Monday, June 18, 2007

Down By the River

With no understanding of mining and smelting ore and the finer points of metallurgy, our village lived in a world where all of our tools were fashioned from wood and stone.

The Village Elders were the Fire Tenders and Healers, practitioners of the earliest forms of the Arcane Arts of Alchemy and Science, and they taught us to blacken and harden the tips of our pointy sticks so that they would be more effective against the armored hides of the beasts of the wood that we hunted, and those that hunted us.

They also taught us to carve mysterious symbols on the shafts our weapons, prayers to the gods, blessing that would make our weapons mighty.

I dunno if any of that stuff actually worked, but in those dark times I was willing to try anything heh.

They had us move the village up among the rocky slopes of the hillside, early on, at some more comfortable distance from where we had originally settled by the river, because all beasts, be they fell or fair, were driven first by thirst and second by hunger, and there was no good reason to provide the beasts with one place where they would be tempted to seek the satisfaction of both of those appetites, or to stand in their way when they sought the first and thus become the satisfaction of the second.

And any new people, late to come wandering in from the strange and solitary places in the deep woods that we had all come from, would still be able to see the smoke of our campfires from the river and join us.

We were not suspicious of strangers, as some folk are, sleeping among many treasured things within the Great Cities of Iron, for we were all strangers in those early times, each new soul that was drawn to our campfires made our village that much stronger, and even if there was some evil, hidden within us, there was little treasure for it to work upon, we had nothing worth stealing from each other, save companionship.

And at night we gathered at the campfire and ate together, and we spoke magic words with one another, words that made us laugh, words that made us feel stronger and healed us, somehow, and we sharpened our pointy sticks, and hardened them in the fire, and we carved the silly runes on our weapons that everyone with the possible exception the Village Wisemen knew didn't actually do a damned thing, but whatever, might as well humor the old fools and cut them some slack since they meant well, y'know?

Easy to forgive them a few of their eccentricities since they knew of herbs and spices and did such a masterful job of cooking and they took care of us when we were overcome with sickness.

Plus the runes looked kinda cool, I guess, at least, right?

And that was the way it was before the First Emmisary from the Great Cities of Iron came, and seeing so many skilled hunters and woodsmen among us, asked us to aid them in their battle with a terrible foe.

Everything changed after that.

Well, everything except the runes on my spear.

I still don't think they do anything heh.

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