This week my prompt was ‘The Vessel’. I wondered what I could possibly write about. It was a challenge coming up with something so I took one of my passions and created a story set 3000 years ago. The scene comes from Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle, just a few miles from me.
The group continued to move up the hill as a thick mist settled around them. They were many and moved forward with purpose and intent. There was the thrum of the unknown in the atmosphere, yet nobody set a word. At the head of the group was Saban, carrying the Hawthorn staff. Three feathers from a Red Kite swung from the elegant piece of wood. The rest followed Saban dutifully.
On any other day, the landscape would have been displayed in all its technicolour glory. The rolling hills would have been seen for 10 miles across the horizon. And the Red Kites would have been visibly riding the breeze. Today, though, the mist matched the day. It was going to be poignant, moving. Each person walking up the hill had a role to play. It was to be the end of one journey and the beginning of another.
Saban was well aware of the mood, he was nervous, anxious even. If today didn’t work, he knew he would have lost their trust. Their faith would be shaken. It could be catastrophic. The implications were so significant that even the mere thought of them caused him to shudder. The tribe’s expectation was upon his shoulders, and his confidence suddenly faltered as he fought the urge to run.
A few metres behind Saban walked Estra, young and beautiful with wide brown eyes that glistened with the threatened emotions. While her brother would bear the brunt of the events today, she was also to play an important role. She looked at the vessel she had grasped in her hands. It really was exquisite, red-buff, highly polished with the most intricate design she had ever seen on a piece of pottery.
Saban was the first to step over the ridge. He gasped as the energies enveloped him, swirling around ready for Estra and the rest of the procession. Usually, the stones would be visible by this point, but today the mist limited visibility to just a few yards. Estra raised her hand up towards the right, she wanted to feel the stones. She wanted, needed even, to feel the warmth of the stones taken from the nearby hill years before.
Estra was taken by surprise when a distraught howl broke through the mist. She looked for the source and saw the dense shadow of her brother kneeling just yards away. She couldn’t know the cause of his anguish but could feel the trepidation rippling through the rest of the tribe who hadn’t yet made it over the ridge. She heard her name being called and ran forward to find Saban, to provide him with some form of comfort.
As she approached, she was conscious that she had dropped the vessel, but there was no time to concern herself with that now. Something was wrong. She gasped in horror as through the mist the grotesque image of Geela appeared. The witch had returned and was going to be the downfall of Saban, Estra knew that.