“…Upon a brow of blessed sleep,
Thy dreams of silver buried deep.
Away, away, we’ll meet one day,
When light is dark and mothers weep.”
Warmth blossoms within me, piercing my stony chest as my meditation breaks—the first time in an age. My body groans as my limbs detach themselves from my core, breaking the dust from my form and sending up a cloud. The plates along me expand as my heart rouses from its sedation and the resulting wave of heat erupting from within me shimmers the air. I finish the song when my mouth works again.
"Under wood and rock and soil,
In the stillness where I toil,
I wait, I wait, for need most great,
When worthy shine and fate uncoils."
My partner in song, the Reclaimer, coughs loudly towards the end of my part, waving their hand in front of their face as my dust cloud envelops them. I level my flat head in their direction, regarding a different part of them with each of my four eyes. “I had always expected one of your kind to find me first.”
They stop coughing and sniff loudly before straightening. “You did not make it easy.”
“I have come to collect what is owed me.”
I grind my jaw slowly. “What is it you are owed?”
The Reclaimer puffed out their chest. “My fate.”
I rumble deeply. How humorous. Their kind had not changed. Still so poetic. Still so driven to grandstanding. But I’ve been so long without company. “Where does fate lead you?”
“Here. To call upon the army of the Golra. To beg your aid in our time of need.”
“What is it that drives you?”
“Justice.” They spit the word out and their fleshy face scrunches up with hate. An aura shimmers around them as the mere mention of the word rouses the energies within them and leaks out. “My land withers. My people starve. My lords trample and destroy as wantonly as they wish. I need a force to make it right.”
“Hmm…” I close my eyes and cast myself into the rock, seeing where others cannot, hearing what others ignore. How the world moves. How it sings. How it lives. It persists in much the same way as when I had last left it. The corruption had yet to spread. No, it had yet to even sprout.
But the seed was there.
“It…is not yet time for us to return,” I say.
They lift their chin. “I found you.”
“The song says that when need is great the worthy who find you will be able to call upon you and your people for aid.”
They threw their arms out. “Is my need not great enough? Is my heart not pure enough? We are dying, guardian! We are being slaughtered like cattle!”
I let out a deep, sympathetic sigh. “Yes… as the cycle has always been. Tyranny. Then justice. Then weakness. Then tyranny. And always bloodshed in-between. What ails you now is what has ailed your forefathers, and will ail your children, and your children’s children. Thus, it has been, and so it will always be.”
The Reclaimer’s aura intensified. “I refuse to accept that.”
“As you wish.”
“Am I correct in understanding you will not help us?”
“Not yet.” I shake my head. “It’s not yet time.”
They spit. “Fine. Waste away in your cave. Share in the sin of doing nothing. I have other powers I can treat with.” The Reclaimer turned on their heel and waved their hand in the air. “If I found you, then others will, too. I’ll see to it that they can’t use you against me.”
I don’t respond as the entrance collapses, rocking the cavern at the Reclaimer’s exit. I listen to the melodious sounds of shifting stone until it settles and there is silence once more. I fold in my arms and lower my head back to my chest, letting stillness envelop me once more. “Soon,” I sigh.
The seed sprouts.ns 22.214.171.124da2