“Wow,” said Kepa. “That’s amazing!”
Maite glared at him. “You believe all of this? None of this is even possible. Magical stones thrown through time? An evil French judge trying to collect them?” She turned to Marina. “Why would he come here, to the Basque Country, in the first place?”
Marina gave a wan smile. “I know how fantastic it seems. If I wasn’t living it, I wouldn’t believe it myself. From what I can tell, the world used to be filled with magic, but the influence of that magic waned with time as people turned to other beliefs. In Europe, much of that happened with the spread of Christianity. As the Church spread, the belief in and, more importantly, practice of magic shrank until there was nothing left but one little alcove…”
Buber’s Basque Story is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!
“The Basque Country!” exclaimed Kepa. He turned to Maite. “Don’t you see? The Basque Country was one of the last parts of Europe to really embrace Christianity. It’s because they still held on to the older beliefs.”
Marina nodded. “That’s right. The Basques held on to magic longer than other Europeans. De Lancre realized this, and saw the potential for using that magic for more than healing one another, for changing the course of storms. He thought that if he could consolidate it, capture it for himself, that power would make him a god amongst men. There is no limit to his ambition. He truly believes he could rule the entire planet. All starting with that seed in the Basque Country.”
“If you are the Marina who died at the stake all those centuries ago, how are you here now then?” asked Maite, her disbelief clear in her words.
“I honestly don’t know,” replied Marina. “When I ‘died,’ somehow my spirit survived. I’m able to inhabit the bodies of blood relatives, of ancestors and descendants of my blood line. I didn’t have any children of my own, but my mom’s sister did, and I’m able to jump to any woman descended from her. So, I can follow de Lancre as he searches for the zatiak — the pieces of magic — but only if I have an iloba, a niece, or amuma in the same time and place. I’ve been lucky, so far, that most of the time there has been someone nearby, but that’s not always the case.”
“So,” interrupted Maite, “you are a mamua, a ghost, that jumps through time and possesses the bodies of your relatives?”
Marina shrugged. “Yes, I guess.”
“And Ainhoa is in there? Does she know what is going on?”
“Not really. She has a vague recollection that mostly manifests itself in her dreams. She won’t really recall being out here or talking to you. But, she’ll have dreams about me and about de Lancre…”
“That explains her song!” exclaimed Kepa. “That song about witches. It was about you!”