We were once a forest people—we lived in a fat land
We ate fruit from trees, and the big waachi that swam in the ocean
There was always enough—hunger was a stranger at our doors.
Skara was a kind place back then: Mist and cool sheltered us from Celem’s brilliance
Na-Shizu could live on the land then and children could wander alone.
There was joy in everything then—in the training for war even.
It was understood to be the form, the pathway of happiness.
But blood rested not on our hands.
Even Durno children came to learn with ours the Arts of war and self control at our Elders feet.
Then came the darkness and the shaking—Lôm’s jealousy—
And all changed like awakening from a dream.
The Waachi swam away from their homes to find new cool places
The mist evaporated in the heat
The fruits began to shrivel and the skin to burn.
With the changes came a new Threat.
A people from the South
Like reptiles they drew power from Celem
Like the heat they were merciless
Devouring all in their path.
Their menfolk developed a taste for our Na-Shizu
And carried them off to accomplish their will
They fought in groups, not like men with honour
They flung fire before them
In terror the Na-Shime turned to our friends, the Durno
We entreated them for help
But they met us with coldness
Our blood was not their blood
Our lands not their concern
Where were we when the Joria fled? –they asked
Did we track them down and bring them back?
Then they spoke of a land beyond the High Places
A land harsh and cruel, but empty and new.
We could go there—they would not lift against us their hand.
They even offered meal and leather coverings for the journey.
Now we must decide—there will not be time later.
So the elders spoke together—of all the signs:
Of Celem’s fury and his new fiery sons,
Of the shriveled fruit and the Waachi
We took their bargain, we received their gifts.
By cover of night, when Sons of Fire danced their fierce dance and made merry
We gathered who was left and we fled.
We did not look back.
We came here to the Lake and to the Plain
And we made oaths to be a new people
To learn the lore of the open spaces
The language of the Lake Waachi and the prickly trees
To protect ourselves from Celem with new woven skin
When the sons of the Snake came down from the High Places
With a hunger we had not seen, even in the Sons of Fire
We built Nagaco – City on the Lake
There we were safe—as long as we kept watch.
We also learned the lore of fighting in groups
Of traps and bait
How to walk great distances with neither food nor drink
Though we grew and changed to be like the prickly trees of the plains
In our hearts we kept the secrets of our Birthplace
The softness of the fruit, the mist, and tast of the fat Waachi
That is why in your dreams you must remember that land
Feed it to your heart
And no matter what misfortune befalls you—you will then be forever Shinse
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