|Legend of Lao Ye
Author: Rudolph Schmidt PM
It is a time of Legends. The race of man in the land of Zhong are enslaved by nocturnal warriors of the deep jungle, called the Svaari Asun. The people live in misery and despair, their lives dictated by the whims of their cruel captors. But in the depths of darkness and slavery, one among them would rise up and light the path to freedom. To defy a king and become the legend...Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 38 - Words: 153,018 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 01-15-13 - Published: 08-21-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3052107
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I. A Legend is Born
The great green sea of jungle rolls high over mist capped mountains and low sun drenched valleys. Its thick emerald canopy's surface ripples as many fluttering pads and rattling leaves which undulate in the flowing winds. The land sings. Its music rides the currents of air that make it sway and whistle shivering melodies accompanied by high tunes of flying feathery flutes and low tunes of hairy tailed basses that holler, pound, and hoot.
Beneath the surface of the green jungle's canopy, beyond the harmony and song of its bright songbirds and mischievous furry tree dwellers lurks silent killers. And even deep in the dark, there are bright quiet things of flowering beauty that are yet poisonous and foul. Worse than the toxic fragrance of an alluring flower, or the silent web makers who make shimmering ethereal traps, is the land of stone.
For the race of man, it is the magnificent stone cities that are the worst trap of all, for here men live and die never to be free of the walls.
For this is the land of Aria and this is the age before the empires of man in the realm of Mundus.
The wind swirls in front of a high cresting mountain wave, the green seas churn in a whirlpool as the leafy waters part and reveal white lines of immaculate stone. The great monster that is the temple of Tzot Asun rises up as the mouth of the beast. A massive five stepped pyramid, with a stone altar, a bed of eternal slumber for those souls made to lie upon it. A frame of walls etched in white contains and beholds this masterpiece. These are the walls of Seyvie, Capital and namesake to a great kingdom of the nocturnal hunters known as the Svaari Asun. A land ruled by the king and living god, who was called Pac Tuhaal the II.
Down through the leafy breaks, amidst the ever flowing jade sea in this cornered valley, lay an earthen path deep within the great capital city. It is tread by the feet of a terrified slave. She is a daughter of man, and her people had not yet a name history would remember, as they had been enslaved by the indomitable Svaari Asun for ages beyond their reckoning.
Her hair is long silky black, hanging down to the small of her back, clothed in only a grass skirt and a lay of flowers, she strode with calloused feet. Aside her are two spears pointed at her back, hefted by royal svaari warriors. She dares not turn or look, only go forth to the ominous palace of stone, tall columns with dark recesses, intertwined with over growing long rooted trees upon its sides. The flanking trees twist and coil over the center, atop its crown forming a tall great tree. In the great tree, perched on shady boughs, are the Svaari Asun royal archers. They are painted in brown and green melding swaths of war-paint, their long bows hung with moss, blending into their surroundings as invisible sentinels.
The woman ambles forth with an unsteady gate. She clutches her swollen abdomen as she approaches underneath a passage of shadow in between the straight, white, sharp edged pillars. She hangs her head as she is soon engulfed in the darkness of its long shadows. Her feet shuffle and prod low as the light dims. Faint immaculate carved arches hang illusory over head towards the thin white outline of a spherical throne. Long roots draped down from a sky-lit passage above, hung like snakes behind the throne, dripping moisture into a long canal that ran out under the walls to either side. From the throne's deep carved recess, were two legs of a golden hue which were visible in the last edge of light from the late dying afternoon sun.
The king had just awoken, and to her misfortune it was because of her. The young woman fell to her knees, her porcelain skin melding ghostlike with the thick gloom. She fell down upon her hands as the king stood.
Her face was hot and beaded with sweat. Droplets of perspiration fell down in patters on the smooth stone floor as if her body itself was tearful for her brave face would not cry. She raises her head slightly, her black hair clumping in tendrils, sticking to her round pale visage forming fissure-like shadows.
The bright honeyed skin of the king's hand emerges from the shady veil. His fingers are nimble and long, yet strong, his arm seems to reach almost too long, as it does with all Svaari, whose long arms can still climb through the jungle with ease.
The lengthy fingers ensnare her jaw, pushing little points of pressure just enough to be uncomfortable. Suddenly his long triangular face juts in from the dark above, a narrow chin, a forward sloping predatorial face, with a long sharp nose and high protruding nasal bridge.
His eyes are two large side-long ovals with discs of amber set deep under the edge of an arched border of a brow heavy ridge. She turns her head slightly to avoid the vast gaze of his ominous nocturnal eyes. She could feel his breath on her cheek, the breath of a mortal that commanded the night and stone as a living god.
He slowly stood, his fingers still under her jaw, wordlessly commanding her to rise. The king's shoulders appeared draped in a dark open cloak as she looked upon him. The living god eases his long protruding oblong ears towards the pregnant swell of her stomach. He presses his deep welled ear to her navel as the tufts of hair that grow atop his ears make her skin itch, the baby kicks and the king retracts his head back.
She feels a suffocating cold as if submerged under the crushing depths of a shadowy sea of darkness while she watches the king contemplate his desire. Mating of slaves without permission is forbidden, and Pac Tuhaal will punish those who defy his commandments.
He beckons her to follow him, and walks to the far passage way, shielding his eyes from the bleeding light with the thick palm of his smooth hands until he adjusts to the light. From the spaces in the outer columns of this passage in the long stone house, a vast garden where male human slaves are toiling could be observed, their backs glisten in the reddening sun, as they tend to the earth.
"Who is the father?" The king utters.
She does not speak.
She is taken closer, where some of the men glance over, then turn back fearfully, one young man does so with an unguarded moment of a familiar longing which turns into fear at the sight of the Svaari King next to the woman. The King leads her down the stone steps into the bleeding light.
"Show him to me." Commands the king, as his guardsman stands behind him.
He slowly grasps her elbow, lifting her arm, making her extend her hand encouraging her to point out who it was.
"Which one?" Pac Tuhaal speaks
She shakes her head, uncooperative. The king guides her hand and watches her expression to try and discern, until she then begins to move her hand upon her own will.
Her finger wanders tremulously as it grazes past the nervous men in the field, hesitantly past the man with the familiar gaze, then across the stone-faced guards. With sudden impulse she continues her finger out up to the central hill, up the steps of the temple, atop the pyramid, to the egg shaped rock of Asun, and above to a darkening cloud that pulsed and rumbled on the distant horizon.
"Tzot" She spoke.
"Tzot is the father..." He said coldly, merely repeating her words with a hollow echo, as he released her. She almost fell to her knees as one buckled, but she caught herself, and strongly stood up to face the growing storm.
A flash of blue-white lightning lashes across the sky… she holds her belly as the child kicks.
"So be it. Upon the child's birth he shall join his father atop the temple of Tzot Asun. You will await him." Pac Tuhaal utters with a shake of his head, as he departs, turning his back upon the slave leaving her to be taken by the icy grip of the guards to await her fate.
She spend her following days in the shadow of the temple where no slave may tread, save for ones to be taken to Tzot Asun. She had never once prayed for something, before this day. Before, Tzot Asun only heard her curses but now upon the precipice of her mortality, the sands of time sifting thin through her fingers as her belly swelled she prayed this place would not be her unborn son's home, that someday, he would choose his home and be free from the tomb-like walls that enslaved them.
Upon pains of labor wracking her womanly form she was taken to ascend the temple steps, aided by the temple guards.
The time had come. She was to meet Tzot.
Svaari drummers cloaked in white cotton cloaks began to strike their deep round drums with a softly growing thrum of intensity.
A fierce wind had gathered dark clouds blacker than the night. The stars were taken from them under the rumbling advance of the swirling dark celestial creature of fearsome beauty. A great storm was coming. The sky poured, drenching the svaari subjects of King Pac Tuhaal as they stood shoulder to shoulder at the steps. The rain fell like waterfalls as it rolled down from the temples steps. The pyramid shimmered like a great fountain in the strobing flashes of lightning.
She was placed on a stone slab underneath the gaze of the Great Stone, the Egg of Asun, symbolic of the All-Stone of creation which Tzot shattered with his strike of furious light. Destroying the one to create the multitude, at the dawn of time. Together these energies were known as Tzot Asun, the will of creation. All that existed were said to be shards of Asun resonating with the energies of Tzot that animated them. The Svaari Asun consider themselves the greatest of all shards.
The child dwelling inside the mothers womb, pushed to come into this world, blind to turbulent struggle that ensnared he and his mother as he still existed in the blissful state of being without cognition. The mother rolled in pain as the tempest above grew in fury. The roaring walls of green jungle rising above the stone around them tossed and turned in a great turbulent swell, growing to an immutable roar.
The priest stood, his white-gold mohawk drenched to the side of his face, his large ears twitching with each crackling phosphorescent surge of lightning. Rows of drummers pounded, as did the rain, surging to a crescendo. As she called out in pain, the firmament crackled in response.
Spitting water and hair from her mouth she whispered a maddened plea, a forceful promise:
"Tzot is your father."
Her whisper climbs from her lips as she gazes upwards in hopeful desperation and terrifying awe.
The priest's eyes narrowed to black daggers at her blasphemy.
She screamed as her child escaped from the womb. The priests long arms and lengthy cold fingers removed the child from her womanhood. In one hand the priest held the child aloft, his large hand holding him firmly, in the other he drew a dagger the shape of a long jagged lightning bolt. The strand of the fleshy cord that connected the child to his mother was severed in a swift strike, fully separating the one from the other.
The child screamed in fury and terror. The child's new born eyes shut to the violent world, the cold shroud of rain streaking his skin and washing away the afterbirth. The child was placed upon her heaving breast as her shaking hands found the strength to clutch her child, for a fleeting instant she felt a bold triumph in defiance of her captors.
"The Father has come to claim mother and child. You are Asun and now Tzot has come to return as one. As all once was, as it will be again." The priest's voice surged forth from his bellowing lungs as the drums pounded like the quaking of the earth.
To the Svaari Asun, the coming sacrificial strike of the dagger would symbolize Tzot striking the All-Stone, that of Asun, to return the sacrifices' spirits as one, whole. So it was in the first moment of creation, during the instant Tzot touched the stone before the shattering, when all was one singular force. And so would this moment return again in the end times when the cycle of time would turn beyond the future and come back to its beginning.
She held the child close to her chest and looked up with pleading eyes to the father in the sky. The long arms of the priest extended. He clutched the dagger in both hands and raised it over his head, pulling back as a pendulum about to drop. The dagger's rain slick metal shimmered like lightning itself.
In a deep breath, as he prepares to plunge the dagger forth, a blinding white, deafening crack wounds the air.
Lightning leaps down from the clouds aimed at the priest. The mother's ears rung piercingly as the temple's height was enveloped in the flash of pure power, bathed in a surge all consuming light.
Tzot himself reached down and touched the dagger.
The priest collapses to the ground, his robe speckled with blackened chars. The priest lay silent, his dagger stilled, gripped by a burned hand, as his soul rose in white steamy wisps from his prostrate form.
The mother summons her strength as she moves and slides her legs towards the steps where the king's masses lay below.
Her ears are still ringing as she sees the drummers hands fall silent. Only the rain drums now. She cradles the red-faced furious child as she raises to her feet. Knees buckling, she falls to one knee and holds the child up for the king to see that he was spared.
"Tzot has spoken" Pac Tuhaal affirms in shock.
The king slowly, almost regretfully, kneels to their god's decision.