The Pool of Time
By Amelia Brown
Once upon a time a winged woman sat inside a cave and stared into a pool of water.
She had long lived among humans, who treated her like a god for her winged state, and thus sought her often, desiring her advice on the nature of living. Of late the world in which the humans dwelt was changing. The changes manifest were hard and sharp, often harrowing and fraught with uncertainty. And so, knowing the lore of the highest mountains, she flew to their tops, and found the cave that housed the Pool of Time. For in the depths of the water she could see Time itself in all its forms; time as it is, as it was, and as it will be.
But such was the magic of the pool that she could only choose to gaze at one pattern of time.
Long she sat and struggled with which of the three forms she should look upon. The past, she thought, could answer the many ‘whys’ that plagued her. The present she lived in, and would be no help. But well she knew the signs of the times, and they were vigorous and unexpected. Therein lay her choice; fearing the unknown she made her decision, and sat before the water to gaze deeply into the future.
Before she could look, Time noticed her. Rising in the water and regarding the winged woman, Time spoke.
‘Why come you here, Lady?’ asked Time.
‘I seek the future,’ replied the winged woman.
‘Why do you do so?’
The winged woman thought of how to reply, and when the answer spread before her mind, she spoke: ‘I fear.’
Time looked carefully at the woman, then said, ‘Tell me, what is it that the humans who come to you for wise counsel ask of you?’
‘They ask me to tell them what is to come.’
‘And do you offer them an answer?’
‘I cannot, for I do not possess the skill.’
‘And yet they ask. Why?’
The answer came swiftly to the winged woman, who responded, ‘They think they have no choice in the ways to come, save to do what it is that Fate wills. But Fate is not so unkind.’
Her own words fell on her heart like a balm, and a sudden wisdom bubbled up within her.
‘Show me the present,’ she asked Time, who smiled gently and receded.
In Time’s depths, she saw the pain and turmoil of a changing age, and with it many sorrows. Then, she thought of all the ways that she might temper pain and heal sorrow. Thus, in a strange and curious fashion, she gazed upon the future.