It was a castle once, with a bustling town around its base, but now it was a ruin surrounded by dense forest. The sorcerer climbed over a waist-high remnant of a defensive wall and made his way into a building so long-abandoned that it seemed unlikely to have remained standing without some magical aid.
The statue sat at a table, across from an empty chair, with the chess board between, its fingers having seemingly just released the tip of one of the marble pieces.
“The Bishop, then? Interesting move. I would have thought the rook.” He laid his cloak over the back of the chair and set his bottle and glass down beside the board. “No matter.”
If he sat long enough, he’d be able to see the stone hand moving away from the piece, so slowly as to be nearly imperceptible. It would move only so far: the statue needed to see its opponent’s play clearly, but to withdraw it any further would eat already-precious time.
“The Queen again; you’re in check. Mate in…” he checked the board again, hand still on the piece, just to be sure, before releasing. “…six moves.”
He wondered how long it would take.