continued from 50/366 – The Broken Monolith (Cont.)
“You’ve finally come,” a voice said, echoing through the trees. “Welcome to my prison, son of Krovlen.”
“Who’s there?” Morn said, looking for the source.
“Come to me at the lake. We will have our talk there,” the voice replied.
The winds shifted through the trees, making the branches move and pop as they rubbed against each other. Morn felt the air temperature dip rapidly, becoming cold enough that his breath came out in great clouds. Wrapping his arms around himself, he looked into the forest away from the lake. He was sure of one thing. He didn’t want to meet whatever was in the lake, so he began walking in the opposite direction.
When Morn stepped out of the clearing, the wind picked up to a ferocious level, lifting him off his feet and throwing him through the air. His back slammed against the monolith hard enough to knock the wind out of him before he even hit the ground. A deep, hearty chuckle echoed through the forest around him as he tried to catch his breath.
“This is a prison, son of Krovlen. You cannot simply leave. Come to the lake so we may discuss things at present,” the voice said.
Morn groaned as he pushed himself up from the ground. His body felt as though it had been tenderized by a giant mallet. Shakily, he rose to his feet and walked toward the lake, a knot in his stomach at the thought of meeting whatever was calling for him.
After a few minutes of walking, he stepped out of the forest and onto the beach surrounding the black waters of the lake. The surface of the water was as mirror-like as the first time he had seen it.
“Come,” the voice called, drawing Morn’s attention to the center where a figure stood.
“I don’t want to get in the water,” Morn replied, “I don’t know about this.”
“Very well,” the voice replied as the figure waved a hand. Morn watched as ice formed out from it, freezing every inch of the lake. “Now, you will not enter the waters of my prison. There are a great many things you do not know that you must learn before you can leave.”
Morn thought about running away, but the fresh twinge of pain through his back made him think better of it. He stepped cautiously onto the surface of the ice. The ice was almost entirely clear where he was, leaving little to the imagination of what was beneath him. He kept his eyes focused on his feet and watched as bodies drifted past beneath him, clawing at the underside of the ice with hungry eyes.
“You need not worry about them, they can’t hurt you in this place,” the figure said.
Even with the hundreds of feet between them, Morn could hear the figure as though it were right next to him.
“Why do I have to come out here?” Morn asked, walking carefully, trying not to slide. “I can hear you fine from the shore.”
“There are things that you must learn which can only be seen,” it replied. “The ice is not slippery for you, you can walk normally.”
Morn tested it carefully and found that when he placed his foot, the ice gripped his shoe until he shifted his weight to the other. The closer he got to whoever it was standing before him the faster his heart raced.
When Morn got close enough, he could see the face of a pale man smiling at him, his hands clasped in front of him as though he were waiting to serve. His smile was not unpleasant in any aspect. His dark hair ringed his face and Morn saw two points poking out through his hair on either side of his head.
“You’re an elf?” Morn asked. “I thought they were legend.”
“I am Findecno, an elf of the Lordanian Conclave, and there is much truth to legend if you know how to look for it,” he replied.
“You said this was your prison?” Morn said.
“Yes, I built this,” he replied, looking around.
“I thought you were the creature at the bottom of the lake,” Morn said, a wave of relief washing over him.
“I am,” Findecno replied, the smile flickering for a moment. Morn took a step back as the relief was replaced by panic. “You need not worry. I don’t intend to harm you. I am both this and what resides deep beneath the waters.”
“I don’t understand,” Morn said.
“You must, son of Krovlen,” he replied.
“Who is Krovlen?” Morn asked.
“Krovlen is your father. He is the one who knew Helem and loved her before she was born. He was the one that chose to leave The Between and follow her,” he replied. “He was the one that sought Azariah’s help to bind me here.”
Morn shook his head, “My father’s name wasn’t Krovlen, it was Frederick.”
“The name he chose to take when he wanted to woo your mother,” Findecno replied. “Such a common name.”
“I don’t understand,” Morn repeated.
“Your father isn’t dead,” Findecno said. The weight of the words fell on Morn’s chest like a landslide.
“What? No. He’s dead. Everyone in the town knows he dead,” Morn replied.
“Did you see his body?” Findecno asked.
“I was hurt the day he died,” Morn said, looking down at his feet, “I was out for too long. They had to burn him.”
“No, he wasn’t burned. He wasn’t hurt. He chose to leave,” Findecno said.
“He wouldn’t leave,” Morn said, shaking his head. He could feel rage beginning to bubble deep down. “He loved my mother and me.”
“There are few truths in this world that are easy to accept,” Findecno said. “Shall I show you then?”
Findecno waved his hand, and the scenery of the lake vanished around them like smoke on the wind. Morn found himself in the middle of a field. His father was sitting on a horse looking in the distance as zombies toiled away tilling the land. He looked tired still, as he always did.
In the dark sky above, a bright light suddenly illuminated the entire field. Morn watched his father close his eyes and nod before looking up. The form of his father began to glow a dark blue at first until it began shedding its own light in the field. The zombies tilling dropped their tools and turned and began walking toward him.
In an instant, the horse exploded, and the zombies were knocked over and the blue light vanished. The light illuminating the field from above dimmed and then went out, plunging Morn into darkness. When the light returned, he was standing on the ice again with Findecno.
“You’re father, Krovlen, is the brother of Rashem,” Findecno said. “He chose to leave because you didn’t need him anymore.”
Continued 52/366 – In Between (Cont.)