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"Abandoned for a Reason"

Terminus

If I was a wizard this wouldn't be happening to me
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May 20, 2012
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Recently I started a biweekly writing challenge with Seth and Batman, and I was fairly proud of what I came up with for my first entry, so I figured I'd share it here.

Prompt: Must involve a Wizard's Tower

Length: ~500 words, give or take

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"Abandoned for a Reason"
The looming spire had overlooked the valley below for as long as anyone remembered; after a certain point, the people regarded it as part of the landscape, rather like a cliffside or a lake. Unusual and occasionally remarked upon, but more or less ignored when it came to everyday life.


The only thing out of the "ordinary" was a tacit agreement that it should be given a wide berth, and when the town expanded toward where it stood, nobody built closer than half a mile to the tower, and travelers would often skirt around that radius, from both habit and superstition. Of course, habit and superstition alone cannot stop raw human curiosity, and it wasn't unheard of for children or young adults to claim that they had visited the tower and survived. It is with one of those adventurous souls that our story today truly begins.


Vince looked ahead over the windswept hill and pulled his cloak tighter, cursing himself for being goaded into this by Gally. He glared over at him, prompting his erstwhile friend to crack a grin.


"Come on Vince, if we visit the tower *and* bring back proof, we'll be the top dogs! Nobody else has the guts to do this!"


"You mean nobody else is thick enough to do this."

"Ah come off it! Maybe Alynna might even start talking to you if you can prove yourself."


Vince narrowed his eyes and turned his head forwards again, and tightened his grip on the sword he had 'borrowed' from his father. "Gally, please be quiet. If there is truth to the reasons nobody willingly comes within a mile of here, I want to be on guard."


Gally began to formulate a response, but the words died in his mouth as they came across a hulking stone figure, half as tall again as an average man and carved to look like a knight.


"That's odd, that doesn't look like any soldier I've ever seen before."


"Of course it doesn't, haven't you seen that it's made out of stone?"


"Not that, Gally. Look at how the armor is carved. It looks like an antique."


"D'you reckon we should take part of it back with us as proof?"


"No point," Vince said resignedly. "This looks like it was built hundreds of years ago, but it's almost eerily like new. I don't think we could take part of it even if we had a chisel and more time than we have left in the day."


"Should we go on, then?"


"You tell me. This was your brilliant idea."


As the pair of friends slowly approached the monolithic tower, they began to notice more and more of the abnormal sculptures. Vince hastily looked around, and asked "Gally, have you ever seen so many statues? What are they all doing here?"


No response.


Vince wildly looked around in a panic. "Gally?" he shouted into the howling wind. "Gally? Galliard? Where are you? This isn't funny, alright!"


As he waited with bated breath for a response he was more and more certain was never coming, he loosened the sword from its scabbard and broke into a near-run towards the tower. Imposing as it was, it was at least shelter from *whatever* was out here.


As he neared the door, he began hearing footfalls. For a split second he dared hope Gally had returned, but in an instant he knew that his footsteps would never be heard over the rising wind.


He looked once more toward the tower, the wind beginning to sting his eyes. To come so far and not bring back anything was worse than a waste, but in the end preservation won out over honor. Seeing the hulking figures of several knight statues slowly approach, he turned tail and fled towards the town, with one word from the golems ringing in his ears.


"War."
 

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