Fool’s Point

The sorcerer came to a fishing village in the North, trudging slowly, using his staff as a cane, his Shadow behind him, feeling his age. A boy child ran up, asked: “My Lord?”

“An Inn?”

The boy pointed up the street at an old, solid two-story stone building with a third somewhat ramshackle story of wood built atop it. “There, My Lord. Yilley’s.”

“Come visit me there, in the morning. I will have errands.” The sorcerer flipped him a small silver coin. “With your parent’s permission.”

“Yes, My Lord!” The boy ran off, virtually airborne from excitement. The Sorcerer continued up the road towards the water.

I will take him, wizard. I will take the whole village.

The sorcerer chuckled, “Oh, you’ll do no such thing.”

You have come here trying to hide, to escape, but I am at your heel, and I will take them all, and then you.

“That’s not why we’ve come, Shadow,” the sorcerer scoffed. “That’s not it at all.”

At the edge of the village the path split, one branch heading down to the docks and the other winding its way up to a rocky point overlooking the bay. The sorcerer, in spite of the protestations from his knees, chose the latter.

Will you throw yourself from the summit, to appease me? I will not be denied.

“That’s not it either. You’re as foolish dead as you were alive, Shadow.”

Call me whatever names suit you; I will feast on yours.

“Seven hundred years, no one has figured out my true name yet. I doubt you’ll be the first.” It was, however, the only way the non-corporeal Shadow could possibly hurt him. He continued climbing well past the point of exhaustion, propelled only by necessity: he could not have the Shadow wreaking havoc in the village overnight.

Your arrogance will be your undoing.

“You said that when you were alive. Well, here we are.” He had reached the peak, finding there a burial cairn marked with a stake overlooking the sea. “Take a look.”

This is neither my grave nor yours.

“I didn’t even know that was here. We came for the view, Shadow. What do you see?”

I see the grave and the hill and the village and the ocean. I see—

“The ocean. It stretches out like a blank slate as far as the eye can see, a great seeming emptiness. But even the ocean hides great activity: life teems just below the surface. What of the sky?”

What riddle is this, sorcerer? Are you so desperate to delay our reckoning?

“The sky seems even emptier, and it goes on forever. But even the sky holds birds, and clouds and rain. Beyond it are the numberless stars and planets. Yes?”

Sorcerer, you—

“You are dead, Shadow, by my hand. But you are dead in the world. I could have dispelled you into a void so empty it would drive you mad. I still can. Is one last stab at revenge worth the risk?”

16 comments:

  1. Yum. I love the premise, and the promise of more story before and after this one very visual scene. A very solid short.

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    1. Thanks very much for reading and commenting. :-)

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  2. I really enjoyed this, the description was vivid. I am so curious about the Shadow! LM x

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    1. Thank you :-) People are always rolling up on the sorcerer, old-west-style. They've just gotta know who's better. I'm assuming the Shadow was such a person, and he got... disembodied... for his trouble.

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  3. wow - I could really hear the conversation between these two, and I think I even caught a certain hiss in the Shadow's tone. Well done David!

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  4. You've packed a lot of story into just a few words! I like the idea of an age-old battle between these two. And it would appear the "good guy" won...I just hope he can hold his own. Very fun to read.

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  5. Excellent story with such a powerful load of backstory in there - and your sorcerer is a great character

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    1. He certainly gets around. :-) Thank you for reading!

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  6. Loved the dialogues and the characters you've created- Shadow sounds real dangerous, but the sorcerer seems to know what he's doing, so it shouldn't be a matter to worry about. Great flow of words and amazing settimg.
    -Tinkerbelle

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    1. Shadow is mostly talk, at least during the day. I think at night he could be a real problem, at least for... civilians. Thanks for reading and commenting. :-)

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  7. Your sorcerer strikes me like the kind of guy you don't tangle with, but engagingly so.

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    1. Someday I'm going to write a piece about the sorcerer in his younger days, before peace came to the Coast. You get a taste of it in the form of a recollection in 'Longaminus' (find it on the 'long stories' list page)

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  8. Very vivid descriptions and an interesting convo between the shadow and the Sorcerer-wonder who is going to win.Liked it David:-)

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