Berg read his first word. He said it to one of his men, who looked at him with a wild expression, as if Berg had sprouted a pair of horns. There wasn’t anything else to say.
He knew what a word was, but of course he couldn’t read or write. None of the men could until he’d learnt it. The men fought and rode, they warred, and when they didn’t war they waited for war.
Berg hadn’t expected it would hit him this hard. It was as if he’d left one mankind and joined another. Like becoming a parent. Like falling in love for the first time. Like getting your first tooth.
Amazing to him, everything worthwhile seemed to come for free, through the air, on wings of desire. In one moment, the black lines were just scraggly things. They didn’t make any sense to him though he knew they made sense to someone. He felt blind though he could see. In the next moment, he saw the letters. He felt the meaning then, rather than knew it.
Berg could see how that one word connected him with all of creation. His sixty year-old scarred body shook as if it was young again. He felt a great wind carry him away, a wind that he’d summoned.
He didn’t know where it would lead, but he readied himself like for a long ride.