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Sarain feels the pull from the mountain. Feels it deep inside, not just in bone
but muscle and blood. Why does the place call? What does it want? Ancient rock holds a signature of time. Of the feet which have walked its paths, of the eons which have passed and shaped it. If the land of Sele is magic then Sarain might tap into its powers. He can change, within limits of body and mind. Tori cannot. 

If Sarain can escape he would not leave her. He does not know why except that they are joined somehow, by fate or a god’s will, and while she is human, there is a connection he cannot deny. And the mountain wants them both.

 A name arrives in Sarain’s mind. Vicadia. The name means nothing but he sees a
castle. He walks across a drawbridge, touches the rough stone of the outer walls
and then the marble lining the walls within. He sees a great fireplace and climbs the spiral stairs of towers. Arched stone ribs of ceiling soar overhead, carved friezes dance above corbelled doorways and flowers grow wild between the cracks of an octagonal courtyard.

 In the center of the courtyard stands a sundial; against the walls herbs and flowers spill over stone troughs and vine creeps up crevices between blocks of pink granite. Shadows skulk across the paving, yet when he looks up no clouds mar the sky.

 Evil shivers in Sarain’s bones—a fetid sludge that steals forward, watching, waiting its moment to attack. Like a shadow over the sun it darkens everything it meets, crossing mountains, fields and dales. The charred bones of trees remain in its path as it consumes all life. When it reaches the sparkling sea it smothers waves until
rotting fish bob to the turgid surface and the great carcasses of whales beach
on blackened shores…

Today's photo: Jasper - Richard Curnow

 


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