The Runes

Árón’s Story – The Runes (son of Sirona and Finn)

When Conn was very old, I sat with him in the story cave up on Alta Mountain.  I was thirteen.  Conn was my mother’s uncle.  The oldest of our people from the valley Soto.  His hair was as white as soft clouds in the sky and his eyes so blue one was often lost to them.  My name is Árón.  Son of Sirona and Finn and younger brother to Irene.  Conn was my hero.

That night was cool and damp.  From the cave’s opening I could see a bright moon.  Golden flames glowed in the outside fire circle.  Tree shadows and transparent leaves.  Purple heather crept almost to the caves.  Soft green windswept ferns.

“I would like to say that those of us, in Soto, were peaceful.”  There was that bit of mischief in his expression.  “At least we prided ourselves in that belief.  Tired.  Like a still small child needing a nap.  Restless.  So often restless.  On edge in a moment.  And tiring the battles became.  Attacks and retreats.  The taking of our hard worked harvests and our fattened livestock.  Often there would be deaths or injuries that neared death.  We were not – we are not – a people seeking to battle.  That doesn’t always matter.”  Here, Conn’s voice faded away as though dreaming.

“She was beautiful – your Aunt.  All of her was beautiful.  Her face and her spirit.  She could spin a story like a weaver spins yarn…”

Her name was Ana.  While running home, at the start of a battle, she fell.  Her head hit against a boulder and she died.  I was but a dream yet to be born.

“And that is the way of life,” Uncle said

He gave me a small cloth bag.  The cloth was black and embroidered, in reds and yellows, with triangles and circles and squares.  It was closed with a thin silver cord.  Inside were runes carved on polished pieces of poplar wood.

“She made these,” Conn said as he gave me the bag.  “There wasn’t a day went by that she didn’t touch them.”  I was young and very disappointed that night.  I had wanted a battle story.  The runes eventually passed to my niece.


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