Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
TITLE: The Finder
By Tim George
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Now he had been called to venture deep into the valley to find yet another. Tales of dark enemies that lurked in the dense valley forests darted through his mind. Every hillside child knew these stories. Stories of wicked witches and fearsome green monsters that dwell in the shadows of the forest paths.
“They are just stories,” he whispered to the brisk fall wind. “Dark words to convince children to avoid dangers they are not ready for. Nothing more.”
Satisfied with his pep talk, Brisko set off into the valley beneath. Little by little his cherished home and family shrunk from sight as he descended into the unknown below him. As the Finder probed deeper into the unknown of the dark valley he found himself engulfed by a void.
“I fear nothing,” he shouted to the trees. “ I am Brisko, the Finder.”
But there was none to hear. None, save the void that surrounded him. And the void listened. From the inky blackness of the forest a voice promised relief from the fears that had begun to creep into the outer fringes of Brisko’s mind. He knew not to listen or heed the voice but the monsters of the valley forest were closing in.
Confusion clawed its way into Brisko’s very being. He should have cried out to the Keeper but confusion told him there was no need. It was the Keeper’s voice that sent him on this mission in the first place. There was someone to be found.
Time lost all meaning as Brisko pressed deeper into the dark forest. Days and nights melted into one endless, wearisome journey to nowhere. At last, the Finder plopped down in exhaustion. And he cried for help and relief. But all that answered was the void and the sporadic whispers of forest specters.
“This is all in mind,” reasoned Brisko. “Monsters and specters are for children and the weak of mind. I am a Finder who works for the Keeper of the Mountain.”
Brisko jumped up, staff in hand. Ready to confront whoever had just interrupted his solitude. But there was no one there. Only more darkness. More whispers.
“Come here Brisko.”
The voice called from beyond a stand of the darkest woods he had encountered yet. With the last thread of resolve he had left, Brisko made his way toward the voice. With one last step Brisko found himself standing in a sunlit meadow. Wild flowers carpeted the expanse in a riot of colors. Butterflies and humming birds flitted about like fairies in the morning. Sunlight streamed into the place bringing a warmth such as Brisko had never before experienced.
He saw no one. No source for the voice. No presence. Just sunlight, life, and peace. The voice was gone. The whispers of fairy tale monsters no longer haunted him. All was still and quiet.
“Did you find who you’ve been looking for?”
Brisko whirled in a full circle determined to find the one speaking. But his only company was the wildlife of the meadow.
“I have found no one. Who are you?”
“Why, Brisko. Finder of lost men. I am the one you claim to know so well. Look up and you will see me.”
Brisko’s eyes flew from the meadow grass and flowers to the trees, and then above the trees. As his eyes gazed higher he gasped and fell to his knees. Tears flowed from his eyes like water from the thawing winter snow. And he understood.
Brisko the Finder had always lived on the side of the great mountain but he had never really seen it. And at its peak, for the first time, he saw the one whose callings he had always followed. It was the Keeper.
“Ah, Brisko. I see you have found who I sent you here for. One cannot see me until he kneels where you are. Only in the valley can one truly see the mountain.”
And so. Brisko the Finder went home knowing nothing would ever be the same again.
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