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Tales of Orgonia: Chapter 5 - Silence

Rowan woke to blackout and silence.

“PA! Pa are you there?” Rowan cried in confusion as he tossed around on the bed “Ornella? Ornella, i’m sorry!’

Over the next few moments Rowan recalled the events of the past, fragments of days, in his head.

In a state of panic, Rowan thought for a split second that perhaps he might have lost his head but he soon realised that although he was missing his sight and hearing, his sense of smell remained abundant as the scent of roasted trout swept under his nostrils.

After a week without food or rest, Rowan was ravenous.

Something patted Rowan on the shoulder and he was relieved to have his sight back as the strings of Kelp were removed from his eyes.

Rowan blinked continuously and gradually his vision began to focus, the soft edges of his surroundings came clear and he could see that he was surrounded by tall walls of flint and slate.

Rowan raised his hands to his ears to inspect the state of his hearing. Two massive fingers knocked his hands away from his head and he felt the ground rumble.

Rowan looked up to find a man so big that he had to tilt his head all the way back to meet his eyes.

The giant shook his finger and mouthed “No.” He then pointed towards a pile of recently harvested Pincushion Moss and gestured towards his ear.

Rowan didn’t move. The giant pointed towards the exit, made a butterfly gesture with his hands and then pointed at Rowan before running his thumb across his throat.

Rowan understood, it was all making sense now. He pointed at the pile of moss and then at the giant. The giant replied by pointing at himself and running his thumb across his ear in the same way he had just done to his throat. He then pushed a plate of whale meat the size of large goat in front of Rowan and gestured “You- Eat”.

Rowan didn’t need telling twice, his belly was empty and he was weak.

After he had eaten Rowan put his hands together and bowed his head at the giant to say thank you. He then pointed at himself and some nearby Rowan bark and mouthed “Rowan.”

The giant replied, pointing at himself and then punching the wall so hard that the whole cave shook, mouthing “Bash.”

The pair continued in silence using just their bodies to communicate.

“No- Bash- No- Rowan.” Bash said proudly.

“Rowan- Owe- Bash” Rowan replied.

“Where- Rowan - Home?” Bash asked.

Rowan fingered the outline of a tree and then pointed towards the very bottom.

“Rowan- Poor.” Bash said “No- Grow- No- Life”

Rowan nodded in agreement.

Rowan pointed behind him “Rowan- Home,” and then pointed towards the opening of the cave “Rowan- Wife.”

“Why- Rowan- Wife?” Bash said as he pointed at the cave opening.

Rowan shrugged his shoulders.

“Rowan- Wife- Taken?” Bash asked.

Rowan shrugged his shoulders again.

“Rowan- Too- Little?” Bash said with a huge grin.

“Maybe.” Rowan replied with a smile.

“Rowan- Sleep.” Bash suggested, “Rowan- Stay- One- Week- Rowan- Go.”

“Okay” Rowan said and then layed down and closed his eyes.

The next morning Rowan woke to an enormous prod that almost knocked him out of the bed.

“Rowan-Hunt? Bash asked.

“No.” Rowan replied.

“Rowan- Hunt.” Bash insisted as he handed him a spear that looked like a toothpick in Bash’s mammoth hand.

Rowan accepted the weapon and looked for his boots.

“Bash- Make- Good” Bash said as he pointed at Rowans boots, “Bash- Finger- Big- Bash- Finger- Nimble.”

“Thanks” Rowan replied with smile as he slipped them on, they were even more comfortable then the first time he had worn them.

The pair left the cave and ventured out into the clearing, an extensive areas scantly populated with decrepit areas of foliage and shrubbery. Rowan and Bash walked together for around half a mile until Bash came to a stop. Rowan looked up and Bash brought his head down and rustled it through the crusted tree-top.

“Rowan- Go- Hunt.” Bash instructed.

“Bash- No- Go?” Rowan asked?

“Bash- Noise- Big” Bash replied, “Bash- Watch- Here.”

Rowan agreed and carried on walking, keeping low to the ground and making as Little- Noise as possible, just as Bash had instructed. Rowan was well aware how out of his depth he was, growing up in the Fallows he was as good a farmer as any, but feeding livestock that you’ve bread yourself and hunting down a wild animal are two completely different disciplines.

He spotted a deer in a nearby glade and made his way over to it, keeping his eyes on it the whole time. He looked back into the sky and Bash gave him an encouraging nod.

Rowan peered round from behind a tree and brought the deer into his aim. He held his arm out behind him, balancing the spear comfortably and shifted all of his weight onto his back foot. He slowly raised the spear up higher and then pulled his arm forward with such force that he fell straight onto his back, dropping the spear in front of him and witnessing a flash of brown dart away.

Bash laughed so loudly it sounded as though the ground might part ways and swallow the whole world in on itself. Rowan got to to his feet, brushed himself off and looked back at the giant abashed.

“Rowan- Stalk- Like- Tiger” Bash said, “Rowan- Throw- Like- Rooster.”

“Rowan- Try- Two?” Rowan suggested.

“Later” Bash replied as it started to rain“Bash- Hungry.”

The twain walked back to the cave together and sat by the fire. Rowan strung up all his wet clothes and mocked Bash for how much quicker they dried compared to his.

Bash served the hippopotamus he had been slow-roasting all morning and broke off a leg for Rowan.

“Bash- No- Wife?” Rowan asked.

“Fifty- Year- No- Sun- No- Food” Bash replied, “Bash- Survive.”

“Sorry” Rowan said.

“No- Son- One” Bash said hanging his head “No- Wife- Two.”

“Understand.” Rowan said.

Bash looked away, holding back emotion.

Another day passed and Rowan was once again woken with a prod, although as his strength was returning he rolled a little less further this time.

“Spear- No- Good” Bash said, reaching for a different weapon “Rowan- Balance- Bad.”

“Rowan- Try- Learn” Rowan insisted.

“Rowan- Long- Arms, Rowan- Try- Bow.” Bash said handing Rowan a longbow and a quiver of arrows.

Rowan slung the quiver comfortably over his left shoulder and the strap rested nicely around him. He lifted the bow and tossed it from hand to hand in an attempt to prove to Bash that he wasn’t a complete idiot and trying to look like he’d held one before.

Turning his back to Bash he pulled the bow close up to his his head, rested an arrow to the side of his eye before pushing the string away from him a couple of times. Bash reached over him and turned the bow around. Rowan refused to make eye contact with the giant.

It was one of those unexpectedly sunny winter days where it’s moderately warm in the sun and bitterly cold in the shade so the pair spent most of the afternoon on the mountain top, clear of any vegetation; Bash teaching Rowan how to shoot, and more importantly, how to retrieve an arrow.

The week almost beginning a new and it was time for Rowan to say goodbye to his saviour and his rescuer and his healer and continue on to find his wife.

“Rowan- Owe- Bash.” Bash reminded him as they walked together through the clearing.

“Rowan- Visit- Two?” Rowan asked.

“If- Rowan- Bring- Rowan- Food.” Bash chortled and then pulled something out from under his heavy loincloth “Bash- Gift- Rowan.”

It was a new staff whittled down from what appeared to be the antler of an Elk. It was as tall as Rowan and curved cleverly in the middle where Bash had bridged the top and bottom with twisted rawhide doubling the instrument up as a bow.

“Rowan- Always- Grateful.” Rowan placed a hand on his heart.

“Walk- Five- Days- Moss- Ear- No- More” Bash instructed and then turning back to leave Rowan to commence his journey.

It was an unusual feeling, like stepping outside suddenly after a period of time in a light-less room, when Rowan removed the pincushion moss from his ears. He stretched out his jaw and tilted his head a full 180 degrees from left to right with a naive impression that any external activity can influence the inner workings of the ear.

Still angry from the deception his ears had whole heartedly welcomed from the Seirenes, he was unsure whether or not to follow the stratified faltering of human interaction creeping closer on the horizon.

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