The night approached, the moon was shining and it was as bright as day. Buri and Aegir sought shelter behind some trees overlooking the sacred place at Thor's oak. They waited till the moon set. Nothing happened. Nobody had delivered the crescent of moon-stone.
"Let's walk over to the Eagles lake-dwelling and burn down the old smoke house." Aegir suggested.
"I don't like that idea. Other houses may catch fire to and people get hurt." Buri replied, "I don't like to hurt people! Let's go down and look for an alternative way to issue our warning!"
Creeping up on the lake dwelling, a change struck Buri's eyes. "Look there, they put up a magic pole at every path leading into the dwelling. The poles were not present yesterday. The shaman thinks he can scare the undead off by his widgets!" he chuckled self-satisfied; "I think we should tear them down!"
Cautiously they crept closer. Everybody seemed to be asleep trusting in the shaman's magic powers. At first they tried to pull down the magic pole guarding the main path into the dwelling. However the people of the clan had buried the pole so deep that resisted all their efforts to pull it out. They tried to pull out the magic poles guarding the other two trails leading into the settlement, but they resisted their efforts also.
"Let's remove just the magic objects from the poles," suggested Aegir, "and take them away."
The pole guarding the main path into the dwelling bore the shaman's regalia, a cap made of a wolf's skull, a collar of eagle feathers and in addition three wolf's tails. Rock crystals replaced the eyes in the eye sockets of the skull to improve its magic appearance. The main magic item on the second pole was the skull of a bear with big fangs. Greenish pebbles replaced the eyes and sharp bears' claws were threaded on a long string which was entwined around the pole. The third entrance was guarded by the white skin of a snowy owl and the skull of an enormous pike. The power of crawling animals was represented by desiccated poisonous bodies of fire salamanders. Aegir and Buri removed the magic items with care because they didn't want to offend the spirits, wrapped them up in their coats and hurried back to their shelter. Before dawn they were back in the bear's den and had drifted off into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Around noon they decided to check for the results of their nightly venture. Buri wanted to spy on the Eagle-clan's dwelling while Aegir decided to see what was going on in the heron's dwelling. On their way down to their destinations they took along the magic objects to tuck them away in the shrubbery at Thunar's oak.
However as soon as they had taken the first look at the village they changed their decision and stayed together. The village was astir. The people of the Eagle-clan were scurrying around as if they had been stung by wasps. Emissaries from the other villages came and went. Later the shamans and the chiefs of the four dwellings seemed to be holding a meeting closely watched by the people. Towards it's the end the shaman of the Eagle-clan was deprived of all his regalities by the others shamans and banished from the leading circle of the clan by the elders.
While the degraded shaman was brought away by some of the younger men with hands bound behind the back, a boy out of the crowd was summoned into the circle of shamans and the chieftains. Buri recognized him immediately. "It's Kian, look he is limping a bit because his sprained ankle! What do they want from a boy of his age?" Soon they found out. The oldest of the shamans, a wiry white haired man, interrogated Kian for some time, then put something around his neck and blessed him. The crowd split and Kian accompanied by two smaller boys and three women took the main path out of the village. At a crossing they left the main path and took the small trail leading through the forest to the glade with Thunar's oak.
Aegir and Buri wanted to be ready for them at Thunar's oak and had to hurry, because they had to cut through the dense undergrowth to get there first. Arriving there they arranged the wolf's skull, the skin of the snowy owl, the pike's skull and all other magic objects on top of the big boulder and covered them up with Aegir's fur blanket. Then they hid in the bushes behind the holy rock and remained silent.
Soon the small procession showed up on the edge of the clearing. Uncertain what to do, they waited for some time and carefully checked the area around Thunar's oak. Then Kian made a decision. With a gesture he ordered the women and his companions to remain on the edge of the clearing and entered the glade slowly. Halfway to the oak he stopped and asked timidly: "Buri are you still my friend? Buri can I come to the altar and give you back your crescent?" When Buri didn't answer he appealed a second time. Raising his voice he pleaded, "Buri are you still my friend? Please answer!"
Kian had to repeat his question a third time. Only when he asked his question a third time Buri answered in a loud voice, "We are friends, Kian! We always will be friends Kian! Come closer! Don't be afraid! I will never harm you!"
Kian went forward proudly. In front of the boulder he took off the necklace with the crescent of moonstone and held it out towards the holy boulder without a word and looking around for Buri. Only then did Buri leave his cover behind the boulder, and stepped forward, and took the amulet. He studied it closely.
"That is the crescent of moon-stone, the one my mother left to me. It's undamaged! It's the insignia of my kingly blood!" He bowed and kissed Kian on his forehead.
Buri took the collar of eagle-feathers raised it high into the air and proclaimed at the top of his voice, "Kian, you will be the next shaman of the Eagle-clan, because only a man with an innocent heart can command the magic power of things and keep away the evil from the clan!" Then he looked up to the sun in the sky and placed the collar around Kian's neck!"
Then Aegir came out of his hiding place behind the boulder, removed the blanket from the magic items and rising to his full height he announced, "Take back the sacred objects to the Eagle-clan, the skulls, the claws, the skins! Take them back to the clan and never use them except with a pure heart."
Smiling down on the thunderstruck boy the Redhead tried to reassure him, "Kian, you are still a small boy, but now you are in command of objects of great power, use them only for the wellbeing of the clan!"
Then Buri raised his arms to issue a blessing to Kian. "Now hurry Kian my friend, the Eagle-clan is in distress because of the evil deed of one man. The clan needs your help now!"
Kian didn't understand Buri's words and rushed back to his mother and the others waiting at the forest's edge. The small boy was limping slightly as a real shaman was supposed to do.
Aegir and Buri however, hurried back to the bear's den, bundled up their belongings and set off along the path to the creek that emptied the waters of Lake Fjäder intothe Bredd-ström.
The dugout boat was still in its hiding place. They took it and paddled down the creek. At dusk they arrived at the mouth of the creek at Nifrun. Passing the village of Nifrun carried along by the fast current of the Bredd-ström Aegir addressed Buri, "Curlyhead, my Curlyhead have you really decided to come along with me to search for the sun? You have a last chance now to go back to your people at Lake Fjäder or wait for them at the cave-dwelling. Your friends the eagles and their offspring would welcome you back!"
Buri, sitting in the bow, turned around, "Do you really expect me shy away from the difficulties ahead Redhead, my Redhead? Now that I have a friend, a friend I love with all my heart? Do you reckon that I am afraid of the endeavours ahead? Or have you decided to go back to your island in the north, cling to your mother's coat tails and feel miserable all your life long?" He smiled back at his friend, "I know you better Aegir and you know me well enough. We will shun no danger to achieve our goals." Both looked up to the moon whose crescent was reflected in the water of the Bredd-ström.
Aegir was happy. The swift current took the fragile dugout fast through the night.
From his place at the stern Aegir called out:
Night has fallen!
Buri joined in:
Star on star,
Great and small,
Wide and far!
Stars and moon,
Love and luck,
You and me!
Aegir kept the boat midstream. Like a dry leaf the fragile dugout rode on the crest of a wave through the night. Lowland forests passed by, flood plains, pastures, ever now and then a sleeping settlement. Neither Aegir at the helm nor Buri at the bow got tired till the morning-star rose in the east. Joining their voices Aegir and Buri welcomed the first rays of the rising sun:
Morning is breaking,
Sun is reigning
In the weeks to come Aegir and Buri, the Redhead and the Curlyhead, followed the Bredd-strömto its mouth in the Black Sea, crossed south through the Levantine Sea and finally went ashore at the delta of the Iteru, the big river rising in the black mountains of Ta-Seti.
Through the swamps of the delta they searched for a way to Râ-Kedet, the town where Buri's father Hödur had met Teje, the princess of the moon-stone clan and where he fathered Buri.Their intention was to travel from the King's town to the oasis Sivah, the place where Buri was born and his mother buried. There they hoped to meet Mitr or his son, Mitrson. The desert-men surely would know how to find the rulers of the black mountains of Ta-Seti, the land of the bow. Buri and Aegir wanted to learn how to dig for the moon-stone ore and where the sun went when it went to bed at night.
Will they succeed? Who knows in advance? But it is safe to say: Redhead and Curlyhead have each already found the love of their life.
I would like to express my special thanks to my friend Anthony for improving my writing.
Last not least I would like to add thanks for reading.
Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.
[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]
* Some browsers may require a right click instead