“Keeper of Goats,” Pierre Purvis de Chavannes, WikiArt.

Part 6: Ægleia, Elderess of Cyclic Ages

What mysteries awaited Lenera and I, Ixia,
Arriving Syros Isle? Traveling breadth of
Sea and time, to island shores we landed,
Flowers never-fading, greeted by rustic
Fishing clans, grazing goat herds, music
Of moving bells. Lo! Two-horned beasts
possessed rocky seacoasts to mountaintops
In numbers greater than humankind, eating
Crops if not tended, consuming weeds and
Vines, exposing half-buried marble tomb,
Single bronze door bolted fast since antiquity,
Voices still resonating within stone walls.

“Cycladic Sculpture,” HB 64.246, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ages apart, language spoke strange to my ear,
Yet they had expected our arrival. They, too,
Were weary of voices emanating from tomb
Depths, candlelight flickering from single
Barred window. “What race are they?” Lenera
Asked, their faces broad-flat, nose long-thin,
Eyes egg-large, statuary of embellished features,
Considered beauty of island realms. Offered
I no explanation other than respectful bows,
Accepting hospitality as travelers from distant
Lands, gifts of clothing, food, laurels, given
And accepted as friends, not foreigners.

“How do you call yourselves, what peoples?”
I asked, at first they did not understand. Then
Faces brightened, they presented hand-painted
Papyri, cryptic images and script. At Lenera’s
Prompting, my hand placed thereon, aloud I
Stated, “Reveal!” Arose Ægleia, Elderess of
Cyclic Ages, Delphian Kephale, Prophesy-Head,
Womb-Mind. Grains of sand she offered, mosaic
In thin air, Cyclic Isles. To my mind, her meaning
Conveyed: enlightenment, literature, longevity,
Guiding gods of sandaled feet walked amongst
Sea peoples, ancients stardust seeded.

“Song of the Shepherd,” Pierre Purvis de Chavannes, 1891, WikiArt.

As was custom of this Silver Age, before they
Supped, they prayed, read prophetic verse
Penned on papyri, script confusing to my eyes,
They appeared to read up and down scrolled
Length, sun they worshiped from rising to
Lavender setting sea-beams. Alas! They praised
Stars as Lenera, companions just beyond arm’s
Reach. Around night fires, they arranged small
Statues of oval-faced gods in protective semi-
Circles, invited to stone-brick home, lantern
Light, pallets provided for sleeping, alongside
Bones of family dead, greatest of all honours.

More fantasy than hisfic, Axia and young Lenera have been time-transformed to shores of ancient Cycladic peoples, circa 2700 to 2500 B.C., with reference to the many doll-like statues recovered in archaeological excavations, of which examples are shown on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website:

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