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TotTSM – Part 4

    Part 4 will be (hopefully) up tonight. If not, then definitely tomorrow. My update schedule is supposed to be Mondays (as some may know).. But family drama and all.. Oh well. Heads up.

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MUDPRINTS

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The whites of winter had come a whole month early. Much to the surprise of nearly all the residents of the providence of Thurible. Many were left to hurriedly prepare their fields, homes and places of business for the impending cold and snow. Many figured that if these few white flakes falling were any indication, that the coming cold months were going to be long and hard. Only the long adored Sovorians could predict the weather, let alone redirect it somehow. And none of them had been encountered in half a century. Their origin, homeland, were all a mystery.. But that didn’t mean they were forgotten by any means.

Upon the high hill, crouched a long figured dressed in brown. His thick wool cloak billowing in the cold wind which swept though the valley. It was an uncomfortable cold, one that seemed to pierce through all of his clothes..

How quickly the snows have come. The earth still speaks of spring, and yet the wind howls with ice.. he thought with a quiet sigh passing from him. Thrusting a piece of grass back to the earth, the figure stood; his bright green eyes surveying the expanse of his home.. The early signs of winter were not the only odd changes taking place. How subtle they tried to be, but Voren could not ignore them.. One thing built upon another, yet as hard as he might try to call attention to them, not one would take heed.. Surely he wasn’t the only one who noticed..

With another blast of wind, Vorens eyes swept up from the valley, back to the skies, now grey and white with the storm which rolled in steadily. There was a thickness to these clouds that seemed unusual. Surely not all of that could be snow, rain or even wind?  A burst of color of what he could only assume was lightning flashed to his far left, but as his eyes focused upon the light, the world suddenly fell away like rain down a pane of glass.. Where he stood, Voren had no guess, it felt so much like a dream.

Within the stormy clouds which still loomed ahead Voren saw something.. strange. He could not make it out at first. It was cloud, but shadow- nay, the substance of shadows.. Fog.. mist.. all rolled into one angry, boiling churning mass. And if that wasn’t enough to set a chill within ones bones, somehow it felt to be sentient. There was a palpable presence to it!  Perhaps it wasn’t so much aware of itself, but it knew that it was more than nothing and was familiar to this place above anywhere else. And the longer he stared, the more this.. thing seemed to take notice of him. And the keener he could sense its purpose.

.. Cold…

Hurt…

   So stunned by what he was witnessing, Voren could not think to move, even while part of his brain was screaming for him to run and warn the city. All the weeks of wondering and worrying had come to this? Now that he was helpless to do anything about it? The longer his eyes studied this thing, the more Voren thought he could actually see beyond it.. He saw a rolling grey fog, an endless place of nothing but that mist, so thick one wasn’t sure if they were even walking at all unless they stared at their feet. He heard the indecipherable whispering. There was a set of eyes floating over head, and what looked like to be a redheaded female standing before them..

Another loud clash of thunder turned him away from the vision, back to the terrible mass on the horizon. Finally the eyes- if that’s one could call them- of this storm focused its entirety upon Voren, and he swallowed in surprise. It wasn’t the look which made him uneasy, it was to look at the surface of this thing and suddenly perceive  its true depth and power that made him shudder. It was like… turning one’s gaze to the mountain summit and suddenly seeing not just that, but the next continent beyond in a matter of seconds..

No.. You can’t! Whatever you are, however you came this way, you haven’t the right! You can’t hurt them! he screamed. Barely able to hear himself over the endless roaring wind rushing by his ears. If only it scared as easily as a bird does when you toss a stone at one.. he sighed.

Without bending to pick one up, Voren suddenly found a small rock in his hand, just when he had formed the thought to grab something, anything and throw it at this storm. As if he really expected that to work.. Rock in hand however, Voren drew back his right hand and hurled that stone as hard as he could towards the mass in the sky. It was hopeless.. Never had he felt such total, consuming dread before. This wasn’t just an early winter storm, this was a monster; something borne out of nightmares!

There was a suddenly, nearly deafening boom of thunder and a second later, Voren opened his eyes to find himself still upon that hill, but laying on his back on the ground, and a smoldering scar in the earth mere three feet to his left.

“VOREN!” the terrified shriek jarred the man to his core, and he quickly sat up, looking around. To his surprise the sky was clear. Whatever that was, surely it wasn’t THAT easy.. As relieved as he was, there was no way he could relax.. “Voren! Holy Lords! Are you alright?! We saw the storm rolling in and then there was that clash of thunder, and a bolt of lightning came from the clouds.. We thought it had struck you!”

Freah threw her arms around her betrothed, her whispey blond hair gently billowing around her face. She was a sweet young woman of sixteen. Slender with ample bosoms and earthy brown eyes. Their fates had been entwined since youth, and neither of them cared to object the match. He knew of many other woman whom he would be most reluctant to spend his life with.

“I’m.. sorry to have worried you.. I.. was up here thinking.. and then.. well I don’t know how to explain it..” groaning a little.

“Voren! The ground! Where the lightning struck! Something glitters..” Freah gasped, pointing to the spot in the earth. Leaning over, Voren eyed the object for a moment before reaching in and pulling it out, much to Freah’s cautious objections.

“It looks.. like some kind of stone.. or jewel or something…” he murmured, turning the object over in his hand a few times.

A stone.. he thought, looking up at Freah wide-eyed. I thought of one… I felt the weight of it in my hand; its cold smooth surface.. And then I threw it… Was this….?

“What is it?” Freah asked, eyeballing the object intently. It was large, about the size of a lemon, but flat-ish. For the most part it was round, but had jagged edges in some places. It was clear in color, but possessed a spot in its center, about a dimes size, of what looked like gold.. but not solid.. When Voren turned it over in his hand that substance in the center churned too..

“I haven’t the faintest idea what it is..” he breathed, still staring at this object in disbelief. “And even if I had an idea.. I don’t think you would believe me if I told you…”

– – – – – – –

Well there you have it. I cant say as I’m entirely pleased with this one, but it has it’s moments, I think. And it was definitely late in coming.. My apologies. And already Mondays deadline looms o’er head. Alas. Anyway, check back later in case I decide to tweak it more.

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