Mountain 1

Obligatory Game Design Stuff: Torchbearer's beginning playtest. I'll post more on it when I have something substantial to say. Until then, fiction.

The scent of foxgloves hung in the air, and beside them, Blackbird Lantern wondered about what had just happened. Feneng had run by with a bird on her shoulder—a scarlet lark, maybe—and commanded him, "Send me Desolate Vessel and Creator-of-All-Things"; she was out of earshot before had composed a response.

Something has ignited the golden blood in her, he thought.

Run was the first thing she said to them when they came to her at the temple gate. She was already several yards downhill, chasing that red bird.

So they ran.

Soon after, they could no longer see the temple, and they did not stop. The forests fell away and plains rolled up at their feet like a yellow sea. They did not stop. The sun streaked across the sky many times, and before long Desolate Vessel and Creator-of-All-Things were aware of nothing else but the ground passing beneath them and the slow beat of eight wings. Still they did not stop.

When a white-bearded mountain reared up before them and filled the sky, they stopped.

They landed at its feet.

Vessel croaked.

Feneng laughed. "Go, drink water and when you return here we will pray." They hadn't noticed they had changed, so they would not be able to change back on their own.

The acolytes flew off, and, some time later, three priestesses stood up after their meditations and began to build a fire. It was cold under the mountain's shadow. "Feneng, what are we doing here?" Creator asked.

"The lark wishes us to move this mountain. It blocks the route to his home, he says." Feneng sipped her tea complacently. "We will carry out the task in the morning." Desolate Vessel and Creator-of-All-Things exchanged a look. Neither could tell whether it was a look of amusement or alarm.

Shut the windows. Close the doors. Turn the keys. Where are the horses? Blackbird Lantern was battening down the monastery.

A storm was brewing. He could smell its pain.

Blackbird Lantern, for the first time in many years, was afraid.

It did not take long to move the mountain. Underneath it was a beautiful valley full of trees. Never having touched the sun, all their leaves were white.

Desolate Vessel
Nanjyar Móe


Anonymous Thomas said...

This is some of the coolest stuff I think I've seen from you in a while. Very, very well done.

Though I should mention that I found the shift back to the monestary somewhat disjunctive, and as it's purpose isn't immediately apparent to me I might suggest expanding it so that I can tell what's going on there, or removing it so that it doesn't break the flow of the text.

1:31 am  
Blogger Shreyas said...

You mention this feeling of disjunction pretty often, Thomas - apparently it's a weakness of mine. I'll post an expansion in my livejournal; it's annoying to expand here because it refreshes the RSS feed, and I don't really want to spring that on people until I figure out how to fix it.

(The intent is to show that events at the mountain are reflecting consequences onto the monastery, but even I was aware that this isn't totally clear in the text.)

6:02 am  

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