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Old 11-29-2022, 01:56 PM   #1
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

What does death look like in the world of The Fantasy Trip? I’ve been reading the comments and ideas in the Discord channel about how characters die, the way strength is used to represent character death and fatigue, and the special relationship to magic it has (is there Strength in all things that live?) and it made me think of a story to write. In this story a character with a unique relationship to death searches for a powerful sorceress who he hopes can explain the experience he has had - the two are then thrown into a situation where they must rely on each other’s secrets to survive. The story is called, “The Tower”

The Tower
By D. H. Austin

Prolog - A Death

He was on the ground now. His shoulders and head rested against the stone of the castle wall where it bulged outward near the ground. His left hand throbbed in pain and the right was numb. Bodies lay all around him, and above him the battlements were silent.

Everything was death.

The sun was bright and high in the clear, blue sky above him. Many birds were circling but there were no sounds. He was afraid to move his head, unsure of potential sharp edges that might cut him from his cracked and damaged helmet. He tried to look down at the ground around him, but his swollen face got in the way of his vision. With great effort he rolled, onto his side, and then he saw them. There were many. They were tall and vaguely human-like, and they had thick long legs, four long and thin arms, and massive feathery wings. The garments they wore were simple long dresses with no sleeves split up to above the knee and colored in muted yellows and browns.

It seemed they did not notice him or that they did not care that he was watching them. One of them came close, kneeling near a fallen soldier, and it reached a hand through the armor and drew out a wisp-like thing. It then stood and released the wisp into the sky. The wisp rose like a leaf caught in a wind going higher and higher until it was out of sight.

The tall thing had the face of an angel with wild golden-brown hair, but he could not tell if the thing were a man or a woman. Its countenance was pure contentment, bliss even, and its eyes radiated calm. At one point it turned to look at him. His eyes met its eyes, and he began to cry. He wanted to sigh, feeling he had earned this, this moment at life's end, but his chest was weak. He had fought with every bit of him. All of his strength and all of his training he had given in this one, his first, and last, battle. This death was not a bad death, he thought.

The thing continued to look toward him. Slowly, its expression changed to one of surprise and it seemed to become agitated, distraught.

He lifted his left hand, in pain, and turned his palm toward it, saying, "You are not what I imagined you would be."

It was startled, and its wings rose high in the air. Its arms waved up and down and then it called out in a loud voice, "Marge, we got a problem here."

Others of the beings heard the call and came rushing over. A much taller one among them, who wore a green dress with gold edges, came and put a hand on the one who cried out, and said, "It's okay, Eloise. Sometimes the body will still appear to have life even when they have died. In any case, they cannot see us. I told you that, remember?"

The one, Eloise, he heard, raised two arms, and pointed at him, and then moved her pointing fingers to the left and to the right.

His eyes followed its fingers.

There were gasps and one high pitched scream from the winged angels.

The one in the green dress covered her mouth with two hands and reached out with her other two arms and pushed the ones near her, including Eloise, back. It then took two giant steps toward him and kneeled beside him on the ground.

He was not afraid.

It lowered its head, bringing its eyes right to his. It peered at him, and with one hand wiped away the tears on his swollen cheek. "This," it said its voice soft and low, "is not normal. You see me, man, and I see you are not at all dead to this world."

Being gentle, the thing took off his helmet, stroked his hair a few times, and smiled.

"I am Margerory Avaladeris Sofian," it said. "We are not here for you. You should not see us. I do not know what to do with you. Who are you, and what do you desire? What do you want?"

He tried to smile, but there was pain.

He said, "My name is Alan, Robert’s Son, of Dastrane. I want to be alive again."

It was Margerory's turn to cry.

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Old 11-29-2022, 09:38 PM   #2
Shostak
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Interesting, Terquem!
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Old 11-30-2022, 10:15 AM   #3
Terquem
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 1 Part 1

“What is the value of sentience? Our world teems with magic and things that have the illusion of life. Where is the strength of a living thing? From where does the flow of magic originate? Is it simply the need to know love? If a living thing does not long to be loved, can it said to be alive? Many have lived within me. I have not loved them, but I hoped I would. I am The Tower.”

“So, you’re alive?” She asked.

“I am a sentient being. I do not know if I am alive or not, though I think I once was.”

“Why do you think that?” She put her hand, gently, on the banister, now strangely aware of the tower’s possible humanity.

“I have a name, but no one has used it for a long time.”

She was curious now. Her original fear was fading.

“Name,” she said, “what kind of name?”

“I remember being called Alduen, Alduen Beaumont. I can almost remember that I was Alduen, but maybe I wasn’t. Maybe it is just the name of one of the people entombed within me.”

She froze at the top of the stair, as the fear came back. The tower felt colder now. The stone seemed darker. The light, which had been visible through the narrow window on the floor below her, grew faint as dark clouds gathered above the moor.

“Are there,” she swallowed, hard, “are there many, entombed?”

"Within my walls and floors," The Tower said, "no, not many, but some, and more in the catacomb below. But, that is enough about me. Why are you here, Lisa of Callinwitch? What brings you to The Tower?"

"You know who I am? You can see me?"

"I sense you. The Aben Moor sorceress is known to many of the creatures who have lived within me. They have talked about your coming."

She turned quickly, looking back down the curved stairs. Nothing was there.

"Monsters?" She asked.

"Monsters, yes, I suppose, and others. Some are just creatures looking for a dry place out of the moorlands all around us. Other things which only appear alive, and are less alive than I am, can be found below."

"The dead roam your cellars?” She asked. “Maybe your corpse is among them?" She tried to be interested in the mystery and less afraid of the situation.

"For certain it does not. I don't know why, but what of me that has become The Tower was hidden, hidden away for a very good reason."

She kept looking back behind her to the left, watching the stairs and the floor below as it grew darker. She had brought torches, naturally, but she was not yet ready to create light that others might notice. She wanted to know more about The Tower, about the previous occupants.

It had been three weeks since she left the home that she had known for the last forty years. The journey was not far, and there had been many stops along the way. Her home, well, the place that had been home, belonged to the previous Aben Moor sorcerer, Duncan Rhoanee. Lisa inherited the property on the coast, and the title of Aben Moor sorceress, when Duncan disappeared thirty years ago. Their relationship had always been a difficult one to describe. To the people of the moorlands, they were a wizard and his apprentice, while to those who knew them closely, they were more than that, more and at times less.

The tower itself was many miles inland and to the northwest of the town of Callinwitch. Between the coastal town and the high Aben Moor there were many smaller villages and settlements and Lisa had made it a point to try and stop at each one along the way. She had always tried to live up to the responsibilities of the title she had inherited, and the people were always glad to see her.

Her magic, learned from Duncan under years of tutelage, was known to be powerful, mysterious, and something to be feared. She was the protector of the moors. Hundreds of years ago the Witches of the Moors had chosen a human mortal to train in the ways of spells and gave that sorcerer the knowledge and abilities to draw power directly from the moor itself to keep the balance of wild magic and learned magic under some control.

Many wizards, who did not understand the secrets of the Aben Moor, had come to try and tap into the wild magic for many years. Some would come to challenge the witches directly. They died. Others would try to find ways to grow their own strength by spells that were not right or not balanced to the moorland’s energies. They suffered from fates worse than death. It was the task of the Aben Moor sorceress to protect the moor from these misuses of the strength of the moor.

Duncan had first told Lisa about the tower when she had turned twenty-three years old, the year he had left on a mission he had said was of great importance to the balance of the moor, and never returned. He had warned her of the tower, but he did not give her many details about its dangers or its origin.

What Lisa had learned about the tower was not much more than what Duncan had told her. He had said it belonged, originally, to the first Aben Moor sorcerer, and that it was in the very center of the moorlands.
He had said it was abandoned for a good reason, and nothing more.

A threat had come to the moors and Lisa was sure the reason was tied to the tower in some way. That is what brought her. She was not prepared to find that the Tower had reasons of its own to wish to be left alone. They would need to agree that only a compromise would satisfy them both. It would take a dead man to make them understand.

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Old 11-30-2022, 04:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

wonderful, well written and inventive. I liked it allot.
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Old 12-01-2022, 01:17 PM   #5
Terquem
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 1 Part 2

The Tower was quiet now, as if it had no more to say to her.

When she had first entered the tower, she was greeted with a warning, but Lisa had assumed that that was an old spell left to frighten less intelligent creatures, those who could understand the words, away. It wasn’t until she had reached the top of the stairs at the second floor that it began to dawn on her that the Tower that was talking.

She was alone and so had no way of knowing if she was hearing the Tower’s messages in her own mind, a type of magical message, or if somehow the Tower was able to make sounds of its own. If the Tower was truly a sentient being of some kind, it must have a way to tap into the magic of the moor itself and use that magic to talk. This was a rare kind of magic. It was not uncommon for inanimate objects to possess this magic, a gate was the most common type of object of this kind, but to be sentient (unlike a Gate, which worked on set parameters established by its creator) was rare.

She had told no one where she was going, when she left, and had kept her destination a secret along the way. There were common stories about the tower across the moor. The stories never intrigued her, but Duncan's warning about the tower had always made her curious. Stories about curses and evil spells that were the sort of stories parents would tell children to encourage them to be well behaved, were of no consequence to Lisa.

“Don’t make bad choices,” the stories would always say, “or you will go to the tower where people are never seen or heard from again.”

She wondered why Duncan had never warned her that the Tower was a being that could access magic itself. He must have known, she thought. Although the working of spells was not common, among average folk, the understanding of how magic worked was well known by nearly everyone.

“There are two kinds of magic in the world,” Duncan had told her the first day of her training, when she was just a girl of thirteen. “Both kinds of magic,” he said, “where created by tapping into what most people would call strength. A living thing has a life force, or strength of life, and as long as the thing continues to live that strength is a measure of the life force of that being. A living thing loses some of its strength when it works or exerts itself beyond simply existing, pushing itself, or when injuries or illness take a toll on the life force, sometimes leading to death.”

It was this training, Lisa recalled, that she found the most interesting of all. She learned simple spells easily enough, but this life force, this strength and how it is manipulated, fascinated her. The casting of a spell required a wizard to use some of their own strength, channeling this into energy that can be something physical outside of the body, or something only perceived by other living things, illusions, the most powerful and difficult to control magic of all. A wizard could not use up their own strength to the point that they would risk death, but they could easily use enough of the strength they had to drain them so powerfully that their body was rendered unconscious, and then death might be an unintended consequence.

Strength, while the body is not injured or suffering from illness, poison, or disease, returned to all living things over time. This was another thing that Lisa had wanted, all her life, to understand. How much strength does any living thing have, she wondered? Could it be measured?

And how, exactly, does a non-living thing, like the Tower, have, or access, strength, the life force that is the source of all magic?

The second kind of magic that Duncan had taught her about was wild magic. The magic that exists, often, within some living things that have a magical nature, or some forms of magic that can come into being simply because the world is full of living things. There was great magic in the moors, and in the highland moorlands, the place called the Aben Moor, the magic was very strong indeed. Living things there would sometimes grow to enormous proportions well beyond what nature intends. Some places in the moors have ongoing magical effects that create lights, sounds, smells, weather even, that cannot be explained.

The wizard learns to tap into their strength to cast spells. The number and kinds of spells was not great. Most wizards know a few of the most common spells, while a few know many more. But spells are controlled things. A wizard learns the proper way to cast a spell and the results of these spells are almost always the same, no matter who has cast them. These are the spells that most folk are familiar with. Sorcery is something different.

Lisa had learned the spells that Duncan knew. He taught her the way to cast a spell, how to tap into her own strength. He also taught her the secret of the Aben Moor, and the way to draw strength from the life force that is in all things. This magic could not be used to cast those simple spells. This was a secret handed down from immortal beings to the first sorcerer of the moor a very long time ago. With this magic the Aben Moor sorcerer could understand, see, and hear, and interpret the animals and plants of the moorlands. With this power they could know what was needed to heal the sick, aid the injured, restore the growing vibrancy of things, and with focus, transfer the strength of one living thing into another, if needed. This was the gift of the Aben Moor, and the power of the Aben Moor sorcerer or sorceress, to know life and channel its gifts.

If the Tower had strength, and if there was a connection between the moor and the Tower, any sorcerer that mastered that strength could be the most powerful wielder of wild magic in all the world.

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Old 12-04-2022, 01:01 PM   #6
Terquem
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 1 Part 3

Lisa was aware of a living thing near her. It was not the Tower she sensed, but something more familiar.

She felt it in her body before it slid over her hand resting on the banister. It was a small snake, and she knew it meant her no harm. She turned her head and knowing the importance of startling it as little as possible, she kept her hand still. Small snakes, until they are known, should always be handled with care, Duncan had taught her.

It was a brown and green garden snake, a small variety, harmless, not venomous in the slightest, making its way over her hand without interest in her.

She could tell it was not well. "Oh, you poor thing," Lisa whispered. She lifted the snake on the back of her hand and let it regain itself as she rolled her hand over and with her other hand gently traced a line down its body.

"You have not eaten," she said.

"This is Suressa," the Tower said. "She came in through the door with a pair of grindylow a few weeks ago and has not been able to find her way out again."

“You understand the animals of the moorlands?” Lisa asked.

“Yes, but don’t ask me how. I have always been able to understand them, but I don’t think they understand me. If they do, they do not listen to my warnings. I often think they come in, when they can, just to frustrate me.”

“It’s not you,” Lisa said. “The ability to understand the language of animals is not a two-way road. There are very few animals that perceive us in the way we perceive them. They are aware of us but talking to them is as effective as talking to a plant. They hear us, but our words have no meaning to them. My teacher used to claim that he could talk to dogs, and they understood him, but I think that was wishful thinking on his part. He loved dogs, after all.”

“He sounds like someone I would like very much. I also love dogs. Once there was a dog that lived under the front stairs for a few years. I would talk to her, but she did not talk back, naturally. She would bark when strangers approached and that was often enough to keep people away.”

Lisa continued to gently stroke the snake on her hand. She was unaware that a stranger had entered the tower.

“My awareness of things does not extend far beyond my walls,” the Tower said, “and having the dog around would prevent things like the man standing in the doorway who is now looking up in your direction.”

“Hello,” the man said. “Who is there? I can hear your voices. I’m sorry to disturb you, but it was beginning to look like rain, and I am lost. I thought this was an abandoned place. I saw no lights and the door was open and then I heard voices. If I am trespassing, I’ll go. I am not a dangerous person.”

She thought it was odd that the man would say something about himself like that. Lisa had no reason to be afraid of the man, but something wasn’t right. She wondered how he was able to get so close to her without her sensing him. One of the first lessons Duncan had drilled into her was how to be aware of the almost imperceptible aura that living things had all around her. Even something as small as a spider, or even a moth, had strength and that strength can be sensed if you are trained to feel it. She felt nothing from this strange man.

The great wooden door on the first floor of the Tower stood wide open.

Outside, the dark clouds had turned the day to shadows and grays almost as dark as the inside of the Tower itself. The smell of rain came in.

Somewhere far off to the east, lightning flashed through the clouds. It was too far off for the sound of the thunder to reach the Tower. The light illuminated the figure in the doorway for a moment.

He was pale. Not unusually pale but fairer than the people of the moor. His hair was thick and short, and light colored like wheat in a field in the sunshine. He had the face of a boy, but he was built strong with broad shoulders.

“Are you alright?” Lisa asked.

“What do you mean?” he answered, and then he said, “May I come in? Is there a fireplace? I could build a fire. I know how.”

“Close the door and come in,” the Tower said, “or you may let in things that are more dangerous than you.”

“Yes, sir,” the man in doorway said and closed the door behind him. “Is there a reason you prefer the dark?”

“I do not see with eyes,” the Tower said. “I am the Tower. I cannot stop you from being here.”

“The tower?” the man said puzzled.

Lisa had left her pack near the door when she entered the Tower. “There is a pack by the door on the ground to your left. You can find a torch there. My name is Lisa, and you have met the Tower. Who are you?”

“My name is Alan, Alan Robert’s Son. You live in this magic tower?”

“No, but it belongs to someone I know. I was just checking on it. It is a coincidence that we are both here on the same day. You said you were lost,” Lisa said, “are you a stranger to the moorlands?”

She was making her way slowly down the stairs. She reached the bottom just as the man was standing up from the ground where he had just lit a torch from her pack.

They were just a few feet apart now, and for the first time Alan saw Lisa in the light.

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Old 12-10-2022, 09:45 AM   #7
Terquem
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 1 part 4

Alan was a young man. At least he thought he was. It wasn’t always easy to remember his past. He believed that he was twenty-three years old. That’s how old he was when he went to war. That’s how old he was when he died.

Since that day he had been searching for an explanation.

His searching had taken him south, into the country of Vologna, and into the moors of the northwestern shoreline of the Bay of Myrrcalnde.

He traveled alone. He wasn’t comfortable around other people. It wasn’t long in his wandering before he had begun to realize that he was not keeping track of the days, weeks, or even the passing of the months. Seasons came and went, and he often didn’t notice the turning of the leaves, the coming of snow, or the lengthening of the days in summer. All his thoughts were focused on one thing, understanding.

Understanding a thing he wasn’t even certain he could trust himself to know that it was what he was told it was, drove him. He was told, in plain terms, that he had died, or should have died, or should be dead. He was never clear on the nuance of what he had been told. Even now, standing in front of the beautiful woman who had said her name was Lisa, maybe that Lisa, he wasn’t sure he understood what Margerory had told him on that day on the field of the battle of Castle Herrend. Even now he knew his memory was unreliable. Even now he could see ghostly images in his mind of old friends, the men who had trained him, the women he had been secretly admiring but always too afraid to speak to, and unsure of what was real or what could possibly be just a memory of a story he had heard as a child. A lot of his mind was dark and filled with shadows, but in the light of the torch he held over his head he was now looking at something bright and more beautiful than anything he had ever seen before.

She was a full head, and maybe a little more than that, shorter than he was. Her eyes were large and brown with specks of green and gold that reflected the flickering torchlight like jewels. Her hair was long, past her shoulders, thick, wavy, and though it was dark reddish-brown he noticed that it had small streaks of grey, particularly where her curly bangs danced above her dark brows. Her garments were simple, but well made. She wore woolen pants that were almost as black as tilled earth, a yellow shirt with long sleeves gathered by strings at her wrists and her neck. She had on a vest made of leather and trimmed in fur, and a simple knife in a sheath on her left side on a belt made from braided cords. A snake was wrapped around her left hand. She held that hand off to the side and seemed not to care about it or even think it was something worth mentioning.

But it was not the snake, her hair, or her eyes, or even her shapely figure that stood out to him. It was everything. Taken all together Lisa was the most captivating and beautiful woman Alan had even seen. She was lovely. Her lips were the right size for her face, not too large and not thin. She had a smile on her face, even though she wasn’t smiling. It seemed to shine in the torchlight, hinted at each moment in the corners of her eyes where the slightest of wrinkles were noticeable. Even the creatures that he had mistaken for angels on that day were not as lovely of face as her. Her checks were dainty, her chin rounded and set a little forward. She did not appear to be an old woman, even though the wrinkles at her eyes and touches of grey hair suggested it, and this was the one thing that held him back from being certain she was the one he had been searching for.

“I am,” Alan said. “I am from Drasbia, the city of Dastrane. Do you know it?”

“Only by reputation,” Lisa said. “It is the capital of Drasbia, a port city on the north coast. Of the three countries of Ibalnd, it is the largest in size. You are a long way from Dastrane, Alan Robert’s Son. You said you were lost. I’d say you were not being honest unless you have been lost for a very, very long time. You don’t look underfeed, or sick, but you are pale, much paler than I was led to believe Drasbian’s are. Is there something wrong with you? Why don’t we sit by the fireplace, and you can build a fire, tell me about your travels so far from home.”

“Thank you,” he said, and then something that was not like him at all to think came into his head. He was curious. He couldn’t remember the last time or the last thing he had been curious about and so when he felt it, he knew it was different.

“There is a snake on your hand,” Alan pointed with his free hand. “Do you always carry around a snake?”

Lisa laughed and Alan thought the sound was life itself.

“No,” she said, “it was at the top of the stairs, and I knew it was harmless. I thought I might put it outside since it doesn’t belong in a place like this. Here, I’ll put it back where it would like to be.”

Alan turned and Lisa walked past him toward the door. She pulled it open just slightly.

A gentle rain was falling. It was a soft, quiet rain. The lightning had ceased. The evening was approaching. A chill from the rain and the coming of night shook Lisa and she shivered.

Alan did not feel the cold or the damp. He was grateful to be behind her where there was little chance that she would notice his lack of a similar reaction.

Lisa stopped before opening the door any further and shivered again.

“Hmmm,” she made a sound. “I think snakes do not like the cold,” she said. “How about we wait until tomorrow. Yes, I think we’ll wait.”

“It is a good idea,” the Tower said.

She knelt as she closed the door in front of her and then released the snake onto the floor saying, “Now, don’t go too far. I’ll let you out when the sun is up.”

While the cold and damp did not bother Alan, the disembodied voice was another matter.

“Who is that, exactly?” Alan asked, taking a step backward.

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Old 01-02-2023, 03:15 PM   #8
Terquem
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 1 part 5

“I am The Tower,” the voice said, dramatically, this time.

“You don’t get to say that very often, do you?” Lisa said as she went toward the fireplace built into the Tower wall across from the stairs.

Alan followed, keeping the torch high.

“No, it has been a long while. Do I sound ominous?” the Tower asked.

“Not really,” Lisa laughed, “but I might be the wrong person to give an opinion on that. What do you think, Alan Robert’s Son?”

“I think I’m more confused than frightened. If that’s what you’re asking.” He looked around. A few feet to the right of the fireplace, near a narrow, open window with wooden shutters built into the wall to either side of it, he saw the fireplace tools, but he didn’t see any wood for the fire. “Is there any wood to build a fire?” Alan asked.

The Tower answered, “Outside, around to the south side. There is a bin built into my wall. It is open on the outer face and covered by a slanted wooden roof. You can’t miss it. It may or may not have any wood in it. I can’t really tell because, well, it is outside of me and I only know it is there because it is part of me, but I can’t tell you what is on the ground between the stone walls of it.”

“I don’t understand,” Alan said as he moved the tools closer to the fireplace. There were no ashes. There was no trace of any fire for what looked to him like a long time. The floor of the fireplace had a crude iron grate, and a crane was built into the wall on the left side. There was no pot, no spit, and only three tools, a sweeper, poker, and tongs.

“You don’t understand about the wood bin, or you don’t understand about what the Tower can see, hear, or know about itself?” Lisa knelt and adjusted the grate to be exactly in the center of the fireplace.

Alan found an iron loop on the mantel and fixed the torch there. He waited until Lisa turned her head toward him and said, “I’ll go check the bin.”

Alan walked away quickly. He closed the large door behind him as he went and this time it made a slight groaning sound.

The lightning had passed on to the east but the rain was still falling. Lisa was about to offer Alan a blanket to cover his head while he went, but he was gone before she could say anything.

“I don’t think you should trust him,” the Tower said, once Alan was gone.

“Why?”

“I cannot sense him, himself. I can tell that something is there, when he was inside a moment ago, but I cannot be sure of what it is I sense. A living thing, even as small as Suressa, I can feel. I learn more about a thing the longer I can feel its presence. That is how I came to suspect you were the Aben Moor sorceress. Different things, living things anyway, each have a unique feel. Sometimes I think I can almost see inside the mind of a living thing that is within my walls long enough. I begin to feel strongly connected to them. As they move about inside of me, I know where they are, what they are doing, and I can always feel their intentions, mostly when they intend to do harm to something or someone else.”

“Are you suggesting he is not a living person?” Lisa asked. She had not considered the idea that Alan was an illusion. He spoke, took a torch out of her pack, and lit it. These are not usually things illusions could do, but magic was not ever a completely stagnant thing. She had learned about illusions from Duncan, but only what he knew. Duncan had been the most informed person she had ever known, but he was also quick to remind her that there were things that he did not know and knowing he did not know enough was what drove him to be a perfectionist.

“This I can tell you,” the Tower said, “I have been told about illusions. Warned, even. I cannot see as you do, and I cannot see an illusion. I have learned to know the feeling of a wizard who is casting an illusion spell, or any spell that requires the wizard to keep draining their life to maintain a spell, but I have no way of knowing what that spell is, with one exception, and that is fire. I know when there is a fire within my walls, magical or otherwise.
I can also –”

The sound of the door opening stopped the Tower before it could finish.

Alan came in quickly, his arms loaded with split logs of wood. He dumped the wet wood on the floor and then immediately went to shut the door shouting, “Is there a way to bar this door from the inside?”

Lisa jumped to her feet and took the torch from the mantle.

“Why?” she shouted back.

“I was followed, I think,” Alan said searching along the door frame for a bolt or locking mechanism.

“Followed,” Lisa said.

“I see torches or lanterns, four or five, coming this way along the same path I was on.”

“There is a bolt in the door near the opening side on the bottom. It is made to go into the floor and keep the door shut against anything but a determined force to open it,” the Tower said. “But why would you worry about being followed? Are you a wanted man?”

“That’s not the best way to put it,” Alan said. “I am not a criminal.” He found the bolt, shoved the door well closed and then turned the bolt so it had a handle now away from the door and with his boot he drove the bolt into a hole in the floor. “But there are people that are always looking for me. They want me, but not because I did something they didn’t want me to do. Most of the people looking for me want me to do something for them that they cannot bring themselves to do. Bad things. They think because of my past, because of what they might have heard about me, that I am a killer for hire. I’m not. That doesn’t stop them from asking me to be one. I don’t like it when they won’t take no for an answer and that is usually when things get ugly.”

Last edited by Terquem; Yesterday at 07:42 PM. Reason: minor editorial corrections
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Old 01-04-2023, 08:54 PM   #9
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

If you are reading this - I just reloaded all the first parts with edited versions (minor changes).

I am not a professional writer and I don't have a proper education in the craft. I tried to make a distinction between when the Tower is capitalized and when it is not, important to the story. I hope I did it correctly.
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Old 01-04-2023, 08:57 PM   #10
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: The Fantasy Trip inspired Fiction, The Tower

Chapter 1 part 6

“You think these people coming are looking for you?” Lisa asked.

Alan turned to her and shrugged, then he let out a long breath and said, “It happens, sometimes, but maybe I overreacted this time. I’ve told no one I was coming here, and I haven’t spoken to anyone who recognized me or knew of me after I told them who I was, for a long time. Maybe it isn’t anything to be concerned about.”

Lisa seemed to sense Alan was embarrassed. He was a large man, and for just a moment he seemed to shrink just a bit. He dropped his shoulders and lowered his head.

“I’m sorry,” Alan said at last. “I really don’t handle people well. I’m not good with people, you might say. You could even say I frighten a few people, but I never mean to.”

Lisa approached him and smiled a broad, warm smile. She reached out her hand to touch his arm and Alan reacted by drawing away from her.

“You’re scared of me, Alan, Robert’s Son?”

He was startled by the tone in her voice.

“I’m not afraid of you. I just don’t want you to be afraid of me.”

She reached for him again, taking his wrist. He did not pull away, but he lifted his head, and his face was hard. His jaw was clenched. His eyes looked straight into hers. He had brown eyes. She had not noticed before. His eyes were a distant brown. They were kind eyes, but they were eyes that seemed to be looking from a place far, far away.

“It’s not what you think,” Alan said quietly.

His wrist was cold. As cold as stone, but she felt his heartbeat in his wrist, strong, slow. With each breath his heartbeat came faster.

Lisa drew upon her power, reaching out to him to feel his life, his strength. At first there was nothing, a void like she had never felt before, but then it came at her in a wave. A warm feeling assaulted her senses, not a fire, not an explosion, but a warmth, like being under the blankets you know, bundled in the arms of someone who cares about you more than you realize. It washed over her again and again like the sea against the cliffs. Wild, and somehow restrained it kept coming and coming. It was intense and had a power that grew gradually overcoming her senses little by little. For a moment she felt she would be consumed by it, but it never reached that point. It became stable. It was strength. There was no doubt, but it was not life. Alan, Robert’s Son was not alive, and he was not dead either. He was something she could not explain.

“What are you, Alan, Robert’s Son?” She asked.

“I really don’t know. I don’t have an answer, but I have a story. I am looking for the one who will listen to my story who I believe will know. I am looking for the Aben Moor sorceress. I was told her name is Lisa. You said your name is Lisa, but I was told the sorceress is a crone, and you are not a crone. I have been confused about so many things for so long that I’m beginning to think I don’t remember anything correctly at all. I don’t know where I am. I’m not sure I know where I’ve been or how long it has been since it happened, but I want to know. I want to find someone who will help me understand what has happened to me and why.”

Someone pounded upon the door. A voice, a woman, called out, “Is there anyone here? We seek shelter from the rain. The door is shut. I know it can only be latched shut from the inside. I see your light from the windows. Please, the rain has soaked us. May we come in. We mean no one harm.”

The Tower spoke.

“It is Lydia Commonhearth. She is a woman of a small hamlet to the northwest. I have known her presence within me before. She was frightened to know I was able to speak to her. She came a second time with question, most of which I could not answer. She has been worried about what I am and what is drawn to me, but she is a good person.”

Lisa released Alan’s wrist, handed him the torch, and then she did something he was not at all prepared for. She leaned into him, putting the side of her head against his chest. She didn’t hug him. She kept her arms relaxed and by her side.

“I am not afraid of you, Alan,” she said, for the first time dropping the rest of his name, “I am who you are looking for. Don’t be afraid of me. Don’t be afraid of who you are. I would like to understand you myself. We were brought together for a reason.” She stepped back.

Alan had never known a feeling like he felt the moment she moved away. He didn’t want her to be away from him. A feeling like he needed to be close to her again beat hard in his chest. He was ashamed of this feeling. He had never been with a woman. He did not know what it meant to be intimate with a woman, even though he had heard what it meant when people learned about his inexperience and teased him. He had been told he was handsome. He had been told many women desired him. But he had been afraid. Originally, he was afraid for reasons of his youth, then he was afraid that anyone who came close to him would know. Know that he was something other than a man. If he could not explain why to a woman, he was sure that woman would run from him in terror. It was something he was not going to have to feel. It was one of a thousand reasons he was desperate to understand.

“Open the door. Let them in,” Lisa said. “We’ll talk later. For now, let us both keep our secrets from these people until we know what really brings them here.”

Last edited by Terquem; Yesterday at 07:55 PM. Reason: minor editorial corrections
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