Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Vignette: A Stone in the Forest

A friend of mine challenged me to come up with some Elthos Vignettes which are examples of the kinds of people, places, things and events that exist in my World.   So here is one of them, named "A Stone in the Forest".

A wizened priest of Minvar, the Elkron of the Earth, came to the old forest to sit upon an ancient stone near the river.   He sat there in order to learn from the stone where the stone had come from and who was its lord.  During the three years of sitting the priest ate only once every other day and sat motionless on the stone, both day and night.  He even slept sitting.   This was so that the stone would speak to him, for stones speak very slowly and do not bide interruptions.  

It was a full fourteen days before the stone began to take notice of the little creature sitting on him.   Eventually he heard the little man’s voice calling to him, saying “who are you?”.   The stone sat for a while thinking about this.   Why would the little creature which flitted like lightning through the world be worthy of any knowledge of the great stone, whom he was.   But the little creature was persistent and the great stone saw that his heart was strong and determined.  This the old stone respected and he spoke.   The first sentence the stone spoke took three days.   And each sentence after that took a day or more, though eventually the old stone spoke more swiftly, though no single word took less than an hour.   And this is what the old stone said...

“I am Bjroknorenstienalar.”

The little creature was delighted and spent the next two days posing another question.   “Where do you come from?”

“I come from mighty mountain Bjroknorenstein.”

When the old stone saw that the little creature would listen to him, he began to consider that though the creature was small and fleeting, that knowledge of old stone would spread among the little creatures of the world, and old stone liked that idea.   So he began to sing a song of the old stone which he composed for the occasion.   The song can not be sung by human tongues,  but it’s words were as follows.

“We stones are old, and our memories are long, though not as long as the memory of the twinkling stars, who remember all.   Only the Mountain Lords speak with the stars for that is their wont, but we old stones speak to the earth and learn.  

I was born of the strife of the mighty Tectons, Gorundenor and Broekan, who began to collide many Mountain Ages ago.   Their striving caused Gorundenor to sink beneath the sea as Brokan rose high above to pierce the storm laden sky.   Near the front of the battle I was born in the fierce life giving magma of the conflict.   Such a journey as I have made you tiny creatures would not survive - not a single particle would be left to you, for on the gigantic back of Gorundenor and beneath the mighty heel of Brokan was I born of the race of true Granite and have lived long the life of a War-Stone.  

In my youth I fought in the Wars of the Magma Giants and was part of a great host led by colossal Bragknamnondor.    Beneath his banner we eventually found a fault in the foot of Brokan and by great splitting and melting and driving with the force of the Magma Giants we broke to the surface of the world and split the great Brokan’s toe, so that his toe was called Brokankarn and his wrath was great in those days.  

When we broke surface we suddenly found ourselves on the flank of a new war and fought against the Lords of the Air for a brief time but the Air Lords subdued the heat of our Magma and it was in that war that our legion was divided from the main army.  Under the banner of Morhardrahan the Strong our legion moved toward the sea upon the back of the Magma Giants and we fought there against the ocean for many an age. 

It was in latter end of those days that I was split off from my legion and stood against the sea alone, watching as the earth begin to fill with you tiny fleeting creatures which we call creatures-that-flit-like-lightning.  The ocean retreated when it fled eastward toward the rising sun.  After some time thereafter there came an age of ice which lifted me in its icy grip and moved me some great distance southward.  Then the ice retreated and I was alone on the plain but soon Ocean returned and we battled mightily once more, but there is no hope of winning a war against Ocean I have found.  

After a time a verdant forest grew round about me and many flitting creatures passed by, some as large as I was in those days, and very savage for flitting things.  These creatures were much ado about slaughter as I recall and their roaring could be heard a great ways off, and they were so large that when they walked the earth herself did tremble.

One day the Lord sent a Great Stone of Fire from the Heavens which hit the earth and made a great groaning in the world.  The sky grew dark and cold and there was again a long ice age.   And so I have watched and learned much through many an ice age since then and have journeyed far within the freezing hand of the Water Lord.

And so it is with the stones that we watch and learn and speak with the Mountain Lords and study the ways of Wind and Fire and Water that we might be warriors like the true Granite of old.  Such is the way of Stone-kind.   Now I sit here, an fat old stone and am slowly ground to dust by my old enemies the wind and the rain and have grown a nice burly head of moss and lichen.   Even so, I am old, yes, but compared with you I have a very long life ahead of me, little creature-that-flits-like-lightning.”

And when he had finished his song the old stone laughed for a good long time, for the tale was good and the ending of the song pleased him.

This conversation took many years, by the end of which time the old earth priest was very tired and hungry and returned to the temple and wrote the words of the old warrior stone in a book on such matters which can be found in the temple library to this day.

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