[aesop_chapter title=”The Story Begins” bgtype=”img” full=”on” img=”http://animefestivalorlando.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Chapter-1.jpg”]
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[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” width=”content” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up”]“Fenrir! Fenrir! Tell us a story!” The chorus of young voices rang out. Little hands grabbed at the elder’s cloak. The other adults could only smile as they watched their kid’s flock towards their leader.
The old wolf could not help but smile, not even attempting to suppress it. These lively, excited children would grow to lead his tribe. They would be the ones to hand down their history and stories of the land. A history that many had forgotten over time.
“Very well. Come along children and sit.” The children followed his instructions, their eyes wide and eager. “Now what story do I tell?” He mused, more to himself, but he was met with suggestions and outcries from various voices. A hearty laugh rolled over his lips. A few seconds later he raised his hand and quieted the bunch down.
As his eyes moved over the faces in his tiny audience, his eyes continued on past the camp and towards the nearby mountains. There was a small light that could be seen even from where they sat. The constant beacon of that was the nearby village. He let out a soft sigh. “Kids, have I ever told you the story behind that light? The one right there?” They chorused their “no’s” and it made Fenrir smile. This was their legacy.
“That is from the town of Orlandia. You see, their Festival of Light is approaching very soon. The Festival is centuries old, but its origins are older still. Older than myself or my parents, or my parents’ parents and so on. A thousand years ago, the valley within those mountains was untouched by human hands. No villages rested there. Not even a single tent.
“But one day, a traveler from far, far away came to the northern pass. He then crossed through into the valley. Crossing the pass took much of the day and, when he entered the Wildwood, the sun was already low in the sky. The traveler moved deeper, hoping to find shelter before a lack of light forced him to camp for the night. Just as the last rays of light disappeared behind the ring of mountains, he came upon a clearing alight with fireflies. The sight was so enchanting, he sat right where he stood, and made camp.
“As sleep began to take him, a rustling in the wood behind him jolted him awake. He leapt to his feet, spun around, and came face to face with the largest bear he had ever seen! On all fours, he still had to look up to the creature. Struck with fear, the traveler clenched his fists, preparing to strike the first blow and make a run for it. But his hand was stayed by a voice. The bear seemed to recognize this voice, and sat back on its haunches, ignoring the traveler. So shocked was he, the traveler looked quickly for the source of the voice.
“When he turned about, he found her, standing in the glade, fireflies dancing about her. The spirit of winter, she who brought the cold and pressed it back again; Yuki-Onna. A soft light enshrouded her, like the glow of moonlight. She spoke again, and the traveler answered.
“Lao was his name, and he was a humble pilgrim. He traveled not for a destination, but to find his path, whatever it might be. He asked the spirit about where he was, and how it was the bear was so tamed. But of course we know you cannot tame such a creature. Only give it little reason to fear you. And Yuki-Onna told Lao as much. The spirit of the valley welcomed him to rest, but warned him to be cautious, as he was the first man to come to the valley, and the other animals would be curious.
“So intrigued by such a peaceful and tranquil place, Lao stayed, and with her blessing, explored the valley with Yuki-Onna. His light hearted and curious ways were endearing to the spirit, and the two became friends. She aided Lao in building a home in the northern glade, without harming the forest. She showed him which plants he might eat, and he grew comfortable. But the Spirit of Winter was not one to remain in a place long. She would disappear for days, weeks, and Lao grew lonely.
“He left the valley, and made his way to a small village north and west, where he met a young woman that would later become his wife. The two returned to the glade nestled in the valley, and began to cultivate a small garden. Yuki-Onna appeared to the couple, and welcomed her friend’s wife. Life, for Lao, seemed to return to the way it had been, and he grew content. Until his wife became pregnant.”
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