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SkyGirl

Integration: The Protector Rises

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LIGHTBEARER: THE PROTECTOR RISES

Chapter 1: Integration

 

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I was walking home through the crowded streets from work, my hood pulled up over my head to shield me from the light rain. The town was loud with rattling wagons, people shouting to each other over the rain, doors slamming and gleeful children running out to get wet. In the last few months I had developed a kind of dance to get through the streets quickly without colliding with anyone - now in the middle of the dusty path, now twisting between taller people to duck into the shadow of a building, now weaving between wagons and keeping my step light as I danced homeward.

 

Today I was watching for rainbows in the half-lit sky when I heard pounding footsteps approaching in the distance. The town was busy and I assumed it was someone late for an appointment; but as I continued to wend my way off the busy streets and toward the side paths that led to my home, the footsteps did not slow and they were closing in rapidly. Without breaking stride I turned abruptly off the path and back toward the market. I doubted the person was chasing me, but it never hurt to be cautious.

 

This time, however, I was wrong. The person came over the crest of a small hill, paused and lifted his hand to his brow to stare in my direction, and when our eyes met, he flung his arms down and broke into a dead run, straight toward me.

 

Fear shot through my system and I ran for the nearest building, a blacksmith's shop closed for the day. Deftly I slid through a gap in the shaky wooden gate and paused briefly behind the wall, but just as quickly slipped out the back and ran back toward the heart of the market street. I needed to be back with other people and lose myself in the crowd.

 

"Silver Archer!" The man's shout slowed my steps. Was it someone I knew? "Silver Archer! Please wait! I need to talk to you!"

 

I hesitated, and turned to look. I only caught a glimpse of the man's red, bulgy-eyed face before he pounded the last two steps down the hill and threw himself at my feet, his body heaving with gasps for breath.

 

"Silver Archer, I need your help," he cried, his voice a half-sob. "I've come to you - because no one - no one else would - help me. I -" he sat back on his heels and looked desperately toward the sky, his shaved head and face glistening with pouring sweat. "I didn't know who else to ask!"

 

I took a step backward and kept my hand on my Bow, but didn't leave. "Who are you, and what do you want?"

 

"I've come on behalf of the families that live outside the village," he gasped. "The government has ruled that we can't live in this district anymore and we have to leave. But we've built our homes here and we have nowhere to go. We've asked over and over for them to give us help, give us time, but they won't listen. They say we're a danger to the citizens and we have to leave in two days." He lunged forward as if to grab me and I dodged backward in alarm, but he prostrated himself on the ground at my feet. "Please, Silver Archer, won't you please come and fight for us?"

 

I froze completely still and stared at the stranger as a dozen emotions leaped up inside me like competing flames. I had heard about the forced evictions - everyone in town had. "Such a shame," we said, and continued on about our business. It wasn't right to force families to leave their homes just because they were different from the majority population of Temple Island. But it was the government's decision and there didn't seem to be anything we could do. Certainly, a few other archers had discussed looking for better lawyers or ambassadors to make a stronger case for the families. But no one was serious about doing anything. We liked our government jobs and didn't want to waste our efforts on a hopeless cause.

 

But reading about an injustice happening in the evening bulletins was quite a different story from finding someone in need of help just a short distance from my own front door. This wasn't a nebulous member of a distant group in writing. This was a human being who needed a voice. Who needed justice.

 

"I can't get involved in this," my logic spoke first. I took another half-step backwards. "One archer fighting for you won't do you any good. And I'm not important enough for my voice to make a difference."

 

"But you're the Silver Archer!" The man sat up and looked at me, his small eyes red and weary in his face, which was quickly losing its redness and becoming pale. He lifted his hands imploringly. "We heard rumors that you're really the Dark Elf - that you can kill and destroy with ice powers. If that's true, you could come to our camp and fight for us when the guards come!"

 

I flushed deeply and automatically reached behind me to pull my hood back up around my face. The last thing I wanted in the whole world was to put myself in a situation where I could lose control of my ice powers and hurt someone. "That's not true," I said gruffly. 

 

"Even if it isn't, you've taken out whole squads of dark elves with your Silver Bow. With your help, we could fight back and protect ourselves."

 

This wasn't my problem. I had no responsibility to this man. If I got involved in this, no matter my own feelings that it was unjust and wrong, I could lose control and risk everyone seeing that I was the Dark Elf deep down. What would become of my job and my place in the Movement then?

 

"I'm sorry," I said, and hurriedly backed away. "I have to go."

 

I nearly stumbled as I pounded back up the hill, away from the strange man, back toward the safe bustle and anonymity of the crowded market. "Won't you at least tell others about what's happening to us?" the man's voice floated behind me. A pang struck me in the stomach but I kept running, and soon he was out of sight and I was back amongst the stalls and buildings of the city.

 

I realized I was crying as I blindly followed my feet back toward my office, the small building behind the Chief Scientist's office that I shared with the other writers and spokespeople. No one was there and I collapsed on my stool, pressing my hands against my eyes, wondering what about this felt so wrong. It wasn't my fault that he was homeless. It wasn't my place to go out of my way to help him. I couldn't risk everything I had worked so hard for to start criticizing and pushing back against the Temple government. This was foolish and unfair. And yet you don't believe any of that, a tiny voice whispered deep within my heart. You're the Silver Archer - you were brought here to be a voice for the voiceless and a healer of the hurting. If you find someone hurting and voiceless on your own doorstep, how can you say you have no responsibility for him?

 

"Sky! Are you crying?"

 

I jumped and gasped as Irwin stood frozen in the doorway, his black eyebrows raised high over his concerned black eyes. "What's wrong? What happened?"

 

I gulped and quickly scrubbed the tears off my cheeks, trying to laugh. "It's okay, I'm all right," I quavered, and jumped up and began brushing imaginary dust off my skirt. "I just - had a long day, and I'm tired."

 

"No, really. Sit down." Irwin grabbed another stool and slung a leg over it, plopping to a seat and drilling my eyes with his piercing, knowing gaze. "Talk to me. What happened?"

 

I slowly sat back down and put my face in my hands, and told Irwin about the strange encounter. He was quiet for a long moment, and when I looked up, his bearded jaw was working back and forth and his brows were knitted tightly. Twice he looked like he was about to speak, but he still sat quietly. 

 

"I don't know what to do," I finally broke the silence.

 

Irwin pressed his lips together and looked up at me out of one eye. "What if Katherine and I went with you?" he asked gently.

 

I clasped my hands at my chest. "You don't mean to go fight those guards?" I gasped in horror. 

 

"I mean ..." He shrugged. "We'd go with you if you thought that was the right thing to do. But I think you can do something even more powerful than that."

 

"What do you mean?"

 

Irwin stared pointedly at my hands, which were resting on my knees with the runes on my wrists clearly showing. "You were only telling that man half the truth. Maybe you don't kill and hurt people, but you are the Dark Elf, and you do have ice powers." He lifted his eyes to my face. "What if now is the time you finally see what happens when you integrate your two sides together? What if now is the time you figure out how to be afraid and courageous at the same time?"

 

A strange feeling began to rise in my stomach - something familiar, and yet unexpected. It was neither the icy chill of fear and shame nor the confident warmth of the healing powers, but something that brought them together. Anger. Conviction. Focus.

 

"Yeah. That." Irwin looked a bit fearfully at my wrists, which were beginning to glow a bright white. "What if you don't use that to fight, though. Look how bright that is. What if we use that to help others see what's happening to these families? What if you use that light to call the people who can make a difference for these people?"

 

I stared down at my wrists as understanding washed over me. Of course. How clear it was - how foolish I had been. This rushing feeling like a strong summer wind was nothing new at all - I knew it as well as I knew my own name; I had just never felt it inside myself before. My ice powers and my healing powers came together to form the Bow's white light of clarity. This had been my power all along. The icy emotions of anger, fear, rage, and the warm emotions of compassion and empathy could exist together.

 

I snapped my gaze to Irwin's face. "Every time I fire my Bow using these powers together, the arrow can go further than I can see," I blurted. "What if I could send it out like a beacon? Signal others in other regions who can come and see for themselves what's happening?"

 

Irwin's eyes lit with eagerness. "We can find the other archers with powers to join you. By lighting the way together, your beacon will be brighter."

 

I held the Silver Bow out in front of me, watching as the white light trickled through its carvings and lit it like a lamp. By firing an arrow - no; by firing two arrows, one white and one black - toward the sky, I could generate a burst of light like the ones I created with the Bow. Adding the light of other powered archers would alert people for miles around.

 

Yet I hesitated. If I did this - if I raised my voice and started letting others see what I really thought, who I really was, that I did have anger and conviction and discord inside me, not just healing and warmth - things would begin to change. The way people thought of me would change. By embracing the powers of the Dark Elf, I would no longer be loved for my unwavering happy smile and agreeable benevolence. But if I were going to integrate my ice and my warmth, my compassion and my anger, my hope and my determination, my courage and my fear - then I needed to begin. 

 

I looked at Irwin, who had gotten to his feet and was watching me. "You promise you guys will be with me?"

 

For the first time, his face creased in a brotherly, affectionate smile. "You know you can't get rid of us."

 

"Then let's do this. It's time to show the world who the Silver Archer really is."

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I figured to get my writing gear lubricated and purring like a panther, I needed to pay more attention to you these next 4 weeks. Your stories have always been beautifully written and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store :D 

 

Wolf

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Story updated! I was going to explain my inspiration for it but I'm really tired, so I'll do that and goals tomorrow.  ;)  So glad you're all here!!

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Hey guys!! So first, a quick introduction for anyone new to the guild who has happened upon my humble thread:

 

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Hi there! My name is Sky Elvenword, and I've been a member of the Rebellion for almost 3 years (my anniversary is in 10 days!). I initially joined the Rebellion at the tail end of an incredibly rough year, in which I had lost a great deal of weight due to stress and not sleeping or eating, and I was determined to learn about exercising and eating right so I could restart my life and regain some control over what was happening to me. 

 

From that rather desperate-sounding beginning, I learned to love going to the gym and getting stronger (*gives a side-eye to the me that hasn't gone to the gym in more than a month tho*), I learned about viewing food as fuel for my hard-working body rather than as something to be ashamed or afraid of, and most importantly, I learned about standing up for myself, setting boundaries, and treating myself with respect and care instead of abuse and shame. Life has taken a lot of twists and turns since then, and I'm not finished learning any of those lessons. But there's no place I'd rather keep learning and re-learning them than here with my Rangers.

 

As an Ambassador and now a Guild Leader, my specialty is in encouraging others and supporting self-discovery, which I think is one of the most powerful tools we have in finding ways to achieve our goals. Just like coming to understand the strengths, weaknesses, fears, and hopes of our loved ones can help us support them in the way that suits them best, so understanding our own selves can help us bring greater awareness and compassion to our daily decisions and choices. I am a Christian, and themes of spiritual growth and health show up pretty regularly in what I write, both on my thread and on others'; but I think the importance of self-discovery holds true regardless of your spiritual beliefs. 

 

I love this guild and I'm always eager to give you a dozen or so reasons why.  ;)  Please feel free to PM me, comment here with questions or reach out for encouragement - I'm not always online, but I'm always happy to listen when I get back. Thank you for coming to my thread!

 

Goals loading ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

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What a day this was!! I legit didn't have time to think about goals because the short version is that I got to take one of my favorite singers on a tour around my workplace, then when I went to see his concert this evening, he talked from the stage about what a fun time he had, sang a song in honor of the cool things we showed him, and posed for as many pictures as I wanted at the end, giving me a big hug and thanking me for such a wonderful day. 

 

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I started drafting my goals last night and I promise I will post them up tomorrow. But it's 2AM and I just woke up from falling asleep in my chair, so it's off to bed for now.  :D 

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14 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

What a day this was!! I legit didn't have time to think about goals because the short version is that I got to take one of my favorite singers on a tour around my workplace, then when I went to see his concert this evening, he talked from the stage about what a fun time he had, sang a song in honor of the cool things we showed him, and posed for as many pictures as I wanted at the end, giving me a big hug and thanking me for such a wonderful day. 

 

giphy.gif

 

I started drafting my goals last night and I promise I will post them up tomorrow. But it's 2AM and I just woke up from falling asleep in my chair, so it's off to bed for now.  :D 

I must confess, when I saw your FB post I  had no idea who that guy was.

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8 minutes ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I must confess, when I saw your FB post I  had no idea who that guy was.

 

That's why I didn't bother mentioning his name here, because I get blank stares from 99.999999% of the people I tell, except for 50-something-year-old ex-hippies.  :D  Which I firmly believe is who I actually am on the inside.

 

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All riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight, this is the post in which Sky finally gets her act together and sets a plan for what she's doing this month!!! Yaaaaaaaay!!!

 

The biggest thing I want to do is have one thing that I do consistently. As I discussed in my last challenge, I start my months strong and have good ideas for what I want to attempt or accomplish, but I tend to lose focus by Week 3 and peter out by the end. So I'm not going to pick six or ten or twelve things and try to do all of those things every day for a whole month, but I am going to pick one thing to do consistently throughout the entire challenge. 

 

  • Every day: I will track all of my food in my Fitbit app. In the past I used tracking to make sure I wasn't eating too much, but at the moment I need tracking to be sure I'm eating enough. Tracking keeps me accountable and helps me make sure I'm caring for my body properly - in both calories and nutrients (I tend to not eat enough protein).

I will report on this and I will be honest about whether I'm keeping it up, so you guys can give me one-eyed glares if I am not.  ;)

 

Other things that I also want to do as consistently as possible (but tracking is a must):

 

  • Do 2 workout videos a week. I tried two videos in Blogilates' "Apartment-Friendly Workouts" series, and HOLY FRIJOLES I HAVE NO UPPER BODY STRENGTH. I could not get through the 8 minutes of each video without stopping to gasp for breath and rest my shaking arms. So, what does a Ranger do? A Ranger gives a death-glare to those videos and says One day I will be able to do the whole eight minutes TWICE.  :P  I will mix it up with yoga videos, but I'm going to report on this goal too. Two videos a week.
     
  • Cook dinner twice a week. So the reason tracking is necessary is because (full confession) I have come home from my hot, sweaty commute, looked at the kitchen and gone "nah" for more than a week. Yesterday (again, full confession) all I had to eat was four cookies and a bowl of cereal.  :(  So even if I have to turn up the air conditioning and make it a refrigerator in here,  I need to make and eat real food. And then eat the leftovers instead of ordering pizza.
     
  • Just sleep, for heaven's sake. I love sleeping. But apparently I also hate it, because I don't do it.  :(  So what this goal actually is, is reporting on my sleep schedule and on whether I find a way to successfully motivate myself to get to bed early. Apparently burning, bloodshot eyes and persistent exhaustion aren't sufficient. 

 

If these goals look like Basic Adulting 101, I guess they are, and I'm in need of a refresher course, because I'm wearing myself out.  :P  So I'm thankful I have you guys to help me stay accountable and take care of myself.

 

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Gotta run to church and then I will check in on all you guys' awesome goals for the month. Oh, and it's battle speech day.  ;) 

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3 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

when-grandma-finds-out-you-havent-eaten-

 

This is absolutely what my mom is going to do the next time I go home, and frankly it's going to be kind of amazing.  :D 

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Sky, did you track your food today?: Yes I did, even the astronaut strawberries that Lily bought me at the Air and Space Museum.  :D  I was 115 calories over budget today (and I think I underestimated a few things), which felt a little uncomfortable, but since I was so grossly under budget yesterday, it was probably good for me. 

 

I took a brisk 2-mile walk around the lake this evening, so no exercise video, but it was a good workout and a beautiful sunny evening. I "cooked dinner," if hot dogs and pasta salad counts as cooking, which I don't think it does - my dad sometimes gets cravings for what he calls "picnic food," which is hot dogs or home-cooked hamburgers, pasta salad, potato chips, French onion or spinach dip, and something sweet to drink; and today I was thinking about him, and decided to have picnic food.  :) 

 

The day itself, besides goal-pursuing, was good - I found out that I am not assisting with my church's vacation Bible school in a minor capacity, like I thought I was, but I will be teaching a whole class for two days; so I'm terribly nervous about that and am going to try to study hard and be prepared. I've never been a lead teacher for anything before and I'm honestly not positive I can do it. But I'm going to do my very best and pray that the kids learn and have fun. 

 

I also got a chance to play the church piano for a while this afternoon after everyone else had left, and that was amazing - I hadn't touched a piano in more than six months, and even though I only remembered a few bits and pieces of songs, it just felt good to play again after so long. It reminded me that I was thinking of saving for my own piano - I need to revisit that goal!

 

OH AND @Miaulin, YESTERDAY OUR BEAUTIFUL PRINCE LAUNCHED A REBELLION AGAINST HIS FATHER AND TOOK OVER THE KINGDOM AND [REDACTED BECAUSE SPOILERS]

 

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LOOK AT THAT ANGELIC FACE

 

IF YOU START WATCHING THE SHOW LET ME KNOW SO WE CAN SQUEE TOGETHER

 

*coooough* Time for sleep - I volunteered to come into the TV studio early tomorrow morning to help with an interview, and I need to be reasonably alert for that.  :)  

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8 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

It reminded me that I was thinking of saving for my own piano - I need to revisit that goal!

First step, a good keyboard so you don't have to wait to start playing at home again.

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12 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

First step, a good keyboard so you don't have to wait to start playing at home again.

 

Amendment; I am actually saving for an electric piano:

 

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Something along these lines.   :)  I played one like this a lot in high school and liked it because it felt like a real piano, but was much less expensive and much smaller. 

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Sky, did you track your food today?: Yes, I did, and it was a pain.  :P  Tracking foods that aren't prepackaged is so difficult and I still hate it. I think I overestimated lunch and underestimated dinner, but either way I was 300+ calories over budget because I didn't take a walk or move much today. I've been ruminating on some thoughts these past few days regarding food and body shape and self-esteem, but I'll share them another day when they're better formed.

 

------------

 

Today was kind of rough. It is becoming comically predictable that when I say I'm going to bed early, I don't; but in this case, last night I got a Facebook message as I was going to bed, and it contained the sad news that an old family friend of ours lost his granddaughter suddenly and tragically last week.  :(  I was very upset by the news (and, realistically, I think I absorbed some of the upset of the friend who told me, because they were very upset too) and couldn't settle down to sleep for a couple of hours. So I overslept this morning, still woke up exhausted and upset, and missed the TV interview because I couldn't get to the studio in time.  :(  :(  :(  It wasn't a serious problem because I was mainly invited to watch, but I was still unhappy and tired and unwell most of the day.

 

Toward the end of the day I did leave my cold, dark office and go work outside, and started to feel better. I think my pre-shark-week hormones are making me emotional again this month, which is a bummer. I've never had anything more than passing irritability with this and I hope the sadness and mood swings don't become a long-term thing.

 

I felt really weak and shaky most of the day, so I gave myself a pass on exercise - I'll get a little bit in as I clean the house this evening in preparation for Amethyst's visit.  :)   And ... I'm not going to say I'm going to bed early. I'm just going to go to bed. 

 

giphy.gif 

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Sorry to hear about your friend losing his granddaughter.

On being over your calorie budget- wasn't your concern  before more with going under and not taking the time to eat? Maybe now that you are paying attention to it, your body is making up some of the lost calories.Maybe instead of trying to hit a number goal, just track to see what your trends are for now.

 

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16 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

Sky, did you track your food today?: Yes, I did, and it was a pain.  :P  Tracking foods that aren't prepackaged is so difficult and I still hate it. I think I overestimated lunch and underestimated dinner, but either way I was 300+ calories over budget because I didn't take a walk or move much today. I've been ruminating on some thoughts these past few days regarding food and body shape and self-esteem, but I'll share them another day when they're better formed.

 

 

Sorry to hear about your rough weekend Sky :( .

 

I only just started calorie tracking, and have already realized how tricky that is for homemade food. What are some of your strategies? I'd love to work up to where you are, but for now, am only tracking the food I eat while out of town since it's 90% restaurant foods. 

 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts regarding food. Have a great a week!

 

Xelac

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On 7/1/2019 at 11:29 PM, Elastigirl said:

Sorry to hear about your friend losing his granddaughter.

 

18 hours ago, Salinger said:

Sorry you feel so upset and weak Sky, keep going, you have made a good start, always here for you xx

 

10 hours ago, Xelac_Heartseeker said:

Sorry to hear about your rough weekend Sky :( .

 

Thanks guys - it was a pretty horrible accident and really awful to hear about, but I'm feeling better today.  <3

 

On 7/1/2019 at 11:29 PM, Elastigirl said:

On being over your calorie budget- wasn't your concern  before more with going under and not taking the time to eat? Maybe now that you are paying attention to it, your body is making up some of the lost calories.Maybe instead of trying to hit a number goal, just track to see what your trends are for now.

 

Yeeeeeeah, I've had some weird food issues lately ... essentially not wanting to eat because I want to see if I can keep getting thinner.  :(  :(  :(  One of my half-formed thoughts that I mentioned is actually trying to come to grips with the fact that, even if I do keep eating under budget and losing weight, I will never look the way I want to look simply because of my bone structure. I want to look elfin and birdlike, like Lindsey Stirling or Megan Follows, but my arm bones are wide, my wrists and ankles are thick - it's just the way I am built.

 

I actually rediscovered the stunning gymnast Katelyn Ohashi the other day, totally by accident:

 

tmp_BZ34BD_9397b4def7634ffa_katelyn.jpg

 

And I felt so much better looking through her Instagram photos. Despite being almost exactly my height, she is definitely not elfin or birdlike in any way; yet she is strong, healthy, athletic, energetic, powerful, and beautiful just the same. 

 

So my thought is, I need to go back to the beginning again, and remind myself that my body is not bad, it is not ugly, it is not "fat", it is not something to be shrunk and pinched and deprived. It is something to be nurtured, nourished, stretched, supported, strengthened, protected, and cared for. It is part of me, and a very important part; and I need and want to see it for its own beauty and strength, and not compare it to other people's and not give it the nourishment that it needs.

 

10 hours ago, Xelac_Heartseeker said:

I only just started calorie tracking, and have already realized how tricky that is for homemade food. What are some of your strategies? I'd love to work up to where you are, but for now, am only tracking the food I eat while out of town since it's 90% restaurant foods. 

 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts regarding food. Have a great a week!

 

Homemade food is the worst for tracking - which stinks because it's also often the healthiest!!  :P  I think for me, what works best is not to try to be completely perfect and accurate with homemade food, but rather to estimate the best I can and not worry if it's a bit off. For a pasta salad I made the other day, for example, I entered the ingredients that I could measure easily, but opted to use the vague listing for "white sauce" rather than calculate exactly how much mayonnaise, milk, salt, sugar, pepper, and vinegar I had consumed in my serving.  :D 

 

I am pretty sure there are other Rangers who have more experience and advice for tracking than I do, though.  :D 

 

-------

 

Sky, did you track your food today?: I did, yes.  :)  I have a strong suspicion that I forgot to enter something, but I entered all I could remember. Ended about 100 calories under budget today, but not on purpose - I forgot to bring breakfast and lunch was tiny, and then I didn't get to have dinner until 9PM because Amethyst's flight was delayed and we got home late. We ordered Pizza Hut for dinner because we were both exhausted by that point, but I'm aiming for something healthier tomorrow.  :) 

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