Sitting in the early morning mist, the young shepherd herded his small flock of goats across the destitute and perilous mountain.
Alone and at ease, the man was as free as the breeze that guided him along an unseen path, one that was all too familiar to him.
A high-pitched whistle emitted sharply, overwhelming the peaceful silence that engulfed the wanderer and his bestial companions.
It was a whistle of warning and preparation. Although the village hidden in the jagged mountains, protected by the thick breath of an ancient spirit had not been discovered by an adventurer who survived to tell the tale in over a century, that could change in a single moment.
Although the wanderer who belonged to the old mountain clan that resisted the change of the ever consuming beast that had become the consumed the free spirit of Humanity, he knew that change was the one constant within the Universe, the sole song in which we are but fluid instruments attuned to the greater symphony.
Change, the micro, and macro pinnacle of existence on all its levels of Being was rarely a passive force. Its wrath was the driving force of destruction just as it’s healing was the main component of once more breathing life into the dead, resurrecting a beginning that was believed to be no more. “From the ashes, we rise“, the young shepherd found himself softly repeating to himself incessantly, a mantra he cemented into his very reality.
Two more sharp whistles rang out throughout the mountainside. This had never happened before in the thousands upon thousands sun and moon dances that the young man had been present within this current manifestation he inhabited. It indicated approach and the interest of the foreign forces in making contact, as they must have been edging closer and closer to the lost village in the woods, the lost village that the alien presumed to once more make visible to the world, or erase it from existence altogether.
Closer, not even a mile away lay the man’s two small huts, one for work and one for sleep as well as his goat’s pasturing fence. Another mile and his village would welcome him and his youthful energy to make sense of the mysterious intruders who had not interfered in their simple and peaceful way of life since time immemorial.
That’s when he felt it. The peaceful and serene aura of the mountain was very much not so the closer he approached his territory. Two of his goats were beginning to frantically wail in dismay, indicating a negative force was near, yet he edged closer and closer nonetheless.
A single whistle desperately rang out, piercing the wanderer’s very soul, before being cut short. This was not good. The final and third call of warnings indicated that the intruders were in fact not peaceful, nor were they here to bring about change in a positive manner to the ancient village hidden in the mist. The three whistles indicated that all men must come to the village immediately in defense of the women, children and elderly who would escape through a hidden carved mountain pass at the end of the village in the hut of the chief.
As the wind guided him throughout the misty mountains his entire life, ensuring his safety through the treacherous mountains, it now carried to him a warning, a scent. The smell of crimson agony and smokey bliss, the smell of gore and sorrow, the scent of death. Foreign shouts became distinct in the distance, as did the soft whimpers of lost children and the defiant screams of defensive mothers.
The wind pushed him back, clearly edging him away from the clear destruction, the clear death, the clear call to arms that he was now encroaching upon. Still and meditative, blissful and prepared, the wanderer allowed himself to finally be present in the moment. Allowed his spirit to take full control of the present and leap into action.
Leaving behind his flock and whispering a prayer of protection and safety to them, promising his return if it was meant to be, he broke into a sprint towards his hut where he took off his shepherds cloak and the thin goat hide sandals he wore throughout the mountains, finally he took hold of his shepherd’s staff, pressed the hidden lever at its bottom and with a sharp “click”, a sturdy and incredibly sharp obsidian blade arose at the top of the staff.
“Thank you for this moment and thank you for this life, if death shall be my next lover than I shall cradle her gently with this knife if I take life, know that it is not for me for you, please guide me in this moment as I return to the ashes with you”, The man whispered to the wind as it carried him from his hut and guided him to the center of where the pain and despair was emitting from.
“Freidriech, take Ulof and Joteim and follow the demons up the center, they’re flooding into the main hut at the end, kill them all and regroup here, me and Solof will finish the rest of these swine” the leader of the heavily muscled and battle-hardened squad yelled as he decapitated an elderly man, who had attempted to brain him with a dark stoned club a moment earlier. “Aye, finish up and meet us there, that’s where the women are headed after all” the one-eyed man laughed as he licked his lips, gestured to two of the other warriors and broke into a sprint after the terrified villagers.
Close to twenty disfigured bodied lay around the area where the slaughter took place, mostly men, a few women and a young boy, no older than ten lay in agony, cradling his intestines in his arms as he awaited release from the world. “Father, did you hear tha-..” Blood sprayed across the leader of the warriors face as he turned and saw his young son, whom he had taken against the wishes of his mother on his first raid in the treacherous mountains, mouth wide open in terror, with a blade sticking out through his throat, the blackened blade jerked back through the opening, extinguishing the life that the man had cradled and nurtured for almost twenty seasons in a single moment. Before the warrior could process the grief that now rung out throughout his soul, his instincts kicked in, his battle-ax went up in defense again the blackened blade.
With a roar, he pressed the attack against his assailant. A young lean man, naked save for his spear, who gracefully parried and blocked his heavy ended attacks, he moved like the wind and as he fought the man, he felt love and appreciation. Indeed they danced in battle, appreciating one another’s skill and dedication to the art of combat for what seemed like an eternity until the large warrior saw the corpse of his son, staring at him with blacked eyes, in a shout of anger, he raised his axe in a crushing blow, in that single moment, three fluid stabs punctured his chest. His life force draining out of him as he crumbled to the earth next to his greatest treasure, turned the greatest tragedy, he took the hand of his son’s and placed it upon his heart. “Forgive me young blood, for I was a fool..” The warrior croaked as reality transformed into an ever-changing vortex and finally a blackened abyss.
As he pulled his blade from the large man, he scanned the field before him. His tribe. His clan. His family. Half lay dead before him. All of the young men like himself, the workers and guardians lay dead. Few of the tribe’s weapons were present. Indicating the men had rushed the intruders without weapons, giving their lives so that the women, children and elderly may have a few more precious moment to make their way to safety. Three of the six male elders also lay dead, as well as two mothers and a young boy, the weaver’s son, whose eyes were fixed on him in admiration even in death. “I shall see you again”, he whispered to the dead before he hastily grounded himself and allowed the wind to once more carry him to the sound of life and death itself, the fight for life through the possibility of death that rang out before him, coming from the chief’s large hut at the edge of the town.
“Let them scream and whimper” roared one of the warriors to his brother as he slashed an old man in half, drawing the screams of the few remaining women in the room. There were at least two dozen figures fleeing towards the hut earlier, why were there but a few old men and two of the women, both hideous to the invaders taste within the interior of the hut?
Suddenly and with a vicious roar, one of the elderly me threw his body against that of the man named Ulof and they both broke through an opening in the wall of the hut. Only the screams of the foreigner were audible, as the elder accepted his own sacrifice and took them both tumbling down the edge of the mountains, breaking their bodies and freeing their spirits.
The two remaining invaders screamed in fury and grabbed the remaining elderly man by his long white hair and tossed him from the same opening that had just been the demise of both their ally and enemy. This elder too, showed no fear as he became one with the mountains that he had called home since his beginning. Both men then turned on the two women behind them, who were no longer there. They heard a click and saw one of the floorboards shift back into place slightly from underneath the large fur rug in the center of the room. That’s where they went, the two men locked eyes in understanding and pressed their advance, shouting the names of the man and son whom they had left behind to clear out the rest of the villagers in the center of town to join them in vengeance for the death of their brother.
As the shepherd burst into the room with the element of surprise, his blade entered the back of the first of the two visible invaders in the chieftain’s hut with ease. He pulled his blade out viciously and bashed the man skull, feeling it crack with the end of his stave before he spun around and blocked the second foe’s sword with the center of his staff, breaking it in two. Screaming in fury, the bearded warrior pressed his attack. He saw his cousin, whom he had trained with since they were youths in the art of combat laying in a crimson puddle. He looked slightly out the door and towards the center of the village saw two more familiar shapes laying side by side, unmoving, that of his uncle and nephew. “I’ll end your lineage for this”, he spat at the naked and graceful man, who stared at him calmly, without expression or emotion. He dropped the torch he carried and allowed it to consume the floor beneath them as he gripped his sword in both hands and rushed towards his absolute enemy.
As the inferno engulfed them in their dance of blades, the young man whispered gratitude and understanding towards the current situation. Dodging the large man’s brutal attacks in tranquility, he found himself in complete unison with the moment. Blades entered flesh in unison. The edge of the young man’s spear bit into the vicious warrior’s heart, as the vicious warrior’s sword came crashing down, severing the young man’s right arm, his working arm, completely. The large invader crashed to the floor lifeless. The young man breathed out freely and allowed himself to edge closer to the opening in the chieftain’s hut, feeling drawn by the wind to it.
The women and children pressed their way through the ancient hidden pass with haste. Fearing close pursuit by the vicious invaders that had cut them down like animals, they did not stop until nightfall and were reassured by one of the young boys who had volunteered to scout behind, that they were most certainly not being pursued. They rested among the rocks, shared prayer and sadness, broke hard bread in gratitude of the sacrifice of those that allowed them to escape and the blessing of life they still possessed. The journey of life never ends, an elder woman addressed what little remained of the tribe. Experiences like this define us right now, they allow us to understand and better prepare. Destruction is the only cause for Rejuvenation. Just as Rejuvenation will once more bring about destruction. The Universe requires balance and employs Chaos as it’s agent.
The flames consuming his surroundings and searing his flesh brought him nothing but serenity. For his body was numb, his mind was clear and his spirit was soaring. As the young man looked out towards the mountains, he thought he could see his remnants of his tribe continuing their descent to their sister village, one whose alliance had been enacted when they moved to the twin peaks of the mountains together long ago would ensure their safety, survival and eventual migration back to their own peak. The wind carried him closer until he could feel himself floating. Nothing solid was beneath him. Know he was at last free from his bond, the young man knelt his head in prayer.
“From the ashes, we rise“, the man softly whispered as the wind carried him off the edge of the cliff into eternity, into unison with the mountains and love with the wind that had guided him since his inception.
Thank you for reading. Sending you Love through Light,