Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sudden Short Story 52

Laviten wound his way through the winding gap at the top of the mountain.  There had yet to be any branch in it, so there was no issue of getting lost.  He just wondered how long it would be until he finally encountered the horned man.  He rounded a corner, and there he was. 
The horned man stood on a narrow plateau in the center of a great depression in the rocks.  The plateau brought him to the same height as Laviten, who was dumbstruck, not having known what to expect.  The horned man stood on the toes of one foot, his other tucked against his thigh, with his hands in an odd gesture at his hips.  He did indeed have horns, and his eyes were closed. 
The horned man spoke suddenly:  "You seek to change who you are, Lesser of Leotan."
It was more a statement than a question, but Laviten felt compelled to speak.  "I came to seek your wisdom."
"You sought wisdom from the shamasal; from me, you seek direction." 
The horned man's directness befuddled Laviten, though only for a moment.  "Y-Yes.  I do not know what I should do next.  Where am I needed?  What shall I do?  What if shapeshifting is not the only magic to --"
"Go across the high mountains," interrupted the horned man, pointing behind him to his own right with his right arm, "There you will find your star."
"But... of all the stars in the sky, none are mine," he protested.  "The Oracle of Oras saw none for me."
The horned man opened his eyes, and fixed Laviten with his gaze.  Laviten stood transfixed, staring at those implacable eyes.  He began to notice what was so disquieting about them:  Were they moving left and right too rapidly to be noticed?  Or were the pupils actually wider?  Laviten realized that the horned man had raised his left arm skyward.  He followed it with his eyes to its hand curled into an upward-pointing finger, and then upward into the bluish sky. 
Laviten fell backwards and scrambled backwards instinctively, for that what he saw was so terrifying.  He had only just noticed it, but in that moment realized that he had seen it ever since he emerged from the gap.  Had he seen it even before then?  Perhaps even before he entered the gap, when the mountain was no longer climbable?  How could he not notice it before now?  Neither cloud nor moon nor star was to be seen above.  Though the sky was clear, the moon and stars that forever bathed Ogo in nocturnal light were not to be seen. 
"That is the power of the star that awaits you," spoke the horned man.  "Its light is enough to banish the other stars, and more.  Now go, across the high mountains.  When you reach the other side, your journey will have begun." 
Uneasily, Laviten collected himself and stood up.  Promising himself to remain undaunted, he thanked the horned man, and then proceeded around the crater, toward the awaiting mountains, where the horned man's right arm still pointed. 

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