100 Themes 011 - Memory

I've been without reliable internet recently. Moved house, that's why, and damned internet companies take so long to connect you. I guess I should have gotten onto it quicker. Anyway, here are a few stories.


The raven shifted its feet on his arm. Why? This wasn’t one of the skittish creatures that so often flew high overhead, or perched in the trees. What was the significance of this one? It was sleek, plumage black as night; and, as night is seldom black, it held hues of purple, blue and grey, caught in the weave of feathers.

The raven moved slowly along his outstretched hand. It was looking at him, one beady eye holding his stare. There was intelligence there, and almost immediately his mind began to form a plan. Could this bird be captured, tamed, used for some purpose? Messenger service, maybe, he always needed messengers. What for, though?

The raven moved past the rough wool of his shirt and onto bare wrist. As soon as its feet touched his skin, his arm tingled, and then came a pain. Images flooded into his mind; his first sword lessons, pushing Arvik down the stairs, his first kiss, wetting the bed, his mother scolding him. More than that came through the conduit between him and the bird; faces, names, places, reasons. He was in a field of battle, but there was no fighting around him; the bird had been sent as a messenger to his lieutenants on the western front.

The raven. Memory.


The bird croaked, a crude simulation of human speech, but it served.

“Lord; the battle is won. Your armies return even now, but Hyrni has been injured.”

A pang of sorrow flashed through him, like it always did, and with the name came a face, shared memories, a sense of loss.

“That is regrettable. Send word that I will meet them back at the command tent.”

Memory bowed its head. “I obey.” It nodded to the other raven, perched on a bare patch of his shoulder, and flew away.

The memories left him almost as soon as the bird did, leaking away. He turned to look at the second raven, perched on his shoulder, as he felt the loss.

“Your Memory leaves you more as you grow older,” croaked Thought, and then he couldn’t even remember that.