XXX – A History Lesson

(I’m back. I know I’ve been away for quite a while and I do sincerely apologise for the extended absence. Severe health problems and a dying computer complicated matters and distracted me from my favorite pastime. Telling stories. With my health much improved and a new computer, we should speed along more, or less, normally. Certainly (I hope) not like the length of this last absence. So let’s see what Varus, Bert, and crowd are up to now.)

Along the road we marched, drums pounding a steady rhythm and everyone in fairly good spirits. The drumbeat was precise and the beats were evenly spaced. Kind of reminded me of the beat used by galleys to control their rowers. As a military man I was kinda’ nervous about making so much noise where, only a short time before, a suspected enemy force had been lurking. I broached the point to Bert, who came up with a surprising answer.

“Drum beat not just for noise, but for trees. Big, green, glowy trees like steady drum beat. It sooths them and makes them more friendly. If friendly even possible. Need them relaxed if we to get through forest in one piece instead of many, nasty, shredded pieces.”

I thought about that for a moment and popped my next, obvious question.

“Okay, got that, but why are they after you?” (I couldn’t quite believe I was talking about smart trees holding a grudge.)

Bert gave me his usual big, sharp toothed smile and proceeded to explain.

“Tell story, but you have to be patient. Story kinda’ long and strange. Okay?”

I nodded my assent and Bert continued.

“Long long ago, longer than we Valparta care to remember, we get our start, or, how you say, beginning. That ages before now, and before rule of Great Lords. I get to them later. In first times, caverns much darker than now. Green glow came only from wall huggy moss and small bushes. Trees just trees and not nosey or nasty.

Lords tell us that why we have great big eyes. Easier to see in half dark. Anyway, at that time Valparta live in small caves or simple, wood huts. We never hurt or cut down trees. Take deadwood or dead standing trees. Never touch live ones. Then.

As I said, we simple folk who lived simple existance. Know little about fire and nothing about metal. Also, we not know, until after long time passed, that glow was slowly spreading. We normally forest creatures. Children play around trees and nothing happen. Yet.

Then, after much time had passed, we began to notice odd things start happening. The glow began sneaking into outer trees and nasty things happen.

First, forest playing children disappear. Villagers frantically search for little ones, but none ever found. After first disappearances, children forbidden to play near trees. Glow got stronger and crept further into forests until all trees glow, but that was not the worst of it. As glow grew stronger and brighter, outer trees attack nearby villages. They did this by sending glowing deadwood in to cause great harm.

After many deaths, we strike back with fire. Many trees burn and forests retreat for time being. Still, glow get brighter. It was about that time that Great Lord cities drop from above. Some villages crushed. We Valparta very very upset, but not know what to do about new threat.

Turns out, crushing was accident. Lords not know that some Valparta settled in their shafts. Big oops on both parts. Valparta and Lords arrange meeting, and confusion settled after much yelling and hand waving by us. Lords give big, big apology for terrible oops, and we become kinda’ friends. Not completely trust them just yet at time.”

I just had to interrupt.

“How does that get us to now?”

It was at that moment I realised I’d made a big mistake. Bert’s small, pointed ears flattened back like those of a cat, and his mouth opened wide to display even more of his dental cuttlery. The little guy was really pissed off.

“Did I not say DON’T INTERRUPT!”

I was genuinely taken aback by the little guy’s fury and thought it prudent to let him continue before he tried to bite me. Bert settled down and his story continued.

“As Bert was saying, we met Great Lords and life began to change for us. Mighty Ones teach Valparta about metal smithing – we turned out to be naturals at metal work – and the making of hotter fires. With this knowledge we learn to make metal weapons and shields. Next forest attack met with axes and armor. Trees retreat with a vengence.

Next, we remade our villages, over long time, with metals and stone instead of wood. As towns grow and we push back green, glowy forests, servants of Great Lords come to live with us. They say they do this so they can teach us directly and, also, to learn more about us and we them. Bert still not sure about truth of that.”

Bert’s speech died as he looked ahead. The forest was now very close at hand and Bert signaled a halt to the march. I was soon to learn exactly how the Valparta dealt with their glowing nemesis.

Chapter XXXI

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Published in: on February 24, 2011 at 4:20 PM  Leave a Comment  

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