Lat's Tale
Spirits of Rock and Sky > Tales Told by the Enierd

I gathered frost with these broken hands, but no more, no more. The cold has taken my fingers and I cannot now lace leather nor carve bone as I once did - see these last works? The pain is nothing; I have been to the World Beyond and returned to tell the tale.

Sixteen wakes I was gone from my partner. Breaking hoarfrost from Tefa's Scarp in the howling air, climbing ever higher. No-one climbed the slopes at the edge of the World as I did, and none with any sense will again. The high air picked me from the rock and the shouts of my friends; it carried me far and into the depths beyond the Scarp. I may bear the blood of ancient Frost Gatherers in my veins, but the cold! I was more dead than alive when I returned, despite the thick layered leather you see there.

Many have come; my tale is heard in Fatek, Naskal and beyond, told at Meets by Chieftains of the Clans. Travelers have taken it further, and added much that is not true. The thin-boned Wohken send their librarians, weighted with ink and leather. Priests of the One God from their Great Temple come and go with nonsense legends and talk of divine material - I have no time for their kind. But the center of my tale has been heard across the World, and I must accept that in poor exchange for my hands.

The gates of the World Beyond opened for me beyond Tefa's Scarp. I lay amid frozen, dry bodies on sheltered rock, those who accepted the call and for whom the time had come. They were thin, ancient; not Enierd from the Clans. No ritual of Passing had been made for the dead beyond the Scarp. I could have risen up and set forth to follow the thin air, to talk to Gods where the Sky meets the mountains. My body would not obey me, and see the gates as I did, it was not my time to pass.

I do not know how long I lay there. I ate fallen frost when the time had come to move my limbs once more. My partner waited for me, my friends could not be denied their part in my Passing. Again and again I tried to climb the way the high air had carried me. Again and again I fell atop the strange bodies of those who came before me.

The cold numbed my mind and I heard spirits whispering on the wind. Trapped there, or come from the World Beyond to guide me I cannot say. The cold took me away from myself, and I recall little of what I must have done to lose my hands, my most precious tools. I know that I could not stay as the spirits wanted. My friends found me on the open rock beneath the Scarp, frozen close to death and ranting - so they say.

No, no, there is no luck. There is only will, frost, air, this tale and my broken hands.

[ Posted by Reason on March 20, 2005 ]