Departure
Contributor
Written by
Peg Gotthold
August 2010
Contributor
Written by
Peg Gotthold
August 2010
He wandered about for a while. Stopped. Looked around, and settled on a sturdy log. The stream beneath his feet sparkled and sung a water lullaby. Although drowsy from the mid-summer’s sun, he dare not sleep. Across the valley, the village was preparing for the great feast. Delicacies were baking in the brick ovens and the best of the brew was chilling in the springhouse. Gowns of sheen and caps of luster hung out to air. Dragon flies flitted above the small puddles around the well. It was the day of transformation. The village chieftain rattled around his darkened cottage. It had been too many years and his mind had become dull. The eyes of a boy stared at him from the shadows. Would the duty be too difficult for one not accustomed to metal and flint? In another cottage, the village hag chanted from the sacred text. The day needed to be cloaked in the disguise of honor and valor. For many years strife had not lived in the land. The ancient weapons sat rusting in the armory. The camp followers could not ply their trade. The storehouse were too full. The riches of the neighboring lands were too far away. The textile weavers wove fabric too gaudy. Gold was spent too freely on the arts and charity. The youth were too complacent. The men were too pliable. The horses were too fat. At moon rise, the new moon glowed with earthshine. “I am the clan of the blue faces. I will destroy your cottage” “I am the clan of the green hands. I will tighten your chains.” I am the clan of the yellow feet. I will take your manhood and make it my own.” Around the clearing they taunted him, spiraling closer with each pass. The heavy drum beat masked the sounds of the celebration. His beloved stood under a bower of myrtle leaves - waiting, The hag struggled with a large sack. A cup of warm, bittersweet, thick mead was given him to drink. “I am the clan with the blue faces. I claim the veil of willow flowers.” “I am the clan of the green hands. I will bind you tighter with strips of perfumed cloth.” “I am the clan of the yellow feet. I claim the maidenhead and make her my slave.” Blood glowed black in the earthshine. The eyes flamed. Hands reached for the sack. They felt her tresses and reached beyond. Deep inside were the instruments of his new trade. When he touched the tools, the clansmen retreated into the piney wood. Into the clearing strode the chieftain. Handing the reigns of a pale horse to him, he shouted “Ride.”

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