Let us tell you a tale.
≈ VII ≈
xviii. The Saga of Frostwood
Moonlight spilled over the upper branches of the Ironwood in waterfalls flowing through the spaces left behind by the fallen giants. After what seemed an age, he stepped forward into the pool of light and snow.
His eyes stayed fixed on the crushed creature, but with each slow step they flitted to his Luck Stone, resting on the back of the paw of the thing pinned under the tree.
He knelt lightly, to be able to spring away as quick as his frozen and battered knees would allow, and peered under the great trunk to see the face of the monster. And when he did, he saw the Eternity Stone, half covered by a massive tongue. The creature did not move, nor breathe.
He picked up a shard of Ironwood that lay on the ground and poked at the open eye. It ruptured and sunk inward with a slight expression of thick white fluid. It did indeed seem to be dead.
Still cautious, he reached out and quickly plucked the Luck Stone from the back of the great paw, rubbing the stone as he did, because at this point it couldn’t hurt.
With a deep breath, he reached under the trunk, and when he tried to remove the tongue from over the top of the Eternity Stone, it released from the head, having been separated from the mouth by those great carnivorous teeth.
“Somehow I would have though completing a life’s quest would be more glamorous.” he muttered, wiping slime and blood off his hands in the snow. After all these years, he laid his fingers upon the Eternity Stone and picked it up.
The snow continued to fall. The moon continued to shine. The wind continued to ease itself between the trees, and upon some of its tendrils it he could still hear his name.
“What now, then?” He pulled the remaining seven stones from his pockets. Then the wind whispered, directly into his ear in a voice as clear as from the lips of the one who made him, “Good boy.”
The stones erupted in a shower of rainbowed sparks that painted themselves upon the waterfalls of moonlight pouring through the clearing over the treetops.
The colors formed into images and scenes on all sides of him, a vision brought to life in this lifeless place in the world.