Saturday, January 11, 2014

"The dark arrow bow" latest chapter of Therontales

The Studious Daniel June to the Students of Life:




Therontales have been going great. I received valuable feedback from Aspiring Writers Group, and we finished part one. Now I am writing part two, a chapter a night, and this is the first chapter I wrote, in preparation for next week. Hope you like it!


Take care, Caretakers!




The Dark Arrow Bow


                Theron and Father were practicing shooting the bow and arrow. Theron fired a bow his father had carved for him, but kept missing the target. The target was a feather quite a distance away with a red circle painted on it – of course Theron missed it. But when it was Father’s turn, he hit the red target dead in the center.

                “Mattriama gave you that bow. Even I could hit the target with it, because my heart is true. If I had such a bow, I would always hit my target.”

                Father wordlessly took Theron’s bow, cocked an arrow, and hit the freshly placed feather directly in the center.

                “Still, I want a bow like yours. It would make shooting much easier.”

                “How will you get the bow and arrow you want?”

                “I have money from the gemstones I’ve found. Maybe I will go to Latvia, the arrow smith, and have him give me a fine bow and arrow.”

                “He is the best arrow smith in the land. Of course he will give you a good bow and arrow for your money. But he won’t give you his best bow and arrow. Try this. Ask him for the best bow and arrow he has, don’t offer him money, tell him you will do whatever service he asks of you. Agree to whatever terms they are, so long as they are noble. Then you will have earned your bow and arrow.”

                Theron wasn’t one to waste time, so he left immediately. He showed up at Latvia’s workshop and asked for the best bow the arrow smith made, in exchange for whatever service he asked for.

                “Two things,” said Latvia, who knew Father well and had known such a day would come. “First, the price is you must herd the shepherd’s sheep for a season. He is a good man and I owe him a favor. He broke his foot and is also fevered. Secondly, when I give you the bow that is my best bow, you must not question it. If you ever call into question my wisdom in giving you this bow, the exchange is forfeit, and you must give it back, and you will have earned nothing for the time you spent as a shepherd. Are we in agreement?”

                “Yes,” said Theron.

                “Very well,” said Latvia. He went to the backroom for a long long time, but Theron kept patient by making up stories in his head. Stories of what he would hunt with the bow. How he would catch fabulous birds and make beautiful headsets of their fathers. He would destroy fabulous monsters and win the hearts of many maidens. He would be honored by kings and princes.

                Then Latvia returned with a special box. He carefully opened the box. He took out something from the box, and carefully put it in Theron’s hand.

                Theron almost dropped the bow.

                It was ugly, with gnarled wood, perhaps rotten. It wasn’t strung. It clearly had no balance. In fact, it was little more than an old stick, unfit even to walk with. Theron kept silent.

                “You are too young to be polite, and your disappointment is obvious. There is a story to this piece of wood that I will tell you when you are ready. You will start to watch over the sheep tonight. For the summer you will live with them and know their ways. They have many enemies, which come especially at night. You must protect them. At the times you need to go back to your family, the shepherd's brother will take over for you. Thank you Theron.”

                Theron walked away, with sulk in his steps. Nevertheless, he went to meet the Shepherd, whose name was Shalderan, and whom he had known somewhat before. The man was in no position to make a proper greeting, but his brother Kimsall, who knew Father well, took him to the field to meet the flock.

                “I will stay with you for the first few days until the sheep trust and accept you. After that, they will be as if they are your flock, and you must protect them with your life.”

                Kimsall was a noble man, but a bit impatient with children. He had no children of his own, so apparently he did not know how much patience a child needs. Theron was patient for the two of them. Quickly he learned the ways of the sheep, and who wandered off and when to call them together and how to manage them. After a few days, he felt ready to do it on his own.

                At first it was too much work and he felt overwhelmed. But after a few weeks, he had it under control. He learned the moments when he could play his flute and also how to keep the predators at bay. He also made names, one for each of the sheep, so that he would know them better. He discovered their relationship, their little hierarchies and the nature of their social bonds. He learned which ram he had to win the respect of, and also he learned much in the ways of how animals reproduce, and other such matters.

                He finally decided to play around with the withered stick Latvia had given him. He strung it and tried to fire a few shots. Nothing came remotely close to its target. It was a piece of junk, he decided, that Latvia and his father had devised to teach the boy humility.

                Nevertheless, he decided to prove to them that his pride was worthy of him. So he worked on the bow. He carved it. He named it “Ernhurst,” and etched the name on the bow. He carved it to adjust its balance, and experimented with adding inlays and designs. He also realized the bow required a special shaft to match its balance, so he used a special kind of thistle that he had learned made the sheep sick. It was actually quite poisonous, and the arrows had a magical property, he discovered, that made them fly into evil or darkness.

                He knew this because one night vampire bats attacked the sheep. The kept flying in onto the sheep and biting their necks. Theron shot his thistle arrows and even when he was nowhere close to hitting one, the arrow adjusted itself and struck the heart of the bat.

                One night, it was wolves, and Theron was somewhat scared, because the pack was starved and might kill him as well. But his arrows went straight down their gullet and killed them. He made some fine clothing from their pelts.

                One night by the campfire he said a prayer to Mattriama, and Ama told him to pray to the bow. So he did. The bow told him his story. The wood was magical and living, alive and growing, and that unlike all other bows, his would grow with him, and develop a character alongside Theron's. When Ama walked the earth in ancient America as a human girl, she had once been shot by an arrow in protecting her brother. The blood had fallen unto the roots of a tree and it grew magical. That tree was still growing in the woods, an immortal tree. This bow had been made from one of its branches.

                After the shepherd had healed and was back to his duty, he thanked Theron, and was surprised to see his herd not only well behaved, but thriving and prospering. He had high expectations from Samsoar’s son, but his expectations had been greatly surpassed. So had Theron’s. He had made friends not only with the arrows, each of which he named, but also with Ernhurst. Finally, he had made friends with the sheep, and would come and visit them often.




\ ~@M@~ /


No comments: