The Day I Earned My True Name - Part 2
In ancient times, Furbolg tribes of Northern Kalimdor practiced a tradition which required the young men to prove themselves in accomplishing great deeds in order to earn their true names.
Continued from: The Day I Earned My True Name - Part 1
As time passed and the first full moon of the new year approached, everyone in our clan, and according to our scouts, everyone in other clans, got alerted and started preparing for the worst battles they were yet to have. Families who had young girls, tried their best to hide them, some even sent them secretly to distant places, without the hope of ever seeing them again. Those who were at the battle age made their final preparations not only to defend their villages from invaders who would try to steal one among them, but also to invade other villages and do the same to them, just so they could fulfill the cruel order of Kurkren.
It was a terrible year for the Furbolgs of Azuremyst. So many deaths, so many losses and so much cruelty. I have witnessed things that I would never want to speak of and I had wished so badly that there was a way to stop all this madness. In a way, the god of cruelty was accomplishing his goal in spreading the cruelty, only by having us to do the job ourselves.
No... my heart cannot stand to tell this much of cruelty that my people caused. I will just briefly say that, at the night of the first full moon, we were visited by Kurkren's Spirit again, as I believe all other clans were. There is one thing that I will never forget from that night... The desperate look in the eyes of the girl that was going to be sacrificed, who was sobbing and begging to all those around the fire who were staying silent with their heads down and awaiting the sacrifice to be done as quickly as possible.
To this day, I still see that girl in my dreams and whenever I wake up from such a dream, I can't hold my tears.
In the following years, these terrible sacrifices continued to be made. All clans stole young girls from other clans, families did not even want to make more babies in fear of having a girl. Our clan had its share too, in just a couple of years, we lost four of our own that were sacrificed by other clans, no matter how bravely our men had fought and tried their best to protect their kin.
What was a horrible way of life that our people were constantly battling each other, had now become much worse and ended up being clouded by immeasurable madness and cruelty. Years passed, more battles fought, more Furbolgs died, more sacrifices made and our graveyard just got bigger and bigger.
But... but it did not continue like this forever.
It was the year that I turned 19. It had been three years since I had lost my father. No, he did not fall in a battle with an honorable death, he died in a way I would not wish even to my worst enemy.
We were just coming back to our village after trading some crops with a nearby Owlkin village, when a poisonous Blackfur arrow came out of nowhere and hit him on the back. He had a very painful death, fighting with fever for days. I could not save him as I always thought I was going to. My father was dead and just before he passed away, he whispered the following words to my ear: "protect our clan...", and seconds after that, he added a weak "protect our people...". I did not truly understand what he meant by his last sentence but it somehow fired up my feelings of peace among our people, among all Furbolgs.
One of the days that I visited his final resting place in our shared graveyard, I was deeply thinking about the last words I heard from him as to what I could do and how I could ever bring the long-forgotten peace among our people. As I was asking silently to myself "How?..", I saw a group of Furbolgs from the Blackfur clan approaching the graveyard. It looked like they were going to have a funeral.
The shared graveyard was the only non-hostile zone in the whole island; all the clans had made a pact not to fight or disturb others within and near the graveyard. I watched them from a distance for a bit. I heard the name of Issalib a couple of times and so I realized that it was his funeral. I did not know what to think... what to feel... he was the leader of the clan who had caused the most pain to my clan, but likewise, we had done the same to them. He was the leader of our biggest enemy, but he was dead now. Does not all the pain end by death? Is the grave for our bodies not also the grave for all enmity and hatred?
Just as I was about to say goodbye to my father and leave the graveyard, I saw her...
In almost two decades of war, chaos and pain that I had been through in my life, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Standing in front of the newly covered grave, tears coming from her eyes, she looked so fragile, yet so strong. She was wearing a hood with the emblem of the Blackfur Clan, which helped me realize that she was the daughter of Issalib, who was now resting in the grave before her feet. Because in our traditions, only the clan leader's family members were allowed to wear the clan's emblem on their hoods.
At one instant, her eyes caught mine. I stood still for minutes as if I was struck by a lightning, staring at her and wishing for that moment to never end, even after she turned her eyes away. Unfortunately, it soon started to rain and the Blackfurs slowly gathered around her and left the graveyard after making their final prayers for their leader. I kept looking behind her for a long time, even after the group disappeared in the woods.
When I regained my consciousness, waking up from the beautiful daylight dream I was having, I had that strong feeling in my heart that I wanted to see her again, even though I did not know how that would be possible. Because when her eyes met mine, something beautiful, something peaceful was planted in my soul.
For a couple of days, I did not know what to do. It was not an option to talk to my mother or to my friends in our clan about my desire to see her. Not after all the things Blackfurs had done to us, not after my father being killed by an arrow of theirs. Most probably I would have not taken seriously and if I insisted, I would probably have been banished from my clan, which was not something I would want. Especially now that my mother needed me the most.
One night, as I was thinking deeply about finding a way to see her again, it suddenly came to my mind that I could go and speak with our elder shaman, N'azgilub. As the oldest and wisest of our clan, if there was someone who would show me guidance without judgment, it was him. So, I quickly left our hut and went to see N'azgilub in his hut on the edge of the mountain to the west of our village, The Mountain of Living Air.
I found N'azgilub laying on his bed, but as soon as I entered, he jumped off from the bed with his eyes wide open and he offered me a warm welcome. From the look in his eyes, I could swear that he was expecting me, somehow.
"Welcome my son, take a sit close to the fire" he said calmly, and once we sat near the fire, I told him about the incident that happened in the graveyard and how I felt something very powerful within my soul towards her and asked guidance from him. He stayed silent for minutes with his eyes closed. He then grabbed a piece of dirt from the ground and threw it into the fire after whispering some ancient words into it. The fire grew large, displaying some figures in the flames. I couldn't make any sense of it as it was so blurry. I had no idea what message N'azgilub got from his psychic ritual but once he opened his eyes, he said:
"Go, son. Now is the beginning. You have to do it right, or all will be lost. Go, now."
Immediately after he finished his words, he went back to his bed. Apparently, he fell asleep as soon as he put his head down, as he did not reply any of my questions afterwards. More confused, not having an idea what N'azgilub might have meant, I left his hut. He told me to go, but to where, to do what? What was beginning now? What was I supposed to do right?
I had two options: to follow the voice inside my heart and go as N'azgilub suggested no matter how unclear his message was, or go back to our hut and forget everything. I chose the first one and started walking south from N'azgilub's hut. Continuing to the south, passing our village, I arrived at the village of the Blackfur Clan in a couple of hours. It was late at night, not many were around, only some night guards as usual. I covered myself behind the trees and bushes paying attention not to make any sound in order not to be noticed. I got as close as I could to the village and tried to locate the recently passed away leader's hut.
It didn't take long for me to find it as leaders' huts were always the biggest ones in our villages. Staying in the shadows and not making any sound, I reached to the left wall of the leader's hut and started waiting. I don't exactly know what I was waiting for but I was determined to see her that night.
Staying hidden within the shadows of the big hut, I started to think of the last words my father had whispered to my ears and the confusing things N'azgilub had said. I was feeling something but I did not know what to call that feeling. I kept thinking and thinking... till I spent all my energy trying to figure out what I was supposed to do.
I must have fallen asleep, as I remember dreaming of a beautiful scene, in which a huge, bright sun was rising over the eastern mountains over a peaceful day.
I don't know how much I stayed there but I woke up with a gentle touch on my shoulder, as the dark night sky was getting brighter. It was her. Her eyes were telling me that she knew who I was but they were also telling me that I was not supposed to be there.
"Quick!" she whispered, and making a sign to follow her, she took me away from the hut. By staying behind the huts and tree trunks, we were able to get out of the village in a short time and ended up in a nearby cave. We were both out of our breaths, so we sat down for a moment without saying anything, looking at each other's eyes. Then she asked gently but with a worried voice:
"What were you doing there? Are you out of your mind? Don't you know my people will kill you the moment they see you?"
I told her that starting from the moment in the graveyard, I had felt something powerful in my heart towards her and only by seeing her, would my soul be able to find peace. I also told her about my father's words and my visit to N'azgilub. She smiled at me without saying anything, I smiled back. She held my hand. The time stopped for me.
If I was to describe that moment as the happiest moment in my life, I wouldn't be wrong.
We talked. We talked about everything; our clans, our families, about her father and my father. I learned how she was against all those terrible battles and was wishing strongly for peace among our people, like I was. The more we talked, the more we realized how we were nothing but the same part of a bigger family. We were the same kind. We were Furbolgs. I wished we could stay there forever and continue talking but she had to leave as she was not supposed to be away from the village.
I walked her to their village border, at which point we waved at each other, promising to meet again. It was now daylight, I couldn't stay around any longer, so I headed back to our village, thinking of her as I walked cautiously.
Her name was Simerrib, The Star That Shines in the Morning, and I was in love with her.
In the following months, we continued our secret meetings, further knowing each other, discussing about our people and thinking about what we could do to bring peace among our people. All that moments were pure joy for me as I had known nothing but war and deaths in my whole life.
As our meetings got more frequent and we wanted to spend more time together, we realized that we were meant for each other, hence we decided to marry. Our clans would rather kill us without a second thought than allow us to marry, so we decided to do it secretly. One evening after the sunset, we went to N'azgilub in secrecy and asked him to carry out our marriage ceremony. He helped us, with a smile on his face, a smile that seemed to have been waiting for a very long time, promising to keep it a secret between the three of us. He did not say anything to me but I saw in his eyes that what he had said to me that night when I went to him for guidance seemed to be coming true.
As wedding gifts, I gave Simerrib a necklace with a shiny star I crafted from metal and she gave me a tabard that she knit with a unique emblem on it that I never saw before, a bright sun shining above a high mountain. As if... as if we had seen the same dream that night I fell asleep next to her family's hut.
We married, but we did not live a husband and wife life as we had to keep our marriage a secret. I continued to live in our village, she continued to live in hers, but we continued to meet secretly whenever we found a chance. My mother was suspecting of something but I was definitely not going to tell anything to her, as it would destroy her heart to know that his son was married with the daughter of our biggest enemy clan, which was also responsible for my father's death.
We were so happy to have found each other with Simerrib, but we were also deeply sad for our people. As if we were living the Heaven right in the middle of Hell.
Continue: The Day I Earned My True Name - Part 3
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