Secrets at the top

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The gods don’t like it when you do that kid…” she remembered her father saying to her when she’d tried to climb up the sacred mountain. But why? She had often wondered in all the years since.

Now with her hands gripped upon the cold had surface of the cliff face she slowly made her way up the side of the mountain.

Hand after painful hand of work, she climbed, wedging her fingers in cracks to give herself grip, and gaining purchase on whatever hairline ledges her toes could find.

Above was the blue skies, and the peak, somewhere up there, hidden from her view by the cold hard face of the mountain.

Laboring hard the ascent took her ever up until at last the sun swept over the edge of the mountain, lighting her in the brilliant dazzling light.

Halfway up.

Though the heat from the sun was not unexpected, it wore her down more than she had planned, and soon slowed her progress even more, until finally she elected to stop at the next ledge and rest for a short while.

Then a voice whispered to her,

Thilliam kalandure thilliuth dae
Dagodah folom kadalikiala om

So loud inside her head, she shivered, not knowing the words, but feeling sick like some alien thing was inside her. It could have been the cold ice metal of a dagger.

Siladius innus dae kothom ram…

Her grip slips. She falls. Her heart jumps, as blood explodes into her head. Adrenalin kicks in. All she can see is the blue sky, and the cliffs edge, and the silver edge of a cloud making its way over the mountain. The sun beams dance past. The forest rushes up to meet her. Suddenly she is at the side of a dark riverbank. A boat rows out the mist.

By Gregory Alter


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