Cythera Chronicles: Prologue: Laughter in the Mountains

  • This is the prologue to a currently nine page story that's still in the works and will be so for a long time. It's also somewhat of an experiment in writing longer things and seeing how story dynamics change when things approach book length. So here it be:

    HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN, NEAR A SMALL, CLEAR BROOK WITH A THIN SKIM OF ICE on it around the edges-the first this season-a pebble was dislodged by a strong current and began to roll down the mountainside. Against all likelihood, the pebble was not stopped by the dense forests of pines, nor by grey, rough boulders the size of a man, with deep cracks and lichen growing in them. The pebble rolled on, through more rocks and forests, over a huge, broken statue of a woman, and, finally, off a cliff. It hurtled down towards an infrequently used path that wound along, climbing the mountain, covered in a multicolored blanket of dry leaves and pine needles. Just before coming to rest among the leaves, however, the pebble bounced aside, as if hitting an invisible wall five feet off the ground, and landed a few feet away. Had anyone else had been on that path at the time, they would have heard muffled curses, and then seen the leaves crunching beneath invisible feet, trudging off towards a small village hidden away on the mountain, a village that had had no visitors for several months.

    Several hours later, those same footsteps came to a halt in the late afternoon, and waited a short way from the village. The village consisted of about twenty houses, mostly wooden, but a few stone, and all but two were only one story high. They all had yellow thatch roofs, and were spread in a seemingly haphazard way. After a closer look, however, one would notice that they followed the lay of the land, all built in convenient places, but none interfering with natural occurrences. Another oddity of the settlement was that all around the houses were plants-evergreens, vines, flowers-all wild, yet none interfering with the livelihood of the town. There was a wall of grape vines, completely out of place in this climate, at one place not visibly pruned to a hedge, and yet not spreading enough to become a nuisance.

    The sun was slowly sinking behind the mountain range, turning the sky to fire, and storm clouds gathered to the east. Thunderous, black masses, slowly rolling towards the small hamlet. The shadows grew longer, and as night fell, people went outside to complete any final tasks before bedding down, and there were numerous clicks around the village, from shutters closing and latching.

    When the last glow from candle or lamp was extinguished, the unseen watcher stood and began walking into the town-taking care not to crunch any leaves, this time. Footsteps appeared in wet grass, which quickly sprung back up again, leaving no trace. The footsteps continued past one of the larger stone houses, and then halted at a medium sized stone well covered with ivy on the outside, with the rim carved to please the eye. In the morning, a young dark-haired child of seven years with grey, stormy eyes, would tell his mother about the well bucket rising with no one there to turn the crank, but the mother would dismiss it as a dream. If the mother had believed her child, then the future of this little borough would have been changed greatly.

    The invisible visitor traced a small design on bucket and the side of the well, and they both briefly caught flame, before quickly extinguishing themselves. The perpetrator sprinkled a fine dust on the designs, and they were hidden from sight. It then continued over to the house of the child and traced a design on a large oak with spreading branches, with the same results. It proceeded to the largest stone house, all of two stories high, and traced a design on the doors and all of the windows. Finally, it muttered a few words, and hurled the fine dust over all of the plants around the village. The dust landed, catching light and shimmering, and just as quickly faded from sight. The visitor then left the village as stealthily as it came.

    Once a good distance from the village, the air shimmered in front of a tall beech tree, and finally resolved itself into the shape of a middle-aged man, with streaks of grey just beginning in his dark hair, in a sturdy, dark blue cloak held up by a rope. He sat down, gathered a few sticks for a fire, muttered a few words to ignite them, and began to laugh mirthlessly. Reflecting on what he had done, the figure laughed louder and harder, until his entire body shook with laughter, and the flames in front of him danced wildly. Many of the people in that small village woke suddenly from a nightmare, and it seemed to them that the crazed laughter from their dream continued faintly, echoing among the mountains and trees, for days.

    (This message has been edited by moderator (edited 03-18-2003).)

  • I love this story. It's so exciting from the beginning.
    When is the continuation coming out?


  • hell. I'll upload part II now.

    There are 10 types of people in this world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.

  • This chapter seems a little short, but it makes me curious. I can hardly wait until we release the next part.

    Slayer's guide to Cythera:

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