Наталия Аникина

Всё началось с того, что в детстве мне стал регулярно сниться фантастический мир Энхиарг. Раз или два в неделю я попадала в удивительные места. То оказывалась в подземном городе, где ящеры в огнеупорной чешуе соревновались в искусстве переправлять грузы через порталы-медузы; то – в лодке посреди озера с водой, похожей на ртуть, и берегами, покрытыми хрустальными сугробами из бабочек-подёнок; то – в радужном нутре гигантского разумного гриба в компании исследующих его учёных. Я была слишком мала, чтобы задумываться об устройстве этого мира, и просто наслаждалась необыкновенными видами и приключениями, словно переносилась в мультик, который показывали только для меня.
Сейчас в энхиаргский цикл входят уже четыре книги. У него даже есть своя энциклопедия — чтобы читателю было легче сориентироваться в его географии, познакомиться с населяющими его расами, их обычаями, мировоззрениями, верованиями…
Я люблю порассуждать на всякие вкусные околофилософские темы – например, о том, как совершенно разным созданиям ужиться под одним небом (в семье, стране, на планете) и при этом сохранить свою индивидуальность.
Помимо написания историй, я увлекаюсь фильцеванием и стрельбой из лука. Очень люблю долгие прогулки.
Работаю психологом (логотерапевтом) – с удовольствием помогаю людям отстоять право на собственное мнение, найти новые смыслы в период кризиса, в моменты творческого застоя, когда опускаются руки и кажется, что вдохновение уже никогда не вернется.

It all began when I started having dreams about the fantasy world of Enhiarg. Once or twice a week, I traveled to amazing places. At one point, it was an underground city where reptiles clad in fireproof scales competed in the art of sending goods through jellyfish portals, in another there was a boat in the middle of lake of quicksilver and shores covered in heaps of crystal mayflies and another was an iridescent core of a gigantic sentient mushroom in a company of researchers. I was too small to really think about how this world worked and just enjoyed the unusual views and adventures as if I was given a chance to be inside an animated movie that they made for me.
There are now four books in the Enhiarg series. The world even has its own encyclopedia to make it easier for the reader to get to know the races inhabiting it, as well as their traditions, outlook, and beliefs.
I like reflecting on various would-be philosophic matters — for example, on how can so different creatures live in this world together (in a family, in a country, on a planet) and still keep their individuality at the same time.
In addition to writing stories, I enjoy felting and archery. I love long walks.
I am a psychologist (logotherapist) and I enjoy helping people to fight for the right to express their own opinion, find new meaning in life during crisis periods or creative stagnation when they are discouraged and it seems that inspiration will never come back to them again.

Психологическое фэнтези “The Cat Who Knew How to Cry”

A still summer eve descended upon the green plain, covering the land with its warm belly. When the final customer had left, Irson Trimm closed down the Lair and moved to the rear side of the building, which housed his personal quarters. Sitting up on the windowsill, he rolled up his pants and sleeves, and savored the long-sought silence. A slumberous lawn stretched out before him as far as the eye could see, peppered with the hazy sparkles of lunar oxalis, rare saplings and reddish blots of crawling shrubbery.

Back when he was a student at the Lindorg Academy, he hadn’t been able to refuse his classmates who had gotten it into their heads to go and get identical shiny tattoos. However, his inherent loathing toward such pretentiousness pushed him to put the tattoo in a place where it wouldn’t be on display. And now, the bare sole of his foot, hanging from the window, was a veritable lighthouse for moths, flies and mosquitos (which, thankfully, weren’t fond of Tanae blood). Irson smiled, remembering how his father liked to tease his mother, jesting smogthat he had married so poisonous wife that even mosquitoes wanted to part of her.

There was a knock on the door. “Speaking of mom and dad” groused the Tanae and, with a reluctant hop down to the floor, turned on the light with a soft hiss. Why oh why were creatures so stuck on picking at old wounds! His fingers lingered a few moments on the door knob before turning it. Irson stepped to the side, allowing his guest – a human male around fifty years of age – to come through.

“I’m glad you found the time to speak with me, Irson”  the man said, extending a strong, tanned hand toward the Tanae.

“How could I refuse?” Irson wondered if he should invite his guest to take aseat – in certain countries it would be construed as tactless coming from an immortal creature to a mortal one, an allusion of sorts to the latter’s decrepitude.

“When I found out what happened to your father… His life shouldn’t have ended like it did” said the guest, balling his fists painfully.

“It took me a long time to accept his decision… his death, Uncle Restes. I know what you’re going through right now.”

Irson had gone through it all himself many years ago, when, upon returning home after a long stint at the Lindorg Academy of Magic, he didn’t recognize his parents. Just as a bottle of perfume loses its scent when the owners forget to close it before leaving, so had carefree joy escaped, evaporated from his home. No longer was his father playing his silly-looking, knotted pipe while wearing a tall snake-charmer’s hat – an old friend’s wedding present – over his fire-red mane; nor was his mother playing along by climbing into a wide basket and performing one of those hypnotic, exotic dances she had learned from her years studying at Tialianna’s Temple. Throughout his childhood it was only these performances that reminded Irson that his parents were of different races, that Irson Sr. was a mortal man, while Ilshiyarris was a High Tanae, the forever-young daughter one of Serpent’s Eye’s oldest priest bloodlines. They looked the same age…

But now, with her soft ivory skin, her hair, light and thin as spider silk, and her supple agile body, Ilshiyarris could easily be taken for her husband’s late daughter. A daughter who loved most deeply him who would inevitably leave her. His mother – so pale that the pearly scales on her cheeks and forehead melted into her skin – spoke in perpetual whisper, so low that it might seem to an outsider that she feared disturbing someone or being overheard. He found it unbearable to live in this abode of quiet sorrow and slowly waning life. Being immortal, he just couldn’t understand why his father wanted to leave this world so soon, especially since the option of escaping old age and death was right there for the taking. Even if the family savings and Ilshiyarris’ contacts in Naeria weren’t enough to persuade one of the body manufacturers to defy Veindor and make an immortal body for a mortal, nothing prevented them from finding a willing craftsman somewhere in the outer reaches of Enhiarg, maybe even outside its borders where the Merciful’s influence wasn’t nearly as ubiquitous. And yet, his parent’s weren’t doing anything…

“I see you’ve moved nearly all their furniture here” said Restes, brushing his finger along a commode.

“Yes” said Irson with unexpected heaviness. “Mother decided to sell the house with all the furnishings. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing it all.”

“So typically Tanae. It’s good that you didn’t take after your mother in this respect” said Restes without looking at Irson.

“Is it, really?” hissed Irson, giving in to anger. “I thought mother would die from grief after father passed!”

“Irson, my boy, I meant no offense to her," the guest put a hand on his shoulder conciliatorily; it was all the Tanae could do not to shake it off. “The young Lady Ilshi was a wonderful wife and mother. But those who knew her well never doubted that sooner or later her nature would prevail. Or will you try to argue that life with your father somehow means more to High Priestess Ilshiyarris than an amusing episode from her past”

“I wouldn’t use the word “amusing” “Irson objected, then added reluctantly, “Though her emotional wounds have certainly healed.”

“Exactly my point. She had veered off her Path, spent a number of years living with your father, and had returned to it. And now that she’s back to seeing clearly her purpose in serving Tialianna, there’s no reason for her to look back.

And she probably wants the same for you. How did she react to your settling here?” Restes suddenly asked.

“Poorly. She would prefer if I followed in her footsteps. Perhaps she’s right: when I was a child, I wanted to be a priest more than a mage. And studying in Lindorg only strengthened that desire…”

“But your father’s death changed your attitude,” Restes finished the thought with an understanding nod.

“You could say that," Irson replied evasively; he wanted to commiserate with Restes, who had just learned of an old friend’s passing, but didn’t intend on pouring his own heart out.

“You could. You could also speak plainly: you were hurt that your mother didn’t stop Irson from committing this senseless suicide. That she didn’t raise us, his friends, to stop him," Restes smashed his palm on the table, and continued before the other could object: "That she acted like a proper Tanae. “No wonder you felt afterwards that becoming Tialianna’s priest would be tantamount to betraying your father, just as she had betrayed him without realizing it.”

Irson swallowed a lump – Restes hit the proverbial nail on the head. He had not been brave enough to come to terms with what he had been feeling toward the servants of the Mistress of Pathmaking since his father's death. A wave of agonizing shame swept over him, though he couldn’t tell whether he was ashamed before his guest who had exposed in him such dastardly thoughts, before his mother whom they slighted, before Tialianna or before himself.

“My boy, it makes me very, very happy that you didn’t start arguing with me.

It tells me that your mind is lucid. You’re capable of understanding that your father’s death is a tragedy, and not the natural way of things.”

Irson stared at his guest in disbelief, but the other must have interpreted his silence as voracious attention.

“Yes, a terrible tragedy. This is precisely the way – gently and humanely – that Tialianna and Veindor dispose of those who stand in their way.”

“How did my father stand in their way?”

“Think about it. What was your mother while she was with him?” asked Restes insinuatingly, then answered himself, “She was nothing.”

“For us she was everything," whispered Irson, himself not knowing why.

“For you, yes. But not for Tialianna. For her she was lost. Ilshiyarris gave up on her career as a priestess when she married your father. Her husband, or rather her love for him, prevented her from becoming the creature the Mistress of Pathmaking wanted her to be. That is why she got rid of him.”

Irson was about to laugh down this conspiratorial poppycock, but just then his subconscious pulled a nasty little number in drudging up a memory of a conversation with his father. Back then, unable to endure the heavy silence, he decided to straighten out the tails of all outstanding issues…

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