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Legend of the Tauteval

Legend of the Tauteval
by Janie Hofmann

Legend of the Tauteval

The sharpened bones sulked
in the burial pit as the foothills
boasted green valleys of tender
roots, berries and wild sage.

The great beasts, their rough fur
dripping musk and sweat,
grazed, ripped mouthfuls
of sweet grass damp

from two nights of hail.
The warriors readied
for the hunt, smelling
of pitch, smoke and mud,

tossing handfuls of lopped
off hair into the fire
that cackled back
at their precise chants.

It was the time of the ice,
the great sea beyond
the craggy mountains
bathing in a frozen fog

that drove its fingertips
into their burial caves.
For now their feet
ground into the dirt

like burrowing rats.
This was the death
stomp, the prayer
to keep the hills

soft, warm and green
so as to remain
for that little while
longer, in the fertile
valleys of the beasts.

* * *

Janie Hofmann loves her cat, bird and fish and lots of espresso. Her work has appeared in over thirty journals, including Aoife's Kiss, Astropoetica and Scifaikuest, and she has work coming out in Tales of the Talisman and Illumen.

What is the most important part of a fantasy story?

The most important part of the fantasy story is that element of macabre, gothic or surrealism that takes both author and reader into wild dark worlds.