The Curse of Fellowship? ~

For the last year or so I have been writing little snippets in the form of poems and short stories often all over the place in terms of substance or meaning. Today is no different; I had worked on this last piece several months ago and either had didn’t have a chance to get back to it or forgot about it until just recently. I am happy to say that I feel it is at a point where I want to get outside opinions about content, writing style etc… I know that this is not my best work by a long-shot largely because I don’t spend enough time proofing and rewriting pieces as often as they should.

If you want to write me back and make suggestions I am happy to take to heart all comments. I know this is in narrative style and there isn’t any dialogue and want to work more into that aspect of writing but for now this is what I have to share.

The Curse of Fellowship?

The whirl of fog as he swiftly ran through it moved like silk in a light breeze against his face. The touch of it was cool and very pleasant, a perfect day for a run. Moving by the feel of the land, the contours and subtleties guiding him. His legs were strong from years of running and moved effortlessly over the  earth as he wound his way this way and that. His ears were keen and picked up minute echoes off objects both near and far. He was careful not to be fooled by the sounds made from within the fog however for it would play merry hell with it, sometimes muting everything to complete silence and other times merely muffling it and still other times would funnel it like a corridor. His eyes, even though were no more immune to the grey white blanket that now surrounded him and all else, did manage to detect pockets of less fog laden areas and could track movement from which he could tell by the slight shifts in the fog if something had recently been through for fog will tell you a story if you let it and knew what to look for. The swirls and eddies it creates are like the invisible dust devils cutting through the air; two small circular funnels as an object passes through. Fortunately he wasn’t chasing someone…this time.

His run had led him to who knows where, who cared, certainly not him for his was a life of wondering, one of possibilities and freedom. He randomly took this trail or that letting intuition and instinct guide him seeming to revel in the fact that he was invisible to all and yet in full view of the world at the same. He had lived in the same small village all of his life. As time passed the village became a bustling town which eventually gave way to the broad streets, bright lights and never-ending sounds of a city.

His running became steady and purposeful. His breathing was methodical, in-out, in-out. He wasn’t short of breath, he almost never became short of breath. He was made for running. His body found the rhythm of the run comforting as he covered ground at a constant and deliberate pace. It was during this kind of run that his mind was free to think of other things, not needing to concern itself with tracking or dodging or fleeing. Shortly he let his mind drift a little to an earlier time. A time when he ran these lands as a young boy amidst a very turbulent period. It seemed like everyone was either starving or going to war. Sometimes the men would go off to war not because of bonds of blood or duty but rather so that his family would have one less mouth to feed, especially if there was a young strong boy there to take over the hunting and other man duties. It wasn’t until he had been running for what seemed like hours that he realized that he was indeed running towards something. It wasn’t anything he made a conscious choice about, it just happened…instinctively.

Slowly the fog started to dissipate or he was getting to the edges of it and was starting to make out shapes and geography. He no longer was in the city proper he started out it, but rather the countryside and what appeared to be miles outside it.

Again, on instinct he followed his nose, so to speak, and let the pull drive him to where he now needed to get to. Suddenly it loomed before him; a large hill overlooking the countryside for miles around. He recognized this place from his youth. He and his friends would steal an old wine or liquor barrel and roll it to the top of the hill, crawl inside it with some blankets they had also stolen by a conveniently located nearby home drying on the line, and roll down the hill over and over again.

Once he had gained the hilltop he immediately saw what it was he had come for. They were walking up the hill from the opposite side. Four of them in total. His mouth dropped open and his tongue came out in a broad grin and he greeting them.

“Arooooow!” His greeting was returned by four others matching its intensity. Shortly all five were jumping around and greeting each other the best way the knew how, rolling around with each other, taking measure of each in turn. Eventually they slowly circled one another getting a good scent of the solitary individual clearly in their mind.

After the greetings were made they all as one lifted their heads and let the land know they were reunited and whole once again. It had been far too long since they had been as one group, one mind, of one purpose, one pack.

You see, these young folk were all were-kin. Not that that is what they would call it but they understood that they were brothers and sisters in all but mother. Their fates intertwined from when they were young and on one fateful night took things a little too seriously – but life was serious in that time and place – like the blood pact they had all taken part in. In the early days when they grew up it was important to be sincere and let your friends know where they stood with you, even during the time of adolescence as it was with our five young friends. Not like today when someone bails on you at the last moment but during a time when your word meant something. Your word was your honor and your life.

The blood-pact they all took part in was a bonding ritual that forever intertwined their lives and destinies with one another. Little did they know at the time but by the mingling of their blood was what would save them from the horrors that would befall their small village in the years to come.

As the echo of their communal howl  died down they walked around the hilltop looking for a thing. A thing that reminded them of where they came from, the thing that helped renew their bond towards one another. Helped them remember. This place was special almost sacred to these close friends. In was found after some careful searching. It had been grown over by grass and covered by soil and small rocks. Now nearly invisible after all these long years. Little more than a scent or maybe the imaginings of scent that let them believe they found the spot. It was the very spot where they used to come, make a fire while there fathers were out either carousing or fighting or hunting and watch the stars and talk of when they were big enough to join in the hunts or defend their village. At the time none of them were really old enough to think much of the opposite sex yet. For now they were all just friends. And so it remains.

Being in this place always brought the past back for them, even after so much time and after so many things had changed. One by one they all sat or lay down remembering back to when they were young sitting around the fire as they often did in their younger days, after their chores had been completed. It was on such a night like tonight that they all agreed to a life pact, that they would all be there for one another through this life and the next and as a way of finalizing this bond they each cut open a palm of one hand and mingled blood with each other in turn. Each clasping hands with each of the others in turn. As each of the children closed hands they would speak these words aloud, “To you I am bonded for this life and the next. If by my own life and can save yours I will freely give of my life’s blood. We are well and now truly family in all things including blood”

The idea of their own pact was spurred by the witnessing of countless oaths and other such pacts each of their fathers had made to friends a relations over the years. It was only natural that these five would also want to emulate that. For the children it was simple enough and yet so powerful and beautiful. However, when this small group of five young friends spoke each spoke with the gravity of the weight of the world on their shoulders.

They were all between the ages of ten and twelve at the time. That was more than two-hundred years and a few battles ago. Little did they know that Rorrik’s father, Rorrik being the youngest of the group of friends, had contracted the infection most likely when he was attacked by what he thought were just everyday run of the mill wolves or wild dogs and passed it on to his son during conception, who in turn passed it on to his four closest friends during their bonding ceremony. Rorrik’s father had left before the full moon after his wounds had closed enough so he could go out and fight in another clan war. He never came back. Although his body was never recovered it was presumed dead. It came at a time when the country side was untamed and bands of wild dogs or wolves or bear would eat a man dead or alive as anything else, if they could.

Time was much simpler then. You planted crops, hunted game, repaired your home, occasionally you fought another clan or family and made babies. Oh, and you declared undying loyalty to your friends and unwavering enmity for your enemies and the enemies of your kin and friends. That is what everyone did. For these five friends with ties more binding than any of them knew at the time they would soon learn what the world could really be like. What people sometimes really did when they didn’t think people were watching.

As his thoughts came back to the present Rorrik looked around at his pack and could see that each of them were lost in their own remembrances of times past. Suddenly a scent caught his nose. He took it in and knew instantly that dinner had come into their little swath of land.

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