A Kinrowan Estate story: The Watcher


. . . standing shadowed near the Year Fire, pale eyes reflecting sparks, pale face ruddy in the flames, a great golden horn at his side, a molten circle lit by the flames of year’s end, year’s beginning.

He comes those nights when the moon is hollow and the world is still, a pale young man with ancient, icy eyes, always silent, leaning against a pillar with a mug in his hand, staring into the fire — or beyond it: his sight seems to admit no limit. Tonight he stands, face a mask save for a faint, self-mocking smile, changing in the flicker of the flames — now a ram-headed beast-man crowned in great curves of gold standing before a great Tree, then a warrior, watching and waiting, sword in one hand, horn in the other poised to sound as he stands ready. Another flicker, but nothing comes clear — only a sense of vast wings and a terrible presence, unearthly beauty and shining light. Then once again he is a pale man standing by the fire.

He cocks his head as though listening, and perhaps he hears — everything. Again that smile, like the last smile that the stag sees on the wolf’s face, as he contemplates the irony of a cold Northerner, a Lord of Ice, who will meet his fate in flames, and a Lord of Fire who will meet his wrapped in bitter cold, as they have done, or will do, again and again until there is a victor, if there ever can be.

There are only shadows now, where he stood. The fire burns on. . . .


About Diverse Voices

Diverse Voices is our catch-all for writers and other staffers who did but a few reviews or other writings for us. They are credited at the beginning of the actual writing if we know who they are which we don’t always.

It also includes material by writers that first appeared in the Sleeping Hedgehog, our in-house newsletter for staff and readers here. Some material is drawn from Folk Tales, Mostly Folk and Roots & Branches, three other publications we’ve done the centuries.

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