The Water Tree

New to Things Lost and Found? Start here.

This happened not very long ago. I have other Stories that came before this one—even the Story that begins all Stories—but remember this one too. It is the first Story of the Last Storyteller.

            We woke, Fess and I, bloody, sweaty, and thirsty. The Clay-People sat around us, humming soft songs to ease us back to the world. Fess had woken first, always the strong Hunter.

            “You’ve been out for a day.”

            “I was tired. I’m not a Hunter.”

            She smiled, maybe a little sadly. “Neither am I.”

            “So what are you?”

            She stood me up. “Same as you now. A Citizen.”

            “But we don’t have Daruhn.”

            “Oh no? Look around.”

            The faces of the Clay-People had not seemed alien for some time, but only now did I feel a sense of belonging with more than just Running Before Sun. We were a tribe now.

            “Daruhn!” I said.

            “Daruhn,” they cried back.

            The empty crater of the mountain stretched even wider than the hollow inner chamber suggested. Thousands of paces in all directions, flat, fertile ground. I turned to Fess.

            “Perfect place for a city.”

            She took my hand, and kissed my cheek. I blushed, I’m sure. “You have no idea.”

 I searched for my friend, and found him looking over the seed in the stream. Walking over, I saw the iridescent seed’s shell had a long crack running along the middle, and from within, delicate rootlets had shot down into the stream’s bed.

            “Will this be another Water Tree?” I asked him.

            For the first time, I heard my friend speak. His voice rolled like the water; his voice was the peace after the maelstrom.

            “It will be a tree. A different kind of tree I think. But it will be ours. Daruhn’s tree. With the Faces returned, all will change.”

            “The Faces are back?” I heard the voices as Storm died, but did not understand.

            “The world is once more at war with itself.” He pointed to the ground. “Fertile ground is a matter of life and death, water and earth and air all fighting for dominance.”

            “Are we in danger?”

            Running Before Sun smiled. “A great deal. The toll for exiting Another Desert, I fear.”

            I nodded. “I’ll gladly pay it.”

“How do you feel?”

            “You know, I am so thirsty.” I knelt in the water and brought cupped hands to my lips. I had never had so much water run down my throat before. But the water quenched more than thirst. I felt the voice of the Still stir in my head, a thousand years of Stories’ truths flowing into my thoughts. “I’m Home,” I said.

            Fess came up behind me. “How’s the water taste?”

            “Amazing.”

            She took a sip and nodded. “I’m Home.”

            “Did you feel that explosion in your head when you drank it? Like you suddenly knew a lot more than you had?”

            “No. Just happy to be drinking water.”

            “Huh.” I supposed the Still only needed one voice Today. Another would come Tomorrow. I laughed, thinking of Tomorrow’s voice telling this Story. Not a Storyteller, but a stream for all times to bring truth to now. I swam in truth, as the Still must.

            “Fess, do you want to know what the words to the Walking Song mean?”

            “Not really. I already have an idea of what it means on my own.”

            “What’s that?”

            She shrugged. “Here we are. There we were. We’re going there. We go together.”

            I never told her she was right. It didn’t matter in the end. We all sang it together anyhow, as a family, as Citizens.

 

 

 

Amun,

vaijah voroh, voruhn

Amun,

vaijah vori, vorohn

Amun,

vaijah voroh, voruhn

Amun,

vaijah vori, vorohn

Amun,

            Gatta bai so.

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