Eshu didn’t care what the other Orishas said; the mortals had it right. They had bicycles, trains, cars, and most importantly, planes. Heck, even a sluggish air-balloon would’ve done the trick, no matter how slow it was. That would’ve been much better than climbing an endless golden chain to the heavens.
Sprinkles of water dewed Eshu’s face and saturated his long, drooping hat. He thought it was the condensation of the clouds that wet him, but as he scaled farther and farther upward, the rushing of waterfalls filled his ears.
It might’ve been ages since he’d been up there, yet he knew he was close. He knew this not only because his loincloth and hat were getting soaked through, but because the strain in his arms was giving way to fatigue.
A few more grabs, pulls, and lifts later, and Eshu finally broke the plane of the tallest and thickest clouds. And it was about time—the strength in his hold was threatening to leave him, forcing him to tumble back to the Mortal Realm.
Before I get done here, Eshu thought, I’m going to make some changes to this damn sky chain.
A collection of floating mountains spread out ahead of him, dotting the deep-blue canvas between the sky and heavens. The water that had ruined Eshu’s clothes came flowing from the waterfalls that fell into the clouds to cast rain on the mortals below.
The Orisha grunted and wiped his face clean for the dozenth time. Then, with a long, resounding breath, he lifted himself over the small plot of earth, which served as an anchor for the sky chain.
Eshu took measure of his surroundings. It had been a while since he’d visited the Sky Realm. He remembered then why it had been so long. Everything up here was so ethereal, so peaceful, so perfect.
And absolutely a bore.
That’s another thing the mortals got right. They knew how to spice up a place, make it their own. His fellow Orishas, however, especially the ones who lived way up in the clouds, had as much flavor as the human’s oatmeal.
Squinting, Eshu surveyed each mountain atop their floating islands. He scanned for a specific peak… a snow-capped range that housed a certain Orisha of interest. And just there, between the sun’s ray and the moon’s glow, a perfectly angled cap of snow glimmered like a shining pyramid of silver-white.
“Wa si mi,” Eshu said, and a staff snapped into his hand from nothingness. He twisted the wooden shaft around his body, and his clothes dried in an instant.
“All right, old friend,” he murmured. “Let’s see if you’re still up there.”
With another flourish of his staff, a cluster of clouds gathered around his floating plot of earth. He smiled. Now that he had made the climb, he was free to travel as he pleased, free of the chain that suppressed the full use of his Ashe—his magical energy.
He tipped his toe on the first patch of cloud to test his purchase. When his weight found proper balance, he skipped along the clouds he manifested before him, one by one.
Eshu chuckled the entire way to Obatala’s domain.