Mar 30, 2012

Flash Me Friday

The View

It was the view that brought him to this place, high up on the mountain, well above the tree line. The world was literally at his feet, spread out before him like a fine tapestry.

He took his time building his home, he was here to stay and he wanted it perfect. It blended seamlessly into the landscape. You had to really know what you were looking for to be able to find it. The magic he expelled was totally worth it, though it took him several weeks to recover.

Once it was established it took very little magic to maintain the climate inside his home, one that allowed the waterfalls and fountains to run without danger of freezing over and his garden to flourish. He did enjoy his creature comforts.

The other reason he picked this site was its inaccessibility. He was seven hundred and thirty-three years old and he was fed up with being constantly challenged by wizardlings looking to make a name for themselves. It would take a determined person indeed to find him all the way up here.

He lived peaceably for many years, enjoying the company of his cats and the view of the world below. As he was meditating while looking out over his view one day, the answer to a problem he’d had many years ago came to him all at once. He turned from his view in favour of his books, pouring over the dusty tomes to confirm his solution.

When he was finished, having solved his problem, he sighed in satisfaction and turned once again to the tranquillity of his view. Astonishment had him dropping his glass of wine. The fine glass shattered on the stone floor, wine spraying the edge of his robe. Invisible servants silently cleaned up the mess while the wizard stared at what lay before him.

There were intruders on his mountain.

Far below there were crude huts being built. There was the movement of people coming and going, and a flock of sheep dotting the upper hills like clouds in a sky of green. The audacity of it disturbed him on many levels, but in the end he allowed them to stay, at least as long as they came no further than the hills the sheep grazed upon. Though the lights at night were somewhat annoying, they did not impede his view. It was not worth the journey down the mountain to deal with them.

More time passed. The wizard kept an eye on the people below and was not pleased to see them continue to spread upwards. He caused the ground to shake, toppling their crude dwellings, scattering the sheep along the hills. It was a warning, but they did not heed it. Instead they rebuilt their homes and gathered up the sheep once more.

As harvest time approached the wizard cast another spell, this time causing a hail storm to destroy their crops. Although a few of the people left, most of them stayed, gathering what they could from the stricken fields and foraging farther up the mountain. They began cutting timber and floating it down the river to trade for food.

How dare they cut down his trees! The wizard was losing his patience. He cast another spell, and winter arrived with swift deadliness. The wind caused the formation of high ridges of snow which the wizard sent racing towards the settlement in the form of an avalanche.

Though some died the others seemed undeterred. They reinforced their homes using stone and planted their fields anew when the spring came. More timber was cut. While he admired their tenacity, he also had to wonder just what would it take to get rid of these pests?

At last the wizard made the journey down the mountain to the village that seemed to have sprung up over night. In the guise of a traveller, he stopped at the ale house for a pint of cider and found himself sitting at a table with one of the farmers.

“This region has seen much in the way of trouble,” he said. “It is a wonder that you are brave enough to remain.”

“The soil is rich and fertile,” the farmer told him. “Our sheep grow fat on the grass of the hills and timber is in great demand in the cities to the south. It will take more than a little inconvenience to drive us from this land.”

“It is said there is a wizard on this mountain. A great and powerful wizard who is angry that people have chosen to live here.”

The farmer laughed. “Old man, you need to find some other way of spending your time besides weaving fanciful tales. There’s no such thing as wizards.”

“Then there is nothing I can say that will move you from this place?”

“Nothing,” the famer said.

“So be it,” the wizard said, and vanished before the farmer’s eyes.

That night he stood in the tower of his home and drew up magic from the earth around him. Raising his arms high, he cast his spell. A deadly fog slithered down the mountain, filling the valley.

He regretted taking all those lives, but he did try to warn them. The fog would be thorough in its task. When it lifted in the morning, the wizard would once again have an unobstructed view.

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