An old jungle vine leaf slowly began to tilt downward, as the rain droplets drizzled from branch and forested canopy above. Slowly filling the cup shaped leaf as though nature filling a tea to its court. Ever so slowly however, as each drop perhaps symbolized a hint of reminiscence to a heritage long neglected. The sound pattered with clarity as each droplet increases in size and density. Filling to the brim until it reached its tipping point.
He could feel the cold mud behind his back and the soft texture as it matted his short black hair. The pelting rain hitting his face as he stared up into a grey sky behest by a green tree canopy, holding back a scowl and possible annoyance. Made apparent by the sour look by the curl of his lips and squint of his brown eyes.
An older woman's voice would call out. Loud enough to slightly startle the boy as he sat up quickly getting to his feet while grabbing for his leather ball. He made a quick beeline behind the large tree as he sat down to blend his silhouette with the jungle vegetation.
A group of women holding large baskets of fruits and herbs came through the small clearing. Hand woven much like their attire of cotton leather and feathers. The women in the lead gave a quick glare around the area shaking her head as the other women passed by her, most likely to the village center.
"Fang, I know your hiding out here." The woman called out as she sat the basket on her hip holding one hand over her temple to shield her eyes from the rain.
Fang, the young boy sat quietly clutching his leathery ball rolling it in his hands staying very still not to provoke his mothers ire. He knew tomorrow was the name sake day for his people. And all those that reach the age of ten must be selected with their new name and become blessed by the village elder seer. Fang would shudder slightly as he hunched his shoulders as a cold droplet of water ran down his neck onto his back.
This must of given away Fang, as his mother walked forward standing in front of the bush with a smile on her face shaking her head in humor.
"Shouldn't you be with your father learning to hunt today, young man?" The woman asked as she sat the basket down kneeling down to look at her child holding a caring smile depicted by her similar soft brown eyes.
Fang sat hunched attempting to appear fine when in fact he felt cold tired and annoyed. His mind was racing with both anticipation and fear. He was not ready to leave his childhood behind. He enjoyed the hours playing in the village and jungle eating his fill of berries while swimming in the slow river. He would miss sitting atop of the cliff overlooking the wild jungles below imagining the stories of old fabled by the village elder seer. He also loved his family name Fang, he believed he did not need a first or one for his own. He was content and wanted nothing to change. His face would scowl as his eyes narrowed to the mud seeping between his toes coating his soft brown skin.
The mother would sigh lightly as she stood putting the basket onto the side of her hip, before glancing down at her child and speaking.
"I was like you once, dreading the name sake day and freedom. But then I realized something."
Fang would lift his head curious to what his mother was about to say. He caught her eyes with interest but she simply smiled as she walked off towards the village leaving the cliff note to Fang to ponder.
Frustrated Fang jumped out of the bush calling out. "Realized what mom? What did you realize?"
Yet she did not respond and simply smiled as she shrugged. Leaving Fang frustrated even more as he rushed forward to his mother side clutching the leather ball in one hand huffing with disapproval. Without realizing he was cleverly tricked, peeked by his emotions, reeled in by his mothers interests. As though a hungry trout to a fisherman's bait. Curiously hungry and oblivious.
Fang's thoughts would linger in the back of his mind as he rolled the leather ball in his hands. The texture rough on his smooth hands. Leaving traces of mud to linger in the grooves of his palms giving it a gritty feeling. This helped ease Fang's anxieties as it kept him somewhat grounded, least in his mind.
Walking behind his mother he noticed them finally make it into the village itself. It always fascinated him how quickly it had begun to shrink in both color and people. As though for each family that left, the village felt less lively and full. As though a dying tree and each strand of life slowly untangling itself.
His eyes would dart to the large stone structure in the middle of the village which was the oldest structure in the area. It was relatively tall. Taller than most of the trees and had one steep staircase to the top where assuming the elder seer was located. Off to the side an open doorway lead inside where rituals to the old magics would be performed. The place had always scared him as the old woman had a crackly voice, and when she laughed it would resemble a sinister jackal from the jungle.
Around the village smaller huts were built made of clay and straw. Most had adjourned designed on them lavished in the colors of purple greens and reds. That truly shined brightest when the raining season was not underway. A large pebbled road ran further from the village to a city that he wished to visit someday. Fang recalling his father telling stories of his ancestors building the great road to connect all the tribes together to the great city of Takala. The birthplace of their people and way of life.
It always fascinated him when the yearly priesthood would come by to break bread with the elder seer of the village. They were much taller than the rest of the village and were adjourned in white and blue robes and held an air of superiority. His thoughts grew rather dim however as he could not recall the last time any visitors from the city let alone the priest hood came to their village.
His eyes would last dart to the river that flowed around a large unlit log pile. Where the namesake day would occur tomorrow and each child of age would receiver their first name. He would recall at times running alongside the river and float in it until it reached the barrier rocks that blocked further entry to the cliffs below. The village itself was situated over a large valley that extended for miles into uncharted territory. The cliff itself and river ran its water down onto the jungle below. The fall was too far that none knew if it was soaked into the ground or if a lake was present.
His questions of the jungle below to his mother would usually go unanswered stating an old omen stalks those woods. Of a heritage that has been forgotten and neglected. While only the elder seer knows of the stories below which should be left untold.
"Fang, come inside before you catch a cold." His mother called out as she held open the carpet door, undoubtedly that was hand stitched by her hands. Fang quickly ran inside as he tossed his ball to the side of their house shivering slightly from the rain. He sat down in a wooden stool as his mother grabbed a cotton cloth and began to wipe his face with a sincere smile.
Fang sighed slightly with a smile back to his mother as he turned his gaze to look out an open window noticing the rain continue to poor. He felt sleepy but knew once he slept the night would take his dreams and he would be one day closer to the name sake day.