Story by Adam Casalino
Beleran shifted in his saddle. A biting wind was pulling at the corners of the map in his hands. He would let the wind take it, all the same. He had long passed out of the king’s land. What remained of the road was a rough trail in the dirt. Only gravel and tuffs of dead grass lay beyond. The knight cleared his throat and spat as he looked at the land ahead of him. Dropping down from a cliff, were endless rows of gray hills. At the very end of his vision, he made out a sea of black trees and the faint hint of mountains.
“Oi.” He patted his horse. “How does this look to you, Atlas?”
The beast snorted and pawed the ground.
“I know,” Beleran said, patting the horse’s side. “I’d rather not be here. This land… it’s no friend to us. I cannot see a single dwelling. Not even a dirt hut.”
Atlas let out a low neigh. Beleran gave him a nudge and they descended the cliff. Great whisps of fog floated from the beast’s nostrils. Rain began to fall. The icy drops cut at Beleran’s. He pulled his hood tighter as they explored the hills. They reminded him of rising waves of water. He had only been out at sea once and it had been unwelcoming. In that moment, though, Beleran would have preferred it to the wilderness.
He cut through the tall grass, making a path toward the forest. Turning a large hill, he stopped short. Something was blocking the crossable space between the hill and a steep wall of earth. Beleran pulled back on Atlas’s reins and considered turning around. In front of them was something that resembled a human. Its form was hidden in a ragged cloak, gray like the world around it. The thing leaned on a tall, knobby staff, and on its head, masking much of its face, was a rusted helmet. Beleran noticed thick, scaly protrusions running down the stranger’s neck. It looked up at the horseman with suspicious, yellow eyes.[Read more…] about Beleran and the Frozen Chair