The Ornery Curtain: An Ongoing Fanfic

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Francis Buck

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« on: October 06, 2014, 11:33:04 pm »
So, last spring I had this idea for a short fan-fiction piece. I fleshed it out and started working on it. Unfortunately, I have a hard time keeping things small. Despite the fact that half the reason I wanted to do this was so I could work on something that focused on character and the mechanics of writing instead of world-building, I ended up formulating a story that...still kinda needed a bunch of world-building to work. So instead of trying to complete the entire thing (which could potentially reach like, 20,000 words or more), I decided that I'm going to write it in smaller sections here and slowly work through more. Basically I want to see if people actually think it's worth finishing. There's quite a bit of story to tell, but I can potentially cut it down (or, if there's a desire and a demand, flesh certain things out even more). I do know where it's all headed, it's more just an issue of getting it on paper and making it good. Ideally, I'd like to add about five-pages worth of content every two days. I think this process may be more motivating for me personally than just having it sit in a folder for god knows how long.

Ideally, this story is not meant to interfere with canon whatsoever -- the events are completely separate. Of course, it's also kind of impossible to do that without having the entire series available, but even so if anyone comes across things that are glaringly wrong, setting-wise, then please let me know.


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Several centuries after the fall of the No-God...

     The leaves were pregnant with dew, refracting a pale morning sunlight upon the woods. His quarry charged forward, heedless of the ill-mapped territories into which it descended.
     Sranc-country.
     Whether the criminals Arimayus pursued had fled this far out of ignorance or desperation, he could not say. The signs were obvious enough – upturned earth picked clean of life, gashed and blackened like a cancer of the dirt. Still-yellow bones could be seen jutting just above the surface, if one looked closely. Arimayus did not have to look closely, for he knew these woods as good as any man. And yet even that was but a pittance. The People of the City kept to the City.
     He had fought them before, of course. The Sranc. Three times to be specific, though in the case of the first he was just a Forester himself, no older than nineteen and on his first Acquisition, under command of the now senile – but still residing – Judge Etrigga. Even then, Arimayus hadn't needed to endure the affair for very long. This had been back when Etrigga was a demon among men. When he could slaughter what seemed like endlessly crashing waves of Sranc, brandishing the twin broadswords in each hand that he was so known for. An eccentric tactic that had been looked down upon, until Etrigga proved himself. Arimayus marveled at that sometimes. Etrigga had grown to be one of the greatest Judges in recorded history, before the death of his son.
     It made Arimayus think of his own children, his perfect little girls, their unanimously vibrant eyes flashing a blue so clear as to be silver. Almost white. Sometimes Arimayus thought he saw the God through those eyes, but that was vanity.
     He was drawn from reverie by the sound of his comrades behind, the Foresters that he lead as their Judge and Acquisitor, stampeding behind him on their too-scarcely tested geldings. He wondered, then, if these men were frightened. Most probably were. And yet whatever apprehensions the duty-bound fellows might harbor should be dwarfed by that of the men he tracked, the criminals, now apostates, who had broken the most sacred law of their City:
     They had ventured beyond its walls, beyond the Ornery Curtain.

     A day earlier three freemen of the Bautai tribe killed the son of their own chieftain. Their exact motives remained unclear, though there had been rumor of a scandal between the chieftain's son and one of the three Bautai freemen's wives. The murder itself – a gruesome and clumsy affair, clearly done in haste – had been witnessed by an elderly but keen street-cleaner known and respected by the citizens. The graybeard promptly informed the Chieftain of the Bautai, Erzûta. All this occurred under the blanket of night, and it had still been dark when Chaegitha Arimayus was awoken to be informed that the murderers had fled beyond the Wall, killing several guardsmen during their escape. Normally, Chief Erzûta would have dealt with the criminals himself, as these transgressions had taken place within his tribal jurisdiction.
     But all that changed once the Wall had been breached. None could pass beyond the Ornery Curtain without license. By protocol, an Acquisition was initiated. Fresh elk shanks were burned, one of the old traditions. To Arimayus, the smell was glorious for piety and torturous with earthly hunger, but he had no time to indulge. He had counted it but one among the numerous tests sure to follow.
     In a World of so many souls vying for salvation, how could the Gods be anything less than mercilessly astute?
     Citizens gathered around the exquisite statues of Husyelt, Gilgaöl, and Anagkë. Some knelt before them praying, while others tossed coins at their stone-chiseled feet. The rest could not get close enough to the statues for proper worship, and so they lifted their arms and sang the sacred Om that the Didact had passed onto them ages ago. The sound was crude at first, as always, but it soon became entrancing as the various people found their own distinct and appropriate niche in the greater song, until all were in unison. The Oracle would be pleased.
     Arimayus was a pious man, to be sure. All Judges were, in theory if not in practice – they all proclaimed their faith loudly, at least. But a man's actions resonate in the Outside far more more than words...unless you're a sorcerer, which Arimayus most certainly was not. Nor was he merely another man shouting his devotion to other men, rather than whispering it to the Gods.
     He prayed every night and morning: to Akkeägni when someone was sick, to Yatwer when his children were yet unborn, his wife heavy with the burden of their fragile, inchoate souls -- and all the more beautiful for it. He'd read every page of the Book of the Didact, and memorized much of it. He thought himself a man who knew as much of the Gods as anyone in his position could. He was a child of the Hundred, from scalp to sole.
     But within that pantheon, it was Husyelt that Arimayus's soul belonged to. The Judge-Acquisitor wasn't quite sure how he knew this, but he did. An impression so strong he could feel it in everything, bone-deep, permeating skin and blood, saturating his every fiber.
     Husyelt, the Dark Hunter. Most human of Gods.
     At certain moments, moments like when he charged through the woods upon his black steed, loyal men at his back, all united in the hunt...it was during these instances when it sometimes felt as if Husyelt rode with him. Not alongside, like a fellow Forester, but within him, as if he and the Dark Hunter were one. Never did Arimayus feel so powerful, so vibrant with spiritual life.
     So Holy.

     It had been nearly two years since the last Acquisition (they were not especially frequent affairs) and it was a rather surreal experience for Chaegitha Arimayus to pass once more beneath the Nexum – the lone orifice of the Wall. The confines of the Ornery Curtain, the City itself, often felt as if it were the entire world. What existed outside of it was but nature, chaotic and indifferent, entirely untamed – and untarnished – by the hands of men. Arimayus and the six Foreseters he'd selected for the Acquisition had initially made their way across the heathlands that engulfed the western edge of the City. Rocky and destitute, the landscape permitted one to see with clarity into the vast distances ahead. Behind were rolling sepia hills covered in dead or dying grass, shadowed by the looming Kayarsus to the east, for the City was built at the base of those titanic mountains, and the Curtain formed a sort of jagged crescent against them. The crisp morning air stung his eyes for brightness, chilled the mucous in his nostrils, but it felt good. Rejuvenating. It fortified him, imbued a strength in his spine, a tautness in his muscles.
     A good day for a hunt, he thought to himself, fingering the ivory bow-shaped charm hanging from a silver chain around his neck. A symbol of Husyelt. Briefly, he considered the possibility that hunting men was not something his Patron Deity would be pleased with, even if those men were apostate. Murder was the grossest of sins, after all. But the notion was short lived. Arimayus was devout, but not to the point of obsession. He did not argue theology, and was in fact rather bored whenever such a topic might arise in conversation. This wasn't for lack of faith or spiritual determination, however; he simply found the idea of mere men discussing the nature of the Outside, let alone the Gods themselves, to be absurd. Like gnats sitting down to squabble about the affairs of men. It didn't matter if these so-called theologians were wise or foolish, for even the wisest man on earth must surely seem a babbling idiot in the face of divinity. All mortals were ignorant...otherwise they would be God.
     Arimayus's armor had started irritating him the moment he put it on that morning. As Judge-Acquisitor, he had little choice of attire, at least in public. The holy peacock feathers that formed the upper rim of his charcoal-colored cloak were particularly annoying. Even within the clunky darkness of his elaborate frog-mouth helm, he could still see the multicolored feathers shimmering in the sun. His helm, too, was adorned with a fan-like crest of feathers.
     A Judge should be able to wear whatever he damn likes, especially if they're an Acquisitor, he thought to himself that morning. Not a second later he countered his own curse with a hand-sign. Actions may be more important than words, so far as piety goes, but even the unspoken word is known to the Gods.

     The Acquisitors had briefly stopped by one of the cyclopean watchtowers while making their way across the stony plains directly outside the Wall. There were six towers total, none less than a mile from the City. Arimayus and his men learned nothing more than they already knew. Indeed, the watchman they'd questioned gave little impression of concern for the apostates, and instead he appeared simply overjoyed to have company, regardless of the encounter's brevity.
     Though irked at the lack information, Arimayus could hardy blame the fellow. Those who inhabited the watchtowers were the only citizens aside from Judges, Foresters, and the occasional fish-rangers who could readily leave the City. Truly they spent more time in the Wilderness than anyone, so a chronic loneliness was unsurprising. The watchtowers had been built ages ago as a safety measure, primarily against Sranc invasions. The Sranc never invaded though, not anymore. No one did, not even when food grew scarce for the few nearby tribes that used to launch raids on the city in days gone-by. Before the coming of the Didact, before the Curtain had been raised.
     Regardless, the watchtowers remained inhabited, though only the most hard-bitten of men were conscripted. Men without families, without ambitions, sometimes both. In exchange for their service, the watchmen were rotated biannually, allowing them time to rest within the protective City walls. During these periods, they lived in a relative luxury far beyond that of the average citizen. Comfortable shelter, good food, and women of their choosing, all on sufferance of the Judges, so as to compensate for the harshness of the job. Little else would motivate anyone to do it. Many years ago, when Arimayus was still a child, the Judges had discussed sending criminals there, but it had been deemed an unsound plan. Criminals could be dangerous, potentially mutinous, and altogether unreliable, both for the other, non-criminal watchmen, as well as the City itself. Besides all that, the concept of actually rewarding these men with pleasure when they returned was unanimously decided to be absurd, if not outright blasphemous. The Holy Slaves were proposed as another option, but they seemed even more prone to mishap than criminals did. The slaves were a simple people, meant for simple work, with low risk of danger to proper citizens.
     Instead it was the tracking-hounds that proved to be the Acquisitors greatest asset thus far. They found the scent of the apostates almost immediately, prancing and yelping with the fervor of their bestial success, encouraged by their Forester handlers. After that, Arimayus and his men made good time, passing across heathlands that slowly gave way to greater and grander flora; woodlands which the cityfolk had not yet cut down. At first there was naught but lonely oaks and alder trees, but gradually there appeared copses of increasing size, until finally, looming in the distance, was the woodland proper, the Mirfian Forest. Green-grey and ominous with lack of movement, even despite a noticeable breeze.
     The stillness is an illusion, Arimayus thought to himself; they were simply too far away to see the Mirfian Forest in all of its overwhelming detail. What looked to be crudely painted stone from the distance was in fact a labyrinth of unceasing movement, ever-shifting danger. Arduous terrain not intended for the passage of men, and the predatory animals that hadn't learned to fear them. The stinging, biting, leeching vermin who knew nothing of fear, and so were perpetually brazen. The odd group of tribal hunters, both fearful and hostile to those from the city.
     And, as always, the hated Sranc, whose numbers dwindled as little as their endless appetite for carnal violence.
     This was the edge, the place where any cityfolk's knowledge of the World grew thin to the point of nonexistence. None but Judge-Acquisitors and senior Foresters knew these woods at all. And even then...
     The trackhounds, ignorant as they were of such things, ran ahead enthusiastically, as if they were all secretly part of a race to the Mirfian. Arimayus and his Foresters followed the dogs without a single word to each other. Nothing need be said. The apostates had made a risky move on the benjuka plate, changing the rules as they did. Now the Holy Acquisition must do the same.
     It was curiously frightening how quickly the Acquisitors ranged deep into the Mirfian, deeper than Arimayus though he has ever been, though it was impossible to gauge. He possessed too little experience in this realm, and felt disturbingly overmatched – not by the apostates he hunts, but the arena they have chosen. There was an crushing sense that he and all his men somehow did not belong here. Instinctively, his gloved hand reaches up to fondle the ivory charm that hangs from a thin chain of silver around his neck.
     Guide me, Husyelt, I beg of you. I beg of you and all other Gods. Gilgaöl, guide my sword so that it strikes true. Onkis, bequeath hope unto the men I lead, so that they might know true courage. Anagkë, guide me across this path of foul turns, through this wretched task I must endure. But more than anything else, please, guide me home. I want to go home.

     The Mirfian Forest was a sort of revelation for Arimayus, even though he had been there before. Perhaps revelation was not the right word...
      A reminder, he thought. Yes, a reminder of the World outside the Ornery Curtain, a reminder of the City's fragility. A reminder of his own duty.
      So old it felt, these woods. It reeked of the ancient, the primeval. Where the City was a place of stone, stolid and unchanging and predictable, the forest was utterly alive. It seemed to pulse with the uncanny, as if a fierce and cold intellect snaked through the unseen edges, hiding from sight the moment one turned their head to capture it in full-gaze. It's so congested with life, its canopy so dense, that it seemed the Acquisitors existed in some terrible state of unending twilight for countless hours, a half-word forever caught between dusk and dawn.
     The Book of the Didact stated that men themselves emerged from places like this, naked save for the skins of the animals they had killed, armed only with wood and stone and twine. How curious to imagine mankind at such a low state. It almost seemed impossible, but then the Didact was not to be questioned.
     The criminals were at a river, an unnamed one, as is most everything beyond the Ornery Curtain. They'd likely stopped to rest, perhaps even for just a few moments to re-hydrate, but it was enough. More than enough.
     Arimayus and his Foresters descended upon them casually, not even bothering to try and capture the apostates alive. The twang of bowstrings rippled through moist air. All three of the deviants dropped to the ground, two dying instantly from arrows through the head and neck, while one writhed on the ground with a quarrel sticking from his thigh, buttocks, and back, like the spines of a hedgehog. It was only when Arimayus got close to him that he realized he was but a boy; to call him a young man would've been generous. Hair the color of muddy hay, gold and brown and red coalescing into a single hue that, if Arimayus were to be asked, he would have no single word to describe it. The Acquisitors slowed their pace, trotting their steeds around the fallen criminals, spearing them from atop their horses to ensure their death. The smell of voided bowels filled the air.
     The boy was still alive though, for Arimayus stood by him and no Forester would dare take his kill. Half the youth's body is submerged in the stream, blood undulating through the water in crimson clouds. He's crying for mercy, screaming to the Gods, but mostly calling for his mother between choked gags until Arimayus silences him forever. There's a lump in his throat, for he has been reminded of his own mother. Those bitter-sweet memories. How he'd loved her. The boy exsanguinates, and Arimayus reminisces while his Foresters collect the heads.

    The apostatical skulls bounced against his saddle – the proof that justice has been dealt. The Oracle always requires proof. Not that Arimayus was bothered by it – the consistent bump of the bloody sack against his thigh felt...good, in a fashion. While they may in practice simply be means of ensuring that an Acquisition was successful, they also served as a trophy for the Acquisitors, or at least that's how Arimayus viewed them. These heads were a kind of judgment for the Judges, one that decreed their worth and devotion to duty.
    The return trip to the City was quicker than the Acquisition itself, for Arimayus and his men heard the skin-peeling howls of Sranc off in the distance – but not too distant. The opiate pleasure of the Acquistors' success was unceremoniously replaced by a fear of those obscene creatures, and so haste was made. Arimayus would not risk his prize for the sake of a battle he could all too easily lose, and he felt like no less of a man for it. There was sacrifice, and there was the sin of pride. The two were easily confused in lesser men, and more often than not they died for it.

     It was just a few hours before dusk when the Judge and his company mounted the peak of a tawny hillock, beyond which the City emerged somewhat abruptly into view. He was surprised to find his breath caught in his chest at the sight.
     So rarely do I look upon her from this vantage.
     A cluster of grey towers, most of them more squat than tall, jutted from the earth like islands in a bog. The greatest of them, a ponderous rotunda half-built into the Kayarsus itself, rose above all the others: the Seat of Justice, Court of the Triune, and Holy Temple of the Munificent Oracle.
     The Aöthaurium. Most just called it the Dome.
     It was the jewel of the city, and a symbol of its power. Centuries ago, this land was wild, men living in conditions scarcely better than those of Sranc, and all warring with each other. Indeed, it was said that men in this region were on the brink of self-extermination, killing one another when they weren't defending themselves from the pale, loping monstrosities that inhabited these lands still. But then the Didact arrived, the Warrior Vagrant as he had first been known, and he helped the disparate tribes push back the Sranc. He illustrated the folly of the endless internecine quarrels of the old tribesmen, and gifted to them the secrets of civilization. Thus were they united, predecessors of the still extant Six Tribes of the City. The Didact lifted up mankind, and was said to have wrestled with a demon, a great hunger of the Outside, in his effort to construct the Ornery Curtain. After those hard times, an era of peace ensued. The Didact even took a chieftain's daughter as his wife, sealing the pact with marriage. When he finally perished, it was his greatest disciple that shouldered the mantle of responsibility: Cenanvra, now the Munificient Oracle. There was rumor of controversy at the time. A woman ruling the City? The concept was foreign those old tribesmen, to say the least. But as the ages passed, there could be no doubt of the wisdom in the Didact's decision. The Oracle possessed powers beyond the comprehension of any man. How else could she still be alive after more than a hundred decades?

     One of the Foresters cleared his throat lamely, as if to capture Arimayus's attention. He heard it, but did not respond, for he was still marveling at the sight before him. Less immediately striking than the City itself – and perhaps more enigmatic and awe inspiring for that fact – was the Ornery Curtain. It seemed almost comically short from his viewpoint, as though a man could easily swing a leg over top and straddle it. But just like the Mirfian Forest's strange motionless, this was but another illusion of distance. In truth, the wall was the height of five men. The pale, eroded grey of the City's structures contrasted against the umber of the wall in a way that was oddly appealing to the eyes, with a barely perceptible sort of alien specularity. Though its base constituents were mundane (simple mortar and stone gathered from the Kayarsus), truly it was anything but. Ordinary hands may have helped erect the wall, hands that bled and blistered, calloused and cracked, but the intellect that conceived the Curtain was far more. Arimayus often wished he had been alive during the time of the Didact, if only to speak with him for just a moment. The very architect of this City, of this entire world and the shell that encircled it. To think of the lives that had been, the endless permutations of being that stemmed from the genius of a single soul. Arimayus did not permit himself to fantasize much, particular about things that were utterly impossible. He thought it a sort of a weakness, for most men experienced more than enough impossible dreams every night, and it seemed like a paramount neglect of responsibility to willingly dream of the impossible during the day as well. But then, there was only so much of one's soul that could be intentionally directed. Certain weaknesses must simply be weathered.

     Now, entering the wall was a rather different experience from exiting. The latter bore nothing worthy of note -- one may as well be passing through a small garden fence. But penetrating the confines of the Curtain was something else entirely. The hairs on the body all stand up at once. Ears ring and pop, as though one had just tried breathing through the nose while pinching it shut. It's not uncommon to feel a wave of nausea, and to be struck with a sudden fatigue. Once inside, there was always an overwhelming sense of relief, like you'd been inching across a precarious bridge suspended over an abyss. When the journey, such as it was, is complete – and the wall is not especially thick – there might follow a ragged exhalation. You might turn to your companions and grin, everyone shaking their head wearily and chuckling with each other, making light of that which troubled. Playing it off as an experience far simpler than it was in order to bring its power back down to the earth, to the simple dirt of the every-day. But then some early morning, or some late night, you might be walking through the City while most everyone else sleeps, and find yourself curiously alone. The eerie sensation of traversing an empty space normally crowded with the bustle of humanity. And you see the wall across from you, abruptly, standing where it always stood, where you knew it always would be, yet still surprised to discover it again. You approach it, then, cautiously, like a wild animal one means to capture. Every footstep seems an eternity, and the realization comes that walking is an act of continuously falling forward, each stride a lucky, last-second save. And from this, you might become acutely aware of all surrounding you. An almost painful recognition of the meat of creation. Then suddenly, you've arrived. The Ornery Curtain looms above. You extend a hand, a single finger tracing a crack in the surface, tender as a lover. You press your ear against the stone, surprised by its warmth, as though something burned within, and listen to the gentle, humming song that has been imbued into those walls, carved deeply into the flesh of reality.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 04:46:38 am by Francis Buck »

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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 12:31:44 am »
Sorry, FB, if I'm not supposed to post this here, but wanted to tell you I enjoyed the story and would certainly read more if you posted it.  Thanks for sharing, and I hope to read more when you have it available.  Cheers!
No whistling on the slog!

Francis Buck

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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 01:44:31 am »
Sorry, FB, if I'm not supposed to post this here, but wanted to tell you I enjoyed the story and would certainly read more if you posted it.  Thanks for sharing, and I hope to read more when you have it available.  Cheers!

Thank you! And please feel free to post, I should have clarified that in the OP, didn't even think about it. I definitely want as much feedback as possible though! Eventually I'll probably just start posting updates to DeviantART or something so that the thread can be used for discussion.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 02:53:26 am by Francis Buck »

Francis Buck

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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2014, 08:35:46 pm »
Well, so much for the update every 2-days :p. Regardless, I'm just going to throw some more on here (hopefully will get another section up tonight). Updated the OP as well. Again, thoughts and feedback are welcome and encouraged! Appreciate anyone reading this.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was just a few hours before dusk when the Judge and his company mounted the peak of a tawny hillock from where the City emerged, somewhat abruptly, into view. He was surprised to find his breath caught in his chest at the sight.
     So rarely do I look upon her from this vantage.
     A cluster of grey towers, most of them more squat than tall, jutted from the earth like islands in a bog. The greatest of them, a ponderous rotunda half-built into the Kayarsus itself, rose above all the others: the Seat of Justice, Court of the Triune, and Holy Temple of the Munificent Oracle.
     The Aöthaurium. Most just called it the Dome.
     It was the jewel of the city, and a symbol of its power. Centuries ago, this land was wild, men living in conditions scarcely better than those of Sranc, and all warring with each other. Indeed, it was said that men in this region were on the brink of self-extermination, killing one another when they weren't defending themselves from the pale, loping monstrosities that inhabited these lands still. But then the Didact arrived, the Warrior Vagrant as he had first been known, and he helped the disparate tribes push back the Sranc. He illustrated the folly of the endless internecine quarrels of the old tribesmen, and gifted to them the secrets of civilization. Thus were they united, predecessors of the still extant Six Tribes of the City. The Didact lifted up mankind, and was said to have wrestled with a demon, a great hunger of the Outside, in his effort to construct the Ornery Curtain. After those hard times, an era of peace ensued. The Didact even took a chieftain's daughter as his wife, sealing the pact with marriage. When he finally perished, it was his greatest disciple that shouldered the mantle of responsibility: Cenanvra, now the Munificient Oracle. There was rumor of controversy at the time. A woman ruling the City? The concept was foreign those old tribesmen, to say the least. But as the ages passed, there could be no doubt of the wisdom in the Didact's decision. The Oracle possessed powers beyond the comprehension of any man. How else could she still be alive after more than a hundred decades?

     One of the Foresters cleared his throat lamely, as if to capture Arimayus's attention. He heard it, but did not respond, for he was still marveling at the sight before him. Less immediately striking than the City itself – and perhaps more enigmatic and awe inspiring for that fact – was the Ornery Curtain. It seemed almost comically short from his viewpoint, as though a man could easily swing a leg over top and straddle it. But just like the Mirfian Forest's strange motionless, this was but another illusion of distance. In truth, the wall was the height of five men. The pale, eroded grey of the City's structures contrasted against the umber of the wall in a way that was oddly appealing to the eyes, with a barely perceptible sort of alien specularity. Though its base constituents were mundane (simple mortar and stone gathered from the Kayarsus), truly it was anything but. Ordinary hands may have helped erect the wall, hands that bled and blistered, calloused and cracked, but the intellect that conceived the Curtain was far more. Arimayus often wished he had been alive during the time of the Didact, if only to speak with him for just a moment. The very architect of this City, of this entire world and the shell that encircled it. To think of the lives that had been, the endless permutations of being that stemmed from the genius of a single soul. Arimayus did not permit himself to fantasize much, particular about things that were utterly impossible. He thought it a sort of a weakness, for most men experienced more than enough impossible dreams every night, and it seemed like a paramount neglect of responsibility to willingly dream of the impossible during the day as well. But then, there was only so much of one's soul that could be intentionally directed. Certain weaknesses must simply be weathered.

     Now, entering the wall was a rather different experience from exiting. The latter bore nothing worthy of note -- one may as well be passing through a small garden fence. But penetrating the confines of the Curtain was something else entirely. The hairs on the body all stand up at once. Ears ring and pop, as though one had just tried breathing through the nose while pinching it shut. It's not uncommon to feel a wave of nausea, and to be struck with a sudden fatigue. Once inside, there was always an overwhelming sense of relief, like you'd been inching across a precarious bridge suspended over an abyss. When the journey, such as it was, is complete – and the wall is not especially thick – there might follow a ragged exhalation. You might turn to your companions and grin, everyone shaking their head wearily and chuckling with each other, making light of that which troubled. This is something men do, playing off a harrowing experience as one far simpler than it was in order to bring its power back down to the earth, to the simple dirt of the every-day. But then some early morning, or some late night, you might be walking through the City while most everyone else sleeps, and find yourself curiously alone. An eerie sensation of traversing an empty space normally crowded with the bustle of humanity envelops you. And you see the wall, abruptly standing where it always stood, where you knew it would always be, although you're still surprised to discover it there again. You approach, cautiously, like it's a wild animal you mean to capture. Every footstep seems eternal, and the realization comes that walking is an act of continuously falling forward, each stride a lucky, last-second save. And from this, you might become acutely aware of all that surrounds you. The air. The water in the air. The dirt capture in the water that has become the air. An almost painful recognition: the very meat of creation through which you wade.
     Then suddenly, you've arrived.
     The Ornery Curtain looms above. You extend a hand, a single finger tracing a crack in the surface, tender as a lover. You press your ear against the stone, surprised by its warmth, as though something burned within, and listen to the gentle, humming song that has been imbued into those walls, carved deep into reality's flesh. And it sings of mystery.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 01:28:12 am by Francis Buck »

Garet Jax

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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2014, 08:14:25 pm »
Great stuff so far, FB... as usual.


We need more!

mostly.harmless

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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2014, 11:16:24 pm »
I'm intrigued as to where this will go, and I like it so far!
I found nothing wrong in the setting. I did have a feeling of 'where in Aerwa is this, I don't know this place', but that is inevitable to some degree.

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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2015, 03:00:14 pm »
I think I figured it out but I'll PM you :D! Also, more please.
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