Part I of an as-yet-unnamed sequence. Unless I give up again 🙂

“Did you hear something?”
“Don’t think so, Maybe it was one of the horses”
“Could be. Personally I’ve never heard a horse make a sound like an explosion up in the mountains, But that would be why you are the Horseman and I am only the apprentice”
“Look son, There is no benefit in being smart with me”
“No. I can see that”
“Silence. Now, just get back to feeding the herd, and stop imagining things”
“Right then. If you want to leave the possibility of someone being dead in the mountains, it’s up to you”
“Yes. It is. People in the mountains at this time of year know the risks…”
“So large explosions are a natural occurrence in mountains, yes?”
“Just feed the horses.”
“If you say so.”
“I do”

It wasn’t an explosion in the mountains. Although it is true that a sufficiently large explosion in the mountains would cause the bang to be heard by the Algar herds, that wasn’t it. It would take a /very large bang indeed/ for it to have come from beyond the mountains, from, for example, a valley.
—-

It would have had to be sudden for something to surprise a group of
sorcerers.
Or very, very slow indeed.
It would have to have been summoned over many, many decades by someone
who had nothing to do.

As slow, as patient, and as unstoppable as stone.
—-

Stone. Stone was everything. Feeling the stone, the rock, the granite, the quartz, the bedrock below you, the chalk around, every pebble on every beach of every continent (which were themselves just rock) on an entire planet. Not just the solid rock. The liquid rock below, the ebbing, flowing mass of lava which lies, with unimaginable /potentiality/ beneath the foundations of every house, garden, palace, country, field, hill and mountain. Be kind to the rocks, they out mass you. And to one who knows rocks, can feel them sliding with painstaking slowness though every molecule of his body, you must be afraid. For if he manages to bring himself to understand the rocks, or for the rocks to understand him, the power of rocks, and the unimaginable power of the masses of land themselves, may be in his grasp.
And this is a world where a rock can also not be “just” a rock, may be a symbol, may be worth money if worked on.
/May Have Power/
But in the gazing at the rocks whose power is known, the potential power of other rocks is missed.

Not always.
—-

The flames licking at the oak-beams, plaster work falling in great flaming chunks. All is flame, all is heat, all is smoke. The draperies on fire, the candle remains bubbling on the surface of the table. The small man, pointed nose, hiding beneath a table. Hoping against hope someone will save him. His young wife, in the cellar below, in rivers of tears since the man who she loves is too afraid of stone to get to safety.
The bed in the room of the townhouse, above the table. Cast iron. Not stone, but for the present that doesn’t matter, it only matters that the floor below it is burning from the fire beneath /it/ and that within minutes it will fall though, crushing both the table and the pointy-nosed spy beneath it.
—-

When the remains, the blackened and burnt shell of what was once the pulsing heart of a commercial empire, are looked over for clues to the cause, there is something that will be missed. A small hole, inches in diameter, under where the horses stables once were, where the hay was stored, in fact. The hole is small in diameter, but /deep/. Though the mud, the rock, the remains of past civilizations. A small tube that goes straight to the ebbing, flowing lava upon which we float. And it’s sides are bubbling —-

And to the explosion in the mountains. Except not within the mountains, except beyond the mountains, except in the fertile valley beyond.
—-

And a fortress. An impregnable island, safe within it’s walls. Believed safe within it’s walls. The ebbing, swirling mass of the magma below, with a feeling, a memory of the forming of the island, of heat, explosion.

of rock.

And the thoughts, the feelings, the hopes, the dreams, the desires…

…the desires…

…and of reviving the forces that have been dormant for so long, so very long, of heat, of flowing, swirling rivers of molten lava, of the river , which began with the smashing of a rock, being evaporated, exterminated by the streaming, roaring force of the awaking giant that has lived below for eons.

One push is all it would take. One reinstatement of the memory of all that it once was, one thought could force magma though the tunnel though which it once erupted, and take the life of the one who was enemy. The one person who was responsible for what is only known as the ever-moving /now/.

One?

Doubt. An itch in the thought, The single thread of the garment that must not be pulled, lest the whole world collapse. And in that instant the energies and the focus shift away from that of the dormant volcano, across to the endless wastes of Algar, and beyond, though the mountains (The mountains, the rocks, the stone, the snow, the treachery, the death, Oh! the deaths in those mountains) though into the last expected thing, shielded by the mountains, a valley. The Valley.

Home.

To a cottage, to an explosion which happened only seconds ago in real time (…and across the valley, a voice asks it’s fellow man “Did you hear something?…) yet seemed so long ago, yet only an instant away (Time was the first thing to go, the loss of time, the inability to see the time pass in the sun. Here, where your only clock is the shifting sands of a beach, of the rocks, and the time of the rocks, which is slow and is patient and is imperceptible to those who are not trained, but for one who has literally nothing but rock, the training is easy, although the time it takes to learn the rock is as hard as the stone itself)

To the origin. The start. The cause, the instigator, the reason, the excuse, the one single object that executed the action that placed him here.

And nothing can now stop the ecstasy, the exultation, the unknowable conclusion of the one reason for existence that he has left.

Revenge.