Author : Travis Gregg
The grizzled man, draped in furs, trudged his way up the mountain side. The morning air was crisp and he could see his breath as he slowly made his way to the crevice. The location was a sacred secret and he checked behind him often, double backed more than once, but no one had followed.
The crevice was just wide enough for him to squeeze through. In his youth the climb up to the crevice, down into the depths, and then back up to the surface had been trivial but every year it became more difficult.
“Have to start thinking about an apprentice,” he thought to himself. A new apprentice would be a lot of work. He was reluctant to admit to himself that the time was approaching when he’d need to step down, but the tribe couldn’t go without a leader, regardless of his pride. As he had been taught as a youth, the knowledge of the sacred place was to be passed down so as not to be lost.
Taking one last look around, he squeezed between the rock walls and descended into the darkness. He had a small torch with him but he hardly needed it. The way was familiar and the pathway opened up after the initial squeeze. Navigating the twists and turns, he pushed through the last tight place and eased into the impossible long and rigidly straight chamber he thought of as the throat.
He’d had no idea the total length of the throat but it was four spans wide and at least that again tall. The walls and floor were smooth as a frozen lake, or maybe even smoother, but they weren’t slippery at all, and they were very hard. Every time he came he marveled at the smoothness of the walls. He’d never seen anything in nature as straight and smooth but he also couldn’t imagine what could have built this place either. It was like stepping into a different reality.
Heading down the long narrow chamber, passing several sealed up entries, he came to his destination. The archway was circular and reached nearly to the roof of the chamber. This entryway opened up into a large wide room with a ceiling at least ten spans tall. Inside were row after row of waist high tables and chairs all facing towards one wall of the room. Scattered around the tables were dull metal boxes that held the reason for his arduous journey.
Sitting down at a table he got to work on one of the boxes. The metal sides slid out if you knew the trick and once it was open he twisted a couple of the pieces inside the box loose. Holding up his torch he evaluated the components on how impressive they’d be. The piece he decided on was a small cylinder that was clear with thin swirls of metal coiled inside. It was beautiful in its own way. More importantly though, it was clearly beyond anything his people could fabricate themselves. He knew he’d have to be careful descending back to the village, from past experience he knew these could break easily and then he’d have to come back for another.
For another season the tribespeople would be duly impressed and appeased by his gift from the gods. They would be assured he was still favored and his leadership would remain unquestionable.