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Old 09-23-2006, 05:04 PM   #7
Illusionary Holbytla
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
The birds twittered on heedlessly. No travelers passing by would ever guess that those parts of the mountains were inhabited by any other than themselves, except for perhaps the uncomfortable feeling of being watched, for so they would be.

Higher in the White Mountains than other Wild Men were wonted to go dwelled a single Wild Man whose only company were those heedless birds. But dwelling is a relative term, for he did not dwell there as the Stone Folk did in their fortresses of rock, or even as birds in their nests, but rather as a fish might dwell in the sea or a horse on the plains. He wandered, keeping careful watch over the mountains and taking pleasure in the small things life brought to him, and was content.

Presently Rugh sat meditatively beneath the shadowy trees in the cold predawn light, awaiting the rising sun and listening to the rumors of the earth. He was troubled. Strange things were happening, unnatural things he did not know about or understand, only that they seemed to be epitomizing here, in these mountains.

Then he took hold of a thick dead branch on the ground near him and broke off a short piece. He felt compelled to carve, as if the earth itself was urging him on. He started at the bottom with gently flowing curves, which transformed into confused angles – lost, searching and seemed to extend into two hand-like projections, long hands, unlike his own with their stumpy but manipulative fingers – reaching out, seeking…

The carving scared and fascinated him. It was not like anything he had made before; it bore no resemblance to plant or animal or person; it – she…? – was completely other and was somehow related to the strange happenings. Rugh did not like it. It ought to be stopped, somehow, and peace returned to his mountains. Leaving the carving where he had sat, he stood up and left. He only wanted him and his mountains to be left alone.
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