My long pilgrimage into the Archiani dessert comes to an end as the statue of the god Suirtop appears before me. The crumbling city of Archoi resting at its feet obscured by layers of sand. Bowing down unto the hot sand, whispering a quick prayer of protection before walking forward, leaving a trail of footsteps behind. My own sense of exhaustion and thirst starting to get to me with each step. Tightening the tightly wrapped damp cloth around my head before the intense heat of the twin suns could strengthen those feelings. In awe of the skill, the ancient craftsmen of Archoi had when they made this statue. Feeling the fixed protective gaze of Suirtop look down at me as I moved forward.
Pausing at the entrance of the city to whisper a silent prayer for those lost their lives when the desert decided to reclaim it. Uncertain of where to step from where I stood. Taking a deep breath before taking tentative steps into the ruins of Archoi. Surprised and relieved by the resilient sturdiness of the stone buildings. Taking more certain steps forward until the shadow of the Suirtop statue covered the buildings below. Sensing this was the place I would receive the guidance of Suirtop. Sitting down near the center of the roof, closing my eyes. Slowing my breathing and heart down feeling my head to begin to clear. Listening for the voice of Suirtop to appear on the wind, hoping I had the strength of body and belief to hear it.
Feeling a soft breeze as the heat from twin suns began to dissipate. Hearing a subtle whisper being carried on the wind, that I couldn’t understand. Waiting with great determination for it to return more audible. The shamanistic tattoos inked into my body beginning to tingle enough to guide me out of my state of mediation. Opening my eyes to see the glowing bright blue ethereal spirits of my ancestors floating above the sand. Recognizing the few that were closet to me as my grandfather, and father. Thier eyes transfixed on me, staring at me in light of the twin moons. Glancing up at them to see they were mirroring each other one moon waxing and one moon waning. This was a good sign that Suirtop would have the strength to speak to the pilgrims and shamans of my tribe. Taking a deep breath, I called the spirits of my ancestors toward me. Breathing in the wisdom and knowledge, they failed to pass on to their sons. Feeling stronger and warmer as the wind returned. Carrying a single mighty hum that began to encircle me. Bolstering the tingle from the shamanistic markings on my skin. Leaning back, I let the mixed sensations envelop my body.
Moments later, I saw Suirtop had appeared before me. Dressed in unordained garments that ran down to his feet. A dark glowing halo focused itself around his head. The mighty blade Irusk hung on the right side of his hip. Without moving his lips, he asked: “You have traveled far like your ancestors, Arco. What guidance can I offer the son of Arsoilo, from the line of Arsch?”
I responded “Almighty Suirtop, I decree unto you to grant me the wisdom to help lead my tribe to avoid the conflict that is sweeping over the land. Our warriors are ailing, with something that is a mystery to my people. Without brave and skilled warriors, I fear my people will be wiped out,” pleading and praying for divine aid in helping my people.
Suirtop commented “Arco there is much I could do to aid your people. Yet, without a channel to possess, I lack a proper form to do so,” pausing for a moment. Placing his hands on my shoulders, before continuing; “There is lost knowledge your ancestors once possessed that kept your people safe. While I cannot aid, this dangerous ancient knowledge may be able to save your people,” before moving his hands to the sides of my face. Staring down at me in silence, doing something I couldn’t understand. Forcing my body to shake rapidly for several long moments. “It is done, Arco,” before vanishing in front of me. Taking the spirits of my ancestors with him.
Looking up to see twinkling stars had filled the sky. Aiding the moons in illuminating the dark desert sky. Slowly standing up, feeling rested, almost reborn. Feeling nothing more than a slight chill on my skin as I began to walk out of the ruins. More confident of the path that lay before me. Stepping down onto the soft desert sand that surrounded the ruins. Using the night sky as a map to lead me back home. Trying to avoid getting lost in the endless hills of sand.
The suns had risen and set three times before I found myself on the outskirts of my village. Seeing the tip of the Pioli mountain where my home was. Beginning to sprint forward eager to see my family. Still at lost for what the gift was Suirtop gave me, on my pilgrimage. Only hoping it would be enough to save my village from the outside world.