| ||“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high....” he was quietly singing to himself. He knew he didn’t really need to, though: Up here in the mountains with this kind of weather there would be no one around for miles to hear him, even if he had been yelling at the top of his lungs. “And don't be afraid of the dark.“ Easier said than done. The wind was howling through the fir trees shaking the bushes and sighing in the branches. The last light of the day had drained out of the sky and neither moon nor stars were to be seen. Not the best of nights to be out and about, it occurred to him. But still he knew his way even in the dark. He pulled his coat about him and trudged onwards. |
As he came to a turning in the path, he thought he could make out the glow of a fire swelling with the wind not far ahead. Cautious not to make himself heard before due time he approached under the cover of the foliage. A lone Magmar was sitting there by the fire, sword by his side, humming to himself while roasting a pigeon on a branch he had turned into an impromptu spit. “I can hear you breathing back there in the bushes, friend. Best to step closer to the fire in this weather, my man. It’ll warm you up a treat.” The young Magmar wanderer stood frozen to the spot, mouth agape. “Now don’t you grow all shy on me.” Said the other one by the fire turning slowly with a friendly grin on his face. “You got a nice voice that can carry a tune and no mistake. Even though you have an odd sense of timing. Come here and keep me company.” The stranger turned back to his roast. The wanderer shut his mouth and walked over. “How could you have heard me over the storm?” he asked as he sat down in the lee of the fire close enough for warmth but far enough away from the strange Magmar warrior. “Oh, it’s a knack.” The latter replied with a wink. He took the bird of the spit and sliced it in half with a hunting knife he pulled from under his cloak. “Here, have some food, young man.” The wanderer accepted it and both ate in silence.
After a while the warrior, whose face was half hidden by his hood most of the time, sighed and smacking his lips threw the remnants of his dinner into the flames in front of him. “So, tell us” he began “what’s a young lad from Faytir doing up here at this hour?” “I am not a young lad, you know.” said the wanderer defiantly. “And I go where I please.” The warrior’s smile returned “Sure enough young master, sure enough. And as one tramp to the other I congratulate you on your choice of region. It never gets dull up here so close to the Pinky’s borders. But as I have said before, your timing sure is slightly off.” For a moment the warrior stared into the darkness beyond the fire and appeared to be listening to the winds. Then he nodded, for whatever reason was beyond the young Magmar. “I don’t see why you might think that. It’s a night like any other and still quite warm for the season. I was on my way up the mountain, intending to cross the Plateau tonight when you asked me to join your meal.” “Ah, to the Plateau you were heading.” the warrior nodded sagely. “So I gather you came prepared and brought more than just a good song? How are you for weaponry young master?” “Well, I have a sword, if that’s what you’re asking.” He pulled the blade free of its sheath. It shone in firelight. The warrior watched him as if he was sizing him up. “Can you handle that blade, my young friend, and handle it well?” As the young Magmar was about to rise to this challenge, the warrior held up his hand saying “You see, there is a reason for my asking.” He got up. “Come over here for a second.” He said leading the way towards the road.
As they reached the path the Magmar warrior pointed up the slope of the mountain. “See all those small orange dots coming down from the Plateau?” The young Magmar saw them. “Those must be hundreds of torches!” he gasped. “Indeed. I’d say there’re about two platoons of Humans coming directly at us. So once again I ask you: How are you doing in the sword department?” – “But shouldn’t we run? We could easily hide!” – “Run and hide?! What kind of Magmar are you, youngfella?! If we were not to challenge the Humans, they would descend upon the villages in the valley where there’re only sleeping peasants and children to deal with them. You’d shame your own kin like that?” – “But you’re just a tramp... well, you are! And so am I!” – “Just a tramp?” The warrior smiled and headed back towards the fire. “Just a tramp.” He shook his head smiling. “Young master, you have still a lot to learn. Yes, I go where I please, as you have put it and I can carry all my belongings in a backpack. So – yes – I am a tramp. But my possessions extend beyond material things, lad. As I am actually one of the Tramps.” – “The Tramps?” said the young Magmar now walking after the warrior. “And who are they?” – “We are a band of brothers, my lad. Bound by the blood of vanquished enemies and the love for our people. Possessions and material things mean less than nothing to us. We care for friendship, love and honour.“ The warrior girded his weapons and stamped out the fire. The darkness was instantaneous. “And most of all we value loyalty.” The Human army was now only minutes from them. “Incidentally,” continued the warrior preparing for battle, “do you know how that song you were singing earlier goes on?”
And there in the darkness, with hundreds of enemies approaching the proud Magmar warrior rose into song: “Walk on, through the wind, walk on, through the rain,“ and from the surrounding darkness came a reply. More and more men and women unseen before and yet so close that they must have been there all the time, were joining in, locking shoulders, weapons drawn and ready to fight:
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart,
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone!