The land known as Uknar-Dur was known as an abandoned place full of hills, mountains, valleys and cold springs. Hundred days under the ice and snow, never looked appealing to the people of Nanur-Han south of the spot where tall mountains dropped with its roots. Mountains had paths, which was strange, because people of Nanur-Han always thought that nobody lives out there, but the marks in the icy ground said otherwise.
As every kid, I wanted to see who was making those tracks. Knowing that no one would believe me if I ever did found a culprit who lived in that desolated place, I still had an urge to go there. At least, I would sleep better since I couldn’t calm my mind in the night when jackals and lync’s howled at both of our moons and snarled at the hunting mutts that protected the village.
I took my bag previously stuffed with bread and handful of cottage cheese, said I was gone fishing and courageously started walking towards the mountain. I was in luck, as it was mid summer when most of men went following a Lord to war leaving women and children to take care of the village. Uknar-Dur, a sleeping giant was the safest place around us, as no body went up there to see how far it stretched, nor we had visitors from the lands beyond.
Soon, I was in the hills, a windy tops from where I could see the whole village steaming from the summertime chores, heard the sound of horses and cows dimmed in the distance, smiled at the people in harvesting golden grain I liked to play in. Ominous white tops rose high as eye can see, watching me like a mother when I did something bad. Even so, I went further in the gorge that was a natural pass into the rocky realm of Uknar-dur.
Night fell fast, owls told me with a creeping howl. Southern breeze was enough to keep me warm among the steep edges I crossed searching for a person that lived here. I laid low upon hearing a whistle in the dark, coming and going in amplitudes like it flew around me.
– Shall we begin, my young apprentice? – elderly voice asked the night and I pushed my head over the edge.
There they were, residents of Uknar-Dur. Hermit walked with his staff in the bottom of the spacios rim, where a shiny golden light brightened before him. A woman stood right there, holding an evil smile under the traitorous green eyes. Both of her hands started glowing when blades made of light started coming out from her palms.
– Yes Master. – she groaned and then the hermit rolled his shoulders throwing the torn rags off of him in one clean move.
– What is the first lesson? – he asked assuming a fighting stand where his palms bursted in turquoise flames and his staff changed stretching like rubber.
– You can’t fight what you can’t see. – she said in anger and a stream of light flashed passing the hermit when turquoise whipped and blocked the attack.
– Good. – hermit said smiling, – And for the second lesson. Have you remembered that? – he asked while walking in circles with the young woman.
– Weapon is deadly only if you master the speed and never hold back when striking. – she groaned again and set of blows bashed against the hermit’s staff that appeared in several places at once.
– Good. You are becoming faster. Someday, you’ll cut me like you mean it. Could you refresh my memory. What was the third lesson? – he played with the woman that was focused on the fight and I moved a little bit closer to the edge, my eyes glistening from the wonder I stumbled upon.
– Never leave a witness. – she said and whipped her hands around striking the rocky cliff I was on.
Without waiting for them to chase me, I turned and started running downhill. I ran as fast as I could, not stopping or turning around to see where they were. Darkness, howling, even wild beasts didn’t frighten me anymore, just the residents of Uknar-Dur wielding some ungodly powers, never seen before. I fell few time, twisted my ankle, but still kept running away.
When I got back home in the morning, my mother shouted at me, then she saw I was hurt and fetched me a remedy on a piece of cloth. I haven’t told her of what I saw or where have I been. I kept my mouth shut. Instead of coming forward with the truth of who made those paths in the mountain, I sticked to the story that best time for fishing was the night when everything was calm.
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