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ATEYO TeSYAKSYUK: TSULFATU

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Ateyo Te Syaksyuk:
514) One did not especially need a tswin to realize that the air was thick with emotion as the aysahik finished their Morning ritual of Greeting the Sun. Tsahik Alekxsi had anticipated that something extra would be needed so she raised her arms to beckon the crowd.
  “Fìtrr lu trr asey.” (Today is a special day.) “Awnga Olo’äotxampay (Our Undersea Clan) hirvum sop ne Txampay akllpa...” (will be leaving on a journey to the Sea bottom.) She continued in Na’vi:
   “They will be isolated from us, and isolated even from the ocean.  They will not have a Tree of Voices or a Well of Souls.  So it is important that we spend time together, now, listening to the Mother, before they all depart.  They will be taking our youngest Tsahik Pxepxi with them. This will be  a good trial, even though very short, for Pxepxi to act as Tsahik, and to practice what she has learned with mipa tsahik Pamlala.  She will be responsible for their spiritual and emotional well-being.  She will need to conduct morning and evening rituals with Tsahik Pamlala, even though there is no Sun visible to their eyes, they must stay connected to all of the creation of Eywa. Mesahik Pxepxi sì Pamlala will help them.”
   It had not occurred to Pxepxi that she would be, not only learning of Mipa Teknolotsi, but also responsible for conveying much ritual and lore of the Na’vi, in an equal exchange.  Suddenly, she felt overwhelmed with responsibility.  Ateyo must have seen the panic in her daughter’s eyes, because she turned to her and pulled her close. She intercepted Prrnen Aulani in one arm and draped the other around Pxepxi’s shoulders.
   “Ngar rä’ä ‘efu sngum, ma ‘Ite. Nga sì Pamlala kem sivi fì’u nìltsan!” (Don’t feel worry, my Daughter. You and Pamlala will do well.)
  They stepped towards Pamela who was joining them as well. 
   “Ma Pamlala,” spoke Ateyo.  “Oeyä ‘ite nivew srung sivi ftu ngar.” (My daughter will need help from you.) “Peyä ayYawnetur livu mìso.” (She will be away from her Beloved Ones.)
   Pxepxi stood aghast. She thought she would be the “Tsahik with All the Answers”, but saying so aloud would insult both her Mother and Pamlala.  She dropped her eyes and accepted her fate.
   “Ma ‘ìte, ngaru keamu mìso ftu prrnen ngeyä. Mawkrr ‘awva fu mune trr, txunslu fwa ‘efu yayayr mì txelan ngeyä. Pamlala srung sivi ngar.” (My daughter, to you has not been away from your daughter. After the first day or two, it is possible that you will feel confusion in your heart.  Pamlala will help you)
   Pamela was surprised as well.  She would be counselling a young mother and her experience base was non-existent. But lonliness she could understand.
   “Poe livu sulìn nìtxan hrr nìwotx. Slä krrka txon ngar livu ‘efu nì’awtu.” (She will be busy all days, but during night she will feel all alone) observed Pamlala.
   The clans had been moving enmasse toward the stream which tumbled down the hillside and emptied through the Slotted Cave on its way to the Sea.  Pamela always felt that it was magical to step from the back of the cave into the bower formed by the over-hanging trees.  From each tree dangled the softly luminescent tendrils of the Trees of Voices. And syanan, many tiny waterfalls, spilled from pool to pool, tumbling down the streambed with murmured voices as well.  Small birds and insects added to the sounds.
  Tsahik Alekxsi traveled deep enough along the stream to insure that everyone had access to the tendrils.  Po lu tivìng lawr, she was humming softly, without words, a song of Oneness and of togetherness.  As each person connected to the Trees of Voices, the words became audible,voices from past and present joining in the Great Tree Song.

We are all seeds
Of the Great Tree,
Whose strength is in our legs
Like the mighty trunks,
In our arms
As sheltering branches,
In our eyes
The blue-flower
Which unfolds to the sun.
We are all seeds
Of the Great Tree
Whose song is within us.
Utralä (a)Nawm
ayrina’l(u) ayoeng,
A peyä tìtxur mì hinam awngeyä
N(a) aysangek afkeu,
Mì pun
N(a) ayvul ahusawnu,
M(ì) aynar
Na seze
A ’ong ne tsawke.
Utralä (a)Nawm
ayrina’ l(u) ayoeng,
A peyä tìrol m(ì) awnga.

The melody was sad and sweet. It was used on many occasions, but especially departures and  even funerals. It seemed to everyone present, that leaving to go under water was death-like, in a way. It also seemed that for eight days, Pxepxi would be dead and then reborn, much as going on a vision quest.  This information was soaked up by Pamlala especially.  It might give her a way to connect with Pxepxi during the underwater pressure testing.
   The song ended but people continued, tìng lawr, humming the melody wordlessly. There was a warm afterglow, which was experienced by all, through the connection of their ayswin, their neural braids.  The calmness infused the minds, hearts and souls.  All sat calmly, unwilling to let the delicious experience dissipate. 
   But the day was only starting and soon thoughts of the day’s activities began to filter into the collective consciousness.  Pamlala did not have to open her eyes to know that S’rron was already anticipating the positioning of the modules over the ocean.  She opened her eyes and slid them edgewise to glimpse Sharon, busily piloting the rotor wing dragon in her imagination.  She had already allowed her connection to the Trees of Voices to terminate.  But her movements were tiny and her lips moved as she silently recited her checklist.
  Pamlala rose to her feet, as many others were doing.  S’rron noticed the movement and got up also, embarrassed that her own impatience might have been noticed.  Hand in hand with Pamlala, she made her way with the crowd, down the syanan, the bank of tiny waterfalls, which cascaded toward the Slotted Cave.  Soon they were flanked by John and Chip. The Others of the Undersea Renegades migrated with them to the top of the Slotted Cave. Eager faces turned toward Sharon for their instructions.
   Sharon viewed those who had gathered and noticed that Pxepxi had joined them, even with a suckling infant in her arms. Near her were Ateyo and TaiTaeAo, and Pxepxi’s young husband, Kofi, as well as his parents, Taifa’ana’e and Ka’alani. All the younger members of Kofi’s clan were gathered near, as they were all Techies from Shiralta’s starship. (Shiralta herself, was still living happily with her muntxatan among the RedBird Clan) All the Mipa Na’vi were nearby, especially Sìkot.
   Pxepxi tried to comfort Prrnen Aulani so that she sould hear what Kapteyn S’rron was saying to the crew members.  She was startled when Sharon turned to her and said, “Kesngum sivi, Ma Pxepxi. Fìtrr awnga steftxaw mekre.  Nga kea tìkin zerok ayu nìwotx, set.” (Don’t worry, Pxepxi. Today we check supplies.  You don’t have to remember all these things, now.) “Ngian, ngal zene yemstok pennit fpisyeha sivi äo txampay.” (However, you must put on clothing for the sake of breathing underwater.)
   These words made Pxepxi very excited.  She was nearly beside herself with joy.  Even Aulani stopped fussing when she sensed her mother’s joy.  She thought nothing of it when her Sanu started walking with some of these other people.
   The entourage had now gathered in front of the Main Lab’s airlock.  The door made an odd noise and moved along its track, revealing the rows of deep diving suits.  Pxepxi was delighted when Pamlala took the time to point out the letters spelling her name in Inglìsì.
  “Yemstok fì DIVING SUIT.”
  “DAI-VìNG  SUT?” Pxepxi tried on the word.  She turned to Ateyo and placed Aulani in hers arms. Who, of course, immediately started fussing. Pxepxi gave a concerned look over her shoulder, yet stepped into the bottom half of the suit as instructed.  Pamela and Chip helped fit the top part of the suit onto Pxepxi.  Methodically, they called out each step of the process. Call and response.  The boots, the gloves, all checked and double checked. Each step cause Aulani to give out a wail.  But when her Sanu’s face became encased in the helmet - that’s when the shrieking occurred. 
  The sheiking caused everyone to wince in pain.  Pamela managed to activate to breathing apparatus.  But when Pxepxi noticed the anxiety of her baby, she tried desperately to pull off the helmet.  Pamela, in a desperate effort to ignore the screaming infant, thought that Pxepxi was not receiving a proper air mixture and was trying to ascertain the levels and to re-calibrate the Control Unit of the Suit.  There were a few moments of panic until Kapteyn S’rron ascertained the problem and intervened.  With the helmet removed, the shrieking returned to wailing.
  “Ftxumfa! Rutxe! Srung sive ftxumfa!” (Out of here. Help me out of here!) shouted Pxepxi.  The panic in her voice caused Aulani to shriek again.  And Ateyo, trying to distance the noisy child from the group, started backing away.  This caused Aulani to throw herself across Ateyo’s shoulders and reaching out to Pxepxi with her chubby little arms. 
Somehow, Pxepxi was disencumbered of the Pressure Diving Suit and stumbled toward her terrified child.  She took the bewildered baby in hers arms and started cooing reassuringly to her.
  “Tam tam, Sanu var tivok fìtsengit.” (There, there. Mommy is right here.)
 She spent some time swaying with her child, tapping her lightly;
Tam tam Tam tam Tam tam Tam tam
Like a heartbeat -- -- -- until Little Aulani calmed down.
  Pxepxi turned to Sharon and Pamela, and with tears streaming down her face she pleaded in Na’vi.
  “Oe new ayngahu kä kllpa äo txampay, slä oe ketsun txìng prrnen oeyä. Rutxe. Txoa livu. Oe zenke!” (I want to go with you to the bottom of the sea, but I cannot abandon my baby. Please forgive me. I must not!)
Sharon leaned down and touched the shoulder of the distraught young woman.
   “Oe tslam.” (I understand.) “Prrnen ngeyä kin ngaru.” (Your baby needs you.)
“Kawm trr alahe.” (Perhaps another time.)
  Pamela was stroking the infant’s head and trying to reassure Pxepxi. “Kxawm tsun nga nari si ayrel a'usärìp ayoehu alahe trr.” (Perhaps you can look at the moving pictures with us another time.) She knew it sounded lame, but it was the only thing she could think of.  Her true observation was that she was grateful that she had never had to choose between having a child and going on an exploration.  She stole a glimpse at Sharon and could sense that she was thinking a similar thing.
  As Pxepxi and her family withdrew, Sharon murmured to Pamela.  “That little performance of Aulani’s was upsetting, but I think a whole lot of complications have been avoided.”
  Pamela looked once again at the retreating figures and said, “For us, definitely.  But for her, I’m not so sure.”
  Pxepxi seated herself in the shade of a tree, surrounded by her family and watched wistfully, as the other divers suited up and entered the Lab.

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