The lone warrior sat on his knees atop Mesna'Ya Canyon. His bare feet and torso felt the brush of a cool breeze which dipped and sang through the pitted walls below. The Voice of the Creator was here. The Voice of the Creator was also within him. He knew now what he must do. He would find the gelte. He would protect her. To do anything else was to fail in his purpose.
He rose slowly from his cliff-top perch, stretched his arms high, and lifted up words of thanks. Then he turned and followed the path toward home. He met no one on the way. Most of the Gahl, his tribe, were packing, leaving in search of safer ground. After the face of Y'Dahnndrya split open and swallowed an entire tribe, all D'Koruyin fought to regain their inner balance and peace. It was hard to imagine why the Creator would allow such a thing to happen. So many innocent lives snuffed out in a moment...
But there was one life he could save. One life that would make a difference for all the clans, not just his. To her, he would bind himself in service. If the wrongs of the Children were to be righted, change must start somewhere. It seemed she was the spark of change the Creator had in mind. If this tiny person's hair was truly the same color as the setting suns, the title seemed appropriate. He smiled inside at the thought.
The warrior arrived at the orth he shared with his Pareh, his home for all eighteen of his sun-cycles. He stood for a moment and soaked in the sight of it. Who knew if he'd ever see it again after today? He ducked and entered through the flap and walked to his pareh's writing chair. Taking up the board resting at the side, he quickly scribbled a note to let the man know his azho was taking up his purpose and would return only when that purpose was completed. He read it over once, signed his name to it, and set it on the nearby sleeping furs.
The other side of the orth was his. He walked toward his own pile of sleeping furs and took a travel bag from a peg above them. He filled it with enough food for two days and added a pouch of medicinal herbs. He donned a long, leather tunic which opened in front and wound his weapon sash around his waist. He stuffed his hunting blade and three smaller blades into it. Turning to a wooden chest, he rummaged in it until he found two barbs he could use to catch water-folk if food became scarce. He turned toward the door, thought better of it, and walked once more to his pareh's side of the orth. He found a small flask of hon'te and added it to his gear. It would warm him during the breezy nights which whispered with remnants of the icy season.
He looked over his home one last time and his gaze lingered on the beautiful bone carving hanging by Pareh's chair. His morah's last and best work pulled at his heart as memories surfaced. The el'tekh's wings spread wide, its claws stretched forward, and flames licked at its wings and tail. He had asked about the fire…
"What is it my ?"
"This is not a ."
"No. It is an . They fly in the eastern lands, in M'Neshunnaya."
"Why is the on fire?"
"Fire purifies. Even the most majestic of creatures must be purged of dross to be reminded of their purpose. Trial by fire refines us. Rather than destroying us, it strengthens and beautifies us. This will strengthen your when the time comes. Keep faith in our Creator who does not make mistakes."
"What do you mean, Morah?"
"You will know soon, my azho."
She ruffled his hair. Then she smiled sadly as she carved the finishing touches on the intricate work of art. She spoke of her own passing but he was not to understand that. And for many settings of the suns, her words were forgotten. He grieved again deep in his heart as the memories flooded his mind. She understood him in ways Pareh did not. He missed her deeply still, after all these sun-cycles.
He stood straighter, turned toward the door flap, bent, and . The path of memories could be dangerous if one lingered too long. And there was one who needed him now. The sooner his task was completed, the sooner he could return home.
Three days passed since leaving home. He trusted the Creator would guide his steps and kept his heading ever north and east, following the stars. He'd crossed the Alain'n River yesterday and the land rose in soft hills ahead of him. He scanned the horizon often, aware he was now trespassing. If he was discovered, it was certain the welcome would not be warm. He might not even have time to explain his presence. M'Neshunnayans were passive but they had proven themselves to be formidable fighters when the need was great.
In the distance, he saw the shimmer of light dancing on the horizon and felt he was close to his goal. The sound of rushing water rode the breeze to his ear. His features hardened at the thought of having to cross a fall or a rough rapid. Thanks to the Creator! At least his senses prepared him for the crossing up ahead.
He gathered as many vines as he could carry as he walked. He also selected four sturdy branches which had fallen from the trees. The rolling green hill-country surrounding him stirred his soul with its bounty. It was no wonder the M'Neshunnayans protected it so fiercely. The trees scattered around him stood at attention on sturdy trunks of massive girth. They grew so tall it was impossible to see the tops when standing under them. He shook his head and refocused on his goal.
He reached the water the next day and marveled at the slippery cliff reaching up into a sky so blue he winced. He quickly gathered his hair at the crown of his head and wove it into two long braids. He could not afford the distraction of wet strands sticking to his face. He swam across the pool and climbed out on the other side. He shook himself, scattering water droplets. He nodded and set to work with the vines and sticks. He tied two sticks and a cloth pouch filled with pebbles to one end. He carefully coiled the vine rope and spun the weighted end in an ever widening circle. When he judged the distance correct, he ran toward the fall and let the weighted end fly loose and high. He judged well. The sticks caught between the rocks at the top. Scaling the cliff would be quick and safe.
The climb wasn't as easy as he thought it would be. He rested for a moment at the top, looking back toward home. It was so far away. He could no longer see the . He could see none of the herds. All that met his lofty view were rolling hills and scattered trees to the west and a dense forest to the east. It was time to move for she was moving again. He felt it so. He must hurry if he was to meet her at the appointed time.
He walked for the better part of the morning when the ground suddenly thumped under his feet. He crouched low and placed a palm on the ground. This was not Y'Dahnndrya. Something big was moving fast and coming toward him. In an unknown place, where was ? Finding none, he steeled himself to meet the hidden foe with the honor of a D'Koruyin warrior.
The massive blue beast burst out of the tree cover scattering everything in its path. angry trumpet-call echoed through the tree-tops as it reared on hind legs. It turned abruptly and the warrior had no warning before the tree-trunk-sized tail slammed him into the underbrush as if he was a leaf.
He woke with a start as an unfamiliar face helped him to drink bitter tea. His torso felt as if a ripped right through it and a groan escaped his lips before he could stop it. He studied the holding his tea. Her hair was almost right but her eyes were definitely wrong. She was not the one. Had he gone the wrong way? He tried to sit up and grunted again with the effort. The graceful hand that pushed him back onto the mat was deceptive. This one great strength. He closed his eyes. In a moment he felt a cooling moisture on his brow. The cool cloth was removed but not far enough. Three cold droplets landed on his shoulder and arm, and his eyes flashed open again.
There she was. The person he swore to protect stood over his pallet staring at his torso. Did M'Neshunnayans not wear tattoos? She blinked and then looked at him. Her eyes burned through him until she turned and almost ran toward the man on the other side of the fire. So. a protector already? Why was he needed here? He must heal quickly to get the answers. He closed his eyes to rest. These people would not harm him.
When he woke again, the older two were talking by the fire. He sat up slowly. His ribs still ached but he could ignore the pain. He rose carefully and joined the two.
"My name is Tsadok Akal' the D'Koruyin Clan."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Tsadok! I'm Ya'el and this is . The lump over there is Yetsye." The older grinned as she called the younger a lump. "We are the children of Shira and Bay' of Zulima Village."
"It is an honor to meet you."
"What brings you to M'Neshunnaya?"
"The Creator has sent me. I believe I am to join you." His words shocked them. But they made no move to attack him.
The man finally spoke. "We're taking Yetsye to Levanna to receive her Visioning. She didn't want to go alone so we chose to join her." son of Shira would be a formidable opponent. It was a pity he was not D'Koruyin.
The one called Ya'el pushed for more information than he was ready to share, but was quick to apologize when she noticed his discomfort. He'd never experienced a conversation with such an excitable person. was harder to figure out because the man didn't speak much. He would make any D'Koruyin proud.
And his charge? As he thought of her, she rose from her pallet and motioned to her family. Then, without looking at him at all, she turned and walked off into the trees.
Their carelessness shocked him. If the Creator wanted her so well protected, someone should always be by her side. He picked himself up slowly and walked back to his pallet for a moment, thinking. Maybe she was herself. Maybe not. Either way, his purpose was clear. He glanced at the fire and the two siblings lost in their conversation. He turned and silently followed the path Yetsye took.
In no time, he found her kneeling beside a stream. Her mass of red-gold waves flowed everywhere as she fought to comb it. He felt a grin pulling at his lips and stifled it as she bound the unruly curls again in two puffs. They reminded him of clouds. He walked closer as she leaned over the water. Then she gasped, stood quickly and froze. Why wouldn't she face him? For a moment, he simply listened to be sure she still breathed. Then she turned.
He watched her head follow the line of his legs as far as his knees and stop. She was afraid of him! He could see her trembling.
"I am sorry." It was all he could think to say. How was he supposed to protect someone who was afraid of him? He turned and limped back to the camp. The other // joined him on the path and made him comfortable on the pallet once again. Earning the little one's trust would be difficult. She had been hurt badly to show such terror in the presence of an injured man.
He had solved problems before. Perhaps this was why the Creator sent him to her. She was comfortable with her family but if she was the one his Dreamsooth spoke of, she was too frightened right now to manage the path that was her destiny. So be it. He would follow the Creator's guidance and help this little one to overcome her fear. He would protect her until her quest was complete.
Purpose - A Children of Y'Dahnndrya Short Story by Robin McElveen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Melody Kittles writes fantasy fiction under the name Robin McElveen. She loves God, her family, the arts, a warm cup of coffee or tea, visiting friends, and collecting coffee & Pusheen items.
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