Friday, July 1, 2016

Fiction Friday: Shadows of the Silent Sorcerer (Part 2)

Shadows of the Silent Sorcerer
(Part 2)


John R. Lehman

Kurach was neither a man of great intellect nor of broad imagination.  To him death held no special terrors.  His gods offered nothing beyond the mortal world.  Death was the final end for all, and he had seen and caused much of it in his life.  His slow mind paused to consider that these men must have been placed here as a warning to any who would dare what he was about to try, for these lands were known to be under the eye of Mazrealas the Silent Sorcerer, who men said came without warning and vanished without trace, bringing only misery in his wake.  For years uncounted, it was said that Mazrealas had held sway over the people of these mountains, coming unseen to their villages and carrying off women and children to feed his ghoulish appetites.
Whatever crimes the Sorcerer had committed meant little to Kurach.  He believed that those who were oppressed were enslaved though their own weakness and deserved no better.  He cared nothing for the weak.  His people valued only strength and power.  The strong dominated and the weak served.  It was a simple and universal rule.  In any case, Kurach had not come to this inhospitable land as a savior, but as a thief.  His goal was a simple one, to relieve the Silent Sorcerer of some measure of his wealth and if necessary of his life.  Any improvement to the lives of the mountain folk would be incidental.  No doubt another would come to rule them should the sorcerer not survive this night
Kurach paused to inspect the weapons held by the skeletons but found them rusted and rotted beyond use.  Clearly they had been here for a very long time.  The fourth empty pole caught his attention.  It seemed newer than the others and showed no sign of having been occupied. Turning away from the grim scene, Kurach set out along the rocky trail, putting the unfortunate dead out of his mind.  In general he had little use for thinking.  He found that most problems could be solved with a sharp sword and a strong arm, and right now what thoughts he had were on the wealth that awaited him. A short time later, Kurach crouched behind a massive boulder in the deepening gloom, his sharp eyes surveying the goal of his long trek.  Before him the path ended at a sheer drop of unknown height, and built right at the edge of that deadly fall was the tower of the Silent Sorcerer.  However, built may have been an inaccurate description for the construction of the abode upon which Kurach gazed.  The building had the rough appearance of a tower, but one as might have been built by some insane giant throwing massive stones atop one another at wild angles with no concern for whether or not they would stand.  The tower seemed to have grown from the landscape like a warped stone sapling, bending out over the precipice then bending back inward like a broken finger.  A rough wooden door was set in the building's base, providing the only obvious entrance.  Doubtless, Kurach guessed that he could force that door, but whether or not he could do it without alerting the tower's inhabitants remained to be seen. Near the top of the bizarre edifice could be seen a rough window, little more than a jagged hole in the side of this ancient pile of stone.  From the window, Kurach could see the yellow glow of light.  The Silent Sorcerer was, it seemed, in residence this night.

(To be continued...)
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