Ritual Dagger

There was much cheering and back-patting as I returned weary and beaten from the wilds. My wounds were tended to by the shaman, however my eye was beyond saving. I decided that I will carry it with honour, to remind me of the conviction and willpower, the lack of which resulted in my injury. The thought of finally finishing my trial and becoming a warrior still hasn’t settled in yet, and many of the praises I got seemed hollow to me. Every warrior in our clan went through a similar trial, I was no different. I had always envisioned my return from the trial as gloriously as possible, and the reality wasn’t much different. Yet there was one significant difference; All the praise I had craved earlier now rang hollow in my mind. I was supposed to be feeling happy, proud of becoming a warrior like I always wanted to be. But I felt like no warrior; I barely survived and my victory was but a coincidence. And at the top of this all, stood the image of the dead creature in the form of my mother. I secluded myself to a less inhabited part of our village, in hope of avoiding any more congratulations, each of which made me more and more miserable. As I was brooding in my solace, I failed to notice a person approaching me until it was standing right before me. It was my father; I expected him to start questioning me and praising me like the rest, but he simply sat next to me in utter silence, which went for about half an hour. Whilst it surely is unheard of from a warrior to display weakness, I broke the silence to confess and told him what ailed me. He was silent for a few second, before he told me that he himself had similar thoughts after a trial and so did many others; he said that everything will clear up at midnight. I impatiently waited until midnight, upon which I was approached by the shaman who gave me a slight nod, beckoning me to follow him. I was led into his hut, which contained a heavy, intense smell of burnt leaves and incenses. In the hut stood a stone altar, upon which I was supposed to lay down. As I was laying there, the shaman procured a small queer dagger from his robes and started taking something from a small basket near him. It turned out to be a snake, no less than 3 feet long. He took it in his hands and put it in front of my face. “Your greatest fear, shall become your greatest strength” said the shaman, and he sliced the snake along its whole body with his dagger. Blood should have been pouring out, but instead it started floating and circling around it, creating few streams of blood. Then abruptly all the blood came charging at me. I should have been covered in it, but instead my body absorbed it and I could feel renewed strength rushing through my veins. My head started spinning due to the sensation, the vapours, the shock and visions started happening in my mind. I could see a giant ocean leviathan floating depths. A frozen statue with a crown on its head. A dying tree with few leaves left, and roaring hearth. And before the vision ended; I could see myself; old and weary, with too many scars to count; standing in front of people, who viewed me as a hero; and ready to give my life for them. I didn’t know what to take from these visions, but the last image brought me out of my misery, being a warrior isn’t just about glory and killing, but also about protecting what we hold dear. It was at this moment, that I finally felt like my trial has ended, at the moment I realized how much more are to come.

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