Friday, February 22, 2013



Zurak stood on a boulder near camp with Oshi in her arms and watched the shifting play of brilliant colors on the clouds as the sun set.  It was cold outside, almost mid-winter, but they were both warm in their furs and they now lived around a cluster of hot springs, so no snow had crept up on the tribe.  She could not name all the colors that she saw, but Zurak tried her best as she taught her son the Wanderer words for crimson, orange, yellow and purple.

Oshi was not yet two and still burbled more than talked, but it was the way of the Wanderers and Zurak had been telling him everything she knew.  The sunsets in the Golden Land were beautiful, it was a land that overflowed with beauty; so much so that it gleamed beneath any light that shined.  Zurak had traveled many years, she had explored with great care and, despite seeing so many variations of glory, still reveled in the new treasures that the Golden Land contained.

There were mighty rivers everywhere, some were wide and slow moving, tinged in dark green and hiding evil demons beneath their placid surfaces.  Others rushed furiously through canyons and over rocks, frothy white, churning madly in the spring melt and consuming all in their paths.  There were rolling foothills that burst out into seas of color when the winter passed and turned golden brown as the rain stopped falling; there were wide valleys full of birds and tall reeds swaying in the breeze.

It was a land full of trees and animals, a land of plenty and it had welcomed Zurak.  There had been challenges, many challenges and every day she had had to protect and feed herself with no help.  But there had always been food, there had always been some shelter and there had been Taeyo.  Much had been taken away from Zurak when her family died in the shipwreck, but much had been given in return.

Her vision the night of the Zonate ritual was never far from Zurak’s mind though, it was what had brought the tribe here.  Elune had taken Zurak past a series of landmarks until they reached an enormous cave near the base of a smoking mountain.  The geyser had been pointing in this direction and that was all Zurak really had to offer as proof, but everything else she had seen in the vision, she had seen with her waking eyes too.

Everything but the cave itself, Zurak’s memory of that was blurry and she only remembered that it was very, very big with a stream running through it and three chambers.  The Well of Provenance was in the last chamber and it had to be claimed for Elune, so that she would be bound to the Golden Land and not her sister.  But surely something so big must be very easy to find, Zurak had been confident of that.

She was still confident, but it was wavering now and then as days went by.  The men could only go out and look when the weather was favorable, it had been a mild winter so far but that could always change quickly.  They had built a strong shelter and had plenty of food for the winter, so there was no danger; and there was always plenty to do around camp.  Zurak spent her days tending the fires, cooking, weaving and all the other necessities of life while Churashom and the stronger men went looking for the cave.

They were usually back within two days and Zurak was lingering on the rock in the hopes that she would hear Churashom coming up the path.  He had left early the previous morning and Zurak very much preferred sleeping next to his warm body with their son cradled between them.   Her ears caught the light crunching of snow under feet, Zurak called out and was greeted by Churashom’s voice.

Oshi reached out for his father as soon as he came into view and Zurak scrambled off the boulder to meet the explorers.  They were all smiling broadly, especially Churashom as he held his arms out to both of them.

“We found you a very big gold rock for Elune,” he said taking Zurak into his arms and squeezing her.

The other three men laughed, Zurak looked over Churashom’s shoulder to see his brother Nohalik holding a large rock streaked with layers of gold and white crystals. 

“We found it in a very big cave for Elune,” Nohalik offered.

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