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The Cries of Wolves (fantasy)

Discussion in 'Creativity Surge' started by CelticDream, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. CelticDream

    CelticDream I play well with others... others, not you Veteran

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    I hope you enjoy this story. It's not long, but it came to me one day and would not stop pestering me until I put it in writing.

    Dense smoke wafts through the midday air, giving the sky a grayish cast. The stench clings to everything it touches. Flames dance and swirl around the trees and underbrush, as if trying to mimic the sway and flow of the nomadic peoples who travel through the countryside. The people of the nearby village watch in horror as this seemingly living beast devours the land that had sheltered them for so long. Instead of searching for the culprit who brought life to this monster, the lazy son of the village blacksmith who knocked over his lamp while napping in the woods, they do as they always do – lay the blame at the foot of our wagons. Any wrong that comes to them, or any other village for that matter, the finger is always pointed in our direction. This is one of the stories of how my people, the Rom, suffer their accusations and survive.

    We, the Romani, are a peaceful people. We travel from town to town, village to village, to trade our services to those who might need them. A few of our men are blacksmiths, which is a boon to those people who have no one nearby to shoe their horses. We dance and sing for coin, as well as for our own pleasure. Those of us with the gift tell the fortunes of those who wish to know their path. When our services are no longer needed, we pack up and move to the next location. Perhaps it is because we prefer not to stay in one place, or perhaps because some of our people have the “Gift”, they think of us as devil-touched. We only do what we must to survive yet keep the balance of nature.

    The day of the fire dawned with a perfect blue sky. Clouds were virtually non-existent. The sun smiled down on us – neither too warm nor too cool. Birds chirped in the trees, the leaves of which were turning the vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges of autumn. In a small patch of woods, perhaps an hour ahead of us, a young man of fifteen summers stretched out on a soft patch of pine needles and closed his eyes. He had decided the day was too beautiful to be closed up in the village’s blacksmithing shop and snuck away when his father wasn’t looking. The lamp was an afterthought; its use planned more to help light a fire if the day became too cool than for use as a guide. Unfortunately, as he had only planned to close his eyes to daydream of a pretty girl, he fell asleep instead. Having only been asleep for a few minutes, he awoke to the crackling sounds of brush being eaten by flames whose colors matched the autumn beauty of the trees, as he had inadvertently knocked over the lantern with his feet. Realizing what he had done, he grabbed the lantern and rushed back home – but instead of confessing his actions, he hid and let the fire destroy the woodland. The breeze encouraged the flames to surge northward, encompassing much of the wooded area, as well as some of the outlaying farmland. The smoke billowed around the village and everything else within an hour’s radius.

    We approached the village from the south, our visibility becoming less and less as we closed in on the ravenous beast eating everything in its path. The smoke wrapped around our caravan as if embracing us with lover’s arms, giving the area a spooky quality as the sunlight warred with the fog created by the burning embers. A few of our men strode on ahead to scout out the area, covering their faces with dampened bandanas as the ash in the air became thicker the closer we came to the village. When they didn’t return, we increased our speed as much as we could, while also watching where we were going so we wouldn’t overshoot our destination or accidentally come upon the fire itself. As we came upon the villagers, those who weren’t as entranced with the sight of their land burning came upon us, and without nary a word, grabbed us and our horses. Dragging us toward the center of their small village, they tethered the horses and locked down our carriages. Those who weren’t busy with the animals shoved us towards the stockades where we saw our scouts already locked up. After much struggling, we were all locked up in one way or another - be it within the stockades themselves or chained by our wrists and ankles to our carriages to keep us from running off. Confusion ran rampant between us. The scouts were as much in the dark as we were, as well as highly insulted, due to the fact that this was the treatment they had received after offering their services to help get the fire under control.

    Night time came. Until now, none of the villagers had the courtesy to tell us why we were being treated as common criminals. What had we done? Why were we locked up? They ignored our questions. Fortunately the men and women of the village had been able to put out the fire after many arduous hours of hauling water to the hot spots, but we were still waiting on answers. Suddenly the air is filled with flying refuse and rotting food, hitting myself and my people. Cries and accusations ring out of voices hoarse from smoke inhalation accusing us of starting the fire. Why would we do such a thing? We have no reason to destroy that which helps sustain our livelihood as well as others, with game and edible plants. Why think we would burn the land? Finally an answer - they believe we tried to destroy their home to give them a reason to utilize our skills. We have no reason to do such a thing. If they did not need our abilities, we would have traded for food and skins or cloth and then been on our way to the next steading. These gadje think we are a plague harassing their people. I hear them whispering amongst each other that we are nothing but the hand of evil. I’m tired. I’m so tired of being thought evil just because we do not live as they do. Small groups of people stand close enough for us to hear their words, but far enough away that they will not catch our “taint”. Fear is etched in every face I see. One of the men standing closest to me grabs his crotch and mentions to his friends that he’d like to see what bedding a gypsy would be like - that our supposed interaction with the dark one must have taught us women how to truly please a man. With the most angelic smile I can muster I let him know that as my caravan’s witch woman, young as I am, if he were to touch me in such a way I’d make sure his extremities would turn black, rot, and fall off. True, it didn’t help matters much, but it kept the men from trying to touch any of the women in my family in a false manner. As the crowds disperse, whispers can be heard that they think us no better than the wolves they must compete with for their meat supply. They understand wolves as well as they understand us. Wolves are not the scavengers they believe them to be. Unlike these sheep, wolves are loyal to their pack and only turn on a member if the wrong done to the rest of the family group is serious. They believe in the family dynamic. They fight for what they need and live only to survive. There is no greed. We smile amongst ourselves as they compare us to wolves as we consider them our brethren.

    A howl pierces the quiet stillness that is deep night. I look over in the direction of my cousin and see his white smile in the glow of the full moon. I smile in response and let loose a howl of my own. Answering yips and howls sound from close by within the wooded area that was not touched by the destructive force of flame. Soon the inner courtyard is filled with the silvery hides of our brothers. Our horses, used to these predators, stand stock still and all that can be heard is their soft snuffling as they breathe. Some of the pack stand sentry as the rest scout the area as if making sure the village is quiet and sound asleep. As soon as we hear the whine of an ‘all clear’, those of us not locked up in the stockades remove our lock-picks from where we had them hidden upon our person. Those of us who were blessed with the gift shift to the same forms of our brethren, our bodies and paws small enough to make escape from our bindings swift and silent. Those without the gift bless their quick and deft fingers as they easily unlock the chains. Those who had escaped first worked on the heavy locks jailing our family from the stocks. Once we are all free, the horses are untethered and the blocks removed from the wheels holding our wagons in place. Without so much as a look back, we slip away as silent as ghosts, leaving the village behind us. Yet another village in which we will never be allowed to return to, but we will persevere as we always do. We are as our brothers - strong, smart, sly, and canny.

    This will not be the last time we will come across those who fear us because we are not like them. We are Rom, or as you like to call us, gypsies. We are in accord with the land and spirits around us and no matter what you do to us, we will always find a way to survive.
     
  2. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I know the feeling. Sometimes I am somewere like work and a piece of a story pops up.

    I had it once with a story about a city-state ruled by brother and sister gods of love, magic and pranks. Both get killed by daddy since they liked each other a bit to much. The story itself tells their rebirth and the reaction of the other gods ending in war. I was working on a fork-lift truck when it hit me.

    I just had to type it in bits an pieces, and someday it is done.

    I liked the werewolf twist.
     
  3. CelticDream

    CelticDream I play well with others... others, not you Veteran

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    Thanks Merlanni!

    It's interesting when stories decide to pop into our heads, isn't it? Good luck on getting yours finished. It sounds like it'll be an awesome read!
     
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