Tuesday, 3 May 2016

War in an age of innocence: 12

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Link to Chapter 1

 Urho nodded to Kiri and Kala, but said nothing about their adventure. He sat by the fire, seemed deep in thought for a few moments and then finally started to speak.

“I have a story to tell”, he said, “but this is not one of the old stories. It is something I just heard from the traders of the south.

“Every once in a while they visit a village in the far south. The people there have a different language to ours and these traders have learned enough words to make simple trades with them. Because of the difficulty of their language the traders rarely visit them and know very little about them. Every once in a while these foreign people obtain unusual things from far away, further than we have traveled. They say they come from lands that surround another sea, a place where the snow never falls and it is summer the year round.

“As they had not visited these people for a long while they made the long journey to see what new things they might have. As they approached their village from the sea, they saw something that they could not explain. The village lay desolate and burned. There was no one there. They landed and walked around the ruined village. We have all seen how lightning can sometimes strike and burn down a house, and sometimes the fire will spread if the houses are close to each other. This was not what had happened there. There were no burn marks between the remains of the houses. Each house seemed to have been set on fire deliberately.

“One of the traders was familiar with the Oneness and he entered their stone circle to see what he could feel. When he came back he said that he felt feelings of horror and disbelief, He said that the circle was filled with this feeling. He could not offer any other information than that. They all became very scared and decided that they should go back to their boat and sail back home. They could not explain what they had seen, but felt that they should tell other villages of their experience with the hopes that perhaps someone could offer an explanation.”

Urho stopped speaking and looked at everyone. Vara’s brow was furrowed and she started to speak:

“As you all know, we sometimes abandon a village for a better site elsewhere. It might be because the fish moved from the area, or the game, or it might be because of changes in the weather that made our fields unproductive. Sometimes it seems that the soil just gets tired of producing our food and we need to leave it to recover. Whenever this happens we all just leave the houses as they are. There is no need to destroy them and they might provide a night’s shelter for travelers on a long journey.

“Once though, when I was a young girl, a strange thing happened to a village down the coast from us. The village made use of the huge numbers of shellfish and it was their main food supply. There were a few strange tides one year and the shellfish grew fewer in number. Not only that, but also many people who ate them became very ill. I remember a few even died. The village decided that they should find another home, they thought that the sea around their village had become tired just like an old field. Someone suggested that if they left the village just as it was, other people might come, eat the shellfish there and become ill as well. So they decided to burn all of the roofs to act as a signal that this was not a good place to stay. Perhaps this is what happened to the village you speak of. I cannot think of any other possible explanation.”

Urho nodded, “That sounds like what might have happened in this case”, he said. I will go back to the house by the dock and tell them. Several of us went through the village asking for any explanations and we agreed to share whatever we heard with these traders. They are very upset with what happened and are asking everyone they know to explain it to them. There is just one thing, though”

He reached into his leather bag and pulled out a stone arrowhead. “The traders found a number of these lying about the place.” he passed the arrowhead around and they all looked at it. A few others had joined them and they, too, took a look.

“You see how different is from our arrowheads”, Urho said, “there are two sharp points that are set backwards. This shape makes no sense. If it became embedded in an animal it would be very difficult to pull it out again. Also, why would they use such things in a village? There is nothing to hunt there.”

The arrowhead had been passed to Vara. She held it in her hand, frowned, shuddered and quickly passed it back to Urho. He noticed her reaction.

“Did you think of something Vara?” he said.

“No, it’s nothing, just a crazy thought that is not worth repeating”

Urho seemed satisfied with this explanation and Vara smiled at everyone, but Kiri knew his aunt very well and could read in her face that something was troubling her deeply. He had seen that same expression back in his village when his aunt had told him of her worries that one day no one would be able to find the quietness of the circle for others, and again, in the long voyage when he had seen the Great Serpent fleeing in a vision and he had told her about it. He decided that he would question her about this during his next lesson. He thought that he had many questions for her this time and he could hardly wait to tell her about how he had found Kala by creating a circle in his mind and coming in to touch with the Oneness that connected all things.

“I’ll get back to the traders then”, Urho said. “they want to leave soon and get back home. I am glad to see you back safe and sound Kiri. You can tell us of your adventure tonight.”

He left the house and the others that had stopped to listen started to go about what they had been doing before. Soon, only Kiri, Kala and Vara remained seated around the fire.

Kiri could not wait for his lesson to question his aunt, besides, he had many other things to discuss with her.

“You saw something when you held that arrowhead didn’t you Aunt Vara” He set his jaw in the most determined way he could muster. He wanted his aunt to understand that he would not be put off so easy as Urho. She glanced at Kala, who was also looking at her intently, possibly following Kiri’s lead.

“I’m not sure this is the place to discuss such things,” Vara said.

“If you are worried about letting Kala hear about this, I should tell you that what you tell me, you can tell her. I am sure that we are a pair”

Kala blushed, smiled and lowered her eyes in shyness.

“Well, well!” Vara said, and looked at them both. She saw the determinism in Kiri’s eyes and the joy in Kala’s. Vara smiled. “You might well be right Kiri. You are different now from when you left. I can sense something. I will accept what you tell me. Do you feel the same Kala?”

“Yes I do, Aunt Vara.”

Vara smiled when she heard Kala call her Aunt Vara.

“Well well!” she said again.

“What I have to tell you must go no further. For once Kala, you must keep a secret. Promise me that you will never tell anyone what I am about to reveal to you.”

“I will.”

“Good. All things can reveal their purpose if you look at them carefully enough and free your mind from what you think you know about everything. You know how our arrows are shaped like a willow leaf? The bows are powerful, and this shape allows the arrow to reach the heart of the animal with ease and bring it down. When we recover the arrow, although it has penetrated deeply, it comes out with ease. The arrow that Urho showed us would not come out easily. It would rip and tear the flesh around it and catch on bones. We would often have to cut into the flesh to free such an arrow. The deer that you hunt has no hands as we do. They cannot pull out an arrow that has hit them. If the arrow misses a vital spot or just nicks them at the wrong angle, it might fall to the ground, but we know that the deer can travel very far before becoming weak from such a wound. We would let fly another arrow and be more careful that it should hit its mark. That arrow was used against a prey that had hands to pull it out. It was used against people.”

Kiri and Kala both looked at Vara with an expression of disbelief. Kiri spoke:

“That doesn’t make any sense Aunt Vara. How hungry would you have to be to hunt people? Everywhere we know there are animals and fish, and we grow grain and vegetables, collect shellfish from the beach and eat berries from the edge of the forest. If food is in short supply we can always trade things with others from far away just as the Danai came to our village with their wood when they suffered from a poor crop last year.”

Vara sighed. “No Kiri, the arrows were not used to hunt people like game. They were used to kill for no other purpose than to kill”

“I have seen people get very angry before” Kiri said, “and sometimes even hit another, but anyone seeing this soon comes along to stop it and solve the difficulty. It is usually because someone didn’t understand something. Anger never lasts very long. It is not our way. We are all part of the Oneness, we are all connected. We help each other in times of difficulty. How could one group of people all be angry enough with another group of people to want them all to die. Why would such arrows be made?”

Kala started to shake and tears welled in her eyes.

“This is like a bad dream, but we are not going to wake up and realize that and laugh about it. If there are people out there who would kill other people then our bad dreams have followed us into the world. It scares me. I don’t understand. This can’t be real. No dream is that bad. It can’t be true, surely.”

Kiri put his arms around her and Vara tried to comfort her.

“This happened a long way from us. We have nothing to fear here and now. I know it is an absurd thing and it makes no sense to us, but it must make some sense to these people. We have to find out what is happening and see if we can put a stop to it. Perhaps they all ate something that made them ill in their minds. There are plants that can make people believe that what is not real is real. Perhaps that is all there is to it.”

Kala began to calm down a little, but she was still trembling. Vara looked worried.

“Perhaps we should not speak of this thing any more.”

“No”, Kala said, I can see that Kiri wants to discuss it more. I was being silly. It was just as if I had a bad dream while I was awake. I’ll be alright. Sometimes I just allow myself to feel what others feel. I imagined all of those poor people being killed with arrows and not understanding why. It just became too much for me.”

“No Kala, there are things that I must tell Kiri during his lesson this afternoon. It will be too upsetting for you. If you and Kiri want to talk about these things later, that will be for you both to decide upon once I have given Kiri this lesson. I didn’t want to discuss these things yet, but it seems that its time has come before I expected it. Now go and find something pleasant to do you two. Kiri, come back here in a while, once Kala is back to her happy self again. If we have enough time we will talk again”.

Kiri led Kala out of the house, his arm around her shoulders, and Vara was left to her own thoughts.

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  1. Again a dark moment has come to the forefront of the story. The bad dream Kiri had on his journey to the Danai village shows the spiritual information of the foreshadowing events to come. Kirk has changed, he senses something evil is coming to their world that will destroy the Oneness which keeps them all connected. He asks himself the question "How could one group of people be so angry enough with another group to want them all die?"
    Who are these evil people who only want to destroy others?
    Why do they way to destroy the peacefulness of others?

    1. In our time, we take too much for granted. Kiri and his people have only their own experiences they can draw from. It's not easy, but they start to understand certain things better than we do, today. When things are taken for granted no one ever thinks about them.Kiri begins to understand that he has a great quest ahead of him.

  2. Those who take things for granted usually end up not being able to handle difficulties when they arise. Kirk realizes he will require the help of his aunt to prepare him to use the Oneness to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.

  3. Yes, and Kala's role becomes clearer as the story progresses.There are also encounters with people from very different cultures and from another part of the world, we would call them "advanced", but are they really?