DARKNESS DESCENDS
BY DROGO


The following story is about "The People's Rebellion", the first in a tragic chain of events that will rip apart the great Mynian Kingdom and leave it broken, and its people disenchanted with all they once knew. One young man fights against injustice, and another seeks to define it. They will find their own truths, and it might just destroy them.


CHAPTER V: THE VILLAGE

ysander trudges up the muddy trail towards the village’s smoking pits, holding two buckets of gutted fish fresh from the morning’s catch. It is a long climb as the villagers didn’t want the animals that came around the cleaning tables to easily dig up their fish as they were being smoked. It is a tedious job, but a necessary one, as fish is, after all, the staple of their diet. Lysander is lost in his thoughts before he knows it, he finds himself on his knees in the midst of a puddle of mud. He stares down at the mud uncomprehending how he has gotten into this position. He quickly looks at the buckets. Thankfully they have not tipped over - his mother would have been angry at him if he had wasted any of the fish. Light laughter assaults his ears and he seeks out the source of it. He quickly finds it. “Oh no,” he groans, “Why couldn’t it be in front of someone else?” There she sits - Dione, the prettiest girl in the village. Colour quickly suffuses his cheeks as he struggles up. He grabbs the buckets by their now slippery rope handles and hurries up the slope, too ashamed to glance back.

Lysander keeps his eyes downward to make sure that he will not slip again, and also he thinks that if he hurried and doesn't look up then maybe he could pretend that nothing had happened. Scanning the dirt intently, he sidesteps a treacherous puddle and is rewarded by seeing a pair of brown boots right before he collides with them. A pair of strong hands reaches out and grasps him, which thankfully keeps him from falling into the mud for the second time this morning.

“Whoa there my boy, where are you off to in such a hurry?”, asks a familiar voice. “And now that I look at you it seems that your face is coloured, haven’t taken too much sun now have we?”

The blatant amusement in Dael’s voice leads Lysander to believe that Dael knows full well that he isn't sunburned. “Good greetings Dael, I was just taking the first of the catch to the smoke pits for storing. I’m sorry I didn’t see you, I was concentrating on the road so I wouldn’t slip.”
 

“I see you have been successful in that venture”, he says with a slight chuckle and a nod towards Lysander’s knees. “Let me give you a hand, you know what they say many hands make lighter work.” With that Dael grabs a bucket with a rather amused look at the muddy handle. “You’re lucky that you didn’t spill anything.”

“Tell me about it my mom would have given me a lecture and sent me to bed saying just remember that the fish you wasted would have been your dinner tonight.”

“Is that so young man?” Dael quips as they begin their amiable walk towards the nearby smoke pits. “It is more likely that she would talk to you and you would pretend to pay attention, however you would actually be daydreaming of a pretty lass. Mayhaps Dione”, he says with a wink towards Lysander. He smiles brightly as he sees the blush that his words have brought. “Then yes you would be sent off to bed, but then your mother would feel bad about that and bring you something to eat anyway; all the time saying that growing men need their food. Is that about right?”

“Yea”, laughs Lysander, “I guess it is.” Having reached the area with the smoke pits, Lysander drops his bucket down and uncovers several of the pits trying to discern which ones were empty and which ones already had the embers laid down in them. After several moments he finds the perfect one and begins taking the fish out of his bucket. Shapened sticks encircle the embers, angled so that they are above them. Lysander begins to place each of his fish upon a stick. As he does so he looks across the small pit and sees Dael doing the same. A few minutes later the work is done and he puts the wooden lid back over the pit. “My thanks Dael, I appreciate the help.”

“It was my pleasure my boy, though I’m sure that there is more that needs to be gotten.”

Eyeing Lysander with an overly quizzical expression he says, “Hmm I think that you have something on your chin. Some dried mud from your slip maybe or perhaps a little soot from the pit?”

Lysander rubs his hand over his chin and brings it up for inspection. “Well, nothing came off. Did I get it?”

“No, no, it’s still there. Now that I look closer it seems as if there is a little upon your lip also. I think it might take some ruff scrubbing.”

Noticing the mischievous glint in Dael’s eyes it suddenly dawns on him what Dael is referring to. “That is not dirt”, he says a little indignantly. He then lifts up his head with pride and responds, “it is my beard. It shows that I am a man, and should be respected, and not the topic of all your jokes anymore either. So there.” He says this all with a mixture of pride and a grin.

“Well then, I’m so sorry, sir. Now that you are undoubtedly such a prominent man of the community I suppose I should show you the proper respect now.” Dael bows his head in respect and seems to be trying to be somber, but at the last words he cannot help but chuckle slightly. To cover it up he coughs, though it is apparent he was laughing. “Something in my throat that’s all. - So when will you be taking a wife and bearing some fine strapping lads?”

An expression of horror comes over Lysander’s face at the mention of a wife and children. He quickly sputters out, “Oh no, not for a long time, I was just saying that I’m a man now and should be respected. That’s all.”

Dael puts a calloused hand upon young Lysander's arm and sets a serious expression upon his face. “Yes, you are growing up and by many standards you are soon to be of a man’s age however, remember that it takes more than the ability to grow hair to become a real man. There is many a person with a full beard that still act as children and some who cannot grow a whisker and are wiser than most. Keep in mind that all men may grow a beard, but it is what grows inside of them that really matters.” Seeing Lysander’s questioning expression he tries to better clarify this important topic. “What I am saying is that it is the qualities that one possesses that determine whether they are a true man or not. When I say a true man I mean one who is respected by his community and looked up to by his peers.”

“I want to be that kind of person, but how do I become like that. I have always felt that I would follow in my father’s steps and be the next headman of the village, but I don’t know if I have the things needed,” Lysander confesses in a quiet voice, looking down towards the ground as he does so.

Dael’s grip tightens on his arm as he wills Lysander to look up at him. “Trust me. You have it all inside of you, I know it. It is just a matter of finding it and letting it free. Then once it is free do nurture it and let it grow. Think of your father, why is it that the village has chosen him to be its leader.” He notes Lysander’s small shrug of his shoulders. “Nonsense, you know, but I’ll tell you anyway. It is because they trust him. There is nothing in this world more important or more fragile than trust. Remember that. Everyone trusts him to have their best interests in mind, to think about their welfare rather then his own at times. While your father is a kind and generous man I see things inside you that could make you an even better leader. I tell you now my boy, that the two most important things for any good man to have is compassion and will. Compassion, so that he might understand all of the joys and sorrows of those around him and he might be close to others in shared fellowship. Will, so that he may overcome any obstacle put in his way, so that he will triumph through his adversities and by doing so learn from them and become all the wiser from it.”

After quite a few thoughtful minutes of relaxed silence, Lysander finally responds. “I guess that I never really looked at it that way. I just saw my father as a good person, not all of the things that went into it. I never knew that so much is needed.”

“See, now that is the beauty of it. Often it doesn’t really need much effort at all. For a person who naturally has a great heart it is second nature. You are one of those people, so don’t look all depressed. It is not that difficult, and besides you don’t have to take it all upon yourself in one morning.” Dael claps him on the arm and gets up from where they had been sitting and talking. He proffers his hand to the still sitting Lysander. “Come on, you do not want to be wasting such a fine morning sitting in the dirt all day, do you?”

Lysander shakes his head and takes the offered hand. “No I suppose not.” Dael pulls him up with surprisingly little effort, and they walk back down the hill towards the village. While walking past the little houses on the way to the area where the fishing boats are put ashore, they see Mayes. As she notices Dael and her son she waves them both over to where she is beating out a rug. Lysander and Dael share a look between them, and Lysander starts trudging over to where his mother is. Dael shakes his head in a rather bemused way and follows after him. Mayes raises an eyebrow as she gives her son’s clothing an appraising look.

Before she can say anything, Lysander blurts out, “I fell in a puddle. I’ll go in and change.”

“Oh you don’t need to do that.” Lysander’s bright smile at the news is short-lived as she continues.Since you are already dirty you can finish beating this rug and do the others inside as well. Thanks honey, that is so sweet of you.” Mayes grins mischievously as she as she hands her dejected looking son the stick she had just been using. “Don’t look like that,” she says with a slight laugh, “if you do a good job I’ll make your favoriste desert tonight.” That statement brings back some light to Lysander’s eyes and he sets forth on the rugs with a passion.

Mayes motions Dael to follow her as she starts walking away from where her son is raising a cloud of dust from the rug. Dael follows her as they wind their way through the small village. Seeing her wrinkled brow and the thoughtful look upon her face, he walks several steps behind her as he does not want to intrude on whatever thoughts she has. He takes the opportunity to enjoy the peaceful sights of the small village and to contemplate the last two weeks he has spent in Nith. The salty air fills his lungs as he takes in a deep breath, enjoying the cool breeze off the waves. It seems that everyone in Nith is hospitable, in fact as they walk around the people they came across raised a hand in greeting, not only to May, but him as well. Though he has been there for such a short time everyone had taken him in as one of their own. Mayes’ sister, Yurin, was kind enough to lodge him and always put a good meal on the table.

Certain people have even grown closer to his heart than any of those he normally met while traveling from village, to town, to city. The boy Lysander is especially special to him, there was just something about him. It would be a shame that he would have to leave soon, but that was the way of his order. The Creator has made him value this place, but so far has not put the knowledge in his heart that he is to stay here for the rest of his days.

Mayes stops walking near the rocky seashore, peering out at the small white-capped waves that the men’s boats rock upon. At the distance that the boats are out, she can not make out which one is her husband's. As Dael catches up to where she has stopped, she turns to look at him.

“Isn’t it nice out today? This is my favourite time of year, not too hot, not too cold. The winds come to stir one’s heart, but not blow one away.”

“It is indeed wonderful here, I have always enjoyed the weather along the coast this time of year.”

With a sideways glance at Dael she asks, “Do you like it enough to want to be around it every year?”

“Well, sometimes too much of a good thing makes it no longer as good as it was. For, as much as I would enjoy staying here, my stay is half over and time slowly winds away to the day that I must go on to the next place the Creator has deemed for me.”

Mayes gives an apparently uncaring shrug to her shoulders. “One must do what one must, who am I to possibly question what the Creator decides.” Then, the corner of her mouth turns upward into a sly smile, “However, maybe the Creator will decide that you will be staying here. Who am I to know?”

Dael chuckles lightly, “One never knows what the Creator may decide. But if he decides to have me stay, then you will surely be the first to know. That is if your son does not somehow find a way to get that information first. He is a rather devilish lad at times.”

“That he is, that he is. I think that he takes after Wil.”

“Oh no, I do not think so, I have met your husband quite a few times. I am sure that Lysander takes more after you.”

“Well, maybe he does,” she laughs, “maybe he does. I want you to know that everyone here likes you, and that we are all willing to keep you around if you want to stay. But for now, I should be going back so I can start that dessert that I promised Lysander.”

“I would not want him to miss out. So, I will leave you now. I think that I will just walk along the shore for a time and enjoy the day that the Creator has made.”

“Allright, fare thee well then.” With that, Mayes gives a brief wave farewell and heads back to the village.

 

Story written by Drogo View Profile