Behind The Vines

This is the second chapter of the historical fantasy entitled "Rhapsody of Nature."

Synopsis: The aromatic vines revealed a secret...



"This is a beautiful place..." 

Esteban simply could not contain himself. Although he rarely describes objects, places and persons, he was made to say something about the falls and its environs.

"It has this calming, serene vibe, apart from it being scenic," he would continue. "And the vines... they seem aromatic... like rose petals even though I don't see any rose around. How they come down from the walls of rock look so gentle and otherworldly. And the climate, hmmmm the climate here is perfect. It's balmy from sunrise to sundown. It's as if one would always be tempted to snooze into siestas lavishly, contentedly... As a person who grew up near the cold Pyrenees mountains, I find this place perfect."

Esteban also noticed something about the falls. "I thought there's nothing different or noteworthy about the falls itself. It appears quite ordinary... but when you look upon it closer, it merely creates ripples down the stream."

He has not tried to touch the gently undulating waters yet. When he did, he was surprised. In an instant, he was made to remark, "I needed this. I didn't think I was that tired --- I actually was. The waters running through me relaxed and rejuvenated every inch of my body down to my deepest bones even though I haven't immersed my entire body yet. It has the right amount of cool, a nice contrast and a perfect blend to the balmy weather in this part of the world..."

Blaise simply listened all the while. The old man didn't interrupt at all as he wanted the young conquistador to express all that he had in mind. He simply nodded and looked intently at the young man's dark blue eyes, a rarity among Spanish men even during that era. Esteban had this dark auburn hair with a tinge of light brown that was neither long nor short. He was Basque --- he had features lighter than the ordinary Spaniard's.

"That is why I decided to come here," Blaise finally spoke. "I'm from Nice, France but I made sure I'll end up here. I didn't have any Spanish in me, but I did everything to be part of the Spanish missionaries. I knew all along what would make me reach this place. I knew that the ship I had embarked on will wreck somewhere near these islands back in 1576. And I knew exactly the safest route going to this place."

Esteban has become perplexed. Many more questions came in mind. He was interested however and felt safe with the quaintness of his new friend. "Interesting, Sir. I have never met anyone like you who knows not only the past but also the future. Can you tell me what will happen to me? Can you tell me where my friends are?"

Blaise simply said, "there are things better experienced than heard from a narration. Young man, you understand what that means. I know that you love exploring places and you like it when you run into extraordinary incidents. When I tell you everything, it will rob you of the moment's authenticity. You better enjoy the surroundings. Do not end this rather nice detour this early..."

Esteban looked around. "Well, it is indeed wonderful. I guess I'll stay here much longer. Thank you for the wise advice..."

"I want to show you something, young man."

"Sure, sir. It'd be my pleasure."

Blaise brought Esteban somewhere in the woods. There was a small thatched hut there.

"This is my house for two decades now," Blaise revealed. As he was saying this, he pulled a large musical instrument by the hut's side.

"And this is my company all these years," he continued.

"I've never seen anything like this before. What is this?" asked Esteban.

"It's a cello," answered Blaise who knew the instrument wouldn't be named as such until decades, perhaps centuries, later.

"Can you play something?" Esteban giddily asked.

"Sure, but this is best heard near the falls."

A few moments after reaching a certain spot near the falls, Blaise began playing the instrument slowly... 


As the music continued on, the vines rustled; the birds slowly chirped as though they sang to the tunes of the old man's cello. The sounds of the flowing waterfalls blended with music, and the scent of the invisible rose petals all seemed sweeter...

He was playing Bach's 'Air on the G String.' The famed composer-musician wouldn't be alive until 1685 or eighty-seven years later but Blaise's extraordinary clairvoyance encompasses even mastery of musical masterpieces yet to exist by the end of 16th Century.

Esteban was clueless. He had no idea that that piece wouldn't be written until well into the 18th Century. Regardless, he was very well pleased by the over-all sound of the music, which titillated his senses. As the piece continued to give the scene some dreamy vibe, something came up that took his interest...

He noticed that there was a gentle breeze blowing through his body that was much cooler than the environment's weather. As he turned around, he saw some of the vines moving...

"The wind must be coming from behind the vines," remarked Esteban, who hadn't lost focus on the music for it somehow synergized with all the natural elements of the surroundings.

He moved closer to the vines as the breeze continued to flow. The vines were quite thick; it was not easy to see what was behind. The smell of rose petals emitted by the plants that continued to adorn the surroundings was even stronger now with the breeze blowing through them.

It was so relaxing, Esteban felt sleepy. However, he could not contain his curiosity. If the vines cover a small hill with walls of rock, why would some breeze come from behind?

So he moved closer and closer. As he reached the vines, he set them aside. It was not so easy as they were somehow heavy but as soon as he moved a substantial portion of them, he noticed that the rocks had a hollowed part.

It was a rather big hole that he saw but it was quite small for a person to enter into. It was not conspicuous at all and never would Esteban have noticed until the breeze oozed out of what seemed to be a cave.

"Blaise, I saw something!" Esteban called. But no response.

"Blaise! Blaise!"

The young man tried to go back to the same spot his new friend was playing the cello but as soon as he saw the instrument, he was surprised to see that no person was playing it anymore, which was now just standing still.

The old man's sudden disappearance was not as intriguing as the newly-discovered cavity. As the young man's curiosity went beyond his controls, he tried to sneak into the hole. The ground was slightly inundated, making it a little uncomfortable but, as Esteban had been on many adventures since childhood, he didn't mind the discomfort.

He made it through. While the hole outside was quite small for a person to sneak into, the inside of the cave was large enough for Esteban to completely stand up. It was dark inside except for a few bright objects. Some of the objects had been familiar --- yellow neon-colored frogs that illuminated small portions of the cave.

That was the first glimpse of the cave looking down, but it was not all. When Esteban looked up, he saw magnificent stalactites shining like diamonds and sapphires...

The young man's curiosity has always been strong. It was perhaps the reason he ventured into so many voyages, crossing two expansive oceans from a small Basque Village to a remote jungle somewhere in the Philippines...

And that remote jungle, in the eyes of Esteban, was a smorgasbord of so many novel, extraordinary things...


To be continued...

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