copyright (c) 2006, Don Sakers
Hunt for the Dymalon Cygnet
By Don Sakers
Year 6970 of the Water-Mountain Kingdom (1272 BCE)
My name is Citlalmina which in ancient language signifies
a comet bright. The night that I was born a comet
flamed across the sky above the circled stones, a fireball that
roared just like the storm.
My mother was High Priestess of the land, and knew this was
a message from the gods. And so my fate was set upon its course,
ere I had yet to draw a single breath.
My mother and my father both were sprung from an ancient lineage
across the sea. Since time began, the Water-Mountain Realm has
sent its children out into the world. In distant lands among
far-varied folk, they keep the ancient wisdom and the law, preserve
the ways and worship of the gods.
My mother, daughter of the Amazons, was named Tonalnan, mother
of the light. For half a lifetime she had served the folk
here in this isle of Hyperborea. My father, Chimalli, was born
and bred within the sacred citys golden walls. Hither came
he as a beardless youth, a scribe and recordkeeper for the folk
of villages around the stony henge. My learned father was well-versed
in lore; a dozen languages he understood.
Then season followed season and in time, the Priestess and
the scribe did fall in love, were joined in handfast on Midsummers
Eve, and bore a daughter ere a year was done.
My childhood was a warm and tender time. The quiet village
Aitz Zahar was home, though both my parents travelled far afield,
visiting the towns about the plain. When I was old enough to
ride a horse, then oft I was allowed to go with them. I learned
the ways of many different folk, from Aretxagas ancient
oaks as far as rocky Gerena where lands end lies.
I was my fathers eagerest pupil; I learned to speak
the Water-Mountain language and the many dialects Ivernian; I
studied history, philosophy, the movements of the stars in heaven
and the ways of peoples all around the world. My father taught
me how to reckon sums, the tricks of keeping count with knotted
cords, and how to read the records others kept.
In my eighth year the silver dragonflies first visited in
summers lazy warmth. By ones and twos they buzzed from
place to place, and never could we children catch a one. Always
around, yet never did they light; we soon grew used to seeing
That year we had an envoy from the King, come to our shores
in ships with painted sails. A woman wise, of Water-Mountain
stock, very tall and dark of skin and hair; a lady elegant from
oer the sea. Her name was Zeltzin which means Delicate;
her manner not so delicate at all. True power rang in every word
She met with Mother and the other priests, the village leaders
and my Father too, and said that she had come to view the sky.
For lifetimes has the stony circle stood, erected by the folk
of long ago. The stones predict the rising of the sun, the movements
of the moon across the sky, the seasons and the cycles of eclipse,
in ways the priests and priestesses can read.
Yet long before the stones the Circle stood, inscribed upon
the plain and hemmed around with sturdy earthworks built both
high and broad. These were constructed by an ancient folk, the
secrets of their use passed down for years, one generation teaching
to the next across full twice a thousand years and more.
And now the King had sent this servant to bear witness to
the Circles ancient truth: to seek the signs of danger
in the stars.
The lady Zeltzin came at summers height, and moved into
my honored Mothers house. For near two moons, while waiting
for the stars, she told us tales of the Golden City far; of monarchs
who could trace their lineage to days when glaciers covered this
fair plain. Of traders from all corners of the world, with gifts
and treasures fabulous to see. Of marmosets, baboons, and elephants;
of silver leaves and apples of the sun.
I thrilled to hear her tales, and sat for hours enraptured
by the images she spun. Far more than anything I yearned to go,
to walk along the Golden Citys ways. And to myself I swore
one day I would.
At last the moon waned in the summer sky; the night we all
awaited came to pass. Full half the village slept in camp that
night, outside the sacred circle of the stones. My father woke
me with a gentle touch; my mother waited in her priestess garb.
Together with the lady Zeltzin and her scribes and priests we
made procession down the long straight avenue between the mounds.
Those earthen walls rose high on either side, obscuring everything
except the sky. As ever, not a glimpse of fire or torch could
spoil eyes grown accustomed to the dark. No other light allowed
but that of stars.
My mother spoke instructions clear to all. Around the circled
bank were many pits, each large enough to hold a crouching man;
with cloaks pulled tight against the chilly night, we settled
each into her chosen pit. To mothers chanted words, we
watched the stars.
This night alone the Giant and the Bull rise with the dawning
of the summer sun. This night, the wisdom of the ancients tells,
reveals the doom to come in years ahead.
I sat and listened, eyes turned to the sky. A priest struck
even beats upon his drum, accompanying mothers steady chant.
The bright and twinkling stars were cold above, strewn thick
across the deep dark textured sky.
Across the night there streaked a falling star; a moment after
that its twin dove by. Another and another, then they came like
snowy flakes in winters first real storm. With every drumbeat
four or five stars fell; with every breath a dozen points of
Then arced a fireball over the night, spitting sparks along
its fiery path. Scarce three breaths more, another comet flared.
Above our heads celestial battle raged, as gods fought gods
with flaming swords and spears.
As night crept by we watched the heavens fall.
At last, the welcome light of dawn appeared between the eastern
pair of standing stones. The flaming carnage faded as the sun
arose and washed the morning clean and clear.
I walked beside the lady Zeltzin on the way back home and
asked her what wed seen. She told me of a sacred mystery
known in the City since the ancient days. From time to time,
as generations pass, the peaceful heavens turn more violent,
and fire rains destruction on the earth.
Tonight the fiery battles in the sky were confirmation that
these evil times had come once more upon our peaceful world.
Within three days the lady Zeltzin sailed to carry this foul
news unto the King. I watched until her ships were lost to view,
and swore that one day I would follow her.
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