Chronicles of Primordial Wars

Chapter 19 – Moons came out

Chapter 19 – Moons came out

Translated by Sunyancai

Shao Xuan spent every day in the stone room, trying to memorize all those pictures on the right side of the stone wall. He also learned to paint, thinking that perhaps it might be useful in the future. He had nothing else to do anyway.

Since every kid had stored enough fish, together with the food and firewood from the tribe, they had a nice winter. With the common-used herbs that Ge gave to Shao Xuan, there were no accidents as well. As days went by, it was quite calm, wintertime passed faster than they imagined.

Two days ago, a younger kid caught a cold and he had a fever. Shao Xuan cooked the herbs from Ge and poured the soup down his throat. After only two days, his condition stabilized. He only had to survive those few days. With a bad health, none of the herbs would have been effective. He might have been as dead as the former owner of Shao Xuan’s body, before anyone could call for help from the others. Luckily, during the time before winter, all of the children became healthier. They had constantly exercised and had much better food and provision, so they did not get ill as easily as before.

Inside the stone room, Shao Xuan had placed an animal fur mat down on the ground. Sometimes he would just sleep right in front of the wall, if he worked too late on those frescos. He painted pictures with his fingers on the ground. After a picture was finished, Shao Xuan signed it. Winter had passed two thirds of its duration, and they had only twenty to thirty days left. If they survived these last days, they would have a better living situation. Shao Xuan felt listless and that his body was moldy with rust, since he had spent so much time indoors.

As he was thinking, Caesar, who was lying beside him moved his ears and looked towards the entrance of the stone room.

Then Shao Xuan heard the voice of Ge.

Today was not the day that Ge was supposed to deliver food. Or was it that spending so much time in the stone room messed up his brain?

Filled with curiosity, Shao Xuan walked out of the stone room and went to see what happened.

“Uncle Ge, what brings you here today?” Shao Xuan, took a look at the triangles that he drew on the wall to keep track of time. Because Ge would come every three days, Shao Xuan did not use the character “Zheng”, which contains five strokes. Instead, he drew triangles on the wall. Now the last triangle missed one stroke, so that meant Ge was only supposed to come by tomorrow.

Ge, standing next to the bonfire, shook the snowflakes off his coat and then took out a roll of animal skin, “I’m here for some kids. Gather all the names on this roll, who are older than eleven.”

Shao Xuan took the animal skin roll and had a look. On it there were seven names, including Ba and Tu. Those two kids suddenly got sparkling eyes and they stared at him hopefully, as if they thought of something.

The names on that animal skin roll were all those that Shao Xuan knew, so he gathered them around, including those two who were taking a nap. The two kids that got woken up by force were still sleepy, but when they saw Ge and those few kids standing beside him, they suddenly came to their minds and instantly stopped rubbing their eyes. Instead, the kids quickly gathered their things, and rushed towards Ge with big smiles on their faces.

Ge’s sight hesitated on the fish teeth necklaces hanging from these seven kids’ necks, and he carefully checked all their name pallets. On normal days he was in charge of food delivery, so he had some impressions about the kids in the orphan cave. But this time, one could never be too careful. He had to check and make sure.

“Yes, exactly seven.”

Ge tossed each kid a leather cloak after he had rolled the animal skin back, “Wear them, and follow me later… Mo-Er, you come with me, too.”

Mo-Er was only ten years old, but he would turn eleven after this winter.

At Ge’s command, Mo-Er got dressed and carried his knife. Unlike the other kids’ admiration or excitement, Mo-Er walked towards Ge calmly, as if he had expected it.

“Fine. Ah-Xuan, you can go back to sleep now. I’ll take them out. Tomorrow I’ll come back with the food.” Ge lifted the straw curtain and left with the eight kids.

Shao Xuan lifted the thick straw curtain a little and the icy wind pouring in made his eyes feel a stabbing pain. His sight was blurred but he could still see the thick layer of snow outside the cave, and the path that was created by Ge. On both sides of the path, the snow was higher than the kids walking on the path. Their thin figures were trembling in the cold, but they followed Ge closely, with no hesitation and no intention to turn back their heads. Instead they were eager to leave.

Dropping the straw curtain, Shao Xuan came back into the cave. The kids left behind were no longer sleepy as they stared at the fire, blankly.

Shao Xuan knew why.

After winter, there would be a Snow Festival and some sacramental activities. The most important thing during the sacramental activities, was the annual Totemic Awakening. One would turn a totemic warrior, if one could awaken his totemic power, or else one must wait for another year.

Normally, kids over ten years old would be sent up the mountain for pre-selection, before winter’s end. The Shaman would keep those kids with high odds to have their totemic powers awakened, and send the other kids back. However, compared with other kids in the tribe, most kids in orphan cave had poor health, so they would be postponed a year on the pre-selection, which was eleven years old. Mo-Er was an exception, for he was not considered an orphan. He was in much better fitness than others because of his constant training and practicing.

The kids following up with Ge must be quite excited and anxious. All of them expect to be chosen by the Shaman, for as long as they got chosen, they had a ninety percent chance to awaken their totemic powers this time, else they would awaken their totemic power next year with one hundred percent certainty.

Shao Xuan was only nine now, and he would only turn ten after winter. It was still too early for him, so after Ge had left, he told the kids to approach him if anything happened. Then he went back to continue working on the frescos, in the stone room.

After four days, when Ge was delivering food again, he brought back four upset kids. Tu and Ba were among those, who had been sent back. The eldest kids were kept. Being thirteen years old already, they were naturally kept. Turning fourteen after the winter, it would be abnormal if they did not awaken their totemic powers by then.

The former “leader of the cave” was also a thirteen year old, and he knew someone living on the mountainside. During this winter he was preparing for training. Most warriors believed that before one awakened his totemic power, the stronger he was, the stronger he would become. So Ku asked some family to take him in during wintertime. He would be better fed, and learn some experience from other totemic warriors. It was far better than staying in the cave. And that was also the reason why Ku went up to the mountain early instead of spending the winter in orphan cave.

“Don’t be upset. Sooner or later you will become totemic warriors. Perhaps next year.” Ge comforted the four sad kids, and left after he dropped off the food.

“I envy those, who were chosen by the Shaman. They can listen to the Shaman’s lecture.” Said one of the kids brought back by Ge.

“Hey, what did the Shaman say to you?” The other kids got around, asking curiously.

“The Shaman…”

One minute earlier, the four kids were drooping their heads. But on that word, they raised their heads up at a forty-five degree angle, and inside their eyes was admiration and respect.

Shao Xuan curled his lips inside.

Lectures? More of a brainwashing!

That old wizard.

Shao Xuan could only curse in his mind. He was not stupid enough to say it out loud. See those four kids? Only a few days spent with that old wizard, they got a complete brainwashing!

After that little episode, the life inside went back to normal. Even though Tu and Ba were still upset, life continued.

During a night, when Shao Xuan was in the midst of sleeping, he dreamt about two crescent moons, melted snow, ice and fire…Until he heard shouting, and the shouting got louder and louder, and that woke him up from his dreams.

The sound was not coming from the children in the cave, but from people outside.

An older child listened carefully after he woke up, and suddenly he became very cheerful, “It must be the end of the winter!”

Shao Xuan yawned and tightened the blanket, wrapping it around him. It was still night, and the fire had long been put out. Nothing could be seen, and only the discussions among the kids could be heard.

Shao Xuan asked Caesar to lead him to the entrance.

Lifting some thick straw curtains, Shao Xuan could hear the shouting more clearly, which were obviously filled with excitement and joy.

Regardless of the icy wind, Shao Xuan looked up in the sky.

Snow stopped falling, and the long-disappeared moons showed their appearance once again. Even though they were only outlines of crescent moons, they brought a lot of hope and a dynamic atmosphere.

Winter had ended, and the sacramental activities of the Snow Festival were scheduled.

Guess how many people would become totemic warriors? That was the common question of people in the tribe and almost all of them were thinking about that as they shouted out their joy.

Everywhere in the tribe there was someone standing on the roof and staring at the sky, totally ignoring the icy wind. Just as they stopped excitedly shouting and began discussing about the coming Snow Festival, they heard a child’s voice from the orphan cave.

“The moons came out, yeah… How joyful, yeah…So joyful, yeah…yeah, yeah, yeah!”

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