Listen, my children.
In the time of these words Greenland was not covered in a thick sheet of ice. Greenland was green, and it was not flat. East and West rolled together in verdant hills heaping up to a mountain ridge that divided the continent north to south. On the eastern shore dwelt the clan of Ndn.
The clan of Ndn had no word for murder, no word for thief. They wore loincloths and tunics woven from the fiber of sacred plants. They called themselves Drr (Fishermen). They fished in the nearby warm ocean current that passed in its pilgrimage up to the frigid northern waters beyond Dtth (Wall of Fog), up to Ooo (Sacred Source of All Life). They would not take a life except the life of a fish and for that they atoned each fishing season.
Yv was the young girl chosen for the sacred atonement this season. Yv’s mother Am wept and gnashed her teeth at the sacred honor bestowed upon her only child. Am held Yv’s face against her own face and they wove between themselves sheets of tears. The entire clan, except Am, had agreed that Yv was the most worthy to represent the bounty taken in fish this season and to exchange the life that would generate the bounty next season.
Yv consoled her mother Am with oral verse, sniffing, “Mother, weep only for joy. Your child shall dwell with Drgn (Angels) beyond Dtth (Wall of Fog). From the breath of your child shall come the bounty of the clan,” yet Yv was afraid.
Am answered her only child Yv with oral verse, choking, “Do not be afraid, my child. Your anguish is your fear that you are unworthy to dwell with Drgn. Be at peace. Your clan chooses righteously.”
Yv’s father Ev recited the words prescribed by custom for the fathers of atonement. The words were to move Ev away from the instincts of his flesh and toward the clan’s eternal obligation, “Life breathes in. Life breathes out. We are the pause between.”
The clan of Ndn feasted, danced, and sang until the twilight of dawn. Then they quieted and faced the eastern shore.
In the first light of dawn the clan of Ndn began to sing softly, “When Og (Sun) swims into the ocean of heaven…”
The whole clan filed past Yv and kissed her. Yv wore a ceremonial tunic woven by her mother. The fibers were threaded through tiny seashells so that the tunic sparkled in the eye of Og.
Am and Ev then lead Yv to the rocky cove. They made Yv comfortable in the little Kjk (kayak).
Raising her trembling chin in a brave farewell little Yv began to paddle out toward the great northward current. She sang to herself oral verse, hoarsely, “My child, do not look back. See ahead Drgn (Angels) waiting to embrace you beyond Dtth (Wall of Fog)…”
Yv paddled faster as she began to cry. Her Kjk (kayak) soon felt the grasp of the great northward current. Only then did she glance backwards in defiance of Drgn (Angels) but the cove of Ndn had slipped away in her tears.
Og (Sun) had swum high in the ocean of heaven when Yv saw the great Kjk (kayak). It appeared to have a wing raised as it passed south of her, trampling the great northward current. She saw men of an unknown clan. They did not see her.
Finally, Yv awoke from an unexpected sleep and saw ahead the great Dtth (Wall of Fog). Dtth was erasing the world and was drinking the great northward current. Yv braced herself. In a sudden nervous fit she began to paddle into Dtth fatalistically, singing out wordlessly like a sea bird, “Aaah-ah-eee, Aaah-ah-ee!”
No Drgn greeted her.
Yv paddled in the consuming white void until her arms grew weak and again she slept unwillingly.
Yv was startle awake by the slap of small waves upon rocks. Her little Kjk (kayak) was rocking side-to-side with increasing frequency. And then her Kjk grounded on a pebbly beach. Yv scrambled out into the ankle deep surf and pulled her Kjk up beyond the hissing pebbles.
Yv stood upon the same grass which grew among the clan of Ndn. Yv took heart feeling the grass in the cold white void all around her, muttering, “It is true, then. Uru (Between Life) is like Ndn,” wishing she could tell so to her mother Am and her father Ev.
Yet no Drgn (Angels) greeted her. Yv waited patiently in the void with her courage renewed.
Yv heard suddenly a loud sustained scraping sound from the pebbles on the beach below. Whatever was being dragged up out of the ocean and onto the pebbles was massive. And similar sounds were heard up and down the shoreline. Yv saw coming toward her from the white void a massive shadow.
Yv exhaled, saying in awe, “Drgn (Angels).”
The white void dissolved around her in a great shaft of Og’s light and the shadow emerged. Yv knelt in terror, supplicating.
Yv’s Drgn was an enormous lizard, the size of a killer whale. It was covered in black feathers like the black albatross. It flexed enormous wings as it approached Yv. Its eyelids were orange. Its eyes were yellow with vertical black slits. This Drgn halted above her and a long tongue protruded and jabbed at her like a fishing spear. Yv saw the rows of sharp teeth the size of gutting knives. This Drgn exhaled dismissively upon Yv and she was startled by the heat of Drgn breath. Yv sprang away with a yelp that startled the Drgn in turn. They stood and warily faced each other.
Yv spoke the chosen words, “Drgn, I have come to renew the bargain between Drgn and the clan of Ndn,” and Yv then silently awaited acceptance or refusal.
The Drgn leaned down toward Yv, turned its head, and held one eye close to Yv like a pool with Yv’s reflection.
Into the pool of Yv’s own mind someone was throwing stones and her father’s voice was heard beside her own voice, “You name me Drgn. I have chosen your father’s voice to be heard.”
In her mind Yv spoke, saying, “I seek Drgn (Angels).”
The Drgn raised his feathered wings and veiled Og (Sun) and asked ominously, “You fish Drgn?”
Yv answered in her mind innocently, “I seek Drgn. I am the chosen one to renew the life of the clan of Ndn.”
The Drgn understood the intent but answered, “I do not eat you. I too am like Drr (Fishermen). All Drgn Drr, like you. I am named…,” and Yv’s mind filled with white noise.
Yv saw the intent of this Drgn’s mind. She thought and spoke out loud, “You know I am named Yv. I will name you Draggl (Drags on Ground).”
Draggl replied to Yv’s mind, “And I name you…,” then Yv’s mind filled again with white noise as Draggl spoke in his own thoughts. Draggl quickly translated, “Brine Shrimp.”
Draggl added to Yv’s mind, “There are other Brine Shrimp like you,” and Draggl heaved around and plodded ponderously back toward the pebble beach. Yv scampered to avoid his swiping tail.
Yv ran after Draggl into the drifting fog, crying out, “What do you mean there are others like me?”
Yv caught up to Draggl when he halted on the grass just above the hushing pebble beach. Yv was suddenly aware of other massive silhouettes around her in the fog. She heard white noise in her mind once again, but this time there were shades of difference in the pitch of the white noise. Yv “knew” she was hearing conversations of the Drgn (Angels). Yv then “understood” why it was white noise to her that they “spoke”: Drgn were a sound and a smell to each other as intricate as vision. Yv was hearing the language of other senses and she had no such words in her mind for Draggl to command.
Draggl translated in her mind, “Yv, we are all Drr (Fishermen) and live in peace beside the other Brine Shrimp. They are nearby and call themselves the clan of Skmooo (Chosen for Ooo, Sacred Source of All Life).”
Yv asked out loud, “Can you show me?”
Draggl turned his head and his long tongue speared the distance as Draggle spoke within Yv’s mind, “One comes now.”
A young boy materialized from between the sheets of fog, fearlessly passing Draggl and coming toward Yv. He wore a tunic similar to Yv’s ceremonial tunic and leggings of the same sacred fibers and he carried a fishing spear. He spoke to Yv, “The Drgn (Angels) told us of you and they called to my mind. I am Dn of the clan of Skmooo (Chosen for Ooo, Sacred Source of All Life). We have grown from the clans of our first birth one by one nearly each passing season. Some do not arrive because Ooo accepts them and they pass into the season’s bounty of fish. We have been waiting for you.”
Yv was remembering and Draggl helped her mind and Yv said to Dn, “I remember you, Dn. We chased sea birds together. You were chosen three seasons past. Your sister has taken a man. Your mother and father have borne two more sons in your place.”
Dn raised his chin and he pressed his lips together and then he said, “Life breathes in. Life breathes out. We are the pause between. I remember you, Yv. You danced my farewell. I will dance your rebirth with the clan of Skmooo.”
The clan of Skmooo was waiting to greet Yv and Dn. All wore tunics and leggings. They were a spectrum of ages, with the older ones herding young children obviously born of the Chosen for Ooo. Several young children broke from the waiting clan and came running and encircled Yv and stared and touched her legs. Yv touched their heads.
Dn said to Yv, “New arrivals are a birth. Yv, you are reborn. All are mothers of all children; all are fathers of all children in the clan of Skmooo. No one bears the burden alone if a child is called by Ooo.”
Yv thought about her mother and father for the first time in hours. Her lips trembled.
Dn sensed her sorrow, and said to Yv, “The Chosen for Ooo make no more sacrifices for bounty. Drgn (Angels) speak to us directly of the will of Ooo. We are taken forever to The Sacred Source of All Life only by Dthjk (Paddler of the Great Kjk, kayak).”
Yv wiped her eye and asked, “Dthjk?”
Dn explained, “Drgn (Angels) revealed to us Dthjk. They tell us that Dthjk comes also for them out there in the ocean. I have been shown in my mind Drgn taken by Dthjk.”
Yv and Dn were embraced and kissed in turn by all members of the tribe of Skmooo. The return from any journey was a cause for expressing affection. Yv was warmly ensconced but she still yearned for Am her mother and for Ev her father. The fog swirled and muted sunshine caressed the clan of Skmooo.
A day soon after Yv was reborn in the clan of Skmooo, the Drgn that Yv called Draggl appeared at the edge of the encampment and summoned the entire clan with his mind.
Draggl spoke to all, “There are many Kjk (kayaks) approaching the shore.”
All but the youngest of the clan and their chaperones for this day trotted toward the shoreline, flanking Draggl and being careful to avoid his undulating gait. On the shoreline was aligned the entire clan of Drgn (Angels), facing the ocean like graven rock outcroppings. The pebble beach hissed. The clan of Skmooo filtered down between Drgn and they listened to the approaching distinctive sound of many paddles.
As the many Kjk (kayaks) materialized from out of the fog veil, Drgn raised their wings. The clan of Skmooo gasped one by one and ran to the lapping surf line. There were cries and crying from the Kjk (kayaks) as they saw the clan of Skmooo gathering toward them.
The Kjk were from the clan of Ndn. Yv cried out as she recognized her mother Am slumped and paddling with exhaustion. The clan of Skmooo and the clan of Ndn cried at each other like sea birds.
Yv ran to the surf line, “Mother! Mother!”
Am recognized Yv and raised her head and beamed but then she collapsed forward unconscious. Yv frantically pulled at Am’s Kjk, trying to draw it toward the hissing pebble beach but it began to drift away.
Yv cried out to the sky, “Help me!”
Dn splashed up beside her and he too grabbed Am’s Kjk and between the two of them the Kjk was drawn onto the pebbles. Yv embraced her unconscious mother and she saw scars and blood upon Am’s head and Yv felt gooey blood pooling beneath her hug. Yv shrieked. Two clansmen of Ndn, themselves scarred and bloody, raised Am out of her Kjk and carried her to the shoreline, her feet dragging between them. Yv ran after them, hopping with frantic worry.
The two clansmen of Ndn lay Am upon the grass and departed back to the shoreline to help others. Yv fell upon her mother wailing. Am opened her eyes and found a smile for Yv, whispering, “Yv? My child, my child. I have you, I have you,” and then Am fell fitfully asleep holding tightly Yv whose weeping face was buried into Am’s breast.
Am awaked startled and clutched Yv and said to Yv, “Your father Ev is no more. Many of Ndn are no more.”
Yv could not fathom, “No more? Father?” but she heard all around her the weeping stories of the clan of Ndn.
“A large Kjk (kayak) appeared. It had a great wing raised and it defied the great northward current.”
“They were men of an unknown clan. Terrible men. They had horns and shiny heads and their bodies were cloaked in fur like Mka (caribou).”
“The held shafts with great flat stones sharpened like fishing spear tips.”
“Never have we known. We could not have known: they were Mrrdrrdrr (Men Who Fish Fishermen)! Many of Ndn were quickly no more. No more.”
Am sobbed to a tearful Yv, “You father Ev saw them fishing the men of Ndn and then a Mrrdrrdrr took me and hurt me. Your father Ev broke his Tybooo (Commandments of Ooo, The Sacred Source of Life) and he speared my Mrrdrrdrr in the face. A few of Ndn who did not run saw your father’s Cynooo (Sin) and then they came to his side and fished Mrrdrrdrr with him. All are no more.”
Then all heard in their minds the thoughts of Draggl, “Dthjk (Paddler of the Great Kjk, kayak) has fished many Drgn (Angels). Now Dthjk follows from Ndn. Dthjk is coming.”
Young Dn raised his fishing spear in anger and he cried out, “The clan of Skmooo must break our Tybooo (Commandments of Ooo)!”
Yv heard Draggl in her mind and all turned toward him as he spoke, “Drgn (Angels) will break our Tybooo together with you. You cannot stop Mrrdrrdrr with all the clan of Skmooo and all that remain of the clan of Ndn. All will be no more,” and then all realized that Draggl was rallying his own clan too as he continued in white noise, translating for Ndn and Skmooo, “Always Drgn swim away from Dthjk (Paddler of the Great Kjk, kayak) but many Drgn are no more. Today all must fish Dthjk!”
Draggle then translated the white noise of other Drgn, answering unavoidably, “Yes, brother and sister Drgn. It is true that Ooo (Sacred Source of All Life) has made Dthjk also and has allowed Dthjk to fish men.”
The young Dn raised his fishing spear and cried, “Ndn, Skmooo, and Drgn will atone this day by exchanging Dthjk for our bounty and our lives!”
The great Kjk (kayak) finally appeared from out of Dtth (Wall of Fog). The great wing of the Kjk flapped and snapped in the diminishing breeze. The horned heads of the Mrrdrrdrr could be seen above the sides of the great Kjk.
The Skmooo men and women stood aligned along the shore and all trembled. No Drgn stood with them. The men touched the tips of their spears and gutting knives. The women gathered stones and caressed the weaving needles inserted into the warp and weft of their tunics.
The young boys and girls stood farther behind in the grass where Draggl had commanded them to remain until all hope was gone.
A bellow came from the great Kjk like the challenge of a bull Mka (caribou). The Mrrdrrdrr then roared together from the great Kjk like bull Odb (seals). The Mrrdrrdrr held aloft their shafts with great flat stones sharpened like fishing spear tips.
A few men and women of Skmooo turned to flee but upon seeing the children behind themselves they turned again to face the Mrrdrrdrr. Young Dn roared his little voice back at the Mrrdrrdrr. Yv covered her ears and screamed from tension.
Suddenly the great Kjk shuddered to a halt still away from shore and the great wing of the Kjk went limp. There was another roar from the Mrrdrrdrr. A Drgn (Angel) raised his head on each side of the great Kjk and flared its wings and then dove headfirst into the side of the Kjk. The Kjk rocked and twisted. The Mrrdrrdrr could be seen hacking at the two Drgn and quickly the two Drgn were no more.
Draggl exploded the surface of the water beside the Kjk and snatched a Mrrdrrdrr in his teeth like gutting knives and then flung him into the ocean where he sank at once. Shafts with great flat stones sharpened like fishing spear tips were flung at Draggl and they struck him and sank into his feathered chest. Draggl reared back and then dove at the Mrrdrrdrr. He opened his mouth and exhaled the scalding Drgn breath upon them. The Mrrdrrdrr shrieked and those who were not fished jumped from the shattered and sinking Kjk. The escaping Mrrdrrdrr thrashed toward the shoreline. Other Drgn arose from the cover of ocean and seized Mrrdrrdrr with their teeth like gutting knives and dragged them back into the ocean and below.
Surviving Mrrdrrdrr emerged onto the hissing pebbles of the beach. Men and women of Skmooo cried like sea birds and charged down to confront them. The surf frothed red and the pebbles hissed blood. A man of Skmooo was cut apart from his left shoulder to his right hip by one blow of a shaft with a great flat stone sharpened like a fishing spear tip. The man’s mate jumped onto the back of the Mrrdrrdrr and drove a weaving needle into his eye before her life was cut from behind by another Mrrdrrdrr. That avenging Mrrdrrdrr in turn was brought quickly to his knees from fishing spears in his legs and several women knocked away his shiny head with horns and then pounded his head into the shoreline with stones.
The children on the grass were jumping and shrieking in horror. Now a Mrrdrrdrr had come through the gauntlet and was running at the children as he whirled his shaft with the great flat stone sharpened like a fishing spear tip. He roared and the children froze in terror. The Mrrdrrdrr came to Yv who was covering her face and he grabbed her and raised his shaft with the great flat stone sharpened like a fishing spear tip. But before he could make Yv no more a fishing spear struck him in the throat.
Dn leapt upon the arm that clutched Yv and he gnawed the hand. When the wounded Mrrdrrdrr released Yv to clutch the fishing spear in his neck and pull it out Dn thrust Yv backwards and planted himself in between her and the Mrrdrrdrr.
The Mrrdrrdrr raised with both arms his shaft with the great flat stone sharpened like a fishing spear tip. He began to bring it down upon Dn to split him like fish. Suddenly their minds were filled with white noise and the Mrrdrrdrr looked aside to see Draggl lowering his face toward him, his black feathered body and wings wet with blood. The Mrrdrrdrr stumbled sideways as the scalding breath of Draggl consumed him screaming. Draggl exhaled until the skin of the Mrrdrrdrr’s face turned red to black and then fell away. The bloody skull grinned at Draggl as if Draggl had fallen into his trap.
Suddenly all the fishing was over and the last Mrrdrrdrr was gutted into strips by the frenzied Skmooo. Men hissed through their teeth and pulled their own hair, women wailed, and children cried as they joined their clansmen who were no more and their clansmen who were still alive.
Drgn (Angels) with their snouts rolled their brethren who were no more out beyond the crimson surf. With their wings raised the surviving Drgn escorted the fallen into the arms of the great northward current, thence to Ooo (Sacred Source of All Life). The Drgn undulated and sailed back toward the shoreline but only Draggl came ashore.
Dn and Yv greeted him crying.
Draggl spoke to all the minds of the surviving Skmooo, but his voice was faint in their weary heads, “We have all broken our Tybooo (Commandments of Ooo, Sacred Source of All Life). We have all embraced the great Cynooo (Sin). Ooo speaks to me and I know now the atonement demanded by Ooo. Drgn (Angels) and Skmooo (Chosen for Ooo) shall never again be of the same mind.”
The words of Draggl were now like a whisper in the wind of white noise. Skmooo who could still walk came before Draggl and laid their hands upon him. Yv and Dn embraced him and buried their faces into his feathers. Draggl closed his eyes for a long time. And then they could hear each other no more.
Draggl turned and lumbered into the surf to join his brethren Drgn. The Skmooo raised their arms in reverent surrender. Draggl and his surviving brethren all raised their wings and sailed undulating away eastward of Ndn.
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