The Lance of the Satyrs

PROLOGUE

 

The legend of the Lance of Satyrs begins like any other: vaguely. For it is frayed by the erosion of time. The tongues of bards and the quills of scribes are never kind to such treasures of the past. We tell it now, in myth and legend, as if it were oral history. It passes from parent to child with every other grain of wisdom. For even a fanciful tale of heroism can contain a potent drop of morality.

            The Glade of Silenus stood still in the night. The wind was busy elsewhere, and the sun that stirred it had now fallen behind a horizon's edge. However, the open meadow where the blade was wrought was never silent. Yes, sounds stirred that calm, unmoving darkness.

            It began as a squeak from a raccoon's lips. And as the creatures of old emerged from their tranquil shadows, it became a hum in the throat of a satyr.

            He was the youngest satyr, and they say he lives even today. The only son of Silenus, wombed from the moon, took those squeaks and made them into music. His hooves padded softly upon the forest floor, and animals woke to join him.

            Then, came a second satyr, and a third. One bore a harp, and the other a shawm. They sang and they pranced with merriment and glee. As deer grazed and owls prayed, the satyrs spoke lyrically to the trees.

            And the trees of the glade whispered softly in their roots. The earth heard, and the earth shook. For the earth, too, wished to dance. The earth shook so hard that, far away in the closest castle of woman and man, the crown fell from regent's head.

            This was an omen, the bards knew.

            And the satyrs, now a dozen, danced and danced in a circular frenzy. They wove in and out, around and within. The grass grew tall and the moon smiled its crescent lip.

            Within their circle, the earth split; not by hooves of beast but by its own will alone. And there, in the cleft, was born a blade. It rose from the golden depths below, and fell toward the north as if it were a compass. They say it was smithed by the Gods, and furnished of the purest lode.

            It was named the Lance of Satyrs. For as Silenus approached it, he drew a finger to his lips. And with that claw between his lips, he thanked the earth. Then, Silenus drew a silver drop of his own saliva upon his finger. And with it, he wrote the script along the handle of this spear. The words, in silver, spoke of goodwill and doom. Words never to be read by mortal eyes. For a rebellion of man was wrought by the deities, that night. And with this bladed lance would be its forefront.

            Trees bent their branches forward to read the words. And upon reading, they thrust back and trembled, as if the wind had returned. The harp struck its final chord. The flutes fell, and became sticks again. The satyrs fell back upon all fours, and ran from the glade. Playing with the fates was much to the delight of Silenus that night. And he left, too, as his son stood to read his words.

            Only a human girl remained. She had been there all along, watching in awe from a treetop. She looked down at the olive-furred creature she saw breathing and crying below her. It was then that she dropped from the tree and landed cautiously, trying to show the divinity before her as much grace as she could.

            "Drag this to your village," commanded the satyr. "Be it curse or blessing, there will be one there with strength enough to wield it. He will be forever marked by its nature."

            The girl pulled it up by the end of its handle, and dragged the blade through the grass. And for the rest of the night, she dragged a line of dirt from the Glade of Silenus to her town. And when she reached the town square, near the porch of the elder's house, she collapsed in exhaustion.

 

The End

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