Hello my Imaginary Friends,
I’m neck deep in Editing, Formatting, and other deadlines, so you’re getting a story instead of my usual posts.
“By the nine worlds son, you’re a Panos. Not some curious Human. Keep your tail up high and your nose out of the ruins.” It was an order, and the last that Ciamon’s father would say about it. With scars showing through his thick grey fur, Ciam was intimidating, even to his own son. He stormed out of the hut growling about the foolishness of curiosity.
“Don’t worry, my dear. He just doesn’t understand the pull of the unknown,” Ciamon’s mother was widely considered the most beautiful woman in the nine clans. The honour she had bestowed on his father when she had chosen him as a mate allowed him to forget she was part human. Her heritage showed only in her softer features and shorter fur.
“Why don’t you go spend some time with Aleenia? Until your father cools down and come back.” His mother, and to a lesser extent his father, hoped he and Aleenia would marry; he, being the pack leader’s son, and her being the shaman’s daughter.
Nodding, Ciamon walked out of his hut and walked towards the town center. The sun was setting and the fire had already been started. The sky was clear and the air was crisp, a perfect autumn day on the top of the world.
Part way to the town center he stopped and smelled the air. Turning towards the small clearing of trees, which could barely be considered a forest, he walked towards a large rock on its border. The rock was black as the sky was turning. On top of the rock was a bright spot of white fur.
“You found me,” she said not turning her eyes away from the sky. He could find anything. It was his gift from Pinga Goddess of the Hunt.
“Just like you knew I would,” he replied in the same way he always did. She turned her pure white eyes to him and smiled. She couldn’t see with her eyes, but that didn’t mean she was blind. She was a seer and that meant she could see anything and everything.
“Being the pack leader’s son isn’t easy,” she stated without judgment.
“No, it isn’t, but I have to set an example for all the pups.” He said it in his father’s voice and sighed. He put his paw on her back and they both stared at the sky. “All I really want to do is find out what’s in those ruins.”
“I understand. It’s an itch you can’t scratch.”
Soon they could hear the pack singing around the great fire.
Suddenly her body became tense under his paw. Her breath increased and she whispered, “Something is stirring, the branches on the tree of worlds are swaying, and soon the old ways will reopen.” Her body relaxed and after a few deep breaths she asked, “Did that make any sense to you?”
“No more than usual. It sounds like you’re reading from the old Eddas in the book of Nexus. At least the words were in Panosian this time.”
“Small favours from Ahi,” she was one of the only people he knew who would dare use the god of Fire and Prophesy’s name in vain.
Later around the fire, Ciamon’s gaze continued to wander towards the direction of the ruins. “Why do you keep looking towards them?” asked Aleenia who sat next to him, listening to the pack storyteller.
“I keep thinking about what you said, ‘Something is stirring’ and every time I do, I feel the urge to go to the ruins.”
“Are you sure it’s the ruins? The chef’s hut is in the same direction. I’m sure he’s stirring something.” They laughed and the storyteller gave them a dirty look.
“Ciamon, can you tell us of the first Panos pack leader? Since my story has bored you so?”
Warmth spread over his cheeks but if he cowed at this challenge it would create a precedent for others to challenge him. He wasn’t pack leader but everyone expected him to act like it.
Standing and looking at the fire and then the crowd, he started his tale, “In the days before Chymar was founded and before the wall around us was built. We, the Panos, walked on four legs and lived in caves.” He paused a moment remembering the Edda, “Everything changed when the old gods created the great bridge between the nine worlds, the Bilfrost.
The old Gods made the mistake of allowing everyone cross the bridges, even into their own realm. The metal serpent Mulciber used these bridges to wage war and conquer the worlds.” He paused and took a drink of water.
“Each of the nine worlds started to fall before Mulciber and his lightning breath, until there were only two worlds, the home of the gods Asgal and our world Seidrheim. Mulciber ate the old gods and destroyed the Ninth world but not before the Gods lifted the Panos beyond mere animals and infused us with magic. With the help of the other races we built two great walls, one around the entrance to the bridge and one around the top of the world, and we called it Chymar.”
One of the youngest pups lifter her hand, “Walls? Why didn’t we just kill the snake?”
“Having eaten the Gods, he couldn’t die,” replied Ciamon and the little pup’s eyes grew wide in fear. “We knew as a people that we couldn’t hunt and kill the great serpent, so Brary came up with a plan to imprison him.
“Now until this point all the people had worked together without thinking or planning. When Brary spoke of a way to imprison the serpent, many argued it was impossible and many more wondered why he was suggesting anything. Being both clever and strong he challenged the biggest warrior in the crowd. When he won, the others declared him pack leader. Under his guidance they lured the great serpent back to his world and destroyed the bridges.”
The group clapped and the storyteller asked, “Aleenia, what does this teach us?”
“It teaches us that a pack leader needs to be clever and…” she stopped moving, and Ciamon thought she stopped breathing. “The Nexus has reopened and they are marching along the old ways. Silver men with serpent armour march.” She fell off the log she was sitting on and her whole body shook. As she shook, she repeated the same phrase over and over, until it lost all meaning, “My turn! I’ll find you.”