Golden Morning
rating: +4+x

Cathal Sior woke up in a wheatfield. It wasn’t any particular wheatfield. He was lying in deep grass, and his view above was framed by tall stalks of gold washed-out with blue; they framed a sky dusted with diamonds. He wasn’t sure how he got here, or even where here was. Somewhere that could grow wheat, apparently. He doubted the farmer would mind: it was a big field, and Cathal doubted he could do any real damage to it. Why should he care if he did? Maybe he wanted to lie somewhere he wasn’t supposed to, to prove his right to lie on common ground couldn’t be taken away by authoritarian social structures, or something. Or, as he was beginning to suspect more likely, maybe he was just tired, and it happened to be the most convenient sleeping place.

As he lay there, the wheat stalks swaying languidly in the breeze, the sky stopped being quite so black. One by one the frail diamonds winked out, and the black void was replaced by an orangey one.

He sat up. His head pounded. It wasn’t supposed to do that, was it? Heads weren’t supposed to hurt, they were meant to think. They couldn’t think properly if they were hurting. Mind, the only source he had for when heads could think properly was a head that claimed it wasn’t currently thinking properly. That made it hurt more. Maybe he should just watch the sunrise. Yes, that sounded more appealing than theoretical psychology.

The first Sun was fully up now, and the second was just cresting the horizon. Cathal was pretty sure there wouldn’t be another; though, with all the things in the universe, it wouldn’t surprise him. The two Suns painted the sky in majestic sweeps of red and gold, iridescent rivers stretching across the firmament. In the West, the sky was so blue it was almost white. It was white in the East too – around the suns. Cathal thought there was a moral in that somewhere.

He couldn’t see anything other than the golden wheat and the golden sky. The wheat he must have tread through to get here had since risen again. It was like he’d woken up alone in an untouched world, only it wasn’t untouched – someone must have planted the wheat. He hoped whoever it was didn’t show up. Cathal was pretty sure he could argue his way past them, or at least baffle them enough to leave him alone, but he was also pretty sure it would make his head hurt more.

He should probably take stock of his situation. Aside from the headache, he had a long coat and travelling clothes, currently covered in loose blades of wheat. The coat smelt faintly of seawater, though it was bone dry. That was odd. Rooting through the pockets he found an empty glass bottle. He took an experimental sniff – it smelt terrible. That explained the headache.

He also found a map and a pocket watch. The map was an old one, and almost stereotypically a pirate’s map: it was on faded parchment, was singed around the edges, and had a big red X apparently drawn in crayon. Though, unlike his coat, it didn’t smell of seawater. That was probably good. On the other side was a star chart, also with a big red X, though the stars weren’t the ones he’d woken up under.

The watch was gold, ornate, and, he was almost certain, ancient. It had many hands, most of which he didn’t understand. The ones he could read told him it was 3.27 in the afternoon, somewhere. Like the map, it apparently served a second purpose on its reverse. There were more hands here. One was red, and formed a cross with three smaller hands. He now knew where North was, which wasn’t very helpful, and he already knew from the Suns anyway. Another hand was blue, and affixed to three hands that swung freely. This would be an astrolabe, the blue hand pointing to the Galactic Centre and the other three to known stars he could use to pinpoint his position once he was offworld. Or he could, if he knew what the stars were. The hands were too close together, meaning whoever built this chose very bad stars.

Several minutes of determined digging, and twice jumping up to check he wasn’t sat on anything, cursing his headache both times, revealed nothing else. He dropped the bottle and stuffed the map and watch back in his pockets, deciding to find a use for them later. He couldn’t remember where he’d gotten them. Come to think of it, he couldn’t remember much at all: he couldn’t remember why his coat smelt of seawater, he couldn’t remember what stars his watch pointed to, he couldn’t even remember what planet he was on. In fact, he couldn’t remember any of his life before this moment. He did, however, know quite a lot about himself: he remembered how to read a compass and astrolabe, if the bottle was anything to go by he knew his drink, he knew he was human and he knew that fact was significant, and he knew his name was Cathal Sior.

All in all, not a bad start to life. Most people didn’t know half the stuff he did in their earliest memories. He picked a direction and started walking, leaving the bottle. Hopefully the farmer would find it and be very confused, but probably not. Probably it would sink into the ground and remain there for aeons, turning back into the rocks from whence it came. There was probably a moral in that too, though in this case it was likely ‘Cathal shouldn’t leave his litter lying around’. He’d have to find a proper way to dispose of the next bottle. The rising Suns were behind and to his right; he didn’t know why he went this way, it just felt right, really right. Somehow, he knew this was exactly the way he was meant to go.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License