A Tale of Giants
Sit and listen, small giants,
for the endtimes have found us,
and I’ve one final story to tell.
The Crescent Moon Valley
“Legends tell of a fertile river valley shaped like a crescent moon which lies between a tall snowcapped mountain and a long, curved range of its kin. The valley’s southern end butts out to a raging waterfall which flows over a cliff; below the jagged crag stretches the Wanaque Reservoir, a vast patch of deep water and wildlands long tamed by the giants.
“We first came to the Wanaque many cycles ago, more than the elders, even more than the dead would care to count. We arrived as refugees from deep in the Westlands – our carriage caravan was tragically consumed by fire and darkness when a rogue bolt of lightning struck a dry bush growing on the peak of a low mountain and sparked a forest fire – and found miles upon miles of lush green woodlands dotted with clearings of black, fertile soil, and beyond the treeline of this mighty forest? The Wanaque Reservoir, its waters murky and teeming with life. It was almost as if the Wanaque was made for us, as if we found ourselves in the good graces of Mesingwe and stumbled upon the very patch of Earth on which he hides his prime wild game, but I digress; we were nomads back then, we’d never had a place to stay before. Never had a proper way of life, either. The Wanaque changed that.
“We built the boats first. Before any firepits were dug out, before any lean-tos were raised, before what was left of our tools and supplies were repaired of the damage they sustained on the journey, we built the boats. We had seeds but no grown crops, and there weren’t many berry bushes where we decided to settle, a–… yes, they do grow here now, because the first settlers planted them. Hush up little one, please allow me to finish.
“Some scouts were sent out to search for food, and the first to return spoke of an island spotted in the middle of the Reservoir which seemed to be bursting with untapped berry bushes. So, with our broken tools and aching bodies, we built the boats first. It went quickly enough, as many hands make for short work; later that night, everyone ate supremely well.
“Before long we had our huts built up and our gardens tilled out, and before too much longer our little tribe of vagrants had established a proper village where all had a hut to sleep in and none spent a single night in their hut feeling hungry. But as you all must learn, nay, as you all surely will learn soon, all good things must come to an end. I don’t need to remind you of the recurrent drought – the gardens have not produced a reliable harvest since before any of you arrived to this world, and old Mesingwe withdraws his wild game from the Wanaque wildlands every time the Earth drinks back her water. Our land has gone sterile, small giants, and so it’s time to move on.”
“But where will we go?! ” shouts a small giant risen up on his knees.
“I said hush up, small giant! This cycle’s drought may have postponed the naming ceremony, but I know your face plenty well enough. Why is it always you who causes the disruptions in our huddles?”
The small giant says nothing and settles back with his peers, eyes to the ground. The wrangler smirks petty victory and continues with her lesson. Had the drought not struck with such ferocity this cycle, she’d have been teaching the young ones how to descale and prepare a trout for cooking today; what a world.
“We’ve been sending scouts out since the last moon’s renewal in search of new ground to settle, and only one team has come back with hope – that team told the elders of the crescent moon valley, and to the crescent moon valley we shall go.”
The mob of small giants stays sitting, all cozy in their deerhide garb, legs crossed beneath them. A few share looks, and one whispers into the ear of the interrupter, but it doesn’t draw a response. They may be small giants with only five cycles under their hides, but they catch onto a vibe quickly enough. The time for fun is behind them.
“It’s not a far journey, as I’m sure your parents all told you, and you’ll all be expected to carry your own weight on your own two feet.”
A groan erupts from the huddled small giants like enraged hornets out of a mudhive with a rock lodged in the side. The wrangler stifles it, hands on her hips.
“Would you rather our supplies get left behind so you may all take their place in the carriages? You’re all very warm and cozy in your deerhide garb, I see, but you’ll surely outgrow what you now wear before the autumn of the next cycle; wouldn’t you like for the leatherworkers to be able to make you new ones?”
Silence wafts from the huddle, a positive silence. The wrangler takes it as a yes, then says, “Well that’s exactly what I thought. Now none of you forget our tribe’s story, small giants, for it will do you well to remember where we came from. One day there won’t be anybody left to remind you, and then you’ll have to pass the story on for yourselves. But that’s a far way off yet; we’ve now a new village to build. Up small giants, up on your feet! Time to join the caravan! The wagons are loaded and ready; the crescent moon valley awaits!”
This has been the first subchapter of the first chapter of The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
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If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~