I sleep, I dream.

I remember not sleeping. I remember walking in the middle of the night and smelling the smoke from our enemies’ fires. These pale, relentless invaders who called us waleas – foreigners. But they were the foreigners, marching under their alien standards and riding their massive horses. Our people sighed and suffered beneath them, falling whether they fought or no.

I was the savior, the chosen. I remember how the people cheered when I rode in on my dapple-grey stallion.

I sliced the invaders’ skulls with my sword named Eilir. I split their stomachs and watched them die with their humors pooling around them. I drove them from our lands, then I followed them to their towns, and I burned their women to ashes in their beds. I dragged their fallen kings behind my horse until they cried for mercy and then I left them to be devoured by the wolves that they were.

I was a hero.

I am a hero.

They could not stop me. I killed the invaders and then I killed my men who doubted and then I killed their wives and the curs they had made together. I pressed the land under my hands until it bore the imprint of my palm. I was bred and raised to be a hero and I can do nothing else. I was such a hero that I could not die.

I could not die, so the waleas put me in this tomb and here I sleep, until the light touches my face and they have need of a hero again.


In this tomb of the dead, I sleep. My sword hand dreams of the day.

I hear the sound of children’s laughter.

A slant of light crosses my stone face.

Author’s Note: I am fascinated by the sleeping hero legends.

image by: – Simon –

27 thoughts on “Somni

  1. *is totally researching manifest destiny for US HIstory, seriously*

    Very nice, a rare short one with some violent impact…

    I think that “whether they fought or no” was probably supposed to be not, though?

  2. “whether or no” is more archaic (random boring link), so that’s why I went for it.

    And yeah, I went short this time because of CRAZY ARSE DEADLINES. Also, because of anti-heroes.

    Manifest Destiny. Sigh. I remember having to study that.

  3. Ah, makes sense. I thought it might be something old-timey like that.

    Ouch, all-caps crazy. Good luck with that!

    It’s very boring. But became hilarious when the first thing I found was the Wikipedia article that said “this article is about the American expansion. For the 2008 X-Men crossover, see X-Men: Manifest Destiny.” Which means I wasted several days reading summaries about the Juggernaut’s conflict over being a hero or a villan and Nightcrawler’s sense of uselessness.

  4. We’re supposed to include three pictures in the essay we’re writing. I desperately want to use this.

  5. I also like that I read the first paragraph and went, “ooo Welsh! I know that word!”

    (I mean – I know that it means your guy is Welsh, not that the word is in Welsh.)

    And then I was all, “Tess, thou art nerd,” because I considered asking you where you found that spelling. *headdesk*

  6. Oddly, I had never even heard of a sleeping hero legend. Well, I’m sure I’ve encountered it, but not as a…a “thing”? Very intriguing. I liked this piece today; short enough for my attention span and intriguing.

  7. I know. Caught as I am in a relatively realistic WIP, I am lusting after myths I cannot incorporate.

  8. I was going to do a story once based loosely on that Chinese tomb that supposedly has the eternal lights and the flowing rivers of mercury and all that stuff, only the people in the tomb were only sleeping and they’d, you know, wake up and do something awesome. But the outline of that book took a WAY WAY different turn. But…I still want to use it somewhere.

  9. Holy crap, and now here I am thinking, “Wow, I never realized the English word for ‘Wales/Welsh’ was simply ‘foreign/foreigner’! That’s crazy/great/terrible/so typically English!”

    Nerds unite!

  10. Sleeping hero legends are intriguing. And they creep into so many cultures and texts.

    Good stuff, this.

  11. Ooh, do it, do it! (do you like how I’m now pushing for about ten different projects from you? forget time management–every idea is a the most important idea!)

  12. LOL. Yeah, don’t think I haven’t noticed!

    I WILL be doing the sleeping hero one, though, is the difference — I shelved it when LAMENT got published and other projects intruded, but I will be coming back to it.

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