By Charles Cox
In the land of Evangeline, in the forest country of Ayron, it was Old Ongor’s Eve. Light from the setting Sun still shown over the horizon as hundreds upon thousands of people began leaving their homes to stand in the presence of the barely visible Moon. They made their way out of cities and villages, collecting themselves in fields and clearings where they knelt and peered up into the clear evening sky. No one spoke, for that was the rule, though some murmured quiet prayers beneath their breath, or swayed to and fro in recitation of some chant or another, but all peered longingly at the Moon as it grew ever more visible in the fading daylight.
Eventually, as the sky grew black, billions of Stars began to show in the absence of the Sun, and so the Moon appeared, taking full shape. It hung high above the land, shining in all its glory, and casting the world in a brilliant silver light. But still the people waited, staring into the sky. As hour upon hour passed more and more people began to pray and chant, and the chanting grew louder and louder, until all the forests of Ayron seemed to tremble in a steady hum, as though the trees themselves were singing. The sound could be heard as nearby as Dardon country, and as far off as Thessiter.
Time passed and the hour grew very late, and yet the people waited. Finally, as clock towers in the distant twin cities of Eingel began to chime midnight, a soft glimmer seemed to pass over the face of the Moon. All at once the people of Ayron grew quiet, their upturned faces caught in expressions of joyful anticipation. This was what they had waited for.
In the shadows of the Schaar Mountains, a mile outside the northern village of Atoun, a Shail minister named Hyl stood with his pregnant wife Ym, in a broad clearing with a hundred or so other villagers. Another shimmer danced across the face of the Moon and all across Ayron people gasped and shuddered with excitement. Ym gripped her husband’s hand tightly, they glanced at one another, and she put a hand to her swollen stomach; Hyl noticed the gesture.
“One day we will be able to share this most holy evening with our child,” he smiled. She nodded and looked back towards the Moon.
The sky was cloudless and clear, but all the same a heavy shower began to pour down on the forests of Ayron, and a shout of joy rose from its people. The rain that fell was not a normal rain, it was thick, almost oily, and where its drops landed a glossy sheen of color spread over everything. As the rain began to fall so the people of Ayron began to dance. In all the fields and clearings in the country the people danced and cheered as the rain struck them, and where it struck them it left streaks of brilliant color glowing on their skin.
In the clearing outside Atoun, Ym and Hyl held hands and spun about laughing deep, heart warming laughs as glowing streaks of yellows, oranges, violets, greens, blues, and reds ran down their skin. As they danced, the multi-hewed rains mixed with the dirt beneath their feet, and soon they were dancing in mud. Throughout the clearing people began to sing. They sang merry old songs of the amazing adventures and legendary loves of Old Ongor himself, the ancient king of the forest country who had once ruled half of Evangeline with a wise and merciful power.
As Ym was dancing a sudden pain struck her. It was deep and sharp, and made her cry out and double over. The people nearby paused in their merry making to see what the trouble was, and a couple of villagers took her arms to help Hyl set her down. She cried out, tears running down her face, as she clutched at her swollen belly.
“It’s the baby,” she managed to scream between sobs.
“Oh dear Ayltu,” Hyl murmured, kneeling beside his wife. “What should we do?”
“When’s it expected,” a woman asked, for by now many people had stopped dancing to come to the aid of their minister’s wife.
“Not for another month,” Hyl answered, as he wiped hair and rain from his wife’s brow. A moan of pity and sorrow ran through the crowd, for if the baby were to come now it was unlikely that it would survive.
“Should we move her,” a man in the crowd asked.
“Yes,” answered one woman.
“No,” answered another.
“It may just be a false alarm,” someone said. “Best not to move her and hope it passes. If we jostle her to much it may cause the baby to come.” This was followed by many sounds of agreement. So they gathered together a few coats to use as a pillow and to cover her. The people of Atoun waited and watched, and Hyl held his wife’s hand as she wailed in agony, tears mixing with the rain as it ran down her face.
After a few minutes Ym gasped and stared wide eyed into her husband’s face.
“Wh-what,” Hyl stuttered.
“HE’S COMI . . .,” but the sentence ended in a heart wrenching scream.
“Where’s the midwife,” someone shouted.
“I’m here,” came a voice, as a short, plump little woman named Jhol waded through the crowd to kneel by Ym’s side. The midwife sent a couple of boys running back to the village to collect a few items from her house, and once they had returned she went straight to work. She gave Ym a wad of Crobb grass to hold under her tongue and deaden the pain, then set about rubbing Mohlt oils on Ym’s stomach.
Half an hour later, after a great deal of screaming and struggling in the mud, the wailing baby boy was delivered to cheers of joy and coo’s of wonder, for as the child came into the world something amazing happened. As the colorful Moon rains bathed the newborn it began to color his pale white skin.
At first the babe took on a blue color, and the blue became red, and the red became green. Finally the babe’s skin settled on a rich, golden sheen unlike anything the people of Atoun had seen before, and they looked on in awe.
“What shall you call him,” someone asked.
“Baor,” Ym murmured, holding the child to her chest.
“Baor the Golden One,” a woman called, and a cheer went out. Soon the entire village had returned to their dancing and singing, but now it was with a new vigor, for all the people of Atoun had seen a miracle on Old Ongor’s Day.
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I am a student at the University of North Texas where I am studying English with a focus on creative writing. Though I have been writing for some time now, I have only just begun to seek publication.
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