Agora’s Tower

Far to the east, a tired looking woman stands as if frozen, mere inches from the open ledge at the top of a narrow and high, west facing tower. It would be easy to imagine her being suddenly caught by a wind and pushed over, probably floating to the ground like a leaf. No, more likely she would just tip and fall, asleep on her ancient feet, and not even wake as she plummeted to her death. Or maybe she would wake and scream like a banshee, flailing her thin arms in a frenzy as if they could slow her descent. But she won’t fall. Truth be told, she isn’t quite the frail old creature she appears to be. She’s a hag, and plenty of young pretty witches dream about reaching the power and status of the decrepit looking thing.

Agora peers far beyond the limited vision of her natural eyes. Even if they were the best in the land, Zoey would be far too distant to see, but Agora isn’t looking from the perch. She watches Zoey in a globalator, a smooth round stone looking object that Zoey would have compared to an orange in size. The stone is clear as crystal and presents an internal vision that seems to magnify out of the surface, so that the farther you are from the stone, the larger it seems to be.  Agora holds it in her wrinkled shrunken hands and her quick small eyes dart to follow every movement. She frowns, and it makes her face even more frightening.

As she watches Zoey start along the path far to the east, she grows increasingly more agitated, moving quickly from surprise and disappointment to frustration and then anger. She suddenly shakes the globe with a viciousness that turns it instantly to an inpenetrable fog. Just as quickly, the fog turns to stone and the object appears to be nothing more than a common rock that might be found along the banks of any of the many rivers in the land. Except for its perfect roundness.

She turns away and casts it roughly onto a pedestal obviously carved for the sole purpose of protecting the now dead looking object. It has three long finger like appendages that swirl upward from the base in graceful ever tightening circles that intertwine at the narrow top. In the middle is an almost flat tabletop. A gentle depression in the very center creates a cradle for the unique stone. 

The globe misses the cradle and after a moments question at the rim of the depression, it rolls to the outside, quickly gaining speed as it rushes for the edge of the table. Over it goes, plummeting toward the stone floor, much as we envisioned the hag off the tower. But the furry 7 fingered hand of a Turpid intterupts the fall.

Gorsnuck hadn’t even thought about catching the globalator, and he didn’t think about it now, as he returned the stone to its cradle. It was, like so many things that Turpids do, just habit. Once ingrained, some things were always done without question. Globalators were a rare and precious thing and as such should be protected. It was unlikely to have been damaged by the short fall, but nevertheless, it might have been. It could have received a chip that forever marred the appearance of the visions it showed. It was a good habit, protecting things automatically. That’s what Gorsnuck would have thought about it, if he had thought about it at all. But he didn’t.

Gorsnuck was bond to Agora, and so she is what he mostly thought about. Right now, what Agora wanted pressed on Gorsnuck’s mind as clearly as if it was his own thought. He moved quickly to the perch, at the very edge where moments before the hag had stood. Without hesitation he stepped over and dropped with all the speed of the stone he had saved. With the same thoughtlessness he had given it, he unfolded his wings, caught the air beneath them in a tremendous whoosh, and lifted himself upon the currents. Due west.

 

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Agora’s Tower

by Richard Crossley time to read: 3 min
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