The first day he spent screaming, some watched and most pelted him with stones to hush him. By the second day, he had gathered a small crowd. When his voice gave up, he merely yelped. He stomped and pounded his fists on the rock. He grabbed a larger stone, and proceeded to slam it against the great rock. This continued until day three, when their king, Yorric, arrived to see what the commotion was.
"Are you out of your mind? What do you think you're doing?" Arvin mouthed the words, for his voice was still hoarse. This further angered Yorric, displeased with his disruption of the tribe. He questioned the crowd, trying to make sense of what he was doing. They did nothing, simply saying he'd gone mad. Arvin continued to thrash the smaller stone against the rock, until the leader had two of his warriors restrain him.
"I cannot have this. You must leave. Take any possessions necessary, and leave at once. You're banished." Some protested whether this was a wise decision.
"What happens to our history?" a small voice piped. All stopped, trying to search for the source. Their leader stopped, unsure of what to make of this, but shook it away.
"You worry over simple matters. It is indeed a shame, he did not pick a student to teach the tales of our ancestors, but he can't do so now when he's a raving lunatic." All agreed, and returned back to their homes or to their labour. Arvin was left standing there on his own, his smelly, ratty clothes hanging damply off his weak frame.
"That's right, that's why I'm here. I'm the mad one." The cloaked figure reached out a skeletal hand, caressing Arvin's face.
"Batty, as they sometimes say," the voice of the cloaked figure rasped.
"It's not your fault though. It happened for a reason. That tribe must end, their knowledge must be lost. It is as intended by the winds."
"Never thought the winds could actually figure all that out," he paused, and then continued, "was the vision real?"
"Completely. However, it is not the end of humanity, just humanity as you know it."
"Why only me?"
"I have a passion for bringing the end of life. The truth is that death is very quick. The satisfaction is short-lived. I only have control over a moment in everyone's life."
"I have no control whatsoever."
"Yet you still try and pretend like you do. Arvin, you were chosen simply because you simply get too caught up in what you believe needs to be done. I could have chosen anyone. You simply were the one today."
"Why this tribe?"
"It's not just you. You're not special, as I am not so either. Many will suffer this fate. There is no love in these kings to protect their people as many may have, and so they will fall into the dirt and rot, forever forgotten." Arvin grinned, and snickered again. Death tilted his head in curiosity.
"How little you observe, Death. History and stories are written by the winners," Arvin spoke slowly, "I used to play a game with a little boy. He won, so I have asked him to write my story."
"He'll be dead soon. With the rest of them. The story will be lost with him, as their stories have been lost with you."
"I'm going to take a chance just this once, and bet against fate."
"Why might that be?"
"I've won out before. I never sat in a grave with the rest of those armour-clad fools."
Death was still, as if he'd frozen into a sculpture of ice. A crackling cackle penetrated the cool air, and he made a short wave of his hand.
"Well played, Arvin. You seem to have outwitted me in this instance. For that, you receive one gift. What might it be?"
Arvin held out his hand, a small smile taking over his face as a glimmer of hope in his grey eyes was renewed.
"Old friend, there is no need. Take me away." Death nodded, and took hold of his hand. Both fell into one solid beam of light, swallowing them whole, and carrying them off to the afterlife. There was a faint echo left behind, a memory stuck in the air as the fog dissipated.
"Good luck, Valter, my grandson."
Valter sat at the bench in the mead hall with the old fiddle, piping out small notes and kicking his foot cheerfully to the light and happy beat. When he finished, he smiled and admired the fiddle in his hands.
"He wasn't absolutely batty."