Fathomless loss, oh young maiden of the Sun,
Covers your once auburn complexion.
Bone white yet, a glowing reflection
Stirs amid the teary lake that has finally won.
O’ Helen, Ophelia; Athena’s Wisdom falters
At these diverging paths reached. Hold
Out your hands and drink the question
Untold. It’ll serve the bold for no gold.
A soulful debt sold neither to kings nor altars.
You’ll set off towards uncharted waters
’til the olive branches become your halters.
To find us both here at the same end.
The ladder’s rungs give way and bend.
Can you even see? Perhaps the wanderlust lingers
Within your eyes like a sickness. Stay and defend;
Orders taken to the heart but in your hands splinters
Fester. Where could we ever find escape? Please, lend
Me a glance of empathy in all this. Coldest of all Winters.
Visibility close to zero. Blasts of cold nip my fingers
Raw and frozen. Chained by icy hearts and integers.
Two friends grasping at a primordial fire
In an attempt to better mankind. To tend
And to witness unless we give into our ire.
When this fateful storm finds its solemn end
We’ll drift away to somewhere we can mend.
A breath of cold extinguishes my feet. The ashes the wind carries meet a silky layer of snow. I stand here between a gentle touch and a bitter gnawing, a borderline. My prideful words harden in my throat; a sign appears asking me where to. I clamp my teeth together as I step into the unknown icy realm.
The forest door of branches and vines wilts away revealing two intertwined trees. I walk around them. How? Is it a passage or something more? I touch the trees but I fall backwards. Stinging sorrow and ever consuming love overflows from them. I kneel down and try again. This time I focus on the emotions to bring the truth to the surface.
Frost cracks from the branches releasing two flurries. These flurries materialize into two elven children holding hands. The hands frostbitten and frozen together. They skip around in joy. Little laughs echo throughout the barren tundra. I look at them like they’re a happy photo beneath a broken frame. My heart aches at the sight creating a deep hole. A chasm, an innumerable amount of time between then and now.
I follow them with Daefyr wading in my shadow. Every step takes me closer into the despair that befell these two. I shiver from the cold but I couldn’t conjure up any fire. I hold myself with my own arms trying to stay warm. Freezing gusts of air and snow slice at me. No matter what I do the cold pierces me. I’m at its mercy.
The farther we go the thicker the snowfall gets. My eyes cannot see more than a few feet in front of me. Suddenly the elves stop dancing. I press my feet into the snow to gain enough traction to stop as well. They turn towards me then point forward and fade away with the wind. I slowly step forward until my toes reach the end of land. A steep cliff lays before me.
I sit down with my legs dangling over. My hands grip the ledge and trace the grooves of stone. Everything feels right except for two small holes. I begin shaking. What happened here? Those children died. But. . .why are they happy? Daefyr rubs his wet, cold nose against my chest. He pushes me into the snow. See the truth, young master.
In the distant a scream scrapes through the shivering cold. A voice more like rusty metal creaking in the wind. I squint to see further but only the scream becomes clearer. A cry for help that time now distorts. The pain is a singularity of emotion that nothing escapes from especially time. Suffering. I reach my hand out.
“How. . .no, why?” suddenly a thin tendril of ice flies pass me. Energy reverberates in the ice until it resonates a deafening tone. I cover my ears and roll away from it. The ice explodes into a cloud of shards.
“No. Nobody did. But that time is gone.”
“Because you choose to. You can move on now.”
“Only the living have that gift.”
“No. All things exist in cycles. That includes you. You’re lost. You don’t know where to go. Let me guide you.” I reach out my hand. The ghost grabs my hand but the bitterness and pain starts freezing my hand. I grit my teeth. When the ghost notices it tries to let go. I grab tighter.
I shake my head and rub my eyes. A bitter taste in my mouth. I ignore it the best that I can but there’s no denying these memories. They follow me even in my sleep. The stranger leaving behind the book that leads me to saving a beast. The more I think about it the beast is an elemental of darkness. He’s never far from the light, he trails behind objects, and he appears in the night.
I reach my hand to feel the silky black fur. A light nearly ghostly feeling flows against my hand. The circumstance of our friendship. He feels my presence yet never senses a threat unlike the villagers. They exiled us. I still don’t understand why or how I could use mist alchemy without ever practicing it. A strong desire burns to rescue a misunderstood creature. In that desire the fires from within found their way. My fingers fusing with the beast’ s wispy, cold coat. The past few days seem to fade away.
After a few more minutes we stand up and look towards the sun. We walked and walked for the first two days leaving familiar territory far behind. The further we go the more hostile creatures become. Goblins, trolls, skeletons, and other creatures I only heard about in books. They stalk the low lands at the base of the Gorundin Mountains. Every time I nearly walk into a threat the black dog steers me away. I rely on him as much as he relies on me. That much is evident.
“We should start up the mountain today. I’m not really sure where else to go. The oceans are never forgiving and the villagers block us from heading east or south. And the lands to the north are far too frigid for us. So we headed out west. Our culture says those who break any law must atone by following the sun’s path to the Crystal Cathedral. I’ve never seen it with my own eyes but heard the elders speak about it.
The village oldest elder left for it a few months ago. Nobody has heard from him since. Maybe I’ll figure something out by the time we reach the Cathedral. He’s probably just relaxing up there never wanting to return to the village. I wouldn’t blame him. Our elders excluding him seek to further isolate us from the other provinces. A great hatred stems from our inaction in both politics and trade. Oh well they’ll hold to those ideals until the end of time. Me? I’ll figure it out but first there’s a mountain to climb.”
I begin walking up the elevating terrain and keeping my pace with the black dog. We listen for anything that might warn us of danger. Nothing. Until today a steady wind brought the chill of the mountains to the lowlands. This silence makes me uneasy. The black dog picks up on my feeling and perks up his ears. Something’ s coming. But what?
Suddenly the ground begins to shake. I stumble around getting my footing back. The dog begins backing up and whimpering slightly. I see it. A large object rising from the forest floor hidden behind a large tree. It yawns so loud that the birds fly out of every tree for miles around. I realize that the creature is a giant. They typically live in the valleys between the great mountains except during times of flooding. I stand there shivering, hoping he leaves in the other direction.
The light; concrete or abstract
Somehow we find ways to subtract,
Extract the heart beating inside.
Held down by a chosen destiny like the path had been set long ago.
And now when I’m looking in the eyes
Of others there’s a pestilence growing inside.
I’m just asking where does the heart reside
Now? Cast the die and take a ride
Through the bountiful gardens of decadents.
The day when it rains I wonder if it’s like a cadence or is it like an emptiness.
Are we living inside a trance?
Move by move we dance
Along to the melancholy tune.
I’m asking for a different kind of light coming from inside.
I ain’t looking for an ecclesiastical view, much less an optimistic one, just something to tell me that you feel. It feels like I’m surrounded by hollow men.
Abominations without a heart
But plenty of matches to start
A fire upon the fields of Eden.
What is this that we’ re feeding?
Ego, self pride, self-worth; neuroses plaguing the conscience and warping the outlook on life. Like a fish we took the hook for a little bait. So tell me where is the light now?
Did we snuff it out?
With a puff the candle went out.
“Have you ever just stared out into the distance? Out there is something unknown but it’s known by the wind. The howls, the cold, the birds, the whispers, the storms, the seeds, the wanderlust. If the unknown calls then surely we should heed it.” These are the words said by a stranger on his way through my village.
These words they resonate in my mind. A man traveling by himself through dangerous lands yet he remains cheerful. I wonder if I could do the same. The stagnant state of this village leaves a pungent taste in my mouth. No news from the outside reaches here and the villagers find solace in the isolation. Do I? Lately the man’s words romance my thirst for something new.
I walk to the edge of town where I met the man. The place is unusual for most travelers. A ravine the village elder calls the entrance to the Burrow of Despair. Tales speak of men losing their minds in the ravine and finding a door hidden beneath thorns. Neither does the door exist or the thorns but the hallucination is much more vivid than reality. One man rescued from the ravine was unable to function at all.
The older villagers say he never escaped the ravine. I never met him nor do I wish to find truth in such a tragedy. Out of mercy or perhaps selfishness they put him to rest. We warned the traveler about these states of altered reality but he pressed on. I wonder how. His footsteps, the only pair on the soil, show a leisurely stroll.
“What was it? If I could ask about his confidence in traveling. Or return the book he dropped right here.” I ramble on.
I traced the cover with my hand. A skillful engraving meets my fingertips and I feel warmth radiating from it. Should I read the book? He may never return. Or I could show it to the elder because all those old people in the Council have strict rules on outside knowledge. No I can’t let them get rid of the book. I place the book back in my pocket and head back to my house.
The hardest bark and thinnest blade of grass;
Reality and dreams – caught on the shoals
Of a sea where the known and unknown
Wage war. A pendulum swinging back and fro.
Caught in the tides to which we never let go
And we become slaves to. We who own
The world actually own nothing. Fools,
Proving themselves with wealth and brass.
A darkness grows from this discrepancy.
These deeds corrupt the primal forces
Born ages before humanity. Destruction.
Is this a law of motion or simply karma?
The Dragacian people were not ready.
Fanatical beasts pour out at a steady,
Unnerving rate. Again, they were not ready.
Hatred it seeps into our hearts filling it black,
The day comes when the dawn will no longer break,
we forget who we are and who they are. A war begins.
We could walk away. Why don’t we? We could.
The differences between us never justify.
To take is to steal for we weren’t given this earth.
Question what you were told. They lied.
The world allows us to be here.
If we betray the kindness how can we say it’s unfair?
Let’s walk away. The march forward we can’t share.
They say disregard those that are weird and to accept those that are different. When their charade is exposed the journey begins. We’re sailing into a jungle where a bright Sun burns anyone outside. Most will steer away from this land of tribulation and seek refuge in the shade, but I can’t anymore. The Sun burns away the veil. . .