The Beowulf Poet

English is -- and forever will be -- a bizarre amalgamation of disparate linguistic ideas. It is a blending of several different cultures into a single, somewhat ambiguous entity. Latin, though now entirely nonexistent as a modern language, still persists in several modern tongues, such as Spanish, French, Catalan, et cetera; however, English is unique in that it also Germanic, heralding from the era of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. The adaptability of English-speaking people to new norms is one clear reason for their success in modern culture.

When I was younger, my country was not wealthy enough to afford common writing utensils -- exempli gratia tablets, paper, quills, books -- so we instead told stories through speech alone. What a travesty that was! We lost so many interesting stories and forgot so many exemplary heroes! Those we remembered were only the greatest of the great -- those whose stories were told as bedtime fables for unruly children. Even then these stories were hard to believe as true.

One day, while tilling the fields, a rather peculiar fellow revealed himself to me. He wore colorful, untainted clothes and claimed to be from another village. More importantly, he carried a large sack of dried parchment and said he was traveling to find tales to transcribe into text. I don't remember my exact words at the time, but I remember leaving the farm that afternoon to follow in his footsteps and learn the art of authorship. Together, we sought the most interesting tales from across the land, trying our best to learn from each and every person we met.

The following years were impossibly difficult. Many nights, we found ourselves without food or water, and sometimes after hiking for miles and miles we were turned away by villages who hardly had enough to support themselves, let alone two strangers! No matter how many nights we slept on hard stone or ate insects to survive, we kept our parchment clean and dry. Our bodies were weak, but words are immortal.

At least, that's what I thought.

One day, while my mentor was investigating an ancient fable, a local townsman claimed to know the location of the hero's funeral pyre. His only request was that I travel with him alone. Without caution, I followed into a dense forest of trees and brush, leaving everything I had known to my mentor in town. As we progressed, the the forest, itself, once a lively manifestation of life, began to whisper -- warding us away from our final destination.

No matter, we continued.

It was then that I began to notice the adeptness of my guide. His hair was long and grey and his cloak tattered with age. Even so, he never stumbled or fell and climbed cliffs without even a sigh of exhaustion. Within a day, we found ourselves at a large opening and at it's center was a boulder that was nearly the size of 4 men. Without saying a word, my guide rolled it away, revealing a dark cave with heaps of charred treasure.

It was here that I learned the truth. My guide was the hero, himself: Beowulf.

I was both frightened and comforted by this revelation, but I was mostly excited to think of the stories he could tell -- Alas, all my parchment was left with my mentor leagues away! No matter how I pestered him to return to the town with so we could inscribe his words, he ignored my requests and instead began asking me questions about myself and the person I would like to be.

I told him that no matter how the world would change, I would like to be there to document it for future generations. He thought my idea was noble and said it was time for the world to learn from a more passive hero.

Beowulf had been granted an amulet of eternal life by a witch on one of his many conquests, which allowed him to survive even his own funeral. He could continue building his fame and fortune, living as the greatest adventurer the world would ever know, but no matter how many stories were told, people would forget of his deeds unless someone, like me, wrote of them.

I agreed and said that immortality was found only in written word.

We continued to speak for hours, and I was honored to learn from such a great hero as he. As the sun rose the next morning, Beowulf sighed and told me it was time for him to rest and handed me the amulet. It was so long ago, I don't recall exactly what he said, but the intent was clear: he wished for me to live and immortalize as many people as possible.

So I did. I found myself drawn to wars and conflicts -- places where heroes were born and thrived. I wrote and I wrote, excited to learn from the greatest of the great. Those next centuries were the best of my life; however, amid the 13th century, a vile future loomed.

Within those hundred years, half the world died -- first of famine, then of plague. There were no heroes during these years, only victims. I stood amidst corpses with my clean, colorful robes, adorning Beowulf's amulet and feeling nothing but shame.

I did everything I could. I wrote of the living. I wrote of every medical practice I could to save them... and yet nothing worked. Was it worth immortalizing the dead?

In a fit of rage, I threw my quill in a river and traveled as far as I could -- away from the world I knew and into one anew.

Since then, the world has changed. People have changed. English has changed. Throughout the next few centuries, there were many interesting tales told by others: Chaucer, Shelley, Tolkein... and yet the poems of my late mentor were completely missing. I was merely known as the Beowulf poet and Beowulf, himself, was nothing more than a historical trivia.

What is the point of writing if even it can die?

No. This is wrong.

The world changed. The reason my writing has been forgotten is entirely on my shoulders. Everything changes. So, too, should I.

Today, I write again.

Prompt: You were a human chosen to be undying and ageless. One day you decide to write a book and while trying to overcome your writer's block, several centuries has passed.

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