Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Saba Tiv and the Shedding

The morning light shimmered through the canopy as Saba Tiv looked up at the flock of Kasliws going off for their daily hunts. She’d always wanted to work on the upper levels, to tend to the creatures of worship. But she had barely been able to get even the lowest of jobs after being tainted. That one blue feather had made her life more worthless than anyone else in the city.

Her and some other kids had been playing in the an old boat that day, trying to knock each other out. They had just gotten back to the dock, fighting to be the first out of the boat. It was the funnest day Saba Tiv could remember and would ever have again. She managed to wrestle her way on the boardwalk when the large feather landed on her. She was crying before it hit the water in front of her and her friends did not hesitate in running quickly to their homes to tell their parents. Even her sister ran, had she tried talking to Saba Tiv she too would have been tainted.

The shedding of the Kasliws is seen as getting rid of that which is not needed. The High Priests had told many stories of those that were cursed. They always ended in tragedy. Until it happened, Saba Tiv always thought they deserved it. But now she began to doubt. Most of the tainted left the village, some would turn to crimes and be sacrificed for the harvest, but Saba Tiv did what very few others tried. Though no one would speak to or about her, one day she just started cleaning. One of the rules her people followed was that if someone did something for you then you had to at the very least feed them.

It was something she’d only seen once in her lifetime. An old man would come by every once in a while just fixing things that were left broken outside of houses. He’d repair and leave them where they were found. The next day he’d come back and there would be scraps of food in their place. It wasn’t much, but the more she worked the better she ate.

Time passed by and she had a fairly nice place just outside of the city. Most of what decorated her abode was found floating under the giant trees, things that the villagers had lost or threw out. Everything was going the best it could, considering the circumstances, or they were until that day.

Saba Tiv was walking through the city that morning having already cleaned a few places and eaten a healthy breakfast. Her sister was walking down the path towards her. She wanted very much to turn and run away, and she almost did. Until she heard the loud crack of the board and saw her sister fall into the water. She dropped her supplies and ran as fast as she could.

Her sister was screaming for help trying to stay afloat, but she’d never learned to swim. Saba Tiv reached out as far as she could but her sister refused to acknowledge her presence, continuing to scream for help. By the time the nearest boat reached her she had already drowned, tainted the waters with death.

It had been a long time since anyone had died in the water, a long time since the last sacrifice was needed to appease the Goddess of the water. The village would not be allowed to catch their food until a sacrifice was made to the Moht Gruvt. The large fish slumbered under Dwour, the sacred tree, until it sensed death.

The guards of the High Priests came down and took Saba Tiv away. The best sacrifice for the village had always been an outcast. She did not fight it. She still accepted all the rules of her society and understood it was her place. And after watching her sister die she welcomed it. It must have devastated her parents to have one child tainted from the sky and one tainted from the water. If it did, they did not show it.

Guards did not escort the sacrifice unless there were no living relatives. Her mother and father, who had not looked at her since she was a child, held the large branches that symbolized the passage of the sacrifice. Without them, the boat would be attacked by the Moht Gruvt. They reached the platform at the base of Dwuor as the Moht Gruvt started to move.

Saba Tiv walked to the far edge of the platform ready to jump in. She could hear the low chanting from her parents and all the villagers. Her toes touched the water as she spread her arms ready to fall when the chanting stopped. Her eyes closed, Saba Tiv began reminiscing about the moment that changed her life, the moment that led her here. Then, the chanting stopped.

Saba Tiv leaned forward just as a loud screech pierced the air. The splash never came, instead there was wind surrounding her. Barely able to open her eyes she saw the village below her. Was this death? Was the Kasliw taking her soul to Qwoi, the land beyond the sky? Tons of questions like these filled her mind until she looked down and saw her parents fall into the thrashing waters below. Denied of it’s sacrifice, the Moht Gruvt would have starved the village had they not fallen in.

Just as she realized she was not dead, the large bird gently sat her down at the feet of the High Priests. They were just as shocked as she. The eldest Priest stood and told the long forgotten story of a many plucked by the Great Kasliw, chosen to ride beyond the Canopy. A tale that was only believed to be a myth even by the oldest. The elder raised his hand signalling everyone to wait for his return.

It seemed like forever. No one dared speak, not even the other High Priests, even though they had so many questions. But when the eldest returned holding an odd looking outfit no one knew what to say. The jacket, pants, and hat were all made from large blue feathers, like those that had tainted Saba Tiv. But she did not understand, not even the High Priests were suppose to touch these. The High Priest approached Saba Tiv, handing her the clothing “You will be the first since I was a child to ride above our world. There are many places out there, most likely even more since I last rode with the Kasliw.” Everyones eyes turned to the eldest High Priest in shock.

Saba Tiv stepped out before the High Priests once again, but this time adorned as the Kasliw’s Chosen. Just as she stepped before them a Kasliw landed beside her, equipped with some type of riding harness. As she studied it the eldest High Priest stepped up, placing a hand on the giant bird. “My old friend, it has been too long since we were last in each others company. I am glad that you have decided to redeem this child. I have watched her for many branches and she has never strayed from the role she was given. Guide her to the world, to where you need her help.”
With that the eldest told her how to mount the Kasliw and helped her up.

Before she could turn to thank them for everything giant bird lifted off soaring for the canopy, to the world beyond. Though she was over joyed by the thought of such an adventure, she was a bit sad to be leaving everyone behind. Until the final acts of the High Priests echoed through her head “Your whole family was removed from the life of Dwuor after you and your sister became tainted and your parents sacrificed. But now that you have been chosen by the Kasliw, you have earned the right to place your families branches upon the Great Tree once again. They shall be placed with the High Priests of the past so that all will remember this tale. And if you happen to return just as the eldest did, you will be placed as the first High Priestess in our lands. May Dwuor watch over you child.” The last words struck as the Kasliw broke past the canopy into the blinding light of Saba Tiv’s new life.

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1 comment:

  1. Very nice. A few awkward sentences but a really good short story about a culture and its traditions.