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Stairs in the Myst
Submission for IronAge Media's prompt The Vennels
The stairs had been there time out of mind. They stood proudly in the Myst, overlooking the mountains. The stairs didn’t know what lay in the Myst either above or below, only what was here. It often looked out to the mountains when they weren’t obscured by the Myst. It fantasized about what lived on those mountains. Little did it know the mountains were unexplored, and nothing lived on them.
It envisioned a grand kingdom in the middle of the mountain, where the Faerie Queen and her court dwelt during the day before going out to explore the world at night. There would be forests inside where the nymphs lived. Inside toadstools would be the houses of the pixies and sprites. While in clearings would rest the unicorns while their foals would run about. The Faerie Queen would walk about the trees and streams, greeting her people and admiring the beauty of her land. Her handmaids would follow her and see to her every need. Her husband, the Faerie King would remain in his castle, seeing to the needs of the kingdom. Once night fell, they would all depart for their nightly escapades in the mortal world.
Then again, perhaps a human stronghold stood on the other side of the mountains. They would stand as a safeguard against the evil denizens who lived in the mountains. During the day they would rest, but once night came, they would have to stand guard, watching and waiting for the goblins and ghouls of the mountains to come out. Then would follow a great battle, for if they did not fight back the creatures that lived inside, then they would prey upon the innocent in the lands beyond, on the other side of the mountains.
Perhaps there was a stronghold, but it was not a good man who ruled there. Perhaps it might be an evil, vile man who raided the villages and settlements with his men by night, who brought back their plunder in the morning. They might also take slaves from among those their terrorized. Back at their haven, they would fight over the riches and slaves obtained during the night, while the ruler would get the best. Then they would lounge about while their servants and slaves catered to their whims. Life would be easy for them, but they would always be looking for more, something that always eluded them, whether they sought it in food, or drink or money.
Maybe there was a small mountain path on the other side, much like the stairs. Maybe it too wondered what lay on the other side of the mountain. Perhaps it thought there might be a stair on the other side much like itself. Of course, it had the better deal, it could look down upon the other side onto the sunlit, and moonlit, lands beyond. Or, perhaps it too lived in the Myst and it could see nothing. What if it were not a path but a stair like itself. And, if it were a stair, then wouldn’t it be possible that the stair itself wrapped around to that other side and both were just one long road.
There might be a mine in the mountains, where dwarves would their days working and hunting for precious metals and beautiful gems. They would melt the metals into bars and ingots to use in their exquisite creations, and to send off to trade among the lands of men. The greatest of the gems and jewels would be saved for use in the crowns and jewelry of the dwarven kings and queens and their princes and princesses. It wouldn’t only be a mine, of course, but also the dwarves’ home and kingdom. Perhaps many kingdoms inside were inside. There could also be small settlements in the vast caverns among the roots of the mountains. On the outside of the mountains would be the farms and herds of the dwarves. These would be used for food and clothing and for trade. It would be a happy and cozy life they lived, doing what they loved best.
The stairs wondered many other things. Many grand and small things were envisioned while it passed many a long and slow day, with no one walking upon it. Of course, it knew not that the mountains were unexplored and no one knew about them and nothing lived on them. If they did know, they would probably still imagine what could be there if something were to be there, or it might still think that perhaps there really was something there. However, it did not know, and it went on as it had for time immemorable, for time immemorable.