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In the days of our Ancestors
After the ship crashed
After the those returned from cursed Tower
And the High Places
The people learned to love their new land

(Some of their ways are our ways,
Others have been lost
When the Ancestors disappeared East)

Some loved it more than others
Restlessness ruled in those hearts
And the desire to know what Si-Ban (the lost one) had seen atop the Tower
And in the High Places

Many stories circulated
Most believed they were Giants
For great shapes had played across the lit smoke in the night

So a group of our Ancestors organized
an expedition down the coast
In small new boats
Built to catch Waachi

Celem journeyed along his path many times
Before a small number returned
It took twice as long for them to recount all what they had seen…

When the group came upon the High Places
The Tower still stood—
But they saw no fires at its top
No sounds of drums either
The land was deserted
So a few scaled to the top
And returned promptly

The top had been swept plain
By the wind
The only sound heard from that now lonely place

A group of our Ancestors
Decided to journey up into the High Places
To see what was there
Another to take the boats further along the coast

They would return
When Celem had passed the place twelve times

On Celem’s twelfth pass
The boats returned
Full of what they had seen—

An island –a paradise of exuberant vegetation
That one could perceive
Even from the distance—its beauty was so overwhelming
That the group spent the whole time left with Celem
Staring at it

Then a storm rose up
A fine powder filled the air
Making it impossible to see
And nearly to breathe

It blew the boats
Scattered them around the sea
Some nearly to destruction against the rocks

When the air finally cleared
The island was gone from view
The time had grown short
Those in the boats decided to return
To find their kin and bring them to the Island

But those who went into the mountains
Could not be found

Celem passed by three times
Some declared – it was time to move on
--that the Giants who use the tower had eaten the group
And soon would return

Some were ablaze with desire
To return to the island
Others to go home
Only one – Toth – the smallest
known for his bravery
And his unbreakable spirit
Said they should go find the lost ones in the mountains
And slay the Giants who had taken them

His companions laughed
--Why should we die too? They said
--Be killed or worse?

And so a Great Dispute broke out amongst them
Whether to pass on for the island
Or to return to their homes

Never had an argument been so fierce amongst our Ancestors
Desire drove those mad
--who wanted to go to the island
Fear and a fierce longing to return inspired the others

The Dispute disgusted Toth
He could not believe what came over his kin
To make them forget their companions

--The true Valor of the Zem is not demonstrated by obtaining what is Easy
He declared
--but in pursuing what is impossible
--Therefore I will go to the mountains, for I wish to find my companions
Who are lost
And, if possible, see and overcome a Giant

This slowed the Great Dispute
For without exception they loved Toth
Like only brother know how to

They knew Toth was quick and tenacious
But he was no match for one bigger than he
Much less a Giant

They all wished him well and themselves separated
Some for the island
Others for home

It was these few who brought the story of the expedition home

They spoke of the Tower
Of the Giants
Of the glorious island
Some said it had never been there
But only existed as a dream
The wishes of a body addled by the sun

It is said that when Toth separated from his brothers
That he made a fire
By the sea
An offering to Celem
And to burn away his fears

Thus prepared he climbed into the High Places
In search of his companions

His search took him to all the canyons, valleys
To every High Place and
To every hidden low place between
Toth looked until he consumed all his food
Drinking from the pools of water that sometimes collected in the rocks
And found no trace of his lost companions
Nor of the Giants

Forced by necessity to leave
He headed towards where Celem rises each morning
Once on the plain he journeyed along the High Places inland
Hoping for a sign

He lived well off the peaceful land
And was never in danger
But his frustration grew
--for nowhere were there signs of Giants
Nor of the disappeared

He travelled far to the north
To where it is cold
When Celem sleeps
This surprised Toth
Who had to seek out shelter in a cave

It was the first time
Toth tasted real Fear
The kind that makes the teeth chatter
The skin to turn cold
And the soul to shudder

But his cave was small
Too small for a Giant
So he lit a fire and
Fell fast asleep

Deep in his slumber
Toth saw a Giant
Waiting alone
At the base of the High Places
With great feeling he cried
His screams rebounding off the canyon walls
He was waiting for his Love to return from the sky

Like a slap in the face Toth awoke
The screams weren’t just in his dream
At the mouth of the cave
A great creature, covered in hair
With bulbous eyes and folds of skin
Flopping around fierce teeth
Clawed past his fire to get him

Rapidly Toth produced his Wakat
To stab the creature
Not accustomed to struggle
The beast flew into a rage
Bashing the walls of the cave with his paws
Stamping the ground
He bellowed
And approached Toth

Despite bloody cuts from the Wakat
The beast shoved Toth to the wall
Toth sent a mighty blow from his blade
Which hit the wall and broke into pieces

Reaching out, the beast grasped Toth
Pulled him into a deathly embrace
Toth prepared for the End
Fought with what was left of the Wakat

The beast let fly a howl
Lost his grasp of Toth
For the piece of blade had pierced him
Cut his heart
Toth grabbed his blade
And with a mighty strike
Dispatched the beast

When Celem rose up Toth surveyed his dead enemy
From the beast’s skin he made a cloak
To fight off the cold
He departed from the cave
Bellowing to the Giants to come find him
For fear had left him for good.

Toth continued his search in the High Places
And learned many things
About the wolves who howled at night
About the Eagles who lived on high
And visited the Gods in the air

He also learned some secrets of the mountains
Of the rocks that were stronger than flint stone
From these he fashioned a new blade
Short and straight
And repaired his wakat

Toth crossed and re-crossed the High Places
Until finally he came to a river
That cut the tall peaks in two
And flowed in the direction Celem travelled

Toth followed the river’s path till it came to a tall cliff
And leapt off into an abyss

But Toth didn’t watch the water on its journey
He saw the plain beyond the High Places
It stetched for leagues upon leagues
Till it reached the point where Celem disappeared

Dry and barren
A harsh wind blew across this land
But its beauty stole Toth’s heart
And he decided that he had found where to remain

Toth at first gave up his hunt
He built a dwelling with rocks and trees
Practiced hunting and fishing
Found vegetation to eat
And explored his new world
Meditating on the vast space
And the world beneath Celem

But soon his thoughts returned to the Giants
The dream returned in his sleep
And haunted him when Celem ruled the sky
--It must be true – he thought
The Giants awaited their lovers
In agony at the base of the High Places

So he founded a plan
To create the form of a Giant
Looking up to the sky – so as to attract one into his camp
He could then slay it
Or trapping it
Find answers to his many questions

He began his immense task
By finding a rounded hill
Made of soft rock

Every day he cut at the rock
With tools he formed from the High Places

He rose before Celem did and returned
Just as Celem left the sky
And every journey brought him a little closer
To creating his Giant

After two cycles (in which we Shinse measure the progress of time – 400 times Celem passes by on his eternal journey)
Toth finished a form
15 times his height
And many times around
Cut out of the hill
Sat a giant with flowing hair
And arms outstretched
In a silent scream to heaven

Meditating upon his work
Toth realized he no longer cared to see
A real Giant
But, satisfied with his new home
With the work of his hands
And his way of life
He would now leave it behind
To find others amongst his kin to join him in it

He prepared for his journey
Closed up his dwelling
Put up enough food to sustain him the long way
Staying a day to bid his Giant good bye

It was while beholding the work of his hands
That Toth noticed them for the first time
A long line of travelers
Making their slow way across the steppe
From where Celem goes to sleep

As they approached Toth realized
They were not his brethren
But a strange folk
Of great stature
Dressed in black
With long hoods that hid their faces

His heart filled with darkness
For somehow he knew
That though not Giants
These were the people he had sought
The people behind his companions disappearance
The ones who dwelled on the tower
And haunted the dreams of our Ancestor’s children

They moved as if in a trance
No step seemed out of place
They used beasts
To carry their belongings
Creatures that looked like Toth’s enemy in the cave

As they approached Toth
They created a half circle
Lined up arm to arm
Looking inward
The silence created a feeling in Toth
Of despair

But he did not show it
Straight he stood
His pack on his back
And a wakat in each hand
He was strong
And Wild, Celem had made his skin hard
The Steppe had made his eyes sharp
He was ready
The visitors began to raise their arms
As one living creature
They moved inward
Each step
Brought the circle in tighter

Toth felt it in his toes first
Then in his hands
A coldness
Accompanied by a stiffness
His body no longer obeyed him
He let out a yell
So powerful it shook the air
But he could not move

The coldness advanced into his face
Covered his eyes
Brought a living darkness
A wakeful sleeping
And dreams

At first Toth saw his homeland
The misty forest
His people about their business
And the sea

Then images ripped out others
The tower
The High Places
And the Island
He saw faces of his comrades
The great dispute

The images moved more rapidly
As they leapt
before his eyes
Toth realized he no longer could remember
What had gone on before

The desert has a stillness
It penetrates so deep into the soul
That the soul no longer knows its name
So it was with Toth
But this stillness was a weapon

He watched the visitors make preparations
Around him
As if he were not there
They stretched out a covering
That became a dwelling
Rolled great drums off the weary beasts
All without making a sound

Then Celem went to his rest
The visitors created their own light
Everywhere it shone
And then it began

A quiet sound that grew
In complexity
As well as strength
The visitors pounded on their drums
And brought the lights
towards Toth

Toth felt the heat from afar
Like a pain from a dream
But in what was left of his soul
He could sense it was the end

The drumming intensified
Until it was no longer merely the drums
But Skara herself
Beating a rhythm

Skara’s rhythm grew stronger
It overcame the visitors
For it had not come from them
And it shook Toth back to himself

Amidst the chaos
Caused by Skara
Toth let loose with his weapons
Caused havoc with each wakat
Exacting revenge

He cut the beasts free
He sliced and hacked at the visitors
Tore their black cloaks
His heel smashing those who fell to the ground
Toth’s rage knew no bounds
Countless fell by his hands

Then
Swiftly as it had come
Skara was silent
She shook no more
Though the High Places still rumbled

Toth’s rage subsided
And he realized
The very earth had given him a chance
To escape

So he ran
Away from that place
From the statue
From the visitors
From death itself

He crossed the High Places
And before Celem rose in his glory
Toth was on the other side
Making his way home

It was not many of Celem’s trips
Before Toth arrived to the misty forest
And the sea
At their first glimpse Toth knelt
And wept with joy

Our Ancestors at first
Did not know him
With great fear they looked on the wild man
Covered in a fur cloak
And stained in a strange blood

The Toth spoke
--Zem, It is I, Toth
Who left from the tower in search of missing brothers
And the Giants that slayed them
I am here now to declare

--I have found those who slayed our brothers
But they are not Giants.
They have come from the land where Celem Sleeps
And with your help
We might rid ourselves of them

With grave wonder
Our Ancestors listened to Toth
They made their mind as one
To commit to a hunt
The first war

A great company of warriors, male and female
Followed Toth to the High Places
They fashioned new Wakats
Like his
And learnt to deliver
swift blows with them

Toth led the warriors across
To the waterfall
His old home
There by the statue of the Giant
Lay the signs of the battle
But none of the visitors in black

Our Ancestors were overcome
By the steppe
And by the place Toth had learned to call home.
Seeing no battle was immediately at hand
Each went his way
To explore and discover the new land

When Celem went to his rest
The warriors gathered by the statue
Toth felt the same uneasiness in his heart
Haunted
his memory of the battle kept him quiet and alert

Late into the dark time
Toth kept watch
While his fellow warriors
took their rest

That was when he heard it
The sound of the drums
Far off in the darkness
Then the drums stopped
And out of the darkness they attacked

Our Ancestors suffered heavily
That night
The deliberate visitors moved swiftly
Made no noise
And carried strong weapons made with the material
Toth used to build the wakat

In their circles the visitors
Created the power that had imprisoned Toth
Many it overcame
Except the female warriors
These feeling nothing
Of the coldness
Fought bravely and killed many

When Celem awoke
The battlefield lay strewn
With bodies of Our Ancestors
And the visitors.

Amongst them lay Toth
Surrounded by dead enemy visitors
He was cut and bloodied
Almost beyond telling it was he

Our Ancestors had prevailed
But at great cost
For every three who left our home
One still stood

If some had survived of the visitors
They had left
For whence they came

Our Ancestors built a settlement there
But many did not stay
Instead they returned
To the soft life of the misty forest

They buried Toth and honored him
Raised a great pillar
Where he had died

It was not the last
Our Ancestors had seen
Of the visitors in black
---

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