a flute, a giant, a hypnosis

This is my most favourite one yet.

Azrush shielded his eyes from sunlight that peeked between the gaps in the boulder that sealed off their cave. He crawled to be closer to it. A few hours from now, the sun would have passed overhead until the next day.

“Kan,” he whispered to the man asleep at his side. “Kan. Come. Come with me, my lord. Today looks very nice.”

It took three tries to wake up Kan. He bolted upright with a start, staring at Azrush with eyeless sockets, backing away from Azrush. “Is it here? Is it here?”

“No, no,” he said, holding out his hands so Kan could identify it as him. Kan, skittish and jittery, trembled and waved until he connected with Azrush, who reeled him in like a fish and hugged him like a bear.

“Aldaensan,” Azrush began. It was the name of Scekahian Giant that imprisoned the entire army in the caves high on the eastern face of Mount Valor.

Upon hearing his name, Kan smacked him. “Don’t say his name. He can hear you. You know what happens when he hears his name.”

They found it out the hard way. Months ago, plotting the escape of Kan’s army, they’d whispered Aldaensan three times. The giant heard it from the other side of the island. He marched for two days straight. Before that, his men were chained to a post inside the cave but could enjoy each other’s company. After, Aldaesan took them by two and locked them in the caves with a boulder. He would come by once a week to give them food. He promised to them he would send them home once King Lythande sent word from his throne at Whiterage Keep. After he shook that promise, he looked down on Kan and said, “You will go home. I promise. One piece at a time.”

King Lythande had sent Kan and his army to stop Aldaesan at all costs. And now that they were captured, to Kan’s mind the only thing worse than dying was not fighting until his last breath. He had to convince Azrush of that before they could move on his with plan.

“How many times have you said it?” Kan demanded. “While I was sleeping. Did you mutter that name?”

“Absolutely not,” Azrush answered, coming to attention. He felt certain Kan could sense when he didn’t stand straight.

“Good,” Kan said, clapping Azrush on the shoulder. “Now. Help me find my flute.”

“Yes, Kan,” Azrush sighed.

“I heard that.”

“Heard what?”

“Your tone,” Kan said as he crawled hands and knees to his hiding spots around the cave, pretending to take inventory but in reality, he’d forgotten where he’d stashed the flute. “You don’t believe it will work.”

“It was a song my mother taught me,” Azrush stood up and said. He watched his commander with a smile – Azrush knew perfectly where the hand-made musical instrument was hidden but wanted Kan to suffer for a short while. “And her mother taught her, and on-and-on all the way back to the first breath Kymos blew into the clay models of Gremyr’s First Peoples.”

Remembering again how Aldaesan had popped Kan’s eyes out with his taloned hand and ate them like candy, Azrush felt shame. “I’m sorry, my lord. It’s right here.”

“It’s a good tune,” Kan said. “I enjoyed learning how to play it.”

He blew and experimental few scales.

“Are you ready?” Azrush asked. Kan nodded.

“Aldaesan, is the best,” Azrush said in a casual voice. He walked closer to the mouth of the cave. “I tell you, Kan. I would sooner be in the tender cares of Aldaesan than any of the finest castles in all of Gremyr.” Then he sighed.

“What you want?” Boomed a voice from the mouth of the cave.

Scekahian Giants are the offspring of giants and Scekahian Golems. Aldaesan hadn’t put a boulder up against the mouth of their cave. He was the boulder at the mouth of their cave. Kan couldn’t get away fast enough. The giant snatched Kan, making him drop the flute, smashing it to pieces.

“What. You. Want?” He boomed into Kan’s face. Kan couldn’t answer because the giant squeezed him too hard.

Azrush panicked. The flute was destroyed. Not that it mattered. He had no skill with it. Kan had been patient, but he was a better leader than he was a music instructor.

“Aldaesan!” Azrush yelled. “It was me! I wanted you!”

The giant released Kan, leaving him in a tangled heap as he advanced down the cave’s throat to face Azrush.

“What. YOU. Want?”

“I want to sing you this song,” Azrush said, glancing over to his commander, hoping what he didn’t imagine he saw him draw breath.

Come just a little closer, Azrush said. He’d remember Kan’s practises, and where he would sit to get the best acoustics. He didn’t dare turn around or lose eye contact with the giant.

“Me tone-deaf,” Giant said. Azrush smiled. The flute wouldn’t have worked, no matter how much magic Kan tried to convince him was in the firewood they used night over night.

Firewood, Azrush thought. He sat close to the firepit.

“Then just listen,” he said. Then he sang.

I could never have loved anyone 
the way I loved you 
I bequeathed to you an enduring love 
I would have loved you through time 
our souls were connected, 

But our love was just a figment of a truth 
it cuts me  
there was only the dark night 
so I bid you good night.

The giant slowly took a seat, then he crossed his legs. By the end of the last verse, he sat with his chin his hands. The magic wasn’t in the music. It was in his mother’s words. Somehow she spoke to the giant through him.

I could never have loved anyone 
the way I loved you 
was there no promise? 
through time in a flash 
was there no truth? 

But our pulse was just a wish unfilled 
it destroys me  
you never believed 

Maybe one day…

It was the song she sang to him every night. He remembered seeing the moon through the canopy of leaves from where their house was cradled in the arms of a Viking Oak forest at the edge of Khagalahni’s Hills. What he saw now were the wide pupils of the stupefied giant before him.

“NOW!” Azrush yelled. He couldn’t see his commander and prayed to Kymos to sense the winds of the soul He breathed into every living being on Gremyr that he heard. The plan had been for Azrush to stab Aldaesan at the base of his skull with a jagged piece of firewood (also enchanted – Kan called it The Thunder Stick) and then they release the rest of the army. We would bury our dead – those whose debts were paid in full – and make our way home.

Azrush walked around Aldaesan, who did not so much as budge, and continued to sing to keep his attention, only to find Kan also had heard the song.

“Oh no,” Azrush said. The acoustics had been good enough for everyone to hear it for miles around. Not only was the giant stunned, but so was the rest of the army.

He will never roam the mountains and kill. Families will be able to live in peace. We will have accomplished our mission. King Lythande sent us to stop this monster. We will have accomplished our mission.

And so he continued to sing.

I could never have loved anyone 
the way I loved you 
I bequeathed to you an enduring love 
I would have loved you through time 
our souls were connected, 

But our love was just a figment of a truth 
it cuts me  
there was only the dark night 
so I bid you good night.

There are still times, when the fall winds blow past the Low Mountains of Valor’s Range, it whistles through its fluted caves, carrying the sad tones of Azrush’s Lament.

I could never have loved anyone 
the way I loved you 
was there no promise? 
through time in a flash 
was there no truth? 

But our pulse was just a wish unfilled 
it destroys me  
you never believed 

Maybe one day…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s