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Senseless, Part 1 (1470.06.21): Reqem wants to explore the mysterious, ancient tunnel that his party has discovered. (Supporters Only!)
~ 1727 words, Created by: Ellen Million (Writer), Posted: 10/17/17  

This story or poem is for logged in supporters only! Here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite:

In the end of the summer, the sun began to set below the horizon at night again. What little fruit could ripen during the few warm months came into season, and the flavors of the coming fall began to scent the air in that brief, tantalizing moment before the leaves changed their colors in the swift, inevitable decent towards the long, bitter winter.

It was late in the season, to be out so far into the mountains, and Reqem held himself high in his saddle to scrutinize the nearby peaks. This was new territory to the young ranger, and he was looking forward to seeing the fabled barrier for the first time in his thirteen years.

Reqem preferred pursing physical skills to learning the dull, theoretical sciences of the Ancients, but he loved the stories of the breaking of the world. Little kept him sitting still and listening respectfully to the furshirts as the tales of Akovu, who saved them from destruction, but shattered the living plane when he did so. Though the world survived, it was broken into pieces, each shard isolated by misty blue barriers that no one could cross. Getting too close to them caused a powerful, dizzy sickness, and they had left the people of the northern villages isolated from the fantastic civilizations of the ancient stories for hundreds of years.

“I'll get within an armslength,” Reqem told Imain confidently, not for the first time.

His age-mate, as newly declared an adult as Reqem was, snorted. “You won't get within a hundred paces,” he scoffed back.

Reqem's mount tossed its big head as Reqem did. “Well, I'll get further than you, at any rate.”

New rangers sometimes competed to see how close they could get to a barrier before the illness turned them back. The effects, as far as anyone could tell, were immediate, and vanished instantly when one retreated.

Reqem was still scanning the rocky horizon when Lenar, leader of the group, abruptly gave the shrill whistle that commanded the snowies to halt in their big cloven tracks.

Imain's mount stomped its displeasure and nipped at Reqem's mare, who growled in response. Behind them, the pack snowies shuffled to an obedient stop.

Ahead of them, Tivikai, who had been riding beside Lenar, unexpectedly stood up on her saddle, balancing easily on the snowy's broad back. She was gazing south, as Lenar was, and she exclaimed, “There are new mountains!”

Reqem and Imain gazed in the same direction. All the mountains looked the same: craggy, rocky slopes receding into mist. Was that mist slightly blue? Shouldn't they be able to see the barrier by now?

But new mountains meant...

“The barrier is gone!”

Author's Notes

Written several years ago, I revised and added to this when a call came for submissions to a charity anthology called 'In The End.' This story is also available individually in Kindle format on Amazon.

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