Imaginative Sight

The imaginative ones do not see. Lost Mentor.

This week’s entry is a bit different, a bit long than normal, and covers two prompts. Because this week, the flash fiction stories for Wednesday Words are in Tribute to David Farland. David passed away on January 14th and we morn the loss of a mentor, supporter, and friend. I along with so many other writers will miss him. While I still struggle to find all the right words to express what he has done for the writing community in general and me in particular, this is a beginning. Also, please take a moment to follow the link at the end of the post and view all of the groups stories for David Farland.

Thank you Dave. May we carry your lessons forward.

The wind tugged at Diltru’s hair, writhing tendrils loose before whistling away to dance among the peaks. Diltru tucked the hair behind her ear by rote as she focused on Arvine’s tome open upon the alter before her.

Stone of the earth marking the peak ordinal.

She glanced toward the columns supporting lattice ceiling above. Beyond each column rose a peak of the Shatur range. Each column perfectly aligned with a peak. Each peak aligned to the compass.

Sky of peace diminished by none.

She turned in face toward the wind. Even their campfire they’d extinguished at dawn and sunset was fast approaching. The smell was banished and after years of watching she’d yet to see any settlement light dot the mountains.

Fire of cleansing positioned off the points of the compass.

Between the column half-height pillars rose, crowned in twining stone, twisting about unlit cauldrons as if mimicking flame. Diltru nodded. The fire would come soon enough.

Starlight of the depths gleaming patterns above.

She squinted as she glanced up. Some stars already shone. Others should have, but the lattice blocked them out leaving a specific pattern above. She glanced back to the page and the pattern matched.

Waters of purity encircled the whole.

Beyond the stone pillars, she’d carved a small channel into the platform. The spring they’d found on the peak burbled melodically into the channel, spilling over the outer edge and down the mountain’s slope.

“This is it.” Her hands tightened on either side of the stand as she grinned at the book. “This matches exactly what Arvine wrote of. You found it. Now, the conjunction of sky, fire, peaks, water, and starlight need only be contained within…” Her words trailed off when she turned from the book.

Gramond stood behind her, wrapped in layers including scarves bound tightly about his face. He felt the cold more than Diltru did. Gramond straightened as if he’d leaned toward her to read the tome over her shoulder. Not that he could have. Arvine hadn’t taught his script to many. Diltru, as his apprentice, was foremost among the few. Gramond straighten and clasped her shoulder. His fingers closing about her with certainty. The feeling sunk into her, digging into her bones as he stared at her, brown eyes only visible beneath the wrappings protecting his skin.

Diltru opened her mouth and searched for sound which came sluggishly, “Contained within a shields binding.” She stepped backward breaking the connection and rubbed her temples. “Then… the rest is simple really.” Simple compared to the years of study she’d conducted. The endless leagues he’d traversed searching for this location. She couldn’t just scry it. Perhaps that is why Arvine hadn’t attempted the spell?

His voce rasped in her ears a harsh counterpoint to the wind’s singing. “We can invoke the spell this evening?”

Diltru laughed, the sound carrying more weariness than amusement or joy. “It’s either that or wait a cycle for the stars to return to alignment.” She waved her hand at the lattice ceiling. “I’d prefer not to trek here again.”

Diltru looked about with a frown. The sun’s rim barely showed at the horizon. “You should stand upon the boundary. I would be done before nightfall. And then…” Gramond nodded, pulling his cloak tight as he moved beyond the channel without complaint. He never complained. Only whispered encouragement. Every time she began to doubt the perfection of balance.

No, this was meant to happen. Arvine would not have begun this if there wasn’t something there. And Diltru desperately needed the spell’s promise.

Diltru sunk to the ground, her hand pressing against the stone as if she couldn’t stay upright. Drawing a piece of chalk from a pouch on her belt, she looked at her hand trembling around it.

“You can do this,” Gramond said. “You must do this.”

Diltru nodded and tightened her grip. Placing the tip of the chalk the ground she drew. She drew intricate lines which overlapped and expanded about her. Each flowing until they touched the base of each fire stand. Until the last trace of the sun slouched into the horizon.

Gramond stood waiting at the edge, as still as when she’d begun. “Is it ready?”

Casting a final appraising eye over the runes, Diltru nodded. Gramond’s face moved under its wrappings, a smile she thought.

Diltru stretched out her hands. Fire leapt across the runes, twining out from her in a brightening blaze which traced the pattern of stars above onto the ground. Fire which raced and spiraled up the fire stands, blossoming into light.

As if pulled by the air consumed by the flames, water trickled in from the surrounding channels. Twisting about and lapping through, but not dampening the flames until they reached the columns of stone and run upwards.

The wind followed last, dancing about it all and Diltru as it surged up in a column about her, standing at the gazebo’s center.

Together all the elements raced for the heavens, grasped the light, and fell. Curving down, the spread out in a dome about her, a shield to holding it all. Spreading her fingers, she turned her outstretched palms toward the ground, and feed her magic into the elements adding her white flame to their beauty. Diltru smiled. Then scream.

The power twisted away from her, an arched doorway appearing at the point where Gramond had waited. He entered through the opening as he unbound the wrapping about his face. Runes were scrawled across his skin. Runes to steal her spell. He had read the tome.

Gramond paced toward her, his steps deliberate and cutting through the runes though not breaking them. Instead, they trailed after him reordering themselves as he approached the center. And the shield shifted drawing down from the sky to descend into the gazebo’s base.

Diltru turned her face away as Gramond knelt next to her, but he hooked a finger under her chin pulling her attention back. “Ah Diltru. You were always so imaginative. Seeing the possibilities laid out before you and only those.” Releasing her he rose and planted himself before the stand, his hands holding onto the stone. “But then, the imaginative ones do not see their own vision. And that…” He turned toward her and grinned. “Is all the hole I needed.”

The power surged into her, shoving her to the ground. Her hand slapped against the stone, fingers curling over the edge of the portal he opened with her magic. Magic which fled from her like blood from a cut wound. She screamed, the sound coming out wordless as she couldn’t fling the accusation that he’d wounded her at him.

Because he hadn’t.

The cry cut off and she gapped into the blackness. The wound had already been there. Had been there since he’d found her that lonely cold night, huddled in her master’s chair long past when the hearth had burnt itself beyond cinders.

She’d been wounded then.

A wound she’d run from when he appeared asking about rumors of a spell meant to open a gateway to beyond. Diltru had clasped onto the idea, turning her back on healing and the work Arvine had left for her. Of course, he’d worked on such a spell. He’d borne his own hurts. Even decades later Diltru had seen them.

She screamed pulling herself from that past and to the portal yanking energy from her while growing.

Of course, Arvine had created the spell. And discarded it.

Gramond had spoken true. She’d let her imagining blind her. She’d been drawn along by them and the chance to see Arvine and ask him the questions she’d left unsaid. Too many left unsaid. She hadn’t seen that a gate could point any direction chosen, and Gramond would use his gate to bring darkness above.


Her gate.

Diltru had crafted the spell. Polished the stone. Channeled the waters. And lit the flame.

Her spell connected to her, and she was not blind to her choices.

Her scream was defiant as she pushed herself from the ground. Gramond’s eyes widened as he turned toward her. “How?” he whispered.

Diltru narrowed her eyes. “You’re wrong.” Slamming her palms against his shoulders she shoved the power toward the gate through him. He stumbled beneath the force of her power. Stumbled and fell as his foot found only air at the edge of the portal.

Diltru fell away yanking the power with her, up and away from the darkness. The power rose in response to her movements and pressed against the boundaries of stone, fire, water, and starlight. For a moment it glistened forming a ring at its apex. Tears blurred her vision as a form appeared in the ring, a silhouette shadowed by the light behind.

Perhaps a hand reached toward her, fingers pressing gently against her heart and pushing power back into her. Diltru felt the warmth of it still when the spell shattered leaving her alone in the deepening night on the mountain top.

Raising her hand, she pressed it over her heart and felt the beating. Listened to the sound the rhythm. As calm as Arvine’s footsteps as he’d gone about his work, ever pushing forward regardless of the past’s pain still trailing him like chains.

Moving forward.

But not chains. Ties to what once was and what Arvine desired to keep.

Diltru lay on the ground and breathed in the clear air for a moment before rising, pulling herself up the stand slowly. She looked across the peaks and pondered returning. A trek she’d have to make alone for the first time and one none would mark.

Wind twisted through her hair and whispered to Diltru. Whispered from the depths of her soul, but not of the past. Options opened before her and Diltru smiled.

Or she could stay.

She could stay and expand her gazebo creating her own home and center. Revising the face of this mountain so no one could attempt the spell here again.

Or she could journey somewhere new.

In the end, which she chose was of little importance. No, what mattered was seeing the futures spread out and anchored in her heart’s history. She could choose. She could learn. She could grow. Diltru smiled at the stars.

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