My hands felt the course rock dig into my skin as I climb up the cliffside, hoping to finally see some good news. I am easily a few days ride from the village already and do not want to spend so much time out in the Extern Wilds. The dangers that fraught these lands are sizable, but there was one, in particular, that I am looking for; the one that has what I need. What my village needs. It would make scaling these peaks worth it.
I reach my short term destination and take a breath. Looking further, I see the Ruins of Tsalor. That’s where it should be. That’s where I’ll earn my keep.
As I make my way to the ruins, I ensure my equipment is ready. My Hopil Blades clink together on my back as I adjust my climbing gloves. The environment starts to change from mountainous terrain to shallow desert. Sand sprinkles across the stone before blanketing it. Foliage starts to appear around me. I make some minor calibrations on my transport wristlet before letting its arrow fly and hitting the small tree. With a small tug, the mechanism kicks in and starts to reel in the rope attached to the arrow. I quickly ascend to the treetop and launch my other wristlet, again hitting my mark. This is what I trained for. My wristlets are extensions of my hands. Pretty soon, I established a solid rhythm of swinging from tree to tree. As my path starts to thin, I launch both my wristlets at the highest target I could see. The combined force rockets me skyward where I get my fingers ready. With a slight thud, I reflexively grab this new bluff. The handholds and footholds feel strong. Methodically, I ascend to my final level.
Pulling myself up, I spot my prize. An Orb of Sullerius embedded in a large boulder. The land was scattered with sand and a bright field of rocks stretched for miles. Even the air smelled warm and primordial. I advance towards my target when I feel a pulse of energy emanate from the orb. Pausing, I reach for my sword, but the Orb brightly illuminates as nearby rocks start to shake and quiver. With another burst of energy, the boulders lift from the earth, swirling around each other like leaves in the wind. In a cyclone of stone and dust, the rocks start to fit into place like a child’s puzzle. It’s taken a form.
It wasn’t done. The form elongates and unfurls, and I realize the form is supposed to mimic myself. Boulders form arms and legs, while smaller rocks create fingers and toes. The amalgam of stones lifts a leg before storming the earth, unleashing a wave of energy resembling a roar. The ground quakes violently as stone spires erupt from the ground. All I could do is stare; shocked at the display before me. The Orb, now the singular eye of the giant, looks around. It spots me by the mountainside, and with a deft toss hurls a boulder soaring in my direction. Instinctively, my wristlets click. I shoot towards the nearest spire and just manage to evade the rock as it crashes behind me.
With my shock and awe pushed aside, I press on. Survival ensures my swinging rhythm is true, and I quickly make it towards the foot of the giant. Up close this form is bigger than I expected, easily being taller than ten Long Necked Girataurs stacked on top of each other. I connect with the top of the foot and hunt for my route as I fly through the air. Determination guide my body. The form lifts its leg in an attempt to stomp me off, but I launch myself to the waist as the sound of rocks smashing below echoes in my ears. I ascend upward to the arm as the giant’s opposite hand opens and swings towards me. Another crash explodes as I scurry up the arm before swinging with both wristlets across its chest. The Orb rotates to follow my progress. Another roaring pulse warns me of the danger I face. My nails break and my fingers bleed over the stone, punctuating my journey with a trail of red. The world blurs as my speed increases with the help of the wristlets. The head looks around. It feels my presence. The boulder turns towards me as I arc through the air, blades drawn. The Orb spins wildly as stones come to meet me. Time slows. The sounds of rocks grinding and the Orb’s mystical hum fade away from my existence. All I can see is my blade and the Orb. The Orb’s light fills my vision.
The sound of shattering glass and electric fizzle shocks me into focus. My Hopi Blade is impaled in the circular crater left by the Orb. Shards of golden metallic light hover all around me like Summer Dusk Flies. I am entranced by the beauty of the moment before grabbing all of the shards I can. The Orb’s influence destroyed, the rocks all start to descend back towards the earth. My old friends take command of my body as I swing in an attempt to make it safely. The cacophony of earth seems to throw me in all directions. The earth comes up to greet me, and in a plume of dust, I reach blackness.
I awaken to find every muscle throbbing as if beaten and set aflame. My vision foggy, I stretch out my fingers to reveal numerous shards in the palm of my hand. I let out a smile before collapsing in exhaustion, joy, and victory. Finally, my village can be saved.