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  • Writer's pictureJon Huber

The Keepsake pt. 8

The wizard sits at the base of his new home, knowing there is still a lot of work to do to make it habitable for him. This task would be easier if the poor man wasn’t just run ragged by the irate people of the city. His strength is low, yet he fears the townspeople gathering and possibly setting out to find him. The last thing the man has energy for is more sorcery, but he must act quickly if he is to keep himself safe.

Standing at the base of the mountain, the wizard gazes up at the vast pinnacle. He reaches for his staff and uses it to help steady himself on the ground. With his arms stretched out in front of him, he holds the staff in both his hands, interlacing his fingers around it. The conjuration begins, and it is quite a daunting one, beginning with the wizard casting a barrier around himself. A translucent green hemisphere forms around the wizard, its diameter stretching 15 feet long and reaching 10 feet high. Once this forcefield manifests itself, it begins to hum, and the wizard knows he is safe and free to turn his attention to the massive stone. Rocks, trees, and debris fly thousands of feet through the air as the sorcerer breaks the peak of the mountain from its base. The wizard starts to feel weaker and weaker, as the sorcery it takes to perform such a feat requires a large offering from the conjurer’s body. The sound of the rock separating from itself is deafening, but the wizard can barely hear it in his half-sphere bunker. Boulders of incredible size barrel down towards the man, yet when they hit the buzzing green shield, they bounce to either side or simply erupt as if hitting solid ground. When the peak is finally loose from its base and the debris and dust begin to settle, the demeanor of the wizard changes. He releases his grip on his staff, which stays perfectly still, and he begins to swing his upper body around, thrashing his arms about as if to paint a picture with his fingertips.

The newly separated peak of the giant mountain hangs in midair, thousands of feet above the foundation from which it was plucked. As the wizard’s strange dance slowly begins to find a rhythm, the enormous floating slab of rock steadily starts to rotate and revolve in place. With the aggressiveness of the man’s movements increasing, so does the speed that the rock spins. Finally, massive sections of the boulder begin to break off in all directions, easily flying thousands of feet through the air before crashing to the earth. The momentum the rock gathers makes it difficult to distinguish its shape. For a few moments it appears only as a gray blur, while huge chunks still continue to be spat in all directions. Abruptly, the wizard concludes his dance, and the hovering peak slowly decreases its speed. It continues to revolve for a few minutes as the wizard doesn’t have the strength to slow it himself. Finally, the gem-shaped boulder slows to a stop, with its point facing the mountain from which it came and its flat top directed towards the sky. The giant gem gradually lowers itself into the void where it came from and begins to rotate with its familiar pace. Once the peak is in place and all the rubble and remains have settled, the wizard collapses to the ground, with the green shell dissolving quickly afterwards. The man has crafted a place to stay, now the only thing left to do was to get himself on top of his cold, gray perch.

The last act the man has to perform is to teleport himself to the top of the mountain. For an accomplished warlock to perform this spell wouldn’t be overtly taxing, while one does have to dematerialize to traverse space, for a learned sorcerer this shouldn’t be a problem. Our faithful wizard, on the other hand, has very little left to offer, every ounce of his will has been drained from him. His hair and beard are a tattered mess, his skin caked with dirt and black soot, and his frail frame appears to struggle to even support the weight of the man’s robes. The wizard crawls like an infant to a pile of rocks that his recent witchcraft has produced. Carefully, he uses the rocks to hoist himself to a near standing position, he extends his open hand towards his staff, and it gracefully floats to the man’s outreached hand. The moment it reaches his fingers the wizard grabs hold of it and simultaneously falls face forward, directing the bottom of his staff towards the ground with all his body weight. The bottom of the staff meets the ground, and the plummeting wizard is hurled through time and space to the sleek and smooth summit of the mountain. His staff is thrown several feet from his body, and our faithful wizard lays face down in his new home. Days upon days pass before the wizard is able to muster up the strength to even move, and finally after a week, he is able to stand by his own will, and begin living out his life on the mountain.

The wizard’s first order of business is to map out the size of his home, as he cannot see, he has to become accustomed to the size of this stone by feel. While slowly pacing out the diameter of the rock, the wizard stumbles into something that he did not craft. He places his hands on a tall stone throne, pulled directly from the center of the massive boulder. He studies the grand chair with his hands, first the back of it, then its arm and back rest, and finally its seat. When the wizard places his hands on the seat of the throne, he finds an item sitting directly in the center of it. While carefully touching and examining the piece with both hands, the wizard realizes what he is holding, a masterfully crafted, one-of-a-kind silver dagger. The throne was a gift from the god’s and the dagger was their mockery of the man’s covenant with them. Attempting to be present in the moment, the wizard sits with the dagger in his hand, reflecting on the events that led him to the mountaintop. He stands motionless, replaying every moment of his life, and finally he catches up to his current moment and his trance is broken. He is unsure how long he spent reflecting, probably seconds, possibly days. Without delay, the wizard violently hurls the blade towards the edge of his property, and it hops and skips until finally plunging toward the dense forest below.

We catch up with our faithful wizard in the first place we met him, atop the mountain, present day. Again, he is resting on his throne, most likely deep in thought; unfortunately for us this is the last time we will visit the wizard. We must now return to the beginning of our story, as the wizard’s memories have worn thin. The man knows that he must keep his mind sharp, as only a catastrophic impact to his planet or the gods could revoke his consciousness. While his brain wouldn’t age, to live for thousands of years wears on one’s mind. The wizard can’t forget his craft, he recites it every chance he has, this gives him purpose and provides him with security. The other fear the wizard has is that he will lose grasp with who he is, the way he combats this is by reciting memories. He chose memories which held great significance in his life, ones that shaped him as a person, and as long as he can remember them, he will always know who he is and where he came from. The list of recollections started off vast, he would think of time spent with his parents and the professor, the countless hours spent learning and practicing magic, even past loves that came and went. For a long time, the wizard found happiness on his mountain, but the years have continued to melt away, along with the wizard’s memory. He can no longer remember all the places he has been and people he has spoken with, events become blurry, and memories fade. Our faithful wizard is so wise, he realized that his memories were beginning to escape him and chose eight memories which painted a clear picture as to the man’s life and who he was. He replays them over and over, day after day to keep them at the forefront of his thoughts. This has kept our faithful wizard alive; the only issue is that he doesn’t remember what it is he is living for in the first place or why he is afraid to die.

The wizard’s desire to live outweighed his ability to. His relationships were destroyed because of his failure to look past himself and his wants. Everyone the wizard ever knew forgot him, and soon he will forget himself. Action without thought is suicide, and our wizard decided to end his life the day he decided to pursue immortality.

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