The Long Walk
On the shores of the Magic Kingdom waited a well-known but regrettable location. Short Pier was the last place any unit would choose to be. The inevitability of the turns end loomed in this spot, which left a dark pall on an otherwise beautiful beach.
This turn, as so many turns before, a lone unit rested with legs dangling off the pier. Instead of the morose defeat that units here usually had, this man smiled and sang to himself, seemingly without a care in the Erf.
Sittin' in the Turnin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the endin' comes
I'm sittin' on the pier of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooo
I'm just sittin' on the pier of the bay
Along with his voice the caster fingered a well-crafted string instrument. He would accentuate parts of the song from time to time. On occasion he would play the instrument without words, simply allowing his emotions to radiate through the music. Humming, whistling, even tapping the pier; all woven into a beautiful tune the cheerful unit ceaselessly projected. As time passed by, the Rhyme-o-mancer showed no signs of stopping or regret. The magic of the song carried him along, as it had done so many times in his many hundred-turns. A few passersby would stop and listen for a while. Some smiled and tapped along. Others would only shake their heads with remorse for the loss to the world.
Looks like nothin's gonna Change
Everything, still remains the same
I can't do what ten rulers tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same, yes
A woman in maroon robes smiled as she approached. The Date-a-mancer quietly sat down next to the singing man. After a short while of silently listening, her feet also began to tap. Then in a gentle reserved voice she began to sing along.
Sittin' here restin' my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone, yes
Two thousand hexes, I roam
Just to make this pier my home
Now I'm just gonna sit, at the pier of the bay
Watchin' the turn roll away, ooo yea
Sittin' on the pier of the bay
From behind, a voice suddenly interrupted. “Excuse me miss. I could not help but admire that tune you were singing. Might I enquire as to your discipline? I am in need of a Caster and find myself hoping you could help.” A handsome man in a crisp blue uniform had stepped to the grounded end of the pier.
“Oh. Well I am a Date-a-mancer and this talented fellow is…” She turned toward a now empty spot beside her.
The gentleman smiled “That is perfect. My Emperor is having trouble with duplicity from our vassal nations. An accurate assessment of our relations would be most appreciated.”
She took another glance at the pier “Well thank you, that sounds like it may be a long contract. Why don’t we discuss on the way to your portal?” The Date-a-mancer said as she stood and walked with the man, away down the beach.
Many turns passed until she had heard the legend. It was often said around the Magic Kingdom that if a desperate unit went to Short Pier, with genuine hope in their hearts, they may be graced with a verse from the Song of Life. The world would ensure they continued for another turn and afford them a chance for salvation. It was for this purpose that many Casters believed Short Pier existed at all.
Mythical Rhyme-o-mancer Odetis was said to be the chosen soul who guarded the song and judged the hearts of the downtrodden. Some imagined him to be a Master who accidentally stumbled into an infinite song of endless life. Others claimed him to be a Titan that refused to participate in the great game of Erfworld. The answer made no difference.Always a smile, always a song. Just a sitting and watching the tide.
(NOTE: User was awarded 25 shmuckers for this post. -Rob)
See, here's what I love about this one: it's hopeful. Erfworld is many things, but for the units that are stuck slogging through its endless war, it tends to be pretty grim, and a lot of the fan fiction reflects this. There's not a lot of kindness to go around. This is a little bit of kindness in an otherwise weary world. Good stuff.