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 When Mountains Fall

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Pascale d'Artagne
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PostSubject: When Mountains Fall   Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:44 am

Fourteen years of peace.  Fourteen years of grass grown green, crops rising up to be cut down once the world turns golden brown, rivers running swift down craggy mountainsides.  With the tremors of revolt so recently settled, none would risk calling the present state prosperity, but each morning the sun rose on clear skies, hopes climbed higher.  The Revolution was over.  They were saved.

Saved from what? What evils had so incited men to take up arms against their compatriots? Without clear answers, the new age sat perilously on the brink of another disaster, while the men whose job it was to act sat clutching at unwarranted security.

For sure, the world needed saving.

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Pascale d'Artagne
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PostSubject: Re: When Mountains Fall   Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:37 pm

 A silence kept him company all along the road, weaving deftly through the light brown dust crushed soft and fine, skimming the first of autumns fallen leaves.  Although the mountain passes had not yet cooled so as to make difficulties in the crossing, nary a soul had crossed his path over the Central Trace.  All alone this traveller came, making good use of the empty lands to set a demanding pace.  There wasn’t really any hurry, but given a distance, one might as well shorten the travel time as not.

As the sun began it’s leisurely descent, Tor emerged from the lingering mountain pines.  Lifting a hand to wipe his brow, he failed to stifle a sudden sneeze.  Two more came in quick succession and, eyes watering, he silently cursed the brightness of the clearing.  Long swaying grass flowed bright and green against his passing figure of blue and brown.  If not for the tranquility of several days isolation, he surely would’ve felt exposed by the utter lack of camouflage.  

The openness was uncanny, the meadow out of place in the craggy hills.  Twigs snapped as he quickened his pace.  Really, how much grass can there be? he thought, the long strands parting easily before him.  This town had been evading him, hidden in the forest depths.  Any hope of reaching his destination that same day slowly departed, born on the endless grass brushing a horizon of clear blue sky.  If it were close at all, I’d’ve seen it by now.  

A sigh escaped and he shut his eyes on the world, as if to defy the whim of fate which had him haring over the coastal range for the past fortnight.  Loose gravel met his next step.  Slipping over the edge, Tor skidded down the crevasse, toes ramming into each protrusion.  Seven seconds later, forty feet lower, and two shades of dirt darker, Tor’s hands flew up, the collision with a wooden wall threatening to leave bothersome splinters.  

Once again silence descended.  In the moments it took to blink, he idly wondered if the figure of silence had fallen too, or followed at a more dignified pace.  It does seem to be of a regal aspect.   The ludicrousy made him chuckle, the levity stretching sunburned cheeks into a smile.  Even after so many days, the leather still dug into his shoulder as he hoisted his pack.  Eyes closed, he let out a deep breath.  Two steps took him around the side of the wall, at which point he was relieved to note that it seemed to be part of a house.  

A house in the middle of the mountains.  Houses came in towns.  As it happens, a town is my destination.

“Hello, Lindau.”

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PostSubject: Re: When Mountains Fall   Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:32 pm

The crinkle of small scurryings through dried leaves mixed with the sigh of the wind and the rustle of the ancient trees.  The song of the forest was playing and there was no one else to hear.

Errant looked around him,  soaking in the solemn sounds of the wood.  He knew the trees were fairly young,  but to him they seemed to have been there since the dawn of time itself.  The first cold breeze of autumn blew past him carrying the scent of water and earth. He threw back his head and pulled in a deep breath,  almost wishing he could grow roots and branches like the hero Amadaus and become one with the forest.  It wasn't until a second breeze drifted past that he realized how long he'd been standing there,  head tilted back like a fool trying to catch rain.  Blood rushed to his face like it always did when he was embarrassed,  smarting against the slight chill.  He broke into a jog and readjusted the axe on his shoulder.  Goddess only help him if he was late.

“Late then,  boy?”  the bear-like man gruffed into his beard as he sized up the tree they were hauling today.  There was silence,  but Errant heard the unspoken words. Your brothers never would have been. “Go to the horse.”

The brown-haired boy flinched and glanced at the solid heavy-boned Shire.  It was a just punishment,  his father knew he disliked the animals.  A rumor had torn around the town's boys (vehemently contradicted by the blacksmith)  that the beasts couldn't see where they put their feet,  and when those feet were the size of plates it was a cause for concern.

The sun was brushing against the horizon by the time they got home,  and a chill had definitely set in.  This didn't seem to hinder the blur of red curls from dramatically throwing itself into Errant's arms.

“Ant! Ant! Ant! Ant!” The small child gripped her brother by the waist and stared up at him with doey eyes. “Ant there's a stranger in the kitchen!”

The teen hoisted the little girl into his arms and spun her once in a circle. “Oh yes?  And who is this stranger? Anyone I've met before?”

“Of course not!  Then he wouldn't be a stranger!” She rolled her eyes at his antics. “He was looking for Lindau and he ran into our wall! I was telling Ma when he fell down the hill,  I was telling Ma about my bunnies by the meadow,  how one's brown and spotted and the other's white and spotted and...”

Her voice faded out into the background as he pulled open the door,  and peered inside.

The kitchen smelt strongly of pork and apples,  no doubt from what they were going to have for dinner.  Solid shapes of chairs and tables loomed out of the gloom of the house,  blending into the stranger that stood before him.  At first Ant thought that the other teen was uncommonly dark-skinned,  but then realized it was just dirt.

His mother bustled into the room,  and smiled widely at the stranger.  “It's too dark to walk all the way into town now,  love.  You'll stay with us tonight,  and maybe see the physician in the morning for those bruises,  eh?”  She turned her smile onto her son “You can stay in Ant's room for the night!”
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