Look at this fire now - look how the spark stars shatter the dark; like age dust in sunrise - are they not beautiful? Are they not? Can you not imagine then, can you not picture how we, that band of bright companions, we were like those star sparks? Were we not beautiful? I will not ask to be forgiven, I cannot help the poesy this tale swims in, and we swam in it also - so I will paint our journey in your eye's mind.....

Even there, it was, I fought the Dark One
There in the deep earth, in the rock
Far below the world of men, far below
The world of light

We met then, we met as fate made us
Clashed in guise of great elephants
Great beasts carved of grey rock
Like the grey rock about us

Old and huge were we there
Grey huge and cragged we seemed
Vast, slow battle, not in space between stone
But in stone itself we fought

After the defeat of the Ashen we were ready for cleaner things, cleaner air and skies and a return to our friends. For love of the coast, we travelled the coast back, our band walking well and long for days, delighting - delighting in light and late warmth, good sights about us, our companionship, and in things to come. We were for meeting with my friend our bright master, my friend the Golden One, for so he was to me and to us, and so I had named him, naming something already named by truth.

There was fury in the deep rock then
Deep fury and powerful, he and I
He the stronger, I the brighter
We locked for the winning of the worlds

Our moon bright tusks pierced through
Sharp we pierced each other's heads
Locked by glowing sharp crescents through
And out again, inescapable

The worlds faded about us, but the Dark One
He faded down before me
His dark light went out, almost
His defeat came to me, almost

Our eyes looked at each other
We both knew victory and defeat
I for the bright, he for the dark chaos
Then he lit a small flame

Sometime on our way, we halted late one afternoon at a fine, calm cove to pitch our camp for a night or maybe two, as the place was gentle, and we tired from our tramping, and run out of stories to tell. Some pitched tents, and some went to gather drift from the tide for a sand fire like this one, for the nights were sharper now, and we hoped for hot food and warm skins there by night. I and another, we took our skin boat and made out from shore for some catching for our suppers.

A small flame he cast into his ear
It went in his ear, though I tried to snuff it
It fell down in his depth, we watched it fall
It went into his depth and I watched

I watched his depth flicker
I considered the forks in the road
One fork dark for the Dark One; the other
Filling him with flame, and an end to things

For me an end to things
If his flame should burn again
An end for me and all the bright worlds
I watched the road forking

We cast nets long, and waited long, but as the sun dove down we caught a great sea salmon - a king, long as our tallest was tall - beautiful, glistening, threshing beast, and we were well content with this - our band was not small, and all remembered food untasted for a while now. I cast my net once more, for I throw back something in thanks to the seas if I can, but the Öooo I caught then was not to throw back. Arm-long serpent it was, rainbow coloured, lithe and strange - futile, lace fan wings ribbed out from its sides, fluttering gently in my hand, a special thing. This Öooo was not for throwing back, I knew it clear, so I bowed thanks to the seas, and we turned our skin boat back to shore.

Sudden caught his flame
Sudden bright strong fire arose in him
Sudden clean white fear arose in me
My ending, not his, shaking naked in dark flame

He rose up in my vision before me
Rose up over my mind and heart, laughing
Ready to crush death into me
And then his life snuffed cold

Back on shore we set the sand fire in the new dark, and we skinned and cooked and ate the great sea salmon, and the other Öooo also. You ask where does this name come from - why did we call it the Öooo? So we named it for when we ate it, this was the most delicious food that we had ever eaten - when each took his first mouthful, this 'Öooo!' was the sound we had to make in our delight at its taste. And you laugh now, because you know, but we did not know.

And I rejoiced
And went to find light,
And my people.
I cannot tell it, and I tell it now.

You laugh, knowing of our story even before I tell it. But we did not know then - I did not know how I saved our worlds, saved my friend, our bright master, the Golden One, when we caught this Öooo.

Not until we reached our journey's end, arrived in time to see the Golden One emerge from cliff rock at our own shore home, see him bow to sea and sky, smiling quietly but victorious, victorious but quiet. Not until he told how we had saved all as he went down under death, when we companions under our roofless skies ate the Öooo - how this strange chance had us to catch and eat the Dark One's fire life swimming in the surface waters - how the eating of the Öooo was the destroying of the Dark One.

Such has been the mystery of our friendship, and he and I, we might have laughed then, but did not so. I tell you this tale now, laughing now, but cannot tell it truly as it should be - it is too big, and there is more yet to this story, and more to our friendship too, and mystery. Enough.

© 2000 Dharmachari Padmavyuha back...