The following vignette was published in the Spring 1993 issue of Knight of the Plume.

His appearance had been much altered by the coldness of his soul. The wrinkles in his face, and the lines on his brow were not the result of age or emotion. They just sat there like river beds run dry. His eyes did not look forward; his pupils were swallowed up in seas of blue-black irises. His tattered tights ended at his knees. The leather bag that hung at his side looked more like a millstone put there to drown him under its weight, than a place to turn for comfort and no9urishment. His vest and skirt of mail, constituted his only other clothing, and they had holes and tears that looked like giant arrows had sometime run him through. His feet were merely bubbles of blister on blister. Each time he set down his foot, pus would leak out into the sand, a terrible loss of precious fluids which he needed, making a wet foot print for a few seconds before the liquid was evaporated into the air or sucked into the hungry sand, leaving no trace. He no longer winced; it took too much energy. In one hand he held the staff, towering above him at twice his height, and slowly, silently, forsaken by all, he walked along the sands.

The wyrd was not kind to those who had resisted it. Other than the mountains to his back, there was no scenery except the sand. It went on forever, with no discernable flagging. Soon the mountains would dip behind the desert to their death, but he did not look around. Then as if it had been there all along, a little to his right appeared a stone. Actually a boulder might be a more accurate term, although stone seemed to fit it somehow. Five feet high, and six wide, its top had been leveled off by the winds which blew at that height across the deserted plains. He walked toward it, knowing that it would disappear.

It did not. And then, as if it had never left, the Wyrd spoke again.

“This is the place,” they said, and so he stopped, and prepared to fulfill his calling and then die. He walked around the rock and noted without surprise that a staircase, rough-hewn out of granite, went up the back. His pupils resumed their proper size. The waves that had bound his mind with their raging pounding madness began the ceaseless pound of duty that is every true wave’s purpose. But his heart stayed frozen. He set up camp for the night. It consisted of nothing more than the staff, glowing to shed light and give some heat, and his ill-clad body under the dipod of staff and stone.

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