An extract from “Legacy of the Flames”

In his dreams, he remembered all the humiliations of his life. He remembered his childhood, always an outsider, his language different, his ways strange. He remembered the cruel tongues of the children and the sly eyes of the adults. He remembered the kindness of his adopted parents, and the way they treated him – always understanding, always good. Above all he remembered the boy, Eidoel, who fought him with sword and defeated him. The humiliation grew, the anger swelled like an obscene fruit. And then there was the druid Meddryn, his patronising tone, his condescending manner. When Ingoth awoke he felt dirty, that all the humiliations of his life clung to his skin like rotting mud. He tried to wash, tried to purge himself, but it did no good. He wanted to purify himself, to make his soul clean so he could once again wield his sword and hold his dagger with pride and purpose. “Purity,” he mumbled, “Purity,” he gasped, head in hands, rocking, dribbling, whilst all the time the dagger watched him.

Madness took him. He felt as though a thousand insects crawled on his skin and in his brain. He thought people watched him, talked about him. He thought the dagger spoke to him, wanted him to be clean and strong once more. He thought the trees laughed and the rocks mocked; he thought the birds called him weak and the clouds called him foolish. He screamed, his head pounding, the dagger held high. He shouted to the sky, a malformed sound that was filled with wanting and pain. He wanted salvation, he wanted to fight.

Deep in a cave that was cut into the hills at the outskirts of the woods he stood, in front of him a pyre of leaves and branches. He knelt, the dagger on the floor in front of him like an offering. He said the words, he performed the rite of wood and stone and the fire was born. Naked, eyes glazed, trembling, he gave himself up to the flames, allowing them to caress him and purify him with the power of agony.

 

 

All text copyright BJ Edwards

 

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