Welcome friend. Yes, that is Mount Windchime. The one of legends. Yes, I have been through the mountain and out the other side. The only one to undertake such an adventure.
No, I don’t mind telling my story. Come closer to the fire, pour yourself a pot of ale, and be amazed.
When I was younger, the first thing I did each morning was what I was warned against the night before. There is always the pantheon of “forbiddens;” no go zones created by adults to keep children in their place. Mount Windchime was one such place.
Ghosts of our ancestors dwelt there. Strange noises echoed. Light seen in the deepness. Foreign smells. Pretend sleep allowing me to hear the uncensored, uncut stories. Labyrinthine of passageways, underground rivers, hidden treasures. Wandering lost for days, years, emerging broken and ancient.
The caves beneath the mountain called to me. Whispered in my ear as I slept. Sang windsongs to me during the day. So, before the sun broke, I headed east towards Mountain Windchime as excited as I was scared.
The wind moaned and howled across the portal. Eerie voices of the ancestors. Best left alone, so I chose one of the labyrinth’s entrances. And I vowed returning unbroken. Luckily, I was able to light my way through the narrow tunnels opening into cathedral caverns.
The deeper inside the mountain I went, the more aware I became of the flickers of light, strange sounds. Foreign voices. Odd smells. Awoke some ancient feelings. Of fear. Of friendship. Of deceit. Of death.
I rounded a corner, and there they were. Unlike anything I had ever seen before. No taller than 5 feet, their bodies were covered with matted, fur-like hair. Yes, no scales to catch the first and last light of the day. No magnificent tail to glisten and guide. And, strangest and saddest of all, no wings. No way to leave the earth for the infinite possibilities of the skies.
No, but they do have small heads with eyes, ears, mouth. Limited language, but concept of art, music, family and community.
How did you know where to find me? Have you come to harm those I keep under my protective wing? Where did you learn my secret?
Steady, steady now. I do apologize. I have become very fond of my children and worry that they might be hunted for sport, made into slaves or pets. Not many would agree with me that they deserve the same freedom as we enjoy. Our ancestors protected them long before I stumbled down the wrong, but right, tunnel.
Let me take another look at you. You are the first I have told the tale too. I asked the questions after you knew my story. I think this meeting fated; you are to be the new keeper of the key to Mount Windchime.
Come, you must met my, I mean, your children. Full moon. Good flying. Be careful. There is always an updraft next to the mountain, you’ll need to be precise to land on the ledge outside the cavern.