At the peak of a lone mountain lives a song. No one knows how it came to be there, or how long ago it was written. No one has heard it in its entirety. It is difficult to find, and were you to find it you would be lucky to hear a single verse.
Those who have heard it say it is as subtle and soft as thoughtful humming, accompanied by the soft ringing of small bells. There are movements to the song, and the melody ranges from slow and meandering to a thundering staccato. Some hear the strings of a lyre being plucked while others hear the whimpers of a wounded bull. You may even hear lyrics, though few have.
The song itself is a mystery. Those who hear only the music cannot agree on which instruments are being played, and those who hear its lyrics cannot understand what is being sung. No one knows why the song is there, what purpose it serves, or whether one should hear it at all.
But the song is there. You can find it yourself if you listen for it.
Often it can be found at night, when the moon is cloaked and the stars are bright.
From atop a mountain, miles from the nearest city and surrounded by a vast desert, you may hear the call of an eagle searching for its mate, or watch as it brings meat back to its nest.
Then, al azif. This is what the people who live near the mountain call the chirring of insects. If the night is warm, which is often the case near the mountain, al azif will be steady. When you have listened to al azif long enough that you lose focus on all that surrounds you, then the song will begin. Or rather, you will hear it then—the song has no beginning.
The melody will rise and encircle you. Perhaps you will hear brass horns and the crash of cymbals, or the long sigh of a violin like wind through dried reeds. Or perhaps you will feel the thumping bass of drums, of giant footsteps running toward you from within a shadowed cave. And yes, you may even hear lyrics. Don’t worry if you don’t. Those who do are often disappointed when they realize they cannot understand the words.
Regardless, you will feel love—love for your children begotten in sacrifice, and the lengths to which you would go to protect them.
Shame, too, of disappointing your father, although you have the strength of a god.
Pain from losing your brother to an ancient evil, forever wondering if it could have been helped. If you could have done more.
Strain of guiding a boat over poisonous rapids rushing over grey pebbles covered in algae.
The color orange.
The smell of burnt almonds.
You will forget what brought you there, the choices that shaped and formed your sorrows and joys, that determine where you will journey next. And later, you will forget the music. You will forget the lyrics, if they did in fact come to you. The experience will fall through your memories like sand through a sieve. You will only remember that the song exists, and that you were lucky to have heard a single measure.
I am not lucky.
I have heard the entire song.
This is a small piece.