Tag Archive: Hesperios

It had been in the back of Dwyn’s mind to ask his father for help. His father was a powerful man – and an important one. He had resources at his disposal that would make finding the enslaved centaurs easier. He asked Artesius to wait for him in the clearing near the manor while he went inside. He did not expect to see Anderson striding down the steps. He did not expect to see his father following, all smiles.

“Dwyn,” the older man greeted. “Anderson, this is my son, Dwyn. Dwyn, Mister Anderson has just sold us some fine livestock.”

“Indeed, father,” Dwyn said. His voice was tight, as was Gwilym’s hand on his shoulder. “I was stopping by to tell you that I would be away for a few days. I’m traveling to the mountains for a bit of research.”

“Very well, take what supplies you need,” his father said. “Meanwhile, Mister Anderson, shall I show you the gardens?”

“That sounds delightful.” The man followed Dwyn’s father toward the back of the manor, where the ornamental gardens were located.

“I think we’ll need some pack animals for our trip,” Dwyn said. He tugged out of his guardian’s grasp and darted toward the front garden. “See to it,” he shouted back, not even pausing to see if the older man was following his directions.

He felt betrayed. He didn’t care if his father thought his reasons were good. Trafficking in the flesh of intelligent beings was wrong – always; no exceptions. He leaned on an ancient oak tree and fought back tears. The rough bark bit into his palms and forehead. The pain almost felt pleasurable – something to distract him from the internal pain he felt.

A gentle hand came to rest on his shoulder and he looked up to find his guardian. “It’s mostly women and children.”

Dwyn nodded. His father would tell him that he bought them to keep them out of the hands of more disreputable people. It made sense, but it wasn’t right. “Let’s go,” he said softly. “Artesius is waiting. Did you tell them where to find Hesperios?”

“They’re already on their way,” Gwilym replied. “Your father – “

Dwyn held up a hand to forestall him. “I know what you’re going to say and I want to believe it. Let’s just go find the others.”

You are Due to be Transformed

Once the centaur herd was buried, Artesius returned to Hesperios’s side. He knelt down and took the younger centaur’s hands in his own. “We’re not the only survivors,” he murmured. “You’ll be able to find the others is you use your ability to speak with the grasses.”

“What about you?” Hesperios asked.

Dwyn found himself listening closely, though this was plainly meant to be a private conversation. He chewed his lip thoughtfully as Artesius shook his head. “I need to find out why the humans attacked us. I also want to see if I can rescue the ones who were taken away. You find what remains of the herd, then we’ll be more likely to find you.”

He stood and continued, “Hesperios, you will grow strong and lead the herd. Don’t be afraid. You’ll do well.”

Tremble Like a Flower

Dwyn watched as Gwilym set about the grizzly business of disposing of the bodies of the slain centaurs. Soon enough Artesius began helping him. Meanwhile the younger centaur settled down beside Dwyn. He twisted his hands together continually and Dwyn noticed he was trembling slightly.

“I’m Dwyn,” he said softly, at a lost for what to say.

“Hesperios,” the centaur returned. “I can hear the grasses. They’re… Their roots are all connected so they know what’s happening everywhere. They warned me what was going to happen.”

“So that’s why you were able to escape?” Dwyn reasoned.

“I was over the ridge when it happened. I watched from the tree line.” His voice caught in his throat as he continued, “I couldn’t move. I just stood there, watching. They killed anyone who resisted – including foals. The others they took. I… I don’t know where.”

“We’ll find them,” Dwyn promised. “It’ll be alright.”

Hesperios nodded but Dwyn doubted it was because he believed the words. Then they sat in tense silence, waiting.

The Twilight Language

Though they most often used human languages to communicate, centaurs were equine enough that they would also use sounds that were horse-like and body language. The humans with him could tell he was tense, Artesius knew, but there was no way that they, as humans could truly read what he wanted to tell them without words.

Then he heard it. The soft whicker of another who was down wind from him. He didn’t recognize the voice but it was a youngling. The youth had scented him and called to him softly, cautiously. He called back – more assuredly.

Then a small bay crept over the ridge. Artesius recognized the boy. He couldn’t recall the name, but he remembered the elders thought the boy was deaf to the natural world. “The grass warned me,” he called, tears starting in his eyes. “I was so happy to finally hear but – but it warned of change and – I didn’t want this.”

“I know,” Artesius called back. He trotted over to the youth and enfolded him in a gentle embrace. “It’s not your fault, child. You did nothing wrong. Hearing a warning didn’t cause this. Hush, you aren’t alone any more. I’ll stay with you.”

He felt the presence of the humans but ignored them, concentrating instead on the youth, reassuring him without speaking. They weren’t alone and if they had survived, perhaps others had also.

The Cold Only Kills

Without the herd he felt utterly alone, he realized. He could hear the grass beneath him but it wasn’t like speaking with the others. There was no conversation or comradery, only information. Winter was coming, the grass said. Soon we’ll sleep.

Hesperios sighed, wishing that he could join the grass in its slumber. At least death would end the aching loneliness. Why had he survived when so many had died? Why did he alone of the whole herd still live?

The day was a beautiful one. The sun was shining and the birds were singing but Hesperios wished for winter – for an end of things. The cold of winter would only kill him. The warmth of late summer tore his soul to pieces as long as he spent the unending days alone.

Hesperios looked around at the devastation that he’d arrived moments too late to prevent. He’d finally learned to hear what the grass and trees said and had arrived too late to do anything about it.

Sniffling, he slumped to the ground. His earlier joy was forgotten. He felt utterly alone. Then, beneath him, he heard the grass whisper. The ones who did this were not going to stop. They would find other herds.

Resolutely he pushed himself up and turned to go. His family would not die in vain, he swore. He would prevent the tragedy from repeating itself. If he could do that – even if he could only save one other – then the fact that he was spared would have meaning.

Hesperios watched the stars. He’d been told all his life that they spoke to his people. He had never heard their voice. The clouds too were said to speak. To him they were silent. He turned his gaze to the waves below the cliff he stood perched on. His sisters told him that these had words of their own. As with the stars and clouds, the sea was silent to him.

“Why am I magically deaf?” he asked no one in particular. “Why can’t I hear what others can?” He settled himself on the soft grass and sighed. There was no one to answer his questions. The elders in the herd had never met someone who could not “hear.”

Then, as he looked down at the grass, he startled. The grass beneath him was whispering. With a soft chuckle, Hesperios stood. He was not deaf. He was simply listening to the wrong thing. The grass… the trees… all the plants everywhere had been speaking to him the whole time. He turned and trotted off toward the herd. He had to tell them what the grass had to say.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

A Land of Curiosity

From the files of Shynian Intelligence

Heather's Fancies

tales from the enchanted gardens and shadow hollow


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