|art by DollDivine.com|
by Rebecca Fyfe
by Rebecca Fyfe
Baelen checked the map again. He looked up at the mottled tree with branches that looked like arms and hands reaching towards the sky and nobs in the trunk making it look like it had a face. Yes, this was the tree on the map. He was getting close. The stream should be near here.
He stumbled as he walked over ground that rose up slightly. He'd been out all day following the map, looking for its clues. He was getting tired, but he was so close now. As he reached the top of the rise, he could hear the sound of the water trickling over rocks somewhere close. He ran on staggering legs until he found himself falling face first near a small stream. This was it! He wearily dragged himself back to his feet and slowly made his way upstream, to the stream's source. As he walked, the trees and plants grew more lush and closer together. Eventually, when he felt as though he could go on no more, he found it, the source of the stream. A small lake spread before him, its water glinting a clear blue in the sun.
He sat and pulled a jewelled cup out of his backpack. It was time. He'd sacrificed everything for this. He'd left his wife and son when she'd made him choose between giving up his quest or them. He'd spent all of his money. He'd even lost what few friends he had. And now, all he had to do was say the incantation and fill his cup from the small pond, and he would finally have immortality.
He leaned forward, filling the cup and whispered the incantation. It was something in Latin. He'd memorized the Latin, but never bothered translating the entire text. He knew enough to know that it was the right incantation. He knew enough to have been able to follow the clues, find the map and then find this place.
When the final word left his mouth, the water in the lake began to bubble and froth. From right in front of him a blue lady rose from the water. She had scales that shimmered a darker blue than her light blue skin. Her eyes were large and black. She was lovely and alien, and he couldn't tear his eyes away from the sight of her.
"Think carefully, mortal. Do you really wish for immortality? Are you willing to give everything for what you seek?"
"Yes," he said, tears of joy glistening in his eyes.
"Then drink from the cup, and you shall have it." She touched the water in his cup and it started to glow.
He gulped the water down eagerly. It tasted bitter. He felt something start to change within him.
"I can feel it!" He said to her. "It's happening!"
"Yes, it is." He wondered why she looked so sad as she said the words.
But it was too late to ask. His body was frozen in place. He felt a heaviness overcome his senses, and his skin started to change color. Just as he began to realize what was happening to him, his skin and organs turned to stone. He became a living statue, forever gazing over the lake.