Kistum’s Companion -
Short Story by Paul McCann
.A misty moon crept its way across the sky and glistened over Golma
Now and then an eerie half-light wafted through thick patches of clouds that stitched up the dark drape of the night sky.
Mother nature was a picture as beneath the moonlight green grass glimmered around a silver lake that shimmered like a mirror.
In the distance somewhere a piper played out a melancholy air.
A battle lost and the lament for those who had died in a lonely place .
On a cold night in the battlefield many lives had been lost in the battle for Ravenswood .
Suddenly the pipers melody was enhanced by a pack of Irish Wolfhounds that began wailing at the moon.
Begging for the sun to return pitifully the night clung on to the sky like a bat hanging upside down from a chestnut tree.
Morning came and the sounds of night left.
Sunrise kissed the horizon and
A strange figure crossed over the lake towards Golma.
The figure of a warrior with a long battleaxe hanging from his waist belt.
Sunlight touched the blade as he walked through the water.
Hungry eyes gazed from the shadows on both sides of the lake.
As the warrior stepped out of the water he sensed there were eyes glaring upon him, as the growling grew louder he pulled the battleaxe from his belt.
Suddenly six wolfhounds emerged from the blackthorn bushes and surrounded the warrior.
“I am Kistum only survivor of the battle for Ravensbrook . Leave me be
Hungry ones or you will taste the edge of my blade “
Two of the wolfhounds came closer with their fang like teeth flashing and gnashing in the sunlight.
Kistum wasted no time he dove on them and tore their jaws apart with his bare hands as if he were separating legs from a chicken. The rest of the pack howled and growled with open watery mouths snapping for the revenge of their fallen companions that lay with blood dripping from their necks.
All four wolfhounds leapt at Kistum with their sharp teeth as big as ivory tusks and mouths as foreboding as the jaws of hell itself.
Suddenly for no reason one of the wolfhounds stood by Kistums side and fought with him until the other three were destroyed. It was over in a matter of seconds. Three dead carcasses lay there at Kistum’s feet. He stood there with his battleaxe dripping with their blood and the wolfhound by his side licking its wounds.
“Here my friend “ said Kistum
From a pouch Kistum took a small herbal liquid and poured it on the wounds. That healed instantly.
The dog looked up into Kistums eyes. And he patted the dogs head and said,
“Come and travel with me for a day my friend, for I have much to teach you “
Both walked on toward Golma
After a few moments the dog became as a human form and spoke.
“How can I talk and walk like this “
“I have been given the power by the bestower of gifts and it was I that turned you against your own kind so that you could see like me for a day.”
“I am like you, “ said the dog.
“I will call you Aman “ Said Kistum
Before another word was spoken a bright red beard began to grow on the face of Aman and as the rain began to fall Kistum looked into the face of Aman and laughed aloud.
“What is so funny? “ said Aman .
“You are no more a beast but a man, and I see in your face an image of myself. Come now Aman let us go to Golma “
The two walked arm in arm up the hill singing and laughing.
“Let me be your friend Aman for life is good “ said Kistum
“ I am not no longer an animal but Aman .” was the reply .
“ Let us run to Golma between the shadows and feel the wind and the rain beat against our face. Let us find the fields of barley where the wind sways the crop like the waves out at sea. “
As they approached Golma the wind cut a passage through the long green grass. As they both came into the camp at Golma some men from the village approached them as asked who they where. Kistum took a pendant that hung from his neck and made the sun dance on the ground. All there who watched the dance where send into a deep sleep.
“The people of Golma lost all their loved ones in battle yesterday and this is the reason I have come “ Said Kistum .
“Suddenly a full set of pipes had been placed into Kistums hands from a strange lady from Golma .
“Follow me Aman and you shall see “
As Kistum began to play the enchanting melody he walked away towards the lake that surrounded Golma . All others in Golma followed the piper’s tune.
“One by one into the lake they followed Kistum .
Aman asked what was going on.
“Into the land Of Eternal Youth I must return, but must remain here Aman .
Believe that your day has come and that you shall be a man until I come fro you again. Remember what I have shown you and told you Aman “
Kistum began to play the pipes as the sunset on the lake.
“Go now Aman and seek out a friend “ Said Kistum
‘Where should I go “ said Aman
“Into the setting sun “ came the reply.
With that Kistum disappeared into the lake.
Aman ran off and when he got to the top of the hill he looked back at the lake where he still heard the music of the pipes playing.
Aman took a deep breath and said,
By Paul McCann