Kitt the Shadow

 

Long, long ago, when the trees were too young to know shadows, there lived a clan of wisewomen called the Kirisan. It is said the Kirisan could see the strings of truth invisible to the eye. On the first day of their twenty-fourth year, the young men and women of Lalune would pay a visit to the Kirisan, for only they could pull the strings and craft them into the words that lit the path of one’s life: the true name.
 
As the trees of Lalune grew old enough to cast a shadow upon the world, so grew the Kirisan. They began to hoard their truths like treasure until the day they wove them into a ladder and one by one they climbed up to the smaller moonen. There they made their home and so they left the people of Lalune to a world laced with illusion.
 
Not so long ago, Kitt the Lost left his home in the mountain village of Pohmaa. He was nearing his twenty-fourth birthday and he heard there lived a woman in the forest, all the way on the other side of the Agnis Mountains, who fell from the moonen. And so he marked a path along the river and through the mountains to see if he could find the fallen Kirisan.
 
One day, Kitt the Lost met a wolf by the River Sange. She was a beautiful wolf, but that he could not see beyond the blood that stained her fur a deeper red than kiss-me-not dye.
 
Kitt was well old enough to know better than to approach such a creature, but so far into the mountains, he had not seen another soul for days upon days. His loneliness turned to foolishness when he took the wolf to the riverbed to wash away her wounds.
 
“Do you have a name, little wolf?” he asked her when he saw the first signs of life return to her eyes. Her only response was to lick his hand.
 
“Of course,” Kitt said with a laugh, “wolves can’t talk, now can they?”
 
Kitt stayed with the wolf while she recovered. He talked to her, sang to her, brought her water and fish from the river. When at last she could stand, he stood with her. “Well, little wolf. My work here is done.” He patted her head and returned to the mountain path. She followed his every step.
 
“You need a name,” he told her, “if we’re to be traveling companions.” He called her Kirja.
 
Many moons later, Kitt the Lost and Kirja the Wolf came upon the forest of Lalune. It was the day that Kitt turned twenty-four and the night the larger moon would eclipse the smaller moonen. Man and wolf walked together through the woods until the moonen was hidden from sight by a full moon that brought more light than a sun masked in clouds.
 
“You look lost,” said a woman who stood beneath a tree that reached the sky.
 
“Oh,” Kitt said, “I almost didn’t see you.”
 
“There are many things that are not easily seen,” she replied, and then she asked, “What do you call yourself?”

“I’m Kitt,” he said, “and this is Kirja.” But Kirja was gone.
 
“Kitt Who Names the Air?” the woman mused. “Kitt Who Speaks to Shadows?”                             
 
“Hmm? No, Kirja’s a wolf. She was with me just a moment ago. Did you see where she went?”
 
“Ah,” the woman nodded. “A wolf who was your shadow. Or were you the shadow of the wolf?”
 
Kitt looked around. His wolf was nowhere to be seen. “Kirja,” he called into the night.
 
“I am called Leohta,” said the woman, “and because today marks the beginning of your twenty-fourth year, I will give you a name.”
 
“So it’s you,” Kitt said.
 
“So it’s me.” The woman smiled and closed her eyes. “Not Kitt Who Names the Air, no. But Kitt Who Speaks to Shadows? Very close. You speak your words with shadows of truth, and so your name will be Kitt the Shadow.” She spoke the words as the moonen reappeared and resumed its place next to the larger moon.
 
“Goodbye, my shadow,” she said, and she climbed her way through the sky until she reached the moonen.
 
Kitt the Shadow padded out of the forest on his four white paws and howled through the night.