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The Oath

This one was odd because I feel like I want to write more on it but I am not sure. I liked the notion of figuring out what to swear on.

The Oath by Jeremiah McCoy

“Listen to your grandmother, “ she told me. “When you swear the oath, be careful what you are swearing to and swearing on.”

Of course, we always listened to grandmother. She has always been as far as anyone knew and always would be. She was constant as the sunrise.

“You may swear upon the forgotten oak, for though it is forgotten, it still stands true.” She continued as we walked towards the forest glen.

“Okay,” I said as my anxiousness grew.  The swearing was an honor but not with peril. I was the first of our village in a generation to swear the oath.

“You may swear upon your moon, in all her beauty and pale light.” Grandmother said with a light strain in her voice. The path was uneven, and her walking stick thumped an uneven rhythm as we made our way. “Though she is inconstant in her travels, she is still older than men and will watch us all pass beyond veil. “

“Grandmother, what did you swear on in your oath of service?” I asked as we reached the threshold of the glen, the line between our world and the fey.

She paused and looked at me or maybe through me. A sense of sadness and pain slid through their eyes and she gently grasped my cheek.  With a deep sigh, she looked once more on the glen.

“Do not swear upon your honor, for every fey knows full well the failing virtues of men and their honor. The oath, though said with conviction, will not be trusted and have no sway.” She said this with a grating tone she often used when she was scolding a stupid child. 

“Yes, grandmother,” I replied. “I will make you proud.”

She nodded as her walking stick struck the ground three times. Faint breezes blew in from the glen. They carried the smell of fresh rain, of berries, and earth.  I breathed deeply and stepped forward to swear and serve. 

“I come to swear,” I began. “As my people have long done. Such is our way, and such is our pact.”

An old silence greeted my declarations.

“I come to swear service to the land, to its people, and to the fey gentry who watch over us.” Again, I was greeted with an echoing silence, a stillness of ages. I stood rooted and a little afraid.

“I swear this upon…” I hesitated unsure if my choice. “My ancestors, long in their grave, upon the surety of their service, for they are departed, and any failings died with them. They will ensure my word for they can no longer betray. By such imperfect measure must I stand.”

For a moment, the silence stretched, but finally, a light warm breeze blew once more with the smells of spring. That was likely the only response I would get so I turned to leave, and my grandmother guided me home, as she always has.

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