At World’s Edge – Chapter 4

His curiosity, however, was suddenly upon him. He strained his eyes then, and through the shrouding pools of darkness he could see jagged monoliths of brown rock, like knives threatening the sky. It was a sparse forest of stone that Mahofon knew he would encounter. Yet, through the black fog that remained unvarnished by the fire he had lit, he could sense the presence of a different towering structure. He closed his eyes now, and strained. For a timescale he was unable to measure, he sat still. He felt as if he had reached his hands into a box of unknown contents, groping for something important yet hidden. He knew suddenly, in an enlightened moment, by feel alone, that something was there, beyond his sight, but not from grasp. With a cry, he leaped to his feet, and buried his face in his hands. His face burned under some unearthly scrutiny. Chatter halted then, and faces turned to watch Mahofon as he struggled. He began to claw at his face like a mad cat; it was then that Dulkatra, with his hulking body, stepped forward and restrained the magician.

“What in Almighty’s name…” A voice from the crowd trailed off. “There, there!” Mombulu had rushed to his aid also. Although from the corner of his eye, he saw that the staff Mahofon had dropped had squeezed its own eye shut. The wood that made the handle seemed contorted, strained, as if put under immense pressure – or pain. After a few minutes, and after what seemed like hours, Mahofon fell limp. It was then stated that he had merely fainted from exhaustion after some inspection by Cescar. With the nerves of the band calmed after some time, they returned to their duties. When the full moon glowed faintly above them all, that was when they finally rested. They seated themselves on rotten logs around the fire then, Mombulu among them. Mahofon had been retired to one of the tents whilst he rested – the standard bearer had placed his staff next to him. It was yet to blink.

A horn was played as the wood in the fire glowed a deep orange. It shattered the silence and echoed melodramatically off the canyon’s edge. The sound was deep, familiar to the soldiers. It banished the unknown out of the location that was so smothered in darkness, a crater of refuge. A song crept through the ranks of sound as more began to join in.
And once the music faded too, so did the group disband to their tepees. Even the sounds of shuffling, and the harsh snap of the crackling fire would part ways to become an element of the truest silence, resonating in an ocean of darkness.

(Cont.)

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