The wild men of the woods are always looked down upon and left in the great nowhere of deep forests far from the lives of villagers. And even further from city dwellers. They are the criminals cast out and banished from communal life. Effectively sentenced to death in these parts of the world. The forest is not an easy place to live alone at the best of times, let alone the harsher seasons.
I cast myself into this place, taking exile over a claim of justice I knew would never search for truth. When the only village elders are from two rival houses to your own, you know the outcome will never be that of honor and truth. Instead of facing false claims and enduring what would be a short and unjust trial, I refused to recognize the charges and elders and volunteered my own exile.
It is not nearly as bad as others would have you believe. It is of course difficult to live alone and avoid outcast villages made deep within the woods, but they are people who never really adjusted to life here among the trees and babbling brooks. They only try to replicate what it was they lost upon being cast out for whatever their crimes may be, and in doing so often make themselves criminals again. But I live deeper in these woods now.
I would hold anger to what drove me here if it were not for all that this place has given me. Far from any path whether new or ancient, further than a bird’s flight from any folk or hut, that is where I am. Near to the borders of a faerie’s wood, but not near enough so as to be reckless, this is where I have made my home, built and maintained with skills I have learned over a life time.
It is really quite striking, the silence of the deep wood in the absence of any other. When the birds and deer and even the trees themselves have grown accustomed to your presence and no longer hide their whistles, calls or cracks. Here is the most beautiful silence, furnished by the whispers of elements and ambiance of nothing. Here one of the only sounds I make is that of a fire to cook whatever I have fished, caught or hunted. For the rest there is naught save this wonderful silence.
The other sound I make in this silent loneliness is that of a flute I carved from the bone of a deer I savored for many a day. I never did know how to play a flute, knowing only the idea of how to make it. But with several ribs and several attempts, I managed to make one which sounds just as I remember.
I play it still not knowing how it is to be played, knowing no song or tune as it should be done. I play this flute with only what notes I know to reach. After all, there are none here to complain about what sounds I play in my ongoing trial and error. Here I play these notes to a tune I do not expect, but my ears appreciate whenever it is done.
They say that those wild men of the wood are damned, for more than their crimes alone. I beg to differ. Their punishment to me is a heaven I wish to have been subject to so many years earlier. This lonely silence is all I would want were I to choose the manner of a life to live when this one is done.