Keeping the Demons Out
By Ronald Douglas Drobeck
Times are good, and things are going well in Thurgaard. The mead flows with little foam as the summer has been cool, and the winter’s ice harvest, stored in the hillside dugouts, is still plentiful enough to chill the kegs this late in the season.
Wide smiles and laughter are corner to corner, wall to wall. Kurt stands after sitting through four tall, wooden tankards of the fermented honey and nectar. He stumbles as he lifts one tree trunk sized leg over the bench. A trip to the steaming trough out back is needed. Kurt lowers his head and zeroes his glassy stare on the door. With some speed, he manages to cut a relatively straight line but misjudges the distance and his momentum.
The clamor in the room stops and all eyes turn toward the door as Kurt’s body is stopped by four inches of pine. The thunk of the collision is followed by a “hoof” as his wolf and bear skin padded butt hits the floor.
Kurt shakes his head to clear enough space for a single fuzzy thought to form. He looks up, grins an ear to ear smile and laughs a laugh that starts out as a baritone siren from his chest and bursts out of that tangled, wet beard as a roar. The room explodes in a chorus of belly laughs, and the ground under the building vibrates.
Standing up, with a little help from his friends, Kurt carefully measures the remaining distance to the door latch, reaches out a warriors forearm, and gently unlatches the door with a flare of his hand, as if to say, see, I got the latch part right! He stands, weaving a bit, and scans the room with challenging eyes. The room goes completely silent in anticipation of something, and then he smiles. Everyone breaks into a second round of thunderous laughter.
A rush of air bursts through the slightly open door as it tries to reach the other side of the room so it can fly up the chimney. The door swings open before anyone is ready, and only stops swinging when it meets the giant foot of Kurt.
Low to the floor, a coal dust colored mass, enters with the help of the air rush, and manages to escape the stomp of Kurt. The alert door hound yelps and catches the attention of a quick thinking youngster who grabs a wooden bucket of snow water, and slams it on top of the infiltrator, and captures it, as Kurt slams the door closed.
In this land, a door is never opened by one person only for there are demons ever waiting to enter. At this stage of infiltrating, they are weak and easily thwarted. Brooms, a bucket, the flame of a torch (its worst fear, for it will flash burn to oblivion) are the usual defense. This night, in a moment of carelessness, one almost made it in.
For nearly a century, Thurgaard stood as the classic model of a newly emerging culture. It wasn’t always so! In the beginning, its inhabitants were driven to this water bordered peninsula by the gods and priests of their former mountainous, inland home. These home gods had become ruthless, greedy, self-serving, and cruel.
This group had suffered enough and had left to find a new home. They traveled west until stopped by the sea. They multiplied, grew strong and wise. They established and wrote down new rules of conduct, the history of their ancestors, and the battles with other tribes along the way. Their survival is witness of the hardiest of people with a tremendous will to survive.
Now, the most virulent and aggressive demons have found them. The discovery by these demons was not personal. They seek out and trouble any life form they can find, but they especially relish humankind.
In small numbers, demons are no more than a serious nuisance, but if they can get into the minds and bodies of the weak, they accumulate and gain strength. As the demons increase in numbers and strength, they begin to manipulate once healthy minds, and rot the threads of a successful society’s weave. When the weakened fabric comes apart, the demons attempt to overrun the remaining strong who now must fight, flee, or cease to exist!
Their ancestors ran away a century ago. These offspring like where they are and will run no more! The solution is straightforward but is considered cruel by the weak and the people that forget the past and lead with their heart.
Thus, goes tale of the tale Thurs (Toors), and their new beginning. +��*56䘭@J