Monday, September 30, 2013

Night of decision

I sit back and relax believing I will hear a wonderful tale of adventure. I look into my glass, the spirits coating the sides with their amber hue. Its aroma rolls up and fills my nostrils. It is a heady brew indeed. I watch the flames dance in the hearth as we hear a faint rumble coming across the Siris.

"Sounds like a storm is coming in, dear."

"Much like that night in the mountains." Reenie rocks back, then stops. "Aye, that night," he says as he rocks forward. "The first was like any other night I had escaped to the mountains, calm with cool breezes coming off the peaks. I was sure my decision was the right one. The second night was much the same. I looked forward to seeing what was on the other side, but felt the comfort of familiar surroundings. Then as I looked out through the final passage, that last tunnel that hinted at what was on the other side, I remember shuddering. I stood on a precipice; the biggest decision I ever faced was before me."

"Decision?" I am lost. What decision is it he will make?

"Aye, to turn back." I watch as Reenie leans forward, the chair not moving beneath him. "I felt the pull of the safety of home. I could go back and shrink before my father, though he would have simply shrugged it off to the rebelliousness of youth. He would have doubled my work for a time, but that would pass, I was sure of it. It was then a vicious storm blew in from the sea. I was not prepared for the onslaught. I had found no cave to take refuge, not even so much as an overhang to shield me from the relentless rain. I curled up behind a boulder and tucked my cloak around be. It was one of the longest nights of my life."

I watch as the memory sinks in and he lifts his glass to his lips. The light of the flames dance along the rim of his glass as he sips one more memory.

"Then, as the light broke across the peaks, the storm subsided and the sun shone upon a world I had never seen. As I looked across the last peak the distant rumble of the shore rode in on a fresh breeze. For the first time I could taste the world where the salt of the sea met the dirt of the land. What greeted me was not the pounding of rain and thunder that kept me pinned behind a rock, but the distant sounds of life. Below was a most magnificent collage, a painting of valleys and rivers and forests as seen from above that ran out to the Western Sea. Just then, the first beams of the new day rose enough to touch the waters and filled them with the deepest of blue."

He sits back again, partially obscuring him from my view behind Clarisa.

"It was then I knew I had chosen the right path, a path of discover."

A crack nearly sends me from my chair. Perhaps that night, all those long years ago has a memory. As the storm burrows in, it is time to retire, for tomorrow is another day; another dawn.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Full circle

'Dead'. The word itself causes me to take notice. Surely this person who seems the master of his world could not have faced a situation so dire. What lies within the world of men-folk that could do such harm? The warmth of my drink calls to me and I take a larger swig. I again feel the burn as my chest warms to its touch.

"It was only my father's teachings that kept me alive in that world." My host looks towards me as he rises from his seat. He raises his glass and nods his head. I nod back. Another glass would be a fine addition to the conversation. I drain what is left.

"Be careful with that," Clarisa notes. "If you are not used to these spirits, it may come back to haunt you."
Her smile touches me, her manner so at ease.


"Aye, that is what they call this in their world."

Reenie refills my glass, then his and again takes his place before the hearth. He pauses, again tasting his past. I can almost see the memories filling his thoughts. He pushes his feet against the floor as his chair begins to rock slowly.

"I longed for adventure. The life of a farmer was not for me." He pauses again, looking around his cozy home. It would seem he is what he would never have wanted to be. "Then, one day I said goodbye to my father and set out into the hills.

"What did your father have to say?

"I think he understood, though he did not send me off with a smile. Although the lessons I learned in my foray are what makes me what I am now, my one regret is I never saw my father again."


"Reenie's father died that winter, dear." I am surprised to hear Clarisa's voice, though I could see the pain in Reenie's face.

"I spent the first night in the mountains, as I had a hundred other nights. The mountains is what I loved, what pulled me away from the fields of my youth, my father's work; not mine. I wished for only new horizons, new vistas which the mountains stole from my eyes. The only way to see them, was to cross them. In two days, I reached the Valley of Rivers and my adventure truly began."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Looking Away

I look at the fire and the half-filled glass within my palms. I raise it to my nose, tentative. I can nearly taste the earthy smells as they escape the rim of the glass. I pause and glance to my host. He seems lost in thought, then suddenly the glass kisses his lips and its contents flows freely.

"Yes Clancy, the Choale is a more formidable range than the Sirris, higher and rugged. Its peaks are ragged from the pounding weather that blows in from the Western Sea. The continual storms that ravage there dump their load on the Valley of Rivers." He leaned forward letting the light from the hearth caress his face. "That is where I spent my youth, Clancy, in the darkness of the Choale, as you say."

"Oh, I have been to the Choale, but my time there has been brief." I raise the glass to my lips and gingerly sip. I feel a burn as I let it slip across my tongue. It stings, but in a good way. I swallow and feel its bite as it slides down my throat. "I have never fully explored its vastness."

"Vastness." Reenie leans back into his seat once again. "In all its glory, with all its rugged features, they pale in comparison to the ranges of Ostergaul; the mountains of men-folk." He sits quiet for a moment, Clarisa's slight hand coming to rest on his arm. It triggers a smile, a smile of memories.

"My life was ordinary and I wanted more. I searched for adventures such as young lads will always seek. It was a desire my father could not understand. He was a fellow of the earth, a farmer and woodsman. His life was what was before him, his work. Much of what I knew, I took from him." Reenie lifts his glass again and drains it. "Without him, without his earthly knowledge, I would not have returned to the Chrystum. I would be dead."

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A name to a place

As Reenie begins his account of the world of men, I am riveted. In the days of my youth, not that I am old, mind you, I heard the tales of men. The stories told 'round the fire at night as we camped in the dark were enough to make us want to run back home and sleep in cozy beds. I lean back into my chair and try not to stare at him.

"There was a time that I, like you," Reenie began, "wished to see what was beyond my own horizon. I lived on the other side of the Middle Valley in a small cove that was perched against the Choale Mountains."

"I have traveled some to the Choale side of the valley. It is a darker place than most."

"Not so, Clancy. Not so." Reenie got up from his chair and looked thoughtfully at the fire. Without a word he made his way to the small kitchen. I could hear some fumbling behind me as doors and drawers opened and closed. Clarisa looked my way and smiled her charming smile, setting me as ease. I could feel the tension building again. Within minutes, he returned with two glasses and an old, half-filled bottle. He hoisted it, letting the light dance about its dusty surface.

"A remnant, or a memory if you will, of my time in Ostergaul."

He handed me one of the glasses, the other to his bride. With ease he loosed the plug, pulling it directly out. I could immediately smell its contents; the aroma heady. I watched as the thin liquid slid gently into my glass. Its amber color almost glowed from the light of the fire. I nodded as he finished and filled the second glass, but to my surprise, took the glass from Clarisa's hand.

"This is not quite to the liking of my wife, you understand." He returned to his seat and now stared into the amber glow. "I will tell you of men-folk, Clancy. Do with it what you will."