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 –