Author Topic: GrayLensman's "Magil of the Shadows"  (Read 555 times)


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GrayLensman's "Magil of the Shadows"
« on: November 27, 2004, 01:22:01 pm »
This is an excerpt from a project GrayLensman is working on. It may not be incorporated into the final draft, but he'd like some feedback on it.

Magil of the Shadows

Part One:  Out of Darkness

On the sheer cliff face of an unnamed mountain in a forgotten age, Magus clung to life by a single hand-hold.  The stone was numbingly cold, the tiny ridge slick with ice, but his grip was iron.  The unending blizzard whipped at his tattered cloak, sent icy knives through his thickly bundled clothing, but Magus ignored the cold.  In all directions, the featureless stone wall swept outward into the snow shrouded abyss.  Below Magus lay death, above him lay death, where he hung, immobile, lay death.  The Black Wind howled around him, eagerly anticipating his demise.  At that thought, Magus smiled at his oldest friend, his greatest enemy.  In this world the only constant was death, a comfort that few men recognized.  And death came easily in the mountains.

Magus knew not how long he had hung from the precipice.  Time no longer had any meaning.  He did not remember the taste of food, the feeling of warmth, or the luxury of sleep.  With each passing hour, his strength waned.  The fabric of the universe, which once molded itself to his every desire, rebelled against his will.  Flight was denied to him.  He was at the last of his endurance, but his will held fast.  Every muscle in Magus' body knotted and strained to grip that treacherous ridge, that accursed rock.  The mountain silently mocked him, and Magus held on in spite of it.  The Black Wind beaconed him to the darkness, but fate was as yet undecided.

Magus hated fate with every fiber of his being.  It was one of the few things left to hate, living things anyway.  The Black Wind...  No, it was wrong to hate it.  It was a kindred spirit, a familiar presence in the darkness.  Throughout Magus' life, the wind had been his only ally.  From the moment of his birth, it taught him many lessons, like the value of pain.  It was the winds constant howling, its never ending attack on Magus' mind, that gave him his razor sharp edge, his relentless drive, his indomitable will.  The Black Wind showed Magus furtive glances of the future, but events never played out as he predicted them.  Fate conspired against him, nullifying his efforts, destroying his plans.  Perhaps fate was that same Entity the others spoke of, but it was a being of malice and deception.  Magus' life had been one of pain and despair, one tragedy after another.  His greatest triumphs seemed empty and worthless.  He received no glory, felt no satisfaction.  There was nothing left for Magus to live for, but hatred sustained him.  Fate had caught Magus in a trap, a trap of his own creation, and he could not, would not, surrender.

Magus finally had enough.  Fate had played its games for one second too long.  Magus was the master of his own destiny, and nothing, no unyielding mountain, no howling wind, and no weakened flesh could stop him.  With agonizing slowness, Magus turned his head upward and looked at the path that lay above him.  The mountain was lord over the earth and sky.  It reined over the land and governed the four winds.  No man had walked upon its slopes but for the dead.  It was only overshadowed by the majesty of Zeal, but those lofty islands were fleeting while the mountain was eternal.  Magus gazed up at those impassible slopes, at that towering spire of rock, and saw his true place in the world.  Before the mountain which had humbled all who came before, Magus knew his true measure.  His laughter roared across the abyss, overpowering even the howling wind.  Magus had walked upon the earth when this meager hill was but putrid mud rotting on the sea floor.  He had seen the dust of its passing blowing upon the winds of time.  He was master of the elements, he who had killed gods.  Magus' true place was atop this mountain's peak, its conquerer!

Magus focused his will onto his own body, forcing his frozen limbs into motion.  Ignoring the burning agony of his muscles, the protests of his deadened nerves, he dragged his tattered body upwards and pounded his fist into the sheer face of the living stone.  The rock crumbled and yielded.  Again and again, Magus hammered his bloody fingers into the mountain, until finally he had another hand-hold.  He was free.  His cage was broken!

The Mountain yielded ground slowly and grudgingly, but Magus inexorably advanced up the cliff face.  His strength was gone, his powers spent, but by the unstoppable force of his will, the unlimited depths of his hate, he continued.  With broken and bloody fists, he pounded a clear path to the mountain's peak.  And still, Magus' laughter resounded across the frozen air.  His echoing cries sang together in triumph as he clawed his way up the mountain.  Even the Black Wind seemed to have been subdued, its howling quieted, but the wind was always victorious in the end.  No one escaped the darkness.

The force of Magus' blows reverberated through the mountain.  He sent torrents of dust and stone down the cliff face, crashing into the rocks below.  High above the sheer rock face, on the steep slopes of the mountains, a shelf of snow hung precariously.  A shock from below traveled through the stone heart of the mountain, dislodging a single snowflake.  It rolled down the slope, disturbing other, tiny grains of snow.  Sheets of ice came into motion.  The mountain shook with the sound of breaking ice and crumbling rock.  With a thunderous crash, thousands of tons of ice and stone poured over the precipice above.  Magus only had time to look up at the white cloud descending upon him before the irresistible weight of the avalanche tore his hands from the rock and pulled him into the abyss.  The Black Wind howled around him as he was enveloped by the darkness.


Darkness surrounded Magus, but it was not the void.  It was simply an absence of light, and warmth, and hope.  The splintered remnants of his body lay on a jumbled heap of rock and ice.  More ice covered him, stained red with his blood.  Magus knew pain, greater agony than he had ever felt before.  He wanted to scream, but he could not breathe.  His bones were shattered, his flesh torn, his limbs useless.  Magus could not move a single finger; he was completely helpless.  The Black Wind howled, singing his funeral dirge.  With the full force of his will, he cursed the darkness, dared it to strike at him.  He had stared down the most terrifying monster in the universe, seen the animal fear in its eyes, but whatever force his mind could muster was only consumed by the void.  His every effort was futile.  Magus had nothing left to fight with, and the darkness beaconed.

The Black Wind surrounded Magus, passed through him.  He could feel his body dying.  The cold darkness of the ice closed in around him.  Only his mind remained, but even that was becoming muddled, clouded.  His keen senses became deadened, his pain numbed.  The ice and stone, his body, all feeling were gone; only the darkness remained.  Even then, Magus did not fear death or what lay beyond.  He knew what torment he faced and felt no trepidation.  If this fate was inevitable, so be it.  If the void saw fit to consume him, let it come.  There was no laughter in the darkness, only silence.  Magus could no longer even summon the will to defy death; he accepted his fate.

"It this all you have to show for yourself.  I was hoping for better sport."

Magus knew that voice.  In his mind's eye, a dark figure appeared.  His entire body was shrouded by a crimson cloak, the color of blood.  The Black Wind howled around him, followed him, but his clothing was unmoved.  In one hand, the figure bore a scythe of pure midnight.  The Black Wind was drawn into it; it was the darkness.  From within the figure's cowl, only his red, glowing eyes were visible.  The Reaper had come.


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GrayLensman's "Magil of the Shadows"
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2004, 04:44:47 pm »
That's pretty good, and would work well as a prolog or first chapter. There are a couple of typographical errors (paragraph 3 "winds" -> "wind's"; the Reaper's quote "It" -> "Is" (I think this is what you intended)), but overall it's very high quality.


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Re: GrayLensman's "Magil of the Shadows"
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2008, 03:41:14 am »
I like it too but what happened to him?