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Warrior’s Night


The night sky glittered above him as he strode naked through the plains. The soft prairie grasses felt like velvet on his feet as he ran towards the council fire. The men of the tribe were gathered there, their faces hidden from view as was their nature. His face alone was bare; only his soul was pure enough to be permitted this honor.

The shaman waited for him to take his place at the council fire. His soul was tainted, but because he was no warrior he was not bound by the same strictures. However in deference to their traditions, he was heavily tattooed so that his true face was obscured by intricate patterns and colors. It had taken a lifetime for the tattoo to reach this state; it would not be finished until he died, which would not be long for the shaman was an old, old man.

There was no talking as the shaman stood and walked to his place at the fire. He raised his hands and it was as if the earth stopped breathing. “Ah na a-too-way, ah na o-ray” he sang-chanted and the fire dimmed and went out. The men were as shadows in the night, only the blazing stars of the heavens affording what little light the darkness permitted.

His chant completed, the shaman spoke. “It is the time of the blessing,” he said in his old cracked voice. All of the dark figures leaned forward to hear his ancient words better. “We are a people whose story stretches back many, many harvests. Our elders who have left this world are with us this night, watching over us. Those of our people who have yet to be born are also with us, reminding us that it is our shutra,” he said using an ancient word that meant honorable task and destiny, “to stand steward in this land and to protect it for the generations that follow us into the prairie mists.”

He sang his song then, a song of ancient hunts, of battles bold and of tragedy. It was a song of hardship and pain but also of joy and hope. The shaman reminded them, through their song – for it was the song of all the People – that this was not their land, only their lives and that it was their place in the scheme of things to see that it was maintained.

He sang until he was hoarse, then the bare-faced warrior sang with him. When they were done, the masked warriors were silent ghosts in the starlit darkness. The shaman’s ancient eyes locked on the bare-faced warrior. “Rise up,” said the shaman in a surprisingly strong voice undimmed by his age. “Rise up again.” The bare-faced warrior stood, his naked limbs gleaming in the darkness, young and strong, his body pure and beautiful. “Rise up into the heavens pure one – be one with eternity.” Into the air rose the bare-faced warrior, his feet leaving the ground with the effortlessness of wind. Strong and true he traveled, hurtling through the ether like a well-thrown spear.

His triumphant war cry splitting the silence, the bare-faced warrior flew like the eagle into the night, over the slumbering land and over the predators of the night who looked up and howled their predator songs at the superior hunter gliding overhead. In the starry sky he danced, shaking his spear to frighten his enemies, his dark hair framing his handsome unscarred face, informing them that no enemy spear had touched him, no mark of battle befallen him and that he was a formidable foe to say the least.

Around him the stars blazed to life, myriad suns and planets and galaxies stretching into infinity around him. He was one with them all, an eternal warrior crying out for his brothers in the sky and they answere him, a thunderclap of light and noise and beauty so strong it made his heart ache. It passed through him as a soft summer breeze and his raging heart was made content. Peace swept through him and he slowly descended like a falling leaf until he rejoined his fellow warriors who stood in awe and respect for their comrade.

The shaman spoke. “Go forth and remember we are as one. The only stars that shine are the ones within our hearts. Make sure that they are good hearts.” With that the shaman stretched out his hands and his skin stretched and stretched until he too was caught by the wind and scattered in every direction until he disolved from existence.

In silence the warriors picked up their spears and left for their tribes and their homes using only the stars to guide their way – the stars within their hearts that knew where their homes lay. Dawn would break as it always will but in this sacred night of blue and silver starlight, they would be brothers of eternity and glory. Their names would be legends to inspire the next council fire that would call in the night for one pure heart to ascend the heavens. Thy will be done.

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One Response

  1. continue,so what happens next?

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