Shades of Amber
Son of Gerard
A tall, graceful man with flowing brown hair and wistful blue eyes. A simple blade hangs from his belt, and boots and bracers of leather adorn his limbs. He wears a light-green tunic to the knees with bronze embroidery.
“Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss … what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.”
“Bridges have no beginning, really, and no end. They flow with the tides. They flow over valleys untold and between mountains that rend the very sky. They flow with people, and cities. They flow under life, and they flow over death.
My bridge lies over an especially perilous death. A man fell, once. He demand some sort of tribute for a neighboring polis. It’s his own fault, though. He swung, I ducked. He lunged, I struck. His screams couldn’t pierce the darkness, though. They cut short after about 10 seconds of falling. It’s good to know how long I’ll have.
It lies between two mountains—this one is Othrys. It’s a nice enough place. It’s quiet, and it’s easy enough to keep the occasional ne’er-do-well with his eyes on my flock from getting too close. Times must be hard; people are seeming desperate. I’m getting all sorts on my bridge—nobles, peasants, farmers, travelers. They come out of the mists raving about being lost. When I tell them to turn back, they invariably refuse. Oh well. If words don’t work, arms often do.
I didn’t always live here. I remember growing up in Pelion–a festering sore of a mountain. It’s peaks are lined with outcrops of estates, it’s rivers flow with filth. In the streets run urchins and thieves. You’ll as quick lose your neck as you will your purse. Unless you’re me, I suppose. I never seemed to have any problems. A quick mind and quick feet will do you better than a long blade or a pocket full of silver.
I left in my fiftieth year, as far as I can tell, though I can’t recall my childhood. I suppose you grow up quickly in an environment like that–death just one slip away. The city just didn’t seem right anymore. The walls wore down to the mortar, fewer and fewer of my old contacts were left–it’s hard to live this close to the outskirts without pissing off somebody in that amount of time. Time takes everything but my body, my mind, and my pendant. It’s a strange thing, really. A small, silver thing with a maze on the back. How many nights were spent lying under the stars, tracing that maze in my mind?
My teacher gave me the necklace. It was in the old agora, the one in East Pelion. Sitting there on broken-down, mossed over columns, we talked though the changing of the moons. We lived there, for a time. Leaving me with the pendant, he disappeared with a promise of destiny and things to come. Everything goes in time.
For a time, I tried to maintain the life I had, but things seemed different. Changed. I set out for what must have been months, moving from bridge to bridge, island to island, following what I can only describe as a map in my mind. Here, my destination, my ending place.
Here I am at peace. Here time takes nothing. Though with the events of late, I’m not sure how long things will remain the same. The strangers never bring news, only confusion. I hear strange creaks from the woods at night; and more of my flock disappear by the day.
I might leave this place, soon. I know how to return, if I must. If you find this monolith, whomever you may be, it would do me a great service if you were to check on my sheep; I know I must go from here alone. Maybe I’ll find answers to all of this. And if it really is you, teacher, come find me. I’m out there somewhere."
-Grayson of Othrys