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20131106

Barbarian Poet


The room was dimly lit by a single candle. Hunched over the small table sat a very large man clad in worn leathers. He tossed a small white projectile over his shoulder; it struck the floor softly and came to rest among a gathering of similar looking objects. The great shoulders rose and fell with a sigh that sounded more like the growl of a bear. A large calloused ink-stained hand more accustomed to the grip of a sword delicately held the tiny writing implement. A trail of black droplets led from the ink well to the new sheet of paper at the center of the wooden table. There the big hand held the quill to the clean white sheet, a stain of black grew slowly on its surface. The hand began to move, the penmanship surprisingly light and eloquent for one with such a brutish appearance. The story began. 

“In the darkness of his cave sat the barbarian, the day had been long and full of great toil, but no…….” 

The quill snapped; fingers struck the paper smearing the words that only a moment ago were the beginning of his tale. The warrior threw the broken implement aside and stood quickly slamming both fists into the table as he did. A low growl was audible from his massive form. His scarred muscular arms moved, slowly he lifted the ruined sheet of paper from the table and crumbled it tight with both hands. Turning towards the door he tossed the small ball of black and white onto the floor where it came to rest among its’ brethren. Ignoring the fur cloak that hung to his left he threw open the iron bound wooden door. Wind and snow rushed into the tiny room. 

The barbarian stepped forward and was instantly swallowed by the darkness. The sound of his boots mercilessly crunching the thick snow could be heard for many moments and then was gone. The door remained open. Snow was drifting into the small chamber. On the floor the many crumpled balls of paper had blown about, and a skiff of snow now intermixed with their pattern. Had anyone been there to see it, they may have thought that the paper and snow had come together to form the image of a small northern island. An ancient land, a distant land, a land of three nations and one Queen… 

The wind blew again and the image was gone. So too was its creator.