Fantasy on Tall And True

The Call by Peter Walker

The Call - Book Zero, The Village by Peter Walker

Book Zero, The Village - Prologue

The wind had been a good travelling companion to this point. For the main ceremony at dawn, he would need it to be calm. Beginning with the staff in his left hand he began weaving a series of intricate patterns in the air. He passed the stave from hand to hand. Considering his powerful frame he danced in a surprisingly agile way.

Then he brought the base of the stave down with a dull thud on the damp soil and muttered a few unintelligible words.

In that moment the wind dropped.

A smile creased his face. Being attuned with the weather was a favourite of his. Elias' natural place, his mastery, was with fire and earth, so having mastery of the wind and water had taken him longer, had required more discipline and a more torturous accessing of his ancestral memories. Now, they too recognised him and respected his ministrations.

He sent a silent prayer, thanking the spirits of the land, the Rainbow Serpent and his spirit animal, Dirawong, the goanna.

With the calming of the wind came silence. Even the animals of the night felt his power.

Elias pulled his shirt back over his frame and picked up the bag. He eased the strap over his shoulder, weighed the staff for comfort in his hand and set out once again to the final ceremony place. Not far now.

Further down in the low hills and the valley, with the wind now absent, a mist began to gather, shrouding the dank, tree-covered hills in a grey cloak.

The only sound was the padding of his bare feet on the stone as the mist rose. It remained several paces behind him as he climbed toward the summit. The highest point was soon the remaining piece of the earth still visible above a sea of grey-white brume.

Almost there now.

He glanced from left to right, shivering despite the mild exertion of his climb and activated the 'seeing' that opened other worlds to him. On both sides now he could see the wraith-like images of those he was about to summon. Nothing frightening for him, nothing to fear, just the semi-opaque images of each of them going about the business of their day or night, not yet aware of the call.

Ah, perhaps not all of them were unaware. The shaman woman, Tisa was wide awake and doing some of her own work, with all that paraphernalia she used. He smiled at that. She did weave her magick with great skill and beauty. All those things she used as tools suited her somehow. Feathers and crystals, things wrapped up in swatches of cloth, plant parts, animal skins, bones and sigils. Different choices, same direction.

His smile broadened. It would be very good to see her face-to-face once more.

There was the muted 'ooom, ooom, ooom' of a Tawny Frogmouth and a disturbance of wings. He smiled again. Tisa was sensing him too and had sent her messenger to visit him, to let him know she was aware. So at least one of the twelve would need no further invocation.

The others though were not so present, perhaps choosing to be so, for any number of reasons. Ah, there. Petra saw him.

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Some would be cloaking themselves, some had no idea and others had many things to do in everyday life. Still others were sleeping and this would come to them in the dream. Victor was already taking the steps they had both agreed would be needed to bring the next generation up to speed.

Ariah had become too old and unwell to make the journey, but her daughter Rena didn't have any knowledge of this or the changes that were coming. Victor would remedy that in his usual abrupt manner.

Elias paused in his solitary march and took a moment to take a deep inhalation. As he exhaled, his warm breath misted in the air to match that approaching him from behind.

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