Monday, June 1, 2015

Story Seed - Choice

Image Source: http://gerryarthur.deviantart.com/art/Forgotten-Temple-406158104

She had lost count at how many steps along the Wandering Walk were behind her. Like many, she had no concept for how many steps lie before her. As a pilgrim along the Walk she existed in a state of limbo; she was not at the beginning, but not at the end, and her progress between the two was unknown and, perhaps, unknowable. Step after step passed under her feet, wore at the soles of her boots, stole moments of her life like a vampire in the night.

The woman struggled to remember her name on the rare occasions that she met others travelers. She worried when they told her they were also on the walk, worried because they were headed in a different direction entirely, or would choose a different path after walking together for an hour, a day, or rarely a week. She knew her path; she knew the path, and she would not waver from it. In the back of her mind a worry seed gnawed at her mind, subconsciously gathering evidence that the Walk did not exist at all, that it was impossible to follow the path because there was no one path to follow. This part of her considered that either the Wandering Walk was truly a personal experience, or that its inscrutable nature was yet another test, and that only by seeing through the deception of the Walk could one find the true path.

The woman stopped and consulted an artifact, whispering prayers to the nano-spirits to ensure that the device would continue working. The small cube displayed a holographic map of the local world, labeling the major features in a shifting script that had taken months to learn. She frowned as the map confirmed that once more she was climbing into the Black Riage. The woman dug back into her memory; she had crossed these mountains five previous times along her Walk. Never by the same path, thankfully, but regardless these mountains were to be an obstacle to her journey once more. Another test of her faith in the Walk.

She found a narrow path cut into the mountains, the way shaped into uneven stones, and began to climb. Time lost meaning for her until she came to a fork in the path. Looking ahead and upward she saw that the path diverged into two stone towers. Their red edifices were unlike the surrounding bedrock, and they held no hint of occupation or purpose. Beyond the towers the paths rejoined each other and continued deeper into the mountain range.

The woman stood, considering the towers, the path, the Walk, and her choices. Left or Right? North, or South (though in such seemingly insignificant deviation)? Like much along the walk she had no knowledge of the purpose of this choice. Would her choice color the walk beyond this point? Was this yet another test in a seemingly unending sequence of challenges? What resolution would this impart to her journey?

Or perhaps there was no query here deeper than left or right. The woman stood, leaning heavily on her staff, and considered the value of the options before her.