The Phoenix Way

The Phoenix Way

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“Be true to thy self, Seek knowledge, Be wise, Make time to play, Do not fear death, Find the light within the darkness, Use cunning and trickery to defeat your enemies, Soar high, Discover new mysteries, Make every moment magical.”

My name is Darhk. Others may know me as the second born Son of Leif Kilmaar, or perhaps the older brother of a harrowing military prodigy General Kilmaar. I am both those things, and so much more. To truly know who I am you must know where I began, as is family tradition it began when I turned 11 with our rite of passage into adulthood.

My father walked me to the clearing just beyond our city walls, emotion has no place here only strength. He reaches out to touch me but second guesses himself and stops short of making physical contact, then turns and walks away at full stride. I stand frozen, rooted to the spot he left me. There’s only one place for me now, I must spend 7 days and 7 nights among my wild brothers. Only then can I be considered “family” among my own, I command my legs to move but they firmly reject me not once but twice. My mind begins to unravel, shame, dishonour, disownment. All very real scenarios should I fail to live up to my name to my birthright. I feel despair begin to sink in. I contemplated all the ways I could use my intellect to get out of this mess. I realize I’ve been standing still for far too long.

My father may be gone but he was most definitely watching, I hear a “Kraaa, Kraaa.” Just ahead perched on the lowest branch of the tree that marks the crossing of our property to that of our wild brothers, a Phoenix it’s gaze set squarely on me. Many menn see them as harbingers of death others even think they can make them immortal - for us they are part of the circle of life, I was taught to believe that only the cleverest most cunning inherit the Phoenixes innate talents. “Kraaa, Kraaa, Kraaa” I feel that it’s beckoning me forwards, I take a step towards it and it sounds again. “Kraa.” then turns and glides to the ground and into the underbrush “Kraaa, Kraaa” I take another step and another, never seeming to close the distance between us but growing closer to this magnificent bird all the same.

It takes the changing of the sun’s light to make me realize some time has passed, I break eye contact with the Phoenix to take in my surroundings. I am deep into our wild brothers lands, very very deep. But I no longer feel fear or despair, no. I feel emboldened, stimulated even. I see the challenge set before me in a new light, one that makes it not only seem simple but also a welcomed diversion. I’d have a week to ponder my thoughts, realize the answers to many things that I had shut away, never having time for the ideas in my head. which instead were filled with endless candlelit hours of studying scrolls with my father’s Thane. Old Lady Vánagandr a know it all hag, why my father picked this womann to be his Thane would be one of the many things I puzzled over during the next few days.

Some time later rays from the morning light broke through the canopy and hit my eyes where I lay, My nest was high above the ground a sign of respect to my newly adopted spirit animal the Phoenix. However I had many more nests spread throughout the trees some high enough to almost touch the clouds. It was from here that I heard the calling “Darhk, where are you?” “Darhk, call out if you can hear me.” I had almost forgotten the sound of my own name, how long had I been gone days, weeks. I climbed down to a position that allowed me to get a clear view of whoever was calling my name, to this day I’ve never been as shocked. It was Old Lady Vánagandr! She had come deep into the wild to look for me? No. I stood up on my branch and called out to her, My voice broke before it the words had even come out, it dawned on me I had not spoken aloud for a very long time.

I snapped off a small twig and hurled it at the old womann’s back, She whirled round with surprising speed. dagger in hand no less, I was beginning to fully realize what a mistake it would be to underestimate this old hag. She spotted me through the thicket, “Darhk is it really you?” my previous admiration for the womann was already quickly fading. “What do you want Vánagandr?” She looked upset by my response angry even, “You’ve been gone for 6 weeks and that’s how you answer me coming to rescue you.” I laughed something I hadn’t done for quite some time judging by the dull ache in my cheeks, then her words finally hit me “6 weeks?”

She moved closer and my muscles stiffened, newly honed instincts had me ready to flee. I was already mapping out an escape plan to my nearest refuge. She must have sensed my fight or flight coming into play, because she put down the axe and softened her voice when she next spoke. “Darhk, listen pup. Your Father and Brothers think you’re dead, they think this place claimed you and even now give tribute that your spirit will move on as part of the great circle.” She moved ever so slightly closer, but this time there was no flight in my response. I drew my Ironwood knife and adjusted the grip, the weight now angled in such a way that throwing it would ensure a precise hit.

Old Lady Vánagandr smiled a devilish smile at that, the sort that curved the corners of your mouth showing just the right amount of teeth. “I came looking for a lost pup, but instead found a mann with more teeth than I could have hoped for.” Her comment caught me off-guard, enough so that I lowered the knife. “Has it really been 6 weeks?” I asked her, “yes pup...I mean Darhk. It has.” talking aloud without realizing it I mumbled “42 days, 1008 hours.” “Ah hah good. You haven’t lost that brain of yours after all, that was my biggest fear. All that time spent preparing you would have been for naught.” That familiar feeling of annoyance was coming back, she was speaking in riddles again telling half a story expecting me to figure out the rest.

I sheathed my knife and jumped down to stand face to face with the old hag, only to find that in 6 weeks I had grown a head taller than my fathers Thane. Looking down at the leathery face that held the answers I needed “Old...ahem, Lady Vánagandr, what have you been preparing me for exactly?” She smiled that devilish smile once again and through all those teeth simply said “To lead!”

6/11/2019 4:58:14 PM #1


6/14/2019 4:20:41 PM #2

wonderful story!! :-)


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