Quartz: Another year and I’m feeling younger all the time. (grumbles) Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out all these young looking things telling me how much older than are than me at inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com
Speaking of people who don’t look their age, I’ve got Ashleigh here. The other mum to Leiwell and the twin besides that cranky Map.
Ashleigh: Also known as Ashleigh Beyond the Door, at your service. Have a care how you speak of my Map. It’s not everyone who could stick around a single cottage in a single world, raising some of the creepiest, most disturbing children imaginable.
Quartz: Eh? These are your children you’re talking about. Aren’t they?
Ashleigh: You sound like Map. Maybe she can just pretend they’re real children, but I’m the one who laid the bloody egg they hatched out of.
Quartz: What? (tries to keep his mouth from falling open and fails) You laid an egg? Which your children hatched out? All of them?
Ashleigh: I was in the Shadow Forest at the time, all right? The impossible is possible there. And no, it wasn’t all of my children. Just Danyel and Tayel. It was actually Christopher who hatched the egg which I laid. Map and Leiwell raised them. (mutters under her breath) Just because the egg came from me doesn’t make them my children.
Quartz: Ah, so the ones you find creepy and disturbing are the twins. Who hatched from an egg. Did Leiwell hatch from an egg, too?
Ashleigh: Who knows? Dyvian just gave him to me. Told me to take Leiwell to Map and raise him. Yes, Map might call him our son, but he’s Dyvian’s creature. We can’t realy trust him.
Quartz: So you ran away, afraid of the children who were asked to raise or whom were hatched out of egg you laid, leaving Map to raise them. (strokes his beard) No wonder she’s cranky.
Ashleigh: Don’t get judgmental. I am what I am, or what’s left of me. Perhaps there was a part of me who could have been a good mother to the boys, but I lost her.
Quartz: Lost her?
Ashleigh: Lost her beyond the Door. I keep opening Doors to other places, other worlds. Every time I do, I lose myself. Or part of myself. It’s hard to remember.
Quartz: How so?
Ashleigh: It’s hard to explain. I tried to in a collection of stories I wrote called Ashleigh Beyond the Door. I left them in a book for my children, so they’d have something, some part of me. Or perhaps a reason why I wasn’t there.
Quartz: I thought you left because you found your children too creepy and disturbing to be around.
Ashleigh: I do, but I wouldn’t leave them just because of that. I would have tried harder to be a mother to them. I certainly wouldn’t have left the whole task to Map. (sighs) Who am I trying to fool? It was unforgiveable. I’m trying to make it up to them. At least I’ve been trying since the twins found some of the lost pieces of me.
Quartz: I’m not sure if I’m following this at all.
Ashleigh: Look, my family has been alone, isolated from the world for most of their lives. Except for Map who’s chosen to isolate them. What I’ve done is trying to make Map and my sons part of a community. I’m bringing the world to them, neighbors, shops, a tavern, all the things they’ve never had.
Quartz: This could be another problem if they’re not used to being around people
Ashleigh: It’s better than being alone. A community is being formed whether they like it or not. I’m just going to have the waggons all come and start building. Map and the boys will get used to it. Things will be happier.
Quartz: For you, perhaps.
Ashleigh: Are you saying I’m being selfish?
Quartz: You said it. Not me.
Ashleigh: Rebuilding Omphalos is the most unselfish thing I’ve ever done!
Quartz: Did you talk to your family about your plans to rebuild before doing it?
Ashleigh: Well, no. I thought this way, there would be less fuss.
Quartz: In other words, you had a bunch of strangers in waggons show up on the land around your family’s home and said, “Guess what? You’re going to be part of a village! Here are your new neighbors!”
Ashleigh: (slumping) You make it sound so inconsiderate.
Quartz: I’m feeling more and more for Map. She really is the mother in the family. You’re more like one of the children, running into things without about the consequences.
Ashleigh: I’ve thought long and hard about this! And what’s wrong with being childlike? It makes me able to relate to my own children more! Share their enthusiasm for everything!
Quartz: Do you? Share their enthusiasm?
Ashleigh: Well…no. They haven’t been that enthusiastic about the growing village. They haven’t really talked to me about it.
Ashleigh: Don’t give me that look. My family just needs time to get used to the village…and me.
Quartz: I’m sure they do.
Ashleigh: We’ll get to know each other. Given time.
Quartz: Right. (sighs) Good luck with that.
Ashleigh: You’re giving me the look again!