In The Beginning
The stone hears the call as the bright light of what it will come to know as the sun breaches the horizon. The great Henge calls it to life, and echoing from every corner of the isle more voices join the call.
It feels the call deep within and its voice is welcomed to the gleeful chorus. It doesn't understand yet, but this is just the start, the magic twisting in it just enough to bring life where there was once only stone, a gift of power from the land.
Awake it is, and awake it will stay.
The call comes again each year, and all lend their voices to the whole. It's learnt much since the first call, learnt of the sky above and the land below. Learnt its place as the guardian of the common.
Humans gather with offerings, each gift presented lending it new strength and teaching it more things. It feels newly reborn, grown stronger still, and as the moon rises it pulls free of the earth and travels the length of its land. It reaches out to rock and pebble, none of the other stones can follow, but it gladly shares its strength.
The humans bring change, they carve paths through its land, dig deep in the earth to find more stone and build homes around its domain. Their animals roam its fields, first goats and sheep, then larger beasts it learns are cows. It thinks the sheep were more respectful, they trimmed the grass around its base but mostly left it alone. The cows show no such restraint, treating him like furniture as they lean their heavy bodies against it, rasping their tongues along its sides. In the day it has no defence, but at night it reminds them of their place.
It notices the human dwellings each have guard stones of their own, standing at the gates they are ever vigilant but as yet have no voice to call theirs. Each night as it dances it shares a little of its power with them, it takes almost all its strength, but eventually they wake.
They teach it more of the human world, and as the humans twine their magic with their hearths, they soak up new power of their own. It watches over its new creations with wonder, and when the time comes he knows they'll be honoured in the call.
The human worshippers come and go, each new generation adding something wondrous to its knowledge. The world around it changes, horses giving way to carts and in time there are cars; carrying humans to and fro. Above him in the sky great metal birds swoop and dive in the air, and new plants come to seed.
Each change is woven into its dance, it embraces them all, celebrates the changing world as it dances amongst the trees. It won't let any of their stories be lost, preserving each precious memory to share with its brothers and sisters in the call.
It never falters in its resolve. Even at its weakest, when it has gone too long without power, it stands watch over its lands. It basks in the sunshine, feels the rain wash it clean, marks the passages of time with new dances and new stories to share.
It won't let its people down, it is the Longstone, and it is the guardian of the common. All else may fade, but it will stand as long as it's needed. And when the call comes again it will answer, for it will never be alone as long as the Henge stands.
The old ways are forgotten, and priests rarely come to it now. Parents of sick children no longer seek its aid, trusting in their new science instead. But it learns new ways to harvest power, from the workers toiling in its fields it gathers hopes and prayers for a bountiful crop, from the children playing throughout its land it gathers hopes and dreams, and its beloved guard stones send it power from the humans they stand watch over.
Every birth and death in its domain brings power, each new life brings magic to the land, and strength to its will.
It keeps close track of its land as it dances, it likes to know all who come to it. The rocks pulled from the quarries, the beasts and birds and all the trees and hedgerows, every life that calls this little spot theirs are made welcome. It lets its power sweep out over them all as it passes, just a taste, a way to show that they belong and they are loved. All that make their home here get a touch of its magic, a blessing to ease their path, and keep them safe in the dark of the night.
The call goes out each year, but not all its brethren answer. Ancient voices lost to the ravages of time, stones broken back into the earth. It grieves for them, each loss a wound that cuts it deep. It doesn't understand at first, but the Henge comforts him, speaks of a great hereafter waiting for all when their duty ends. It wants to believe they'll be reunited, but it is afraid, for to fall is to abandon its duty. To let all who seeks its protection stand unaided, so it gathers its strength and prepares for another season standing watch.
In The Beginning, Again
Each year it gladly greets the call and is born anew in the strength they all share. It never feels old, never weary of its duties, it still finds magic in every new thing it learns or sees. It honours the souls lost, but knows that new voices will come to join their chorus in time, and it greets each new dawn with joyous wonder.
It is happy, just as the Henge promised it would be, it has its land and its people, and all is good in its world. Though it still isn't sure about the cows.