To the Call: Part One

Prelude:

“Look at his fur, black as the Grimtotem’s!”

“He is not painted like them though. Maybe he has been outcast even from them…”

“He does not even carry a true weapon! Nothing but a pointed stick. It is a wonder he was not eaten by the kodo before now…”

The roar of laughter felt like arrows being plunged into his ears. Not a word had escaped him as he had been set upon by Bloodhoof Village Braves, hooves trampling the sad excuse for a spear. It had been enough to keep the prowlers at bay, but drove the Braves only to more laughter.

“I was sent to seek training. I know nothing of these Grimtotem!”

The blow to the back of his head sent the world spinning as he fell forward from his knees. Fingers dig into the earth as he fought for purchase, the sky above seeming to boil with clouds.

“No Grimtotem shall train with us. The Chieftain may allow living on the Bluff, but you were foolish to come here!”

Head lowered, he felt the shift of weight as weapon was raised to bring a swift end. Eyes closed, he felt his fur rise as if he were in a lightening storm. The flash and sudden crack that illuminated the night and shifted the ground brought screams and yells that were in turn drowned out by the following thunder which shook the ground like a rattle.

The pounding of hoof against stone brought his focus back, more of the village coming to investigate as the Braves fled. An elder bull led, shaking his great bulk as he neared the abandoned stranger.

“Who are you, that the elements themselves would seek to protect you?”

“In fear I asked Sky Father to help me…”

“And he did. Lift your head and tell me who you are.”

Soft torch light reflected off of his golden eyes as he finally looked up. “The old ones called me Micathius before they sent me away. They told me to train and gain the knowledge they could not give me.”

The elder snorted softly but smiled, reaching down to help Micathius to his feet. “Well, it would seem that the elements have choosen you as their next shaman.”

Part One: Son of Darkness

Micathius grunted to himself as he glaced up the trunk of a great tree, a mechanical squirrel chittering back down at him angerly. The mechanical contraption turned its attention away to preen, teeth clacking as the gears whirred. So much for being a devoted pet, it had shot up the tree the first chance it had gotten.

“It is not natural, the way it moves so quickly. Are there no living creatures you would rather lend you company?”

The shaman snorted and reached for a low branch. “An engineer was showing them off. I found it interesting, there is nothing wrong with that.” He pulled on the branch to test it, frowning as it bent a bit too easily for his liking.

“Please tell me that you are not going to climb up after it…There are better wisdoms that should be considered.” The older tauren looked at him sternly, folding his arms across his chest.

Micathius glanced back, brushing his hands off. “Perhaps you are right. What has brought you out to see my foolishness?”

“Your presence has been requested by the elders. I would imagine they have been watching you just as closely as everyone else.”

“I will come, go tell them I will arrive shortly.” He turned his attention back to the tree, leaving the other to shake his head and fade back into the village. Micathius closed his eyes for a long moment, letting his breath go slowly until a sudden stiff wind pitched up and blew the little mechanical creature off its branch. He laughed as he caught it and headed back himself.

The greater hut of the spiritual leaders was set apart from the rest, not as big as that which housed other trainers, but situated on top of a platform. It was circled on the outside by huge kodo heads, marking it further apart from the other tents. The fire which flickered pleasantly in the center felt nice on the early Spring morning, enough that a couple of the flaps had been opened for his arrival.

Micathius kneeled down and bowed his head in respect as he entered the door, a few tired faces stopping to acknowledge him. He nudged himself closer to the fire in his usual way of training, waiting to be addressed.

“Micathius, you have grown much since you have come to us. You have natural talent that we feel may well lead you far. However, there is a darkness we must all face in our time.”

The old bull took a long draw from his pipe, watching the curls of smoke for a long moment. Micathius itched to play a small breeze through the tendrals to see them dance, but he restrained himself. His teachers frowned upon using the elements for such trivial entertainments, but somehow he felt that even the oldest spirit could enjoy a little fun.

“The darkness of uncertainty wraps around all of us in due time, and it is our place as shaman to meet it head on. You have much to still discover and learn of us, of yourself. We have given all that we are able.”

His silence brought the realization clear to Micathius, he was being dismissed from the village. He blinked a few times, keeping his eyes to the flames.

“I mean no disrespect, Elder, but why do you send me away? What has made this my time?” His eyes were like firey melted gold as he finally glanced up.

“You came to us in darkness with fur as dark as pitch, an ill omen but for your golden eyes and how strongly the elements spoke for you. We feared you a trick of our enemies sent to rot our people from the inside out. However, you have learned well and grown not only as a shaman but as a tauren as well. Your lessons now must come from the elements themselves, out beyond the plains and mountains that guard our home.”

The others around the circle nodded their agreement, many looks offering encouragement. It was not a punishment being lowered upon him, but the gentle shove into a journey of discovery. It was a path that all shaman had to walk before they truly became as they were destined, the only way they could learn to exist on the deeper levels of their work.

“You will find in your way how to best work with the elements, how best they work with you, how you will fit into the greater puzzle. We strive to be greater than the sum of our parts, however we do not always see the plan laid out before us. For now, yours is simple. A ghost wolf will lead you on the first of your journey, then you will be left to your means. Though you came to us as a son of darkness, you leave us with a light of promise. May the spirits watch over you, Micathius.”

He was still feeling self-aware as he left the tent and looked upon the village for the last time. What little he had had already been put away in a pack and waited for him. ‘Always the last to know,’ he thought. As soon as he had the will to take the sapta, he was on his way to the fields he had only ever seen from a distance.

To be continued

Note: Slightly revised some errors because my phone likes to predict the wrong text for me quite often…

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~ by Micathius on November 27, 2010.

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