AT FIRST I WAITED.
For how long I don’t know – how can the unborn know of time? I waited in the blackness, stirred by Her hand, blending, changing, from man to beast, then back to man again. Never thinking of the future, nor of a past that never was, but, waiting. Then as humankind became aware, I was born. Born of their need for food, for wanting, no, needing someone to help them find their purpose. And in that cave, lit only by one flame, plants became colour, and colour became a vision, and that vision became a God – and I became that God. Born from the wishes of the simplest of minds, it was my destiny to stay, and protect.
So, at first I ruled as the stag and God of the Hunt; invoked with blood and sweat and the chase. I led the hunt through the forest and it was I who bent the branches to scratch and tear and cut. For without effort, what is the point of life? Without hunger, what would feed the spirit? Without need, all life would die. So, their sorcerer stood in bloodied skins, and raised his hands and called my name. Then he fell to the ground and skin became fur, and feet became hooves. Blood gushed as my antlers pushed through bone and sinew to arise with seven tines, one for each of the moving lights within the blackness above. Stood before them, I held my head proud and tall – none met my gaze, they just breathed the stench of death and the copper taint in the blood-filled air. They breathed this and it filled them with the hunger, ready to face their own death in order to feed the tribe. Drums suddenly filled the silence, and the hunters danced my dance, invoking my spirit into their bodies; giving me more life, and more power until, proud in full erect manhood I screamed my name again and again, and they span around the fire, their throats calling with the guttural call of the rutting stag, telling its spirit that the tribe must live! And it must die for the tribe! Then in an instant they were gone – as the drums suddenly stopped they disappeared into the forest without a sound.
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