Samok | Short Stories of the Anhult Wildlands


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Samok's Journey (1 of 5)

Written by George Sanders

The sounds of nature filled the barangay. Birds chirped but the leaves and streams would not be outdone. They all greeted the Samok entering the borders. Insects zipped and soared unwilling to take a pause in their busy day. Each barangay was like an island in the frozen wastes of Glain's Domain. Life that demanded its own space and took it.


River Bend knelt to offer thanks that his travels brought him safely to the next island. He let his senses shift to align with the tropical environment now around him. The elders through of him as an agitator and distraction to their community but the bubble they lived in was not completely isolated from the new dangers outside. He brought news of the other islands and warnings of how to stay vigilant, even if he had to pester, perturb, and harass every member of the council of elders.


He summoned a flame to ignite the incense in his sandalwood bowl. The smoke cleared his senses and floated with the breeze along a hidden path. "Thank you great Manginoo for guiding my path." He spoke to the trees generating the breeze. The path wound in space but always forward until it reached a shrine at the edge of vast rice fields.


In the shrine, River Bend placed his bowl. "Ancestors, enjoy this offering and stay to keep this barangay an island of warmth and beauty in the sea of cold." He continued across the fields savoring his steps no longer having to drag them through deep snow.



Near the far side of the fields sounds of children erupted from the trees. They called out his name, "River Bend!" Several carried shields and two had sloppy mud balls wrapped in leaves. They threw the mud "bombs" toward River Bend.


"Ah, the best part of the job, subverting the youth." River Bend summoned water spirits from the irrigation ditches to soak the children appropriately. He dodged the first three mud bombs but let the fourth hit him as the children became soaked from the water spirits.


The appearance of the Elders only made River Bend smile. He continued to play until only one Elder remained then gathered the children up for the walk to the village.


"Greetings, Grass of Spring." River Bend smiled widely at the remaining elder.


"Mmm. You don't have to try to get their clothes clean. I am going to get many complaints." The elder sighed, then clasped River Bend's shoulder. "Don't get too close to me." The two laughed and talked as they followed forest path to the village.



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Cover image: Forest During the Daytime by Tim Mossholder


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