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The Myth of Kyrrell Swamp – Chapter 1 Part 2 August 29, 2009

Posted by Yarnspnr in The Myth of Kyrrell Swamp - Chapter 1.
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Though a good deal is too strange to be believed,
nothing is too strange to have happened.
– Thomas Hardy

CHAPTER I.2:  Birthin’ in Thelra

© D. Erick Emert

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Kariessie splashed out through the wooden front gate of Thelra, past the twenty-foot high massed bonan wood staves that protected the village. She didn’t need to use the step stakes driven into the inside of the walls because the gates stood open. By the time she ran eighty feet into the Weald, the village disappeared into the abundant vegetation surrounding it. Even Kariessie’s own sharp eyes could not make it out. No trails connected Vigroth villages, making them difficult to find.

Her toes tickled while she ran through the short stemmed piccato and gutamar plants. She wondered if she would pass any of her friends gathering this indigenous and profuse flora while on her errand.

Kariessie found Gilrrie harvesting jasim sap as she ran up to him. He milked the sap from arno trees to make a glue which he used to attach fappin feathers to the sharp wammac tipped, bonan wood shafts he crafted. Even at his youthful age, Gilrrie had the respect of being the finest fletcher in the Weald. Friend and foe alike sought out his handiwork. He crafted strong shafts, accurate and lethal.  They flew true to the mark.

Karissie showed her excitement as she ran up to her Cord brother.  “Gilrrie! Is time for the birthin’! Come!” She showed no signs of being out of breath even after her mile and a half dash punctuated by pains from her Cord sister’s contractions. Her pregnancy had not yet hindered her ability to run.

As a smile spread across his hawk-like features Gilrrie replied, “Ready, Kariessie. I been feelin’ the pains.” The fletcher stood a good two inches taller than his Cord sister. At less than two hundred pounds he set the pattern from which the gods cut Vigroth males – lean and muscular. Shoulder length dusky brown hair surrounded hazel eyes that always seemed to have a serious look about them. Around his neck jangled the silver symbol of their Rirchet Cord. He shoved a stopper into the sap drain plugged into the tree and gathered his full gourd pots. His body glistened in the morning rain, which by now had slowed to a misty fog.

By the time the two reached Thelra the news had spread throughout the village. Gilrrie hung his brimming gourd pots on a peg outside his fletching stead and followed Kariessie to the shakanu. As they walked, well wishers grasped Gilrrie’s forearm greeting him as he passed. They led the tall Vigroth warrior to a special chair that sat outside the circle which surrounded the shakanu, a circle which no man could enter.

Gilrrie saw his Cord brother, Scakkif, standing to the left of the elegant goushtoka, or patience seat near the outside of the circle. Taller than Gilrrie, with dark brown hair and eyes, he presented a fear inspiring impression. A scar ran from his left ear to his jaw.  His appearance tended to mature him past his actual age.  The two men embraced, smiling.

“Ready ta do this, Brother?” Scakkif asked. Gilrrie nodded and slid himself into the ceremonial  seat, as more villagers congregated around them. The chair sat on a pedestal about a foot off the ground.  The carvings in the arms, back and legs represented images of the Vigroth Cords.  Here, the father of the expected child would stay while his Cord sister gave birth.

Kariessie, meanwhile, entered the circle and climbed up the access pole into the shakanu.

Shouts of encouragement welled up from those gathered near the goushtoka as a pair of virtuous women slid down from the shakanu and approached the seated Gilrrie. Scakkif stood to the side to make room for them.  They walked with slow, solemn steps, ending up one to each side of Gilrrie. As the people whispered in excited tones, the two women tied his wrists to the arms of the goushtoka and bound his feet to the chair legs using soft leather cords. The woman to his left produced a leather band that she tied around his forehead.

“This is ta help ya ta maintain focus,” she said to Gilrrie.

The woman to his right sprinkled him with goushin, or patience petals, to the obvious satisfaction of those gathered around who clamored their approval with gusto.  She gave him the ritual explanation.

“Gilrrie a the Rirchet Cord, there are spiritual reasons for the bonds that hold ya ta your seat. They are there ta remind ya that no matter the cries what might come from shakanu, ya must not enter the circle. At times, this is hard for the papa cause probl’ms can raise both phys’cal n ‘motional issues. Also, your bonds add ta the discomfort ya feel so’s ya can share in the pain n sufferin’ your Cord sister is xperiencin’. This is not ta say ya won’t feel each n every birth pang, cause ya will. Your entire Cord will xperience them, but not as intense as they will be for Jalleli. No matter the reason, ya may not leave your seat till the child is birthed. Such is the Vigroth way ta ever increase the emphatic bond a our Cords.”

Finished, the two women retreated back into the shakanu.

There, Solloja attended Jalleli assisted by both Rannabih and Mirjennie, the women who had bound Gilrrie. Solloja, the elder Virtuous Woman, had helped in the birthing of almost everyone in Thelra over past Time and Times. Tall, even by Vigroth standards, she kept her silver gray hair tied back by a single leather loop that hung past her waist. Her easy ways lent confidence to Jalleli and to those who worked with her.

Jalleli’s Cord sisters also attended her. Kariessie, Trachhie, Ciattie, and Gauggan sang in soft voices while they massaged her back, head, and arms. Gauggan’s voice carried a haunting melody, which the others followed with ease. Their presence lent comfort and loving support to their sister, as the hours passed.

While her sisters massaged her, two other occupants, both in their dangerous time, worked with Solloja inside the misting cell, a small hide encased circular chamber set away from the other women. Moiccha from the Sansubach or White Tail Cord and Sarshattie of the Nag Katu or Long Tooth Cord heated water over a smokeless fire.

“Birthin in the Great Weald is sucha time mixed with joy n fear, no?” Solloja asked. “Will the mother survive? Will the child survive? Will the village survive?”

“Course they will, Solloja,” Moiccha said. “We Vigroth people gotta survival instinct but it’s mixed with a natural zeal for life n that touches every element a our bein’.”

“Yeah,” said Sarshattie, smiling, “Ya ask them same questions every time one a us is birthin’ it seems.”

Solloja grinned; glad the young girls didn’t feel the same tensions as she.

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