Published in the April 2008
issue of the Canadian
Nuclear Society Bulletin, Vol.29, No.1.
Pump and Circumstance
by Jeremy Whitlock
nce upon a time, there lived a princess named Enaaru who was both beautiful and strong. It was said of Enaaru that both her land and her people made her strong, and that she made them strong in return.
"Where Enaaru goes," the people said, "so goes health and happiness."
Even as the people prospered, however, there was apprehension, for it was long prophesied that upon Enaaru's fiftieth birthday her fortunes would fail and darkness would cloak the land. Many, including Enaaru herself, did not believe this prophecy, thinking it a whimsy of the elders.
The years passed, Enaaru grew older, and so did her land and people. It seemed that everyone walked a little slower, bent a little lower, and talked with reverence of the old days when all was young and fresh. Still, Enaaru kept her health and beauty, and the people kept their devotion.
In a land not far from Enaaru's, there was at the same time a sorceress named Sienessee who, it was said, held dominion over the sky, the land, and the water. This did not concern Enaaru's people because these things were all strong, as was Enaaru, and therefore (so it was reasoned) Sienessee must like Enaaru and her people. To ensure this, the people made offerings to Sienessee, and these were accepted though nobody ever saw the sorceress in person.
It came to pass that as Enaaru approached her fiftieth birthday, her father, King Enaarkhan, took her aside to talk. He told her how fifty years earlier he had yearned deeply for a daughter, and how a mysterious voice came to him one night in a dream. The voice said that he would have a daughter - a princess - but that a twin daughter would also be born to him, who would be a sorceress. The voice told him that the two girls must never know they were sisters until their fiftieth birthday, and that his people would only be happy if the daughter sorceress was happy, for the two girls would draw their power from each other.
Enaarkhan then told how the daughter sorceress became jealous of Enaaru's beauty and strength as the two grew older, and how she eventually left to live in a new land, which she magically filled with many people. Still the daughter sorceress grew ever more jealous. She erected towering walls around her land but she could not escape the thought of Enaaru.
That sister, Enaarkhan whispered, was Sienessee.
Enaaru was shocked to learn this news, and began to worry about the prophecy of her fiftieth birthday. The day passed without incident, but soon afterward, even as the songs of celebration still echoed in the hills, a tempest indeed enveloped the land. All became darkness, and the people cried that the prophecy had come true. The crops failed, snows covered all, and Enaaru's beauty and strength seemed to bleed from her with each passing day.
Then one morning, Sienessee appeared to the people and exclaimed, "I am your princess! See how powerful I am! See how weak your Enaaru is!" She commanded everyone to wear Google goggles, and these showed the people their ailing princess.
The people grew afraid. As the days passed and Enaaru grew weaker some cried out, "How could we have gambled our health and happiness on one person so weak! What fools we were!"
Over the roiling, sulphurous seas came legions of onlookers, wearing Google goggles and chanting "Kill Enaaru! Cut her throat! Spill her blood!"
At that moment King Enaarkhan gathered strength, for he remembered what the voice in his dream all those years ago had said: "They will draw their power from each other".
He commanded the people to remove their Google goggles, and as the people did, they saw not a dying princess or an all-powerful sorceress, but two tired women: sisters and kindred spirits.
"I love you both, and you are both my daughters", said the wise Enaarkhan. Sienessee was chastened, and the weak Enaaru reached out to her.
"You will live and work together," Enaarkhan continued, "and all will be prosperous once more in our land."
And so it was, for many years afterward, that Enaaru and Sienessee worked as one to ensure the health and happiness of the people, and all was both beautiful and strong.