Chapter 4 Scene 2

by Richard Perkins
This entry is part 15 of 65 in the series Doormaker's Fall

Tor sat calmly, waiting for the pink tinged pre-dawn light to transform into the full golden glow of sunrise in the eastern desert. To the north of his solitary perch, the Scattered Shard Tribe slumbered in ancient sand caves that had sheltered them for generations. Only the sharp-eyed night sentries on the perimeter of the camp shared his vigil. He felt them now, watching him uneasily in the gloom.

Unlike most other tribes, the Scattered Shard had no permanent Gathering along one of the Migrations. Instead they traveled between many hidden sites scattered throughout their territory. Caves like this collected the infrequent rains in seeps and slowly attracted native plants and animals. The Shard would live on such bounty for three to four moons. But before they used up all of the resources of these caves, they would move to a different site. They would not return here for a seasonturn or more, waiting for the desert to replenish what they had used.

Since only the Scattered Shard knew how to reach their hidden shelter caves, finding the tribe was nearly impossible unless they wanted to be found. Tor was not certain what had drawn him here, so much farther east than his usual migration. He had walked through the night, well beyond his planned route, compelled by an inaudible whisper on the wind. At the break of dawn, he was as surprised as the sentries to find himself on the doorstep of the elusive Scattered Shard. At his back, he sensed the approach of his watchers. Willing himself to stillness, he waited for them and for the dawn.

The first sentry spoke, his words drawn tight as a bow string. “Why are you here?”

Tor listened, straining after that same elusive whisper, dark as midnight, bright as shattered glass. “To see what must be seen. To hear what must be heard. To speak what must be spoken.”

The second sentry grabbed the first’s arm, his eyes wide. “Prophet!” The word was spit as a curse.

“Get the elders!” Tor sensed, but did not hear the second sentry’s hasty departure.

“How did you find this place Prophet?”

“I follow the path of prophecy. Change is on the wind, and I go where she bids me.”

The sentry spat in the sand. “You and your change are not welcome here. Go home Prophet!”

Tor looked over his shoulder at the Shard who glared at him. He sighed with disappointment, but he had expected this sort of greeting from such a reclusive tribe. “I do not bring change. I merely follow where it guides me.”

“Your people huddle in caves, hiding from the future, fearing what it holds. Yet fate shapes you, as she shapes us all. If I failed to be here at this moment, still prophecy would find you. Dawn comes. Behold.” As the sun rose Tor turned his gaze to the southeast, and the sentry followed suit. The second sentry returned with two tribal elders, just in time to witness the birth of a sand storm in the open desert.

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