Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta spirits. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta spirits. Mostrar todas las entradas

viernes, 5 de junio de 2015

Enchanted forest

   The woods were covered in moss throughout the year. It was a very damp territory; every day rain fell, flooding the small brooks and the two larger rivers that drained all the water from the forest. The water then arrived, in a more gentle way, to many towns down the river. The people were grateful about it, as the only source of drinkable water was the river. There was no underground wells they could use and the closest mountain range, which wasn’t very close, was dry as a bone, not enough snow to fill a spoon.

 For centuries, people venerated the river as a god and concluded that if the water stopped flowing as it always used to, it meant that the god was angry. But there was another god that might be angry and that was the forest. They believe that it housed so much life that it had a life of it’s own. The few real explorers of the towns had come back from the woodlands with stories about a creature, always a different one, with an iridescent skin and bright white eyes. Sometimes it was a deer, a reindeer, an owl, an eagle and even a rabbit. People thought those were representations of the forest, guarding it from destruction and the hands of men in general. This explained why every man that attempted to fully explore the forest always ended up, mysteriously, at the edge of it, never really penetrating the land.

 As the towns grew and time passed, people began discussing the possibility of constructing a couple of barrages midway between the forest and the towns. But as soon as they began the construction, people died because of severe floods that happened unexpectedly. Once there was nothing else to be destroyed, the floods stop and everything went back to normal. The elders reminded the young about the spirits in the forests and told them to leave the river alone. No construction made by man would ever be able to harness anything coming out from the forest and that was where the water sprung out of the planet, so it was better to leave it alone.

 Time passed and people stopped trying to make them rich with the water. But then they started thinking about logging in the forest. After all, they had chopped off every other tree in the region, leaving large areas of land without a single tree standing up. The elders condemned this but no one really listened to them unless there was proof to be so scared and this time there wasn’t. They didn’t touch the woods, only the grasslands, until they had nothing else to burn in their factories and fireplaces. A group of young men travelled to the forest with axes and chainsaws, ready to bring the forest down, one tree at a time.

 When they arrived, they were excited and begun their work right then but when trying to chop off the trees, their machines didn’t work. They didn’t affect at all how the bark or even the leaves. It was as if the whole forest was made of metal or something much stronger. They tried every tree they could see but after a whole day they were exhausted. They decided to camp there that night and keep trying the next day. But there was no next day. The people that found them, botanists taking notes about the plant life of the region, said that they suspected the trees to have showered them in their sleep with a certain kind of spores that was deadly to human beings. They died in their sleep without even knowing it. Their families mourned them and, once more, people forbid themselves to go to that forest.

 Due to the lack of wood and the difficulties having a way to harness energy from nature, most towns in the course of both rivers began decaying rapidly. Many factories closed, almost putting an end to industry. Many local businesses closed too due to the lack of resources to fill their shelves and make their products. And finally, people had begun migrating somewhere else, where there might be enough jobs and hope for a better future for all the kids who had grown in the good times of the region.

 But some thought they had left too soon, that they had given up too easily. And they said that because one day, without people ever noticing it before, trees started to grow where men had chopped them all off. Some creatures, animals and plants, had come back to the plains. Besides that, people started feeling the wind blowing a bit stronger, coming from the forest. That made no sense but it was what it was.

Slowly, some towns began flourishing again, this time calculating every move they made to survive. The new trees where taken care of for some years, until they where good to chop down. And they only chopped down one section of the trees corresponding to each town. They created a schedule on how and when to chop each area of trees and that seemed to work because in no time life had been brought back to the plains, and no plants or animals were being harmed.

 The scientist among them realized the wind’s strength was ideal to be harnessed. Somehow, they had never thought of it, thinking only water could be strong enough to give them the power they needed. So they started building windmills and other structures to harness the power of the wind and it worked. The wind generated power not only for the mills, where they could make flour to make bread, but also to illuminate the dark streets of the towns and the homes where people spent most of their time. The lighting of several squares and public buildings was always an event but with time, the people saw this as normal. Some of the windmills were eventually replaced with higher and more powerful turbines, which gave energy to the whole region. People now lived much better than before and the belief that it was all because of the forest was stronger than ever. Small shrines where built near the turbines, to thank the god and spirits.

 Nevertheless, some people had grown even more curious than before about the secrets of the forest. Some many times, groups went into the forest trying to discover its secrets but, yet again, they always ended up coming out of the woodland instead of really penetrating the area. That was until a men and his wife, both scientists trying to uncover the mysterious properties of the forest, arrived and attempted to get to the core of the place. Their first couple of attempts ended up in failure as everyone else’s. For the third time, they had come with their child, who had learned to walk recently. As they had no one to leave him with, they had decided to bring him along and show him the animal and the smells of the forest.

 But one day, the day the father attempted to enter the forest, the child went after him, without her mother noticing. When she did it was too late and when her husband came back, they started to worry. The man said it wouldn’t’ be long until he came out of the forest but nothing happened. It was already afternoon and the kid was nowhere to be found. So they entered the forest together looking for their son and, this time, their attempt was successful. The trees grew larger and closer together deeper in the forest. The couple held hands as they walked and yelled the name of their son. But he didn’t hear them or he couldn’t answer then. They knew what had happened to the loggers who had come and ended up dead. They were very afraid for their son and how he might be.

 After hours of walking, they finally reached a clearing, where moss was very green and very damp. They were close to the source of the rivers but they weren’t thinking about that at all. They screamed their child’s name and started yelling and crying. They didn’t care anymore about the water or the wind or anything about that place. They only wanted their son to come back to them.

 Suddenly, they saw a light beyond the trees and they decided to follow it. They walked with difficulty through trees and branches and roots but finally got to a smaller clearing. The lights they had seen where the eyes of a wolf that appeared to be almost invisible. They couldn’t be sure the creature was looking at them but it was strange how it stood there, still. He finally moved and revealed their son, sleeping on the mossy floor. The parents got closer and took him in their arms and woke him up by kissing him and touching him, checking he was fine. The creature looked at them all that time, until they stood up. Then, the wolf jumped towards the trees and they saw the lights disappear.

 As it had happened many times in the past, they just had to walk aimlessly to get out of the forest. It was fast and they didn’t care about anything that had happened inside there. They had their son back and that was all that mattered. When they went back home, they wrote a book about the forest, claiming the spirit story was true and that there was no real way to explore the forest if all you wanted was to unveil its secrets. The forest only opened itself to people looking for help because nature was caring, like a mother. Men, however, were not as caring most of the time so it was shut out from that place and it would remain shut out for many generations to come.

 The forest’s secrets were many but not for the eyes of men.

viernes, 24 de octubre de 2014

Lake Akhizgraz

When you go to Batong, you'll only hear one story over and over: the legend of Lake Akhizgraz. In the shops, coffee houses, department stores, the market, by the pier or on the hillside, everyone single person in the region knows the tale of the lake that rests near them

According to many, Lake Akhizgraz came to exist when a meteorite fell to Earth and transformed the region. Some scientists agreed and other did not. However, one could argue that hills surrounded the lake on every side except one, were Batong had been founded.

Legend also said that there used to be an island in the middle of the lake, long before the city existed. Everyone said the island was not attached to the bottom of the lake and so it moved around slowly over the water. Now, some stories differ: some say the island was not an actual island but a gigantic animal that roamed the waters. Others say the island had always been there and that it still was but sunk to the bottom.

Anyhow, they all agreed the island had been the home of the first settlers that, enchanted by the lake, sailed to the island and built a house there. It was a couple, man and woman. She was pregnant and they stayed as she was unable to walk anymore.

The baby's name was no other than Akhizgraz. They say is a name in an ancient language meaning beautiful lake, but that too hasn't been proven. The truth was that they lived happy for about ten years, until something happened.

One night, after supper, the family heard a voice calling them from the water. They came out of the house to find a wolf walking on the water. Yes, that is what they say. He was silver and from his eyes came a white light, piercing and impossible to stand for long. The wolf told the family that they had been good to this holy place but that danger was imminent and that they should leave the lake immediately.

Father, mother and son discussed it all night long, each giving reasons for staying and for leaving. But in the end they decided to remain in their house as it was the only home they had. The couple had gotten there after getting lost in the desert and escaping poverty and they had no desire of going back to that.

So they lived there one more year and then a storm came. An awful storm, black and twisted, carrying sand from the desert. Their house was almost destroy by a fire started by a lighting that hit the tallest part of a nearby tree. It lasted for hours and the family just begged for it to stop, as they held each other.

And it ended, as fast as it had started. The wolf appeared again that night and told them the storm preceded the arrival of a stronger evil. He said the spirits now considered them part of the lake so they would protect them as long as they could.

Only a week passed until Akhizgraz, chopping wood with his father, saw something on the plain side of the lake. He thought the ground was shaking and told his parents the storm was back but then they realized it wasn't the storm. It was an army.

They had covered the house with leaves and grass days before and now just watched what happened. The leader of the army walked along the shore slowly and the kneeled and put one ear against the ground. He then sent three groups, one to each cardinal point in the lake, so to cover all its extension.

And then the family heard the explosions. Brutal and overwhelming. The ground was lifted and so they created three more entries to the lake. The family hid for days as more men arrived. The yhad brought machines and rapidly installed them. They were mining and drilling and taking the water to feed their industry.

The lake begin to die, slowly. The wolf appeared once again and told them they could only save the lake if they destroyed the machines so they planned an attack on the army. They all feared death but their life was one of many that would be destroyed. So they went on to sabotage machines and causing malfunctions.

But their leader was smart and one day caught Akhizgraz when he was about to sabotage one more drilling machine. As he knew a boy this young couldn't be in the forest alone, the cruel man stood in the know cleared beach and called for them. Mother and father watched their son but knew that revealing themselves would mean no one would be left to save the lake. And their son indicated to them, by single blink of an eye, not to come out.

The evil man killed Akhizgraz with a knife and threw his body to the lake. This action was decisive: the forest and its spirits revealed themselves and fought along the now grieving parents, destroying everything that the lake wanted out. With superhuman strength, everything was thrown away and the men were swallowed by the ground.

Only the leader was left and it was the mother, now enraged, that killed him with her own hands.

Knowing the sacrifice of Akhizgraz, the lake and its spirits decided to honor the family for ever. On each of the new entrances to the lake created by the army, the spirits created new mountains, taller and more beautiful than any in the vicinity. And they created them using the body of the son and of his parents, that decided to part the world as the pain of loosing a child was too great.
Soon after that, the spirits used the island to carry the souls of the family to the afterlife.

Nowadays, people say the tallest mountain around the lake, just across from where Batong stands, is the one built from the body of Akhizgraz.

Once every year the city celebrates the sacrifice done by the first family to settle in the lake and thanked them for their strength and courage.

There is a temple by the lake too and they say that if you go there in a foggy day, you may be able the see the wolf spirit that took the family to their final resting places.