Cerviel the Colorless and the Red Wool of Anaphiel

A fantasy story idea about a wizard who is searching for his color.

The shepherd, Cosimo, lived outside the village of Redbody, and there he tended his sheep. The sheep ate the red sourgrass that grew along the river Anaphiel.

In the past, that river had been the site of a horrible slaughter. During a war long forgotten by all but sages, a group of soldiers fled enemies and came to the banks of Anaphiel. As they forded the waist-deep waters, the were killed by arrows. For many years after, treasure-hunters panned the waters of Anaphiel, searching for ancient blades and coin and precious rings of glimmering metal that had once banded fingers.

It was a peculiar coincidence that after this slaughter the red sourgrass grew. Some wisemen proposed that some soldier had had a pocket of exotic seed, and when death struck him, the seed of the red sourgrass took root. Other more imaginative minds proposed that the red sourgrass had some spiritual connection to the slaughter.

The shepherd, Cosimo, did not have a preference regarding such ideas. He allowed his sheep to graze the banks of Anaphiel without concern as to the spiritual or mundane origins of their favorite food. He was also without concern over the strange color of their wool, which grew on their bodies a bright red, as if it had already been dyed.

Cosimo sheared them all the same. His wife spun their wool into a beautiful cloth all the same. And the tailors of Redbody made it into beautiful clothing all the same.

The very name of the village derived from the fact that those people tended to wear red more often than other colors, and this due to the red sourgrass. Redness was normal there.

It just so happened that an old man came into Redbody, and drank black ale at the tavern, and asked questions about the redness, and was eventually directed to the pastures of Cosimo. Cosimo was meditating on a rock, his crook laid calmly on his lap, when he was interrupted by this old man.

"Are you Cosimo of the Red Wool?" asked the old man. He had a long grey beard, yellow eyes, and wore a simple robe of undyed wool; on his feet were sandals and in his gnarled hand was a staff banded with silver at the end. His voice was deep, melancholic, and intelligent, and reminded one of smoke and thunderstorms. Cosimo was both afraid of him and inspired by him.

"I have never been called that before, although I suppose I should answer to that name," said Cosimo.

The old man smiled. He bowed gracefully, letting his beard drag across the grass. "Cerviel, Without Color, at your service and your mercy, good shepherd."

Cosimo felt his hackles raise when he heard the name. It was one of legend. Cosimo did not read very well. He much preferred his stories spoken aloud over pipes and brew; or, even better, he preferred them sung by bards accompanied by lyre or fiddle. But the book that spoke of Cerviel was one book that Cosimo had read. It was a rare tome, stored in a temple in Redbody, and it was the only source of history that the people of that village knew. The priest of that temple allowed anyone to read from the book. In fact, it was his job and the job of the priests before him, to teach the little children of Redbody how to interpret the symbols written in the book so that they could read it. Cosimo had been one of those children. Thus, this passage from the book bloomed in Cosimo's mind as he stood there:

"Cerviel the Colorless, Messenger of the Lords of the North, brought the folk to Anaphiel and established them, gave them their first sheep and seed and taught them to sow and reap, brew and bake, read the stars, and speak the words."

The End

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