Esther sat outside the Milwaukee Art Museum, perched on a bench along the shore of Lake Michigan. Marigold skies above reflected in unperturbed waters below, and between the two sat Esther, eating her dinner and watching the day die.
Xavier was running for his life. An arrow zipped past his head, filling his ear with the vengeful hiss of promised death. Spiny arms of cacti tore at his cloak as he sprinted for the river.
Xavier poured every ounce of his fear, frustration, and anger into strike after vicious strike, until all but the rhythm of battle was driven from his mind. Steel resounded against steel, boots beat a furious cadence against the floor, and the men grunted and cried with exertion, surprise, and distress.
The truth was, Xavier, Gustave, and Camel had not come to celebrate the coronation. They were using the party as cover to take, without permission, a tome from their host's famous library. It was ironic that two months ago, they had been chasing after a gang of thieves in Drehana. Tonight, they were the thieves.
The hand-drawn, coffee ring-stained map depicted a box canyon several miles away. A team of art thieves had made the canyon into their home. They had a painting that didn’t belong to them, and Xavier’s crew had ridden all the way to Drehana to relieve them of it.
That had been Xavier’s dream. And then the dream had become reality. And then life had happened. A hundred things beyond Xavier’s control had come and punched hole after hole in his dream. And Xavier’s idyllic vision of being lord of an estate began to crumble, as slowly but surely as the deteriorating mortar between the stones of the castle walls.
I remember Telluride, Denver, and Estes too - I remember alpine lakes and vistas grand - Aspen trees and paperback reads - And brimful coffee cups clutched in hand
You rarely touch your sidearm in firefights, because you possess a far more potent weapon. You can choose to enter the mind of anyone who makes eye contact with you, and once you're inside a mind, you can break it as easily as you can crack your knuckles.
Somewhere there's an angel with hair as dark as midnight skies; just a little girl who could light the night with the starlight in her eyes. Somewhere she is waiting, because her heart beats all alone. She waits for the man who will take her to the place she's never known.
There are three vessels, alone in a black expanse of interplanetary space. The first vessel is maimed and broken; a once-dignified ship whose time has come too soon. The second vessel is dying; a violent, bloody ship whose time should have come sooner. The third vessel is a lifepod, a single tear shed from a failing machine. There is one man aboard the pod, and he will be the only survivor.
Zamorra blew out a long lungful of air, forcing herself to breathe slowly, even as her heart beat faster. A curl escaped her hairband and she brushed it away from her eyes in nervous excitement. She finally held the the last clue to the location of the treasure of Ahsakard.
I hear the mountains calling to my soul, as clear as if they called me by my name -- The shore-bound waves upon the lake do roll, reflecting peaks majestic and unchanged