Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Locations II - The City of Stones

Locations are writing exercises based on places I have been or imagined. The intent of Wednesday pieces is to practice tone and style.

You have heard of the Great Forest far to the north beyond the upper edges of the blasted Waste, but you know noone who has ever traveled past the forest's edge and returned.  The Great Forest is filled with worgs and haunted by spectres and therein also dwell the immortal scions of the lost ones.  But I have heard stories, told when I was merely as old as you are now.  Beyond the blasted Waste, past the Great Forest which stretches for days unending, there is a land of rolling hills.  There are no mountains, for no mountain has ever been raised in those parts, or, if one once was, it was crushed flat by cataclysm eons ago. 

Yet the land gently buckles, the Great Forest loosens its terrible grip and streams and rivers cut channels through the edges where hills touch.  The curiosity, however, is that although there are no mountains and perhaps never were, atop each gentle hill are great stones the likes of which you have never seen.  These are not fallen pieces of a broken mesa.  These are monstrous squarish blocks hewn from some Titans fortress and cast aside.  They are dark and rough, speckled with lichen and moss, unlike any other rock found within the ground.  Moisture catches at every nook and groove, but they are not worn away by the seasons and the rain.  Yes, it rains in this far land.  Not the acidic rains that plague us here; clean rains, pure, healthy, vibrant and cold rains that scour the air and feed the earth.  At the tops of each of the hills in that land...great boulders.  Every one.  Every single one.  It is a wonder to contemplate.  And atop the highest of those low hills, for they stretch merely half as high at their peaks as the mesa to the south, atop the highest is a city of stones.  The great boulders are not set as houses.  They are not the Titan's castle, for no such thing exists.  But in that place is such a concentration of alien stone... 

There are paths and walls and monuments of chance and when the sun begins to set strange and terrible shadows crawl across the face of it all.  But do not fear, for it is a sacred place.  It is blessed by an ancient people.  The demons and beasts of the Great Forest cannot go there for they cannot abide the presence of those dark stones.  But it is a cold city...the city of stones.   For the winters come early in that place and cling with every ounce of strength and spirit to the last edge and sun-shaded spot.  And the water trapped so readily at the surface of each dark boulder turns itself into ice to challenge even the spring and onset of summer. 

Perhaps the place yearns for an eternal winter.  Perhaps it once had it and wishes to return to that happy state.  Who can know the primal urges of earth and stone and the forces bound within it.  And so I will leave you to the rest of your evening but when you retire this night and your mind slips quietly into the realm of dreams...consider the city of stones, past the reaches of the Great Forest beyond the blasted Waste... consider too the season and keep summer locked firmly within your heart.  For if you travel to the city of stones and winter finds will lock you away in a tomb of ice until the end of your days.


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Geek - Gamer - Librarian - Writer. Only awesome at one of those things at a time, unfortunately.

About Fading Interest

After writing op-eds and travelogues for several years, after finishing a few books, and after failing to get the ball rolling with project after project I stumbled into an idea that might just hold my interest long enough to enjoy some level of satisfaction with my writing.