Histories of the Lohogi'hhs'ur (book)
I do not recall much of my childhood, save that I was alone in a great and overhwhelming world. Then came the wash of Peri'el's tears, and I was alone no more. My brethren and I grew fierce and strong, noble and undyingly loyal. We became all that our goddess wished our people to be.
The shores of our island provided an abundant source of life -- carried to us, we knew, by Peri'el's blessing. Land and sea were bountiful, and we turned to the shores for a like lifestyle. Fish fairly flung themselves to our nets, shells and seaweed selflessly surrendered themselves for our clothing, the red clay of the land gave itself for our dwellings. We were thankful.
Although the people of this island are my brethren, one young S'Kra endeared herself to me in particular. Her name was Rasha'hhshekepi, and one day she came to me with a remarkable tale.
"Poho'hhsi Ur!" Honored father was her way of calling on me, and it warmed my heart. "I have seen a miraculous thing!" She was quite excited, and placed her hand upon my arm urgently, her tail lashing at the air. "Be still, child," I said affectionately, thinking that she must have found only a new sea creature, "and tell me what you saw."
"I was playing by the tidepool beyond the black cliff, looking for hermit crabs, when a great cobra appeared before me. He was the color of dark brass, with huge black eyes!" I was about to call the S'Kra to task for telling wild stories, but she did not have the air of a child telling a lie. Something gave me thought to pause and let her speak, thank Peri'el.
"He talked to me, telling me not to fear him, and then asked me questions about our island and our people. He asked about you! I told him that you were strong and brave, and had kept us all together. I told him that you were my Poho'hhsi. "Then he asked me about our village. I told him that the sea was good to us and we thanked Peri'el for it every day. I told him about the fish, and the seaweed, and the red clay. Then he nodded to me and said, 'Truly, you are your own people now.' I did not know what he meant, but thought I shouldn't ask.
"Then the cobra turned his head, and all of a sudden there was a S'Kra standing next to me! She was the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen, with shining golden scales and a long gown made from seashells woven together with seaweed. It tinkled like bells when she moved.
"The lady knelt down next to me, her tail curling on the sand. 'Your father thinks you worthy,' she said, and when I looked into her eyes I thought I should die of peace. Her voice was like ringing music.
"'Wait until your people sleep,' she said, 'and place one of these shells on each of their foreheads. You must not forget anyone.' And she handed me a bag filled with tiny golden shells. There came a great rumbling in the earth, and I was frightened. The S'Kra lady kissed me on the forehead and the fear melted away -- but then she disappeared!
"When I looked up, the cobra was also gone, and I knew that I had to take this back to you." She showed me the bag, filled with its treasure, and I stared in disbelief. I could only think that the child had been in the presence of great Hav'roth, and Peri'el. I noticed that one single scale on her olive forehead had been turned golden, where she had borne the kiss of the goddess.
"If they have given you a task," I said, "then you must complete it." I hardly dared to believe the wild tale.
Rasha'hhshekepi took herself off, likely to get some clam soup before waiting to set upon her task. I continued in my duties, distracted, I easily admit. Night fell, and the village slept.
When they awoke, my people were not who they had been. I saw the same reactions reflected all around the village, and in myself, as we fought through disbelief. First a S'Kra would look about at his mates, then blink a few times as if shaking off a dream. Then, without exception, the S'Kra would raise a hand to touch his own face, as I did when I awoke.
From birth until now, every S'Kra looked more or less the same in form. Slanting eyes, a long and slender tail -- most of all, an elongated and sloping face, the nose a full handpsan from the eyes. Not so for us, now. Our faces had been shortened, noses no more than a fingerlength from our eyes. One and all, we were astonished.
Then, before they could be moved to panic, I called forth Rasha'hhshekepi. Her face, too, had changed, but the golden scale remained. I bid her tell her tale.
The state of disbelief remained as we carried on with our lives. Increasingly, though, we began to see the value of Hav'roth's boon. The bright sun overhead found less purchase on our shortened faces, and as we felt the heat less, our energy level increased.
Likewise, when we swam, retaining breath, as well as moving smoothly in the water, became easier.
Rejoicing in that we had pleased Hav'roth, we declared the Day of Changing a holiday for all. For myself, pride in my daughter could not be greater -- Rasha'hhshekepi, called Malkuaro.
[ a note in the margin written in fresher ink : ]
- It is said that there are some who do not accept this
- tale, and say that Hav'roth disfigured the Lohogi in
- a display of ire, but most accept that this is not so.
- Still, there are some mainland S'Kra who persist in
- calling themselves S'Kra'ur -- the True People. Most
- historians believe that Hav'roth bestowed his boon so
- that all S'Kra would know that this new branch of the
- family tree had been accepted.
-- Hhsnoraal, Ratha Archivist,