Thursday, December 27, 2012

A stranger in the darkness

The veil of darkness that shields my vision of tomorrow hides that which places me now in peril. The cold metal against my skin begins to melt as my hand slides with the new dampness. I feel the pounding of my heart as the blood pushes through my frame, my arms suddenly tired from the tenseness that has gripped me. Again I announce my challenge and again my reply is the silence of black mountains.

A sound, a whoosh unknown to me breaks the stillness and is answered with a whimper. Its reply is a scamper, the sounds of digging claws fade as they rustle the dead leaves that litter the ground. My observer has retreated into the boundless darkness and I stand alone once again.

"You had best not stand alone tonight without a fire."

The suddenness of the voice chills my skin and I now tremble with a new fear. Then before my eyes a shadow emerges from the darkness, movement as swift as a summer stream and quiet as a breeze upon an open meadow. I step back, the lump now in my throat a rock I may not swallow. I see a giant emerge as the darkness parts and before me stands a tower.

"Best not to be wandering these parts by yourself."

My silence lingers as I look up to one who is larger than anyone I have ever seen. Another step away as I feel the angst of the moment, my fear of the unknown welling from the darkest places within my soul.

"I am Authurn, of the north." My new companion lowers his arm, his weapon now riding at his side. "And who might you be?"

"I am Clancy of the three valleys."

"Well Clancy of the three valleys, it is time for a night's fire. There are things you need not meet in these lands. The new moon shelters them, gives them safety and free hunting. In these mountains before the plains, night becomes the huntress."

"Who, what are you? Your words ring true to my ears."

"What am I?" The sudden sound of haughty laughter fills the hollow spaces within the trees and renews my spirit. "Why, I am a man, of course." 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A fold of night

This day does end with a new vista presented to these wandering eyes. The Sirris has now closed behind me as a picket fence upon my neighbor's abode. Its passages, now faltering beneath the fading light of day begin to close their secrets to the outside world. The lowland valleys lurk in obscurity as their high cousins glow by the slim light of a crescent moon.

Before me lays an expanse that begins a new world; a world that has never before been seen by those of my lands. The darkness hovers above the landscape as the light fades, the sun retreating behind the Choale as night takes its hold on the eastern world. My sight dims in the night airs and I may only guess at the vastness of open plains that lay in the folds at the feet of these mountains. Only a new day shall reveal their secrets as one night longer I shall be forced to reside within its coffers.

A sudden snap from the growing darkness brings my attention back to the passes. I raise my rod across my breast in defense of what may linger in the gathering twilight. My senses perk at the revelation, my skin is flush with new blood, the hair on my flesh standing on end. My peaceful excursion is shattered as I raise a defense against the unknown. My bravado withers in the darkness as sneers and huffs and puffs hang in the airs. My first challenge may be my last. I slide my hand beneath my wrap and steel my nerves as blade rings free from its scabbard.

"Stand down," I shout. "Do not trifle with me this night. I shall abandon your world and seek refuge in the plains come the dawn." I await my answer, but my answer never comes.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Far side of the mountain

It was a time ago that I plotted this lofty challenge of mine, to see this world in all its glory. Though to say that I have plotted wisely would be foolish. Little did I understand what trials would await my daily foray. This first week has lowered its weight upon my shoulders and I feel neither the great expanse before me nor the comforts of home behind. I have nothing save what I chose to put upon my back.

The grounds below my footfalls slip and slide with sideways steps, soft to the touch as my boots sink within their muddled puddles with grasses slick as winter's ice. Yet each night my back finds no such comfort as hollow reeds give way to jagged stone. The comforts of home elude my flesh as the spokes of the Sirris prod my very being. Yet each new morn I arise with a renewed sense of the hunt; a lustful wanderer caught in a spider's web.

With each new sunrise that dims the heavenly stars and lifts the covers from the night sky my eyes fill with wonderment. I behold new revelations in the mundane sights that held no interest within my confinement. As I look ahead, between the mountain passes the shadows that rise from the world's core become their own sentinels and are no more. The Sirris fades, its quiet domain soon to relinquish its hold over my sense of place and I shall see what new paths define my world.

What is on the other side? I shall soon see.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


The view from the upper trails gives one a unique perspective of their surroundings. As I have climbed the trails and begun to feel the coolness of the clouds slipping from the blue expanse, the world below shrinks from these heights. Once massive and overpowering, the sentinels that have guarded my life seem as insignificant as a drop of water in a rain storm. The world I knew shrinks from its immenseness, growing smaller as my eye takes in the whole.

I train my vision to the peaks that tower above me. Their heights stab at the wisps of cotton that stretch across the unbroken expanse. I now mark vistas that have never before touched my eyes. The air cools with each step as the crispness smacks my cheeks leaving a pink trace of its presence against my skin. How high does my bravado allow me to go? My pack does not contain all that I may need to traverse the trails to the sky. It is a fool's errand I now see.

I shall take my visions from the lofty reaches and traverse those trails that are within my grasp. That I would brave those peaks that are not within my skills would surely prove a folly. I peer to the east and spy the single peak that towers above the others; Khourne, a name steeped in lore within the tales of the Chrystum's legacy. Perhaps some day when I return through these passes I shall give a measure to the famed mountain and leave my mark upon its stone.

I shall slip southeast for a time through the middle passes where hills and mountains connect, and stay above the cascading valleys whose trails slither as a trickling creek and stay to the low stairs of the Sirris to see what is on the other side.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A trail to the sky

The days begin to slide by one upon another; the scenery before me unchanging from hour to hour. I have no longer the protection of a canopy to shelter me from the warmth of the sun nor the brief drops that condensate above my head from the low clouds that cling to the mountain passes. My foray to this point has been one of picking my way through imaginary trails hidden within the foothills. I see what is before me as what has passed, and no more.

My meal this afternoon is a small game animal that I happened upon. Yet, even those have been few and far between. I have always considered myself one who is content to be alone with my thoughts but this complete solitude is as total as any that I could have imagined. I have to this point encountered no one save brief glimpses of bird, deer and insect. The low hum of mosquitoes have been the only voice that has sung its song in my ear.

My eyes trail upward following the smoke from the fire at my feet as the scents of this meat begin to fill my nostrils. The midday sun has broken through the closet of mists that have hidden the upper reaches of the Sirris from my sight and I spy my new destination. The lower foot trails have only skirted the bowl of the Chrystum and, truth be told my adventure has not taken me from my homeland.

The lofty peaks above shall be the avenue of my departure and perhaps a truer adventure shall begin. I slide the animal off the crudely fashioned spit and eye the mountain tops one last time. I shall go upward to scale their heights.

What is on the other side?

Monday, November 5, 2012


The sun rises on my first new day in a brave new world. I see the orange horizon slowly peeled back as the sun creeps its way into the heavens driving the night airs from their perch. It is a battle I have seen repeatedly during my life. However this day I am at a disadvantage as the heavy mists that entwine the mountain forests linger, stealing even the passes from my sight. The small blaze before me fades nearly in unison to the growing light of day.

As the foothills open before my eyes I look to see the paths that will foretell my journey. The trails are many and varied. Will they open their secrets to me or shall I be forced to hack my way through their tales and become no more than a fallen leaf under foot to their whims. I have nothing to rely on save my own judgement and that which I have brought with me on this adventure. My pack contains only the essentials of what I need to survive as the lands themselves will provide my sustenance. My gear is no more than simple tools, a walking stick and a weapon; my sword.

I laugh at my bravado as I pull my trusty blade from its keep. My sword, that which gives my arm the power of thunder shall test its limits on this journey. I swing the blade slicing through the mists still encumbered upon the mountain passes. A machete; nothing more than a tool to hack at the undergrowth and free myself from brambles should I falter.

Another turn and I shall watch the heavens open up before me and the light of a new day shall light my path.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Night settles

This day has been one of exhilaration and reflection, of boredom and seclusion. I have now placed my past behind and committed to look forward on this adventure. This foray into the wilderness is not new to me as I have often taken to travel within the blessed valleys of this realm I have held so dearly. But to experience the solitude outside their protection is unnerving; to face the aspect of relying on no one but yourself. There is no one from which to seek guidance; the advise I rely on shall surely be my own.

The fire before me this first night comforts my shoulders as a blanket held within the winter depths. It is my light, it is my safety, yet it is also my signal-tower to any who are about. My first footstep has now turned to a thousand and I am still within sight of my homeland. The Sirris that beckoned me now shows its shadows below as they throw their weight across the lands and for the first time I may see them from the other side. The sentinels once tall and overpowering from within stand as mere pickets and wither beneath the glory of the night mountains.

 My first steps were not hesitant this day as I took to adventure under a clear sky, the light of a new sun glorious upon vistas I have never seen. Yet the first rock began to look just like the next and within hours my footfalls would stumble upon the rubble. One begins to watch his steps, one in front of the other instead of drinking the sights with one's head held high. The journey is attention to where one is heading and not where one is. It was my first lesson learned.

This first night holds me within the palm of its hand and shrouds me within its bosom and I am safe within the confines of the dark Sirris.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beyond the here and now

I have crossed the boundary that has shielded my life from the outside world, a world at which I may only guess. Too long have I confined myself to the sheltered lands of the Chrystum. I feel the pull to turn and peer across the divide, a glance over my shoulder at what was, my life as I knew it. But I fight the urge. I must look back at some point, hopefully only on reflection of times long past after my journey has taken me away from these valleys. Will that look be one of satisfaction that my journey has fulfilled my lust for adventure, or an admittance of failure and a longing for a comfortable life again?

I have entrusted the care of my past to my cousin Sandy, a bright fellow in whom I have full confidence. Whether I return in a day or in a year my lands and what I hold shall be in good hands. A most stalwart lad I could not have chosen better. He is like me in a way; his eyes look toward the hills and past the trees but he is unable to pull himself from his work, a taskmaster to the last, one married to detail. Alas, it is not within his heart to venture into the unknown. I would surely welcome his company on this fateful journey. Fateful to the last as I can not imagine a scenario where these next steps do not alter my life in a most unimaginable way.

I now behold the majesty of the Sirris, the mountains that have sheltered this land, and protected it from lives unknown. I feel the pull of their song; I feel the mists that hover above their lowland hills yet keep their steeples unknown to my eyes. What shall I find upon these lofty peeks as they bear my first steps into the brave beyond. A second step and a third and I feel the exhilaration of adventure which has eluded my soul.

I shall only look forward, for now.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Last, first step

This journey has been thought-provoking, my day like nothing I have ever experienced. My senses have come alive. I feel the anticipation, the heightened tingling that crawls across my skin. Before me the spires of my prison rise and seem as formidable as an ocean. These sentinels, these bars that hinder my life shall soon give way to the open vistas of my mind.

I leave my possessions in good hands, my neighbors duly charged with the safekeeping of what my life had been, a shadow of what it may become. The fields that have kept me prisoner by their very nature have also sustained me. My neighbors have become my family as I have none to speak of in my current circumstance. Long ago did I abandon the closeness of hearth and home for peacefulness in solitude. Perhaps it is this choice that has conspired with my dreams to lead me to the foothills of the Sirris in the belly of the Middle Valley.

Behind the bars of towering oak and ash lie the peaks of the east, the Sirris Mountains, the curtain that gives way to each dawn I have seen during my life. Yet they have also cast their shadow upon my world as they lay a blanket upon the outside. I strain to see the heights they amass yet within their boundaries I may slide easily between their ranks and slip the bonds that tie me to this valley.

I step forward with mounting anticipation as thick bark and knotted brambles rise up to keep me imprisoned. But I will not be bowed. These towers step away from my advance to keep me held within, their backs to the slides of stone and rock that have tumbled down the mountains, their river adding yet another layer to overcome. My will is to break their hold and spirit my soul away from the wall they form. One by one I pass by them, soldiers all to the end. I extend my hand and brush the craggy surface of a majestic oak. It shall impede my gaze no longer. I suddenly feel the sun break across my face and feel the unhindered breeze wash across my shoulders. My sentinals, my prison melts beneath the light of day from the outside world as I step across its boundary and into a new adventure, an adventure of a lifetime.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day dreams

I awake yet again to a new day, the sun slipping its vision beneath my shades. The dreams that haunted my sleep have left their imprint upon my conscious mind. My eyes float about my small bedroom as the night lifts slowly from its cradle. Another day.

The visions held within my dreams fight to see the light of day. Their message is clear; the fences that hold me within the Chrystum can no longer hold my thoughts. I long to see the world outside the fortress mountains that ring my home, my prison, my life. The glow surrounding my window reveals the day's first struggle, the sun's escape from the grasp of the Sirrus Mountains to the east, their peaks no longer holding the light within their passages. It is what I long for, what I now seek each day; passage from this place.

My day continues as each day has for the past several years. The visions once held only within my night dreams now invade my day world. My vision is filled with magical places of sun and water and mountain passages that thread the world with their beauty from times long forgotten. I see vast and bountiful fields of golden yellow and copper petals bowing beneath the gentle breezes that caress my skin. My eyes search for these treasures buried within my world, but to no avail. I am no longer content within its boundaries.

My friends have never wavered with their loyalty through the long years of our lives. Perhaps those bonds will remain unbroken as my time nears to rupture the hold this valley claims upon my soul. My time nears its end within these confines. The sentinels will hold me little longer.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The cycle of life

My day seems endless. My fields await the work I must do within their borders. My afternoon has swept away the seemingly boundless morning. It has come crashing down around me in a flood of whispers. My time is my own as the sun continues its unending cycle across the sky. Another day, the same as the last, the same as the next in my own unending cycle.

The sun gives its failing light to the end of the world and slips below the sentinels that shelter my world. Even their mighty spires can not hold its light above the rim and it signals the end of my day in the outer havens, yet the beginning of other tasks that now await. The fires held within the hearth give their magic glow to my peaceful existence. Its warmth soothes the bones made weary by work. My chair beckons to me, its call nearly more than I am able to withstand. My back longs for its touch, the knowing embrace of its curve. It will have to wait.

As the flames touch the final hours of this day I lay my head upon my feathery crown and await the coming of sleep. The sun shall break the hills again tomorrow and the endless cycle begins anew. My sigh ends my presence in this day as night slips in to take hold of my world.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another day awaits

I see the window wet with morning dew. Had autumn come upon us and the sun risen late, surely they would form the crystals of winter's foreboding call. But spring has called its vision to us and left a perfect palette of artistic color beneath my window. My day calls to me from the outside, beckoning me to discover its secrets. My day awaits in mundane fashion, a life of leisure combed with chores that must be done, done to perfection each day.

I have lived this life of leisure for ten years now, ten years from the time I struck out on my own. My holdings have grown but not beyond my measure to deal with them, but they leave me wanting. What is the desire that calls to me beyond the rise? Beyond the rise lies the next field, and the next field after that, and the next after that. The valley is ringed with the sentinels of life, those towering giants that contain the Chrystum and protect it from what lies beyond.

That is the question I put to myself with each day. What lies beyond those sentinels? Do they guard the inside from the outside? Do they live solely for the shade that covers them from the mighty mountains beyond their boundary? What do the mists that intrude upon their canopy speak to them? The silken fingers reaching from the fog of the shrouded hills permeates their branches. Only the rising sun has the power to force their retreat. The call from the other side of the sentinels is my want, my need.

Yet I have work to do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Look Back

I imagine it would be quite unnerving to look down upon one's self from a height above. That is quite simply what is happening to me. I'm not sure what is happening below, however I am able to see those gathered in this great hall. I see my friends and those who fought along side me in battle. Yet, they are all alive.  

It would seem that I have suffered a different fate. There is another below who appears to be an apparition. His body is ethereal, a soft glowing, illuminating blue. I recognize him but his name escapes me at the moment. He is quite the fine fellow, if I remember correctly. He is in a state not like the others. His form touches not the bounds of this earth.

As well there are two black boxes set beside each other in the great center aisle. My friends are hovering about it. One appears to be draped upon its top. He is crying. Crying. For me? I feel an attraction to this particular box, yet my instincts impart me to stay away. Is that my coffin? Could this be the fate that has come to me? Do I now see my death?

My mind races back to the towers upon the battlements. The savagery was unimaginable, the carnage deplorable. I remember my arms weary from battle, the sword of the Rim faltering in my grasp. My head is suddenly warm as if bathed by the heat of the noon sun, but I see no sun to warm my body. I am racked with pain and weary with despair. I felt my eyes close.

How did I get to this point? What has happened to my life that would bring forth such a tragic end? Perhaps I will tell you this tale, a tale that started long ago in the days of my youth, a life that was sheltered in a place as beautiful as any that one could imagine, a place of dreams.

My name is Clancy, and this is my tale.