Friday, 2 October 2009

Camulaunos pt.3

Camulaunos fled for his life, his very being and the lives of his family-tribe. With the white sow trailing him he fled across the plains of the land of the gods and began his descent down the mountain upon which the plains rested. All the while he could hear the rolling of thunder behind him, the clatter of wheels upon rocks and the rumble of huge hooves racing to catch him. Angry voices filled with rage and fire carried on the wind to him, threats unspeakable assaulted his mind and fear gripped his body.

Onwards he went, through the lands of the north, through valleys and woodlands – all the while the rage of the gods pursued him.

Soon, in the distance, the settlement of his family-tribe appeared. At the sight of this strange and unknown place Senua Vinda took fright and in her panic gave birth to three bees. These first of bees in the lands of men made their hives and were fruitful in their offspring; their honey was sweet and golden.

Onwards they went until the burning of wood smoke from the settlement could be scented on the air, the sound of activity carried to them. Once more Senua Vinda took fright and this time gave birth to three ears of grain; one each of rye, wheat and barley. These first of grains took root and produced fine stands of grain, each with fat ears that would hang heavily in the late summer sunshine.

Still onwards fled Camulaunos and with him Senua Vinda until they reached the threshold of the settlement where the family-tribe of Camulaunos saw him bearing this shining white sow. Behind them the sky had darkened and the clouds rolled over the chilled landscape like floodwaters across a field. Thunder and lightning assaulted the sky and the cries of the gods shook the very ground. At the sight of these unfamiliar things Senua Vinda gave birth a final time and this time it was of nine piglets.

The settlement shook and the winds howled, the ground shook as the host of gods encircled the settlement and made of cries of destruction to Camulaunos and his people.

The God Ambactonos descended on the settlement; aboard in a cart pulled by two huge horned cattle. A mighty, swarthy man of huge stature he was. He seized up the white sow from Camulaunos hold and she was swept away by him. Voices from around that place, unseen voices, made calls for the death of these people, punishment for their deeds; for stealing from the very gods and trespassing on their lands. Though not all of the voices called for such things; some called for mercy for Camulaunos’ people.

A shining shaft of light pierced the clouds, a golden ray that burned the eyes of those who tried to look at its source. It transfixed Camulaunos in that place. And so it was that in that blindingly bright golden shaft, nobody saw a brighter shaft transfix Camulaunos, nobody saw the spear of Lugus pierce his heart and steal his life away.

Camulaunos fell to the ground, his life ebbing and his soul departing. He did not despair, he was not afraid; he had won the sow of the gods and his people would no longer fear the pains of hunger in the coldest of winters. His warriors would be strong and his children would grow tall and lean. His people would live and they would thrive and they would have full belies for a thousand generations.

Before his last breath left his body, before the last of his blood drained into the soil of his ancestors, a man walked up to that settlement; an old man, bent over with age and leaning heavily on a tall oak staff. He was not of Camulaunos’ blood and not of this land. He knelt slowly beside Camulaunos and from the folds in the greying skins he wore about him he pulled out a shining bronze knife.

‘Camulaunos, you have greatly angered some of the gods. You have taken form them the seeds of a new life. You have made a cart for your people and you have begun to lead them on to a new life. For this they killed you. For all you have given your people and their children, there is one more thing you will do for them’

And with this he set about cutting Camulaunos into pieces; he separated his arms and legs, pulled out each of his bones and both of his eyes. The old man from the skies then cast each piece up and hung them from the tines of the tines of the heavens. As he did so he told Camulaunos it was now his destiny to watch over his people and to warn them of the coming of winter. For he had not yet told them of his bargain with Mokkonos; that with the coming of winter the great black boar would come to these lands and feed on all there was in the fields, crush all that lived and leave the land churned and frozen.

And so this is how it was; how a man won grain and honey and swine from the gods.

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