Paradigm - June 1997
Oath Breaker - michael
(page 20/20)

Oath Breaker

'Bright memories and dark shadows.'

I'm not really sure how to start this, it's something you should know about me and my past...and why I hurt you as I did. Yes, I know you've forgiven me, you understand and I thank you for that. But I still feel guilty, I care for you so much and I should never have said what I did and...

Where to begin? Sixty years ago. Yes, I know how long that must seem to you but remember how long I'll live, time seems to flow more slowly for my kind and memories don't fade as fast. I've tried to forget of course, that's why I left the city, leaving my Clan to spend so many years wandering these lands, amongst other peoples, other species, anyone but the Clans. I was trying to forget you see - trying to bury one dark memory in a dozen lights. I thought it had worked too, I haven't thought of her in years. I thought the pain had gone, but;

It's all my fault I know, running for years, refusing to accept, how could I? Stupid.

But I wander again. I was going to tell you my story and I will, but it's hard. Her name was Yithyarne, it means Flarebright, very appropriate. Warm gold she was, with shades of fire-red, in the curve of her neck, her belly, 'neath her wings, secret places. Her face, her eyes - so beautiful and her laugh! Goddess, how much I loved her.

We met on Elders' night on the Old Hawk's crag, above the city, all the Clans gathered below us. I'd seen her before of course, a beauty like that - all the bachelors watched her, but she was a little shy see and a shaman's get at that. So we left her alone, most of us - shy she might be but not helpless and her name meant more than the colour of her skin.

A singed nose damps the ardor quite well I hear.

I was a watcher too. until that night. Then I found myself talking face to face with her. I'd flown the crag to escape the crowd, she'd done the same, coincidence, but life's built on coincidences.

We met often after that and winter saw us mates. My memories of that time are so strong, so bright and happy. Beautiful times. I remember her, gentle wings playful in the snow, laughter, she glows in my mind, full of life. Our first Flight high amongst the cold, clinging clouds. I loved her and avowed never to leave her side and she avowed never to leave mine.

She became pregnant in our third year. Amongst my kind, none but the mother is present at a birthing. We are an ancient people, wild at heart and certain fires sill burn inside of us, no matter how damped by civilisation. One such fire burns bright inside the new mother, never will she let another near her young, not even the sire. That's the way of life. So the male leaves before the birth and doesn't return for half a year. A long time that, to leave and worry. Most leave the Clans completely and wander the southern plains. Knowing you're to be a father, is quite a daunting experience, it take time to get used to.

And so I had to break my vow, for a little while, I didn't want to of course .. that's life.

So - this is difficult - yes - I returned and I returned early, longing to hold her and my new born in my arms and then they told me she was no more.

An earth tremor and a land slide, a hundred hundred tons of rock dancing down the mountainside like vengeful rabbits. A little to the left and they would have missed, a stronger charm or cave ward might have held and she might have lived. If.

And if I'd have been but two days earlier I would have been there too. Two days and I'd have kept my vow.

It was that song you see, the one you sang last night. That song. So often would she sing it to me, she loved that song:

Flame up light, our fire bright, against silver stars and velvet night...

Her song, my song. To hear it again brought back my memories, of love, of pain. I broke my oath you see, I left her side and I'll never see her again.

I've tried to forget but you sang that song and brought back my pain and so I hurt you. And - I'm sorry. I'm so sorry but I love her still.

As I love you.