‘CREATING THE PHILOSOPHER’

Measured boot falls beat out a meter as the dusk settles in. This meter serves as a harbinger, announcing the arrival of a man clothed entirely in black; a flowing ebony poncho lined with bear fur, long black boots, and form-fitting charcoal slacks. 

Three vagrants lie in the dirt, much worse for the wear after their chance encounter with a young warrior and her flashing steel. The newcomer’s steps come to a temporary rest here and without breaking the meter, he taps a triplet with the tip of his right boot. The one vagrant who is still conscious, the one who managed to throw the Chessmaster to the earth, is still frothing with enmity when the Philosopher’s impatient baritone breaks his blood frenzy. 

“You there. Have you seen a girl?” The wounded vagabond looks up from mending and tending to his mutilated foot. The dark hooded man addressing the vagabond looks down at him and seems impossibly large for a moment as he meets the stranger’s stone-hued glare. The vagabond’s jaw loosens as he grunts an unintelligible reply, punctuating it with a feeble nod. 

“Where did she go?” The Philosopher’s smooth and glassy voice remains low and soothing before hinting at just the slightest rise of inflection to punctuate the end of his question. His head cocks to the side and one long tendril of his silver tresses crosses his disdainful countenance. The Philosopher’s stone-hued eyes seem to bore through the vagrant’s own, not leaving them for a moment. If you were curious as to why the newcomer has not bothered to regard the other two vagrants yet — it is because he knows his protege well and that her strikes will prove fatal over time. The third, however… 

The third now turns and points in the direction that the sun is now setting. For the first time, the Philosopher’s hawk-like glare leaves the hapless bandit and instead glances westward. Sure enough, he can see the faint and yet distinct shapes of footsteps leading off into the distance. He ascertains the rogue is telling the truth. It is at this point that the Philosopher begins to hum a tune. 

“What — do I do — with you?” The Philosopher now addresses the survivor in song-speak; the melody of his line wavers menacingly around two adjacent pitches, emphasized by a hypnotic natural vibrato. This preludes the Philosopher’s latest internal monologue. 

“What — do I do — with you?” The Philosopher continues in his sing-song voice, all the while his boots resume their previous cadence. The wounded vagrant, still seated in the sand, lies between the stranger and his destination. The Philosopher repeats the phrase, now more of a mantra, and his vibrato begins to waver a bit more erratically as the internal dialogue concludes. The bandit is dumbfounded now, so much so that he doesn’t really understand what the Philosopher is reaching for on his back. At least, not right away. And what was this large mass, swathed in a coarse black textile wrap, that the Philosopher carries on his back?

For a concise synopsis: the Philosopher is not convinced that the bandit, who was so desperate and nefarious as to ambush a lone traveler, should be left alive. No, the Philosopher did not think there could be any value found by leaving the bandit alive and so he resolved to end him on the spot. 

The Philosopher’s footsteps quicken now – still abiding within the same meter, just moving with a more frenetic rhythm. As he closes the distance, a grinding and grating shriek rings out as he draws out a single long, straight, featureless blade from the cloth bundle on his back. As he does so, the jingle of metal on metal rings out and the tempered edge of his blade bifurcates the vacuum between he, the Philosopher, and the unsightly vagrant before him. His blade doesn’t stop with just the air though. 

The stranger’s stone hued glare now regards the vagabond once more, who stares back up with a cross-eyed, bloodshot gaze. The Philosopher’s blade juts out of his forehead like a monument, no, a testament to the traveler’s ruthless decision to eliminate this threat. The vagabond’s crimson tears do not phase the Philosopher in the slightest. No, he is the one who walks at dusk. He has no need for remorse – his responsibility will not afford him to feel any such thing. 

Not bothering to retrieve the blade, the man’s meter resumes once more as his boots beat a path westward. The dusk seems to follow in his wake as night falls on the Philosopher once again.


Measured boot falls beat out a meter as the dusk settles in. This meter serves as a harbinger, announcing the arrival of a man clothed entirely in black; a flowing ebony poncho lined with bear fur, long black boots, and form-fitting charcoal slacks. 

Three vagrants lie in the dirt, much worse for the wear after their chance encounter with a young warrior and her flashing steel. The newcomer’s steps come to a temporary rest here and without breaking the meter, he taps a triplet with the tip of his right boot. The one vagrant who is still conscious, the one who managed to throw the Chessmaster to the earth, is still frothing with enmity when the Philosopher’s impatient baritone breaks his blood frenzy. 

“You there. Have you seen a girl?” The wounded vagabond looks up from mending and tending to his mutilated foot. The dark hooded man addressing the vagabond looks down at him and seems impossibly large for a moment as he meets the stranger’s stone-hued glare. The vagabond’s jaw loosens as he grunts an unintelligible reply, punctuating it with a feeble nod. 

“Where did she go?” The Philosopher’s smooth and glassy voice remains low and soothing before hinting at just the slightest rise of inflection to punctuate the end of his question. His head cocks to the side and one long tendril of his silver tresses crosses his disdainful countenance. The Philosopher’s stone-hued eyes seem to bore through the vagrant’s own, not leaving them for a moment. If you were curious as to why the newcomer has not bothered to regard the other two vagrants yet — it is because he knows his protege well and that her strikes will prove fatal over time. The third, however… 

The third now turns and points in the direction that the sun is now setting. For the first time, the Philosopher’s hawk-like glare leaves the hapless bandit and instead glances westward. Sure enough, he can see the faint and yet distinct shapes of footsteps leading off into the distance. He ascertains the rogue is telling the truth. It is at this point that the Philosopher begins to hum a tune. 

“What — do I do — with you?” The Philosopher now addresses the survivor in song-speak; the melody of his line wavers menacingly around two adjacent pitches, emphasized by a hypnotic natural vibrato. This preludes the Philosopher’s latest internal monologue. 

“What — do I do — with you?” The Philosopher continues in his sing-song voice, all the while his boots resume their previous cadence. The wounded vagrant, still seated in the sand, lies between the stranger and his destination. The Philosopher repeats the phrase, now more of a mantra, and his vibrato begins to waver a bit more erratically as the internal dialogue concludes. The bandit is dumbfounded now, so much so that he doesn’t really understand what the Philosopher is reaching for on his back. At least, not right away. And what was this large mass, swathed in a coarse black textile wrap, that the Philosopher carries on his back?

For a concise synopsis: the Philosopher is not convinced that the bandit, who was so desperate and nefarious as to ambush a lone traveler, should be left alive. No, the Philosopher did not think there could be any value found by leaving the bandit alive and so he resolved to end him on the spot. 

The Philosopher’s footsteps quicken now – still abiding within the same meter, just moving with a more frenetic rhythm. As he closes the distance, a grinding and grating shriek rings out as he draws out a single long, straight, featureless blade from the cloth bundle on his back. As he does so, the jingle of metal on metal rings out and the tempered edge of his blade bifurcates the vacuum between he, the Philosopher, and the unsightly vagrant before him. His blade doesn’t stop with just the air though. 

The stranger’s stone hued glare now regards the vagabond once more, who stares back up with a cross-eyed, bloodshot gaze. The Philosopher’s blade juts out of his forehead like a monument, no, a testament to the traveler’s ruthless decision to eliminate this threat. The vagabond’s crimson tears do not phase the Philosopher in the slightest. No, he is the one who walks at dusk. He has no need for remorse – his responsibility will not afford him to feel any such thing. 

Not bothering to retrieve the blade, the man’s meter resumes once more as his boots beat a path westward. The dusk seems to follow in his wake as night falls on the Philosopher once again.


The brooding black mass of the coming storm clouds heave and seethe in the heavens, gradually encroaching upon a lone campfire dotting a dim and desolate hellscape. 

The flames of the fire ripple and oscillate as they are mirrored in the pearly contrast of the Chessmaster’s own eyes, threatening to reveal the brilliant jade treasures that lay dormant there. The winds of the coming storm cause her short, chalk-white hair to frenetically whip about the frame of her face. Her lips, somehow overflowing and yet subdued, now curl into an amused grin, as if the night skies have just told her some amusing anecdote. Without realizing it, she finds herself falling deeper into the cumbersome fur-lined poncho she still carries, as if to seek solace in its dulcet embrace. The lingering smell of pine needles remains present despite the long years that have passed since it came into her possession during that chance encounter many seasons past.

In the distance, a single light, unnatural and somehow mechanical in nature, begins to flash on and off. It is a piercing chartreuse green and it is also distinctly visible, even through the veil of night. Its routine, rhythmic flashes echo out in the darkness, not that the Chessmaster can see them with her own eyes; she has already adapted to a world of darkness. All the same, she tilts her head to the side as her grin grows ever wider. Indeed, it is apparent to her that an old friend has decided to pay her another one of his periodic visits. The baritone boom of thunder grumbles in the distance, as if the hungry sky’s borborygmi serve to announce that the Philosopher has graced the stage once more.

The Chessmaster’s ears, highly attuned and ever attentive, can now make out the familiar beat of the Philosopher’s approaching footfalls. Indeed, there was a time in the past when that familiar metronome used to guide her own uncertain footsteps forward. That time has since passed though, and she now marches forward, slowly but surely, to a symphony of her own synthesis. Of course, in doing so, she earned the Philosopher’s timeless admiration and loyalty. The simple fact that he himself marches to this tune even now, after the passing of long and arduous years, is testament to this truth. The Philosopher’s footsteps now come to a full rest as he respectfully announces his presence to the young woman.

“Good evening, old friend. May I join you by your fire?” His words project powerfully through the still night air to reach the Chessmaster’s delicate earlobes. She allows herself to relish their sound for only a brief moment before responding with authority.

“What if I say no?” Now it is the Chessmaster’s turn to speak her lines. The woman’s voice, as mellifluous as ever, rings like music to the Philosopher’s ears despite its content. It is now the man’s turn to become flustered as he finds himself pulling back the charcoal hood of his coat. His face is nearly as pale as the moon’s own effulgence. The slate tones of his blue eyes glitter patiently in the darkness. 

“Then I would rest in the shade, alone, and bear my solitude in silence.” The Philosopher begins. “You already know this, too.” As he finishes addressing his old friend, the pitch of his voice dips in a subtle, yet noticeable way, suggesting his certainty of this sentiment. The Chessmaster nods and the corners of her eyes curl up in approval as a Cheshire cat’s grin sneaks across her sly features.

“You may join me by my fire, oh melancholy Walker of the Dusk.” She teases him playfully and shakes her head left and right, causing her short white locks to bob enthusiastically. Despite some of the more rugged aspects of her appearance, such as her short shock of wild, white hair and her bulky, over-sized clothing, her voice is still undeniably tragic and beautiful, like a cherry blossom’s languishing last breath in a sudden frost’s onset. The invitation rings out like a joyful rondo to her guest’s ears and she can hear his footsteps resume, gradually growing to a soft crescendo before coming to a rest once more.

Now the Philosopher can be seen in full, his form completely illuminated by a mixture of flame and moonlight. He is a tall, lean man with striking, handsome features accentuated by high, gaunt cheekbones. Long silver tresses shimmer in the twilight’s touch and now his slate blue eyes come to regard his friend, the Chessmaster, as she sits next to the campfire. Much to her disappointment, her guest, very predictably, sits across the campfire from her. She can all but see her own disappointed stare reflected in both the Philosopher’s mind and gaze now. Many moments quickly pass in quiet succession, gradually accruing into a comfortable silence. The roaring flame licks the night sky to mark the uninterrupted passage of time here.

“Shall I presume that you know why I am here, Chessmaster?” It is the Philosopher’s turn to speak again. Despite the content of his message and his companion’s incredulous reaction, his words are tender and sincere; the Chessmaster feels them resonate with her own heart and finds her lips parting involuntarily.

“Now who is asking silly questions?” Only a brief lapse in her defense. Once again, the playful Chessmaster finds herself smirking at her old friend and the pitch of her own sing-song voice frolics about, as if continuing to playfully mock her dutiful friend. It is now the Philosopher’s turn to bare a toothy grin and respond with equal jest.

“Well then, let’s get to it. You know the rules: winner picks the game.” His grin gradually grows into something resembling smugness. The Chessmaster’s eyes light up as they recognize his feelings of overconfidence. Instantly, her mind glimpses into the not-so-distant future where she will unravel that confidence and so she allows herself a delighted sigh complete with a brilliant smile to match.

“Well, I suppose we could do something boring… like dice… or cards…” The tone of her voice and its lofty pitch feigns innocence as she bites her lower lip a bit to punctuate each of these options. Her acting could certainly pull the wool over the eyes of a stranger, certainly… but the Philosopher is no stranger, nor is he a fool. No, he is her worthy rival, after all, and she acknowledged him as such; thus her barbs were always made in a prodding, yet playful manner. 

“Playing into my hand would be very unlike you, my old friend.” The Philosopher has already predicted her answer, as that is one of his specialties; careful, deliberate analysis. He quickly shrugs out of the sling securing the peculiar bundle of black textile to his slender frame and begins rummaging through his pack. Peering inside its depths, the man begins to poke around as he searches for their next contest. The flickering fire waxes across his face, revealing two faintly perceptible crow’s feet next to his deeply set slate eyes. His angular visage sports no great beard of any sort; instead, he is neatly clean shaven. If she could see his face, the Chessmaster might have drawn a comparison to that of a doleful Great Dane, but alas, she has never been able to regard her friend with her own two eyes. After but a moment of rummaging, the Philosopher turns back around with a small, rectangular wooden chest in his hands. He holds the chest reverently, setting it down before him with both hands.

“You won’t sit next to me?” Although she is a great actor, the Philosopher’s own well-trained ears are able to detect just a sliver of disappointment in the velvety tones of her question. He allows himself a smug grin once more as he offers his verbal riposte.

“You needn’t disturb yourself from your rest, my friend. I will be your eyes again.” The man’s words emanate warmth and compassion, and yet his actions do not seem to belie those motives, at least by the Chessmaster’s perception. No, much to her chagrin, the Philosopher, her senior by nearly a decade, has never taken that sort of interest in her. This, of course, prompted all sorts of self-doubt from the young woman. Although he could not read minds, no details escape the Philosopher’s attentive gaze and so he notes her momentary discomfort with a mixture of curiosity and concern.

“Let us decide the stakes then, Chessmaster.” The Philosopher’s smooth baritone sinks impossibly low and its warmth seems to bleed and intermingle with the subtle roar of the campfire. A pillowy sigh escapes the lips of the young woman and she allows herself to feel vulnerable for just a moment. 

“I suppose you are after your usual prize then?” She asks him, her voice tinged with an incongruous mixture of both hope and skepticism.

“… As always, I am bound to uphold my duty.” As the Philosopher’s statement leaves his lips, the storm clouds in the sky above seem to emphasize the weight of his words and a flash of lightning races down to meet the horizon. The Chessmaster’s disappointment is evident as it is reflected in the Philosopher’s knowing gaze. 

“… Fine. If I win, you will turn to the east and you will walk without stopping until the sun rises once more and then begins to fall once again, Duskwalker.” The tenderness in her voice has disappeared now, replaced with an unsettling gravity of sorts. The Philosopher nods in response and proceeds to separate the small wooden chest into two halves, revealing a smooth, wooden plane within. Black and white checkered squares adorn this smooth surface and the Philosopher’s deft hands begin to place carved ivory figurines into their respective starting positions as the Chessmaster waits in silence for their contest to begin once again. 

“Pawn. E3 to E5.” No sooner have all the pieces reached their destination did these words leave the Chessmaster’s lips, which no longer bore any indication of jest or sport. No, now her brow begins to furrow as her competitive spirit awakes, hungry to consume yet another contest. The Philosopher, sensing this, obeys her command and daintily pushes the ivory chess piece forward two squares. Moments later, he makes his own move in a similar fashion.

“Pawn moves from C6 to C4.” He raises his gaze to regard the Chessmaster and though his eyes rest on her unassuming form, his mind has left the campfire already, running itself through countless scenarios as he analyzes past patterns and tactics used by his most respected adversary. No available data point is spared from his relentless inquiries. Once again, the hungry sky’s borborygmus grumbles menacingly. The Chessmaster can feel this tangible pressure building up across from her. This feeling is a sense of unbridled anticipation, a mixture of both anxiety and eagerness. It electrifies her senses and at the same time, it terrifies her heart with its unpredictable nature.

The ebony storm clouds continue to spiral and wrap themselves around one another, the lone witness to their ongoing contest of wits. Several hours later, the Chessmaster finds herself alone once more as the Philosopher finds himself trudging eastward yet again. In this way, both of their journeys continue slowly onward. 


The Philosopher’s latest loss nips at the soles of his worn boot heels. His beat’s usually brisk tempo has diminished to a slumping larghetto. The dark clouds that usually leer at him from a distance have now caught up to him and assembled into an unruly army above his head. The low rumble of thunder resonates inside the traveler’s chest, gradually amassing into the burdensome bond known as gravity. Unbeknownst to him, the sun hides atop its loftiest perch, far beyond the grip of menacing storm clouds.

It has been nearly six hours since his most recent defeat to his most worthy rival, the Chessmaster. True to his word, the Philosopher has spared no rest to his stately pace since then, although it has certainly slowed as his thoughts begin to race away once again. A lesser person may have felt aggrieved in this situation, but the Philosopher does not. After all, it was he who had pointed out the path to survival to the Chessmaster so long ago; she had simply overtaken him on the trail. He respected her for that and true to his word, he intends to continue walking until the sun stows away behind the horizon once more.

Not even the unsightly assortment of miscreants in his path would stop him, for he had already foreseen their approach. After all, no data point escapes the Philosopher’s knowing gaze, which has now settled upon his latest exercise in problem-solving. In this case, the trend was a commonly found one; he had correctly assumed the trio that his protege had dispatched were merely scouts for a larger group. After all, there are strength in numbers. Sure enough, they had come traveling in the same direction as most everyone else, towards the setting sun. Everyone except the Philosopher, of course. Once again, he found himself taking a step backwards before he could take another step forwards.

The turbulence inside his head gathers ferocity now as his thoughts continue to race away, tracing the specters of all potential possibility. No detail can escape the iron-toothed trap that is the Philosopher’s mind – this is both his boon and his curse. His symphony’s first movement becomes a long accelerando now as his strides begin to lengthen, ever minding the meter.

Reaching into his shirt’s breast pocket, he withdraws a set of soot-colored plastic bits. These plastic pieces are small, no more than a small peanut or acorn in size. The Philosopher takes one between his fingertips and carefully places it into his ear before following suit with the matching piece. After doing this, the Philosopher’s pace visibly quickens for a moment, then stabilizes. The Philosopher raises both of his arms above his head and draws not one, but two identical, straight blades from the charcoal bundle he carries on his slender frame. His measured foot falls do not miss a single beat now.

Thunder savagely barrels its way through the clearing as lightning cracks once again overhead. The maestro readies his instruments. He still has not broken his stride. His opponents, on the other hand, have recognized his approach and so they have stopped to await him. This scenario lies within the vast realm of his consideration, of course. His head begins to bob up and down now, locked in with his step. Flourishing the blade in his left hand, then flourishing the other blade in his opposite hand with equal finesse, the tips of his blades begin to waltz to a symphony of his own orchestration. Once again, a bolt of lightning lances down from the sky to meet the earth and less than a measure or two later, a deafening thunderclap assaults the senses of all present.

All present except for the Philosopher, that is. It would appear that the loud sound did not startle him in the slightest. The traveler continues with his rhythmic orchestration and the steel of his short swords coruscate as the sky continues to quake and heave. Not a single ray of sunlight can pierce the murky gloom overhead and so the arena has become oppressively dim. The Philosopher closes his eyes. To him, the world is dark now and the only thing he can hear is the music reverberating around in his skull. 

Lightning flashes once again. This time, the clap back roar of thunder is neigh instantaneous as a pillar of liquid light laces the land, forking thrice before fanning out and transcending to the tumult above. Two unlucky assailants are caught in this initial blast; their eyes radiate brilliance for a brief moment before their hearts simply stop beating. Moments later, their bodies fall to the earth as if the strings suspending them have been severed by some sly phantom’s knife. The survivors are oblivious to this, though: the lightning strike delivered a stunning one-hundred-and-twenty decibels of sonic fury, the equivalent of a loud concerto at full volume. Furthermore, the entire troupe’s eyesight had adjusted to the pitch black miasma enveloping their battleground as they’d awaited their prey, so any sudden introduction of illumination was quite jarring to the eyes of these little lambs. The wolf moves in to begin his meal, seemingly undeterred.  

This is all part of his plan, after all: these tactics prevent them from hearing the synchronous footsteps of the Philosopher as he darts into the group before they can mobilize and surround him. The ringing in their ears is so intense that it even muffles the retches and cries of their comrades as they are each cut down by the Philosopher, blade in each hand, as he ruthlessly conducts his second movement. Every flourish of his instruments are punctuated by the percussion of some fresh carcass slapping the dirt. Opened arteries empty their contents into the air; a fine scarlet mist, in most cases. The Philosopher believes in paying attention to the details, after all, and the precision of his cuts serves to illustrate this point. After all, any musician worth their salt is consistent, above all things.

Lightning flashes yet again. The final assailant’s pupils retreat into the center of his iris as yet another intense flash of light disrupts his sight. His eardrums pound once again and this time, one is not able to withstand the sonic force of the thunderclap. It ruptures. With his ears ringing, his equilibrium eviscerated, and his fighting spirit all but decimated, one could say the Philosopher provided the final assailant with a sweet mercy by swiftly severing his head in a single stroke. The threat is gone, and yet the skies continue with their tumult. There is not a shred of remorse or regret in the Philosopher’s face for he knows too well what evil lay in the heart of his fellow men.

All without missing a beat, the Philosopher continues his march. Freshly invigorated by the sudden rush of adrenaline, he now finds himself stepping at twice his normal tempo and quickly outpacing the pensive thunderstorm. Sure enough, after another six hours or so, the Philosopher turns to see the sun setting behind him. He can’t help but let out a very deep, very exhausted sigh. Adding another mental note to a very overwhelming pile, he surveys the now setting sun and briefly wonders if he’ll ever get to enjoy the dawn. After all, he knows that by the time he wakes up, the thunderstorms will have already encircled him in the dim once more.

Resolutely accepting this reality, the Philosopher decides to sleep for now. The next day, he will rise and resume his own journey.


Soft arpeggios sprawling out amidst an omnipresent mist serve to rouse a sleeping adolescent boy from his slumber. Each note graces his ears like a meandering autumn leaf’s descent to the earth. His bloodshot eyes search frantically at first with the realization that he has awoken and is, indeed, yet breathing. The frantic tension dissipates as the realization of fatigue sets in, accompanied by the soothing sound of the languid piano notes echoing in the air.

“Where am I?” This is the first conscious thought that enters his mind. He attempts to plant his right forearm into the dirt and prop himself up from his prone position. His brain is immediately assailed with electric impulses; broken shards of glass dig into his skin. He hisses in pain but does not cry out, now rolling onto his side and blindly brushing at his arm with his other hand, trying to wipe the fragments out of his skin. He is mostly successful and does not bother to wipe the blood off; after all, his clothes were already caked with dirt, dried blood and salt. Now in a more measured and deliberate manner, the boy carefully props himself up so that he may survey his surroundings with unassuming slate blue eyes.

Behind him lay an expansive, glowing body of water filled with brilliant lights of every chromatic hue. Some flash on and off in arrhythmic patterns and the water distorts the colorful rays, causing them to dance in the currents of this electric ocean. The boy finds himself slack-jawed as he lets his gaze rest on the beauty of this spectacle. Often times in nature, a majestic display of surface beauty serves as a warning of potential peril and this was no exception; the boy intuitively understood that danger awaited him beneath the water’s incandescent veil.

And what of the land before him? If the boy had to describe it himself, he might use the word… unnatural. For instance, the ground is not made of soil or earth, but instead it seems like sheer granite that has been compressed into an extraordinarily hard and durable substance. The boy reaches down and touches it, as if to confirm this observation. A bloody fingerprint is left behind to remind the hungry sky of his presence. As his usual anxious thoughts begin to settle themselves, the boy’s mind cannot help but shift its laser focus onto the lingering piano melodies scoring the scene. This sound quickly becomes the only thought in the boy’s mind.

After a moment’s deliberation, he begins to place one foot in front of the other, presumably in the direction of the melody. Discerning its source proves cumbersome; as he ventures deeper into the forbidding mists of the strange island, the sound of the piano’s keys seems to grow louder, and yet it also seems to surround him. The boy, although inexperienced, is perceptive; he quickly deduces that this sound is being played from multiple locations in unison. His footsteps come to a stop now.

His mind begins to race faster now, this time fueled by anticipation and enthusiasm instead of anxiety. He has a puzzle to solve; how can he determine the true source of this alluring siren song? He continues to take in his surroundings and decides that if he can’t trust his ears, then he will rely on his eyes. Straining and squinting, he scans off into the distance, his brow furrowed in focus. After several moments, his slate blue eyes are able to pierce the veil of mist dusting the surface of the island…

All at once, the boy finds himself able to discern much of the island, despite the fog, as if a great curtain has been raised. This island is perfectly flat and level. The length of the island is not so great that the boy could not traverse it, and yet it is significant enough where it would be a lengthy trip via foot. Everywhere he looked, the ground hard and gray, cracked in some places. High over his head, a cauldron of dark clouds begins to circle and steep themselves in roiling energy. Lances of electricity race from one cloud to another, as if hurled by some mythical beings engaging in a legendary conflict. The flickering light is reflected in the boy’s slate blue eyes and he remains entranced by the sight.

So much has nature’s display captivated the boy that he does not notice the footsteps approaching from his left flank. After all, each footstep falls within each note of the ever-present piano’s melody and so they were disguised in this manner. The observer remains silent and does not say anything, merely observing the boy with a mix of curiosity and concern. After observing the boy for several minutes, the onlooker makes his presence known.

“Boy! How did you get here?” The words are so loud and so vivid that they end up rousing the Philosopher from his tenuous sleep. This dream is but one of many specters that stalks the wilds of the wanderer’s subconscious mind. The low rumble of thunder overhead continues to be a constant in his journey, whether he is awake or asleep. As such, it is a constant that he can reliably dread and in that consistency, find some shred of comfort within it. Sitting up now, he finds himself gazing off to the West once more. 

He takes a quick mental inventory. By the end of this day, he will once again find himself locked in another battle of wits with his worthy opponent. That said, he recognizes that he has the better part of a day to figure out a new and ingenious strategy for disarming the Chessmaster. As he stands up and dusts himself off, his mind begins to race once again. His speeding thoughts serve to steady the solid thudding of his boots against the earth into its telltale metronome once more, propelling him towards a dawn that he will never see.

Written by “Jungle” aka (N.F.N.)
(C) 2020 All Rights Reserved.

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