Why this Blog?

I hope that this blog will become a place to look after my writing ideas and that, over time, I can use it to archive all my favourite creative sites on the web. Maybe others will enjoy it too.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Shadow of the Stag

So, apparently I am attacked once again by the Prehistoric thing. And tonight I was shown how a boy becomes a man. I was also shown a little bit of the nomenclature that I had been so missing. Up until tonight I had no concept of the naming of people. I now have some knowledge of naming and how it is going to go, some idea of how the society works and, apparently, two ways in which the males of this setting can be aligned. It follows on from this post.

There is a poetry in this section, I hope, certainly I felt it as I wrote. I was writing mainly to the tune of Victoria Lucas by Moby, and that may show through too. For at work today I had a moment alone with no one else around and I danced in a way that I haven't for a good few years. It felt good to dance. It felt good and probably looked terrible. But it felt good. That may have influenced what I wrote tonight.

Analysis, as ever, from 750words.com who are brilliant. If sometimes a little strange in their analysis.

Rating: PG-13 for swearing, sexual content and violence (I'm going to go ahead and say here that I see none of that in what I wrote).

Feeling mostly self expressive (with upset as a side-order) and concerned mostly with religion (with leisure as a side order)

Mindset: Extrovert - Positive - Certain - Thinking

Time: The Past; Primary Sense: Hearing; Us and Them: You (with a side order of them)

36 minutes at 43 words per minute.




Stepping through the portal into the open air he was at once struck by the strangeness of the situation. For the first time that he could remember there was no-one else with him, he stood and walked alone, and the yet the forest around him seemed alive with the noise and rhythm of something bigger than himself or the clan to which he had belonged until he had stepped into this world. There was no hurry or pressure but he felt himself drawn on into the darkness before him at a pace and so he matched it, jogging and jumping the roots and briers that came before him.

His lungs sucked in air without his conscious thought, his feet pounded the floor in a running pattern, lung, pound, lift and drop. All of him became the rhythm of the run and the throb of the beat from the music in his head. Spare breath came out as humming and as some song that he knew not what the words were. Whispering about him guided him through the grove, around the older trees, and on into the night along tracks left by deer and badger until he felt the floor tilt and he was going up, up and ever up.

Pound, breathe, eyes closed, beat, pound, breathe out, warm head, beat.

Colours flashed across a vision in grey with no white or true black. A world illuminated by the silver sliver of the moon high in the sky, lending its light and breath to a world suspended on the silk of spiders. No animals abroad in the dead of the height of night, no guide to take the hand in this promised land. A spirit freed, a special deed, alone in the world of fauna to take all comers. Up. Pound, breathe, eyes closed. Up more. Beat, pound, breathe out, warm head. Up further to end of the tree cover and the beginning of the heather. Beat.

Awareness, there was an end to this. Feeling was believing and he slowed as the grasses flourished beneath his feet. Sweat beaded the brow, ran down in rivulets from his back and legs, muscles burned and lungs inflated. Eyes wide, he was here, he was stopped and the world rotated beneath him in a way he had never seen before. Unable to resist he found himself chanting without words, humming and spinning, dancing to the music that played in his ears for him and for him alone. There was the play of the beats on the drums, magnified and held together in a depth that was deeper than any of the waters or marshes that he had travelled with the clan. Above them there was a lighter sound of something striking bone, jingling and percussive, with his own voice chanting in time to the beat that had slowed from his running. Arms jerking, muscles spasming at his command, he danced atop the lonely peak.

Sister moon moved across the open sky, starfields moved in stately procession, a sequence of dust motes over the blackness of the beyond, light blinking in and out unblemished by the leaves and branches of the world below them. And he danced. Morning kissed the dew, clouds swirled and towered, darkness burned with the flame of the bronze sun and turned to brightness. Birds sang, animals moved, and the depth of the music continued to take them all in. Heat replaced the chilled edge of night and the world awoke and lived and breathed about him. And he danced. Blue bruised and reddened on the far horizon, bird song gave way to bats and fox howls, the grass was trampled and the rock beneath hard but familiar and warm. And he danced.

As the stars moved again above him there was something else, a rip in the sky, a portal through which he saw the eyes of the Great Spirit looking down on him with all the pride of a parent and life-giver. No words were spoken, none needed to be said, all he knew was that there was something that had brought him to the spot and was well pleased with what he had become. And he also knew without knowing how that this was the time for him to pick a new name for himself, to know that the name that he had been given in the clan no longer encompassed all that he was. All that he had brought with him from his life-bringer and from the clan was gone now, replaced by what he had been given on the top of the mountain alone with the world and the spirits.

Moon Dancer, the man who called to the stars and had them answer, had taken his form and now was the time to return. To collect what he needed and to go into the wilderness to learn his own path and to become who he was meant to be. His life-giver had brought him safely to this point and the shaman had pointed the way but, from here on, he would need to find himself alone.

"Not alone."

Another human voice startled him at first, but then he was simply curious, who had spoken and how had they found him? "Who are you?"

"Shadow of the Stag speaks to you," responded the voice, like honey over broken bones and sharp stones, "And the Great Spirit bids me take you with me to teach you and to make you a man."

"I am already a man."

A soft laughter from the man that revealed himself. Tall and bronzed, he also bore the marks of many a failed hunt and fight with other animals. His skins were loosely worn, but well-tanned and used, his flesh free of tattoos and his hair long on the scalp but short on the chin. He was also barefoot and his bags were not all full, though a dead hare on his belt told all that saw him that he was not without resources. "No, cub, you are not a boy. They are very different things. By what should I call you?"

"Moon Dancer."

"I see." And Moon Dancer knew that this man had indeed seen, perhaps he had been watching for much longer than it would appear. "Very well, you are of the night. I am of the day. Yet I think you will learn much from me and I you." He held his arm out in a gesture of welcome and companionship.

"Of the night?" And Moon Dancer moved beside him, walking without thinking back toward his belongings that he had left at the lodge. "What mean you by that?"

Shadow of the Stag let the younger man take the lead and followed a hair's breadth behind. "All men are of the light or of the dark, all men take their choice in their name. I, as shadow, disappear in the dark of the night when all is shadow and my skills are at an end. In light I am able to make my move, in light I am bound and in light I can make my own song. A song of flesh and movement that none may hear. You are of the dark, in the name you took and in the method of your choosing. In the dark you are bound and in the dark will you create the song of your own life to join in the great chorus of the forest. Sister Moon guides you where Brother Sun guides me. Do you see?"

It was a strange sensation, to talk so much so soon after his experience on the mountaintop, and yet it felt as natural as picking his way back through the forest, along the tracks on which he had run. "I do not see."

"My light is blinding to you, born as man in the dark, but we shall make a dusk and dawn of it yet that is acceptable to both." Shadow of the Stag tilted his head backward and narrowed his eyes as they walked. "I chance another path to show you. How is it that you know where to go? When running you ran blind."

Moon Dancer stopped and looked around. It seemed like a ridiculous question. "How can you be unsure? Is this not where I ran? Are these not the tracks and paths that I followed? How then can I show you that which is simply shown?"

More laughter, warm and respectful, "Moon Dancer, you are of the dark and dark are your ways. In darkness you ran, in darkness you were born and in darkness you are full of knowing. In light this path would be hidden, as all others, and in light lost you would be. In light would you this path know?"

Restarting the walk, but looking with new eyes and an opened mind, Moon Dancer screwed his lips and chewed the flesh of his cheek with teeth that felt new and different to those he had known in the lodge before the journey. It was true to say that he had been born once more, once by his life-giver in the clan and once more on his own on the mountaintop in sight of the Great Spirit. "Now," he nodded, "Now I see."

Slapping him on the shoulder once, Shadow of the Stag simply nodded once and drew a tight smile with his lips.

"Shadow of the Stag, I ask, what is it that men learn that makes them men?"

"That is not for me to say. I learned many things from those that taught me when I asked. My ways were not their ways but their ways became my ways and all ways were the ways of the world." He moved through the undergrowth easily enough, noted Moon Dancer, but his progress was not as sure-footed as Moon Dancer's own. "All men have their ways and all men have their paths. As sure as the deer move to drink by the stream and the wolf makes to stalk his prey so is man upon his own path. But as all paths are part of the life of the plains trees so are all men part of that wider path that draws us all together."