Swein Camp

A pit of ash, mixed in with the twisted shards of broken glass that once contained all manner of beers, ciders, and meads, and the charred remnants of...well, lord only knows what are surrounded by a haphazard ring of stone and barely recognizable bits of fire-brick. The pit is surrounded by ground made flat and bare by the trampling of years of feet, walking, dancing, running, smoking (you had to be there), and decorated in a broken circle of seats of stone and wooden logs.

There's a table there...or perhaps two. In my memory there's a table some five-foot round, with a wide central column which was hollow and the perfect receptacle for one's discarded containers, but it got uppity and had to be kicked to death by my brother when it started talking s#!t about him. *shrug* At least that's what he said at the time. There's a Tablero board somewhere around, maybe painted on the table with materials found lying about.

Looking up, one sees that the trees which surround the cleared ground have broadly spreading canopies which nearly meet, creating an island of sky which, so deeply blue by sunlight, darkens to a crystal clarity that allows a view of only a select portion of the heavens' splendor. The trees neatly encircle the entire clearing, leaving an opening at the base of the downhill slope onto a meadow named for baked goods. If you look closely, you'll find that one of the trees has a "church-key" bottle opener on a chain which was nailed into the tree so long ago that the tree has begun to grow around it.

It's hard to describe the men who have camped there. They certainly bore one another little physical resemblance; some were tall while others were not, some were stout while others were thin, some were mere youths, children even, while others were men of maturity. They shared little in the realm of temperament, either, with the gamut ranging from aggressive to pacifistic, somber men and their counterpart jokers. In truth, on seeing them together they might be best characterized as a spectacularly motley crowd simply by virtue of their diversity of appearance and demeanour.

As must be the case, however, there were certain things that each of them shared with the others. Each of them was somehow dissatisfied with this world of ours, with it's pomp and circumstance and responsibilities. Each one came to be fascinated by the idea of a "simpler" time, and how one might have lived in that time. Perhaps more importantly than these other things though, they all of them, to the last solitary one, loved a good time.

The men who made that clearing their home all shared one very special thing, though; something which enveloped their similarities and disregarded their differences. At some point in their time there around that fire pit, surrounded by those trees, underneath that sky; at some moment each of them looked around at the other men with whom they shared that camp and thought to themselves "I would, if I could, have every last one of these men as my brothers; and honor them as I would my own family." And so it was that every one of this rag-tag pack of drunkards, artisans, poets, craftsmen, and warriors declared themselves family

But so it is that all families drift apart. There are different things that one might accomplish in this world, and many of them do not allow for one to remain with one's family. Sadly, it is also true that sometimes mistakes are made, and sometimes harsh words and betrayals may cause unbridgeable gaps between the members of a family. Regardless of this, there will always be a Swein Camp filled with revelry, love, and true brotherhood so long as there is a single Sweinbrothar, somewhere, who holds that moment in his heart.

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