An ancient tribe journeys to fulfill a prophecy, uncertain whether or not they should believe the advice of a strange, mysterious child. More
An ancient tribe journeys to fulfill a prophecy, uncertain whether or not they should believe the advice of a strange, mysterious child.
Word Count: 2434
(this story contains: death)
SAMPLE: (677 words out of 2434 words)
Many many years ago, in a place far far away, there was a child and he sat alone before a council of elders. The men of the council sat in a wide semicircle, their faces lit with the light of the orange fire, trails of smoke rising from their pursed and aged lips. Each elder held a pipe between his fingers and was smoking from it, although each pair of wise, knowing eyes remained fixed upon the small boy at the focus of the elders’ circle.
The boy himself was of no more age than four and sat cross legged, drawing ruins of ancient descent in the dirt. The boy was greatly advanced for his age in the magical practices of his ancestry, and, as the prophets had once said, was destined to act as either a savior or a curse upon his tribe in the coming lunars. Moments passed as the world around continued to reside in balanced silence before the lead elder spoke, breaking the balance. “You know of the prophecy?”
“I do,” the boy replied, although he did not look up from the symbols he marked upon the dirt around him.
“And what do you make of it?”
“I am either a blessing or a curse. Hear my warning and choose whether you believe it.” The elders nodded, in an agreement that they should listen.
“There will be a time, do not ask me when, when you will lead this tribe to Loecca to make sacrifice to the gods. There you will settle to build a great temple, for you will be displeased with the offering Loecca can provide to visitors of the city. Yet, once you build the temple and call the gods down to your creation, they will be displeased with what sacrifices you have to offer and grow soon restless. They will look from face to face of the men now before me and ask, ‘Do these men really sacrifice for us gods or sacrifice so the other tribes believe this tribe is best?’ The gods will grow angry. Two doors. You must have two doors serving as an entrance and an exit to the temple, lest you all perish.”
Trails of smoke from the elders’ pipes were minimal because they were smoking no longer. Every second they breathed, the men were now breathing in the words of the small child before them. The child whom the prophets said would act as either a blessing or a curse.
One of the elders then stood up from his seat defiantly and addressed his fellow elders, “And why should we believe a man who is not yet a man? A boy who has the cleverness of a demon?”
It was the young boy who replied. “That is my only warning. It is written I am either a curse or a blessing. I cannot tell you more for fear I go against the heavens.”
Amidst the gathering several men spat on the ground. “Let us agree that this child is a curse and no blessing,” they said. “He has no truth but his slick twisted tongue.”
But the lead elder then stood and asked his fellow men, “Is it likely this boy could deceive us in the presence of a god? Is he the gods’ greatest enemy, for only Ba, Master of Chaos, could hold such deception. Or is it us whom we must reexamine for doubting so much?”
There was some agreement amidst the circle, but mostly, the men were already set on believing the boy was a curse. A demon sent by Ba to destroy the tribe.
“The child is a deceiver,” they said again. “He is a curse, no blessing.”
The lead elder sat in silence and looked to the stars. There was something there, but what, he could not distinguish. Were the stars telling him the boy was a demon after all?
The council of elders soon dispersed and in the coming lunars forgot about the child’s warning at all. For the council, despite what they preached, had little faith.