An original short story, science fiction genre. What happens when your enemy becomes your friend?
THE TELLER OF TALES
The Tale Teller sits on the hard ground before the fire, surrounded by the children who beg him for a story.
"Tell us about the Coming of the Enemy," they insist.
"You have heard this many times, my children. Are you certain this is the tale you want?"
"The Coming. Please," they wheedle.
He nods. Looks deeply into the circle of bright eyes around the fire pit, and taking a deep breath, begins the tale:
There was a time, no more than six cycles ago, when the People were the most savage of barbarians. They were ruled by the turns of the Two Sisters and by the warrior god M'og. The world was harsher and much less forgiving to the People than it now is. The Three Families fought each other for food, for the life-giving water, and for those who were to be given to M'og. The sacrifice of the People and the sharing of their flesh was the only way we knew to survive.
M'og, the god of the Fathers. The god of the thousand teeth and the unquenchable thirst for the blood of the People. M'og who shared the flesh of those who were Chosen with those who were to Continue.
To quench the never-ending thirst of M'og, each of the three Families was forced to prey upon the other two. Forced to raid the villages of our neighbors for the young and old. Every day was one of sacrifice, for those who were taken and those who died in the taking.
A great image of M'og stood in the center of the main village of each of the Families with a large carved stone altar before it. The altar was large enough to hold the biggest of the People. In the center of the altar, there was a hollow to catch the blood of the Chosen so that it could be given to the god. After M'og received the blood, the flesh was shared by those of the Family.
"Why?" A young voice interrupted.
"Yes, why did M'og need to drink the blood of the Chosen?"
"Why did the People eat the Chosen's flesh?"
"Children," Teller said raising his hands, "you must be still or I will not continue."
When the children had quieted, C'ane settled his bones then explained, "You must remember that there were no fields nor herds to feed the People. Without the sharing of the flesh of the Chosen, the People would have perished. Do not judge us too harshly, my children."
The young ones nodded, and the Teller of Tales, continued.
The Time of Great Heat was at hand and preparations were underway to choose Those Who Live and to ready the Place of Life in the Mountains of M'of. It was then that the Enemy of M'og came to us. Bringing new life. Lifting the People from the depths of savagery to the heights of civilization.
The Chosen of M'og were in their Place of Preparing. They were, as tradition demanded; three young females, three older females, and three older males. These Nine were prepared to receive the honor due them from the Families and from M'og. The Wands of 'Ove were sent among the Three Families and the tables for feasting were laid out. In two sixes of days, the feasting would be over and Those Who Live would be safe in the Place of Life.
The Three Families gathered above the Valley of Nei as First Sister descended below the mountains and Second Sister rested on their peaks. The ceremony had begun when from behind the mountains, a great noise was heard/felt. First confusion and then fear fell upon the People as a bright/dark object came racing through the sky toward the People faster than the swiftest runner. With the object came the noise, a great rushing wind, and a light that was brighter than the Two Sisters combined followed the object as it sped toward us.
The object streaked over the heads of those gathered at the Feasting Place then, slowed and hovered above the flat floor in the Valley of Nei, near to the village of the Lai Family. Flame shot from the object as it turned in the air. The ground trembled as when it opens and weeps the firerocks. The object slowly lowered, tail first, until it sat on the ground with its nose pointed toward the Sisters and the Brother.
The People watched the object with fear turning to awe as the Second Sister followed the First behind the mountains. The sky dimmed as the Brother rose pale and large. When he was directly over the Valley, a hole opened in the side of the object. A white light shone forth. After a few heartbeats, a creature moved outside through the opening.
"The Enemy of M'og!" The children breathed as one.
C'ane nodded, then continued the tale.
The creature who left the object looked like the People but was different. It stood upright on two legs that were straight not bowed as ours. The body was also straight and longer and narrower than the heavy squat bodies of those who watched it from the Feasting Place. The head was small and later we learned it was covered by fur. The creature walked around the object, placing sticks at short distances from each other and from the object. Then it looked toward the People and reentered through the opening, which closed behind it.
The People began arguing among themselves as to what should be done about this creature and its cart. Most wanted to destroy the cart and sacrifice the creature that came from it. Others thought that it was a sign from M'og that he was pleased with his People. Still others feared M'og was displeased with us and had sent this messenger to destroy us. Silencing the uproar, Those Who Offer Sacrifice and the Three Who Lead, the Six, conferred long into the cooling night to decide what was to be done.
As First Sister rose above the Valley of Nei, the Six set out to confront this strange creature. They were not agreed as to who had sent it or why and they must be certain before the People acted. What if they acted wrongly? It could mean the destruction of all they knew.
The Six reached the object and stood before it as the Second joined the First. The strange cart opened and the creature came out and stood behind the line of sticks, waiting.
Those Who Offer Sacrifice made greeting. After a few sixes of heartbeats, the Enemy (for that is its name) returned the greeting. It then welcomed the Six into the cart. The Six were fearful to enter it and so they and the creature squatted on the ground to talk. With the help of a small box called "translator", the Six and the Enemy spoke of the world and of the People.
Those Who Offer Sacrifice told the creature of the promise of the Fathers that one day the Enemy of M'og would come to rescue the People from their bloodthirsty god. This Enemy would defeat the warrior god and send him far from the People. They would no longer need to sacrifice their blood to the thirst of M'og. The Enemy would bring a source of food that never ran out so they would no longer need to consume the flesh of their sons and daughters.
As the First moved behind the mountains, the Six and the Enemy mounted the stairs and entered the cart. The Six and the Enemy talked through the day and the night.
The following day, the Six returned to the Feasting Place saying, "The Enemy of M'og has come to us. M'og will be defeated. The Enemy will take us a place where the water flows freely. There will be much flesh to eat. All she requires of us is that we turn from M'og and make a fast for a three of days."
All of this and more, the Six told the People.
"They did all she said, didn't they Old One?"
"Yes, young one, we did. The fasting was hard for us with the food for the feast lying on the tables, but it was done."
"She led us to the Caves of Life and gave us the flesh animals, just as the Fathers promised us. Didn't she?"
"That is so."
"Let C'ane tell it," another voice piped up. "He does it better."
The children settled down as the Teller of Tales finished his telling.
The Enemy of M'og stayed with the People through the Time of Great Heat, teaching the ways of peace. She taught us to write down the sayings of the Fathers so that no one could add to or take from what was said. The females were taught to stop conception so that those born who were too many would no longer be cast onto the altars. The males were shown how to care for the animals and to tend the fields of the green plants.
When the Time of Great Heat ended and the People emerged from the Caves, all the images of M'og were gone! The warrior god had left and taken all that was his.
The Enemy looked at all she had wrought and she was pleased. She spoke to the People saying that a time of parting had come but that she would return. "Watch for my Coming," she told us. "And watch for M'og. He will try to return. You must fight him. Defeat him. Remember what I have taught you and I will help. Farewell, my People."
At the end of a six of days, M'og's Enemy entered the cart which spit fire and rose into the house of the Sisters and Brother. The People watched until it was lost to their sight.
"Since that time, the People have prospered. The Caves have become our home and the plants and animals of the Enemy continue to provide us with all the food we need.
"The People no longer war on each other, nor do we allow a god to drink the blood of our young."
One of the children said, "We eat only those who die in our Family, to do them honor, no one else."
"Yes. We consume the flesh of those who are dear to us to honor their lives and to remember them. This is as it should be."
"When will the Enemy return, C'ane?"
"When we need her strength to defeat M'og at his return."
"But, when will that be?"
"No one knows, young one." He looked to the sky, "But we must watch for both of them. Fearing the return of one and believing the other will return as she promised. We must have faith, children.
"Now it is time for all of you to retire to your couches. Go."
The children ran to their places in the cave as the Teller of Tales looked up at the Brother in the night sky. "Keep your promise, Enemy." Then he stiffly rose, put out the fire and shuffled off to his own sleeping couch.