Chronicles of the lost tribe
As obvious this flash came out too late, for which I apologize again. I took the liberty of delivering it in longer length for that reason. I do hope all that will read it will enjoy.
Chronicles of the lost tribe
Time had passed. Darkness had been replaced by light for many rounds and the winds blew cold, and the winds blew warm. The nomads from an unnamed continent had been traveling for many moons and suns but they were not to stop until their god, whom they called Meškwaanemwa had spoken to the holy man Aru and had pointed their place of rest.
Now the nomads were no longer nomads but a small tribe with a village of tents.
But when they settled Meškwaanemwa did no longer speak to Aru. The holy man performed rituals, and burned herbs that colored the flames yellow-green and filled his tent with sharp and lasting smell, and he burned bones of small animals until they crunched, but still Meškwaanemwa refused to speak to Aru and the tribe. For that the men and women feared that ill luck and death might strike the village.
Aru then thought of the reason why their god is angry and silent. In this new land the tribe had not yet named him properly, with a blood sacrifice and a ritual of the young becoming one of the old. Aru called for the war leader Balgyn who was a tall and strong man with braided hair, and asked him to prepare a sacrificial hunt in the name of Meškwaanemwa, the Red one. Aru had sensed a storm in one of his trances, a storm that will cease the tribe from existing. He prayed for the hunt to be pleasing and to calm their god.
For the praising to work though Balgyn was bound to find a boy who had not yet come of age to be a man. The scout’s youngest son Tolegen, who was a slim but fast child, was soon to become a hunter of his tribe and today was the day his initiation was set to begin and end. He was told to bring enough food to feed the whole tribe and to bring a suitable offering of raw red meat to place before the bones and skull of Meškwaanemwa and name the prey in the name of the god.
Yeleu, the scout, who was a greying but still strong and capable to trace and hunt, gave his son a spear of hard wood and a sharp arrow stone peak. He was the one to escort his son and tell him if the offering is good or not. Tolegen’s mother Kulai painted his face in the marks of the star-gods to protect him. She wrote an ancient proverb on his chest and arms to give him the strength of a thousand wolves in the hunt. Aru, the priest gave him an amulet from the homeland to lead him to where the prey sleeps.
The young boy was proud but feared. “A man of our tribe does not fear. He speaks with bear roars, he weights like a mammoth, and he is strong like the Red one” his father Yeleu told him.
The two of them left the circle of tents to journey in the tundra. If by sunrise Tolegen had not returned with the gifts he was to be banished from the village for insulting their god.
Yeleu carried his atlatl* over one shoulder and a spear in one hand. He was not to interfere in the hunt unless his own life was threatened. Tolegen was allowed to die and his death would be as well a suitable sacrifice in the Blood ritual.
As the two progressed, passing by wild life and streams and small ponds, Tolegen pointed a few smaller inhabitants of the tundra, but Yeleu shook his head in disapproval. For the feast of a tribe, not a large one, but yet with many to feed Tolegen had to catch a fitting and large prey and yet one that was in taste of the god. “Raw red meet” Aru the priest had told him, “red as the face of Meškwaanemwa”.
By a lake, which captured a descending sun’s burning but yet fading colors, Tolegen spotted a horned beast, fat and large. He thought its crown to be a good totem and its meet to be red as the tongue licking the water. Yeleu approved and knelt aside, only watching his son, the boy lurking like an animal himself, spear held high, muscles tight and ready to throw. In the art of the tribe the sharp edge had to pierce the neck in one hit.
The antler raised its beautiful head, his silky brown fur wet. Tolegen froze few feet away, still far from reach and watched as the black eyes of the animal enlarge in fear and then before he could react he watched the antler run in panic and disappear in the woods.
Yeleu stood up confused.
As the body of the sun was almost hidden from their eyes a flying flame fell from the sky in a flash and collided with the soil somewhere ahead in a burst of bright, white light that blinded Tolegen and Yeleu for a mere moment. But all was soundless.
When the surrounding became visible again they only saw an upcoming night and heard nothing but more silence, an unsettling one.
Yeleu felt fear, but he knew also what his father had told him, and that was that only the Gods roam the heavens and above, and that falling lights meant the soul of a God is released to enter the realm of mortals and seek something from them. As one of the elders of the village he knew that he was to welcome the fallen one and lead him back to his tribe. But Yeleu feared now mostly because he had never seen a God before.
He led his son further into the pine green womb of Mother Nature; two barefooted men with skins of wild animals and painted faces. In the dark though, their colors were invisible.
Ahead of them a fragile glow chased away the night. It called for Tolegen and Yeleu to come closer. And when they did, before them they found an egg – shaped large object that was no stone, nor wood. It was still glimmering but less than before. Its smooth surface was cracked in one place, and from there in heavy drops, dripped tick blue liquid. To Yeleu and Tolegen it was unfamiliar and they stood cautious away from the crashed trees and dug hole in which the egg-shaped object rested. But it was something in front of it, something that lay in the puddle of blue mass that made Yeleu gasp and point his spear.
A small and slim body was placed there, that was not a man, nor an animal. It was a grey color as fading ashes are and was covered in saliva as a newly born baby is. It had an enlarged skull shaped head. Its skin was very transparent and the bones were visible at places. Yeleu knew the skeleton of a man, and he knew the skeleton of a child, but this was different. Its spine was sharp, and where its torso ended an excrescence like a tail was barely formed but still visible. Its hands were short and with only two fingers. Tolegen slid down into the hole before his father could speak up. He observed the small creature from a distance. It had no eyes, not yet and no ears. Its mouth was vertical and only a tin line. Tolegen was surprised of the vision of a god before him. He was in many ways odd and different from how his tribe had painted the Gods back in the homelands which they had left. He was no animal, no beast of the forest. Tolegen took a step closer. He knelt and touched the body first with his spear. It didn’t move. Then he reached a hand and let his fingers caress the skin. It was cold and hard. Dead. He took some of the blue liquid on the tip of his fingers and took it close to his nose. It didn’t smell like anything. Tolegen brushed it off his cloth and turned to his father.
“We should bring his remains to the tribe and ask Meškwaanemwa what to do with the body of his sky brother” said Tolegen. “The gods will be angered if we leave him here to be food of the wolves and bears”
Yeleu said nothing, but he helped his son carry the body wrapped in Tolegen’s cloth.
They soon came back to the village with no hunt in hands. Yeleu told Kulai they need Aru’s help, for the priest was the voice of Meškwaanemwa here on Earth.
In the holy tent of the priest the bones and skull of the god were placed on a wooden pillar. They were clothed in the great wolf’s skin that was painted red. In the bottom of the pillar small gifts were placed by the tribe members asking favors from their god. Aru was sitting before a small fire, throwing lichen and leafs and wild flowers into the flames, breathing in their scent and washing his face in the grey, eye-watering smoke.
Yeleu and Tolegen entered the sacred area and knelt before Aru, Yeleu placing the small body before the priest.
“It is a God we found priest Aru, a God that came from the sky while the sun was running away for his sleep. He entered our place in the world but died, for he was fragile and weak. Tell us priest is this an omen for us? Is it bad?”
Aru unwrapped the cloth and gave a sudden cry of fear. He stood up and begun to mumble in the language of his ancestors while picking herbs from a bag by the altar. His old hands threw the herbs in the fast building flames of the fire, still mumbling what now sounded like a song. Then he took a cup filled with the fat of an animal sacrificed fifty moons ago and with a stick he pushed it into the fire. He took the spear from Tolegen and cut his wrist, then he cut Tolegen’s wrist and gathered the blood in another wooden cup. The drops he gave to the hungry flames in libation for the god. Then the priest sat again and painted his fingers with the remaining blood, drew a round symbol on his forehead and breathed in the scent of what the flames were fed with.
His eyes turned white and his voice ceased to mumble. His shook viciously, until the body of the priest now in trance stood up and slowly moved to stand before Meškwaanemwa’s skull. Aru placed a hand upon the white bone and spoke with a distant voice:
“It has come the day in which the skies speak their words. Tolegen and Yeleu have brought their warnings to this tribe”
“What is the god’s warning? What will happen to our tribe?” asked Yeleu.
Aru took a deep breath that felt like wind coming through the tent.
“Aru had sensed a storm and a storm had come in the face of an infant god. It will begin soon but will end sooner”
“Our tribe has warriors that are prepared to face any threat. Are other men coming for us? Are beasts coming for us?” said Tolegen.
Aru shook his head
“It is not fear of men, nor fear of beasts. It is beyond any. Meškwaanemwa the Red one has spoken his final words to the people of this tribe. You will be forgotten and others will settle where your bones lie and they will take me as their god and reclaim me from the ashes of your falling. But no one will know of you and your men, your children and your women. For the curse is strong upon you. You will face death before the morning comes and the boy will be first to die before the eyes of his father Yeleu.”
Aru fell to his knees, catching his breath, his eyes burning but back to their normal onyx color. He stared back at the two men and spoke to them with a voice that sounded twice his age.
“What have you brought to us?”
Tolegen had no words. He only stared down at the ugly body of a dead god.
As Meškwaanemwa had predicted before the dawn came Tolegen died and soon after the whole village was dead.
Time passed and the path of another nomadic tribe crossed the hidden graveyard of the once inhabiting tribe. They found no bodies, for each member of the tribe had disintegrated within hours becoming dust and then nothing. The new settlers with black animal skins and red faces found only a skull of a great wolf wrapped in old and fainted red wolf skin, and because they had long-lost their own God claimed this totem to be their own.
*atlatl - spearthrower, an early introduction to the bow and arrow combination