Read Tales Of Grimea Online

Authors: Andrew Mowere

Tags: #love, #action, #magic, #story collection

Tales Of Grimea

BOOK: Tales Of Grimea
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Tales of Grimea

Published by Andrew Mowere on Smashwords

Copyright 2016 Andrew Mowere

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Blurb

Thank you for the smile

The wind and the tree

And thank you for being

The thing that I see

Also By This Author

 

The Final Life

The Final Death (Coming Soon)

Table Of contents:

The Pathseeker

Survival

Whispers Of Insanity

Crossroads

Worth

Strangers

The Blacksmith Of Coeur

 

The Pathseeker:

Year: Unknown

This tale precedes recorded history, having
been passed through oral tradition for centuries before any known
written form of tongue was invented. Most scholars from all four
continents consider it to be myth. Those few who will take the
possibility into account credit the unnamed man mentioned within,
all those hundred thousand years ago, with taking humanity on its
first step towards discovering magic.

The man ran, wheezing. His breath was as
long as a great tree stood, but his stalker’s persistence was
longer still and his left leg throbbed. Knowing not how he will
survive the day, he began to look for places to die. It was common
for two footers to avoid being eaten, at the very least, but the
tall man thought it was wise to give back to nature. Deep within,
he understood that it wasn’t demeaning to let the beast eat him,
for he was part of everything in one way or the other. He was not
its better, but still thought it would be best to find a suitable
place to at least finish this desperate fight properly. The trees
flashed by, a storm of green leaves and air heat causing his every
inhaled breath to come in with a little bit of water. He did not
understand that this was the very stuff that makes rain. He noticed
a faint stench coming from far away, and his mind grasped at a
possibility of survival. The sun stared at him from directly
overhead as he turned right, racing over branches and ducking under
vines. He could hear great loping strides behind, and at some point
the haze of his vision intensified as fresh blood spurt from the
nasty gash he’d been dealt earlier.

The man reached a copse of different trees
with tall trunks. The stench of sweet death intensified, but he
hoped that his pursuer’s feline nostrils were too filled with his
blood. Before him, the ground stretched a rich dark brown layered
deep and soft, like stacks of tired leaves. Above him, far above,
he could barely glimpse fat reddish fruit hanging from branches.
They looked ripe, which meant that care was needed here. Instead of
looking down, the two footer wades through the fluffy brown ground
rising up to his waist, knowing the dangers. As he did, he could
feel the shake travel from his bare clawed feet and touch the trees
nearby. A growl came from the creature behind him, but it was not
the immediate danger. His blood pumped, and for a second everything
slowed down. This was the single most dangerous moment he’d been in
since infancy and his mind sharpened appropriately. It was one
thing to charge the everyday dangers of this world, full of
monsters and poisoned food and unseen death waiting to claim, quite
another to willingly walk beneath Muahug’ha trees. He could hear
the heartbeat, feel the very wind touch his skin with a blowing
cold. He could smell the brown furred beast with death clinging to
its fangs, white like polished bone after a hearty meal. It would
pounce in one and a half heartbeats, for its muscle were already
clenched with the determination to take this two footer’s corpse
and flee quickly.

Perhaps it was the haze of blood loss, or
perhaps the twofooter’s concentration had never been tested thus
before, but at that precise moment something happened. Within the
body that was within his body but had no body, something stirred.
It was vague as the wonder of color after a sunrise, or the breath
of an unnamed odor instinctually carved onto a man’s skin, but he
grasped at the stirring. Suddenly, he looked at his body from
without, and saw many ripples in the clearing, with the mountain
cat behind him, the trees above, and the jungle around. Countless
things rippled; insects and birds and small animals of little
consequence as a hawk fluttered far above. Not knowing how or why,
the man focused on himself and suddenly he was the calm of a lake
before the ripple, knowing exactly what to do. Left and right, the
trees would shake, but they would be too far from him. The animal
would startle, and it would be time for the lake to take his shape
and move before the third shake. This was not the future, he knew,
but the understanding of what happened in the moment and how it
would shape things.

Quickly the man turned, leaping a bit the
side and forward, ripping off mountain cat hide tunic as he did.
The first and second trees shook, sending red fruit as large as his
head tumbling down. The fruits were so full of juice that they
almost burst without touch, and their skins cracked as they tumbled
down. Overhead the hawk turned, sensing someone’s doom. When red
fruit hit soft brown land, it burst but was contained, for they
fell deeper and burst onto a thousand little strands of earth.
However, the sound prompted his enemy, a mountain cat with yellow
eyes and hate against this two footer who dared impersonate its
brethren upon his skin. It leapt, but the man was already in
between its claws, waiting. He snagged one claw with the tunic,
letting the other go. Both beasts roared, and both roars were of
triumph, but the man’s prevailed. He knew the cat’s fate, clever as
he was. In that instant, as it soared through the air and he
grabbed it by ear and limb, the man felt three things.

The first was the bloom of pain in his chest
as four claws scoured deep marks onto his haired, chiseled
chest.

The second was a pang of sympathy for the
beast as he and it exchanged looks and he understood the
fundamental differences between them.

The third was a ripple behind him, and it
was the shudder that reminded the two footer of life and death.

He twirled, using his strength to lift the
beast further as it flew to his left. He had it in a grip and threw
it behind him, where it finally landed with a snarl, angered and
perhaps confused. The second it landed, the man scrambled back and
onto safe greenish brown firm earth, clawing his way out of their
arena. As he did, a splat was heard, and by the time he looked back
the beast was dead, covered in red poison juice. Its face was
twisted, and he knew the expression to be that of an anguished
death. At least it was quick, and the jungle cat would be destroyed
quickly, turning into more fuel for the Muahugh’ha trees. Within a
day, one would hardly know what had happened here, for the soft
brown earth would have taken over.

The two footer waded slowly out, feeling
something was off. His chest burned and so did his leg. In all
likelihood, he would not survive his injuries, for Najera’s mark
would probably soon appear where he’d been wounded. It would fester
and grow, taking claim slowly until death chose to come with his
clean tunic. The sun being directly above made it more difficult to
tell directions, but the man looked around a little and noticed the
mountain housing his cave. From the ones all around, it was the
eighth highest and stood waiting behind two rises. The two footer
knew that between them a river would snake, sly and blue. He made
his way towards it, and caught a bird soon after starting out. His
limp, after all, did not stop him from lunging with lightning
speed, and his prey was lazy, flying too low so as to avoid
detection. As he walked, putting one clawed foot in front of the
other, the sun seemed to follow him, and he adjusted his direction
appropriately, knowing that it would set directly behind his cave.
The darkened blur around his sight would take over at times,
casting him into darkness. Whenever he awoke from it, he would be
further ahead. One time it happened just before reaching the river,
and when the man awoke there was no sound of running water anymore
and his feet were wet. Sweat covered his face, mixing with the dirt
in his shaggy hair to create knots. He did not mind much.

His thoughts turned slowly, and as usual
they went towards sympathy. The bird lay limp in his hands, and he
kept his grip deliberately tight so as not to drop it. Also, he
wanted to get it salty, as he’d discovered that salty food tasted
good and that was exactly what sweat did. It was a grain of
information he kept to himself, not letting the other two footers
find out, although he intended to share it eventually. He regretted
not telling them, but salty food was a good bargaining tool.
Speaking of regrets, he felt bad for the cat. It was killed, but
not for food or use. Such a death was shameful. These thoughts
throbbed and swirled within the man’s mind as the jungle gave way
to craggy rock and he climbed up. Then the wave of darkness crested
again and when it washed back, he was near his own cave. There were
people walking around him, and he saw a woman tut at his condition
from the left. He walked with a rocky cliff to one side and a drop
to his left, overlooking more mountain and the jungle. Caves lined
the path to where it curved left then right again. There were many
of them, and he could see two footers holed up in some. The sky
began to sleep as he looked, and the man knew that he would be
unable to ward off predators. Perhaps for the first time he was
glad to live on this mountain, for there were many caves and it
would be safe. He fell asleep walking.

When the two footer awoke, it was dark and
he was in worse pain than even that time he fell down a tree and
his foot pointed in the wrong direction. That time, he had been
able to force it into place, but on this day there was not such
relief. He was forced to howl at the sky dots, for the burn in his
chest and legs became unbearable. Worse, every time he closed his
eyes, the inside of his head would throb and he would burn on the
inside whilst shivering in a cold sweat. When that happened, he
became the lake once again, feeling every living thing around him.
The two footers around him walked, the animals in the forest
climbed and ran and slithered. Birds flew and roosted and fed its
young the very same worms that wriggled beneath his feet, far
within rock which waited patiently. He could see and hear and smell
every bit of it, and the knowledge hurt. It was like shouting
within his heart, screams he regurgitated ten times or more that
night, howling. The two footers around him, he could tell, thought
that he would die soon, and he went quiet. Despite everything, the
two footer understood two facts which clamored against each other:
He was the same as everything else, and yet no two things were
entirely alike. This, mixed with the euphoria of fever, lent itself
to his own natural empathy, and in delirium the two footer took off
his tunic and stuffed it into his mouth so as not to bother anyone.
His life replayed itself before his eyes as he fell into the fits.
He cried, remembering the time he had given his smallest brother
some painstakingly gathered food, just to have it slapped out of
their hands. He raged against himself, seeing the time his advances
towards a particular maiden were largely ignored seemingly because
he knew not how to swim. He sighed, reliving the day that his
parents ventured out as one beyond their tree home and never came
back for them. There were embarrassments and saddening moments, yet
there were little triumphs here and there as well. Swimming in the
river to cheers, having a young child recover from fever after he’d
given it berries against the desperate protests of its mother,
making friends with a slitherer. All these the two footer
remembered as the fever raged. Slowly he began to control the lake
within him and his inner sight quieted down, becoming a slow
trickle, showing only some of what lay beyond him.

Within a few days, he was terribly weakened
due to the lack of food but otherwise feeling healthy. The two
footer dared poke his head outside for the first time since
collapsing and found a few children playing beneath his spot. He
growled at them and they ran away. Naturally, he was thought dead.
Proving them wrong felt good. When a few older two footers came and
checked up on him, they decided that recovery was possible. Angry
scabs stood out along his chest and right thigh, but were unlikely
to cause serious harm. Thus, fruit was brought to him. There were
red orbs, green long tubes filled with brown nectar and seeds, and
bitter bits of leafy things which tasted better the more you ate.
The two footer feasted on those, mentally marking the cave they
came from so as not to forget the debt owed.

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