Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #95
The Hermit realized all too late that he should have brought a better jacket. The winds threw aside his thin clothing and whipped at his bare, unprotected skin. His lungs burned as he swallowed air far too cold for his insides. As he climbed the side of the mountain, he looked out on the vast expanse below him. Sunlight played between tall spruce trees that lined the plateau below. No birds flew above the treetops, but this made it all the more peaceful. Only the sound of the wind whistling between the leaves spun into his ears. In the distance, the sides of numerous towering wooden ribs loomed in the gloomy fog. The grain was cracked and moss crawled up its aged surface. The Hermit remembered when he had first seen this place, how his jaw had dropped when he saw the magnificent skeleton of the ancient creature. Back then, there was no fog, only the strange corruption leaking from the black city that was nestled in the skull of the corpse. Even now, just from the memory of it, he shuddered violently. The snow crunched under his feet as he walked, but he was surprised when it dropped to become knee deep. First he gasped at the sudden slip, but began to laugh as he realised nothing was going to kill him. The small disturbance sent snow tumbling down the cliff face, gathering into a small snow drift that ran down the mountainside. He watched it as it made its path down to the trees, staring as it crushed the smaller saplings.
Finally, he came to the end of the mountainside path, and the danger of slipping off the edge dissipated with the pressure that rested on his heart. Now he had a clear view of the plateau before him. In the sky hung the abnormal tear between realities. He gazed at the fog tendrils extending their feelers down into the once beautiful place. All the water in this region flowed from the eldritch wound in the heavens, after all the old lakes had dried up. This place brought back unwanted memories. He remembered being with his three companions: the enigmatic Jeremiah, with his strange talismans and books. Jach the god slayer, the albino who came from a land where the sun burned too bright. Last and certainly not least, Roen, handsome, perfect, yet gentle Roen. Oh how he had fallen.
Many minutes passed before he stood in front of the wall of fog. Thick and almost liquid in nature, it was grey and foreboding. The first obstacle, beyond which was the vicious test of the second plateau. Even now the memories of his first time here were leaking back…
…He had been knocked down by some nightmare from his past, a folktale that had scared him as a child come to life. The crone had not stood, but floated on a broomstick and bore an iron cap instead of a nose. It had procured some stinging green mist in its hands, but Jeremiah was the one who had saved him. He whispered something strange, and the twisted blade he carried came alight with purple flames. The wind that had blown past them whistled as it passed through its elaborate black steel blade. He slashed at the hag and she dissolved into the fog from whence she came, and Jeremiah spun around to struggle against a creature with needlelike teeth.
The memories were not welcome, intrusive and unwanted. They brought back pains and aches in his bones he had spent years forgetting. He clutched at his head, but the pain went away with the fleeting remembrance. He stepped through into the fog, and it felt almost as if there were many small hands tugging at his face and beard, he held his breath as long as he could while he walked. The sensation was familiar, and reminded him of Ta’rim and his doorway, which only served to make him feel worse. Quite suddenly he emerged from the wall of fog and could now see the full extent of the valley. Ta’rim had told him that the giant corpse was once one of his brothers, another Overseer. His task has been to lift up those who passed the test to the third plateau, but since his death a stairway had been carved into the ice wall that marks the end of this hellish domain. He began to trudge through the snow once again, his journey was far from over. Thankfully, his path had brought him reasonably close to the large ice wall, he was at the place where the ground began to rise. It would continue to do so before reaching the staircase, if he remembered correctly. This was when he noticed the thick embankment of fog rolling in around the base of the sudden rise, and when he looked closer, as he was ever so curious, he saw what appeared to be the man he had saved in the dark grey mist. He also saw the large… How could he describe it? It was an undulating, black mass. The snow that surrounded it was melting as it dragged itself with ever hastening speed towards the Climber, and the Hermit began to run.
End of Benji’s Fun Fact Story Corner #95