Hey all, thought I’d share the prologue to the new story I’m writing. Let me know what you think!
Firelight flickered across the man’s face, shadows making his wrinkles seem deep, deeper than they were. The room was small and nearly empty, bare of decoration. There was a small rug, woven in threads of blue and gray, in front of the hearth and the wooden chair in which the old man sat staring into the dying fire. Three walls of the small garret room were lined with bookshelves and every shelf was filled with large, ancient, hard-bound books, dusty from disuse. In the middle of the room was a small, square table with two mismatched chairs. Against the one wall that had no shelves was a small counter with a sink that allowed running water, an odd luxury for so poor a dwelling. A cabinet held a few pieces of pottery, presumably for holding food, and further down the wall was an old cot with a straw mattress.
The old man sat hunched over, wrapped in an old cloak. His white beard hung nearly to his waist. In a different time he had kept his beard shorter and neatly combed, but what, really, was the point anymore? Closer inspection would have revealed that the tattered, gray cloak the man had pulled about his shoulders had once been very fine. It had once been a royal blue in color, with fabric as soft as a newborn chick and as waterproof as a duck’s feathers. It was lined with gray silk and trimmed with silver cords. But there was no one around to examine the cloak, none left to wonder how such a fine cloak had come into the possession of this old man living in this poor tower room.
The fire in the hearth had burned down to a handful of glowing embers and the room began to grow chilly. The man sighed and shifted, looking into the hearth and then glancing out the one window above the wash-basin at the rising silver moon. He could get more firewood easily, now that it was dark, and restarting the fire itself would require little effort at all, and yet there he sat, as immobile as carved stone, his face filled with bitter sorrow. What was the point? What point in keeping the fire burning? What point in keeping his post. All was well, all had been well, all would most likely continue to be well. For two hundred years, nothing had needed his attention. Perhaps allowing himself to slip into oblivion would not be a desertion of his duties after all. He long to sleep, to be reunited with his brothers. He glanced guiltily at the table as though to reassure himself, as though afraid that his very thoughts might cause some change. The orb, however, did not flicker.
The orb was the only decorative piece in the room: a small, round, glass ball no larger than an apple, made of what looked like blown glass and so delicate that a breath might cause it to shatter. It sat wrapped in the open jaws of a silver statue carved to look like a dragon in flight. the orb glowed a steady, pure blue and the man sighed again, a sound that was filled with both relief and weariness. If all was not well, the orb would become streaked with orange and red, but there would still be time, time to stop the darkness. If the streaks grew until the orb was overwhelmed… the old man shook his head, not liking to think about what that would mean.
It would not happen, it could not, he had seen to that. He pulled his cloak tighter and snapped his fingers, expending very little energy, but more than it would have taken to actually go get the wood from the nearby forest. The fire in the hearth blazed up, warming the room and chasing back the shadows that had risen up and threatened to overwhelm him. Dalmir blinked back tears at the sudden memories and scowled into the fire.