5. The Earthbound (Guild Theme)

Note: We are not a role play guild but rather a "theme" guild. The idea is to give role players something flexible to use in their back story, but give non-RPers a little something extra that other guilds may not provide. That being said, we ask that RPers only RP in /say and private channels to avoid confusion and to encourage RPers to share their talent with the game world at large.

This is an old story, told many times and in many different ways by many different people. This is but one version.

A guard is order to ask a woman if she would like a priest to give her the last rites before her execution.

"This is all I need," she says, picking up a bit of mud from the floor.

"Dirt?" asks the guard.

"No. Earth."

The guard says nothing at first, but then repeats his question.

"This is all I need," she says again. 

"I'm sorry miss," the guard replies. "I don't understand."

The woman says nothing. She purposefully rolls the dirt between her fingers, studying it intently.

"Is that a 'no'?" the guard asks.

The woman seems to ignore him at first, but as he turns to leave, she speaks.

"I have not prayed since before the war."

"...That was at least twenty years ago. Surely you have prayed since, yes?"

"No. I have no need."

"You know you are being executed for treason, yes?"

"I know."

"And, surely, you are afraid, yes?"

"Yes."

"Then shall I fetch a priest to administer your last rites?"

The woman is silent for a moment. She studies the dirt, and after a moment, places it in the palm of her hand.

"Remember the attack against the castle? The one that ended nearly a week before the war's end?"

"Yes, terrible times. I lost a brother then, but we put those heathens in their place."

"My husband's farm was burned. The guards were all in the castle, preparing for the battle. We farmers took the heaviest hit of all."

"I'm sorry, miss, but it was for the good of the kingdom."

"I lost everything. My family, my home... I thought I would die. I ran to the castle, but their riders caught up to me. I thought to myself, 'Surely this must be the end!' But then, out of the sky, a giant blue sphere appeared, blotting out the sun."

"The shooting star?"

"It was no star. It was a sort of man."

"...A man?"

"One like I've never seen. At the time, I thought it was a monster. It was all teeth, and ate the riders, horses and all, in one bite, yet it was smaller than I."

"...Was this a dream?"

"No. I could not dream of what I saw. It seemed like a man with no head, and no waist. Just a great, round body. He was blue, and had some sort of spiral on his back. When he turned to me, I nearly fainted! His dark eyes rested beneath a single bushy brow, and he had a very large nose and mouth, all in the center of his body. His hair, if one would call it that, seemed like the tops of leeks, and sported a blue ribbon. And he had a moustache, curled at the ends, which seemed as if it were made of grass! But that was not the oddest part. Without taking notice of his surroundings, with the fires and the screaming, he began to eat the earth."

"So you wish to eat dirt?"

"No sir. But he, he ate it. I thought, 'Whether this is a man or a monster, I must thank him for saving me!' But when I did so, it asked 'When am I?'"

"You mean 'where,' madam."

"That's what I told him. But no, he said, 'I know where I am from how you speak, and while I have a guess at when century it is, I am not entirely sure exactly when I am.' When I told him the date, he said, 'Ah, this ash must change the flavor. A shame, too. Your other methods of farming may not have helped the soil as much, but I enjoyed the taste more.There will be more of this ash too, you know.'  I began to weep, and he said, "Oh, don't worry. I'm pretty sure I saw you twenty years from now. Your people will win.'"

"Madam, it may be best to forget your dreams and allow me to get the priest for you."

"I naturally was shocked. I asked, 'Does that mean you will help us?' It choked on some dirt and began to laugh. 'No, madam,' he said, 'I have my own needs to tend.'"

The guard sighed. "So he was a coward?"

"That's what I also though. But when I said this, it merely shrugged. 'I am as earthbound as you. You do what you must, as do I, and while my goals to some may seem trivial, they are everything to me. While it may not last, a balance must be struck. I cannot do everything for everyone, but I can do my best and wish others well in their own pursuits.'"

The guard laughed. "So eating dirt is more important than saving a life?"

"I said the same to him, but he said, 'In my gluttony, I ate several lives and saved one. And for what? So you and your kind can spend the next fifty years seeking vengeance on them? You will have your day, just as they've had theirs.' Then, without warning, he took a bit out of the air and disappeared."

"That is... quite a tale, miss."

"I saw him again last week, after they discovered the heathen children in my house."

"And he didn't save you? Or was it he who killed the guards while you let the children go?"

"No, I killed them, because what we do now is wrong."

"So... what happened when you saw him?"

"It was when they tried to take the children. I had found them sneaking food from my larder weeks earlier, but they were starved and homeless. They became like a new family to me, and the guards tried to take away. When I saw him again, tasting the dirt, I remembered what he said, and attacked the guards. The children were free, but I was wounded. I crawled outside to him, and even though I was wounded, he seemed to pay little attention to me. I asked, 'How is the earth?' 'Bitter,' he replied. I told him to try twenty years ago, and after pondering this for a moment, he said he'd try. But before he left, I asked him his name. He laughed, his broad, flat teeth full of dirt. 'We have no names, madam,' he said. 'I am a blu nu though, if that helps you.' I asked, 'What do you do? What is your purpose?' To which he laughed again. 'To live, and do something while I'm alive.'"

The guard, thinking the woman truly mad, left her. He shared his story with several others, but before nightfall, both the guard and the woman were gone.

Some say the woman's story moved the guard to free her and, fearing retribution, fled the kingdom. Others say that the guard saw the blu nu and, knowing that she spoke the truth, fled with both of them to a far off place or time. 

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