Gary Baker, August 2011
(prologue for a yet-to-be-named longer project)
Thick wafts of brimstone choked out most life within the soupy expanse of fog and steam. Mirror-like silver plate armor cinched tightly around the legs of the light-footed Kaelar champion sliced through the thick steam clustering about tall mounds of sulfuric clay and soil, leaving tiny rivulets of clear air to quickly fuse back into the bleak grayness once more.
The champion paused, his dark gloved shield-hand resting lightly on the hilt of the sheathed weapon hanging upon his left hip. Without the steam his trek would have ended ages ago, but here he was sweating inside his portable steel oven lined with layers of tanned Farsmar hides with the long gray fur facing inward as padding, climbing ever higher in the rocky crags of Mount He’ulis. The dark leather glove of his dripping wet right hand came into view just beyond the edges of his helmets nose guard, holding a damp cerulean gemstone engraved with lightly etched runes. “Brot’an deev a Te desa minae,” came the rough grating of the champions voice, any echo that should have come was lost within the surrounding haze. In response, the crystal flashed white once then pulsed with a darker hue of near-pink.
At first all was silent, aside from the faded sounds of the champions heavy breathing but, as if waiting for such a cue, at his third exhale the fog drew back away from the crystal and then the man holding the stone, until it visibly withdrew in a bubble around him to give a wider range of visibility for his human eyes. “Finally,” he breathed silently.