The Archaeopteryx

Journey past the eternal burning pits of the Karakorum desert, across the Caspian sea, deep within the Libyan countryside there lies the Lake Silene which is shadowed by a nameless mountain. On a high ridge of this mountain is the entrance to the largest subterranean cave network ever discovered. Coincidentally the cave is also where the first fossilised Archaeopteryx was found, considered the first evolved bird, a hybrid with both reptile and bird characteristics. The British discovers felt satisfied with their fantastic find, which would be a key piece of evidence in proving the theory of evolution, and decided they would head home the following day. However one of their party lingered in the cave overnight before leaving. Trained as linguist she was an expert in the local language that had been spoken by the medieval populous. Though she was fascinated with the archaeopteryx it disappointed her that no human remains or artefacts had been found, but now she found a new fascination. She lingered in the cave simply to listen.

In the cavernous depths, echoes ring out with such strength, clarity, and persistence that you can hear everything around you for miles away. This gave a peculiar experience that when the extinguished your lantern that the entire eighty square mile cave system to compress into one single point in space. The cave network effectively became an extension of the ear canal.

The linguist decided to venture further down into the cave, which twisted back and forth as it continued downward. The entire cave’ structure look remarkably like an inverted tree that forked in different directions. It came to no surprise to the linguist, as she studied her map, that a prehistoric bird had been found perched on this creviced stone tree. She was particularly interested in exploring a branch that had only briefing been looked over by the archaeologists. It was here that she had heard, if only for a brief moment, a whisper that sounded almost like an alien language. And now she searched for it in the same chamber that it had first sighed in her ear. Waiting for something to happen, the linguist reflected that she would have felt that days had passed if she hadn’t had a timepiece. Frustrated and increasingly becoming hopeless she leant absently minded against a stalagmite. Although the formation looks solid it was hollow within. The tip collapsed under her weight causing the linguist to slip and fall.

It caused no injury save for a bruised ego, she brushed herself free of debris and assessed her careless damage. Out of the broken tip of the stalagmite came a hissing sound of released pressure. The stalagmite now resembled a colourless trumpet grown out of the damp floor. She looked down into the orifice and felt a slight breeze. Perhaps I’ve opened a new passageway, she thought. The air smelled otherworldly but that was not the only long trapped remnant which was now going to be freed. Sounds that had been trapped in a perfect vacuum, resonating for centuries, now echoed out in fast succession into the cavern. The sound of thunder and rain at first and then cracking of stone and rock which must have first cried out millions of years ago. The startled linguist was now scrambling for her notebook and pens.

Streams of words poured out but they were said so rapidly spoken that she couldn’t decipher a word. Steadily the pressure of the untapped chamber let off and recognisable sounds could be deciphered. A clanging of metal on metal, the shouts and yaps of fighting men, and the squeals of women, the crackling of a fire, moans of agony and ecstasy mixed in an intoxicating cacophony that came to a stop with an inhuman screech. And then finally after a moment of silence, as the linguist’s pen shivered in anticipation in her shaking hand, a voice spoke. She recognised the dialect, just barely. It was rasping, unnatural, and simultaneously held the sincerity of an old man’s final words and an infant’s first.

And she wrote down all that she heard.
And she was mocked by her peers.
And this is what was spoken by the long dead voice:

Before you finish your task and are herald as a hero, I must speak.
Please let a villain have his last words…

Your hatred of me is unquestionable but it is also unjust.

What did taking a spare cow or sheep matter?
“That’s my sheep!’ the shepherd would shout.
You claim ownership over another living being and believe you have this right because it is logical, you are smarter and stronger than simple farm animals.
The beasts stay within their posts and graze the fields.
What you fail to understand is that I am your shepherd, I am smarter and stronger than you. And the posts that mark your field stretch the entire green earth, from pole to pole, which I ruled – until you came along, a knight in shining armour!

You say it was unjust that I ignored the many mothers who screamed at me, “Oh my children will starve!” But my belly is much larger than a little child’s and I have felt the pain of an aching stomach far longer any man.

Perhaps your great hatred of me is because I do not respect your law, the false law of man.
There is no law but the law of nature, your cattle lost their right to live fore they had no claws to fight and your sheep fore they had no wings to flee. And now I face the court of natural law… at the end of your sword. Fear not, I will have no qualms, unlike your people who incessantly begged for their lives at my feet and professed the unfairness of it all.
I am content that even as you slay me I will still win this argument. Natural law is king.
I was not beaten because of your pure heart or your noble god, but only because your sword has proven sharper than my tooth and claw.

Ah, I see your hand grips tighter at the sword, does it anger you when I mention your god?
Spare me the proclamations of your bravery or dedication to God, those will be heard down the centuries for millions to hear and will echo far longer than the forgotten screams
of women and children that met their end in these caves.

Yes, it’s true I’ve killed many, but many of what?
And don’t cry murder, for when a man kills a man it is murder.
I have no kin to commit murder. Please don’t get teary eyed that I am the last of my kind, I am one of a kind.

Though I was born in Eden I barely remember it. I can’t recall what I whispered in Eve’s ear. I do not comprehend sin, nor redemption. I do not seek redemption. I do not seek paradise. What I really seek, and what I have sought with every word of my last speech is another breath, another moment, another chance.

And with that said, the Dragon made one last desperate attack,
But St. George kill’d the Dragon, and run him thro’ and thro’
And all sang, honi soit qui mal y pense.

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