Sahaykwisā had spent well oven an hour in preparation for the ceremony. Official rites were not something the pontiff enjoyed, but that was beside the question; it was yet another duty in the myriad of official requisites for those in such revered positions. Daryn knew this well about Sahaykwisā.
They had spent the previous night together, Sahaykwisā and him, or was it she and him? Daryn couldn’t get around the proper pronoun for a two-spirit, a Hwame, ‘hwa’. Hwa and him. Sahaykwisā and Daryn. To him hwa was just love, his it… to put it in cliché terms, the one.
He was patient, Daryn was. He had learned to be so after many years of wading in the waters of service to the many dignataries of the UN council. International Relations and Public Relations were not all that different, he found out soon after beginning his tenure as one of the official escorts for the officials he was routinely appointed to in the political summits. His position was officially known as Appointed Ensign, but such a title offered little information as to the extent and gamut of duties and services he was obligated to provide for the officials he was assigned to.
“Love, would you come and look at me?” came a sweet, smoky alto voice from within the boudoir. “I’m not sure about this blazer…”
Sometimes, being Appointed Ensign meant little more than being a personal assistant in strict terms. Other times, as with Sahaykwisā, it ran the spectrum from personal confidante to surrogate parent. He promised himself, every time that he found himself in a compromising and ridiculously unusual situation, that he would one day write it all in his memoirs and make a fortune from the sales. At the current rate, he would be able to publish something positively meaty by the time he was forty.
While he had a loose definition of duties with a dozen of the political figures with whom he had worked over the years – he had a stable set of political figures that always requested Daryn as their Ensign whenever possible, having established himself as both capable and singularly reliable – with Sahaykwisā things had always been different.
Daryn was only a year into his service when he was appointed to the Mojave nation’s chief representative and thought nothing special of the assignment. He was not prepared for the electric shock of looking into Sahaykwisā’s dark eyes.
A little over thirty, Sahaykwisā had been the leader of the Mojave since the age of sixteen, having proved to be particularly gifted political and martial intellect. The first two-spirit, Hwame, to be seated as chief in over a century and, by the time Daryn was assigned to Sahaykwisā, a consummate leader of one of the most powerful nations of the modern world.
For about five years Sahaykwisā and Daryn had been meeting under political, strictly professional circumstances, with the former always requesting Daryn as Ensign ever since his first appointment. Daryn simply never forgot the brief time he served under Sahaykwisā, and those dark, piercing eyes, and would be filled with a strange ball of emotions whenever he received the always-anticipated missives advising him of his appointment to Sahaykwisā.
“It suits you,” he said, smiling, once he had walked from his post by the sitting room’s door and entered her chamber. “It accentuates your shoulders.”
Each time they met, their relationship seemed to deepen despite a very rigid set of formalities and rules of etiquette carefully observed. In every measured gesture, in every formal reply, decorum seemed pregnant with further meaning and unvoiced intentions. Every excuse to look at each other’s face was a new and glorious opportunity to gaze deep and drink of the other’s eyes.
With every new appointment, they seemed to share more of their emotions, veiled through ceremony and ritual. In every space away from prying eyes, in every hiatus from duty, Sahaykwisā would in near-whispers inquire about Daryn’s opinions on seemingly random issues. The first time this took place it took Daryn aback, something about a particular species of lemur becoming extinct and what he thought of the subject. After initial reservations and making apologies beforehand, he answered truthfully, that he did not like the idea of any life form simply being taken out of existence, never to be seen again, that he found it profoundly tragic. This seemed to sit well with Sahaykwisā. Many, many more such questions followed over time, as well as proffered options from the great chief.
These appointments, and the particulars thereof, had become a kind of ritual for Daryn, and they were something he always cherished and enjoyed. His assignments to Sahaykwisā became the main reason he enjoyed his job. Then just a few months ago, on the week of his twenty-eighth birthday, Sahaykwisā made a visit to the Summit and had expressly requested someone else be appointed other than Daryn.
“How long before the ambassador arrives?” Sahaykwisā asked him, even though hwa was aware of the time. Perhaps hwa just liked hearing a reaffirmation of time from Daryn.
At first, Daryn had tried to tone his reaction down. He was shocked to find that something that would appear trifle should be affecting him so. It placed his emotions about Sahaykwisā under the glaring, unfailingly harsh light. He managed through no small effort to remain professional, stoic, and place an inquiry as to why he was not given his usual appointment, if there was any feedback as to why. He was given none, and found the absence of it even worse than if Sahaykwisā had said something lacked in his performance as ensign.
Daryn tried to run into Sahaykwisā in the few days that the Mojave entourage had been at the Summit, but he found his efforts thwarted at every turn, either by some urgent order of his superiors or seemingly random events. He suspected this was all intentional.
“Exactly fifteen minutes and twenty six seconds, love,” Daryn replied in formal tone despite the pet name crowning the sentence.
Sahaykwisā and the entourage had departed after the conference was concluded and the day of his birthday arrived soon after. Thinking that perhaps Sahaykwisā’s customary birthday gift might prove his fears unfounded, he spent the entire day forlorn, lost in thoughts of the Mojave chief, unable to be fully present in mind for his celebration. His few friends seemed to enjoy themselves regardless, for which he was thankful; he did not relish the thought of having to lie away any questions about his mood.
When his birthday had ended and no present from Sahaykwisā had shown, he found himself emotionally crushed. For the first time since he had began his service Daryn took three days of sick leave, which he summarily spent in drunken introspection. He had been idly considering the idea of taking an indefinite leave when a new missive marked as urgent had popped up in his personal comm. Oscillating between outright deleting it without even eyeing a word of it and actually readings, he served himself another glass of scotch, emptying the second bottle of the day. He was nearing depletion of his once-priced stash, until recently comprised of choice bottles of rare vintages all gifts of dignataries for his exceptional services.
“Let us go, then,” Sahaykwisā moved closer, a full three inches taller than Daryn, and cupped his face to place a tender kiss on his mouth.”I am glad that you are with me now, love. I am so glad.” Those dark, almonds stared out at him from Sahaykwisā’s face communicating emotions bigger than he could ever hope to hold inside his own heart.
Finally, Daryn had decided to take a gander at the communiqué and called up the display on his wall-screen. It was official, from Central Summit. He was officially transferred as personal detail of Sahaykwisā for lifetime tenure, if he accepted, read the letter.
He was taken aback, scarcely believing what he had read, despite reading it over and over without blinking until he thought his eyes would burn right out of their sockets, tears welling. Line by line by line, he read ad nauseam.
He couldn’t believe, even though it was his salvation, his reason to come back to life. His Phoenix Down. He was effectively brought back to life by the insinuation hidden behind the official missive.
Thus he had been brought into Sahaykwisā’s circle. There had been a great many unusual demands, improper demands, made from Daryn throughout the years as an Ensign. Absurd, affronting, some requests downright ludicrous. Sahaykwisā had never asked anything of him other than his presence and a few words. However, with hwa it had recently become something else, after the previous night.
Hwame. Two-spirit. A person who is both male and female at once, spiritually, though sometimes physically as well. Among many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, especially in the Northern regions of the continent, before the arrival of the European invaders with their retrograde ideologies, a two-spirit or Hwame was a person who is held in high esteem and normally appointed to prestigious and powerful positions. In the wake of the cessation wars that racked the former United States of America, many of the native peoples banded together and reclaimed their ancestral lands with the help of their then-estranged brothers in Mexican territory. The retaking of their ancient homes coincided with a spiritual revival of their traditions and some of the views and concepts which had long been forgotten came back into the collective psyche of the peoples, disseminated by the shamans of each tribe. The Hwame, therefore, became something important to the peoples again, no longer viewed as an aberration as it was in the views of the white man who had poisoned their culture.
Hwames were rare, however. So when one is identified, from childhood, they are brought up under very strict regimens and must fulfill very high expectations. They are both privileged and burdened. The hopes and desires of their people ride on their shoulders, never entirely their own persons but belonging to their nations.
Over the decades since the indigenous peoples gained sovereignity, Hwames have come to be recognized as a third gender, given the third-person personal pronoun “hwa”, so that the stalwarts “he” and “she” – and perhaps even “it” – no longer caused confusion. The UN made it official thirty years after the emancipation of the Mojave nation.
The events of the previous night had been something beyond Daryn’s wildest dreams. Having arrived at the Mojave capital’s airforce base in Death Valley, he had been greeted by familiar faces from the Mojave Nation’s delegation, many of which had accompanied Sahaykwisā as part of her entourage when at the Summit.
No time was wasted in getting him to Sahaykwisā’s house, a stone carved manor of sorts, minimalistic for the most part, yet opulent in its simplicity. He had never seen pictures of it, no one outside her inner circle had.
He was bidden to go inside by himself, to enter into hwa home. “Hwa is expecting you, mind, do not delay,” said one of the familiar faces whom had ridden along with Daryn in the luxury vehicle.
He hesitated for a moment before taken the few steps to the front door and looking up so that the security camera could scan his facial features. A second later the unassuming wooden door was opened by the automatic mechanism that managed the basic functions of the house. He walked in.
No sooner had he stepped more than ten steps into the spacious living room when Sahaykwisā’s tall figure came into view, a smile unlike any he had seen before beaming on hwa face. Dumbstruck and frozen by both relief and excitement, anticipation, Daryn didn’t move until hwa walked up and took his hand, a conspiratorial look and a mischievous turn to the grin.
Sahaykwisā led him into hwa chamber and there sat him down on hwa bed. Hwa was wearing a green, silk robe that hwa began to undo. Daryn felt the breath catch in his throat as he realized what was about to happen.
The spectacle unfolded before his eyes as if in slow motion, his mind seemingly slowing down time so that every single detail could be recorded and saved and cherished, ever at a thought’s reach.
Sahaykwisā’s robe, it’s chord loosened and undone, was now partially open, hwa’s breasts outlined, their curves teasingly revealed, a dark-tan toned stomach with lines that inevitably drew his sight to the bulge scarcely hidden by the silk thong.
Sahaykwisā’s eyes never looked anywhere but to his face as hwa removed the robe first from one shoulder, than the other, while it somehow still covered hwa breasts. Slowly the robe slide down as if held only by the rigidity of hwa nipples, dark areolas hinting at their magnificence, until it lay on the floor.
Sahaykwisā stood proud and regal, elegant, with an inviting smile before him. He became aware of the tightness of his own trousers and stood, no longer able to bear the distance between their bodies. Hwa removed his shirt swiftly, expertly, and in seconds he stood naked before hwa.
They kissed, for the first time, and it was fire and ice on his lips, flowing through his veins. His every heartbeat a triumphant thrum of a sensation he had never felt before. Embracing, feeling hwa naked body, the firm warmth of hwa breasts and the even firmer steel of hwa cock touching his own.
Hwa long, dark, thick hair smelled of vanilla and spice, both soft and strong, and it made him yearn to taste every inch of hwa body. He bit the neck gently and felt Sahaykwisā’s breath catch in staccato cadence, hwa hand gripping the hair on the back of his head while the other stroked his manhood. He moved down to hwa glorious breasts, the smell of them driving him insane with ravenous desire.
He lifted hwa, though hwa was taller he was the stronger, and gently placed hwa on the bed, laid down. Sahaykwisā’s eyes were burning for him, a new light shining like the sun, and he went further south and place hwa steel in his mouth, tasting the sweet discharge on its head as hwa moaned the deepest, most sensual moans Daryn had ever heard.
They made love for hours, plunging inside each other one time after another until their bodies were sore and they could listen to their desire no longer. When they held each other for their bodies were spent and, despite the fires still burning, they could no longer act, they spoke of love and all they meant to each other.
Sahaykwisā apologized for the recent slight; it had been something hwa devised to confirm or deny hwa feelings about Daryn. Hwa had been miserable despite appearing cold and distant, the very semblance of diplomacy as always. He told hwa of his bleakness, how dead he felt, how lost. Hwa smiled sweetly and, looking into his eyes with those dark, almond pools of hwas, said that they were now together until their time on Earth was done, and perhaps even beyond.
The conference was already underway by the time Sahaykwisā and Daryn, along with the usual hangers-on and political aides, arrived at the auditorium. Hwa was not pleased with being late but would have to suffer through the minor slight, taking hwa place on the long desk by the podium. It would be hwa turn soon.
Daryn, in the meantime, found a good spot away from the eyes of the crowd – which was comprised mostly of other diplomats like Sahaykwisā and select members of the world press – that offered a great vantage point from where he could keep a good eye on hwa and detect any possible threat from most directions. It wasn’t perfect, but there never was a perfect position under any situation in real life.
There were a few other persons with him, likely stage aides and security detail. Daryn, having reached the highest point in his life the night before when he saw into Sahaykwisā’s eyes and found his soul’s home, could not disassociate himself from the growing feeling of irritation at Sahaykwisā having to attend this conference. He knew, logically, that it was hwa duty as chief of the Mojave Nation, but still he could not shake the feeling. It grew, like some monster in a dark dungeon.
He listened to the current speaker, some African country’s prime minister or somesuch, as he delivered a terribly cliché address on the subject of the diamond trade. The cause, Daryn agreed, was a dire one, but the manner in which the speaker appealed to the attendees was, for lack of a better word, bordering on bathetic.
There was something about the man’s voice, as well, that made him feel quite bothered. He was feeling splenetic, if not outright pugnacious, and he knew it was irrational of him to feel this way about a man he had never seen before advocating a fair and deserving cause. He wondered what the hell was wrong with him, why his current mood?
It was then that he began to notice that the small, pudgy, balding man next to him was muttering under his breath. It was hard to discern at first but he was clearly saying something and he had a look of deep concentration on his face. The little pudgy man with the terrible combover was sweating quite profusely and appeared to be staring at nothing in particular in the space a few feet in front of him.
Echolalia, he thought; he’s repeating every word the speaker is saying. Odd little man, likely suffering some sort of psychotic breakdown or perhaps just displaying some extreme kind of nervous tick, he thought. Daryn considered calling for a doctor or paramedic, was about to get the pudgy man some attention, when the crowd exploded in applause. The African speaker had concluded his address and it was now Sahaykwisā’s turn on the podium.
Hwa rose and walked regally, as always, to the podium and began to address the attendees in the sprechgesang-like style of oratory Sahaykwisā had become known for. An articulate style that used the cadences and rhythms of words in such a manner that it would act in songlike manner to pull at the listener’s heart strings, in a manner of speaking. It never failed to stir emotions.
Daryn felt his apprehension grow, which he found most troubling; he had always found Sahaykwisā’s oratory to be soothing, at the very least. Something was wrong. Something was wrong.
He realized that he was feeling heavy, his muscles weighed down by gravity doubled, tripled, and he moved as if in a hazy dream. The pudgy man next to him, in the throes of echolalia’s mimicry, was turning a shade of red. Then he understood, he saw, he observed; the man was not mimicking, the words trailing hardly a second after Sahaykwisā spoke them. He was keeping up, delivering the muttered rendition of hwa speech on tempo, verbatim.
He felt the sudden urge to tackle the little man with the combover, to punch him, anything to cease the mutters, to halt his terrible, horrible noise. He didn’t know why, but he didn’t fight it. He moved, or attempted to, but his body was as heavy as before. He was useless. He wanted to cry out, to scream, but nothing, not one part of his body, would obey him.
Silence. The onset of something, signaled by the swift removal of sound from the world, vacuumed into nothingness. The absolute absence of sound, then the return inexorable thereof, in all its horrid, inevitable fury…
And with sound, burst Sahaykwisā, and the crowd, and the diplomats and the press, and only the pudgy man, the handful of people around him, and Daryn would were hole. Everyone but them, everyone had become a flesh-and-blood star gone nova, a gore-laden star, the universal constant of entropy recreated in wet, warm detail.
Daryn woke up, drenched in sweat. He was in his tent. It had to be the middle of the night, judging by the darkness. He had dreamed of it again, the day of the incident.
In Death Valley there was always a strange sense of the maritime, in an undead, ghostly sort of way. Being so far below sea level, perhaps, had that effect. Or perhaps it was the ancient past of the place, having likely been covered in water millennia ago. Perhaps the ancient spirits of the fauna and other, stranger beings haunted the valley, restless.
The orgone was strong, here. The powers of the Earth itself and the ancestors of the Mojave, among other peoples that inhabited this land. He would find the way to avenge Sahaykwisā. He would find a way to learn how to kill the pudgy-little-baldy. He would find the way to make hwa proud and perhaps, someday, join Sahaykwisā in the next world.