50/366 – The Broken Monolith (Cont.)

Continued from 49/366 – The Broken Monolith (Cont.)

“I think we should keep moving,” Master Scaine said, listening for more movement from the woods. “Are we going back to town, or are we continuing on?”

“I don’t know,” Morn said, shaking his head. “I don’t know what to do.”

“Breathe,” Celeste said, “we are with you no matter what you choose. No one is going to hold it against you if you decide this is too much for you.”

Morn looked to his mother, who was smiling warmly at him. He thought about what it would mean if they went back. Everyone would be out of their home, but if they continued forward, there could be more of those monsters coming after them, or worse, waiting for them.

“What do you think I should do?” he asked.

“I think you should do whatever you think is right,” Helem replied. “I’ll still be with you, and I’ll still love you.”

“This is your decision, Morn. I know it’s a big choice, but we don’t know how to fix the monolith. If you think it’s too much, we will leave the town and let whatever is in the lake have it, but if we move forward, we could save the town,” Master Scaine said.

“What about the monastery?” Morn asked.

“The monastic tradition we follow will continue regardless of where we are. I will still teach you, if that’s what you want, wherever we go,” he replied.

Morn could feel the pulsing from the stone still. It seemed more desperate somehow. He thought about the voice he had heard. He knew that he could fix the stone if he could get to it, but he didn’t know how long it would take, or if they would stay safe through the process.

“Alright,” Morn said, making up his mind, “I’ll try to fix the stone, but I don’t want anyone to get hurt if that’s what it takes. I don’t want any more pain because of me.”

“If things don’t go well, we’ll run,” Celeste said.

Master Scaine and Helem nodded in agreement.

Morn took a deep breath and started walking in the direction of the next stone. Celeste walked beside him with Master Scaine and his mother walking behind them. The encounter with the monster made him feel like he was being watched. He scanned the trees half-expecting to see another of the monsters running at them.

“It’ll be okay,” Celeste said, taking his hand. “Everything will be fine.”

“I hope you’re right,” he replied, squeezing her hand. She smiled at him.

They continued their journey past the next three stones. Each one they passed felt stronger than the last, with the third sending out pulses that felt more like shockwaves to Morn. He knew the next clearing would be the broken stone, he could feel the vibration from the one on the other side coming toward him.

“Are you okay?” Celeste asked as he felt the pulse rock his body.

“The pulses are getting stronger and faster,” he said, “It’s a lot to handle at the moment. I keep expecting to see another one of those things charging at us. I’m not sure I could handle running right now.”

“We haven’t heard or seen anything since the first one,” Celeste replied, “I think it may have just been a coincidence.”

Morn nodded and shut his eyes as another wave of the energy moved through him.

“Hopefully, it’ll be easier by the time we get to the broken one,” Celeste said, squeezing his hand. “I’m here to give you as much support as I can, but try to keep moving with me.”

Morn nodded again. He could taste copper in the back of his mouth from the energy coming off the stones now, and his stomach was turning in response. He kept walking, pushing himself as much as he could. Every few minutes, Celeste had to catch him when he would falter. When he looked behind them, he saw Master Scaine and his mother looking around. Their bodies were tight and ready to react to an attack.

“It’s getting a little better,” Morn said a few minutes later as they put more distance between them and the last stone. “Thank you.”

“I’m not letting go until I have to,” she said as he tried and failed to release her hand.

Nausea passed as they found themselves in another clearing. Littered around were fragments of a much larger stone that looked as though it had exploded. There were pieces embedded in the surrounding trees.

“This is crazy,” Celeste said, looking at a larger chunk that was buried six inches into the wood of a large oak.

Morn pulled his hand from Celeste’s with a smile and walked up to where the base of the stone remained in the ground. The four foot wide stone had sharp edges and deep valleys in it.

“You’d think that we would have heard something this size explode back in the village,” Master Scaine said, looking down at what remained of it. “Do you still think you can fix it?”

“I don’t know,” Morn said, reaching out and touching the base.

Instantly, Morn’s mind was pulled into the stone. He was only aware of the break in the circle once more. He could still see the broken base, but now it looked ethereal. Small, glowing lights surrounded the base, glittering in a giant mess.

“What am I supposed to do?” he said, his voice echoing in the space.

Fix the stone. Repair it.

The voice was in his head.

“How am I supposed to repair it? I can feel it, but I don’t know what to do,” he said.

Will it and they will obey.

He thought about it for a few seconds and looked around at the sparkling fragments around him. He thought about what he wanted them to do, and the smaller pieces began moving closer to the base.

Will it with everything you have.

Morn closed his eyes and found that even in the darkness, he could see the pieces. He pictured them shifting and finding their way back to the base. He thought about the seams that needed to be sealed and the sigils on the other stones that needed to be there. The more he thought about it, the faster the pieces moved, slamming together on their way back to the base. He thought it looked like an explosion in reverse.

When the last piece slid into its proper position, he felt his mind ejected from the space as a shockwave erupted from the stone in front of him. Disoriented and confused he opened his eyes and found himself on his back looking up at a star-filled sky. He sat up and looked around. He was back at the stone, but nightfall had come. Panic set in instantly when he realized he was alone in the clearing with the rock.

Continued 51/366 – In Between


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