasping my arms around his armor, listening to his heart beat through the metal, reverberating with the pounding hooves.  Where would he take me?  What adventure would that choice bring?  Would my dreams come true?

I laughed gently inside myself. I had chosen the knight before, as a young woman, a young bride, believing love would bring me my hearts desire.  In a way, it had.  But I am older now, and my heart’s desire, my dreams are no longer tied to love, to marriage, or family.  I do not know what they are; I only know what they are not. 

Confident I waked to my Jenny.  I stroked her long forehead, and nuzzled into her neck.  I clambered up on the seats and flicked the reins.  Behind me I heard the thunder of hooves, fading quickly in the direction of the sun, my road went south. 

Around the bend, waiting for me, was Lucia and a handsome man holding her hand, Michael, the grandson of Lavengro, Chieftain of the Gypsies.

Jenny halted, turned her head to watch me leap from the driver’s bench and fly to Lucia.  She gave a soft bray, a donkey laugh.  

I held Lucia tightly, cried, laughed, and kissed her head and cheeks and hands.  Dear friend, dearest friend, sister, daughter, Light and guide.  Such joy!  Nothing down the road not taken could surpass this.

Michael I knew little of, meeting him briefly during my stay at his Grandfather’s camp.  Clearly he is beloved to Lucia, and therefore, beloved by me.  Together we climbed aboard my wagon and continued south.


I did not note where we were going.  I was too excited to ask or even to care!  At evening we camped by a spring.  I gathered sticks with Lucia and helped her prepare bannock for our dinner.  We cooked them on the rocks by the fire and ate them with windfall apples and pears we gathered along the way. 

The evening was crisp.  It was delight to be wrapped in a shawl, toes toasted by the fire, a cup of tea warming my hands.  Michael played his guitar.  The music of his strumming, the crickets, and the night birds created a symphony of peace.   Soon Lucia and I were helping each other stumble sleepily to the wagon.  We curled under the blankets and slept deeply.

Lucia and I made more bannock and tea to break fast.  Michael was fishing, so we curried Jenny, braiding her mane with ribbons and bells.  When Michael returned we fried the fish, broke camp, and were on our way again. 

Lucia and I spun wool while Michael drove.  He sang as he guided our Jenny.  Before too long I was singing along, at least the choruses.   Such passed fair weathered autumn days. 

Other days were windy and cold.  Those days we walked alongside the wagon huddled in our cloaks to stay warm.  On raining days we rigged a tarp off the side of the wagon nearest the little porcelain stove.  Here our Jenny stood in relative comfort, her ribbons and bells bedraggled.  But better than her contemporaries on the moors, as Michael pointed out.

The wildest days we spent inside, cramped and cozy, the little wagon home.  I cherished these rainy days as much as the fair.  It was then I caught up in this journal on all the happenings of the past months.  I am grateful to Mnemosyne for helping me remember everything with such clarity.

Time passes so quickly to the rhythm and melody of gypsy travel.  By noon, ten days from the crossroads, we arrived at the gates of a great city.

“Welcome to Cyberia, the City of
Ladies,” sang Michael.

“I have never heard of this place,” I responded, more than a little in awe of the beautiful and formidable gates.

“Not surprising.  Very few know of it.  Fewer still can find it.  And fewer still stay.”

Comfortable enough to tease I asked Michael if he had stayed in the City of

“Of course! Men are welcome here, if they are gentlemen.  Women are not welcome if they are not ladies.”

“What makes a lady?  What makes a gentleman?”

Michael flashed a grin.  “That is the question.  What is the answer?”