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The young priest/wizard held the staff high. It was the first ceremony he conducted with it, after inheriting it from the old sage, and he had decorated it with fresh mongoose blood and falcon feathers. He’d chosen the perfect moon phase, and he’d invited the greatest war-chiefs from ten days walk away. His tribesmen and women were chanting as he’d said, and a big wealth of grain had been sacrificed following all traditions meticulously. It was now finally time for casting, the eagerly anticipated moment for casting. He’d planned to use the power to change all the bad habits, to undo all the mistakes he could so easily see, but now, as he began shouting the enchantments, as finally procedure mingled into improvisation, the power was not there. The staff was not giving him his power. His anger grew. His bitterness bit him hard. He shouted louder and louder. His enchantments turned into a long and terrible sermon. He called out all inequities, he laid blame where blame was due. At last, exhausted, he closed the ritual and fell to the ground, and slept. The attendance slowly dispersed, but the stories about this day spread fast. The hard words turned into bitterness, and the morality of the discourse in time fueled feuds and disputes. A long time passed, and nobody would ever hear a confession that the staff had not worked.

The old priest/wizard dragged the staff as a tiresome burden. Traditions and procedures felt as numb chores, and he noticed with indifference the dispirited way his few participants sang. He’d lost a son to tribal infighting, and that was for him the brutal death of his hopes. This was the son he wanted to teach and prepare to continue his duties, and now he felt nothing but loneliness. But the death of his hope was also the death of his expectations. And he conducted the ceremony with the grace of old people, with no rush, in a mild tone, with subtle words. And when finally the time for the sermon came, the staff was pulsing in his hands. It was, for the first time, giving it’s full power. With tear in his eyes, he told his tribesmen and women to be grateful they were alive, and to accept things as they were. No one really spoke of this day, but the few people gathered there went away with a calmness in their hearts, and in time they found out how to labourate in harmony, and his tribe’s might slowly rose with cooperation. Some said it was the workings of the old priest/wizard, and in time greedy young ones began competing to try and inherit his staff.


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