The Three-Legged Crow
STORYHansaneega@Lee Jongbeom
A divine bird who heralds cosmic resonance.A bird known to have three legs and to live on the sun, the samjogo’s cry meant the next Stroke was imminent. A messenger of great presence who caused Stroke. A strange sound rang throughout the sky. At the same time, they saw the bird that flies the highest in the entire world. This bird was the one that flies near the sun. “This is a big problem…” “Something’s going to happen soon.” A black bird. Just looking at it made you feel something bad was going to happen. The bird was called the samjogo. “Why…did it have to be a samjogo…” “Shouldn’t we retreat?” The barbarians who ruled over the plains looked serious, unlike what they looked like before. They couldn’t help it. That bird was disaster incarnate. -Rumble They thought they still would have time. They thought they’d have enough time to hold a meeting. No, they thought they would be able to enjoy what they’d been able to steal a little longer. “G-Goguryeo soldiers!” “R-run!” They’d miscalculated. -Rumble Cataphracts. The soldiers, also known as gaemamusas or trained soldiers astride armored horses, stormed onto the battlefield. They had a black, three-legged bird emblazoned on their chests. “U-uwahhh!” “R-run!” The rulers of the plains, the barbarians who massacred the indigenous people of the plains, were starting to die like bugs. Just the cataphract was scary on its own, but the soldiers with samjogos on their chests were a calamity to barbarians A calamity where nothing could be done with manpower. “To me!” And of those men, the man in the very front was special. He wasn’t just called King, he was called Great King. Gwanggaeto. Countless samjogo flew onto the battlefield on his command. Rumors about him reached beyond the peninsula, beyond the midlands, and crossed the sea. “I saw a samjogo.” “So, something will happen…” As the years went on, Great King Gwanggaeto and the gaemamusas were forgotten, but their symbol, the samjogo, continued to spread by word of mouth. “There was a flood…” “That’s what happened?” The samjogo didn’t actually like its bad reputation. It was pouting when a man in red clothes, a black hat, and glasses laughed. He scratched the samjogo on its beak.  “You must feel that it’s unfair. But be understanding. People’s memories aren’t perfect.” “Caw, caw.” “But don’t cry. If you do, something big will happen down there again.” Dangun. He was no longer looking at the samjogo, he was looking down at the world below the sky. He couldn’t see the world immediately. The part of the sky where Dangun was located was called Cheonoecheon, which meant “the sky above the sky.” There weren’t many beings who were given permission to go all the way up there. “I’m sorry, but…” Even if they did come up, going back down wasn’t that easy either. That was only natural. Going back and forth between two worlds couldn’t be easy. “You’ll have to go back down one more time.” Dangun just asked the samjogo to do so without even batting an eye. “Caw!” Samjogo tried complaining. It not only took an immense amount of time to go and get back, but it also took a crap-ton of strength. And the way the samjogo was being looked at wasn’t so nice either. He worked his tailfeathers off but was merely disgraced in return. “But won’t people speak ill of you even if you don’t go?” Dangun read the samjogo’s mind accurately. He was a being who was close to being omnipotent and omniscient, so rather than it being something he could do, it was well-known by all who knew the context. “Look at that.” Dangun pointed at the sun. Even looking at it here, the sun just looked to be the size of an egg, but that egg had a black pattern dancing on it. “What would people say if they saw that?” “Caw!” This was unfair. It was inevitable. Now, even the black spots on the sun were the samjogo’s handiwork? They’d invented telescopes or whatever they were called, but they were still blaming it on him? Either way, it was an established fact that when black spots appeared on the sun, strange things would happen on Earth. It was also an established fact that people would blame the samjogo for it. So Dangun laughed again as the samjogo looked sulky. “Don’t worry. This time it’s truly something good. Instead, you’ll be a little busy…” “Caw?” ‘Something good?’ Dangun was a playful person but he wasn’t a liar. At the very least, he wasn’t someone who would say something was good when it wasn’t. While the samjogo was cocking his head in confusion, Dangun looked around somewhere far off—somewhere the samjogo couldn’t see.  “It’s a huge deal. I’m not sure if the timing is appropriate… But it’s not something we can just pass on.” A hopeless look was spreading on his face. The samjogo had only seen this a few times. Thinking about the time he spent with Dangun, he knew this situation wasn’t a run-of-the-mill situation. 5 thousand years. Over the course of those 5 thousand years, Dangun was never bewildered, except for when the samjogo took a shine to another human, Great King Gwanggaeto, and worked with him. “You will become my messenger and inform others of Stroke. It‘s an important job, and it’s not easy, so I will help you.” “Caw?” The samjogo felt a sudden power in its wings. This would be enough for it to fly between worlds more than dozens of times. That meant… “Caw!” Dangun’s personality wouldn’t allow him to do things for no reason. The samjogo pecked at him, and Dangun laughed. Then, he pointed down at the man below. The samjogo finally figured out what was happening. The world was one but not one. The samjogo, a divine beast, could see it. He could see a “connection” taking place. “Then, go and cry out. I will tell you who you need to find in your head.” No matter how much it didn’t want to do it, there was no way out. The samjogo spread its even bigger wings and flew down to the world below the heavens. The faces of the people Dangun informed him were going through his head. ‘Which should I go to first?’ Dangun didn’t tell him that.  “Caww!” A rumor about a foreboding omen began to spread amongst the people.