Sorry. Couldn’t get the chapter of ALW done for this week. If I get some time, I’ll try for this weekend, but realistically it’ll have to wait til Wednesday. In the meantime, have something short and random, because I wanted to post something. There will be a part 2. It will also be short.
Wind blew across the blasted plain. Black sand swirled in the air, reducing visibility to a few feet away. Through the endless storm, a figure struggled, heading resolutely forward. This figure wore a tattered grey robe, much patched, with the hood drawn up. Occasionally, the wandering person would reach up and adjust the hood, revealing a smooth, womanly hand, and a glimpse of a decorous sleeve beneath the dirty robe.
There was a sudden fluttering in the wind, and the robed woman’s hand suddenly shot out, plucking an unlikely piece of parchment from the wind. She paused, and brought the ragged sheet closer to her face. She didn’t recognize the lettering, or the language, so it took her a while to translating the meaning of the words:
Four Gates … leads to the first worlds … of the three guardians, the first … above New Homeland, but sealed by the High King … usurpers … they cannot die, and will not die, because they are acknowledged as Heroes … at the summit of Unity.
“Gibberish,” whispered the woman in a hoarse voice. “It’s from the Book of Worlds, but there’s too much missing.” She sighed. “It’s true, then. The Book of Worlds is lost.”
The woman released the page, which swiftly disappeared into the sandstorm once more. The woman sighed again, and started to trudge toward her destination once more. However, within a few steps she tripped over a loose stone, and fell face first into the sand, nearly hitting her head on an inconvenient rock. She lay there for a few moments, trying to decide if it was worth continuing forward. It seemed fairly pointless, now; she was trapped in this world, after all. She took a moment to curse her own hubris, before raising her head.
Right next to her eyes, underneath the rock she had nearly brained herself on, was the corner of another page. Her expression underneath her hood became resigned, for a moment, then she pulled herself to her knees and began to excavate the tough parchment.
This second page was in much better shape, and although she still did not recognize the language, her gift allowed her to tease out the meaning once more:
It has no true form, but lurks within the shadow of the Gate itself. Unlike the other two beings known as Gate Guardian, it can not, or will not, prevent anyone from opening the Gate; but it will warn against it. On occasion, it will even offer advice, alternate paths, even encouragement. But the choice to open the Gate of Tragedy, with all the consequences that entails, will always be there.
I once asked the High King, if it was truly a Guardian. He responded, only when the Gate is shut. I asked what it became when the Gate was open; but my friend would not respond.
I once approached the Gravekeeper, who obviously is in closer proximity to that fell Gate, and asked him about it’s Guardian. He sneered, and responded, a Demon is a Demon, whether it thrashes about or sleeps quietly.
It seems that the keepers of both Poles are wary of its influence. Tragedy, after all, is everywhere, and that is the tragedy of it.
“That’s supposed to be clever wordplay, right?” snorted the woman. She frowned at the page for a bit, and then stuffed it into the pocket of her robe. With mixed feelings, she looked up at the one thing that could not be concealed by the endless storm: a giant black gate, stretching endlessly into the sky.
The woman looked at the terrifying edifice for a while. In a slightly contemplative voice, she said, “The guardian gives advice, huh?”
“I wonder… if it could tell me how to get home…”
The grey-robed figure started trudging toward the Gate of Tragedy once more.