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  • Writer's pictureJon Huber

The Keepsake pt. 1

An enormous slab of rock sits hovering only meters above a mountain top. The mountain no longer has a peak but a massive void where snow and stone once sat. The piece of Earth that floats above this void is shaped like a diamond, with a flat top and a bottom which plunges into the crater where the peak should have been. The rock spins slowly, only making a full rotation around with the rise and fall of the sun. Atop this spinning piece of stone sits a throne, which protrudes directly from the center of the gem-shaped rock. This large primitive chair looks as though it was pulled directly from the stone itself, starting small at the base and growing larger as it reaches towards the clouds.

A man sits on the throne, looking neither too young nor too old, overtly frail, or immensely strong. His hair is gray and coarse, it flows over his shoulders and falls just shy of the length of the beard that hangs in front of his chest. He is dressed in a long black robe, it hides his entire body except for his face and hands. He dons a large black hat with a conical crown and an oversized brim, worn to purposefully cover his face. His eyes bare a thick white skin over them; his corneas, pupils, and any ability to see have clearly left him long ago. In his hand lies a long staff, chalky and jet-black, the bottom dwindles to a point and the top reaches seven feet from the ground. The bottom of the staff starts thin, then it slowly becomes thicker as it bends fluidly in arbitrary directions until it splits into multiple spindles near the top. The spindles all twist in the same direction and lead further up the staff to create what resembles a cage at the very top. In this cage lies a bluish-white stone, roughly the same size as the man’s fist. A glow radiates from this stone, it shines and fades with the man’s breath, although many of his inhales barely merit a response from the stone at all. This man is a practitioner of magic.

The ability in his art that he was able to achieve is desired by many, yet the cost of such incredible power is envied by none. The majority of his days are spent pacing around the giant diamond, the trials and tribulations of a human-like existence no longer trouble him. The man has been alive longer than anyone whom he has ever known, furthermore their kin and the kin of theirs. No one knows the man is alive, his existence lives merely in fork lore and myths. Whether he perish or prevail holds no weight to any living being, except the wizard. This has been his life’s work, and his sacrifice has been immeasurable. Although everything that he was forced to renounce came later in his life, his stray began as a young man. The wizard begins to recollect on his life, and while recalling his memories, he is reminded of that younger man.

This man looks much different from the one in our previous scene. A strapping man, broad in the shoulders, he bears not a black cloak, but one made of fine brown and beige fabric. His hair is long and flowing and his beard is dark brown and cinched in the middle with a piece of a leather strap. On the table he stands in front of, leans the same incredible staff but instead of being coal-black, it is a beautiful greenheart wood with a finish that glass envies. The stone that sits atop his staff glows a rich forest green and shines brightly with each of the man’s deep breaths. A large iron pot sits on the table in front of him, there is no heat placed to it; although the contents still willingly dance and spit around inside. The rest of the table, not taken up by the massive vessel, contains books of incomprehensible thickness and material even less conceivable than that. His eyes rest on the black sludge that bubbles in front of him. A solemn gaze lies on his face as his eyes begin to slowly dart between the multiple books open among him. Without warning, he swings his body toward the balcony where his practice of botany is proudly displayed. Vines and buds line the walls with ease, the man quickly whizzes past numerous types of exotic plants and the critters which inhabit such an ecosystem. His steps abruptly stop as he turns to face a single plant whose stem fires directly from the concrete, with its blossom opened toward the sun. The flower is a Kadupul, and the wizard is an alchemist.

He pulls a blade from the inner folding of his robe and slices a petal off the flower. He then takes the partial piece and swiftly returns to his spot in front of the cauldron. As gently as possible, the man lowers the petal into the muck. As soon as he releases it, the inky substance begins to transform from a thick sludge to a clear blue liquid, slightly creamy towards the center of the pot. The wizard’s face lightens, and a slight smile graces his lips, the concoction is a success. At that time, the man didn’t realize that this potion was the first of many ill-fated events that would lead him to the mountain on which he currently resides.

The old man sits, still perched on his massive stone throne. Lifting the brim of his hat towards the heavens, the reflection of the clouds can be seen in the thick scar tissue of his eyes. His gaze may be pointing toward the skies, but the wizard lives in darkness. As he searches above, his face holds no curiosity or wonder, only disdain; the man is fully aware of what lies in the heavens for he has seen them. Suddenly, rain begins to strike the large gray mass that is his home. Slowly he lowers the brim of his hat towards the ground, his slender arm raises his staff above his head, he then proceeds to drive the tip of the staff into the ground with a force envied by a younger generation. A white blast shoots out of the top of the staff and flies three hundred feet into the air and then swiftly flattens out before disappearing. The rain no longer reaches the man, for the time being, he is safe.

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