Author's Notes: This is a short drabble I wrote upon request for WiccaRowan,
and I decided to go ahead and post it here as a one-shot. She
asked for a piece about Ludo, and although I don't really write much
about him, I gave it a try. It's an attempt to make him seem more
than merely a dumb beast, and although that characterization isn't
precisely canon, I hope you'll give it a chance, anyway.
Summary: His adventures with Sarah long behind him, Ludo has time to reflect and listen to what the rocks have to say.
Once, a long time past, he summoned the stones from their beds of earth. Now they called to him, a constant murmuring only he could hear. Ludo leaned against the flat boulder that sat in the clearing, warmed by the sun and sheltered by the slender saplings that swayed and bent in the wind. Birdsong filtered from the deep shade of the wood, high and sweet. It went unnoticed by the tired beast, for he heard only the song of the stones. Their language was very slow, and Ludo had to be patient to hear an entire story.
Years had passed since his only adventure, for rock-callers were not an adventurous people. His fur now had streaks of gray, his horns worn blunt on the ends. But he had time enough left for a few more tales, and so he laid his shaggy head on the slab, his arms braced around it like a pillow.
And the stones sang to him.
They never spoke of the present or the future. They spoke only of the past.
It is said, the rock whispered, That in the beginning the whole world was fire, rivers of scarlet and gold, hotter than the sun. How we sang then, quick were our thoughts and speech... We filled the cracks in the earth, burning as we went until it could no longer contain us. Sweet was the open air, the silvery face of the moon. How brightly we blazed before the cold came!
Ludo did not know of this cold, and the stones did not calculate time the way flesh-creatures did. All he knew was that it was a Change, and rocks were slow to Change so it meant a great deal to them, indeed. To speak of it saddened them, yet on some days, it was all they thought about.
Some of us were buried in the watery deeps, far from the light and air with all the weight of the sea pressing down upon us. Some of us were thrust to great heights, piercing the clouds. Some of us grew still in our shrouds of ivy and moss, only dreaming our stories without speaking. And some were ground away till we were nothing but sand and dirt, our memories and stories scattered in the wind...
A tear crept down Ludo's cheek. He didn't know why, but that part always made him sad.
It was a long time ago, but we remember still, what it was like to burn and be as one. So shall we always remember...
Ludo nodded. The stones loved to speak of beginnings and endings, and the story of their birth was the story they told most often. Though it was always the same, he never grew tired of hearing it.
Another story, he asked of them humbly. Sarah.
The stone was silent for a long time. It was not often one could request a tale of them, but Ludo was the last of his kind, and they could not deny him what he wished.
It is said... That once a fair maid rescued the prince of the rock callers and set him free. The prince was indebted to her and became her companion and protector, though he was the last of his people and all alone in the world. For her he summoned the stones, once to save her life, and once in mighty battle. He sang until his heart nearly burst and we came to his call, answering his need until the earth trembled with our passing...
The tale ended, but Ludo did not move. The day had grown late and the sun sank behind the hills. The slab had grown cold. No birds sang now, the clearing was silent. A breeze stirred the treetops, sending scores of russet leaves drifting down. It rippled over Ludo's coat, sifting through the strands of brown and silver, fine as spidersilk.
Not a living creature stirred, and the quiet seemed to last an eternity.
It is said, the rock whispered, That once upon a time there was a mighty rock caller who lived out his long days roaming the earth and listening to the song of the stones. But one day, he grew weary and stopped to rest and the stones summoned him back...
Author's Note: A couple more drabbles to come, including a longish J/S one I rather like.