Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Story Seed - Unexpected Find

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Though the outpost had long since fallen into ruin there was still power here. Floating observation posts still hovered above their ancient anchoring stones, and the wardings against the Great Enemy could be felt; a slight pressure all over your skin, like being under water. I trudged through the snow, my two curved short swords at the ready; the wardings would not serve to keep out thieves and bandits. Beside me Kaallin stepped lightly over the snow and barely leaving a track; her form shimmering, partially transparent, as she kept herself partially within the astral.

I pointed, the main structure of the outpost was still mostly intact. Kaallin nodded, and sped forward toward the structure. She was confident that any bandit ambush would be unable to harm her, and it was likely that she was right; Kaallin was a wraith, born with the ability to shift between our world and the astral, it made her very capable, even if the downsides were real downers. Here, within the wardings of the old outpost, she must have felt positively giddy however, these places were some of the few left in the world where the Great Enemy's touch on the astral was absent. I can only imagine how it felt for her to be here.

I slogged on, thankful that my boots were well made and proof against the wet and cold. The Everwinter was a little weaker here, its power checked by the wardings, and the air was absent of its usual chilling bite. The wardings were why we had come; the old stones could sometimes be moved without destroying the ancient enchantments. If this outpost's warding stone was intact it might be movable, and if we could move it to the village the old stone could protect the people better than any wall or garrison.

Ahead of me I heard Kaallin's voice, I couldn't make out her words, but after a moment she shouted back to me, "Lorugan, I think you need to see this!"

Cursing I lumbered into a run, the snow was only a hand a half deep, but it made running awkward; on the other hand I had no desire to see Kaallin harmed because I couldn't hustle myself to her aid. Turned out I didn't need to be worried, at least not the way I expected. I approached the old barracks command warily.  From the outside I couldn't hear anything but I could see that the room was lit from within; I thought that maybe there was somebody living here after all.

The barracks' doors were in surprisingly good condition, the hinges free of ice, and the wood undamaged by the continual frost of the Everwinter. I noticed that right around the time I noticed how warm it was. The wardings shouldn't have been capable of this, but there was no way that somebody could keep a fire going constantly, and besides, we hadn't seen any sign of smoke from outside.

I found Kaallin just inside, standing before a barrier of golden light. It felt like what I'd heard the old timers say that sunlight had used to feel like; it was warm, and golden, and comforting, and it made me just want to stand there and let it soak into me. We stood in silence, unsure how, or if, we should proceed.

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