Jebediah Learns of Erubiel

Jebediah woke up feeling more pleased than ever about the quality of his sleep. He was used to the strong winds and roaring noise that emitted from the Tip of Nose and the occasional flooding from the Corners of Mouth. Up here, the noise was significantly muted and he woke up 100 per cent moisture free.

He was also livened by his dreams of creating a foundation for the future that the people of Beard could build upon. He remembered well his conversation from the old man the day before and badly wanted to find him again to begin planning a way to document the history of the Beardians.

With this in mind, he walked along the crest of Eyebrow early in the morning. He knew the workers would soon be leaving and he hoped to pick the old man out of the crowd and keep him for the day.

He sat waiting patiently, keeping an eye on the edge of Eye Socket until he finally saw the workers begin making their descent. Man after man, they lowered themselves on some of the longer Eyebrow bristles until the crowd started thinning out.

By this time, most of the workers had already made their way down and Jebediah began worrying that his man had already made his way down in the middle of the pack without or even worse, that he had died during the night. He had seemed remarkably old and fragile so the likelihood of this happening was significant.

“You’re waiting for me?” said a voice from behind the adventurous Beardian.

Turning around, Jebediah came face-to-face with the old man from the day before.

“Yes sir, I want to learn from you how I can help my people.”

“I told you yesterday, you are all too ignorant to save yourselves. Why should I change my mind today?”

“Because you’ve never met a Beardian like me before. I can feel the pain my people have from having no ancestors — from having no family. The ones you talked to me about meeting before were just looking for an adventure for themselves. They didn’t care about the people of Beard like I do.”

“I truly believe that and you remind me of the only other Beardian I believed in. Hamish died tragically on his way to Knee. He was the only one of your people I think wanted to trace and collect the history of your people to make it safer for your race. I see a little of Hamish in you.”

“Does that mean you’ll help me then?”

“In any way I can, but I can already tell you that you will be disappointed with the level of my help. I can only teach you how to do everything yourself — I cannot physically help you prepare any of your history. I also warn you that what I tell you will lead you on many dangerous journeys. These have been undertaken by the bravest men and woman of Human and many have died doing so. This is not an easy task you venture to undertake, but it is one that will greatly benefit the Beardians.”

“I understand,” said Jebediah, knots building in the pit of his stomach. “I am ready to begin whenever you feel I am ready.”

“There is no time to waste. The Beard you know is growing old and there may not be much time before the Straight Razor returns to send your people to Drain. Even now, it may be too late for all the Beardians you know.”

“Let’s hope that it’s not,” said Jebediah. “But I am prepared to face great losses for future generations of Beard.”

“Then we begin now,” he said and began walking away.

Jebediah followed the old man, hoping he was being led to a solitary place or a learning centre where his education would begin. It took no more than a couple of minutes of total silence for them to reach their destination. They had arrived at what Jebediah had always thought was the border of Eyebrow but which he now saw was a smooth path that separated one side of Eyebrow to another.

“There are people who live in Middle Eyebrow who have had similar experiences as you have in Beard. While not nearly as densely populated, for years these people were being wiped out by an unknown force they had heard called Tweezer. Then one generation produced a hero quite like you will hopefully be for your people. His name was Erubiel and he too came to me looking for guidance. It had been six generations that they lacked a history and he, like you, knew there must have been people before him. I warn you again, that your task will not be easy. Erubiel lost two more generations before he was able to devise a system that worked for Middle Eyebrow. Likewise, he lost two fingers, three toes, an eye, and an ear. But, you will see momentarily what he gained.”

The old men fell silent again and started watching the edge of East Eyebrow. There was rustling at the bristles on the border and then suddenly, people of all ages started making their way out from behind them and back to the newly smoothed surface of Middle Eyebrow. There were people his age and people years older than him. There were men and women and many of the women carried babies.

“We’ve never had old and young people at the same time in Beard,” said Jebediah.

“No cultures do until they’ve been educated by someone like Erubiel or yourself,” the old man replied. “The Tweezer cleaned this place smooth only yesterday and past generations would have been wiped out entirely. With the knowledge Erubiel presented to them three generations ago, they have been able to consistently survive the attacks and prosper when their bristles return.”

“And by following Erubiel’s example, I can provide this same prosperity to the people of Beard?”

“The two cities look no different after they have been annihilated by their respective destroyers — Straight Razor for Beard and Tweezer for Middle Eyebrow. There is no reason why your people cannot flourish like the people you see here. This Jebediah is the first of many things you must learn.”

The End

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