Chapter 3: From a little acorn...

Chapter 3: From a little acorn...

A Chapter by AnonymousLad
"

Eager to impress the older children, Yrah commits suicide in order to be resurrected by the Soulkeeper. But will his actions have more implications than he could possibly imagine?

"

The sun was setting over the Silver-eye valley. The river ran its perpetual journey from the mountains in the north, through the vast, rolling fields dotted with Silver-eye flowers and into the distant Southern sea. On its meandering course, the river flowed less than a mile away from the Tower. A little further downstream from the Tower, there was a waterfall nearly thirty feet high.
Yrah had spent many an afternoon sitting in the shade of the trees at the bottom of this waterfall. The other children usually spent their free time time playing and talking in the parks and forests of the valley, but Yrah had nobody to talk to. Because he was a year younger than the rest of his class, they would push him away if he ever tried to join in their rowdy games.
"You're only eleven winters old!" they would say. "We don't want to be stuck babysitting you!"
Yrah could not simply play with the children his own age, either. Friendships were forged between classmates in the Silver-eye valley. Six times a week, children would spend hours in the company of their class in some lesson or other, and this was where the bonds of trust and companionship formed. If one could not make friends in his own class (and Yrah most certainly could not) then one could not make friends at all.
And so the grassy patch at the base of the big waterfall had become a sanctuary for Yrah. The roar of the tumbling water drowned out the silence in his life. There, he was free to sit unbothered and do whatever he pleased. He practised his whistling. He whittled pieces of wood into flutes, carvings and toy swords. He weaved grass and flax into baskets, hats, and one spring morning months ago - a flax sash with Silver-eye blossoms woven into it. He had made it as a gift for Enyani, but had never plucked up the courage to give it to her. He had cast it into the water instead, and watched it float away to the south.

The waterfall held many special memories for Yrah, but now it would serve him a new purpose. As he climbed the bank to the top with Dryn, Hrad and Enyani at his side, he realised for maybe the first time just how high it really was. Much higher than the roof of Yrah's family's cottage.
In the distance, they could hear Teq's cremation ceremony. The wind carried the sounds of chanting all the way to where the children stood, along with the smell of the burning pyre. Yrah coughed, and felt his eyes water. He turned away, so that Enyani wouldn't see and think he was crying.
They were at the top, now. Yrah peered over the edge and saw the rocks rising out of the white foam at the bottom. They looked much more sharp and jagged from up here. Yrah remembered his mother's words as he had left the cottage just an hour ago:
"I'm going to play by the waterfall, mother."
"All right, dear. Be careful!"
Thank the Soulkeeper she couldn't see him now!

"Hold on," Yrah said with a gasp. "Shouldn't someone be down there to pull me out of the water afterwards?"
"Right!" said Hrad, his eyes widening. "If you float away down the river, we'll never get the crystal! And then we'll never know why Teq died for permanent!"
"And also," said Yrah indignantly "if I float away down the river, you'll never get me back to the Temple! And then you'll never put me on the altar, and I'll die for permanent!"
"Oh yeah," Hrad said sheepishly. "I'll go."
Hrad turned to walk back down the bank to the bottom. Dryn moved to follow him.
"I'll help," he told Hrad. "You're not srong enough. You'll need my big muscles to pull him out."
The two bigger boys clambered back down the side of the waterfall, laughing and comparing biceps.

That left Yrah and Enyani alone at the top.

"Are you all right, Yrah?" she asked. The sound of her melodic voice uttering his name seemed quite surreal to him.
"W-what?"
"Are you scared, I mean? You don't have to do this if you don't want to, you know."
Yrah swallowed, hard. "But if I don't, you'll never know..."
"That doesn't matter. It was wrong of them to make you do this. Like you said, you could die for real!"
"No, the Soulkeeper always resurrects children, remember? Children have no sins. Brother Kye said so."
Enyani looked worried. "But we're planning to steal from Him! He might not forgive that, even though we're kids!"
They made eye contact, then. For once, Yrah found himself able to look her in the eye. He felt like the two of them were... connecting, somehow.
Suddenly, Enyani slipped her soft, delicate hand into Yrah's. His heart lept, and he felt his face redden.
"Come, on!" came Dryn's nasally voice from below. "What are you waiting for? Jump already!"
Yrah drew a deep breath. "I want to do it, Enyani." In another first for him, he hadn't stuttered when he said her name. This was certainly a magical evening, full of firsts.
She sighed. "All right. It's your choice."
She kissed him on the cheek, then. Yrah's jaw dropped. Below, Dryn and Hrad were still cajoling him to jump, but he could not hear them.
"Go!" she whispered in his ear. Yrah dropped her hand, then ran as fast as his stick-like legs could carry him - right towards the edge.
There was a stepping stone in the river just before the edge, and he launched off it, flinging himself into open space.

For a second it was as though he was flying. His limbs flailed wildly, and air rushed past his ears. He thought he could hear Dryn and Hrad cheering, but it might have been simply his imagination.
Then the rocks below seemed to grow beneath him. The impact snapped his legs like twigs, and the snap was the last thing he heard before everything went dark.

 

-An Hour Later-

 

Faral yawned. When would those damned soulservants be back? His armour was uncomfortable (one of the leather straps was chafing his armpit) and his spear was heavy. He hated pulling guard duty. Not only did he have to stand here by the Temple for hours, but he also had to miss out on the funeral. There was usually drinking and merriment at a wake, and Teq's had been the only one in a good long while. There were five other guards on duty with Faral this evening, but they were all lousy company.

Faral frowned. Who was that in the distance? It looked like a child, coming up the hill from the direction of the stream. No, two children! Three! And two of them were carrying something between them.

He stood up to attention as they drew near. The faint shapes resolved into two boys and a girl. The two boys were carrying the limp body of a third, while the girl walked calong nervously behind.

"Excuse me, sir. We need to put our friend on the altar."

"What happened?" Faral enquired. The dead child was horribly bruised, and at least three of his limbs stuck out at odd angles. It was a definite mercy that the Soulkeeper also healed injuries during a resurrection. Faral also noticed that he was dripping wet.

"We were playing by the waterfall, and he slipped and fell!" said one of the boys.

Faral rolled his eyes.

"Go on in, then. Put him on the altar, then come straight back out. He can find his own way out once the Soulkeeper's done his thing."

"Yes sir, thank you sir," gushed the girl. She seemed very eager to get the poor boy onto the altar.

Faral waved them through the archway and into the Temple.

 

 

When Yrah awoke, it took him a moment to remember what had happened. Then the flying sensation as he had plummeted to his death came flooding back to him. He remembered the exhilaration of leaping out into the void, and then the sickening crunch as he had hit the rocks. The brief second of panic as freezing water filled his mouth and nose before his head struck an outcropping of granite and the world had faded away.

He massaged his legs, but they were no longer broken. The Soulkeeper had fixed him up, good as new.

Yrah opened his eyes to see the last of the Soulkeeper's rays fading away and withdrawing back into the eye in the ceiling. He groaned - his head ached something wicked.

The Temple was empty. He rubbed his eyes and yawned as he sat up on the hard, stone altar. Waking up after a judgement always felt like waking up after a long, deep sleep.

As Yrah sat there collecting his thoughts, Dryn's plan echoed in his mind. He turned to the trough that circled the edge of the altar like a moat encompassing the body of the judged.

He trailed his hand through the water. It was surprisingly cool. After a second, his fingers bumped into something smooth and hard. He gasped. This was it!

He scooped it out and examined his prize. It was just like Dryn had said! About the size of a chicken's egg, but much heavier. Initially, it shone like the Soulkeeper's rays, but the longer he kept it out of the water, the dimmer the light became until it resembled an ordinary lump of rock.

Yrah's breath quickened as adrenaline coursed through his veins. It was done. He had stolen from the Temple. He took one last, panicked look around, then slid off the altar and walked hurriedly towards the archway. He slid the crystal into his pocket (he noticed to his annoyance that his tunic had torn in the fall) and willed himself to look natural.

He made eye contact with one of the guards on his way out, then quickly looked away, hoping that his face had revealed nothing of his crime.

 

 

Faral watched the young boy leave the Temple.

He seems very troubled, he mused.

Oh well, judgements really take it out of you. I hate those things.

 

 

Yrah worked his way back to the waterfall. The others had gone, probably back home. It was getting very late, after all. Yrah's own mother was probably worried sick by now.

Yrah sat in his usual spot under the tree at the bottom of the falls and lifted the crystal to his ear. This was it. He was about to learn the answers to the mystery of Teq's death.

Maybe I can tell Pila about it, afterwards. She'd want to know.

The crystal began to whisper...

 


 



© 2013 AnonymousLad


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WHISPER WHAT? I need more :)
Terrific use of vocabulary and descriptions are great too.
You have a great story.

Posted 7 Years Ago


AnonymousLad

7 Years Ago

Thank you very much! Glad you liked it. Next chapter up soon, I promise!

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Added on January 23, 2013
Last Updated on January 24, 2013
Tags: fantasy, apocalypse, redemption, sin, forgiveness, resurrection, revival, death, loss, worship, religion
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AnonymousLad
AnonymousLad

Pitcairn



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I'm an amateur writer who has a strong aversion to showing half-finished work to other people. I'm hoping to get some feedback on my 'work' here, where I can share my writing anonymously. Maybe if I.. more..

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