Manuscript - "Quiver" - Neon Beige
|Mar. 17th, 2004 08:41 am Manuscript - "Quiver"|
Holding strongly to the bow, the arrow, narrow and long, rests between his fingers. He pulls gently on the string, bringing from arms' length away to his ear. The arrow hums silently, waiting to fly.
He holds it. The tight arms strain against the bow's powerful resistance. It took years of training to merely string the bow, and many more to be able to pull it. Finally, he has reached this point, and plateaus. The string, taught, is ready. But is he?
Sighting the target, he pulls back on the tether once more; it goes a little farther, but not much. The world fades into darkness, and all he can see is the target. Nothing can distract him now.
His body accommodates for wind and such on its own, but his mind is only on the target. This skill is more accurate than a laser sight, yet also more difficult. Finally, he relaxes.
Seconds pass but he does not let go; he could hold this forever, with a focus that time cannot conquer.
Slowly, he releases the grip, loosening the tension on the bow. He does not fire.
Sighing, he turns away from the firing range with his longbow in his hand, and begins to return his mind to this world, though a tendril of though still holds him to the target.
The audience lets out its breath, talking, animated and disappointed. Many meander away, until only a single person is left: with incredible speed, the bowman re-arms his bow and fires in one motion, striking the target perfectly. He looks at the remaining audience member, watching him watch. Their eyes meet and he knows.
"Come over here," he calls to me, and I come, entranced. "Here, take this: learn to string it, learn to pull it, learn to fire. You have the ability; don't take instruction and don't compete. They will be your downfall."
I take the bow and turn away, but he stops me. Without another word, he unstraps his quiver and hands it to me. There is only one arrow left.
Within the quiver is an old letter, worn and creased. "Learn this bow. Learn the string. Learn the arrow. Train yourself; train alone. Fire once and pass it on." Then, even older, inscribed in the bottom of the quiver: "The last arrow to fire ends a long held tradition. The arrow ends a long line of bowmen. If you fire the final arrow, rejoice: for you are truly special." In smaller script are words I cannot read.
I kept the bow, and the arrow, and the quiver. I trained myself, slowly. And slowly, I grew stronger. Years it took to string the bow, and years it took to pull the tether.
Tomorrow, I will add the arrow and train my skill. A new era begins as an old one ends, and I am the catalyst.
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