They spat fire. Beautiful, luminous fire in every colour imaginable. Fire, so beautiful, you wouldn't mind if it killed you, in fact, you would prefer it that way, to be graced by it's foreign beauty and give it the honour of taking your life.
It was early in the afternoon and training had begun. The Ra-ens were a very proud and undefeated tribe, descendents of Ra himself, shot down from the heavens as seeds, many, many years ago. They grew from the soil like trees, fed by their father, glowing in their silky ochre skin and piercing liquid-gold eyes.
My usual hiding spot put me in a decent view of their training camp, which was situated just outside their heavily guarded village gates. I'd get lost in their synchrony, their chants, how they made fighting look like dancing on air, they were graceful and precise - and deadly. Their swords could slice a human head right off it's body in one quick stroke, without leaving a drop of blood on it's smooth, perfectly crafted edges. "They are not to be trusted", father always said, " They will burn the hair right off your head and wear your skin as a symbol of victory!" It's safe to say my father was a bit dramatic, but as the Chief, it was his destined duty to keep his people safe. And of course, it was no help that the Ra-en's greatest enemy...was us.
I was always told that to be the Chief's son was an honour, a privilege, an opportunity to be a great protector, just like my father. I must have missed that part. All I ever felt was pressure to fill a role I never wanted, to a people I have never understood. The Hibergees were cowards, always hiding behind hills and heaps of dense snow. They despised change, and sneered at all that was unknown and undiscovered. Quite the opposite to our rivals, who were far more educated in the splendours of the unknown. They had seen more than us, smelt more, experienced more. We, with no glorious history of being thrust onto the earth by a sacred god, thrived in the blistering cold, and them, in the scorching heat. Separated by temperature, and by magic - the reason behind our century long feud.
Legend has it that the Ra-ens and the Hibergees lived harmoniously, providing generously where the other lacked. If the Ra-ens needed ice cold water, they were easily assisted by their neighbours. And if the Hibergees struggled to make fire, they never needed to look far. It was a fair arrangement that both sides gratefully benefited from, until one fateful day, the day the Ra-ens wanted more.
They only knew the lands in which Ra had planted them, nothing beyond it. The then Chief of the Ra-ens collected the strongest in the tribe and set off on many trips, going further and further each time, but never further enough.He soon realised that the task was too great to brace on their own, and they needed the assistance of a different kind, the assistance of the Hibergees and their unique cooling gifts to conquer endless deserts and lifeless planes. But, the Chief of the Hibergees believed otherwise. He believed that the tribes were doing just fine as they were, without unnecessary contact with unknown territory. He believed there was nothing but trouble to be found.
The disagreement put a spear through their relationship and it was never quite the same after that. The Ra-ens thought the Hibergees to be weak and spineless, and if the Hibergees would not willingly help them, they would do so fearfully, waging war on the once brotherly neighbours in the name of adventure and expansion. Naturally the Chief of my tribe didn't take that likely. And so the war began - and never ended.
The division grew so strong, the Hibergee Chief, realising their soon demise, sought after the magical abilities of an ancient Sorcerer to create a permanent rift between the two tribes. Sacrificing the ice rendering magic of his own people as a means of payment. And just like that, the narrow border between two tribes sprouted into jaw-dropping abyss with a thick veil of fog. The Hibergee have been kept in hiding for so long, it's all they've ever known.
I intended on breaking that loathsome traditional. On being the first member of the Hibergee tribe to reach out and make the decision my forefathers should have made before me. My father would have my head, but as a future Chief, it was my destined duty to my people to teach them a different way of life.
I set out early before the first light of day, braving thick carpets of glistening white shimmer, climbing down and back up the merciless trench that divided us many years ago. The journey took me several days, with little food and water, and even less sleep. Knowing my wild spirit, my father already knew where I had wandered off to within hours of my disappearance. He also knew there was no bringing me back.
I eventually limped my way towards the heavily guarded gates I so greedily admired from my hiding spot back home, filthy, riddled with small scrapes across my legs, I bared no resemblance to that of a prince, approaching in a crouched, low bowing position to ease the descendants of Ra. All the while my father's words were sweating out of my pores. The gates opened as they escorted me in. I almost went blind…
The Ra-ens had cocooned themselves in paradise! They ate foods I had never seen in all my existence, prickly, oddly-shaped pungent smelling fruit that dripped perfume. They wore these clothes that moved when they moved and seemed to smile when they touched the sun. Sweet sounds - the sweetest sounds, from wooden shapes with holes and some with strings. I did not know the names of the colours I saw, but I know how they made me feel. This is what my father and all the fathers before him had kept us from.
I was left at the throne of the Chief to explain my abrupt and uninvited visit. The Chief was a wise man and admired my courage, but I could not stay, as I was not one of them and trespassing was forbidden, and I could not leave, as I had already seen too much.
I was killed that day, at the hands of that beautiful fire. But, before I died, for a few moments, I had truly lived...