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[Round 1] "Ahm-van-kal"


Ilene Torza
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PNPC Lieutenant J.G Valis - "Ahm-van-kal"

((Mount Selaya, Vulcan))

::Lieutenant J.G. Valis' hood flapped ever so slightly in the hot breeze. Above her, Vulcan's sister planet, T'Rukh, "the Watcher," rose behind Mount Selaya, creating the natural origin of the Vulcan symbol of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) - a cone or triangle piercing the center of a sphere. In her time away from her homeworld, she had almost grown accustomed to the cooler temperatures aboard the USS Ronin. Logic told her that the hot climate of the planet Vulcan was ideal for her Vulcan metabolism, but she could not deny the fact that her body said otherwise by insisting on producing sweat to cool her off. Thankfully, the traditional Vulcan robes she wore for the ahm-van-kal (the Vulcan Naming Ritual), though heavy-looking, were actually quite porous.::

::Standing at the edge of the stone circle that was the most ancient portion of the Temple of Sochya, Valis barely acknowledged the presence of the 12 other Vulcans standing in reverent silence at equal points around the holy place. Once again, the profound significance of the ritual she was about to perform weighed heavily on her mind. During her journey here, Valis had spent many hours meditating on her own ahm-van-kal. As with all Vulcans, her life had been profoundly shaped by her en-ahr-at (roughly translated god-mother), T'Vai, the first mind to touch her own, just weeks after her birth. Though the bond had been brief, it became a part of her consciousness forever. At times, she still felt the uncertainty that T'Vai had felt when melding with her. Perhaps it was even a part of the uncertainty she herself was experiencing now. Somewhere at the edge of her consciousness she couldn't help but wonder if that first moment of conscious disquietude had somehow led to the constant struggle she now felt with regard to keeping her emotions in check. As she prepared for the coming ceremony, she tried with all her volition to stifle the nervousness she felt so that she would not impart the same difficulties to the child.::

::As another hot breeze played with the few strands of hair that had fallen across her face, Valis noticed movement to her left at the entrance to the ceremonial circle. Looking up from the red dust she had been watching at her feet, Valis saw that it was T'Nar, the child's mother, dressed in a distinct white robe with three bright gems of green, blue, and red arranged triangularly on the frontispiece. She held the newborn in her arms and slowly approached the dais at the far side of the circle, showing no emotion on her face. With her entrance, the ceremony had begun.::

::T'Kai, current High Master of Gol stood piously beneath the ceremonial gong. Her skin matched the burnt red of the natural Vulcan stone and the gong behind her, but her white hair stood out abruptly against the otherwise mono-chrome scene, until T'Nar neared her and added her white robes to the palate. The child slept peacefully until its mother carefully passed it into T'Kai's arms. For a moment, it roused and began to cry, but the instant the High Master's voice rang out, it fell silent again.::

T'Kai: Nam-tor t'en-ahr-at kan vi.

((Translation: Who is the child's en-ahr-at?))

::The High Master had spoken slowly, solemnly. Intoning her voice as though it were the gong behind her, which the monks at either side chimed as she finished the ceremonial interrogative. In the hot, dry air, the sound of the clanging metal reverberated for miles throughout the surrounding Mountains of Gol, of which Selaya was but one.::

::Knowing that her time had come, Valis slowly reached up and pushed her hood back onto her shoulders, raising her gaze to meet the High Master's as she did. With a single step forward, she answered the call in her best ceremonial reply to T'Kai's perfect inflexion.::

Valis: Nam-tor nash-veh en-ahr-at,Valis ko-fu t'Kiran.

((I, Valis, daughter of Kiran, am en-ahr-at.))

::With another resounding of the gong, T'Kai intoned one word.::

T'Kai: Beta'voh.

((Approach.))

::Valis walked to the dais, her hands in front of her, palms pressed together in the manner known throughout the galaxy as the Vulcan gesture of greeting.::

T'Kai: Ahmau ish-veh kan shal ra.

((What does the child call itself?))

::As en'ahr'at it was Valis' role to touch the katra of the newborn and then choose a name for the child according to the essence of its katra. For that reason, she was not allowed to know anything about the child prior to birth. Even gender was strictly hidden from the en'ahr'at, and thus every part of the liturgy of the ceremony avoided gender up until this point. Its gender would be known the instant she joined minds with it, but foreknowledge of any kind could taint the kau (wisdom) of the bond and cause her to give the child a false name.::

::As T'Kai held the child out to her, Valis gently placed the fingers of both her hands on the tiny face's katra points. It was clear from the first moment of contact that the child was a female, but that was only the most peripheral of things that were imparted in that briefest of moments.::

::Due to the baby's almost completely unformed mind, there was no need to speak the usual words of concentration, "My mind to your mind..." There was no resistance. No barrier. The newborn girl's mind was completely welcoming. Already there were memories of happy moments looking at her mother's face as she fed; of the instinctual fear of suffocation as she was thrust out into the post-natal world before the Vulcan Healer surprised her with a slap that caused her to breathe; and, in her mother's womb, of the comforting darkness and warmth, accompanied by indistinct traces of her mother's thoughts. T'Nar loved her child. The silent affection of their mothers' was a fact that all Vulcan newborns knew through the telepathic bond of their nearly constant physical touch, whether they recalled it as they grew or not. In the baby girl's mind, that assurance was as fresh as a pastry newly removed from the oven. As she searched for the girl's identity, that awareness washed over Valis and gave her a peace she had not expected.::

::Going deeper, an image presented itself: that of the tiny preborn child's hands clasping themselves together in T'Nar's womb. Valis' mind naturally connected it to the Vulcan verb terau ("to fasten"). As Valis' mind assimilated the image of the tiny clasping hands, another image drawn from her own mind but altered by the child's, surfaced. The claw of a bird of prey clasped onto the Sphere & Triangle of the IDIC, and the word terau again resonated throughout their shared consciousness. A fastening. A joining. A new connection.::

Valis: Ahmau ko-veh shal T'Rau.

((She calls herself T'Rau))

::T'Kai withdrew the child, and the meld faded, but the two females would never be the same. The baby, T'Rau, had a destiny that she would discover many years later. But the en-ahr-at, Valis, shared a piece of that destiny now, as would all Vulcans in time. And that destiny had a name: Reunification.::

((To Be Continued...))

=====

Lieutenand J.G. Valis

En-ahr-at to T'Rau

USS Ronin NCC-34523

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